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C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
None of the 'evidence' is new. This stuff has been circulating for centuries if not millennia.If anything it is at best conjectural and inconclusive. The chart with all the ticks of 'attestation', every one of those people Ireneaus, Clement, etc were all two-plus generations after the purported death of a jesus. And despite the spin none of the gospels' writers are known. All in all, a continuing go-round on the theological merry-go-round.
Just curious here, Papalinton. Would you mind telling us what would constitute evidence for you? What would it take to convince you? (something, please, that doesn't involve you traveling back in time to 33 AD, or anything silly like that)
"None of the 'evidence' is new. This stuff has been circulating for centuries if not millennia."It's history you cretin. You want evidence created 10 minutes ago for an event that took place two thousand years ago?Paps is a mental midget.
Bob if he needs more evidence than is provided by the history, that doesn't mean he should change his standards. It means the history will just not cut it, God perhaps should send him a revelation shaped to his epistemological situation.I hope vic lets us talk about that valicella guy who allows no comment but has a great post killing materialism about mind in 300 words or so. All the ink from materialists spilled and this blogger kills them with a little missive. love it
I'm not (at least, not now) asking Papalinton to change his standards. I just (sincerely) want to know what those standards are. What would be a "smoking gun" that would cause Papalinton to re-think his atheism? And if he answers "Nothing" then it's time to stop the (then pointless) conversation.
For instance, to put the shoe on the other foot, I'll go first (while mixing metaphors). What would compel me to re-think my Christian faith? I can only think of one thing. Were someone to present me with the verifiable, no-shadow-of-a-doubt body of an unresurrected Jesus, that would shake my faith beyond repair. Now it's your turn, Papalinton. What would compel you to say, "There is a God, and He is Christ" (or even just the first half of that sentence)?
Were someone to present me with the verifiable, no-shadow-of-a-doubt body of an unresurrected Jesus, that would shake my faith beyond repair.How would that even be possible? It's not like CSI Jerusalem has Jesus' DNA on file. So even if you found some old bones with the name Jesus attached to them, it would confirm nothing. You might as well be saying that nothing would change your mind either.
"Were someone to present me with the verifiable, no-shadow-of-a-doubt body of an unresurrected Jesus, that would shake my faith beyond repair."That doesn't sound like much of a risk, since how could it be verified? We don't have an independent sample of Jesus's DNA. Would a sign saying 'Here lies Yeshua, prophet killed by the Romans' do? I bet not.Then of course a Christian (though maybe not yourself) could fall back on, 'well, he wasn't 'bodily' resurrected. No one believes that anymore - the Resurrection is an obvious metaphor.'
Looks like a simultaneous posting there.....
We had the same thought at the same time.
No, "anonymous",You cannot reduce the Resurrection to a metaphor. No Resurrection equals no Christianity. It's that simple. Game over.But my question remains unanswered. I've done my part now, and laid out what it would take to lure me over to the Dark Side. So now let's hear it. What does it take to convince the non-believer?Serious question, seriously asked. Deserves a serious answer.
Bob"Now it's your turn, Papalinton. What would compel you to say, "There is a God, and He is Christ" (or even just the first half of that sentence)?"For the Koran and the Vedas to declare unequivocally, "There is a God, and He is Christ".
Fair enough, and now we know where each other stands. I'll ponder your answer for 24 hours or so before replying.
I'll accept evolution when answersingenesis declare unequivocally, "that Darwin was right."
Gee, we have anonymously written religious tracts by authors who never even claim to have ever laid eyes on Jesus, or someone who had themselves met Jesus. They never claim to have personally witnessed a single event that they write about nor to have personally met a single person that they write about! And on top of this, they were possibly written some 40-100 years after the death of Jesus!!And the Gospel manuscripts that we have are all in Greek, which is a language that neither Jesus nor his followers likely spoke!!And let's not forget the numerous contradictions between the gospel accounts of Jesus' life, and the almost innumerable differences between the Gospel manuscripts that exist!!Or the fact that this man that is described in the Gospels as the most astonishing human to ever walk the face of the earth managed to do so without a single contemporary historian or writer making the slightest reference to him!!!(And no, Jesus nutters, the much-debated Josephus is not "contemporary")Wow!!! I just can't understand why anyone would have any doubts as to the historical value of the Gospels!!!!!!!!!!!I mean, gee whiz, a bunch of ancient, superstitious, pre scientific, mostly uneducated and illiterate peasants surely wouldn't believe something unless the evidence was simply overwhelming and beyond any reasonable doubt!!!People back then would never do that, would they!!!? And they would never do that today, would they!!?? (Insert Mormonism, Scientology, Heaven's Gate cult, etc.,)Golly geez!!!! I just don't know what more it would take for them danged skeptics to believe absolutely everything about the Jesus story!!!!!!!!!!!!
