Notices
Results 1 to 54 of 54

Thread: Message of the Bible is very reliable!

  1. #1 Message of the Bible is very reliable! 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    46
    http://koti.phnet.fi/elohim/canwetru...cismoftheBible

    In this writing we are going to examine the reliability of the Bible, especially concerning the Gospels. For these matters may be problematic for many people and they may lose their faith because of the same matter. Often many researchers’ statements, in which they may doubt the history of the Bible, or in which they may say, that "In reality there has never been any miracles", may influence people’s minds. They may say, how the Bible is not reliable in those things, about which it tells.

    However, it is good to notice, that these kinds of statements are not anything new, but those have been presented already almost during the last two hundred years. Actually it is interesting to notice, that simultaneously when the Darwin’s theory of evolution and the ice age theory became well-known among people, started also so said higher criticism against the Bible to gain ground. Into view started to come researchers, who started to question writings about the life of Jesus and other events of the Bible. For they perhaps thought, that if the creation and the Flood are not true in the light of the previous theories, so what reason we have to believe in information about Jesus. So certainly it is not any accident, that these all three matters came out almost simultaneously.

    In any case it is good for us to go into this area. The purpose is to help especially those people, who want to know more about this matter, and how reasonable it is generally to trust in events, which have been mentioned in the Bible. If you struggle with this matter, it is worth your while to read the next lines.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Posts
    2,377
    You *do* realize that this is a science board, right?

    If you want to discuss the bible and its "reliability," you might find better favor in a religious forum or a place where there are more people who buy into that sort of superstition.

    There are several here who are believers, but you'll find that there are far more who are more than willing to call you on any "evidences" you might think are legitimate.

    In addition, its considered bad form here to simply quote some random website via copy/paste without offering any of your own commentary.

    Beyond that, welcome to The Science Forum


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    405
    Actually, Skinwalker, I disagree with you. First of all, this is the Religion subforum. Secondly, although the thread title is a little strident, in fact the post offers genuine debate and discussion. Thirdly, it's evidently not "a random website", but PetriFB's own website. Now, it might be considered bad form to just shill your own website, but at least he's not trying to sell us anything!

    Lastly, I took a look at the site. It's a shame that the English, I'm sorry to say, is quite poor. However, there are some very good points made, and the arguments are refreshingly free of religious language. It actually deals with Bible and Gospel reliability on intelligent grounds, with none of the circular nonsense ("Can we trust the Bible? Well, let's look in the Bible and see what it tells us. Yes we can, because it says so here in the Bible that the Bible is the infallible word of God, so yes, of course we can trust the Bible") so common to Christian apologetics.

    It is actually the most intelligent and well-argued Christian evangelisation website (or book, pamphlet, whatever) that I've ever seen.
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4 Re: Message of the Bible is very reliable! 
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by PetriFB
    In this writing we are going to examine the reliability of the Bible, especially concerning the Gospels.
    Don't the gospels contain passages talking about what Jesus did when he was all alone, and when the people who were supposed to have written the gospels were sleeping?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Belo Hozironte
    Posts
    8
    it's a very good question.... i had never thought of that...
    Can anyone answer this? (about the gospel and its sleepy writers...)
    thanks for everything!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    The gospels were not written any earlier than 70AD. And most were later than that. The authors were not there at the time of the events they describe.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    935
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    The gospels were not written any earlier than 70AD. And most were later than that. The authors were not there at the time of the events they describe.
    How has this been established? Is it a point agreed upon by all Christan authorities?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    405
    It's a point generally agreed by unbiased scholarship, whether the scholars are Christian or not.

    The reasoning goes something like this: Matthew and Luke, the most detailed of the synoptic gospels, include parts of Mark in such a way as to make it clear that they were using Mark as a source, consequently Mark is older. Mark knows about the destruction of the Temple in 70CE, therefore was written after that. I'm afraid I don't know all the scholarly details. Conversely there are references in Mark to Jesus's return within a generation that would not be written if more than a generation had passed, consequently (and with other complex textual arguments) the Gospels were not the product of a time as late as the 2nd Century.

    Even the earliest Christian historians only stated as their belief that John was an eyewitness gospel (possibly Matthew as well). Mark and Luke are specified as not having been eyewitnesses. But with the benefit of hindsight, if Matthew used Mark as a source for his Gospel, clearly he could not be an eyewitness either. And John's Gospel is totally different from the other three - which doesn't rule it out as an eyewitness account, but certainly seems rather more mature a piece of writing than would be expected of the real disciples of Jesus.
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,107
    I agree with Silas that PetriFB's writings on the site he refers to is an excellent apologetic presented in rather fractured English. Even so, it is quite understandable and covers the salient points.

    However, I am at a loss to discern what there is in the Gospel writings to indicate any of the writers were aware of the 70 AD destruction of the temple.

    This would seem to have been such an important and significant event, that Matthew would have been at least asided in conjuction with Jesus' prediction (in Mt. 24.2) that the temple would be detroyed such that not one stone would be left upon another. Since it is generally ageed that Mark is the first gospel written and was available to Luke and Matthew, it should not have escaped their knowledge.

    I would like to know chapter and verse on what appears to reflect such knowledge. I'm not saying it is not there, just that I do not seem to have ever been exposed to that revelation.

    I also agree with PetriFB that even the latest datings of the writings put them more contemporaneous to the events than the earliest beginnings of persons attempting to refute the accounts. If post 70 A.D., but still 1st Century writing is not contemporaneous enough, how can some 17th/18th Century doubter have a better knowledge of what occurred? There is no literature contemporaneous to the Gospels which attempt to significanly refute their accounts other than to place a different spin on them. (Eg: recent translation of the Gospel of Judas which suggests that Jesus directed Judas to betray him.)
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    46
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Actually, Skinwalker, I disagree with you. First of all, this is the Religion subforum. Secondly, although the thread title is a little strident, in fact the post offers genuine debate and discussion. Thirdly, it's evidently not "a random website", but PetriFB's own website. Now, it might be considered bad form to just shill your own website, but at least he's not trying to sell us anything!

    Lastly, I took a look at the site. It's a shame that the English, I'm sorry to say, is quite poor. However, there are some very good points made, and the arguments are refreshingly free of religious language. It actually deals with Bible and Gospel reliability on intelligent grounds, with none of the circular nonsense ("Can we trust the Bible? Well, let's look in the Bible and see what it tells us. Yes we can, because it says so here in the Bible that the Bible is the infallible word of God, so yes, of course we can trust the Bible") so common to Christian apologetics.

    It is actually the most intelligent and well-argued Christian evangelisation website (or book, pamphlet, whatever) that I've ever seen.
    Site is not mine, but my friend Jari Iivanainen. I'm webmaster in his site. And grammar of the sites are under correction work, where grammar will make properly .... may GBU all
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    I’m still curious if anyone has an explanation for why the gospels should be taken seriously when they report things that supposedly happened when there weren’t any witnesses?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    We don't have any witnesses to the global marine transgression at the start of the Cambrian, yet every geologist I know takes it seriously.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    We don't have any witnesses to the global marine transgression at the start of the Cambrian, yet every geologist I know takes it seriously.
    Yes, but there is a huge amount of physical evidence for the cambrian marine transgression. There is no such physical evidence for the gospels - it's just a matter of taking the gospel author's word for what happened.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    There is no such physical evidence for the gospels .
    We know Jerusalem exists.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,107
    If Scifor applies his standard of proof for other persons and events from ancient days, the existence of many other early historical figures is in serious trouble. There is even less proof that Caesar existed and conquered Gaul, than that Jesus lived in Palestine and was a significant religious figure.

    We all go around quoting "Et tu Brute?" and accepting it as an utterance made during the assassination of Caesar. However, the only place that utterance appears is in a play by William Shakespeare, written some 16 centuries later. The main account of Caesar’s conquest of Gaul is in his own self aggrandizing account.

    Now why would people be so willing to "believe" the Shakespearean account is an accurate reflection of Caesar's last words while castigating the potential veracity of the hundreds of extant manuscripts concerning the first century events in Palestine? These are far more contemporaneous to the events they purport to recount than is the Shakespearean account of the assassination of Caesar? (Which, by the way, is not even intended as an historical account, but rather a dramatic account.)

    Why is it so easy to believe Caesar was assassinated as the result of a political cabal than it is to believe a prophet by the name of Jesus of Nazareth was executed by crucifixion?

    For Scifor and his ilk, I fear there is no quantum of evidence which would confirm the events and stories that are contained in the Gospels.

    Scifor commented:


    There is no such physical evidence for the gospels - it's just a matter of taking the gospel author's word for what happened.
    I am not sure what “physical” evidence would satisfy. Nor can I figure out what kind of “physical” evidence would be available. Actually, it should be “authors’ words” rather than author’s word. There are four accounts presented in the Bible and there are numerous other extra Biblical accounts, including the recently translated Gospel of Judas plus the Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Mary and several others I cannot recall off the top of my head.

    They all have some stories and events which are not found in the other accounts. But they all seem to have some version of similar events. But they all point to the same thing. There was this Jewish prophet going around Palestine in the first century who claimed to be the long awaited Messiah.

    I can understand one may choose not to believe His claims to Messiahship, but the historical evidence of his existence is the most documented of any person in that age of history.

    Scifor asked:

    I’m still curious if anyone has an explanation for why the gospels should be taken seriously when they report things that supposedly happened when there weren’t any witnesses?
    Well who says there weren’t any witnesses? What things supposedly happened when there weren’t any witnesses? If they involve times when Jesus was supposedly alone, what evidence can you present that Jesus did not tell the disciples what he did?

    I don’t want to pick on Scifor, but his thinking seems to be a prime example of the thinking of some people today who will completely ignore the major flaws of other topics and events while nitpicking the minor flaws of the Bible. This may be included in what the Bible has in mind when it talks about straining gnats while swallowing camels.

    While I can agree some of the stories of events in the Gospels may be the result of some literary embellishments, it does not detract from the overall truth of the overall message. If, for example, you cannot believe Jesus walked on water, that is not a basis to discount His existence.

    And, so far, no one has provided me with an example of something in the Gospels which indicates any of the writers were aware of the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    There is even less proof that Caesar existed and conquered Gaul, than that Jesus lived in Palestine and was a significant religious figure.
    I really think you could have chosen a better example. I grant you my current copy of War Commentaries of Caesar is a translation and it is several decades since I read any of its chapters in the original Latin. However, I find the notion that the well attested Caesar has less proof as to his existence than Jesus, quite droll.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    Scifor Wrote:
    I’m still curious if anyone has an explanation for why the gospels should be taken seriously when they report things that supposedly happened when there weren’t any witnesses?
    There were witnesses. Be careful when quoting religious scholars and ask yourself "How do you become a scholar"?

    To become noted, you have to come up with something different and of course have some information to back up your claim. You have to publish your ideas and get people to read them. If they seem to come from someone who has the credentials, they might get recognized and others may follow the lead. But that in no way makes them correct.

    The bible warns about people who study a lot and know nothing.
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,107
    Ophiolite, I specifically chose Caesar because of the glaring and demonstrative discrepancies in the proofs of existence and the fact than nobody questions the existence of Caesar.

    One test of reliability would be the closeness in time between the suspected writing date of the original manuscripts and the date of the earliest known copies of those manuscripts now extant. Assuming histories including mention of Caesar were written somewhere close to the first century, the earliest dated copies of such documents have been dated to have been produced some 1,000 years later.

    Extant copies of some New Testament writings have been dated to have been produced either late first century or early second century placing them easily within 50 years (some estimate as little as 25 years) from their original writing. (Talking more than Gospels here.)

    Another test is the number of ancient manuscripts available. There are 10 preserved documents of Caesar’s Gallic Wars which are considered ancient (and remember the first of those is dated to be 10th or 11th century documents. Meanwhile, there are more than 24,000 (yes, that is three zeros) copies or fragments of New Testament writings which are dated prior to 400 A.D.

    This information comes from Josh McDowell’s “Christianity: Hoax or History.”

    I find nothing humorous (droll) about the claim. What I find humorous is that people, in an effort to deny the messianic claim of Jesus, attempt to deny his existence as an historical figure. I think it is probably from the motivation that to admit to His existence is to admit to the possibility that He was exactly who He claimed to be. Theory being if you get rid of the historical Jesus factor, you get rid of the religious Jesus factor.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Posts
    2,377
    It is very fair to question and be skeptical of the historicity of the Jesus myth. Whether Jesus was real or not, his legend certainly is, since its believed by so many throughout the world. But that doesn't mean Jesus the actual man (assuming he actually existed) is the same as Jesus the myth.

    Humanity is replete with the hero myth, and there is ample evidence of the human propensity to create a mythological figure from the historical. A good, relatively recent, example is the myth of Captain James Smith, the Englishman who fell in love with the Indian Princess Pocohantas. The myth of Smith is only vaguely true to the historical accounts, with much embellishment. The same can be said about Gilgamesh. There is some archaeological evidence that Gilgamesh may have been an actual King of Uruk, but the story makes him out to be "two-thirds god and one-third man."

    In contemporary times, we call such hero worship the "rock-star effect," which affects rock-stars as well as other figures like Steve Jobs, professional atheletes, politicians, etc.

    To discount the possibility that Jesus was actually real and possibly even to the very letter of the descriptions offered of him in the so-called gospels is certainly intellectually dishonest. But it is likewise dishonest to deny that there is the possibility that alternative hypotheses are also true. Given the fact that we have evidence of rock-stars and hero worship, and none for actual gods, I'd say the the probability of Jesus having been an actual god is not looking good.

    And this is why religious believers cannot be expected to be good sources of information about human religions, particularly they're own. They cannot be both objective and faithful.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    There were doubters and disbelievers while Jesus was on earth, even those according to the gospels that witnessed him performing miracles.