Papalinton,Thanks again for a serious answer.You are probably thinking that, since no one is about to re-write the Koran or the Vedas (say, to insert John 3:16 or somesuch in a convenient place), you've immunized yourself from any requirement to re-think your atheism. Correct me if I'm wrong (I mean this!), but can I characterize your position as, "As long as there is more than one religion in the world, none of them can be true"?'Cause if that is truly the way you are thinking here, there is a serious problem with that line of reasoning. To wit, by the same logic, as long as there are two schools of thought about, say, the origin of the universe, then you can safely deny the existence of the universe. Or closer to home, as long as there are reputable scientists who doubt the reality of Global Climate Change (and there unfortunately are such), then it isn't really happening. David Irving is a bona fide historian and Holocaust denier, but the fact of his having written books on this subject does not disprove the reality of the Holocaust.See? The fact that not everyone is a Christian, that there are writings out there contrary to the Faith, is irrelevant to the question of whether Christianity is true or false.
TOF,If I'm getting this right, you're claiming that:1. Nobody knows who wrote any of the books of the New Testament,2. They -- or at least the Gospels -- are religious tracts,3. The authors of these works never overtly claim to have laid eyes on Jesus or to have witnessed any of the events about which they write,4. They were all written 40 or more years after Jesus' death,5. Neither Jesus nor his followers spoke Greek,6. The Gospels contradict each other in deep and troubling ways,7. The manuscripts of the Gospels are so divergent that we cannot say with any confidence what they originally said, and8. No contemporary of Jesus mentioned him, much less gave any details of his life.I should say that each of these claims is false, some of them spectacularly and demonstrably false. So here's a question for you: If you became persuaded, on the basis of public evidence, that you were dead wrong on all eight points, what difference would that make to your view of Jesus and of Christianity? Would it raise it, say, to the level of a live option that deserved to be taken seriously? Or would you still blow it off because it involves, ineliminably, belief in miracles and the supernatural?
...What would compel you to say, "There is a God, and He is Christ"For the Koran and the Vedas to declare unequivocally, "There is a God, and He is Christ".That follows my argument that Christianity would be far more believable if it had been divinely revealed universally and simultaneously across the globe. If the first European explorers to the Americas or Australia discovered a robust faith in Jesus Christ, without the message having been transmitted to them via missionaries, then I would be a true believer.
Walter, I believe I addressed that particular objection (at least obliquely) in my last posting.Also, you appear to be saying, "Well, that's the way I would have done it, if I were God!" So basically, your argument can be summed up as "I know better than God". Perhaps, just perhaps, the Almighty preferred His method over yours? Just sayin' here...
Also, you appear to be saying, "Well, that's the way I would have done it, if I were God!" So basically, your argument can be summed up as "I know better than God". Perhaps, just perhaps, the Almighty preferred His method over yours? Just sayin' here...To imply that my way is better than "God's" way begs the question in favor of the Christian story. But yes, that is essentially what I am saying. If the most important event in the history of mankind is the sending of a redeemer to save humanity from itself, then I would have sent this message to the far ends of the planet by a means that no mere human could match. There would be little question that the source of the message was divine.
Walter,Perhaps you missed my posting some time back to Papalinton. What you are describing is the second temptation of the devil (Matthew, Chapter 4); the temptation to rescind Man's Free Will and compel him by signs and wonders to believe. And that is precisely what you are describing - an irresistible revelation that essentially reduces humankind to a race of robots, with no more ability to choose than a rock has to not fall when dropped. This temptation was, of course, rejected by Christ.
What you are describing is the second temptation of the devil (Matthew, Chapter 4); the temptation to rescind Man's Free Will and compel him by signs and wonders to believe. And that is precisely what you are describing - an irresistible revelation that essentially reduces humankind to a race of robots, with no more ability to choose than a rock has to not fall when dropped. This temptation was, of course, rejected by Christ.What I am doing is evaluating the story from the perspective of an *outsider. The same way you might do when evaluating the claims of the Quran or the Vedas, where you might conclude that it doesn't seem plausible that God would reveal himself in that manner.*(Let's not turn this into a Loftus thread)You claim that if everyone had irrefutable proof that there would be no room for a free choice based on faith, and you consider "leaps of faith" to be virtuous. Don't Christians claim that Paul and the disciples received irrefutable proof? Are they supposedly less virtuous because they believed by evidence and not faith?I am employing what I call the Native American Objection. If one of the requirements of salvation is belief in Christ resurrected, and the message can only be spread by human agency, then God has dealt very poorly with peoples living in isolation from Palestine. Some of these people would not receive the message for another 1500 years! As an outsider evaluating these claims, they do not strike me as actions that a benevolent deity would take.
The "Native American Objection" would apply only to Calvinism, and not to Orthodoxy.
Wait: Jesus spoke Greek?I respect Tim's mind, it makes me grieve so much for it that it is a tool of something as coarse and barbaric as apologetics. When such energies could go toward something real. I will reach stage 5 of grief soon I hope right now just makes me depressed, so I guess I'm almost there.
"Wait: Jesus spoke Greek?"Without a doubt Jesus and most of his companions were (at least) bilingual. Greek was the lingua franca of the Roman empire, and Nazareth was conveniently located near the intersection of two major trade routes, one from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean and the other from Egypt to Damascus. Have a look, inter alia, at Stanley Porter's work over the last decade or so on the languages of Palestine.