    Am I supprised that there are doubters and disbelievers today, NO.
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Posts
    2,377
    There's good reason to doubt the source of Christian "knowledge" when it is so full of inconsistencies and obviously borrowed motifs and myths of other, often older cultures. Propaganda should always be suspect in a free-thinking society.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    Skinwalker Wrote

    There's good reason to doubt the source of Christian "knowledge" when it is so full of inconsistencies and obviously borrowed motifs and myths of other, often older culture
    Just as I as a believe try to poke holes in what you believe, you try to find errors and inconsistencies. If you read the bible trying to understand it, the inconsistencies are not there, but if you read it with the goal of trying to find inconsistencies, you can find them.
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Posts
    2,377
    Quote Originally Posted by yujikid
    Skinwalker Wrote

    There's good reason to doubt the source of Christian "knowledge" when it is so full of inconsistencies and obviously borrowed motifs and myths of other, often older culture
    Just as I as a believe try to poke holes in what you believe, you try to find errors and inconsistencies. If you read the bible trying to understand it, the inconsistencies are not there, but if you read it with the goal of trying to find inconsistencies, you can find them.
    Believers make poor observers. Only a non-believer has the ability to look at your mythology and see the inconsistencies. Man is nothing if not willing to suspend disbelief for that which he wants to believe, particularly if it is a dogma that is reinforced over many years.

    You'll never see the inconsistencies and problems because you are a believer. I'm sure you could see them in the Koran or another holy doctrine you don't believe in, but not in your own.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    SkinWalker Wrote:

    You'll never see the inconsistencies and problems because you are a believer.
    You also are a believer. But you believe in yourself, sort of like a self god. You feel like you are above or better than others who do not share your believes.

    We are in your eyes ignorant and likely just plain stupid. Well in the scientific fields, I admit I do not have the knowledge you do in those fields. But that does not make me stupid. I am no better than you and you are no better than me.
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Posts
    2,377
    I believe in that for which there is evidence and that which can be tested.

    Religious believers, however, depend upon faith: belief without evidence. There is no more reason to have faith in Yahweh than there is Atun or Ra. The only reason believers in either have their beliefs is because the majority of them are infected by the mind-virus of the belief almost from birth by parents who abuse them with indoctrination. The more serious the abuse, the more deeply indoctrinated the child is resulting in a more devout adult believer, who will, probably, chose to abuse their own children (child abuse runs in families, after all) with the same indoctrinations.

    I have no beliefs that cannot withstand the scrutiny of question and the veracity of critical thought. Should one be pointed out to me, I'm willing to discard it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by yujikid
    We are in your eyes ignorant and likely just plain stupid.
    I think the words you are looking for are guilty of self delusion.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    SkinWalker wrote:

    The only reason believers in either have their beliefs is because the majority of them are infected by the mind-virus of the belief almost from birth by parents who abuse them with indoctrination. The more serious the abuse, the more deeply indoctrinated the child is resulting in a more devout adult believer, who will, probably, chose to abuse their own children (child abuse runs in families, after all) with the same indoctrinations.
    I do not know if you have children, but if you do, I bet you indoctronate them with your beliefs.

    Oh, I know you would not call it indoctronation, someone who is so apparently arrogant as you appear to be would come up with something a whole lot more elitist than that.

    Look, we cannot all be scientist. There are many other proffessions that need good people to fill those slots.

    There are even those of us who work in technical fields that with limited education, but with a logical and active mind have pointed out and corrected many problems caused by engineers and chemist.
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Ophiolite, I specifically chose Caesar because of the glaring and demonstrative discrepancies in the proofs of existence and the fact than nobody questions the existence of Caesar.
    There is a vast body of literature on Caesar from many different ancient sources and they all agree with each other to a very high degree of precision. You have Caesar's own writings; the writing of many Roman historians; the writings of Caesar's close allies; historical documents from other empires/nations that record their dealings with Caesar; writings of Caesar's generals; writings of generals from forces that Caesar fought against.

    On the other hand, there are only four gospels in the bible that correspond well with each other. There are plenty of apocryphal gospels, but they often disagree with each other.

    Also, there are many instances where the gospels say things that dramatically contradict virtually every non-gospel historical record. Mathew reports that when Jesus was crucified the land went dark for three hours. Many Roman astronomers kept extensive, accurate accounts of eclipses and other such astronomical phenomena, but there is no mention of Matthew’s three hours of darkness anywhere outside the gospels. This is very strong evidence that the three hours of darkness was added in later as an embellishment of the story.

    Matthew also claims that Herod ordered the killing of all babies in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Jesus. There is no record of such an event occurring anywhere outside the gospels, even though numerous historians (some of whom hated Herod) kept detailed accounts of much less outrageous actions by Herod.

    Luke states that Jesus’ parents had to travel to a different town in order to take part in a census that was related to taxation, but there is no record of any such census taking place around the time of Jesus’ birth – even though there are plenty of records of Roman censuses. There is also no record of the Romans ever requiring people to go to another town to take part in a census or pay taxes; it was always handled at the town where people were currently living.

    So, we are faced with a set of documents that:
    1) Make outrageous, extraordinary claims.
    2) Say things about major events that are not corroborated by any non-christian historian.
    3) Provide details that are actually contradicted by many non-christian historians.

    You appear to be under the impression that one should judge the accuracy of a document by how chronologically close your most recent copy of the document is to the events that it describes. That's a ridiculous standard. Suppose you had a recently-written history book that described the American civil war. The book corresponded well with all other available sources on the civil war and makes many references to events and places that can be verified. Then suppose you had a document that dated to just a few years after the civil war ended that described a Union soldier raising from the dead a few days after he was killed. This second document also makes references to major events in the civil war that don't appear in any other account and contains several passages that directly contradict what is generally known about U.S. history. Would you really believe that the mysterious document was more accurate than the modern history book simply because it was written closer to the time of the civil war? I strongly suspect that you would shug your shoulders and say "This document makes outlandish claims that are contradicted by most respected historical sources. It probably contains false information."
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    405
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I specifically chose Caesar because of the glaring and demonstrative discrepancies in the proofs of existence and the fact than nobody questions the existence of Caesar.
    I'm afraid Ophiolite and Scifor Refugee were quite right - Caesar is simply the worst example possible. As a world leader, his existence is not merely attested by written documents - but by statues and coins and demonstrably contemporaneous inscriptions the provenance of which is certainly not in doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Extant copies of some New Testament writings have been dated to have been produced either late first century or early second century placing them easily within 50 years (some estimate as little as 25 years) from their original writing. (Talking more than Gospels here.)

    Another test is the number of ancient manuscripts available. There are 10 preserved documents of Caesar’s Gallic Wars which are considered ancient (and remember the first of those is dated to be 10th or 11th century documents. Meanwhile, there are more than 24,000 (yes, that is three zeros) copies or fragments of New Testament writings which are dated prior to 400 A.D.

    This information comes from Josh McDowell’s “Christianity: Hoax or History.”
    Dayton, I'm bound to say that 24,000 looks to be a complete and utter exaggeration. It's pretty amazing to be able to state that there are about 5,000 documents of some kind of Christian provenance that do indeed predate 1000 CE. To claim nearly five times as many just for the first four centuries, seems to me to be an obvious error.
    Quote Originally Posted by SciFor Refugee
    You appear to be under the impression that one should judge the accuracy of a document by how chronologically close your most recent copy of the document is to the events that it describes. That's a ridiculous standard.
    SciFor, if you mean "most recent", then I'm not certain your making any sense. If you mean "oldest" rather than "most recent", then I think you're making an error. In fact, it amounts to dismissing a perfectly rational reason to use in judging historicity, simply because the Gospels happen to pass that test's stringency, and other histories which are not otherwise doubted do not. Is it a good rule? Yes it is, why not?

    Suppose you had a recently-written history book that described the American civil war. The book corresponded well with all other available sources on the civil war and makes many references to events and places that can be verified. Then suppose you had a document that dated to just a few years after the civil war ended that described a Union soldier raising from the dead a few days after he was killed. This second document also makes references to major events in the civil war that don't appear in any other account and contains several passages that directly contradict what is generally known about U.S. history.
    Firstly, can I ask specifically what it is in the Gospels generally and overall which is known to contradict what is known about 1st Century history? Secondly, it's an error to assume that simply because the events depicted in the Gospels are invariably interpreted supernaturally, that therefore they didn't happen at all. "Spiritual" healings, and other similar surprising recoveries still referred to as miracles, happen right into modern times. Most of the rest of the supposed miracles can easily be simulated without modern contrivances such as motion picture special effects or even any big budget accoutrements. They are essentially conjurers tricks (water into wine being a good example). Any historical witness account would similarly not be expected to record every detail in such a way as to reveal the way it was done, though certainly there are elements in the whole crucifixion account which might do.

    On the other hand, there are only four gospels in the bible that correspond well with each other. There are plenty of apocryphal gospels, but they often disagree with each other.
    Likewise, non-Christian histories.

    Also, there are many instances where the gospels say things that dramatically contradict virtually every non-gospel historical record. Mathew reports that when Jesus was crucified the land went dark for three hours. Many Roman astronomers kept extensive, accurate accounts of eclipses and other such astronomical phenomena, but there is no mention of Matthew’s three hours of darkness anywhere outside the gospels. This is very strong evidence that the three hours of darkness was added in later as an embellishment of the story.
    Well, no shit! That event is not even reported in the other Synoptic gospels. On perfectly normal historical scholarship grounds, who would object to rejecting this item's historicity in any case? Unexplainable sky darkenings (to say nothing of the Dawn of the Dead mass resurrection of "saints" also mentioned by Matthew at this time) do not come under the heading of something that could be misinterpreted.

    Matthew also claims that Herod ordered the killing of all babies in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Jesus. There is no record of such an event occurring anywhere outside the gospels, even though numerous historians (some of whom hated Herod) kept detailed accounts of much less outrageous actions by Herod.
    A lot of arguments against the historicity of the gospels rely on inaccuracies in the Nativity accounts. Since there are two Nativity accounts, and they do not match on any particular, there is absolutely no reason not to reject them out of hand simply on normal historical grounds. This does not apply to other items later in the stories which, being thirty years closer to the authors, are more likely to have been related to them either by an eyewitness or by someone who knew an eyewitness, very unlikely for the stories surrounding Jesus's birth. It is possible to maintain rational reasons for believing quite a lot of what happened in the Gospels, particularly those events which were recorded by more than two of them, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater and labelling the whole thing fiction.

    Luke states that Jesus’ parents had to travel to a different town in order to take part in a census that was related to taxation, but there is no record of any such census taking place around the time of Jesus’ birth – even though there are plenty of records of Roman censuses. There is also no record of the Romans ever requiring people to go to another town to take part in a census or pay taxes; it was always handled at the town where people were currently living.
    See above for why I think there's no problem in rejecting the Nativity tales. But on the other hand, I see them as actually very strong proof in the genuine historicity of Jesus himself. The proof is not in the stories themselves, but in the reason they were composed in the first place and tacked onto the start of the story. Both of these stories do have one thing in common, in fact, or rather two things. The child was born in Bethlehem, and the man grew up in Nazareth. It was certainly of major importance to "everything is fulfillment of Scripture" Matthew, but the same motivation was applicable to Luke. Jesus, the Promised Messiah, had to be of the line of David, and he had to be born in Bethlehem. So they each wrote a genealogy for him which showed him to be of the line of David (unfortunately, different genealogies), and they each wrote a story which involved him being born in Bethlehem (according to Scripture) and yet being a native of Nazareth. Why would they do such a thing if he was a fictional construct? There was a compelling Scriptural reason that the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem. But there was no reason whatsoever to make him a Nazarene, a Galilean. In fact, as far as I can tell there is no significance of Galilee or any of its towns or cities in the Old Testament at all.

    To me it seems obvious - the real Jesus was a Galilean, he was from Nazareth. He was a Northerner, not a native of the land or the tribe of David or of Jerusalem at all, and it behooved the Gospel authors to invent reasons for Jesus, a Northerner, to be accepted as the Messianic saviour of the Judaic (Judah-ite) people.

    So, we are faced with a set of documents that:
    1) Make outrageous, extraordinary claims.
    2) Say things about major events that are not corroborated by any non-christian historian.
    3) Provide details that are actually contradicted by many non-christian historians.
    Every contemporaneous history of that period does exactly the same thing. Miracles were routinely reported, such as fulfillments of mystical portents and the like. Every single history must include something that isn't mentioned by the others of the same period. The modern historian's task is to sift through these and reject those which are obviously outré, and make judgements about the reliability of each documented occurrence based on known biases of the ancient authors.

    Would you really believe that the mysterious document was more accurate than the modern history book simply because it was written closer to the time of the civil war? I strongly suspect that you would shug your shoulders and say "This document makes outlandish claims that are contradicted by most respected historical sources. It probably contains false information."
    Yes, of course it contains false information. That doesn't mean that the entire account, in four different books, of an itinerant preacher who came out of the North into Jerusalem, caused a fracas in the Temple, was accused by the Jewish authorities and executed by the Roman occupiers, is a complete fiction. Your logic extends "contains false information" to "is completely fictional from start to finish". Devout people have great difficulty accepting that their Gospels, their Scriptures were, after all, written by fallible human beings and contain errors. But as a devout non-believer, all I am interested in is maintaining rigorous standards for skeptical thinking and not pursuing, for whatever reason, paths which lead one into error.

    I still haven't formulated this fully, and it is something I need to work on, but in my view the "Jesus was a Myth" concept (in the fullest, "there never was such a person", sense) unfortunately possesses many characteristics in common with conspiracy theories. Even sadder, on the Internet Infidels board, I've seen otherwise sensible atheists reject conventional scholarship opinion and date, say, the Gospel of Mark to as late as 130 or 150 CE, in order to bolster the concept that the story behind it is mythical. But they don't seem to realise that making that kind of arbitrary redating in the face of commonly accepted opinion, without a basis in significant reasoning which shows why the normal 60-75 dating is wrong, is precisely the same as Young Earth Creationism methodology.
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    405
    Sorry, I've re-read the thread, and Scifor doesn't actually state that he's a Jesus Myther, so maybe I have misrepresented his views, for which I apologise.

    His original question was
    I’m still curious if anyone has an explanation for why the gospels should be taken seriously when they report things that supposedly happened when there weren’t any witnesses?
    Any number of modern biographies do the same sort of thing, as do dramatisations of people's lives. That's not a substantial reason for not "taking them seriously" in the totality of the story they tell.
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
    Reply With Quote  
     

  32. #31  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,107
    Silas, I certainly appreciate your dedication to critical analysis and balanced measurement of equal types of evidences.

    I, too, was (maybe still am) skeptical as to Josh McDowell’s suggesting that there are 24,000 different documents or fragments of documents relating to New Testament literature. However, I do respect his reputation for research and, unless this was a misprint, would stand behind his claim.