The fact that Jesus dialoged (one can hardly call it a conversation) with Pilate would lead one to believe that He spoke Greek. As a Roman official assigned to the eastern part of the Empire, Pilate would have assuredly known the language, and I doubt seriously that he would have bothered to learn Aramaic.I know, there's always the possibility of an interpreter having been present, but at the risk of using an argumentum ad silencium, none is mentioned.But at the very least, on the basis of the dialogs with Pilate, the possibility of Jesus knowing Greek cannot be ruled out or considered to be an absurd idea.
Here is a link to an early paper by Porter laying out some of the evidence for widespread use of Greek in Galilee.A thoughtful consideration of the Greek usage and syntax of the fourth Gospel also provides many evidences of someone who thinks in Aramaic but writes in Greek, e.g. the use of και as an adversative conjunction exactly like the Hebrew ו(vav), the general paucity of connective particles (note how seldom the writer uses δὲ, by comparison with, say, Luke), and the absence of moods and inflections.
And Stanley Porter, president of McMaster Divinity College, doesn't have a barrow to push?Just another misguided apologist.
And you don't have anything to push?
Bob"You are probably thinking that, since no one is about to re-write the Koran or the Vedas."Don't attempt to 'read' or prophesy what is in my mind. Treat my response with the due regard it deserves at face value. If there were gods they would have let us know. Christian godders refuted every other god known to human kind when christianity was being fabricated between 100 and 300CE and has continued refuting every other god since then. How is it that when Islam was being concocted it swarmed through the middle east and beyond with such ferocity to virtually ethnically cleanse the whole area of christendom, the purported centre of 'truth' of the one and only true god? In the matter of the Vedas, Hinduism has trundled along under its own momentum for millennia and has generally not moved further than the boundaries it ascribes today. It is generally perceived as a non-proselytizing enterprise.And yet all three masquerade the exact same claim to truth and knowledge. I'm not telling your god what to do, as you would claim that would be acceding to the devil's second temptation or some such nonsense [which is itself a self-begging claim drawn straight from the pages of the bible as if it were fact- a case of special-pleading, methinks], but should he do this, this would make me a convert. This would truly be a miracle.Anything else would be just as it has always been, just fluff.
"And you don't have anything to push?"How does one push a nothing?
Papalinton,You write, "I'm not telling your God what to do", but that's exactly what you then proceed to do when you say, "If there were gods they would have let us know."You seem so sure as to what God should or should not be doing. Perhaps you're holding out on us, and actually do believe in Him? How else could you know with such assuredness?It seems to me after reading hundreds (or maybe it only seems like that many) of your posts, that your main objection to God is that He's not living up to your expectations!
"And Stanley Porter, president of McMaster Divinity College, doesn't have a barrow to push?"Now there's a thoughtful way to engage with a paper that meticulously documents the geographic, numismatic, epigraphic and literary evidence for the widespread use of Greek in lower Galilee.
Thanks Tim I will look. I am a hopeless case for the apologist, but I do like to learn here and there. Papa come on that's flat-out ad hominem.
It is amazing how many theists think atheists are angry at some god.
It shouldn't be amazing, because that's precisely how so many atheist comments sound. Using the "if it quacks like a duck" rule, the conclusion is not at all unreasonable.
Bob I am not sure if they are just angry against God. I am sure it is an option and the options probably lack exclusivity. The options as I see it are1. Angry at the theists who argue for theism; for their evil deception of weak minded fools.2. Angry at themselves for once believing in those arguments, and for being a weak minded fool.3. Angry at there still being religion; for the worlds stupidity in believing the arguments for theism; for them not taking the time to see how stupid they are. Didn't Marx say it would disappear?4. Angry at God for not existing; for existing; for not being clearer; for his followers; for not making it clear enough they he does not exist/exist; for making them angry.5. Angry because they are grumpy old people, who with pensions, lack of work, guilt free divorce or a spouse in a dementia ward, kids that don't speak to them, and an inability to travel and enjoy life have nothing else better to do then get angry because of options 1 to 4.
The "guilt free divorce or a spouse in a dementia ward" was over the top. I am sorry, dementia is a sad thing.
Jake,Not always. My father has extreme dementia; he struggles to understand just who I am when I visit. Carrying on a conversation with him is near to impossible, as his present memory only lasts about 3 minutes or so - if that. I get the impression he thinks its the year 1948 or so.But... he is happy, really happy, for I think the first time in his life. Growing up with him, he was (and honesty forces me to say this about my own father) a nasty, petty man with a hair-trigger temper, who made life miserable for everyone around him. But now, what a difference! His face lights up at anyone entering the room (even if he doesn't recognize you). He never has anything but a kind, pleasant word for everyone and everything. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He thanks you effusively for the smallest things. When I talk to some of my friends dealing with cranky old parents who are never satisfied with whatever you do for them and criticize everything, I count my blessings!
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