    My use of Caesar was not an attempt to show that Caesar never existed or that our information about him is inaccurate – only that the evidence of the historical Jesus far outweighs the evidence of the historical Caesar. However, in the face of that evidence, there is a small portion of people who deny the historical Jesus while never even questioning the historical Caesar. Those who contend there is more historical evidence of Caesar than of Jesus are just plain under-informed or applying a dual standard to the extant literature.

    What I appreciate about your writing the most is that you take the plain position that you just don’t believe and maintain a willingness to view all the information from a basically neutral position and subject it to the same analysis. You end up in a position of saying, “Based on my current analysis, I believe this more than I believe that.” And you do so without suggesting those who believe "that" are intellectually challenged.

    (Meanwhile, you have still not given me chapter and verse on where in Mark we find some indication that he was aware of the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. You previously, on some post in some thread commented to the effect that Matthew and Luke borrow from Mark and, “we know Mark was aware of the destruction of the temple.” I assumed you meant the 70 A.D. destruction rather than the Babylonian destruction several hundred years earlier.)
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  33. #32  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    Firstly, can I ask specifically what it is in the Gospels generally and overall which is known to contradict what is known about 1st Century history?
    Christianity hinges on believing that the accounts of Jesus' supernatural abilities as described in the gospels are accurate. It is entirely possible (and completely unremarkable) that the general story of the gospels is accurate; the gospels could be taken as fairly convincing evidence that a person named Jesus existed in the early first century, started a religious movement, spread a bunch of moral teachings, and was executed by the authorities. However, none of that could lead a person today to the conclusion that this historical figure should be worshiped as a god. If one is to believe that Jesus is a god and that we should build a religion around him then it is precisely the most outlandish, unlikely-sounding parts of the gospels that one must consider - the parts were inexplicable supernatural things happen like the sky darkening, people raising from the dead, angles warning people of events before they happen, etc.

    You seem to feel that I am unfairly "nit picking" the gospels by focusing on the most unbelievable parts, but I would argue that from a theological perspective those are the only parts whose historicity really matters.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  34. #33  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    the parts where inexplicable supernatural things happen like the sky darkening, people raising from the dead, angles warning people of events before they happen, etc..
    The following light interlude has been brought to you by the letters o, s,h,i and t, and the number 42.

    These angles with their warnings - I suppose some of the warnings would be quite ambiguous, even obscure. Those would be from the obtuse angles.

    I hear some of those angles can be quite attractive. That would be acute angle.

    Others, speaking with the ultimate authority of God would always be correct. Those would be right angles. [Though there is little fun in talking with them. They are awfully square.]

    What ever way you look at it, those angles were always bringing sines from heaven. Why? 'Cos.


    Normal service will now be resumed.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  35. #34  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,107
    Ophiolite sort of went off on a tangent there.

    On a more serious level, there seems to be some hypothesis here that is contrary to fact.

    While there may be some rare excepts, I personally have never heard anyone's Christian testimony in which he or she suggested that his or her belief was based upon having read about the miracles in the Bible.

    By and large, the vast majority of people claiming to be born again Christian will tell a story of a personal spiritual experience totally unrelated to any Bible story. Nor do I recall any testimonies in which the person claimed that the experience was the result of having been overwhelmed with intellectual logic.

    It is, generally, only after they have had that experience that they accept the stories and claims found in the Bible.

    Based on this observation, I would merely suggest that people who have never had a similar spirtual experience are going to find those stories and claims quite difficult, if not impossible, to accept.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  36. #35  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,107
    Ophiolite sort of went off on a tangent there.

    On a more serious level, there seems to be some hypothesis here that is contrary to fact.

    While there may be some rare exceptions, I personally have never heard anyone's Christian testimony in which he or she suggested that his or her belief was based upon having read about the miracles in the Bible.

    By and large, the vast majority of people claiming to be born again Christian will tell a story of a personal spiritual experience totally unrelated to any Bible story. Nor do I recall any testimonies in which the person claimed that the experience was the result of having been overwhelmed with intellectual logic.

    It is, generally, only after they have had that experience that they accept the stories and claims found in the Bible.

    Based on this observation, I would merely suggest that people who have never had a similar spirtual experience are going to find those stories and claims quite difficult, if not impossible, to accept.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  37. #36  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    405
    Quote Originally Posted by SciFor Refugee
    Christianity hinges on believing that the accounts of Jesus' supernatural abilities as described in the gospels are accurate. It is entirely possible (and completely unremarkable) that the general story of the gospels is accurate; the gospels could be taken as fairly convincing evidence that a person named Jesus existed in the early first century, started a religious movement, spread a bunch of moral teachings, and was executed by the authorities.
    No disagreement there. I'm sorry, but you were deploying arguments which are used by those who extrapolate that to the position that there never was a Jesus, as I demonstrated later in my post. Our positions are identical if you are saying that the gospels are reliable enough to say that there was a historical personage - around whom divinity and mythology were woven by those who came later - and the stories are reliable enough to make a completely fictional Jesus concept simply too unlikely.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    My use of Caesar was not an attempt to show that Caesar never existed or that our information about him is inaccurate –
    Of course not, and nobody thought you did.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    only that the evidence of the historical Jesus far outweighs the evidence of the historical Caesar.
    This is not really true, because of the other non-documentary evidence I highlighted before.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    However, in the face of that evidence, there is a small portion of people who deny the historical Jesus while never even questioning the historical Caesar. Those who contend there is more historical evidence of Caesar than of Jesus are just plain under-informed or applying a dual standard to the extant literature.
    This was pretty much precisely the point that Ophiolite and I were trying to make. There are many people in Roman history whose actual existence is never doubted, despite having fewer references in ancient histories than Jesus, no documentary evidence older than the IXth Century at best, and those histories having been composed a century or more after the fact. That is certainly a double standard which I deplore in the Mythical Jesus camp. However, Caesar has far, far more historical documentary evidence, including works by his own hand (though no autographs, obviously!), plus monumental and coinage evidence which is directly from his times. That is why Caesar is simply a bad example, and in this case led you to the claim that there is more attestation for Jesus than for Caesar. That's not something that even seems likely on the face of it, let alone something you could make a convincing case for by rigorous research. Whether those Christian documents and document fragments are 24000 or 2400 or just 240, they are essentially copies of each other, and none of the non-NT ones add any more historical detail than is found in the Gospels.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    While there may be some rare exceptions, I personally have never heard anyone's Christian testimony in which he or she suggested that his or her belief was based upon having read about the miracles in the Bible.

    By and large, the vast majority of people claiming to be born again Christian will tell a story of a personal spiritual experience totally unrelated to any Bible story. Nor do I recall any testimonies in which the person claimed that the experience was the result of having been overwhelmed with intellectual logic.
    I do hate to burst your bubble, Dayton, but - even if Evangelical Christianity is a substantially growing movement that is now even knocking on the doors lining the corridors of power in America - the vast majority of Christians are not born-agains! Particularly if you take into account the relatively short history of born-again Evangelical versions of Christianity as compared to the Anglican and even longer history of the Catholic church. The vast, vast majority of Christians, in the world and in history, were born and raised in the faith, and undoubtedly the miracle tales were a major part of what informed that faith at least through the developmental years.
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
    Reply With Quote  
     

  38. #37  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    Seems to me that one of the main reasons those who do not believe in the account of Jesus in the New Testament, whether they be theist or atheist is the account of the miracles, because they are outside of what is known about science.

    To accept miracles which are outside of the science that man knows, would affect egos, to some, it be just be a calamity.

    Most of you in these posts are scientist or have a great deal of scientific knowledge and have trouble accepting anything that maybe outside of what is currently known.

    Can science explain the mechanism of people with Psychic capabilities?
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  39. #38  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Posts
    2,377
    Apparently there *are* no people with "psychic" abilities. Many people have tested their claim: all have failed.

    There is, however, great evidence that demonstrates that man and groups of men are willing to embellish and lie to influence others. This would seem the most likely explanation for the Jesus myth.

    Whether or not a Jesus actually existed is irrelevant, it is fully apparent that he was *not* as described in the bible and also very apparent that the biblical embellishments or fabrications about him were written by authors that could not have witnessed his actions to begin with.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  40. #39  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by yujikid
    Seems to me that one of the main reasons those who do not believe in the account of Jesus in the New Testament, whether they be theist or atheist is the account of the miracles, because they are outside of what is known about science.
    No, most people who don't accept the miracle claims in the bible do so simply because there is little reason to believe them. We don't see things like what is described in the New Testament happening in our world- people rising from the dead, walking on water, etc. They are extraordinary claims. That in itself doesn't mean that they aren't true, but if we are to accept them as true then we need very convincing evidence; more evidence than simply having a few people tell us that it happened, because it's sadly clear that the world is full of people who will lie about supernatural things, for many reasons. That convincing evidence simply isn't there, so we do not believe.

    Suppose four people who you didn’t know approached you on the street and told you that they saw someone rise from the dead yesterday. Would you believe them? I strongly suspect that you would not; you would want more evidence before you believed them. Most of us don’t believe the gospels for precisely the same reason you wouldn’t believe our four hypothetical people on the street.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  41. #40  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by yujikid
    Seems to me that one of the main reasons those who do not believe in the account of Jesus in the New Testament, whether they be theist or atheist is the account of the miracles, because they are outside of what is known about science.
    To accept miracles which are outside of the science that man knows, would affect egos, to some, it be just be a calamity.
    If there is a God, then miracles are not a difficult issue. We are then left with the question as to whether Jesus was God made flesh. It is the singular lack of evidence for this that is the main reason that most people I know do not believe the NT account as a literal truth.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  42. #41  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    SkinWalker wrote:

    Apparently there *are* no people with "psychic" abilities. Many people have tested their claim: all have failed.
    I must admit, that I have always been very skeptical of people who claim to have psychic abilities.

    One of my favorite TV programs in the evenings is Court TV. Every evening they carry recaps of actual crimes and how they are solved. These are not crimes made up by Hollywood, but are actual cases. I find the science used to catch criminals is fascinating. Things like comparitive fiber analysis, fire investigations, bullet markings analysis, lifting finger prints using Super Glue in vapor form that adheres to the impressions left by humans, DNA and other scientific analysis.

    The case studies always interview the police and other investigators involved with a particular crime.

    The venue varies from night to night, but on Wednesday night, they always have crime solving cases where psychics are involved. The police, as most of us are, are skeptical and sometimes embarresed when a psychic is used in the investigation, and are always amazed what the psychic knows about the crime. And even though the clues issued by the psychic for solving the crime are not always clear at the time, they wind up being on target.

    If your scientific interest is always observing and analyzing what you see, then I am sure you would want to watch on at least one Wednesday night. You will get the time and place the crime occured as well as the names of the police involved. They can be contacted and interviewed by you on the phone.

    On the other hand, you can keep a closed mind about the issue and not watch or investage what you see. But I am sure as a scientist, you are not closed minded and would be eager to learn something new.
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  43. #42  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Prairie, TX
    Posts
    2,377
    Sorry, but I only get about 4 or 5 channels... my tv is rarely on anything other than PBS -if its on at all. I generally read for entertainment with exception for NCIS, The Unit, and BattleStar Galactica (which a friend Tivos).

    I will say, however, that these alleged "psychics" have been investigated time and again and have never -I say again- never demonstrated a single crime solved by a psychic. Others have investigated their claims in-depth (Aycock, Kurtz, Randi, Sherman, Nickell, et al) and all return the same result: no evidence. James Randi offers a million dollar challenge to the "psychic" that can demonstrate their "abilities." None have met the challenge.

    There is *no* apparent psychic ability among people. Having said that, I take issue with your assertion that I'm close-minded. Indeed, it is the closed mind that is focused only on belief and the supernatural. The skeptic is the freethinker, with an open-mind, willing to accept new paradigms as needed with evidence. Show me the evidence, and I'll gladly -eagerly- change my mind about "psychic" abilities.

    Otherwise, it all appears to be poppycock.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  44. #43  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    405
    Quote Originally Posted by yujikid
    Seems to me that one of the main reasons those who do not believe in the account of Jesus in the New Testament, whether they be theist or atheist is the account of the miracles, because they are outside of what is known about science.

    To accept miracles which are outside of the science that man knows, would affect egos, to some, it be just be a calamity.

    Most of you in these posts are scientist or have a great deal of scientific knowledge and have trouble accepting anything that maybe outside of what is currently known.

    Can science explain the mechanism of people with Psychic capabilities?
    I would like to stick my hand up here, as a skeptic and atheist, and, reiterating a point I made earlier, state that I for one do not dismiss the miracle tales out of hand, and that I believe it is an error to do so. Nicholas Humphrey's psychic-debunking book Soul Searching talks a lot about how very few of the miracles of Jesus are actually scientifically impossible feats. In fact, as far as I can see, it pretty much boils down to the Ascension as the only multi-attested event that would require CGI special effects in a movie to represent (and leaving out obvious nonsenses like the eclipse and mass resurrection of "saints" from G.Matthew).

    Skeptics are too prone to crying out "He's supposed to have healed the sick! He's supposed to have raised the dead! He turned water into wine! It could never have happened!" - forgetting, it would seem, that all of these things happen even to this day, not infrequently on television. I'm now going to repeat something I said before, but got lost in the middle of and ended up making a completely irrelevant point. What I meant to say was, professional scientists have been bamboozled by fraudsters when they were looking for how the psychic or medium was pulling off their tricks. How much more likely it is that the witnesses who reported miracles, without even the modern sensibilities of the scientific method, were simply successfully misdirected? But I'm not myself certain that Jesus was an illusionist so much as the equivalent of a charismatic speaker like Hitler or like a modern-day motivational speaker. I'm quite certain that if he put his mind to it, someone like Tony Robbins would find it relatively simple to "feed" 5,000 people.

    I forgot to comment on this:
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    What I appreciate about your writing the most is that you take the plain position that you just don’t believe and maintain a willingness to view all the information from a basically neutral position and subject it to the same analysis. You end up in a position of saying, “Based on my current analysis, I believe this more than I believe that.” And you do so without suggesting those who believe "that" are intellectually challenged.

    (Meanwhile, you have still not given me chapter and verse on where in Mark we find some indication that he was aware of the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. You previously, on some post in some thread commented to the effect that Matthew and Luke borrow from Mark and, “we know Mark was aware of the destruction of the temple.” I assumed you meant the 70 A.D. destruction rather than the Babylonian destruction several hundred years earlier.)
    It is always nice to get praise from the opposition! For the Markan reference, I'm not sure it was me that raised that point about the 70 CE destruction. I've always been led to believe that this was the point that scholarship uses as the earliest cut-off point, on the assumption that either Jesus didn't really prophesy, or that the rebellion and the temple destruction was something he couldn't foresee in any case. Actually, since it's certainly not rational to disclaim foreseeing of the Temple's destruction by even non-supernatural means, I assume that the scholarship's deduction is based on more than that, but I do not know the specifics myself, and I don't know G.Mark well enough to offer a fully informed comment.
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
    Reply With Quote  
     

  45. #44  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    This was pretty much precisely the point that Ophiolite and I were trying to make. There are many people in Roman history whose actual existence is never doubted, despite having fewer references in ancient histories than Jesus, no documentary evidence older than the IXth Century at best, and those histories having been composed a century or more after the fact. That is certainly a double standard which I deplore in the Mythical Jesus camp. However, Caesar has far, far more historical documentary evidence, including works by his own hand (though no autographs, obviously!), plus monumental and coinage evidence which is directly from his times. That is why Caesar is simply a bad example, and in this case led you to the claim that there is more attestation for Jesus than for Caesar.
    Of course, christians like to throw around this ridiculous claim about there being more evidence for Jesus than Caesar because if they were to say something like "There is more evidence for the existence of Jesus than for the existence Boadicea," many people will respond along the lines of "Who the heck is Boadicea? Ok, maybe she isn't real either..."

    They want to use someone really important who everyone has heard of, even though in doing so they make liars of themselves. That’s one of the things that really turns me off about christianity; christians seem to lie all the time when engaging in evangelism or apologetics. Usually they don’t even realize it and seem to be just mindlessly repeating false claims originally made by someone else without bothering to check into whether or not they’re true.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  46. #45  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    Scifor Refugee wrote:

    They want to use someone really important who everyone has heard of, even though in doing so they make liars of themselves. That’s one of the things that really turns me off about christianity; christians seem to lie all the time when engaging in evangelism or apologetics. Usually they don’t even realize it and seem to be just mindlessly repeating false claims originally made by someone else without bothering to check into whether or not they’re true.
    Another thing christians are accused of is judging. It would seem that judging peoples motives and their intelligence is not limited to that of christians.

    I for one do not have to lie to support my belief. I am a man of faith and true faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. I need no other literature to confirm my faith other than the bible. Nor do I applogise for my belief.

    If that makes you think I am illiterate, stupid, crazy or simply just not informed, then that is your opinion. But your opinion does not mean you are correct, even though you cannot see how anyone could see things different.

    I have posted many times that I do not have anything against science. And I know, based on the theoretical knowledge you have you are convinced that the theory is correct.

    But I have posted several messages listing some of the problems going from the theoretical to the application of the theoretical to a production stage. In any production stage, the earliest production process is somewhat primitive to what is finally developed over time. There are times when the theory is proven to be incomplete in a production process and on rare occasions, it simply does not work.

    This is not anti-science, but only shows there can be and are differences between the theorectical and the application of the theory in an acutal process. And none of these theories leading to actual processes are anywhere near as complicated and complex as the theory of evolution.

    Based on my experiences and the fact that all the individual components of the theory of evolution cannot be put into production to test it, much less the combination of all the components, will always lead me to question it.

    I am sorry if that offends you, it is not meant to. But it is how a person with a logical mind interprets the experiences of life.
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  47. #46  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by yujikid
    Another thing christians are accused of is judging. It would seem that judging peoples motives and their intelligence is not limited to that of christians.
    ...
    If that makes you think I am illiterate, stupid, crazy or simply just not informed, then that is your opinion. But your opinion does not mean you are correct, even though you cannot see how anyone could see things different.
    You don’t need to be so defensive. That wasn’t a personal attack directed at you, just an observation that when most christians attempt to engage in apologetics or evangelism it is very common for them to lie, often by simply repeating statements made by other christians that they could easily verify as false with a trivial amount of research. The fact that 1) Christians who presumably are authorities and should know better are constantly publishing books/web pages/pamphlets/etc. that contain obviously false information in an attempt to defend and spread their faith, and 2) many christians go on to mindlessly repeat those same claims without making any effort to research or verify the claims leads me to conclude that most christian apologists and evangelists are 1)dishonest, apparently believing that it’s okay to lie so long as it’s in the support of their religion and 2) many christians are gullible and are willing to uncritically accept almost any pro-christian claim. And that’s a major turn-off for me regarding christianity.

    What do you want me to say? That a "respected" christian author who claims that there are 24,000 first-century documents supporting the historicity of Jesus and that there is more historical evidence for Jesus than Caesar is an honest person? Do you want me to say that someone who reads his book and uncritically repeats these obviously absurd claims is engaging in careful analysis of the issue?
    Based on my experiences and the fact that all the individual components of the theory of evolution cannot be put into production to test it, much less the combination of all the components, will always lead me to question it.
    What does evolution have to do with any of this? We were talking about whether or not the accounts of Jesus' miracles in the bible are believable.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  48. #47  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    41
    I will agree that christianity has been falsely taught. Even in the first century church, members were told to beaware of false teachers.

    This is not the fault of what Jesus taught and what was recorded. Only a small portion of what he did was recorded. This is the fault of man in general.

    They either do not have the faith to support their views without calaborating information, or they have not studied the bible enough to know what it says, or they chose to pick out pieces that support how they feel and omit the others.

    Many people who claim christianity today, denounce a lot of how the bible says we are to live and just use a statement like Jesus loves me, so I am okay.

    So it is man made religion that gets into trouble, not the word of God.
    Yujikid
    Reply With Quote  
     

  49. #48  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,107
    So – scifor says Josh McDowell’s statement that there are 24,000 separate independent documents or fragments of documents relevant is a bald face lie?

    scifor writes:

    The fact that 1) Christians who presumably are authorities and should know better are constantly publishing books/web pages/pamphlets/etc. that contain obviously false information in an attempt to defend and spread their faith, and 2) many christians go on to mindlessly repeat those same claims without making any effort to research or verify the claims leads me to conclude that most christian apologists and evangelists are 1)dishonest, apparently believing that it’s okay to lie so long as it’s in the support of their religion and 2) many christians are gullible and are willing to uncritically accept almost any pro-christian claim. And that’s a major turn-off for me regarding christianity.
    This is nothing but pure unadulterated, absolute, unfounded, hyperbolated, rhetoric which could just as easily (and more properly) be written about evolutionists. Just substitute the words evolutionist and evolution in the appropriate places and it is more relevant to those believers than it is to Christianity.

    scifor then poses a question based on a misquote:


    What do you want me to say? That a "respected" christian author who claims that there are 24,000 first-century documents supporting the historicity of Jesus and that there is more historical evidence for Jesus than Caesar is an honest person? Do you want me to say that someone who reads his book and uncritically repeats these obviously absurd claims is engaging in careful analysis of the issue?
    What standard of reasoning thinks reading a book and citing to it is less scholarly than not reading a book and criticizing it? Geeze, what turnip truck just dumped a load here? This has got to be the most faulty and least effective bit of reasoning I have seen here.

    The claim is not that these are first century documents and fragments but that they are pre-500 A.D., mostly dated by carbon dating. I am assuming that a fragment which has few words, but enough to determine its location in a larger more complete document counts. It is very difficult in a paragraph or two to do justice to several pages of data and text from a book.

    If scifor wants to dispute the claim, he should, at least, first read the material to understand the basis of the claims. Why should I believe scifor has read any of the evolutionary stuff he apparently believes in and comments on?

    Finally, Scifor asks:

    What does evolution have to do with any of this? We were talking about whether or not the accounts of Jesus' miracles in the bible are believable.
    I think the overall subject of the thread poses the question of reliability of the message of the Bible. I am not sure how the discussion moved to miracles unless by arbitrarily claiming miracles can’t occur, one feels he has negated the message of the Bible. Even assuming, arguendo, that these are embellishments, I would suggest that the accounts of many historical characters have been embellished and it does not diminish their place in history. However, I don’t think Julius Caesar, himself, claimed to be God, although some subsequent Caesar’s did. None of them, however, retained much deification following their demise.

    While evolution is not directly related to the discussion, I suspect the quote used to leap to this question was someone’s attempt to suggest that his opinion is that evolution requires as much faith for belief as does the Bible.

    Are the miracles difficult to believe. Yes, even for the critically thinking Christian. However, none of us were there, so we cannot provide eyewitness denials to counter what are claimed as eyewitness reports. I, personally, am satisfied that something happened to form the basis of the reports, but I do not think Jesus was the precarnation of illusionists Harry Houdini or David Copperfield

    We can only note that some of these stories are mentioned not only in the Bible, but also in non-Biblical religious writings and even some mention by secular histories where the details are not given, but the events are not denied.

    There does seem to be an inadequate knowledge base underlying the comments of several posters relating to the number of and the dating of and significance of and what is actually contained in ancient literature. This is inexcusable on a forum in which persons are expected to know whereof they write.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  50. #49  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Sorry, I went off on a bit of a rant there. I'll try to be better behaved in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    This is nothing but pure unadulterated, absolute, unfounded, hyperbolated, rhetoric which could just as easily (and more properly) be written about evolutionists. Just substitute the words evolutionist and evolution in the appropriate places and it is more relevant to those believers than it is to Christianity.
    Oh? I would be very interested to see your examples of people lying to support evolution. Christian authors seem to churn out an endless supply of books that contain ridiculous lies; claiming that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics, that there are no transitional fossils, that speciation has never been observed, that the depth of dust on the moon proves that the universe is only thousands years old, etc.
    I think the overall subject of the thread poses the question of reliability of the message of the Bible. I am not sure how the discussion moved to miracles unless by arbitrarily claiming miracles can’t occur, one feels he has negated the message of the Bible. Even assuming, arguendo, that these are embellishments, I would suggest that the accounts of many historical characters have been embellished and it does not diminish their place in history.
    Miracles were brought up because the point was made that the reliability of the gospel's miracle claims is the key issue regarding christianity. If one accepts that the gospels are convincing evidence that Jesus merely existed, that still doesn't mean that he was god or that we should build a religion around him.
    There does seem to be an inadequate knowledge base underlying the comments of several posters relating to the number of and the dating of and significance of and what is actually contained in ancient literature. This is inexcusable on a forum in which persons are expected to know whereof they write.
    Coming from the person who tried to claim that there is more historical evidence for Jesus than for Caesar, this is a hilarious comment.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  51. #50  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Let us all (and I direct this to myself as much as anyone) not let our enthusiasm rise to a level where it may be mistaken for anger, or our witty asides for personal attacks.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  52. #51  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,107
    Scifor said:

    Coming from the person who tried to claim that there is more historical evidence for Jesus than for Caesar, this is a hilarious comment.
    Just because you do not believe this to be true does not nullifiy its truth. Until one actually reads the documentation presented by the person whom I quoted (or others) on this matter and then offers some scholarly controverting documentation, one doesn't have much standing to deny its accuracy.

    The thing is, there really are more ancient documents from more different souces which mention Jesus than those which mention Julius Caesar. A large number of the documents have been carbon dated to have been produced much closer to the time Jesus walked the earth than the earliest available copies of documents mentioning Caesar. Jesus is mentioned not only in Christian writings but also in writing of Jewish historians and by secular historians, and also has a place of prominance in the Qu'ran.

    My original mention of this information was not to prove Jesus's claim to deity or the validity of miracles, but to counter a post which seemed to question the historical existence of a Jewish man who claimed to be the Messiah.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  53. #52  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    405
    The thing is, there really are more ancient documents from more different souces which mention Jesus than those which mention Julius Caesar. A large number of the documents have been carbon dated to have been produced much closer to the time Jesus walked the earth than the earliest available copies of documents mentioning Caesar.
    There may be more scraps of copies of the same documents, yes. But Caesar is "better attested" for a number of reasons. 1) At least one document or set of documents is actually by Caesar, something that isn't true of Jesus or that even can be claimed with confidence of Ep. James or the Petrine letters. 2) Caesar is separately mentioned by many more different sources - many more individuals both connected and unconnected with him - than Jesus. Unsurprisingly, since his influence was as great from 100BCE to 400CE as Jesus's was from 325 CE onwards. 3) Caesar is independently witnessed (as a genuine human being) by non-documentary evidence such as coins, statues and inscriptions.

    The point was not that you have not made reasonable points, but you have ignored attempts to put you right at least on this one issue. Caesar was a bad example for quality of attestation. Jesus existed because there is far more evidence for him than for many many other 1st Century historical figures for whom there are only one or two contemporaneous or near-contemporaneous mentions. But Caesar is not one of them. This, coupled with a wobbly but still somewhat stubborn adherence to what looks on the face of it to be a patently mistaken statistic about pre IVth-Century documents, means that your credibility is getting shaky. You made a lot of reasonable points, try to strengthen that basis by shucking the unnecessary maintenance of the patently incorrect. There are simply not 24,000 documents pre-300, nor even pre-600. However, there are many more Christian and Christian-maintained documents pre-800-900 than any other. But my point about this is that people argue that the paucity of documents that date to within a century of Christ's life (well, there is exactly one of those, the Rylands parchment) or even two centuries, without being aware that the case is far worse for any non-Christian documents whatsoever. Conversely, however, you cannot make the opposite argument as if the fact that the earliest manuscript referencing Julius Caesar being dated (say) 750 CE has any relevance to whether that document was not a true enough copy of the Gallic Wars to be able to claim that such a work (or a person) never existed. You agree with that point of view, so having demonstrated that age of the oldest copies has little or nothing to do with attestation, why make a big deal in the opposite direction?
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
    Reply With Quote  
     

  54. #53  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    10
    This is a rather simple question directed at determined and faithful adherents to a specific religion, which I'm sure has been asked many times before. What rationale is used, exactly, to support the claim that a certain religion is "right" in its statements, beliefs, and choice of deity/deities? Why should Christianity be the "one true faith" rather than, say, Hinduism? Please understand that I'm not attacking anyone here; I'm just asking a question, not intended to denigrate anyone's beliefs in any way.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  55. #54  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    405
    Maybe you want to try that as a separate topic question, it might get more responses.
    "It is comparatively easy to make clever guesses; indeed there are theorems, like 'Goldbach's Theorem' which have never been proved and which any fool could have guessed." G.H. Hardy, Fourier Series, 1943
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •