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In 2014, I visited Hereford Cathedral in England and saw their mappa mundi (chart of the world). About 100 standalone mappae mundi remain, and this is the largest. It was made from a single calf skin, it’s a little over five feet tall, and it was made around 1300.

This is not the kind of map we’re used to. There is little attempt at accurate geography. This map wouldn’t serve an explorer or navigator, and its creators didn’t pretend that it would.

Using the theme of a world map, medieval cartographers embellished maps like this one to make them into something of an encyclopedia. Science was in its infancy, however, and the information was often bizarre.

Humpty Dumpty explains what a tove is: “‘Toves’ are something like badgers, they’re something like lizards, and they’re something like corkscrews. . . . Also they make their nests under sun-dials, also they live on cheese.”

Assuming our interest is the real world rather than Wonderland, the zoology we’re taught by the Mappa Mundi might as well have come from Humpty Dumpty. The drawing above shows monstrous people from Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia (1544), and the Hereford Mappa Mundi includes some of these and more.

The map also shows a number of mythical creatures, including a griffin and a salamander with wings. My favorite is the bonnacon, shown looking back over its shoulder at its own explosion of scalding diarrhea, which covers three acres. Even actual animals are misunderstood. The map reports, “The Lynx sees through walls and urinates a black stone.”

As with all mappae mundi, this one puts Jerusalem in the center. It locates places of important biblical events such as the Tower of Babel, the Garden of Eden, the route of the Exodus, and Sodom and Gomorrah.

Mythology and history are mixed without distinction. We see Jason’s Golden Fleece and the Labyrinth where Theseus killed the Minotaur, but we also see the camp of Alexander the Great.

Christianity has been given a chance at understanding reality, and this is what it gave us. When Christianity was in charge, the world was populated by mystical creatures, we had little besides superstition to explain the caprices of nature, and natural disasters were signs of God’s anger.

Christianity’s goal isn’t to create the internet, GPS, airplanes, or antibiotics. It isn’t to improve life with warm clothes or safe water. It isn’t to eliminate diseases like smallpox or polio. It’s to convince people to believe in a story that has no evidence.

Admittedly, it’s not like Europeans had a lot of options. Christianity was the opium of the masses—better than nothing and not exceeded by much of anything in the Europe of 1300. True, eyeglasses had recently been invented and a remarkable century of cathedral building had passed, but science didn’t yet offer much of an alternative way of seeing reality.

“Q. What is the chief end of man?” “A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” — the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism (written in 1647 but in use today)

According to the Bible, our purpose—the reason we are here—is for God’s glory. In other words, our purpose is to praise God, worship him, to proclaim his greatness, and to accomplish his will. This is what glorifies him. — Matt Slick, CARM

There is no calling greater than praising God. This is true not only for us, but surprisingly also for God himself, he being the greatest, to glory in anything else would be idolatry. Therefore, if the greatest thing God can do is give himself glory, and no created thing can be greater than God, the greatest thing we can do (our purpose, you might say) is to glory him. — John Piper, Desiring God

But if Christianity is just what you do if there’s no science, why is it still here? It doesn’t win when compared against science. It doesn’t even win when compared against other religions—Christianity has one view of the supernatural, and other religions have other views. Christianity offers nothing but claims without evidence (more here and here).

The metaphor of an arch illustrates this. To assemble an arch, first you build an arch-shaped scaffold. Next, lay the stones of the arch. Finally, remove the scaffold. Once the stones of the arch are in place, they support themselves and don’t need the scaffold.

That’s how religion works. Superstition in a world before science was the scaffold that supported the arch of religion. Science has now dismantled the scaffold of superstition, but it’s too late because the arch of religion has already calcified in place.

It’s the twenty-first century, and yet the guiding principles for Christians’ lives come from the fourteenth, back when the sun orbited the earth, disease had supernatural causes, and the world was populated by Sciapods, Blemmyes, and bonnacons.

“It’s the twenty-first century, and yet the guiding principles for Christians’ lives come from the fourteenth…”

The guiding principles for Christian’s lives have been revised, edited, emended, amended, altered, rearranged, censored, added to and deleted from, translated, amplified, simplified and otherwise mucked about with as soon as there were two Christians. Any time given for “Christian principles” is purely arbitrary and utterly meaningless. There is a reason why there at 45,000 or more Christian sects. When Pat Robertson, Pope Francis and John Shelby Spong can all identify as Christians, then it’s obvious there are no such things as “principles for Christian lives”.

Maybe you should have said “the twentieth” or “the twenty-first”. You just have to try to be contrary without thinking it through.

And you’d be as wrong as if you changed to the 14th, 20th or 21st. But then we’re used to Christian apologists like you being wrong (and Lying for Jesus).

And you seem to be saying there were no guiding Christian principles before then. I doubt that’s the case.

Before the canon, there were lots of Christian principles. Canonization was to decide what Christians actually believed to iron out the inconsistencies. Some wanted to make God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost equal and some wanted the religion to be monotheism, so the formed a committee to work out a compromise. They ended up with the Trinity.

There were a plethora of contradictory “guiding Christian principles”. With one god, two gods, 365 gods, phantom Jesus’s, bodily Jesus’s, Jesus not God, Evil Old Testament Yahweh, etc., etc.,…

The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs, according to Bart Ehrman, author of Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Ehrman says some groups of early Christians claimed there was more than one God. Some believed Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human. In his book, Ehrman looks at how these early forms of Christianity came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. He spoke recently with Beliefnet about what Christianity might have become if a different strain had emerged victorious from first-century intellectual battles.


Christian communism is a form of religious communism based on Christianity. It is a theological and political theory based upon the view that the teachings of Jesus Christ compel Christians to support communism as the ideal social system. Although there is no universal agreement on the exact date when Christian communism was founded, many Christian communists assert that evidence from the Bible suggests that the first Christians, including the Apostles, established their own small communist society in the years following Jesus’ death and resurrection. As such, many advocates of Christian communism argue that it was taught by Jesus and practiced by the Apostles themselves. Some independent historians confirm it.

That idea is probably based on Acts 4:32-37, but read Acts 5:1-11 as the follow-up. Luke likely got this from the description of the Essenes in Antiquities of the Jews 18.1.5 §18-22 or Jewish Wars 2.8.3.

A couple of thousand years ago it was reasonable to believe in gods. Earthquakes were caused by Rūaumoko, the Maori god of volcanoes, moving underground. Thunder was caused by Thor hitting mountains with his hammer, Mjölnir. Tsunamis were caused by Poseidon having a temper tantrum. Over the years these supernatural causes have been superseded by natural causes, so now there’s just gaps to put gods in. Cosmologists can describe the universe back to Planck Time, 5.391 x 10^-44 seconds after its creation (however some hypotheses say that time started at Planck Time). That’s an awfully tiny gap for a god to squeeze into.

Troglodytes and dog-headed men are really small potatoes when you have a religion that still has exorcists…exorcising real demons, here in the 21st century.

Presumably inspired by today’s post, one commenter alerted me to this recent article from a conservative site: “The Enlightenment Got It Wrong: The West’s Debt to Christianity” ( ).

I’ll try to summarize: an atheist historian saw the Christian god as boring and the Olympian gods much more interesting. As he continued his studies, he realized that the Greek, Roman, and other civilizations of the time that he admired were actually responsible for some terrible human rights violations—genocide, slavery, eugenics. Conclusion: it wasn’t the Enlightenment where we got modern moral attitudes.

Well, it may not have been Greek or Roman conquests 2000 years ago from which we got modern morals, but that doesn’t mean that they came from the examples of Jesus and Yahweh. In fact, Yahweh’s barbarity far outstrips that of Julius Caesar or any other human conqueror. And shouldn’t a god meet higher standards?

I saw nothing in the article justifying “the West’s Debt to Christianity,” but it’s a short article—feel free to read it and highlight what I might have missed.

I don’t know of a single bronze age civilization that *didn’t* commit what we’d consider brutal crimes and rights violations. But if he’s claiming the notion of democracy came from Christianity rather than the Greeks, I’d suggest he back away from the pipe.

On other enlightenment ideas; it wouldn’t surprise me at all if many of the writers of the time claimed an historical pedigree for their own ideas, to make a new idea more palatable. So I would seriously consider the notion that a lot of enlightenment ideas didn’t come from Greeks or Romans or Christianity; Kant’s ideas came from Kant. Hume’s came from Hume. Locke’s came from Locke. And so on. The enlightenment was a period of many big thinkers throwing new ideas into the pot and arguing about them. And if they cited Aristotle or Plato or Socrates? An argument from authority in some cases, to push their own agenda.

And to be fair, I’m perfectly happy to level the same ‘citation’ requirement on both classical and Christian sources. Want to claim some idea came from Christianity? Show the citation and the linkage, and it’d better be stronger than a vague analogy. But want to claim some idea came from Plato? Okay, let’s require the same. And if an enlightenment idea can’t be traced back to either? Then credit it to the author.

Hmm. I keep getting hung up on this sentence: “This led Holland to view the Enlightenment’s insistence that it owed nothing to Christianity as not credible.”

Where and when did “the Enlightenment” insist this? To be sure, Enlightenment thinkers drew enthusiastically from Greek and Roman philosophy, history, political science, etc. But plenty also explicitly espoused and endorsed Christian ethics in their treatises, letters, and speeches. Locke, Smith, Montesquieu, Adams, Grotius, on and on. Even Jefferson, the contrarian unitarian, wrote admiringly of JC’s philosophy while dismissing much of the Bible as barbaric applesauce.

Western civilization’s intellectual provenance isn’t binary, an either/or choice between pagan and biblical roots. Early Christianity itself was a marriage of Hebrew religion and Hellenistic thought. Medieval European culture was a messy medley of mostly Germanic, Celtic, Roman, and Christian customs and ideas. And the Enlightenment was the eventual result and arguably refinement of those and additional influences.

Metaxas’ characterization strikes me as a straw man and an egregious simplification. No serious historian argues that the Enlightenment involved the wholesale denial of the role and influence of Christian ideas.

I felt compelled to add that note about this article since it was slightly relevant to today’s post and because it was coming from a Christian standpoint. I like to make sure that articulate comments from the other side get some airplay.

This is all very funny to me, considering that my Catholic education was explicitly anti-Enlightenment. Everything was supposedly wonderful until the Enlightenment came along and ruined everything. Why is everything terrible in the modern age? (Assuming that it is.) Why, the Enlightenment!

While I think it’s going too far to characterize the Enlightenment categorically as anti-Christian or as rejecting Christian ethics, criticism of orthodoxy, dogma, and institutions was certainly a common theme. Not surprisingly, the Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a who’s who of Enlightenment giants–Montesquieu, Locke, Pascal, Bacon, Descartes, etc.

Did your teachers happen to mention that the Papal States resisted silly Enlightenment ideas like representative democratic government, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression well into the 19th century?

Oh absolutely. We read a lot of counter-Enlightenment stuff, as well as papal condemnations of democracy. A common belief among my fellow students was that monarchy was the ideal, although impractical to instate in America. Heck, my college had the Hapsburg heir to the throne come visit recently; it was a whole thing. There may be no Holy Roman Empire anymore, but that doesn’t stop people from hero-worshipping the people who theoretically could return to power someday.

(Note: this is NOT mainstream Catholic belief, we were very far-right. Most Catholics are unaware the church was condemning democracy less than 200 years ago.)

Shoot, the Church was actively fighting democracy on the Southern U.S. border at the beginning of the 20th century.

Pope Pius X (reigned 1903-1914) disliked democracy and hated the Italian States. When the French president Émile Loubet visited the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III, Pius, still refusing to accept the annexation of the Papal territories by Italy, reproached the French president for this visit and refused to meet him. This led to a diplomatic break with France, and in 1905 France issued a Law of Separation, which separated church and state, and which the Pope denounced. The effect of this separation was the Church’s loss of its government funding in France. Two French bishops were removed by the Vatican for recognizing the Third Republic.

In 1903 Pius declared voting in Italian elections to be a sin. However in 1905, in his encyclical Il Fermo Proposito he allowed Catholics to vote when they were “helping the maintenance of social order” by voting for deputies who were not socialists.

When I was in seminary there were students who wanted the several states in the US to set up their own churches. They maintained that the Constitution does not exclude a state’s establishing a church.

A friend, who is from Greece, told me about being at a gathering with a lot of Greek Americans. Some of them started speaking reverently about “our King.” This was when Constantine II was still alive. My friend replied tartly, “What king? We have no king. We abolished the monarchy in 1974.”

When I was in seminary there were students who wanted the several states in the US to set up their own churches.

They reaĺly don’t think this kind of thing through, do they? They naively think of course that this State Church’s doctrines will align perfectly with their own. But why would that be the case? If you’re serious about your faith a State Church is one of the last things you should wish for.

Back in my Protestant days, I recall reading Francis Schaeffer and his allies. They were against the Enlightenment, of course, though they claimed its positive results were really the fruits of Dutch Calvinism. What Schaeffer et al especially hated was scholasticism, and especially, Aquinas. They thought St. Thomas’ doctrine of nature and grace was the key to most subsequent decline in the West.

Thomas Aquinas was pre-Enlightment. Historians traditionally place the Enlightenment between 1715 (the year that Louis XIV died) and 1789 (the beginning of the French Revolution). Tommy’s dates were 1225-1274.

I would posit a lot of the enlightenment was REFUTING Aquinas. Hume, etc, but it started almost immediately after he had written.

Haha, it’s funny how every worldview has its historical heroes and villains. I was taught to idolize Aquinas and credit any developments in human thought to his influence.

As I just came across the assertion in a biography that Schaeffer may have never actually read the people he criticized, I’ll throw some screen caps of it here for anyone interested. The author is a prof at Baylor (Baptist ).

There is a book that I like to promote by Eric Hoffer called “The True Believers”. This belief in a mythic past where everything was super dooper and if we could just get back to that then everything would be great is a common trope. It’s also a myth, of course, but that doesn’t matter to those who believe in whatever the movement is.

That also applies to the anti-theists who want to take us all back to the 1730s (or at the very least, the Victorian era), and pretend that post-modernism and post-postmodernism never happened.

To the old days of pretend certainty, the age of Hume and Locke (well he was a bit earlier) and Voltaire.

Thanks for your intelligent, far more objective approach to history. I appreciate it, especially seeing it in the context of Seidensticker’s usual hyper-polemical, warped, anti-Christian version. The “Enlightenment” (the supposedly “reasonable” people) also murdered Lavoisier, the father of chemistry, and several other prominent French scientists and philosophers:

Galileo lived his life under house arrest in luxurious palaces of his supporters, and St. Robert Bellarmine showed that he had a more accurate understanding of scientific method than Galileo did:

Galileo and other scientists of his general time, got many things wrong, too (just as some in the Church had, in condemning Galileo’s premature overconfidence):

Galileo may have been under house arrest but in 1631 the mainly Protestant city of Magdeburg was sacked by the Catholic forces under Tilly and Papenheim. The population went from 30,000 to 5,000 in less than three days. Gott mit uns!

You can find all kinds of scandals. I’m talking about the history of science and the supposedly universal or overwhelming Christian hostility to it, in the era before modern science, as implied in Seidensticker’s post. That was Galileo’s fate. “Father of chemistry” Lavoisier’s under the “Enlightenment” was far worse: he was deprived of his head.

So please explain to us how, other than putting Galileo under house arrest for being an unmitigated jerk (I am aware of why Fr. Christopher Scheiner SJ was one of Galileo’s prosecutors), the Catholic Church promoted science.

I just did that above, providing a multitude of links that document it. We not only promoted it, we were central in founding modern science, and dominating it for 300-400 years, as any historian of science or philosopher of science is well aware.

Denouncing the French Revolution and whining about “scientism” has nothing to do with how the anti-science Catholic Church supported science. If you think I’m impressed that Robert Bellermine guessed more correctly than Galileo about what became the scientific method then you’re wrong. That 16th and 17th Century natural philosophers made mistakes is hardly evidence that the Catholic Church was right in suppressing knowledge. Did you know that it wasn’t until 1758 that Newton’s Principia Mathematica was removed from the Index Liborum Prohibitorum?

What’s worse: prohibiting books, or prohibiting human beings from having a life on the earth and from leaving their mother’s wombs in order to enjoy that life?

Take your forced-birthism and shove it where the Sun don’t shine. We’re discussing the Enlightenment and your cult’s hatred of intellectual advancement. So you can stop poisoning the well right now.

I think about it exactly the same as I think of the Inquisition murdering anyone who disagreed with them. Tu quoque works both ways.

In 1578 the Spanish Inquisition opened a branch to investigate heresies in the Spanish Fleet (the Armada). Being a galley slave brought before the Inquisition has got to be close to the nadir of human existence.

Sure, modern science came from a mostly European (and hence Christian) background. In the global game of Risk, Europe eventually won. This is a historical observation and says nothing about God’s involvement.

I wonder: in your long list of fabulicious things that Christians did, could you replace “Christian” with “European” and have it still be true? And if so, why not just do it and celebrate Europeans’ advances rather than Christians’ advances? If I didn’t know better, I’d say that you were just putting a spin on the data to support your presupposition.

Since you have now demanded that I can never cite your words in these comboxes, there is no reason to reply to you at all, since any debates I have are always made public on my blog, for teaching purposes. But you say “no!!!!” to all that, so, as you wish . . .

The problem being that it’s not much of a “debate” when you edit out context, change your own responses after the fact and ban the interlocutors with whom you’re debating.

If you are unable to interact without doing that, then calling it a “debate” is a little out of line.

Teaching? Who benefits from this “teaching”? Aren’t all the regurgitated comments posts the same–“atheists were mean to me again,” “watch me kick some ass,” and so on? Seems like it’s just ego stroking on your part.

Ask your fans what they think of these posts. “Golly, Dave, I didn’t realize what a big dick you have!” is probably not what they’ll say, I’m afraid.

You’ve ALREADY violated that request on your own wall of diarrhea…and using it as a dodge to avoid your burden of proof is about par for your ill-tempered lack of ability.

“When it was a possibly *deadly* choice to identify as anything OTHER than catholic, many catholic scientists made advances in knowledge.”

It’s pretty dishonest to use Laviosier when he was executed for charges which had nothing to do with science.

Those would be the hypocrites…but sure there’s no end of Catholic hypocrites, so there’s no problem there then.

Superstitious as it is (and potentially dangerous) at least the JWs keep their medical taboos in house (blood with erythrocytes). But no, the Catholics have to oppose research that may help others outside their cult.

In the US they might…not here in the UK. Because of restriction on effective treatment means the tossers take up time and space on a hospital system that is already struggling. In some cases demanding a more expensive, but less effective alternative. Remember, the NHS is free at the point delivery based on clinical need, not ability to pay.

In the US, by law, a citizen cannot be denied medical care for lack of ability to pay if it is through the emergency department or pregnancy related.

As a result hospital emergency departments are now being used heavily for ear aches, upset tummies, and, well, you would not believe what I see. We had a twenty something male literally come in to emergency because of, wait for it, a hang nail. But that’s not the worst of it. Unlike private physician offices which are appointment based, emergency departments must function on need first, not the time you arrived.

The amount of people who complain because they had to wait for hang nail-like problems (and often won’t pay mind you) while chest pain and stroke patients are being worked up is disgusting. Couple that with the fact that emergency department medicine is the most expensive treatment on the planet (the diagnostic infrastructure found in emergency departments is not cheap to maintain and acquire) and yes, resources are going to be taxing. And that affects everyone.

I’m not confident enough our government can provide medical care on par with the efficiency and efficacy that I witness privately* but the status quo in the US is a timebomb. I honestly don’t know of a solution and I’ve studied many. Damn near every non US tourist that comes to our ER showers compliments about our care and professionalism saying they experience nothing like it with the NHS or comparitives. I know there is surely good care to be found in the NHS, just offering my experience.

Unless the citizenry is educated and not lazy of mind, any solution currently offered will be a band aid to the underlying problem of a selfish attitude about what is reasonable in medical delivery.

Mike Edit done. *our local hospital is city owned, not private, but operated as an enterprise category which is technically profit based.

What exists in the US is a essentially a class system of medical delivery. I said earlier that ER and pregnancy patients cannot be denied care because of finances. As a result we have public health systems in place (for non invasive care) often free. Additionally there are pay as you can, or not at all, clinics available, often funded by government grants and private donations. We have one locally for the very poor. Not all communities are as lucky though. We even have a funded recovery center for alcohol addiction and in the winter a warm/dry place maintained for the homeless.

We have a small population of chronic inebriates who used to come to the ER every night. We cannot turn them away so they’d get a quick once over (or often expensive CT because they fall down a lot) and a snack. After studying how the hospital paid out for non emergency care you know what our town did? We built a multi million dollar housing complex that one qualifies for and despite the cost, it was far cheaper than seeing those people in the ER.

At any rate, this class system of delivery (I’ve only touched on the many programs used) is limping along just enough to keep better solutions off the minds of those in power, imho. That people are bankrupted, though, for medicine is not becoming of a civilization. Medicare for all (Medicare is the federal system for seniors and the disabled) seems to be the latest effort to expand medicine to all. But it’s complicated and I think I’ve bored everyone enough by now.

this subject can’t bore me yet because i’m still vastly ignorant about it, especially the issue of cost. is the expense of [per your example] emergency medicine well-defended/explained in any particular study? (is there something akin to ‘health care apologetics’?) i can merely imagine that it over-simply boils down to “because rare materials” and/or “because shelf life” and/or “because capitalism” and/or “because insurance [companies]”, but i am one of those rubes who still hasn’t mentally cleared the hurdle of “printing more money makes it worth less [because of what the PTB who hoover it up from the masses are inevitably going to do with it?]”

Yes, the issue of US healthcare costs is heavily studied with competent journal publications everywhere. Every component needed to get a healthcare industry off the ground (R&D), running (Admin) and maintained (Tech) in the US is expensive. The driving economic factors always include the basics: labor and goods costs. The US delivery cost, however, by twice, is set apart from the other nine top global economies while, alarmingly, providing statistically poorer health results indicators. These are comparable healthcare infrastructures among the economies (doctor to support staff ratios, etc.) Why is it generally twice as costly in the US? Most argue it’s because everything else here is expensive. That’s not a solution but it is an answer.

Where vast money goes is interesting: a quarter of one’s total Medicare spending is statistically spent in the last year of one’s life.

how does that stat break down w/r/t the spectrum of those who get regular checkups and those who don’t?

which sources do you find most consistent? would i want to comb through business journals for more specifics? DSHS documents? WHO/UN stuff?

i was thinking health care, but whatever strikes your fancy, really. my genuine curiosity developed fairly late in life, so i’m rather uninformed about every topic other than sex, drugs, rock’n’roll et al.

not necessarily, but I wasn’t angling for clubbing anyone over the head with a diabolically inclusive cigar sausage hermexegeneutisis.

Ha, well there are very few topics I can speak to at any length and they aren’t of disqus interest.

I’m mostly here by accident, following a few refugees from the Dawkins site, generally trying to improve anti-positional thinking to help others in cults reconsider why they believe what they believe while benefiting from exposure to classical topics myself.

Healthcare is going to involve a political solution but aspects of US capitalism/culture makes that difficult. Is healthcare a right or a privilege? That’s the number one argument. Currently it’s a mishmash of both in practice. Republicans believe the market is the solution and folks like Bernie Sanders think the government is best placed to solve it.

What’s missing, to my intuition, is a shared cultural ethos on how we want our country to behave toward one another on this subject and where we then want to go together in this century if that was solved. But arguably the US is in capital D decline so I’m not optimistic. On the other hand, the status quo isn’t going to work long term so I’m guessing there could be a bright future if we go through some hell first.

i suspect the internal monologue, too embarrassing to actually attempt to put forth, would be something like “those who executed Lavoisier were doing Scientism wrong – they should have forgiven him his non-scientific sins, elevated him and worshipped him like True Heathens!”

That’s weird–you’d think that since the Church wasn’t just another big human bureaucracy but instead was guided by the omniscient Creator of the universe that it would look different somehow.

Exactly! That’s why the Catholic Church produced modern science, including heliocentrism (formulated by the Catholic Copernicus). One (sub-infallible) Catholic tribunal at one point of our history, got science wrong (while a pious Catholic who was wrongly persecuted: Galileo, got some major things right, but also other things wrong, and another Catholic, Bellarmine, had the more modern, accurate understanding of scientific method).

Big wow. We would expect to see this. It’s no disproof whatever of our claims. But such things are clearly beyond your capacity to understand, in the blindness of your bigotry.

The Catholic Church has squat to do with “producing modern science”. Certain Christians, including some Catholics, were scientists but the Church as an institution had zip point shit to do with modern science. Incidentally it was Msgr Georges Lemaître, professor of physics at the University of Leuven and one of the originators of the Big Bang theory, who convinced Pope Pius XII to stop advocating creationism.

So, if Catholics, in a place and time where they could be little else, advance science at the threat of the inquisition, Excommunication, torture, imprisonment, and sometimes death, the the Church get’s credit for the science. I’m not sure how that’s how this is supposed to work.

Wrong. Europeans who happened to be Christian largely produced modern science. As a wise man recently observed, “but such things are clearly beyond your capacity to understand, in the blindness of your bigotry.”

Yes, Copernicus was a Catholic. Maybe he was also a knitter. Maybe he drank wine. Maybe he beat his wife. Show us the cause and effect between any of these and his science.

I agree. And since your claim is simply that many European scientists happened to be Christian, your claim is unimportant.

Heliocentricism was postulated by Aristarchus, he is referenced both by Copernicus in De Revolutionibus and by Galileo in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. As far as I am aware Aristarchus was neither Christian or a member of the Catholic church.

Show me a single scientist of those known to have revolutionized knowledge who were supported, rather than persecuted, by the catholic church.

His crimes: claiming the Sun was a star and that there were an infinite number of solar systems inhabited by intelligent life.

*holding opinions contrary to the Catholic faith (five counts); *claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds and their eternity; *believing in metempsychosis and in the transmigration of the human soul into animals, *dealing in magics and divination.

Pope Clement VIII declared Bruno a heretic. The Roman Inquisition issued a sentence of death. On February 17, 1600 in the Campo de’ Fiori, a central Roman market square, “his tongue imprisoned because of his wicked words” he was burned at the stake after being hung upside down. His ashes were dumped into the Tiber river. All of his works were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1603.

do you suggest any comprehensive or otherwise preferable sources for Inquisition history? i seem to always stumble over a black-and-white back-and-forth between “church officials killed countless innocents” and “all capital punishments were administered by civil law, never by the office of the Inquisition”. [just going to skip over the torture and demonic influence cards for now.] my rudimentary grasp of, and cynical spin on, the distinction between civil and canon law is that (a) non-ordained apes did all the official/public wetwork and (b) a priest had to be on the political fringe to ever get more than a slap on the wrist from a canon court. is there much more to it than that, as far as you know?

I think it is basically that heretics were kicked out of Catholicism and the state authorities dealt with them. It’s how they got the confessions extracted was the issue.

The Spanish Inquisition was more about outing those who pretended to convert from Islam or Judaism in order to avoid the wrath of the Church. The Church did all the persecuting in that instance. But the holy rollers will claim it wasn’t as widespread as those other inquisitions where the civil autourities got the blame. The Church and the state, aka monarchy, were bedfellows and as guilty as each other.

You can reason why theists want to distance themselves as best as possible in this day and age though.

Nobody will read your stuff, so you come here to stir shit in the hopes some of us will follow you back.

Lavoisier was convicted with summary justice of having plundered the people and the treasury of France, of having adulterated the nation’s tobacco with water, and of having supplied the enemies of France with huge sums of money from the national treasury.

There are all sorts of counter-facts that don’t fit into the “anti-Christian” version of European history and the history of science. For example, I have documented “33 Empiricist Christian Thinkers Before 1000 AD”:

On the other hand, many great early scientists (also Christians) were obsessed with astrology, including Galileo, Kepler, and Tycho Brahe, while Isaac Newton (an Arian) was fascinated with alchemy:

For examples of “scientific Christians” long before modern science was born, see Hermann of Reichenau (1013–1054) and Adelard of Bath (c. 1080-c. 1152):

When modern science did get off the ground, of course it was Christianity that was overwhelmingly in the forefront of that:

I don’t feel the need to go chasing links, but I’d certainly agree most of the prominent scientists in Christendom’s history were Christians, generally products of church-run, church-founded, or church-affiliated universities, certainly prior to the 19th or 20th century. Indeed, how could it have been otherwise, when for most of that history, being the wrong religion could result in the loss of a person’s property, livelihood, liberty, skin, or sometimes even life? Put differently, we can think of a few reasons the Papal States didn’t give the world any famous Jewish scientists, right?

As I’ve pointed out now twice, it was the “Enlightenment” that murdered scientists and philosophers (namely, Antoine Lavoisier, the father of chemistry, Philippe-Frédéric de Dietrich, Nicolas de Condorcet, Jean Baptiste Gaspard Bochart de Saron, Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, and Félix Vicq d’Azyr), not Christians. But flail away in the face of facts if you must . . .

Wait, what? You’ve written how many posts to me here, but because I haven’t yet responded to the one about the French Revolution, in between mowing and driving kids around and getting the oil changed, I’m “flailing away in the face of facts” with a response about a totally different historical situation?

Read your own words: “being the wrong religion could result in the loss of a person’s property, livelihood, liberty, skin, or sometimes even life?”

Well, being a scientist could cause one to lose their life in “Enlightenment” France, or Communist Russia and China.

Name a scientist who was killed because he was a scientist during whatever period you guess the “Enlightenment” happened.

Yes, I was writing about why it’s my sense Christendom naturally produced so many Christian scientists–a church-centric university system (at least until relatively recently) and the very real obstacles faced by non-Christians in Christian countries (again, at least until relatively recently). These are not historically controversial ideas.

How abominably certain non-Christian regimes have behaved towards believers or scientists or others is a kinda related but definitely different subject, and I don’t see how my not getting to it as quickly as you would like means that what I wrote is “flying in the face of the facts.”

But I’ll go ahead and get to it, at least insofar as my obligations today will permit. The Terror is aptly named (also the name of a phenomenal book by Dan Simmons, but I digress), and unfortunately even Enlightenment-inspired ends were used to justify atrocious means in revolutionary France. (Although Enlightenment ideas on this side of the Atlantic gave us reasonably solid republic government intended to protect individual liberties, subject, alas, to the messy vagaries of politics and the human condition.)

Furthermore, I agree that Soviet and Communist Chinese treatment of dissenters–political, religious, intellectual, etc.–is a human rights travesty. Speaking for myself, I would no more want to live under an officially atheist government than under an officially Baptist government. I’m exceedingly fond of the First Amendment, a freedom-of-conscience Madisonian to my marrow.

And then explain how “they do it, too” excuses a religion that claims to make those who follow it morally superior.

Your “Enlightenment” argument is just a straw man. Let’s be real. Religion ruled through that age, and continue to do so moving the levers of government, as they did through the Dark age.

It’s the same tactic Trumps followers are using. “But what about Hillary’s emails?” “Benghazi!!!!!”

The Enlightenment is generally considered to have ended in 1789 (you get bonus points if you know what else happened that year).

Lavoisier wasn’t executed because he was a chemist but because he was a notorious tax farmer. He was an administrator of the Ferme générale, a financial company which advanced the estimated tax revenue to the government in return for the right to collect the taxes. On behalf of the Ferme générale Lavoisier commissioned the building of a wall around Paris so that customs duties could be collected from goods going into and out of the city. His participation in the collection of taxes did not help him when the Reign of Terror began in France, as taxes and lack of government reform were the primary motivators of the French Revolution.

So from the people who charged them with crimes to the judicial system that convicted them down to the executioner himself, none of those people were Christian? They were all Enlightenment-ists? That surprises me.

an understandable misunderstanding. after all, the RCC didn’t slap an imprimatur on the “The Enlightenment(TM) Is Now In Charge Of All The Things” memo*, so it kinda got lost in the shuffle.

*naturally, your clearance isn’t celestial enough to be informed as to who/what issued that memo. no hard feelings?

We can always count on you to bring up the mindless talking points. I knew there was a reason we kept you as court jester!

Rebutted here:

The “Enlightenment” didn’t murder anybody. It was a historical period or a way of thinking at a certain time. People murder!

Einstein, Born, Salk, Freud and other 19th and early 20th scientists were criticized for performing “Jewish” science. I would hope nobody thinks that Special/General Relativity is a Jewish accomplishment…dare I say an Atheist science — Einstein was not a theist, but followed Spinoza’s ideas. His partner for bosonic work, Satyendra Bose, a Hindu, etc.

We hear this all the time — a lot of science was done in the last few centuries in Europe…Europe was almost completely Christian…thus we have to thank Christianity for science. Nonsense! If Europe at the time was mostly a different religion…the science would still have come at roughly the same time…

Jared Diamond’s “Guns Germs and Steel” explains why Europe was preeminent during the last few hundred years…it was geography and resources, not Christianity, which led to the scientific advances.

This seems like such an obvious correction to Dave Armstrong’s flabby Christianity-only claim that I’m surprised that he didn’t make it himself.

“Lavoisier was convicted with summary justice of having plundered the people and the treasury of France, of having adulterated the nation’s tobacco with water, and of having supplied the enemies of France with huge sums of money from the national treasury.”

It need not be pointed out that Copernicus was the key figure who changed that, and he was a Catholic cleric, and his work was enthusiastically supported by the pope of the time and the Church (though later with Galileo there were some silly things said). Even a cursory glance at Wikipedia “(“Heliocentrism”) reveals that there were forerunners of heliocentrism in earlier Catholics:

“European scholarship in the later medieval period actively received astronomical models developed in the Islamic world and by the 13th century was well aware of the problems of the Ptolemaic model. In the 14th century, bishop Nicole Oresme [c. 1320-1382] discussed the possibility that the Earth rotated on its axis, while Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa [1401-1464] in his Learned Ignorance asked whether there was any reason to assert that the Sun (or any other point) was the center of the universe. In parallel to a mystical definition of God, Cusa wrote that ‘Thus the fabric of the world (machina mundi) will quasi have its center everywhere and circumference nowhere.’ . . .

“The state of knowledge on planetary theory received by Copernicus [1473-1543] is summarized in Georg von Peuerbach’s Theoricae Novae Planetarum (printed in 1472 by Regiomontanus [1436-1476] ). By 1470, the accuracy of observations by the Vienna school of astronomy, of which Peuerbach and Regiomontanus were members, was high enough to make the eventual development of heliocentrism inevitable, and indeed it is possible that Regiomontanus did arrive at an explicit theory of heliocentrism before his death in 1476, some 30 years before Copernicus. . . .

“Another possible source for Copernicus’s knowledge of this mathematical device is the Questiones de Spera of Nicole Oresme, who described how a reciprocating linear motion of a celestial body could be produced by a combination of circular motions similar to those proposed by al-Tusi.”

You being the only one here who shows sufficient understanding of the actual history of science, and the slightest bit of acknowledgment of the crucial, central role that Christianity played in it . . .

Okeedoke. Thanks. And I think plenty of the other folks here have quite a lot of understanding, but different perspectives and personalities.

That’s because you don’t want to spot it. You hate the idea that the despised atheists may know and understand things possibly even better than you.

Christianity is STILL standing in direct opposition to science, so you really don’t have a leg to stand on here.

the only theist-tourist i recall having anything even vaguely resembling a gift for snark is that Lockett guy. (it must help to get a warmed-over dose of humanities through his dilettante diet of OEC, tough guy movies, Xian metal and so on.) i suspect the weakness you note is a byproduct of one’s life’s work being monstrously dependent on smug special pleading. and with Catlicks in particular being grandchilded into The Oldest Greatest Club That Matters …

It need not be pointed out that Copernicus was the key figure who changed that, and he was a Catholic cleric

Copernicus sat on his findings for thirty years and only published when he was on his deathbed out of fear of the Catholic Church.

Science fell so far behind due to the Catholic Church that when they got ancient Greek writings from more than a thousand years earlier, it was a great advancement to them.

“Another possible source for Copernicus’s knowledge of this mathematical device is the Questiones de Spera of Nicole Oresme, who described how a reciprocating linear motion of a celestial body could be produced by a combination of circular motions similar to those proposed by al-Tusi.”

“Accordingly, when I had meditated upon this lack of certitude in the traditional mathematics concerning the composition of movements of the spheres of the world, I began to be annoyed that the philosophers, who in other respects had made a very careful scrutiny of the least details of the world, had discovered no sure scheme for the movements of the machinery of the world, which has been built for us by the Best and Most Orderly Workman of all. Wherefore I took the trouble to reread all the books by philosophers which I could get hold of, to see if any of them even supposed that the movements of the spheres of the world were different from those laid down by those who taught mathematics in the schools. And as a matter of fact, I found first in Cicero that Nicetas thought that the Earth moved. And afterwards I found in Plutarch that there were some others of the same opinion: I shall copy out his words here, so that they may be known to all:

Some think that the Earth is at rest; but Philolaus the Pythagorean says that it moves around the fire with an obliquely circular motion, like the sun and moon. Herakleides of Pontus and Ekphantus the Pythagorean do not give the Earth any movement of locomotion, but rather a limited movement of rising and setting around its centre, like a wheel.

Therefore I also, having found occasion, began to meditate upon the mobility of the Earth. And although the opinion seemed absurd, nevertheless because I knew that others before me had been granted the liberty of constructing whatever circles they pleased in order to demonstrate astral pheonmena, I thought that I too would be readily permitted to test whether or not, by the laying down that the Earth had some movement, demonstrations less shaky than those of my predecessors could be found for the revolutions of the celestial spheres.

And so, having laid down the movements which I attribute to the Earth farther on in the work, I finally discovered by the help of long and numerous observations that if the movements of the other wandering stars are correlated with the circular movement of the Earth, and if the movements are computed in accordance with the revolution of each planet, not only do all their phenomena follow from that but also this correlation binds together so closely the order and magnitudes of all the planets and of their spheres or orbital circles and the heavens themselves that nothing can be shifted around in any part of them without disrupting the remaining parts and the universe as a whole.” – copernicus in “on the revolutions”, preface and dedication to pope paul III

the philosophers, who in other respects had made a very careful scrutiny of the least details of the world

or at least exhausted themselves and stopped comparing notes before they got into too much trouble with The Moral Authorities.

It should also be pointed out that it was blasphemy not to believe in Christianity in Copernicus’s day and could cost you treasure and blood to think otherwise.

The Holy Roman Catholic Church was so thrilled with Copernicus’ research that they placed his book on their Index Librorum Prohibitorm (Index of Banned Books), and it was not removed from the list until 1835. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was not completely dismantled until 1965

According to Sir Isaac Newton, Jesus should have arrived by now.after defeating the Pope and destroying the Catholic Church

“”Antichrist will retain some part of his dominion over the nations till about the year 2016.” “And when the 1260 years are expired, Rome itself, with all its magnificence, will be absorbed in a lake of fire, sink into the sea, and rise no more at all for ever*.”.

so adorable, that such a talented and meticulous student of Nature was still prone to hyperbolic redundancy for dramatic effect.

Sir Isaac Newton was an idiot, if he thought that he could second guess what God is going to do. But God did give us clues. Christ Jesus return will be before 2100 AD.

As I see it the enlightenment took some of the best morality that was disseminated by Christianity and got rid if the garbage. To my knowledge there is not one positive teaching or philosophy in Christianity that is original to it or that is necessary for it to exist. Christianity is the Borg of religion, it assimilates, it did not create anything positive; it is good at sales, not R&D.

An awful lot of what Christian’s think of as good Christian morality today is the result if ignoring their holy book, not following it.

One certainly has to ignore or creatively rationalize large parts of the Bible to actually act the way Christians claim that they should. When the rubber meets the road they act no differently than anyone else.

I work as a private investigator, I talked to my partner last night after a surveillance on the wife of my client where she was found to be cheating. She enlisted the help of her friend to lie, and both her and the friend are very active in their church. The husband was just astounded at my findings and their hypocrisy. My partner related a story of one he did were the spouse would face time when she was out of town at bedtime with the kids for prayer time, she did this while in the house of her boyfriend. I realize all people are shitty…Christian or not, but don’t tell me Christianity is the best, or that it helps people behave better…it’s not and it doesn’t. I had to tell my client that in my professional experience whether someone is a Christian or not is meaningless as to behavior and if he wants to get to the truth he needs to let go of that notion.

This can’t be stressed enough. I’ve lived in communities overwhelmingly Protestant, I’ve lived in a country overwhelming Catholic, I’ve visited Muslim countries…, the day to day interactions are really no different one from another and religion rarely interferes other than the inconvenience of a Sunday morning. People still lie, cheat and steal, they’re kind, generous and loving, and those divides have more to do with the kind of person the individual is than the religion they subscribe to.

It’s easy to rationalize (“OK, for someone else to do this might be sinful, but I have an excuse”).

Especially if that excuse is ‘God agrees with me’. We all compartmentalize and justify, but that does make things a whole lot easier on a person’s conscience. Sure the theists can say that belief in God helps them realize right from wrong, but that knife cuts both ways and that is rarely, if ever, acknowledged.

And the idea that conceptions of the divine are just “an imaginary friend” is one of the most annoying fantasies put out by dogmatic anti-theists who don’t appear to be very good at grasping scholarly literature, in keeping with their bedfellows, the racists, creationist and other deniers of reality.

So is it just your particular divine conceptions that are not imaginary, or are all divine conceptions allowed onto the table?

Creationists are deniers of reality…you do realize they have the same imaginary friend as you do and the book backs them up as much as it does you…that is, not at all.

I’m not a cretin. I of course accept all conceptions of the divine, and accept all gods. You are also a denier of reality, like your buddies the creationists, the holocaust deniers, climate science deniers and racists if you pretend that religion poisons everything or pretend that billions of people are just having imaginary friends. Grow the fk up darling.

The problem for “scholarly literature” is that it’s all based on the same Holey Book many have read cover to cover. It is ridiculous that a book purported to be, at a minimum, inspired by an all powerful, all knowing deity that created this universe, requires some of this LORD’s creations to write “scholarly literature” for other talking monkeys to understand it.

The Abrahamic religions are the basis for your projected bedfellows, regardless of mosque, synagogue or kirk. Xianity laughs at the number of flavours Baskin Robbins has. Each claims to be the real thing, all the tens of thousands of others are wrong.

An all powerful creator would obviously have made a text clearly and concisely laying it out plainly for all to see. What we have is none of that. Popular mythology offering spiritual salvation is what it is. Xianity just happened to gain power enough to burn dissenters and commit genocide globally while converting the survivors.

The only difference twixt you & creationists is the timeline from the same holey text. Regardless, this deity raped a girl to produce our saviour from our deity given sinful nature. Brilliant plan there Yahweh.

Why should I need someone else to tell me what the holey books say? I read the xian version. It isn’t worth the paper. Or the time really if not for the harm it does to society. 300+ priests raped 1000+ children in Pennsylvania for decades. I wonder how many civil authorities were complicit and not just there.

The language in the KJV isn’t any more annoying than Shakespeare, although you’ll learn more about the human condition reading Ol’ Bill and his works are far more entertaining. Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Merchant of Venice, Romeo & Juliet, Henry the whatever. Dickens, Wells, Solzhenitsyn, Kafka, Poe, Vonnegut, Heller, …, Asimov… all better than that book.

You have no idea what I’ve read. Apologias aren’t convincing to those not already convinced. They’re wordy new spins on ancient arguments and all derived from a single book assembled by committee and poaching Judaic texts that poached earlier myths.

What? I was talking about scholarly literature. What are all these other odd topics you’re introducing?

Helen Bond’s scholarly monograph “Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed” offers a helpful summary of the current literature (which is very extensive).

There seems to be four types of studies of the historical Jesus but only three of them actually exist:

1. A biography of Jesus that looks like the author’s Rorshach test. B. A composite of studies that assume there was a historical Jesus. III. A book, study, or paper that tries to prove there was a historical Jesus but relies on hypothetical evidence. d. A book, study, or paper that tries to prove there was a historical Jesus that relies on actual evidence.

When Ehrman wrote his Category III book, he said he couldn’t find any Category III or Category d books. I have not seen any and Category d books and nobody has ever recommended one, so I don’t think anyone has completed one. It doesn’t mean nobody has tried, though.

I think I’ll go with the experts here rather than some contrarian on the internet – if you have something to say to convince the scholars, test it in the peer-reviewed space. Then I’ll read you.

You said, “I was talking about scholarly literature.” When asked exactly which scholarly literature, you suggested Helen Bond’s scholarly monograph “Historical Jesus: A Guide for the Perplexed” but you don’t know of anything in it that proves that Jesus actually existed.

And it’s not clear if Helen Bonds work is even “scholarly” It seems directed at lay readers, and probably covers about the same ground as Lataster.

You have been touting them as if you knew they had something. Are you now admitting to me that you don’t really know what the scholars say about it?

I know what the scholars say. Most of them probably believe it. Most of them have never considered otherwise.

I do know a reasonable amount but importantly know that they are unimporrssed with crankery as you have been advancing

But the scholars still have never proven the existence of a historical Jesus based on the evidence and the methodology of historians. Their main job is to write papers. Yet none has ever done a paper that establishes that Jesus was an actual historical figure. That should be shocking to you.

No one has managed to convince the scholars (outside the margins, as with any fringe ideas) that the existence of the church organisation and the gospels can be accounted for by a mythical Christ.

No one has managed to convince the scholars (outside the margins, as with any fringe ideas) that the existence of the church organisation and the gospels Old Testament can be accounted for by a mythical Christ Moses.

That is how things were less than fifty years ago when Tommy Thompson’s thesis [ ] was rejected by his advisor, Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope and retired. Thompson argued that the Old Testament fathers were invented from the literature from other places in the region. Thompson had to finish his PhD in the US but had to go to Denmark to get a job in the field. Now, it is understood that many of the Old Testament stories are fiction and that Thompson’s thesis was correct.

Josephus tells us that the first century Jews had a prophecy that the Messiah was coming soon. They started the war with Rome based on the belief that the Messiah would rise up and take over the world. Josephus told Vespasian when he was captured that he realized that the prophecy was not about someone born there, only that they would come out of Judea to become the ruler of the world. Vespasian did become the emperor shortly after, the survivor of the Year of Four Emperors.

But some of the Jews began to read the metaphor of the Suffering Servant as a “hidden mystery”, that he died for sins, was buried, and resurrected three days later. One of them came up with the idea that the Suffering Servant was crucified based on the OT verses (see Galatians 3:6-14), but it doesn’t seem to have gone over well with the Jews, however the idea was maintained elsewhere.

Then somebody, we’ll call him Mark, wrote a fictional story about events forty or fifty years earlier, based on the literature of the day for the amusement of Romans. Others assumed it was basically a true story but corrected some things and supplemented it.

The Luddites formed believing Ned Ludd was real. Cargo Cults sprang up in the South Pacific who thought John Frum was a god, as he could talk into a stick and have cargo delivered from the sky. When they asked who he was, they would hear “John from New York” or “John from Indiana”.

I’ll stick with the experts. They know better than me – when they are persuaded, I’ll go with them.

There is certainly very little evidence for a Jesus-as-myth position, which is why it has failed scrutiny so badly in favour of Occam’s razor.

Does “Jesus was an actual person” win only because it’s the null hypothesis, or is there lots of compelling evidence for it?

Once the Gospel of Mark was written, it is exactly the same whether it is mostly fictional with just a kernel about a man from Galilee or completely fictional.

But if it is completely fictional, you don’t have to contrive reasons why the epistles say nothing about a preacher/teacher from Galilee or any of his teachings. The early epistles were just getting their information from the Old Testament and other Hebrew writings.

The scholars are not convinced by such arguments – that is the material point. Take it up with the scholars.

We’ve been over this. Many of these “scholars” are compromised–they’re contractually obliged to conclude that the basic tenets of their faith are correct. Mike Licona is one scholar who found out the hard way that these contracts have teeth.

Most have never considered the question. Nearly every one of them came to believe when they were children and were strong believers at least until they were deep into schooling. Very few came to the idea that Jesus existed through intellectual consideration.

But of those who have looked at it and decided they can’t support that from the evidence, they have to consider how they will support their spouses and kids.

Why? We have Joseph Smith (a real person) founding Mormonism, but then we have Moses (quite possibly not a real person) founding Judaism. There are examples in both camps, so how did you reach your conclusion?

that the existence of the church organisation and the gospels can be accounted for by a mythical Christ.

The Church Organization was mainly started by Paul, and possibly a few Church’s started by Apostles under the direction of Cephas and James. At least that’s all Paul knows about. The Gospels can easily be fiction, unless you want to argue for an historical Hercules. There is zip, zero, nada, in the Gospels, nor in the origination of the early Church that requires an historical Jesus. Nothing. Not a single Church purportedly started by Jesus. Not a single writing. Not a single reference. You’re going to have to argue for an historical Xenu.

Well, the experts are not persuaded by such assertions, given that the gospels are not presented as myth or fantasy but as history. It’s a big stretch to claim they’re written as fiction, and this position has not impressed those who know what they’re talking about.

That is a very different question from “is the founding figure of Christianity a fictional person?”

What “topic” is that? The “topic” you don’t seem to know anything about and won’t answer a single question about?

No dude the question of whether scholars accept that Jesus is purely mythical – you will need to work hard to demonstrate they do

THere are certainly qualified scholars who do. The interesting question right now is why you avoid answering anything at all.

Yet again, keep in mind that those experts can be biased. It’s bad enough in a scientific field since scientists are fallible people, but when you’re threatened with hellfire (or job termination) if you stray, don’t expect objective conclusions.

Then how do “the scholars” account for every other religion that has ever existed? Do you think all of them had genuine origins? Or was every other religion in history based on myth?

Anything ancient is going to have a big potpourri of legend, fiction, and some real history. You’d have to read the experts on the origins of Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic narratives and some meta-studies to get some reliable information on this question.

Then what are your religious beliefs? I thought you were a Christian of sorts. Are you saying that Christianity has fuzzy, mythological origins as well?

I am a Christian, but not in the sense of holding beliefs – I see the founding myths as true, but not literally for the most part.

So a myth can be true but not literally true? Tell me how that works. God didn’t literally make the world in 6 days … but he still made the world–something like that?

Of course! That’s what myths are. Like a novel can be truer than the news because it’s true about more profound things – read Joseph Campbell

And that’s where you get stuck in the quicksand. You grant yourself immunity from the facts because you can tell in your heart that this myth is “true though not literally true.” And then the next guy unmoors himself from the facts and picks a different myth. When those calcify into religions, you might eventually go to war over these beliefs.

So you think if I consult the experts they’ll tell me that the stories of Shiva the world destroyer are based on a real being?

How very open-minded of you. Not many Christians are willing to admit that there may be other Gods out there who have walked the Earth before.

only if the actual motivation behind “hey, people wrote stuff down!” is anything more substantive than habitual unexamined specialwish-pleadingthink.

Right. Crankery. I once asked James McGrath, an actual biblical scholar ” how did you determine the Gospels weren’t fiction before analyzing them.” His response? “Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?” You would get the same exact results analyzing “The Sackets” by Louis Lamour. Ie. Invalid.

Then publish in the peer-reviewed lit – if you can overturn a big consensus, you’ll be in the winnings.

Ok, in that case you won’t give much credence to Christ myth notions, since they remain very much on the fringes of scholarship – publishing in tiny journals, discredited and not persuasive to the experts. Very much like contrarian biologists and climate science – there’s always someone publishing something fringey, but you are on very shaky ground if you give that more credence than scholarly consensus (but there seem to be enough internet people who fall for climate denialism, anti-vaxing, creationism, etc, and the equivalent in this context, Christ mythicism).

Definitely crankery, as it has not persuaded the scholarly community. If you have something to persuade them, publish and be famous!

So lemme ask. Is it more crankery to believe a manGod might be a myth or to believe that God impregnated a virgin with himself to make himself a sacrifice to himself and that this is historically verifiable?

You’re changing topics – we were discussing whether or not the Christian church can trace its origins to an actual bloke called Jesus. You’re switching to discussions of religious mythology.

It’s totally unrelated – we were discussing whether the founding figure in Christianity is mythical. You brought up totally unrelated ideas.

And, actually, the Church can’t trace it’s history back to a bloke named Jesus. That’s the whole problem. They can point to “traditions” of the naming of the Gospels or the “tradition” of Peter being the first Pope of Rome. But they don’t have actual proof or history of any of it. I can’t remember if it was Fr. Thomas Brodie or another ex-Catholic priest who had taught seminary where I first saw this pointed out.

Uhm. We actually have an immense amount of experience with religions making stuff up. It would be truly amazing if Christianity didn’t The razor cuts the other way on this one.

It’s still vastly more complex to suppose that Jesus is fictional – you have a heck of a lot of explaining to do if you want to make that farfetched claim.

The Jews believed that a Messiah would come. In the middle of the first century, they began to believe the coming of the Messiah was imminent. It is why they got into a war with Rome and why they held out in the Jerusalem siege. Some groups came up with Old Testament passages to come up with additional beliefs about the Messiah.

After the war, all that was left were a few writings. One writer wrote a story that the Messiah had come forty years before the end of the war but they killed him. Some believed the story. It is all they had to go on. Everything proceeds from that point just the same whether there was a Jesus or not.

But when you take a close look at the early epistles, they do not refer to a first century person. They only refer to him in terms of Old Testament passages. They made him up from passages that were hopeful prophecies.

What’s the puzzle? Are you saying that since there is a Zoroastrianism, there must be a Zoroaster? Because there’s a Judaism there must’ve been a Moses? Islam and Mohammed, Buddhism and Buddha, and so on.

Why “vastly more complex”? Legends pop up all the time. Is there some scrubbing mechanism within human society that purges false beliefs that I’m unaware of?

The telephone game, oral history, legendary accretion, and all that are well known problems. There’s no need to imagine anyone deliberately making up tales.

True, but Occam’s razor would go with the purported histories actually reflecting some history. This is the scholarly consensus – ideas that Jesus was fictional are far more farfetched, according to the experts, than ideas that there is a historical core to the gospels and to the founding of the world’s largest religion.

You’re right–the consensus of NT historians does say that Jesus was a real person. I’m just wondering how trustworthy that conclusion is. Religious studies have a particular kind of bias that ordinary historians don’t.

Well, if that’s so, the way forward is to produce persuasive evidence that can stand serious scrutiny.

Yes, I hope that the mainstream NT community of scholars does exactly that. Their shrillness makes me wonder if there’s no there there.

Have you read Bart Ehrman, who is said to make the best case for historicity? Have you read Raphael Lataster who deals with Ehrman’s work? Perhaps you have read Maurice Casey? Richard Carrier? Fr. Thomas Brodie. Tom Harpur? I mean, you want to appeal to the scholars but you seem to know fuck all about what they actually say.

Indeed I have – great populariser and writer. Richard Carrier has failed to persuade me but more importantly has made no headway with the experts at all

It’s exactly how you’d expect a consensus to change – through demonstration and evidence, as with any scholarship.

In empirical disciplines such as science and history (Nobel prizes in the former tend to be given for overthrowing previously held theories rather simply supporting them). However here we aren’t talking so much about empiricism (or even deductive disciplines such as mathematics) but weltanschauung.

Whatever the case, when the experts agree that Jesus was mythological, I’ll go with them, just as I go with the experts in all scholarly areas.

I don’t think you will find anyone here who is too fussed about the existence of an itinerant preacher called Jesus from the apocalyptic tradition who was executed at Passover by the Romans for tradition. There are disagreements on how good the evidence is but the consensus is that one can (at best) only assign a probability for the existence of such a person.

Why do theists like these guys lose their shit over this subject? I mean, the “consensus” they’re relying on ALSO mainly agree’s that the same documents provide good historical evidence for the resurrection, as well. From my point of view then, it’s obviously a flawed consensus. Religiously motivated. So, we have to look outside the consensus there to see what the truth is. Is it just extreme cognitive dissonance on their part or something else?

What happens to their world view if there is no certainty of an historical Jesus on which to build their Christ?

I mean, the “consensus” they’re relying on ALSO mainly agree’s that the same documents provide good historical evidence for the resurrection

Which means the authorities that they are relying on fail (at least) one test of good scholarship, they are not dispassionate.

What happens to their world view if there is no certainty of an historical Jesus on which to build their Christ?

Try to to explain being compassionate to these folks. I’d even argue it’s not all that important to be compassionate as long as what you are proposing is falsifiable. And these guys fight tooth and nail against falsifiability.

So if Jesus exists they win and if he doesn’t exist they win. Sounds like a self-sealing argument to me.

I’m not saying it’s a valid argument, just that it’s his argument. It might just as well be a way to attempt to salvage something.

Hi epeeist. This is completely off-topic but I’m trying to figure out what Richard Beck is talking about over on Experimental Theology.

He has referred to “God” as meaning, in this case, “metaphysical grounding”. A complete switcheroo, I know, but I’ve been trying to understand what he even means by metaphysical grounding.

The best I can come up with from other sources (without reading great big philosophy books) is that it is connected to the idea that some facts are based on other facts.

But he’s not being very clear, asks me more questions than he provides answers and seems to be finding me exhausting because I don’t understand what he’s trying to say.

Oh good, I’m not the only one baffled by Beck. He talked about his his god is “the ground of existence itself” without defining any of those words and shook his finger at me for not accepting this concept. Later he and you got into a discussion of morality where he told you repeatedly that you hadn’t answered a simple question when I, at least, could see that you had repeatedly answered it.

MR managed to get Beck to say that “should” refers to an obligation but, as usual for him, didn’t justify that claim. Personally I think he’s suffering from logorrhea, excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness, but he probably would not agree.

I wish you the best of luck. I have read discussions between Bradley Bowen and theists using the ‘Ground of all Being’ (GOB) over at the Secular Outpost. The discussions usually are highly philosophical, but they seem to always devolve into the theists not being able to define their terms very well, and then they get mad at the atheists for not just bowing to their poorly defined terms and concepts. Sounds like what is happening to you too.

The discussions usually are highly philosophical, but they seem to always devolve into the theists not being able to define their terms very well

So far, he has stated that “God” means “metaphysical grounding” (as though that were an effortless synonym), has only asked questions about morality, expecting me to provide a perfect moral theory that he doesn’t judge circular, keeps promising to explain his position, but just asks more questions that I must answer in a way in which he approves, without him stating clear guidelines, before he explains any of his assertions.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, what “metaphysical grounding” means is that some facts are based on other facts.

Richard Beck seems to want to use it but isn’t willing to define it. Not even what he means when he uses it.

If he want’s to use the term “metaphysical grounding” then he needs to come up with a metaphysical school from which to work from. What you have here is someone who learned a $3 word and after that doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.

If he want’s to use the term “metaphysical grounding” then he needs to come up with a metaphysical school from which to work</blockquote.

That’s what it looks like so far It’s not a meaningless term but so far, he seems to be using it without showing that it’s meaningful in the context in which he’s using it.

That’s why I’m asking epeeist for clarification. I asked Richard repeatedly but he provided none.

You might want to throw in Peter Van Imwagen’s claims from his Metaphysics, namely that there are no established metaphysical facts; there is no “philosophical information”.

>>>”So far, he has stated that “God” means “metaphysical grounding” (as though that were an effortless synonym), has only asked questions about morality, expecting me to provide a perfect moral theory that he doesn’t judge circular, keeps promising to explain his position, but just asks more questions that I must answer in a way in which he approves, without him stating clear guidelines, before he explains any of his assertions.”

That could sum up many of my interactions with theists. He sounds like Luke. Their fixation on expecting us to be able to explain every nuance of morality reminds me of a creationist expecting us to explain every nuance of evolution…and if we don’t they claim victory. They are not as interested in supporting their position as much as they think if they destroy yours…they win by default. IMO that is why he expects you to jump through the hoops and will only show his hand when he thinks it will give him leverage. He knows he can’t come out on top of the discussion using standard lines of argument and evidence so he needs another angle.

I gave up on secular outpost when they toLd me arguments were evidence. Couldn’t recover from that.

In which case there was some bad formulation going on. Deductive arguments can be justification for the truth of propositions, but of course this relies on the premisses to those arguments being true…

I’m with Otto and Michael Neville. I think it is a couple of words that sound good when linked together but whose meaning as a phrase demands strict definition by the person using it, otherwise it is just hand waving.

I would start from, “Metaphysics is the study of the fundamental nature of reality—the nature of the physical world itself and what might exist beyond it.”

Given this I would have to hazard a guess then that what they mean by “metaphysical grounding” is the thing that sits beneath reality and gives it its existence.

The best I can come up with from other sources (without reading great big philosophy books) is that it is connected to the idea that some facts are based on other facts.

This would appear to be epistemology, knowledge is inferential; we know that certain proposition are (approximately) true because we have justification for our belief that they are true. This runs into infinite regress, which leads us to ask are there any facts which do not require justification, are there things which are simply brute.

“Metaphysics is the study of the fundamental nature of reality—the nature of the physical world itself and what might exist beyond it.”

It seems to be a fog salad, a reference to metaphysics, an allusion to Objective morality and a couple of scattered digs at atheists.

This has nothing to do with metaphysics, it is a question on meta-ethics. Way outside of my experience, ideally you would need someone who is taking a Ph.D. in the subject.

There is a small chink in the way you have put it though in that it is the usual theist false dichotomy or fallacy of the complex question.

The supposition would seem to be that everything is completely subjective or there is some kind of objective morality. There is (at least) one other possibility, namely that there is inter-subjective or even universal agreement about something being wrong.

The other thing is, even if there are “objective moral values” then how would we know whether eating babies is objectively wrong, this is now an epistemic question rather than just a moral question. If they want to claim this is brute fact then they need to justify why it is a brute fact.

I’d be loaded if a had a quid for every time you’ve asked that question, but still as poor as I am if I was relying on that same quid being paid out for every time ya got an answer…because that’s, like, never.

Great question. “Moses” going from historical figure to myth seems to have happened without too much fuss. Jesus going from “absolutely, positively a real person” to “sure, that’s possible, but there’s room for doubt” doesn’t seem to be that big a deal.

Good point – I agree that we need to distinguish Christ from Jesus. I’m talking about Jesus being mythological – the notion of Christ can certainly be considered mythological (which of course doesn’t mean it’s untrue). Those who say a bloke called Jesus, upon whose teachings and actions the Christian church was founded, didn’t actually exist need to account for how all those gospels and various other hugely influential things came about without the bloke. So far, they are still very much in marginal territory.

Those who say a bloke called Jesus, upon whose teachings and actions the Christian church was founded, didn’t actually exist need to account for how all those gospels and various other hugely influential things came about without the bloke.

You get my standard spiel here, those who make an ontological commitment have the burden of proof. Those who make the claim that Jesus definitely did exist are making such a commitment as are those who make the claim that he definitely did not exist.

The level of burden is different for those who simply state that the arguments and evidence of either of the above groups do not stand up to scrutiny, they have the weaker burden of showing why this is.

Well, the experts agree that the most Occam’s-razor explanation for the existence of gospels, the church, early Christian art etc is that there was a bloke called Jesus upon whom such things are based. To account for them by other means is a more extraordinary claim that requires evidence. So far none has been produced sufficient to convince the experts, nor stand up to serious scrutiny. I have a passing acquaintance with the history of the gents you mention (particularly Frumm, as I have had some reasonable experience with people in cargo cults in PNG). Not sure of the relevance to crank ideas not persuading the experts.

Well, the experts agree that the most Occam’s-razor explanation for the existence of gospels, the church, early Christian art etc is that there was a bloke called Jesus upon whom such things are based.

This would be a minimal, historical Jesus – a itinerant preacher from the apocalyptic tradition executed for sedition at the time of Passover by the Romans, no more than that.

Crank ideas? Well yes, I can understand that; a couple of people for which there is a reasonable literature but who didn’t exist. Unlike Jesus of course…

Is it Robert M. Price or someone else who argues that the “Black Madona’s” are actually Horus and Isis?

I hadn’t heard that before. A Black Madonna seems no less likely than the European Jesus portraits.

There is likely some influence, sure – like with all art, there is a network of influence – in this case via Hellenic mystery religions, which had their connections with Isis (that sounds funny saying that word today), and directly through Roman-era Egypt (from which lots of very cool artistic techniques, like egg tempura and icon-style portraiture were taken).

It is like it is all art. The Gospel of Mark appears to draw from literature. The epistles are drawing from the Septuagint.

The vast majority of the “experts” in this are also agree that the historical evidence indicates Jesus rose from the dead. There’s a problem in there somewhere.

That’s nothing remotely near true. The vast majority of experts would see the resurrection story as religious belief, not scholarship, and I doubt you’d find more than a small minority holding it as a belief.

Uhm. You’d be wrong. I don’t remember now who it was did a survey of biblical scholars. Something like 2/3rds of them work for institutions with faith statements, amounting to testifying to the ineranncy of scripture or faith in Jesus, etc. Bart Ehrman reckons something like 97% of those on his field are practicing Christian’s. They a priority hold that the resurrection is an historical fact by that alone. That’s a problem. It’s nothing like a small minority.

No, you’d be wrong. You may be looking just at the USA – the figures you quote are not remotely accurate for Europe.

Yeah, except the whole post is quotes of Biblical scholars. I’d suggest you be a little more curious about your own biases.

My biases are towards scholarship and expertise – so far, all I see is activist crankery behind the complex farfetched notions of “Jesus as myth” ideas. It’s an all-too-familiar view for those of us in academia – people thinking they have a whole great new idea to overturn expert consensus, but without the evidence to support them. Common as muck.

You may also wish to examine the situation of those who purport to be scholars claiming Jesus is fictional, such as the rabidly anti-religious activist dogmatic dude Richard Carrier.

You can’t call folks like Fr. Thomas Brodie and Tom Harpur “rabidly anti-religious. ” That dog won’t hunt.

I was referring to activist Richard Carrier. The other two didn’t venture into scholarly terrain and subject their claims to the rigours of peer review.

Oh please. Both are/were academics with the proper credentials. Not everything Ehrman publishes is peer reviewed either. Quit hiding.

What “situation” is that? This sounds like some veiled allusion to a compromised position, but I know of nothing like this about Carrier.

No not at all – it was the counterpart to dismissing the views of NT scholars based on their outlook.

No, it’s their arguments (not to mention the lack of arguments), plus the hypothetical evidence used to support the arguments, such as they are.

Yes, and arguments to the contrary have not persuaded UFOlogy experts that we are not visited by creatures from other planets.

The opinions of most NT scholars were not arrived at by arguments. They came to their opinion as children so their opinion is not based on scholarship. You are taking the set of all people who came to believe Jesus was a historical first century person, then selecting the subset from that set who became scholars, then you refine the definition to those scholars employed at accredited institutions to eliminate scholars who no longer accept that.

Can you still not name a single scholar who can support the historical Jesus with a rational argument from true premises?

UFOlogy is not an academic, scholarly discipline. If you can point to a better scholarly community in examining ancient New Testament history have at it – but I can’t see that a few marginal non-experts should be taken more seriously than a whole scholarly field.

I’d like to see you acknowledge that there are scholarly fields, and then there’s theology (or NT studies or religious studies or whatever they are). As anthropology, it’s valuable. As an evaluation of supernatural truth claims, it’s questionable. But this isn’t science.

New Testament studies (quite distinct from theology) is certainly a scholarly field. It’s not involved with evaluating supernatural truth claims. It’s not science, though it does involve science, but the idea that scholarship is limited to science is of course ridiculous (and the idea that science is superior to humanities is also ridiculous). My suggestion would be to explore some of the scholarly journals.

Christ mythicism need not restrict itself to New Testament studies – there are many journals in ancient history the writers could try in putting their work through the rigours of scholarship. So far, they’ve failed to do so.

New Testament studies (quite distinct from theology) is certainly a scholarly field. It’s not involved with evaluating supernatural truth claims.

It’s not? They don’t evaluate the strength of claims like “Jesus had a virgin birth” or “Jesus resurrected from the dead”?

I’m talking about science vs. religion (or New Testament studies or theology). For finding out about reality, “one of these things is not like the others.”

Christ mythicism need not restrict itself to New Testament studies – there are many journals in ancient history the writers could try in putting their work through the rigours of scholarship. So far, they’ve failed to do so.

I believe I asked you for examples of support for the historicity of Jesus in journals, books, whatever. Did you reply? I’ll see your point about the dearth of articles supporting “Jesus wasn’t definitely historical” when I see the mountain of articles supporting “Jesus was certainly historical.”

Those things are not part of theology – surely you would know that though? You gave the impression of having read at least a little in that field? The whole field of historical Jesus studies gives support for the consensus – I’ll leave you to dig into that large body of scholarly literature. It’s beside the point however – what I have been contending is not that historical Jesus studies are scholarly (though you’ll speedily find that they of course are, if you simply survey the scholarly literature and don’t come with a huge agenda). The mountain of articles awaits you – just use Jstor, Google Scholar or whatever floats your boat, searching with the term “historical Jesus”. My point however was that “Jesus mythicism” has not persuaded any scholarly community, and remains very untested – if you have some evidence to challenge that plain fact, have at it.

Now, how about agreeing with me for a change? The “scholarly consensus of NT scholars” includes far more than those at Yale and Harvard. Why is admitting the obvious bias within this field a problem for you?

The thing about the humanities…. theology…and history to a large extent too, it is based on a lot of opinion.

In the sciences, data can be looked at and an accurate deduction can be made from the same set data, regardless of which expert picks it up, wherever. Science is empirical. That can’t be said for the academic disciplines in the humanities. The humanities are speculative.

But even within humanities, history (for example) has a lot less inherent bias than theology. “Change that opinion or you’ll burn in hell!” isn’t a thing in history.

It is difficult to come up with another scholarly field that assumes its primary focus is true but throws up their hands when it comes to showing it is true. One scholar, Bart Ehrman, has made an effort to do it and found that nobody else has ever bothered but his proof relies on hypothetical documents, like Q, M, and L which assumes they were about Jesus and not some other figure. One of Ehrman’s most prominent students is a scholar who argues against the Q document.

The existence of Jesus has not been proved on a scholarly basis. Therefore, it is an unscholarly opinion. It is inappropriate to tout the unscholarly opinions of scholars.

History doesn’t work in proofs. You will need to account for the existence of many gospels, the Christian religion and other huge evidences for a historical bloke if you are going to get anywhere with your idea. So far, no one has convincingly accounted for the gospels and these other evidences for the bloke by demonstrating a fictional character is the trigger. It is seen as farfetched by historians, since the evidence and argument is lacking.

The gospel authors were trying to “improve” on the previous ones. They start out as unbelievable and go down hill from there.

That started out as peculiar readings of the Hebrew literature. The Jews thought they had a prophecy for the Messiah and thought he was coming during their lifetime. Paul did, too, as he often referred to those who would be alive when the Messiah showed up in the first person plural in more than one letter. None of the early epistles mention a preacher or a teacher, none mention Jesus being from Galilee, the only things they say about Jesus is found in the Old Testament. Paul is the only early epistle writer to mention the crucifixion but he shows his basis for that comes from Old Testament passages as shown in Galatians 3:6-14. Paul never says he met Jesus but he argues that his knowledge is not inferior to the other apostles, which is a good indication that he knew they never met Jesus either.

ITYM imaginary evidences. The extrabiblical evidence is evidence that there were Christians, and they didn’t meet Jesus either. They only knew him from the fictional gospels that were copied from one another.

Gospel Jesus is supposed to be Epistle Jesus but Epistle Jesus is imagined from imaginary prophecies from the Old Testament.

It’s not imaginary evidence – the gospels are purportedly history. Your arguments accounting for their writing has not persuaded the historian experts. Your reasoning for the work not standing up to scholarly scrutiny is about as convincing as the climate deniers dodging their need to substantiate their claims by dismissing climate scientists as simply biased environmental activists.

If you look at the UFO claimants they never start from questioning whether UFOs are alien carrying spaceships, instead they start by asking why these things are here, where they came from, what propulsions systems they have etc.

It’s a misleading comparison, because history actually is a scholarly discipline, and historians have not been impressed by the arguments of those asserting the notion that Jesus was fictional.

historians have not been impressed by the arguments of those asserting the notion that Jesus was fictional

How many people assert that Jesus was definitively fictional? How many claim that the best we can do is assign a probability to the existence of Jesus?

Think of another minor figure in history, say Diogenes of Sinope as an example. Do historians claim that he definitively existed or do claim that the best we can do is assign a probability to his existence?

All history is a set of probabilities. Those who swing towards a fictional Jesus have not yet persuaded the scholarly community. If they do, I’ll take them seriously. Not until then. To do otherwise is mere speculation and imprudent, unless you really know what you’re talking about.

Are there those who “swing towards a fictional Jesus” or are there those who wish to point out that there are alternative hypotheses that should be given some weight along with the idea of a historical Jesus?

There’s nothing certain in history. In fact the only place you can really talk about certainty is in maths. The alternative hypotheses – well sure, and I’ll take them seriously once they’ve been thoroughly tested and convinced those who know the field properly – just as I wouldn’t take medications that were not tested properly.

The alternative hypotheses – well sure, and I’ll take them seriously once they’ve been thoroughly tested

It’s been through a huge amount of peer review, so you’re going to need to overturn that if you are going to get anywhere with this idea of a fictional Jesus.

Not at all – the list of peer-reviewed papers dealing with the historical Jesus is very long. I don’t have time to list them for you – go and search Jstor, Web of Science, Google Scholar or whatever. It doesn’t bother me if you don’t, but I don’t have all day for this. Jesus mythicism is simply untested, non-scholarly stuff at this point. Historical Jesus studies is an established focus of research with many, many peer-reviewed journal articles. Don’t believe me? Fine. But you can check for yourself.

Not at all – the list of peer-reviewed papers dealing with the historical Jesus is very long. I don’t have time to list them for you

Like I said, I’m not trying to make a case – I simply note that the notion of Jesus being fictional has failed thus far in the world of scholarship. If things change, and the scholarly community is convinced, I’ll listen. Until then, it’s staying on the huge pile of crank ideas that I don’t have time for.

But the list of papers, books, or articles, peer reviewed or not, is one, and it relies on seven pieces of evidence, six of which are hypothetical and based on the assumption that Jesus existed. The seventh can be shown to be mostly fiction and based on literature that has nothing to do with Jesus.

Wow, you really are unfamiliar with ancient history process aren’t you? Do you realise how amazing it is that we even have that? You realise don’t you that these documents have to survive thousands of years? You realise that almost no one in ancient history has more than a few scraps referring to them? Get to know the humanities and stop holding forth when you haven’t done the reading. It’s not persuasive at all, which is why I’ll stick with the experts over marginal nonsense such as you’re trying to force down our throats.

It is not the lack of evidence that is the issue. It is that we can determine that Mark wrote his gospel using other documents and the stories are fiction. The other gospels use those fictions because they didn’t have any better information. The epistles are about an invented prophecy of a coming Messiah. That is how we can know it is fiction.

Historians don’t agree. You will find you will have trouble citing non-fringe historians to support such claims.

You are still pushing the peer review angle. We have established that the consensus of peer reviewed literature on the subject of the existence of Jesus is that he did not exist.

Like nearly all Jesus historists, you assume that Jesus existed, you assume that Jesus’ existence has been demonstrated, and you assume that Jesus’ existence can be demonstrated. But for more than a week, you have made claims and hand-waved without producing a single thing in support of the proposition. The only attempt to do it was Ehrman’s book, that was not peer reviewed, that requires lots of hypothetical evidence to make the case.

Put up or shut up. Provide some article or book, peer reviewed or not, that makes the case that Jesus existed using established historical methodology and evidence. Show it or admit to yourself that it has never been done. Or keep coming back with empty claims that proves our position that there is no reason to believe Jesus actually existed.

Oh and it’s a big stretch to imply that Jesus was somehow “minor”. It’s hard to think of anyone more influential in the world.

Jesus is certainly more influential than Siddhartha or Mohammed, as influential as those two gents were. it’s Jesus’ influence via Christianity, and via the Christ figure (which I agree is distinct).

And you will certainly need to provide evidence to support your claim that NT scholarship is dominated by people who made up their minds in childhood. And it’s not that I can’t name a single scholar – I named a whole field. I’m not here to get into the arguments about evidence etc – I am claiming that mythicist notions have not convinced the most reliable experts, because they have not produced convincing evidence that the gospels, origin of the Christian church and other huge evidence arose from fictional stories – that is so very farfetched as to need some very good evidence. So far none has been forthcoming that withstands serious scrutiny, and the whole field of Christ mythicism is in the same category as anti-vax, creationism and climate denial. Historians remain unimpressed, since the evidence for mythicism hasn’t been produced.

And you will certainly need to provide evidence to support your claim that NT scholarship is dominated by people who made up their minds in childhood.

Of the scholars I have read who discuss their entry into New Testament studies, were Christians in high school which was the basis for their entry into the field. Some learned that the scholarship did not agree with what they learned in high school. Do you really doubt that the vast majority of students who went on to graduate school to pursue New Testament studies were anything but Christians from the get-go?

The question is whether they can support the historical Jesus with a rational argument from true premises. You can only point to a whole field that cannot do that. One scholar tried but had to rely on hypothetical documents that are hypothetically about the historical Jesus.

I’m not here to get into the arguments about evidence etc – I am claiming that mythicist notions have not convinced the most reliable experts, because they have not produced convincing evidence that the gospels, origin of the Christian church and other huge evidence arose from fictional stories – that is so very farfetched as to need some very good evidence.

The experts’ opinions are not reliable on this subject because it is not based on actual evidence. They rely on stories as evidence. The chain of events you refer to is based on the assumption that there was a real Jesus. But if the early Christians were believing the same things the Jews were about a Messiah coming during their lifetimes because of what they read in the Old Testament, and a fictional story was written after the war, everything is explained exactly the same way.

So far none has been forthcoming that withstands serious scrutiny, and the whole field of Christ mythicism is in the same category as anti-vax, creationism and climate denial.

That is not even close to true. What scrutiny has been applied to Jesus mythicism besides attacking some low-hanging fruit? The Jesus crowd has the same evidence as the anti-vax, creationism, and climate denial crowds, and the same failure to make a sound logical case from the evidence.

Now you are shifting the burden of proof. The Jesus crowd has had nearly two thousand years to come up with a reasonable argument, yet they have always just assumed that Jesus was real. When you apply actual historical methods to Jesus, you don’t get a historical Jesus.

No I’m not shifting the burden of proof at all – you need to account for the existence of the gospels and the church, purportedly founded on a historical bloke. The burden of proof is very clearly on those giving an alternative explanation for such artefacts.

The churches were established by Paul and other apostles. There are no records about Jesus starting churches. That is a red herring. It does not help at all for a substitute for a historical Jesus.

The gospels are fictional stories. I have given you a link to Robert M. Price’s compilation of scholarly work by scholars who accept Jesus as historical where they identify the sources used by Mark. Price just aligned all their studies to show that almost all of Mark is accounted for and most of the material is not about Jesus at all. Here is the link again:

It is very thorough. It is the heart of his book The Christ Myth Theory and Its Problems so there is a lot of reading there. The sayings at the end of chapter 3 to near the end of chapter 4 are about the only things not covered, besides Jesus going here and there to do something fictional.

Since the other three canonized gospels also tell stories that Mark made up, they used Mark as their source, so they are fiction, too. Many of the topics Jesus preaches in Matthew can be found in the Epistle of James. But James’ arguments would have been stronger if he could have put “Jesus said” with them. But James mentions Jesus twice but not as an earthly being.

The early epistles never mention a first century Jesus, they only tell about him in Old Testament quotes and allusions. They don’t seem to know about the character except what they read in already centuries old texts.

Churches and gospels are not evidence for Jesus. They are evidence of Christians who were still expecting a Messiah. What else do you have?

Test your assertions by publishing in history journals and going through the rigours of peer review. What I have is that historians have not accepted Jesus mythicist assertions – I’ll stick with the experts.

Is the scarab that pushes the sun across the sky based on a historical dung beetle, a mythical dung beetle, or the general concept of dung beetles?

The scholarly consensus about the history contained within the Gospels is that there is no consensus. Literally everything is contested.

Basically, this argument reminds me of Willian Lane Craigs argument about Plantinga’s 25 arguments for God. “Individually they fail, but put together they make a convincing case.” Well, actually, they don’t. Basically, what is being said here, is that there isn’t anything, nothing, zero, that we can say about any historical Jesus with any means of certainty, but we’re certainly sure he existed. It’s interesting. I wonder, is there any other figure that this can be said of?

The Gospels are fiction. There is nothing in them that requires an historical figure for grounding. Nearly everything in them is a retelling of an OT story or of an Homeric episode. This has been amply demonstrated. When you strip away the fiction, and the things that aren’t historically plausible in the least. What you’re left with is nothing.

Fiction? No – ancient literature. You’d have to be off your rocker (or new to the field) to expect clear-cut certainty when dealing with ancient literature. And no, you’re certainly not left with nothing. I’d suggest reading the fascinating scholarly literature and let go of dogma – it’s so boring.

Ancient literature included quite a lot of fiction about Gods, no? Or are you going to take the view of Justin Marytr that Hercules is as historical as Jesus?

Mate, I’m not getting into any of this – when the notion of fictional Jesus persuades scholars, I’ll listen. Life is too short to go down every fantastic little bit of crankery that people dream up – I go with scholarly expertise. Historians are not impressed with fictional Jesus ideas and neither am I.

That’s the thing dude, there isn’t any crankery. What we’re doing is putting the fantastical Jesus stories in the same light as any other fantastical stories from the Ancient world. They’re fiction. Sure, they may be fiction with a purpose. But they’re fiction. At one point I thought like you. Then I actually interacted with Biblical scholars, on Patheos and elsewhere. They never ask the question “Is this Fiction.” The question they ask is “What part of this could be historical.” Try that with Gone with the Wind and you wind up with a “minimal historical” Rhett Butler. Try it with Louis Lamour and you wind up with a band of roving Sacketts. “Historians” have universally NOT written about the Historical Jesus, or probabilities or proofs thereof. None other than Bart Ehrman flatly states this. I can provide quotes by other Biblical scholars stating that absolutely nothing about the “Historical” Jesus is not contested. Nothing. Nada. Zip. These are not rabbit holes. This is not crankery. This is your “scholars” in the field stating this. It’s not crankery to notice that the Jesus stories are 100% based on OT allusions or Homeric episodes. There is nothing left to be original. The scholarly community actually points this out. So, what we’re left with, is the “minimal historical Jesus” who was a walking around preacher who managed to get himself crucified by the Romans at a time period where there are no recorded crucifixions by a dude who would have just as soon beheaded the whole group and be done with it. None of the Gospel story makes sense with what we know of the actors historically from other sources. The entire story is fiction. Is there an Historical core? If there is NONE of your scholars can agree on it.

How to Tell If a Saying Attributed to Jesus Is Authentic. Is the saying repeated similarly by other sources?   Yes: The saying is authentic by the Criterion of Multiple Attestation.   No: Is the meaning of the saying altered in later sources?     Yes: The earlier version of the saying is authentic by the Criterion of Embarrassment.     No: Is it possible that the saying could have been translated from Aramaic?       Yes: The saying is authentic by the Criterion of Aramaicisms.       No: Is the saying similar to first century Jewish thought?         Yes: The saying is authentic by the Criterion of Historical Plausibility.         No: Does the saying fit well with later Christian thought?           Yes: The saying is authentic by the Criterion of Coherence.           No: The saying is authentic by the Criterion of Double Dissimilarity.

Just give me a paper or the argument from the paper that shows Jesus existed. Why is that so hard for you to do? I know the answer to that but you need to come to grips with it. You should take your complaint to the scholars that they haven’t done their due diligence..

That’s according to you – but I’ll stick with them. If you’re not convinced, that’s your issue – I am not going to bother. If you have an argument to change the views of professional historians, have at it by publishing in the peer-reviewed lit. I will form my opinions from what experts filter. They have filtered out what you’re selling dude.

The experts haven’t filtered it. They assume it. You know they haven’t filtered it or you would have shown where they did instead of continuously hand-waving.

Nonsense- I’ve done no such thing. I pointed you to the scholarship. Now quit this denial and face facts – your pet theory has not made any headway with scholars. If you think you have something, publish it. Don’t bother me with it.

I had no squirrel. .I just stick to the facts. Your pet hypothesis is in the dust with no one to take it seriously, apart from internet addicts who don’t check scholarly literature.

The fact that you’re so attached to a fringe hypothesis that academia has no regard for indicates that you have some agenda.

You began with the belief that NT scholars approached a certainty that Jesus existed. Now you understand that they have never done that. But you are going to believe them anyway.

I didn’t have such a belief – I pointed out the fact that assertions that Jesus was fictional have not been tested in any serious scholarly community. If you want to challenge that plain fact, you’ll need a lot of evidence to support you.

Carrier concludes with an appeal to the community of scholars to disprove him: “the ball is now in your court.”

If you strip out the supernatural events from Mark as a historian would, you are left with somebody going around doing unremarkable things and spouting Cynic/Stoic philosophy. If you strip out the parts that appear to be based on the literature of the day, you are left with a pointless travel itinerary.

If Plantinga had one argument that proved God’s existence, WLC would tout that one, so we know that he knows that none of them do prove God’s existence. The weight of two dozen or so failed arguments for God are good evidence that the theist position is hollow.

But they are assuming that Jesus existed without showing it. It’s like calculating the trajectory of a cow jumping over the moon without showing that it is possible for a cow to jump over the moon or that one ever did.

You really haven’t rad scholarship in ancient history have you? Before spouting further you need to do your homework

It is obvious that you have not read historical Jesus scholarship or you wouldn’t have touted it as having anything to do with the issue of whether Jesus existed. The only thing they agree on is that Jesus existed but it is the one thing they haven’t tried to show or even question.

Why is scholarship so afraid of this? Why haven’t they just worked it out? Why do you keep pretending that they have?

I have read quite a deal of it, which is why I’m not buying what you’re selling, and neither are professional historians. I am not pretending anything, and am thoroughly unconvinced by your games. Read the journal dedicated to the issue as a starting point (Journal for the study of the historical Jesus)- I’ve given you many references, and won’t be playing your games any more mate. You’re barking up the wrong tree by touting crankery.

I looked at the titles at a site with every volume. None of them are about showing that Jesus actually existed. They assume that and work from there. That is the best you can do. I told you that at the beginning but you kept insisting that they have it. I do not care whether you believe it or whether they do. It just seems like a big step to skip over. If you are just going to take it on faith, why bother arguing with anybody about it?

Oh but of course nothing in history is certain – it’s all probabilities, particularly the further back you go.

The first and second century history of the Roman Empire is the best documented era in ancient history, thanks to Christianity. But they didn’t preserve anything about Jesus actually existing, only literature that appears to have been the basis for the fiction of the gospels.

To call it fiction is just farfetched and convoluted – a much more probable reason for the existence of those writings is that they are based in some part on historical events, mixed with legend, as is normal for historical writings of the time. You have a great deal of work to do to convince careful scholars that an explanation via fiction is at all probable, which is why no one has yet succeeded in being persuasive to professional historians.

Scholars did a lot of work identifying the sources for the Gospel of Mark. They did so much work, that the vast majority of the gospel comes from those sources which were not about Jesus. Mark’s Jesus does the fictional deeds of Odysseus and Telemauchus.

They are not professional historians, they are professional New Testament scholars who might be wannabe historians. If they admit that Jesus wasn’t real, they are scholars of ancient literature and myths.

Which professional historians are persuaded that Jesus was fictional? Not wannabe ones like Richard Carrier, with his extremely dogmatic agenda (and who have not persuaded historians).

How do you know this? How do we know they didn’t go the way of the Q document, the M sources, the L sources, the sayings sources, the passion narratives, or protoThomas that are used as evidence for a historical Jesus?

If you are going to argue that Jesus was historical, you must allow that there may have been documentation of a historical Dionysus, lest your argument turn into special pleading for Jesus.

And you last sentence certainly needs substantiating, since the historians disagree with you. What evidence do you have to support your claim?

And you last sentence certainly needs substantiating, since the historians disagree with you. What evidence do you have to support your claim?

I think you mean: “When you apply actual historical methods to Jesus, you don’t get a historical Jesus.”

If it was possible to do, surely it would have been done by now. I offer the complete lack of it being done.

Have you ever noticed that when scholars do biographies of Jesus, the person of Jesus is more like the author than the next author’s Jesus?

It has been done a great deal – you need to go and get reading in the scholarly literature. Start perhaps with the journal Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus.

You have done a great deal of hand-waving. You have not produced a single thing that argues for the historical Jesus, only things that assume he existed. You liken the mythicists to anti-vax, YECs, and such but you can’t show a single article to support the actual existence of Jesus, which makes the studies of a histrical Jesus more akin to anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers.

No mate, that would be you. The fact is as clear as night from day that the scholarly community takes a very dim view of the notion that Jesus is fictional. No matter how much you jump up and down, you can’t change that fact .Sorry it’s so upsetting to you apparently – but you’ll need to deal with reality and accept that your treasured hypothesis hasn’t gotten anywhere, and you are indeed in the anti-vax and flat-earth category at this point. I’ll stick with historians and dismiss your assertions as fringe crankery until such time as they are tested and convince historians.

No mate, that would be you. The fact is as clear as night from day that the scholarly community takes a very dim view of the notion that Jesus is fictional.

Of course they do. What would they do if they didn’t? They would be out of work if they did it individually, and they would be out of work if they did it collectively.

You have still presented less evidence for the existence of Jesus than a flat earther does for his case.

How about when you ask an actual Biblical scholar that very question he says “Why would we do that?”

I’m sure I’m very dense, but I can easily smell a rat, such as when a fringe idea is not yet accepted by historians as it has not passed through the rigour of peer review.

“That is not even close to true” – I think it’s very true. What Jesus mythicist writing has subjected itself to the rigours of scholarly scrutiny? It’s up to the writers to convince the scholarly community – that has not happened yet

I think it’s very true. What Jesus mythicist writing has subjected itself to the rigours of scholarly scrutiny?

That is a different question. Richard Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt and Raphael Lataster’s review of Carrier’s book were both peer reviewed.

So there are more peer reviewed writings on Jesus mythicism than there are peer reviewed writings on Jesus historicity.

So then we could say the consensus of the peer reviewed literature is against the historicity of Jesus?

Remember Bob did a piece on Habermas’ dubious consensus on the resurrection. A secret set of data no one could check.

Silly Gary, Don’t Claim to Accept Majority Scholarly Opinion when you Reject the Historicity of the Empty Tomb

They may have been peer reviewed (so is Richard Lindzen), but that doesn’t mean the ideas have persuaded the scholarly community (including historians – ie, not just NT studies).. There are way, way, way more peer-reviewed writings on the historical Jesus than mythicism – surely you can’t be serious in your claim. Go and survey the literature.

Best to go and look up “historical Jesus” in Google Scholar, Jstor, web of science etc.. There are many hundreds (probably thousands) of peer-reviewed journal articles. There is even a dedicated peer-reviewed journal on the topic (Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus).

There are way, way, way more peer-reviewed writings on the historical Jesus than mythicism – surely you can’t be serious in your claim. Go and survey the literature.

I have surveyed the literature. There are no peer reviewed studies on the historicity of Jesus, they only assume it. Ehrman wrote an un-peer-reviewed book on the topic and during his research, he found that nobody had ever done in the previous 19 centuries.

Why don’t you go survey the literature and let me know if I missed something. That is all I have been asking for you to do.

Lindzen is a climate contrarian who is peer reviewed, but has not managed to persuade climate scientists enough to challenge the consensus. That was my point. I think you’ll find you’re mistaken about peer review and historical Jesus. There is even an entire peer-reviewed journal on the topic (Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus). If Ehrman is claiming that, he’s simply mistaken. I did send a survey book of the lit, so off you go and get busy with that.

I understood your Lindzen reference. I knew he was a climate change denier. Still, I searched to make sure there wasn’t another person by that name who was a scholar relevant to this discussion. The reference works against you though because Lindzen has produced more peer reviewed articles on climate change than the NT scholars have produced on showing Jesus actually existed.

I checked out for the journal you mentioned. I checked the tittles for the first five years, figuring they might start with that but I only saw article titles that appear to assume the historical Jesus. I also checked the last three years. I saw articles I am familiar with. But they are $26 per article so I am not buying them.

One article is by Mark Goodacre and disputes the existence of Q, which undercuts Ehrman’s argument for the existence of Jesus. I have seen his arguments and they are persuasive.

If you are going to tout a journal, please cite a specific article that is germain to the issue. Every title I saw about the historical Jesus appears to start with the assumption that Jesus was real.

Utter nonsense of course – why would you go about denying the raw fact that there are thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles addressing the historical Jesus? Stop parading such abject denial and actually go and do some reading – you’re not fooling anyone..

They do not establish that the basic fact of existence is true or likely true. It is an assumption. They talk about how it is plausible for Jesus to have done something on the assumption he existed.

if there was some other typo going on we’ll charitably assume this is research of which your wife would not disapprove.

A good list of those critiquing Carrier on this, and his response, is at…

Instead of arguing against Carrier’s arguments, wouldn’t it have been simpler just to provide an argument from evidence that leads to Jesus’ existence? I guess not.

The mythicist position should be moot, not just a wee bit moot….well and truly moot…funny how it isn’t. And the argument is a lot of pish.

And you will certainly need to provide evidence to support your claim that NT scholarship is dominated by people who made up their minds in childhood.

Reading Professor Bauerlein’s important recent post on the “Haidt speech” I found myself quickly drawing parallels with the predicament of atheist scholars in biblical studies. Maybe too quickly.

“Show of hands: Who here’s an atheist?” If a keynote speaker were to pose that unlikely query to an audience of 1,000 scholars gathered at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature my guess is only about a couple of dozen or so would publicly confess to infidelity.

Nonbelievers are few and far between in biblical scholarship. Not counting the theologians employed by seminaries who have yet to come out of the closet, the cohort is so small that we literally all know one another by name.

Where have I been dishonest? Where have serious historians (and we are not talking only about biblical literature experts, but also historians who deal with the Hellenistic near east of 2000 years ago) been impressed by the argument that Jesus was fictional? The burden of proof is on those wishing to assert such a farfetched notion as a means of explaining the gospels as purely fiction.

Either the scholars have never made their case or you are as incapable as Bart Ehrman and I at finding such a piece of research.

Put up or shut up. The more you claim there is a case for the existence of Jesus without producing it, the more pathetic your case looks.

No mate, it’s your assertion that hasn’t been tested .That’s why I dismiss it. Fictional Jesus is still, at this point, crankery. It’s far more convoluted than the standard historical practice of finding some historical kernel to ancient chronicles. When you’ve come up with reason to abandon that and suppose this purported history is just all made up, and convinced the scholars, I’ll listen.. Until then, it’s not worth my time.

Read his last comment, see what you sidestepped, and go back and address it. Your position isn’t completely insane, but you do at least have to respond head-on to objections made to it.

Unwilling – no sidestepping, it’s just like arguing with creationists. They inevitably have not bothered to do the reading. There seems to be some massive agenda, like that if they can somehow prove that Jesus didn’t exist, that nasty Christianity will vanish in a puff of smoke. Ain’t gonna happen – even if the mythicists finally did make a compelling case, Christianity wouldn’t be impaired, as it relies on a historical Jesus about as much as Buddhism relies on a historical Siddhartha. “Your position isn’t completely insane” – hahaha – that’s so rich coming from people arguing against a scholarly consensus with the equivalent of climate change denialism. Sheesh dude, do you ever look in the mirror?

To say that Jesus is a plausible figure is thus merely to say the following: (1) His description fits the historical matrix from which it comes; (2) Allowing only for the credulity of writers and listeners of the time, there is nothing especially surprising about this description that would cause us to conclude it is fabricated or composed from assorted myths and legends, and (c) Lacking any positive grounds for thinking that the figure was invented through the fraudulence or malice of legend-spinners, it is more economical to think that it is a story (not an historical record) based upon the life and work of an historical individual.

We do have evidence that the gospel Jesus was invented. You have been presented the evidence several times.

There seems to be some massive agenda, like that if they can somehow prove that Jesus didn’t exist, that nasty Christianity will vanish in a puff of smoke. Ain’t gonna happen

even if the mythicists finally did make a compelling case, Christianity wouldn’t be impaired, as it relies on a historical Jesus about as much as Buddhism relies on a historical Siddhartha.

Some apologists make a big deal about the historical grounding of their arguments. They’re in a minority, but let’s appreciate that Christianity is a big tent.

“Your position isn’t completely insane” – hahaha – that’s so rich coming from people arguing against a scholarly consensus with the equivalent of climate change denialism.

Who said it would. Certainly not me. I have little use for the Christ myth theology. Your words verbatim. I’m a learning Christian. I’m not theologian. You’re only here to ridicule and harass any Christians belief. Go ridicule someone else,I’m not going to play your game.

You’re only here to ridicule and harass any Christians belief. Go ridicule someone else,I’m not going to play your game.

I can’t imagine what game you think I’m playing, but if you don’t like it here, take your ball and go home. I’m already home.

You seem to be using an idiom you don’t understand the meaning of…that’s no surprise of course.

You people remind me of the friendly atheist blog, there’s is absolutely nothing friendly about them and they attack in large numbers just like all of you. MR Clint W Ignorant Amos Bob Siedensticker HairyEyedWordBombThrower Pofarmer Tommy Epeeist Bones And Black Mamba44 There’s probably a few others. Catch you on the flip side, bye.

Another Christian that missed their schooling when it was reading for comprehension. Perhaps that’s why so many of you can’t, or won’t, read the Buybull.

Christian’s are coming to terms with this, and for some, it doesn’t matter, but eventually, it will. Christianity will morph into something else…like Messianic Judaism did to become Christianity. Or it will fizzle out…or another religion will overrun it. Maybe non-religion will overrun it…but it will go.

Of course Paul isn’t talking about a “raised” like most Christians believe, but that’s not relevant here.

Your religion will go the way all religions have invariably gone. Some have more lasting power than others, but longevity is no affirmation of veracity. There are religions today that have been about a lot longer than the Christianity’s, they’ll all go too, eventually.

Nope…that’s me. Bob is writing articles that shows the inherent problems with Christianity, why not pick one, read it, and give us all your thoughts on the problem he writes about…wouldn’t that be more interesting for a “learning Christian”? Ya never know, you might even learn something.

When ya enter an open forum and start whinging, you are fair game for mockery and ridicule. When you pick on the forums owner and moderator, you’re an idiot.

Oh my the grammar police are after me, run for your lives……. Your master Satan will like that. He’s taught you well.

You quoted Bob correctly but you didn’t comprehend what the words meant. That is why IA said you had a comprehension problem. He did not say there was a problem with the grammar. “Christ Myth theory” is not what you seem to think it is.

I grammar policed you when you started calling people “to intelligent” sarcastically, after the second time you spelled the first book of the New Testament as “Mathew”.

Dear grammar police. Mathew or Matthew does NOT matter. You knew exactly what I was referring too. You all get your jolly’s by belittling people over the slightest little error. Sin is not an error. It can cause eternal torment.

It was a repeated error while you were trying to belittle someone else. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it.

Do you expect to be taken seriously? Say something intelligent. You haven’t said anything interesting.

Ridicule me to your hearts content, enjoy yourselves. The best have tried and failed. Do you want to have a conversation or just nitpick every word and phrase. ‘ Christ myth theory ‘ only comes across one way to a Christian. You consider Christ to be a myth and a theory. Which most Christians don’t take lightly. Does that phrase mean what it implies?

Everyone here is mean to you. Your favorite verse says that, because of your deep, deep love of Jesus, everyone will be mean to you. Therefore, you’re doing it just like Jesus wanted.

You’re forgetting that there are other ways of making people hate you. You’re a dick, and that’s why people are mean to you. We don’t care whether you’re in love with Jesus or not.

Bob, I think you should restrict your blog as Neil Carter does. It is a waste of time arguing with Christians.

There could be lurkers who are on the fence…or making the transition from believe to non-belief. This sort of stuff can show them how ridiculous these eejits actually are, and how daft there position is, helping their transition on the way.

Engaging with the chew toy is not an exercise in changing their ingrained beliefs, but others here learn stuff, and it hones the skills of the the likes of myself, while enjoying the craic in doing so.

My goal from the start has been to engage thoughtful Christians. You might be saying that that’s a fool’s errand. And you might be right. Let me know if you have suggestions to better reach that goal.

I don’t mean that your goal is a fool’s errand. I admire atheists trying to engage with religious people. I think it is a noble goal.

I just think that it is a waste of time because many religious people cannot separate science and poetry. It may sound strange to you. My position comes from the fact that I am religious. I am not a Christian, but I have a spiritual view. Like many people, my mind splits between what is scientific and what is poetry. These two aspects exist in me at the same time. They don’t dominate each other. That is why I am able to stand atheists ridicule religious beliefs because my belief is not something that can be proven with scientific facts (not at the moment). More importantly, my belief does not say anything about cosmology or biology. It is simply my contemplative philosophy. Therefore, I have not been offended with ridicule. Supposedly I am still a devout Buddhist, I won’t still be offended because Buddhism doesn’t care about where the universe comes from or how we get here.

With Christians or Muslims, it is completely a different story. Their worldview is totalitarian. They have to keep reconciling science and their faith. Very few can compartmentalize two subjects. Therefore, I think arguing with them is a waste of time. You see how defensive Christians in your blog are.

Science teaches cosmology. Religion explains it. Science explains ethics. Religion teaches it. Science is neutral about humanity. Religion confirms it or denies it (such as Abrahamic religions)

These two areas can never cross. Otherwise, you can see what is going in our country and around the world.

I just think that it is a waste of time because many religious people cannot separate science and poetry.

It may sound strange to you. My position comes from the fact that I am religious. I am not a Christian, but I have a spiritual view.

So you are a sectarian bigot? Bob should restrict his blog when it comes to those of a particular religion, but not include you? Get this, Bob’s blog is specifically focused on Christianity and Christians.

Try reading Richard Dawkins Unweaving the Rainbow for an idea how a lot of atheist think on these issues.

That is why I am able to stand atheists ridicule religious beliefs because my belief is not something that can be proven with scientific facts (not at the moment).

Supposedly I am still a devout Buddhist, I won’t still be offended because Buddhism doesn’t care about where the universe comes from or how we get here.

That’s nice for ya…but why do you think it is relevant on this board? Some would say that Buddhism isn’t a religion, particularly the way you describe your version.

Well you have to think why an atheist would be kicking back against those two…here’s a hint, the clue is in your comment.

Nope. Quite the contrary, that is exactly the problem, too many of them compartmentalize the two in order to avoid cognitive dissonance.

This blog explores intellectual arguments in favor of Christianity (Christian apologetics) from an atheist perspective and critiques Christianity’s actions in society.

If Christians said to me, “Look, I just believe, OK? Leave me alone” then I’d leave them alone. I’m only eager to engage when they either (1) say that their views are well-grounded in evidence and reason, and if I only looked at them with an open mind, I’d believe, too or (2) attack the separation of church and state so that their religious views dribble over to attack society.

Christians deconvert all the time. Not in large numbers, of course, and often not overtly. But even though you’re right that they have a lot that prevents their intellectual freedom to move on, I’d like to be part of the conversation. Keep in mind that the primary audience is the lurkers, not the obstinate Christian who I’m arguing with at the moment.

Further, “Christianity” is an enormous tent, with 45,000 denominations. The argument that will go over one Christian’s head will be obnoxious to a second Christian but might be intriguing to a third.

Yes I know you don’t care. And anyone who does care about Jesus and shows it to all of you is a Richard.

I tried to leave here quietly a couple of days ago. When I said I’ll see you on the flip side. Leaving Quietly isn’t allowed on this channel. They don’t allow it on Formerly Fundie either. There’s always someone who wants to make a Christianl look like a fool before they leave. Just for coming on there channel.

The fool who fancies he is full of wisdom While he sits by his hearth at home. Quickly finds when questioned by others . That he knows nothing at all.

The ignorant booby had best be silent When he moves among other men, No one will know what a nit-wit he is Until he begins to talk; No one knows less what a nit-wit he is Than the man who talks too much.

To ask well, to answer rightly, Are the marks of a wise man: Men must speak of men’s deeds, What happens may not be hidden.

Wise is he not who is never silent, Mouthing meaningless words: A glib tongue that goes on chattering Sings to its own harm.

Do ya think maybe it was the same person that bent his arm up his back and forced him to come here and comment in the first place?

A real fuckwits fanboy then…that sorta figures…he seems too dumb a fuck to make a point or think for himself.

Back in the day, the gene pool would’ve been protected from these eejits…the species is doomed if idiocracy prevails.

I tried to leave Formerly Fundie and you and another character called JD harassed me for over a week. I hadn’t heard from any of you for over a month and Mr. Pompous JD started harassing me again, I guess he was bored.

What did you mean by that? Because as far as I can tell, it means I’ll see you some time later, not the I’m leaving here quietly.

More lies and balderdash. No one is forcing you to reply to anything, but if ya think ya can just pitch up here and surface lay shit mines and then tootle on to Croydon and think that no one has the right to contest your fuckwittery, yer living in cloud cuckoo land. Try wising ta fuck up…at least a wee bit.

No, “Leaving Quietly” is very much encouraged at this blog. If you’re having a hard time finding the door, I can call the bouncer. No trouble.

The eejit doesn’t even realize that no one needs to try and make a fool of him…he did that just dandy enough all by his lonesome self.

I have this tendency to stay when pompous people keep ridiculing me. They want me to leave, but they don’t have the consideration to leave me alone when I do leave. I wonder why?

We don’t care about who cares about Jesus. Most of us are surrounded by folk who say they care about Jesus. We get it crammed down our throats at every hands turn. What we care about is what is real, factual, rational…that sort of thing. Your belief might be real to you, but that says fuck all. A Muslims belief, a Hindus belief, a Mormons belif, the whole kit and caboodle of believers beliefs are real to them too…what we care about is what you can demonstrate about that belief and so far it has been fuck all. That’s why ya get mocked and ridiculed…come here and start spewing unsubstantiated bullshite and you need to be prepared to be slated on it. Give us something to get our teeth into why don’t ya? Oh, that’s right, like every other religious fuckwit, ya can’t…it’s a lot of navel gazing.

Unfortunately, DMS was asked to leave for being a useless time waster. But perhaps you’re a little more thoughtful? You’re welcome to share the best argument(s) or evidence you have for Christianity.

I was just thinking of popcorn, but it doesn’t surprise me that you’re more sophisticated than me.

Have you noticed the dark gray rectangle with “Mod” in it after his name? That means he is the moderator I am afraid.

It means “Moderator”. If the moderator says he banned somebody, you should believe it. DMS admits that he finally figured out that he was banned.

Bob is patient with the banning option. This person hasn’t made any posts that favor not banning him though.

D.M.S. D.M.S. 5 hours ago I just saw where he did ban me. My replies will register on his forum for me to read. But no one else can see them.

You’ve squandered your opportunity here to do something useful. So I guess you’re yet another Christian who wants to prance around to impress Jesus that you’re annoying atheists online, just like he commanded in the gospels. I believe that was the “Not Particularly Great Commission.”

Oh dear despite me apologizing to you your bruised ego cannot take the fact that not all of us believe what you say without facts. Ironic considering you want evidence all the time. So sad

Oh dear you have no idea that you’re at an atheist blog where the currency is intellectual discussion. And your wallet’s empty.

OK, thanks for that. But again, reconsider your focus. You just want to chew the fat here? Or do you have anything interesting to offer in the way of an argument for Christianity?

There is only one moderator of this blog. Why would you argue such a thing with the one and only moderator?

He was wrong about not being banned. He actually was. He lied to you that he had left as he has continued to post, though the posts didn’t show up.

1. Concede that you were wrong and gain some respect for the admission. 2. Move on and start an interesting discussion. 3. Continuing to defend his mistakes and lies now will make you complicit. 4. Slink away.

You’re just here to talk about someone who was banned for not having no good arguments or evidence and who failed to engage in any substantive way?

What dishonesty. Bob warned him he should cut the abuse and engage or he would be banned, then told him “Buh-bye” when he banned him.

The evidence I had at the time made me think he was not banned and I believe people are innocent until guilty

I use some Disqus code that shows the beginning of the most recent posts to a given blog. I could see his posts appearing in the recent comments but not posting to the blogs so I knew he had been banned somehow, though I didn’t know that is what a shadow ban was.

Maybe ya should show destroyer how the system of banning works…he can then claim to have left of his own accord.

You misunderstood, sir. Bob did ask me to leave. But he said nothing about banning me. Sorry for the confusion.

Does DMS think he is still posting? Funny that his posts don’t appear in comments section since Bob said, “Buh-bye.”

I shadow-banned him. That’s when he gets no feedback that he’s banned–his comments are accepted, and he sees them. But none of the rest of us do. It’s bad with a little fuck-with-his-head thrown in. I like it.

The destroyer should tell DMS. Maybe break it to him gently. Golly, I wonder how much good stuff DMS posted that we missed …

Bob said he shadow banned him. That doesn’t tell the person they have been banned. They post, it looks like it posted, a notice will appear under Recent Comments, but the post is actually not posted to the thread.

I have seen his posts in Recent Comments but they do not show up under the articles. DMS was spinning his wheels and lying when he said he left on his own. He tried to post after you said, “He left of his own accord. He was not banned.”

I see that he found out that he was actually banned and didn’t know it. But to find that out, it means that he did not leave.

He thinks that if he receives persecution, it is a fulfillment of prophecy. But when he provokes people to make fun of him, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People were willing to have a conversation with him, but he wanted none of that.

If being disrespectful in an environment where Christians are not in charge is considered persecution, I do want this persecution to happen every day.

Christians always have the attitude that they can dictate every place they go to. They act like a dick then complain that they are persecuted.

Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.

Then they count not being allowed to impose their religion on others as tribulations. They think the prophecy must be true, so there must be something somewhere persecuting them, even if they have to intentionally provoke it. It’s called “martyrbation”.

He was mistaken that he was not banned because he was banned. He continued to attempt posting after he told you that he left of his own accord. That was a lie to you because he was still attempting posts so he had not actually left.

If he tested what he believed, then he did not walk away. If he had walked away, it would not have mattered to him whether he had been blocked. His post was certainly not “testing, testing, 1, 2, 4, 3…” It was an attempt to provoke a response – the same old nonsense.

You haven’t told the truth since you got here….and your use of the term “triggered” is suspiciously like some other fuckwit that was banhammered here recently….you are a sockpuppet methinks.

Not around here it ain’t. I’ve been on various sites, some as long as 10 years, and I never seen it once. Now I’ve seen it twice in as many weeks here, from one person that got banned for the same reason I can foresee you getting banned. Talking shite and whining about something that wasn’t…and not having the sense to know when to fuck up about it.

Ironically, in other words, YOU are here getting “triggered” as you call it. Ya imbecilic arsehole.

It meant someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder having a mental breakdown until the fucktarded inbred Social Justice Warriors or [holy rolling wankstains] came here to take the original meaning away from it and changed the definition to “upset and annoyed”.

Triggered, in slang, has been around for about a year (though maybe longer as the zeitgeist takes a while to reach Alaska).

It’s a term used to describe something that provokes an immediate and emotional response. However, it’s usually used, ime, by someone noticing a truth that another doesn’t, who just gets triggered and starts going off the rails. Maybe it’s morphed since then.

Oh dear more name calling and engagement by you despite you telling me to F off. You hypocrite. Typical of many atheists

I understand what it means he tells me go away with swear words then asks me questions. That is his hypocrisy

I see that hypocrisy is another subject you don’t understand. Telling you to fuck off is not hypocritical, it’s a dismissal of you and your bullshit.

A twelve year old getting home schooled by a moron is the only explanation I can think of at present.

Telling someone to f off or get the f away and then asking them questions is hypocritical. I thought you atheists were logical and clever. This clearly is not the case with some of you.

You have your own, idiosyncratic definition of hypocrisy. I didn’t think Christians were stupid and ignorant. This is clearly not the case with some of you.

No, all you’ve done is whine about it. You haven’t proven shit because you’re a child with no experience in the real world. Stop whining and grow up.

it’s really sad to see someone with so such fucked thought processes because of that mind-virus religion.

First of all, I didn’t say “F off”, I said, “get ta fuck outta here”…they are not the same thing. And context is everything.

But since you didn’t follow you’re own interpretation of what you thought I meant, I’m free and obliged to respond to your fuckwittery. As is my want.

No, it isn’t typical ya Dime Bar. But even at that, until you can support your dopey bastard assertions with evidence, you can go and get stretched.

Grow up, child. Adults use adult language when talking to each other. When you reach 13 or puberty, which ever happens first, you’ll learn this.

It’s not very funny about how much you whine about other people. Grow up, child. The real world is not as nice as you think it is.

I see little evidence you know anything about the real world. You’re a priggish, whining prude who asserts all kinds of things but neglects to give the slightest evidence that your assertions have any connection with the real world. No, you stupid, ignorant twit, you have little connection with the real world.

Oh dear. I was going to engage you but you just resort to name calling. So I will ignore your trolling.

Typical immature teenager, whining when someone isn’t polite to you. Grow up, child. If you want to play with the adults then you play by the adults’ rules.

I did not realise name calling was adult rules. Wow. You atheists are real examples to the youth of today. ROFL

MN is retired Navy. What he said just above is nothing compared to what he is capable of. You seem to use such things as an excuse to not continue the conversation. But even when someone does not use salty language, you still run away from responding intelligently.

You must be the kind of Christian who sees the Bible as an End User License Agreement. You just scroll to the bottom and click “I Agree”. You are unable to engage in conversation and respond to argument. You either run away crying “he said a bad word” or you just run away.

You have been given evidence for every claim I have made. You were ignorant before. Now you are too stupid to process the evidence.

There’s obviously a lot you don’t realize. You don’t realize that when you make a claim and support is asked for, you need to give evidence for your claim. You don’t realize that whining about what’s said to you does not impress the people you’re whining about. You don’t realize that adults talk in an adult fashion. You don’t realize that you’re acting like an immature 13 year old.

Thanks again for showing what an immature, ignorant twit you are. An adult would try to defend himself, you just try and fail to laugh off genuine criticism of your immature, ignorant ways.

You will win no points by tone trolling. If you don’t like Ignorant Amos’ language then that’s your problem, not his.

If we want to be pedantic (and who doesn’t), do you mean it is typical of the type of atheist that it is typical of? If it is not a characteristic of a group in general, it is not typical.

There were many factors that led to me shedding faith. Our group would have a session every week to tell about the miracles that happened during the week. I got tired of hearing about found keys and parking spaces. I was impressed by the quotes in creationists literature of scientists saying odd things. I decided to look for some. I found some, too, but in context they weren’t saying what they seemed to say out of context. Then I started noticing that the preacher was preaching what scientists say but getting it all wrong, then, with the same confident voice, talk about heaven. He knew nothing about heaven because it was impossible to know but he could know what scientists actually said, but he obviously didn’t care what they really said. What else was his false confidence telling us from the pulpit? I struggled for weeks to salvage my faith.

So, I went home on leave and returned to the church where I was saved. The sermon was on “Why People Take the Lord’s Name in Vain.” When the [reacher got to his point that it is “BECAUSE THERE IS POWERRRR IN THE NAAAMMMME OF THE LLLLOOOOORRRRRDDDDD!!!! I thought, “BULLSHIT!” “Oh, that word has the same power. I realized that the power of a cuss word is in the taboo against saying it, not anything intrinsic to the word. That was the end of Christianity for me.

Are you just unused to the opportunity to engage in adult conversation? Perhaps you spend your time arguing on 4chan or reddit?

Things are different here. Whining about how you’re treated isn’t really the point. It’s to talk about arguments for and against Christianity (and related topics). You got anything to offer? If not, maybe you should go back to your conspiracy sites and stop wasting our time.

That still maks no sense. If he left, why would he care whether he was banned? All he had to do is check his posts on his Disqus account page to see none of his recent comments were posted.

He cared I imagine because I told him was was being said so he checked if he was banned. Also he told me he was not banned but left of his own which he did but of course he was banned after he left. He obviously wanted to check like we all would do if we told someone that we left on our own accord

Also he told me he was not banned but left of his own which he did but of course he was banned after he left.

Are you getting paid to spread his lies? He continued to try to post after he was banned. Those attempts still showed up in the Recent Comments that showed a sample of the posts but it was impossible to reply.

Here is his last reply to me (and one of his last before being banned) where he has lost the point and the context by accusing me of saying something said by someone else:

Here is where he was still stalking Bob.

The dude had nothing to say but to respond to drama. Nobody was responding to his posts because they were not being posted so the threads walked away from him. His commenting petered out but if someone had been able to respond, he would have been back into it. The fact that he had to go back to see if he had been banned shows that he did not walk away by his own accord. If someone smokes a cigarette to see if they quit smoking did not quit smoking. When he says he walked away, it is his inability to admit the truth to himself. He was just not very smart.

He has not lied i am not sure why you are spreading lies about him. Perhaps because he is a Christian. I have proven that he wasn’t mistaken but it is not a lie on his part. You seem to be bringing this subject up with false accusations. I do not accept false accusations

Oh, it’s Greg who’s making the false accusations now. But wasn’t it you making false accusations just a few days ago?

I am reporting my observations. When you say he was checking to see if he was banned, he tried to post the same provocative nonsense he had been posting. That was continuing his previous behavior. If he would do that as a test post, he would have done it in response if someone had replied to him. If he was merely testing what happened when he posted, he would have posted something neutral. The narrative he is telling himself and you is betrayed by his actions.

From his behavior here from his first post to his last, I would not be surprised if he was a dedicated Poe trying to make Christianity look worse than it is.

It doesn’t prove that you’re correct. You’ve decided that you’re never wrong and so discard any facts or logic which disagree with your preconceptions.

Got any evidence that you’re right? Of course you don’t, because if you did you’d be telling me about it.

What is unsubstantiated? His posts were there in the Recent Comments. They are no longer recent comments because this is a busy blog.

All I know is that I have stated facts and am not being ignorant and you have accused him and me of lying which is factually not true.

I have given reasons why his claim to have walked away of his own volition appear to be untrue. His post was not consistent with having left. He invested too much time and venom for it to be a simple test.

You did not see the post after he told you he had left. That is what you are ignorant of. Yet you defend him. He lied to you yet you naively defend him. Does he have something on you?

I told you when you started this pursuit that he was mistaken about being banned and his lie was when he said he walked away of his own accord. The fact that he rushed back and continued his nonsense shows he had not finished.

He made dozens of posts and replies to others over several days. Then he stopped getting replies but continued posting. He knew how Disqus worked.

But perhaps you’re different. I’m eager to hear your arguments for why we should adopt your religious viewpoint.

That’s just how Satans minions are, such as yourselves. All of you can’t help it you’ve been deluded by Satans world. All of you are just to blind to see the truth of our Lord Christ Jesus. I’m not smart enough in scripture to bring any of you to the Lord. The Lord will bring others to this site I’m sure. Goodbye.

This reminds me of Pat Robertson’s claim that Haiti made a pact with the devil to get their freedom from the French 200 years ago. Some wit wrote a letter from Satan saying that when you make a deal with Satan, he comes through in a big way–cars, money, luxury and all that. Just looking at Haiti makes clear that Satan didn’t make a deal with them.

Demonizing people is the tactic of a cult. Many of us were sincere Christians and lost our faith because we discovered the emptiness of the claims. The same emptiness you come up with when you struggle to defend your faith. There are real Christians reading this blog right now who are struggling with their faith, and they are looking to you for answers, not insults. Throwing around insults like “Satan’s minions” instead of providing them with evidence doesn’t accomplish anything other than to mock and insult their own struggles. Good job, DMS. You must feel proud.

As a Christian, I was taught that the Lord will give us the knowledge and wisdom we need, when we need it, as he did for Moses and as he promises in Luke. Notice that Luke doesn’t say “I will give you insults and mockery to throw at atheists.”

Pray now to Jesus and ask him for the evidence you need and present that. If he exists, he will provide you the compelling evidence you need, evidence that no atheist could refute or deny, just as he promised.

Thus far, no Christian has presented evidence that he himself wouldn’t question if it was used to support some other religion. But, please, instead of insulting your fellow Christians who are struggling with their own faith, ask Jesus for the evidence and present it here.

All the evidence of our Lord Jesus Christ is already there for us to grasp. What a good portion of Christians don’t realize is that “ Satan is Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth” All over scripture we are presented with ‘Satans Deception’ but Christians ignore that truth. Especially New Christians 5 to 10 years Christian. Where they believe that I’m saved and Satans Deception can’t touch me. There’s the Deception. To use a simple example like learning how to ride a bicycle or a skate board we know how to maneuver them,but what’s going to happen if we try to perform tricks. We have to be careful where we go and or who we gather with after our conversion in our new Christian life. We have to surround ourselves with well seasoned Christian believers, but even then we to be careful who we choose. Up until 10 years ago I thought Mormons were Christians they are not. I also thought for the first few years of my Christian life that all Catholics were Christians they are not also. It’s actually quite easy to be deceived by Satan and his many followers( most of whom don’t know that they are followers ). We can discuss this more if you would like. I’ll know if you recieved this statement from me,.if you get back to me soon. If not then your horrendous moderators will be the only ones to read this. Peace.

What way is that? Are you generalizing the “a Christian” to all Christian’s? What if I could point to Christian’s that were Jesus Myth Theorists?

Christ is just the Greek word for messiah. Messiah just means anointed one. There were loads of anointed ones in the Palestinian Levant, and elsewhere, during biblical times. Jesus is who we think was a myth…that is the theory, aka defined as the hypothesis in this context. The supernatural, bell’s and whistle’s miracle working Jesus of the NT is a myth…most people agree on that. The argument is, was the Jesus of the NT based upon an actual guy who was an itinerant teacher wandering about making a nuisance of himself until his blaspheming got to much for the Jewish authorities that they got the Romans to execute him? The evidence points to not. Got evidence?

To which I say, I really don’t give a fuck…Greg is just too nice to say the same. We are more interested in what Christians can support with evidence…so far, it isn’t very much at all, and what little they come up with, sucks.

I care not a jot what it implies. Demonstrate that your fave character in a book is nothing more than fiction and you’ll have done what the best scholars in the field cannot…it’s as simple as that. Got evidence?

‘ Christ myth theory ‘ only comes across one way to a Christian. You consider Christ to be a myth and a theory.

No, you do not even comprehend a three word phrase. A theory is an explanation. The theory is to explain how people could believe a myth actually happened. The world is full of that kind of stuff.

Which phrase? It is apparent that what you infer a phrase to mean and what the phrase implies have little in common. “Christ myth theory” has two buzz words that strike fear in you (myth & theory) and a word that inhibits reason in you (Christ).

If you have good evidence that Jesus existed, present it. The quotes from outside the New Testament are contingent on the gospels so they are not good evidence on their own.

The gospels rely heavily on Mark but we can identify the material that gospel is based on and very little of that literature is about Jesus. So the gospels are fictional accounts based on identifiable fiction. Most of Mark’s sources have been discovered and pointed out by believing Christians, but when they are combined, there isn’t enough left to believe is from oral traditions.

The earliest writings about Jesus are the early epistles. Paul mention “Jesus” or “Christ” about once for every five or six verses but he tells very little about Jesus and these things he says about Jesus can be found in the already centuries old Old Testament, but mostly from the Septuagint.

I don’t get the impression D.M.S. is very mature, either in real term’s if a youth, or mental capacity if an adult.

It may be religion brain damage. Maybe it is not yet permanent. He seems to be set on stamping out any spark of reason but one might ignite something larger.

As much as you think those threats have some magic ju-ju…they are the rantings of a lunatic around here…idiot.

No, thank you for demonstrating my point…as per every Christian that has ever pitched up here in the past few years since I’ve been commenting.

Nah…that’s another silly imaginary character in your dopey book of fiction. Like I said, you’re a pathetic know nothing idiot.

Jesus is a mythical character in a book ya doofus…fictitious characters can’t love anything except in the yarn as part of the story. Soft boy.

I should congratulate you on your latest gambit. You’ve effectively avoided Greg G’s challenge once again! You’ve almost gotten us to forget that you’re embarrassed to respond.

I take it Rob took his ball and went home…I was really hoping he might tell me why he thinks theology is so respectable…I guess not.

I really wanted him to answer my question that I’ve never got a single person accusing mythicisys of crankery to answer.

Which is more crankery, believing that the character of Jesus might be a myth, or believing that God impregnated a virgin with himself to make himself a sacrifice to himself.

Oh yeah…that is a great point. Hard to take someone’s accusation seriously when they believe that shit.

McGrath’s action was directed at you, so I meant him. RDTI was getting it from all sides so it isn’t clear what triggered him.

I didn’t think he answered it, but it’s been a such a long time and I don’t know how you could go back and search it. It would be kind of interesting now. I remember Ignorant Amos on that thread.

I vaguely remember…I don’t think he did answer….and I can’t remember what it was that got me the hammer, but I think it was similar, an awkward question.

I should also add, I’ve never seen Theology as a humanity and I’ve never felt it was all that respected in the academic community, like, at all.

I can appreciate that there are experts who know a lot about the specific rules and beliefs of a denomination (or denominations) of Christianity. But that’s saying nothing inherently more profound than saying that there are Harry Potter experts who know all the arcana.

LIke Susan says, Theology is a subject without an object. It’s make believe. It can be literally anything. I would guess the number of theologies out there are essentially limitless. But, Yeah, I would imagine ole Rob was speaking specifically of Christian Theology. Without specificity it really doesn’t make much sense.

The problem with theology as just an unqualified theology is that they can’t agree on anything except “a supernatural exists.” That’s it. They can’t even agree on the god(s) name(s).

Well, sure. And as we’ve seen many times, once you get to “The supernatural exists” no one seems to be able to distinguish how they tell their supernatural claims are true apart from any body else’s supernatural claims. I mean i really love the Mormon idea of Heaven, but C’mon.

My daughter is an expert on Harry Potterism…she knows the books inside out and has watched the movies repeatedly.

But that’s saying nothing inherently more profound than saying that there are Harry Potter experts who know all the arcana.

Slightly unfair in that we know that HP is fiction. A better comparison might be The Illiad or Hesiod’s Theogony.

There seems to be some massive agenda, like that if they can somehow prove that Jesus didn’t exist, that nasty Christianity will vanish in a puff of smoke.

Christianity has has already vanished in a puff of logic. It is fine with me if Jesus existed. I believed it. Then I examined the evidence and the arguments on both sides. Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist? was the nail in the ciffin or the stone in front of the sepulchre.

So what is your point? That experts on Christianity worldwide tend to not accept the resurrection as historical fact?

The experts are historians. Some may be Christians, but you don’t get far at Harvard, Cambridge, ANU, Yale etc by following a party line.

And yet at Biola and a myriad Bible colleges with doctrinal statements binding on the faculty, you get far only by following a party line.

The staunch Christian who teaches at Biola or Bryce County Bible College gets the same number of votes in evaluating the scholarly consensus as the one from Harvard or Yale.

All journals are not created alike. While it might be difficult to get papers into high impact journals (which are these when it comes to theology?) those with low impact factors are always scrabbling for papers. Then of course there are the social network sites such as

We’re talking history, not theology. The high-impact, reliable journals where things like historical Jesus are discussed have not been kind to “Jesus mythicist” writers, because the writers haven’t managed yet to produce persuasive evidence or argument.

I asked you which historians were publishing in areas such as Roman history or Jewish history of the 1st century, but you obviously missed my response.

Incidentally, I had a look at couple of issues of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, all the authors I could trace seem to be bible scholars or theologians, I couldn’t find anyone who had trained as an historian.

I did miss that – I had a quick look through bibliographies of scholarly monographs as well as my university library’s scholarly journal search. I don’t have all day for this – I simply note the plain fact that mythicist positions have made no headway in the academy. That should be telling you something. If they manage to, then I’ll pay attention. Until then, it’s just in the huge pile of other things that are unsubstantiated and not yet recognised by the scholarly community.

I simply note the plain fact that mythicist positions have made no headway in the academy. That should be telling you something.

It tells me that the mythicist position has currently made no headway. Whether this will change in the future I wouldn’t know, though one can point to other characters from the bible who were once considered to exist and who are now thought to be fictional. I would also put forward this comment from Max Planck.

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and that the growing generation is familiarised with the ideas from the beginning.

Sure – I’m not disagreeing with that. It’s too soon to say – the ideas remain untested and in the margins. Not being an expert in this area, I must rely on those who make their livings doing proper research, as I do with all expertise.

Peer review is certainly hierarchical – it’s not based on votes. It’s based in peers reading work before it’s published. Those with higher credentials (and higher-ranked journals) have much more influence and weight, including in deciding whether there is a consensus or not. Perhaps you would make more effective arguments if you know this stuff before passing further judgement on scholarly communities.

Are you stupid or just throwing up dust to avoid admitting some embarrassing (though obvious) facts about what passes for Christian scholarship?

I’m not talking about peer review; I’m talking about the consensus with the NT community. You were talking about the consensus, remember? You were talking about the consensus within the scholarly NT community were rejecting the Jesus myth theory.

But when 90 percent of the applicants [to New Testament studies] are Protestant Christians, a vast majority of Christian academics is a natural result. Moreover, the figure of Jesus is of central importance in colleges and universities which are overtly Protestant or Catholic, and which produce a mass of books and articles of sufficient technical proficiency to be taken seriously. The overall result of such bias is to make the description of New Testament Studies as an academic field a dubious one. (p. 23)

[Dominance by one group] restricts Christian from properly engaging with those of different persuasions, and it even allows Christians academics to make arguments that (rightly or wrongly) would hardly be permitted in other academic disciplines, not to mention some extremely weak arguments. . . .

The lack of a significant number of non-Christians or even scholars deliberately attempting to see beyond their Christian background has prevented serious secular alternatives to Christian origins being properly discussed. (p. 26)

Speaking of the New Quest’s revival of historical Jesus studies: “Therefore, it was theology’s need that reasserted the historical reliability, in part, of the gospels with respect to Jesus, and sought to re-establish the historical continuity between the preaching of the man Jesus and the preaching of the first primitive Christian communities about Jesus. . . . The New Quest’s agenda was to re-establish historical links between Jesus of Nazareth and Christ, in order to avoid Docetism and the reduction of Christianity to myth. The motivation for this task was theological and not historical.” p. 24-25

Though the author clearly has a pretty massive axe to grind, which gives one pause in taking his writing at face value

Reading his history and biography, looking through some of his other works, and reading some of the book. I grant it’s a first impression, but the axe grinding seems pretty clear, and he seems to have a strong agenda (strengthened by his fundamentalist background from which he converted). Though he certainly makes some valid points about the ecclesial influence on the field.

I will grant he has a different view than other Christian NT scholars, but he backs up what he says like any other scholar, and I think you would have to read his work to determine whether his views are backed and based on evidence or not. He is a very well respected scholar in the field from what I have seen.

It’s true that one must actually read the work, and it does look interesting. I was really just saying I notice that there appears to be an agenda, which I would keep in mind when evaluating the claims, as it is relevant (as with any writer).

I don’t understand how he can be said to have a problematic agenda but a Christian NT scholar doesn’t have a problematic agenda…or do they both have one…I just don’t get what your problem is.

He is making an argument about what he thinks regarding the views that are rooted in the Bible and the modern scholarship of those views and how he thinks there is an agenda that is molding that scholarship…and your response is that he has an agenda.

If someone challenges anti-vaxxers, would you claim they were on a “campaign to oppose the anti-vax movement”?

“found out” – no he converted to a different outlook and has the zeal of a convert apparently. Christian claims having a basis is a matter of opinion (and I would say experience), not fact. And yes, if someone challenges anti-vaxers, they may be on a campaign, but what would matter would be their evidence. If they were particularly enthusiastic campaigners, it would be prudent to carefully examine their evidence to see they weren’t distorting things (as has indeed happened in some scientifically-based (and noble, in my opinion) campaigning against nonsense.

There was a theoretical chemist called Linus Pauling who won a Nobel prize in the subject. He then went on to make claims about huge amounts of vitamin C and its ability to cure the common cold, he carried on making these claims even when they were shown to be nonsense and counter to all the clinical evidence.

So by all means go with the experts if it is a subject that you know little about, but it is always worthwhile checking your experts credentials.

Now others here might come at this through their views on the historical claims about the existence of Jesus. I come at it from a slightly different point of view, I see no reason to include anything in my ontology for which there is little or no justification.

In this case I would also add that the historical claims are inductive in nature, as such whether Jesus existed or not cannot be certain but must be probabilistic.

When the whole field has a consensus, you are best betting on the field, not the outlier, since the chances that the outlier is wrong is so very, very much higher than she/he is right. This is why we have experts, because crankery is so very rife.

Your betting analogy is quite a nice one though in that you are betting on a position which may turn out to be either right or wrong. Which means that the consensus is always provisional, there is always the chance that new information may come along to overturn it.

Which means that the consensus is always provisional, there is always the chance that new information may come along to overturn it.

And then there is the problem with the consensus itself…

That’s the case with all science and scholarship – no knowledge is ever final (except perhaps in areas of mathematics). The best bet is to go with the experts, not the many fringe-dwellers.

Not without checking their credentials – they are experts who publish in reputable journals, hold posts in Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Cambridge etc, and have their methodology scrutinised by the rigorous peer-reviewed processes.

History departments and religion departments in the major universities such as those I listed, scholarly journals like Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, Hebrew Studies, Journal of Jewish Identities, Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Neotestamentica, Journal for the Study of Religion, Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, The Bible and Critical Theory, Studies in Religion and many others.

Now I can see why religious departments are involved in studies of the bible but the topic under discussion is the historicity of Jesus. Surely this falls within the remit of history departments, presumably with scholars involved with the history of the 1st century Roman Empire or 1st century Israel.

Are there any historians qua historians publishing in these domains of discourse? I don’t think there is any need to restrict it to the universities you mention, one would have thought that one could at least include the universities of Rome and Jerusalem.

So you want to look at the consensus of NT scholars, but only the ones that you approve of. Sounds like you’re picking your answer first and then pointing to the scholars that don’t embarrass you to justify that answer after the fact.

No not at all – if you can provide a more rigourous arena of peer review, go for it .All I see is a fringe idea that has not been through rigorous review and is therefore beneath serious attention at this point.

Now that we’ve gotten that behind us, do you want to respond to Greg G’s challenge for you to provide the peer-reviewed evidence for a historical Jesus?

Are you just making this hard on purpose? I’m simply objecting to your taking NT scholars from the fancy liberal schools as your consensus group and ignoring the unwashed NT scholars from the conservative Bible schools. Isn’t that biased?

Bart Ehrman’s book he keeps talking about will do – it’s peer-reviewed and does what he wants. Regarding filtering of the consensus – yes, it’s biased – it’s biased in a good way – one wants to filter scholarly work, giving precedence to more cited and credentialed scholars.

Ehrman”s Did Jesus Exist? was not peer reviwed. He lists seven pieces of evidence and six of those are hypothetical. Scholars who are Jesus historists have identified the sources for the one that we have and when combined, there isn’t much left of Mark to be from oral traditions because very little of the sources are about Jesus.

But when you were asked to show the rigorous review that non-fringe ideas have been through, you’ve provided nothing.

And Greg G. pointed out that Bart Ehrman stated outright that no one has ever had to make a historical case.

I’m not even a mythicist. I don’t care. If a lumberjack existed on whom the Paul Bunyan stories were based, that won’t convince me that it took a crow a full day to fly from one of Babe’s horns to another.

If the “historical consensus” is based on people who believe that it took a crow a full day to fly from one of Babe’s horns to another and/or are required to sign a document to that effect, then I have to worry about the consensus.

I agree. But keep in mind how different religious studies are than science. Religion can’t even agree on how many gods there are or what their names are, let alone subtle ideas like the Trinity.

“I follow the scientific consensus” makes sense to me. “I follow the theological consensus” is sort of impossible, since there isn’t one, and you’ve got the problem of biased researchers.

We’re not talking about religion per se, but scholarship of ancient documents and movements pertaining to religion, studying using the methods of history, social science and other scholarly discourses. It’s not a “theological consensus” but a historical consensus.

Well, it would be a historical consensus if religion didn’t get in the way. When a Christian scholar is bound by a doctrinal statement (to list just one of the problems) and then comes to a conclusion, how can that conclusion be accepted as unbiased?

(2) I already gave you Mike Licona as an example of someone who lost jobs because he strayed from the straight and narrow.

Are we at least in agreement that theology is not an ordinary field of study? Look at the tap dancing you must do to salvage its reputation. You’re happy to accept the consensus within fields of science, but you need a special filter in the case of theology so that the fundamentalist nuts are excluded.

Theology is certainly a highly respectable branch of the humanities. The fundamentalists we need to worry about are scientistic half-educated people who try to convince us that the humanities matter less than the sciences, or need to use the same kinds of methodologies .Now that is nuts (eg. someone like the extreme dogmatist Lawrence Krauss or similarly Peter Atkins). We don’t need to worry about religious fundamentalists in academia – any such ideas are quickly filtered out in the rigours of scholarship.

We don’t need to worry about religious fundamentalists in academia – any such ideas are quickly filtered out in the rigours of scholarship.

Even though the academia of biblical scholarship is dominated by people who accept the supernatural on a special pleading basis only?

People keep asking you “What is the evidence for a historical Jesus?” and you keep talking about consensus.

And the consensus includes people who have had to sign a faith statement along with some people who haven’t who have historical credentials. You dismiss the second group as having an axe to grind without basis.

After all these years, I’m starting to wonder if the consensus for a historical Jesus has produced anything based on the historical method.

It’s a topic I’ve ignored for a very long time because the existence of a historical Jesus does no more for the legendary/supernatural claims than the existence of a historical lumberjack named Paul Bunyan does for the legendary/supernatural claims of Paul Bunyan.

Source criticism (or information evaluation) is the process of evaluating the qualities of an information source, such as its validity, reliability, and relevance to the subject under investigation.

When was the source, written or unwritten, produced (date)? Where was it produced (localization)? By whom was it produced (authorship)? From what pre-existing material was it produced (analysis)? In what original form was it produced (integrity)? What is the evidential value of its contents (credibility)? The first four are known as higher criticism; the fifth, lower criticism; and, together, external criticism. The sixth and final inquiry about a source is called internal criticism. Together, this inquiry is known as source criticism.

But you still haven’t pointed to the methodology of the consensus and how it complies with the basic historical method.

Again, you seem to be holding forth without an adequate familiarity with scholarly theology if you say such basic errors as it’s a “subject without an object”. .Have you been reading those extremely ignorant writings by Dawkins? He should stick to what he knows – he is embarrassing himself with his constant clangers.

My point is that claims that Jesus was fictional have not passed through any rigorous test – they remain fringe claims with inadequate evidence and argument. If you want to dispute that raw fact, you will need to provide evidence, and stop changing the subject – I have not been making claims about theology, except when asked that question – but it’s irrelevant.. My point was only that Jesus mythicism is up to this point totally bankrupt and has yet to persuade the scholarly community. Arguments for the historical Jesus are not the point here.

But the claims that Jesus existed have not passed through any rigorous test either for 2000 years.. We are clamoring for more rigorous testing of both sides of the issue. You are against both.

That is false. Until Jesus historicists can put up an rigorous argument, the case for Jesus as a myth should be considered.

2 Peter 1:16 denies that they were following “a cleverly devised myth” which implies that somebody was accusing Christians of doing just that. But 2 Peter 1:17-18 offers Matthew’s version of the Transfiguration, perhaps the most obvious cleverly devised myth of the New Testament.

You really need to devalue your estimation of theology. It can’t even agree within itself how many gods there are or what their name(s) are.

Bob, I get the impression you’ve not read any theology – I mean scholarly theology from Harvard, Oxford, Yale, Cambridge etc.

And that challenge is still just sitting there, unanswered. I’ll help by repeating it: theology can’t even agree within itself how many gods there are or what their name(s) are.

He says that scholars think that way already, he just wants them to apply it more rigorously…and dare I say it, more honestly.

My question was more along the lines of why it is viewed as respectable? What is it offering that is considered of value and is it actually valuable?

The fundamentalists we need to worry about are scientistic half-educated people who try to convince us that the humanities matter less than the sciences

Nice try, but claiming theology is less important than the sciences is not the same as saying that the humanities are less important than the sciences. Do you have any evidence that Lawrence Krauss or Peter Atkins (one of my teachers by the way) are a) nuts and b) take the attitude about the relative importance of science and the humanities.

I honestly wasn’t trying anything – I sincerely see theology as a very respectable component of the humanities. If you don’t, well I’ll leave you to sort that out – everyone’s welcome to an opinion I guess, but very often such opinions are based in gross ignorance, as is the case with such ignorant blokes as Krauss and Atkins – they are not nuts in general, but don’t you agree that they say such extremely stupid things about the humanities that they are at least partly nuts? The evidence is in what they say about the humanities. I see science as just as important as theology and the other branches of the humanities, but certainly not more so, and certainly not more deserving of funding or respect, and I resist anyone who would try to force a different opinion down my throat.

Unless being a religious fundamentalist is basically one of the requirements, ya nit wit. You’ve been given access to the information. Either you’re cognitive dissonance won’t let you process it or you’re just another dishonest apologist.

No, not at all – I’m not a nitwit, I simply care about academic standards. If you are dismissing the field of theology, that’s your problem – you are out of touch with scholarship. I am not an apologist, nor dishonest – I simply don’t have time for crankery like “Jesus mythicism” – when it gains some persuasiveness, who knows? But at this point it’s nothing but fringe nonsense, and if you need it to be true somehow, despite the evidence being so against you, you must have some agenda going on. That would be worth examining, especially since you’ve descending into inane personal attack.

Dude, when you say stupid things like “Who has influenced history more than Jesus” you’re acting as an apologist. If you cared about academic standards, you’d care that something between 90-95% of your ‘Scholars” and “Historians” accept supernatural claims. Many of them, the majority in fact, work in institutions where they are doctrinally bound to those supernatural claims. Academic standards my ass. You know what’s fringe nonsense? The idea that any field with these problems is academically respectable in the first place. Holy shit. Fringe nonsense my ass. Name another field of :”scholarship” that accepts supernatural claims and publishes it in their “Peer Reviewed” Journals.

That is not in the least stupid – it’s raw fact. Why would you deny such a plain fact? I’m no apologist, I just don’t take bullshit, and call it out when I see it.

We don’t have a single word Jesus wrote. Nor a single Church that he started. We only have the words and claims and deeds of people many years after the fact, if it happened at all. The followers of Zues had a lot of clout too. What percentage of the Ancient world would have been influenced by the actions of Isis and Osiris? This isn’t that hard if you’ll just unstrap the God Goggles for a minute.

Mate, Jesus is routinely listed as the most influential human. Check out “Who’s Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank” by Steven Skiena, Charles B. Ward (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014), or Time’s “Most Influential People of all time” (2012) and countless other rankings of history’s most influential. I am not looking with God goggles, I’m looking at what the experts say – historians accept that the most probable reason Christianity got started was because people started following this bloke called Jesus.

Uhm, no. People started following the deity who raised from the dead to wash away all our sins and give us eternal life.

They weren’t following the itinerant preacher from wherever that no one can actually know anything about.

They weren’t following Jesus the dude, if there was a dude, they were following the Jesus his followers invented.

Legend is mingled with fact, as with pretty much all ancient writing. Jesus is without doubt the most influential human.

Except no on can decide on which fact the legends were mingled with. And there is no part of the “fact” whatever the fuck you even mean by that, that would lead people to sign up. People jump on for the myth, the promises of the supernatural. Christianity gave a system where the ordinary Joe was equal to the Emperor in the eyes of God, and everyone was gonna get the good afterlife if they believed. That’s what gained followers. Not an itinerant carpenter wandering around Palestine.

Welcome to ancient history – it’s inescapable that certainly is elusive when you are dealing with documents from thousands of years ago. The fact is that Jesus has been ranked by many historians and people like the authors I cited, who use huge datasets and quantitative methods to rank influence, as the most influential figure in history. Again, as with my attitude towards “Jesus mythicism”, I’ll stick with the experts.

Sure they do. But who worships the “minimal historical Jesus” that Ehrman seeks to prove? Nobody. There’s no reason to. People worship the mythical Jesus.

Either all of the notions were wrong or all but one notion were wrong, the wrong notions were based on myths. So history was influenced by many different notions of Jesus, not Jesus himself.

Matthew used 90% of Mark but the omitted parts were left out for theological reasons, not historical reasons. Who needs spit miracles, miracles that are not immediate, and naked boys hanging out with Jesus when he was “praying”? Mark’s Jesus felt anguish about what he faced. Luke’s Jesus has him barely caring what happened to him.

Michael Hart does, I grant, place Mohammed above Jesus because of his direct secular influence and because of his more direct actions in developing and promoting the noble discipline of Islam.

historians accept that the most probable reason Christianity got started was because people started following this bloke called Jesus.

On the basis of no evidence. There’s only one dude who’s tried to provide it. That one dude even SAYS no one else that he can find had ever published on the subject. Are you disagreeing with Ehrman?

It’s the most probable case – no more probable explanation has been substantiated. Ehrman is one little scholar amongst many, and I think you’ll find he is not well supported by other historians in that claim. Again, I’ll stick with the scholarly community and not run to outliers.

Historians don’t say that. They do agree that it’s much more probable that Jesus existed (and influenced the establishment of Christianity) than that he was entirely fictional.

Oh dear, I think life is too short. Off with you to a library – I am off to watch paint dry, as it’s a better use of my time than arguing with people so determined to close their minds to reason and scholarship.

You had to ask where Ehrman said he found no previous scholarly writings on the issue of Jesus’ existence after it had been presented to you a number of times. That shows your mind was closed when evidence was presented to you.

Mate, you lot – creationists, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxers, climate change deniers, clingers-on-to-to-the-idea-of-Jesus-being-fictional – just don’t quit do you? Why is reality so hard for you chaps? See ya.

Crap dude. You’re making crap up. Look at the whole body of lit, don’t just second-hand quote one bloke. The evidence has been presented to you and yet you cling to crankery, thinking you know more than the experts. That’s why you’re in the category of flat-earthers.

I see the problem now. You have a reading comprehension problem. You fail to understand what Ehrman is talking about. Ehrman is a scholar. He tried to find scholars who had made an argument for the existence of Jesus. He couldn’t find any. You know you can’t find any because you didn’t bother to look.

You are holding to a claim with no evidence and you are blaming us because we pointed it out to you. Now you call us names because you can’t back up the claim you make.

Nonsense, you are the one with the burden of proof.. Where’s your evidence that the gospels and other huge evidence such as the founding of Christianity is based in fiction? You keep saying you have evidence but don’t provide it. Ok bye for good now. I didn’t call you names, I just pointed out facts. Sorry if it hurts to be told the truth about your crankery.

Where’s your evidence that the gospels and other huge evidence such as the founding of Christianity is based in fiction?

Is this the third time or the fourth time I have given you this? It is the sources for the gospels found by Jesus historicists. Combined, they account for nearly all of Mark and there are sources for the other gospels not listed:

Paul speaks of Jesus hundreds of times but seldom tells us anything about him. Below is everything he tells us.

PastDescended from David > Romans 1:3, Romans 15:12* > 2 Samuel 7:12, Isaiah 11:10*Declared Son of God > Romans 1:4 > Psalm 2:7Made of woman, > Galatians 4:4 > Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 49:5Made under the law > Galatians 4:4, Galatians 3:10-12* > Deuteronomy 27:26*, Habakkuk 2:4*, Leviticus 18:5*Was rich, became poor > 2 Corinthians 8:9 > Zechariah 9:9Was meek and gentle > 2 Corinthians 10:1 > Isaiah 53:7Did not please himself > Romans 15:3* > Psalm 69:9*Became a servant of the circumcised > Romans 15:8 > Isaiah 53:11For the Gentiles > Romans 15:9-12* > Psalm 18:49*, 2 Samuel 22:50*, Deuteronomy 32:43*, Psalm 117:1*, Isaiah 11:10*Became Wisdom of God > 1 Corinthians 1:30 > Isaiah 11:2

Was betrayed > 1 Corinthians 11:23 > Psalm 41:9Took loaf of bread and wine > 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 > Psalm 41:9, Exodus 24:8, Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53:12 (“wine” = “blood of grapes” allusions in Genesis 49:11, Deuteronomy 32:14, Isaiah 49:26, Zechariah 9:15)

Was crucified > 1 Corinthians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 3:13* > Deuteronomy 21:23*Died for sins > 1 Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 2:20 > Isaiah 53:5, Isaiah 53:12Was buried > 1 Corinthians 15:4 > Isaiah 53:9Was raised > Romans 1:4, Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:4, 2 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 13:4 > Hosea 6:2, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 41:10

PresentSits next to God > Romans 8:34 > Psalm 110:1, Psalm 110:5Intercedes > Romans 8:34 > Isaiah 53:12

FutureWill come > 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54*, Philippians 3:20-21 > Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:13; Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 25:8*

PastCame by water and blood > 1 John 5:6 > Zechariah 13:1Blood, lamb without blemish > 1 Peter 1:19 > Exodus 12:5, Exodus 12:13Rejected by mortals > 1 Peter 2:4 > Isaiah 53:3Chosen and precious in God’s sight > 1 Peter 2:4 > Isaiah 42:1Suffered > 1 Peter 2:21, Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 4:1 > Isaiah 53:3Abused, didn’t return abuse > 1 Peter 2:23 > Isaiah 53:7Bore our sins > 1 Peter 2:24 > Isaiah 53:12Put to death > 1 Peter 3:18 > Isaiah 53:8-9Laid down his life > 1 John 3:16 > Isaiah 53:5, Isaiah 53:12

PresentGone into heaven > 1 Peter 3:22 > Psalm 110:1, Isaiah 53:12At the right hand of God > 1 Peter 3:22 > Psalm 110:1Angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him > 1 Peter 3:22 > Isaiah 45:22-25Advocate for sin > 1 John 2:1 > Isaiah 53:11-12

FutureWill come > James 5:7-8, 1 Peter 1:5, 1 Peter 4:7 2 Peter 3:10, 1 John 3:2 > Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:13; Isaiah 25:8Will come judging > James 5:9, Jude 14-15 > Psalm 96:13; Daniel 12:2

Oh and I just pointed you to some evidence, including Ehrman’s book -why are you in such denial? Stop pretending that I am dodging, and actually address the evidence.

I replied. I showed that Ehrman’s evidence is one document we have and six hypothetical documents that they speculate might have been about Jesus. Hoffmann contradicts Standing. They only argue that a plausible Jesus could be picked out of the gospels. Sure, but that imaginary Jesus that is picked out is not supported by the epistles, which are earlier.

That’s beyond my knowledge – I’d say a large number are likely to be liberal Christians of some sort, but what’s that go to do with the price of snake meat in upper Mongolia?

We are open to reason and scholarship but not scholarship that doesn’t have reason. You have been avoiding giving us the reason part of it. You assume that their reason is something more than an assumption. That is a poor way to approach scholarship.

I’ve avoided nothing – you are simply resisting plain facts that you can easily check. You very obviously haven’t bothered to read the actual literature have you? Admit it. You’re going by second and third-hand reports.

What facts have I avoided? You only hand-waved at information I have sifted through and I know it isn’t there. I begged you to show me what you were referring to and you never could.

If you were going by primary information, you would know there is none that argues for Jesus’ actual existence. Historical Jesus studies only argue about things Jesus might have done if he existed. They don’t do that last point which is the main point. If you had read actual historical Jesus scholarship, you would know that.

Or you could go off to the library to retrieve these things you assume exist. You could have done it last week and sniffed paint for days on end.

See ya mate, I’m done with you – you’re in denial and keep shifting the blame. It doesn’t matter to me if you want to cling to crankery, or whether you’re convinced. You’re on your own now, but just realise you’ve not convinced me in the least.

I presented evidence and you wouldn’t consider it. You did stop trying to say that the scholars had a reason to think Jesus actually existed, though, so you did learn something.

You closed your eyes, plugged your ears, and said, “SCHOLARS, SCHOLARS, SCHOLARS” without presenting anything the scholars said.

The scholars said, basically, that the evidence (things like the New Testament, the existence of the Christian religion, the existence of ancient Christian art) are explained far better by the existence of Jesus than by the convoluted proposals that he was fictional. If you want the case made for Jesus existing, read Bart Ehrman who wrote a whole scholarly book on the topic, as you yourself were discussing. If you really need me to do your work for you, here’s a paper you can read that directly addresses your question: Edmund Standing, “Against Mythicism: A Case for the Plausibility of a Historical Jesus”, Think 9:24 (Spring 2010), 13-27. You may also find it interesting to read this blog post on why Occam’s razor favours the scholarly consensus over Jesus mythicism:

The scholars said, basically, that the evidence (things like the New Testament, the existence of the Christian religion, the existence of ancient Christian art) are explained far better by the existence of Jesus than by the convoluted proposals t

Which models did they use to compare to determine what the best explanation was? Was it, “Well, I can’t think of any explanation than the one my Sunday School teacher taught me”?

I have told you several times that Ehrman is the only person who has tried to make a case that Jesus existed. His primary evidence is his independent gospel sources: Mark, Q, M, L, sayings source, passion narratives, protoThomas.

Yes, Mark exists, but independent scholars, the kind you like, have identified the sources for Mark’s gospel and they are mostly not about Jesus. The stories add up to a fictional story. The other six sources are hypothetical and, if they existed, it is not certain that they were about Jesus, either.

I have read Hoffmann, too. He doesn’t think the gospels are good evidence. Below is what I wrote about four years ago.

I was looking at the arguments of a couple of active defenders of the historical Jesus from the ranks of Bible scholars. R. J. Hoffman says in The Historically Inconvenient Jesus [LINK]

I don’t know too many New Testament scholars who would argue that the gospels are good history, and some (me among them) who would say that for the most part the gospels are totally useless as history. The gospels were written as propaganda by a religious cult. That impugns them as history, even at a time—the last decades of the first great Roman imperial century—when history wasn’t especially committed to recording what really happened in a dispassionate and disinterested way.

Given that there is (a) no reason to trust the gospels; (b) no external testimony to the existence of Jesus (I’ve never thought that the so-called “pagan” reports were worth considering in detail; at most they can be considered evidence of the cult, not a founder); (c) no independent Christian source that is not tainted by the missionary objectives of the cult and (d) no Jewish account that has not been invented or tainted by Christian interpolators, what is the purpose of holding out for an historical Jesus?

But in my view there is no convincing argument that establishes that priority, and the disconnect between the two literary strands, gospel and epistle, is so sharp that it is impossible to conclude that a figment invented by Paul could have served as the literary model for the Jesus of a gospel like Mark’s.

I agree with him on these points. His argument, on that page, for the historical Jesus is “conditions, context, and coordinates”. His argument is summed up by:

It is precisely because we can pinpoint the essential dates, figures, movements, factions and effects that Jesus does make sense: he parses. He does not come off as atypical, until such time as Paul makes him a transcendent, supra-historical figure sent to redeem the sins of the world.

We see in Daniel 9 that two centuries earlier the Jews were looking for the coming of the Messiah in turbulent times. I think Paul is thinking about the Messiah, too, but he and the other early Christians were also reading into the scriptures about a suffering servant that had come long before. So I agree mostly with Hoffman but he seems to be saying that it makes sense that Jesus could have existed in the first half of the first century.

J. D. Crossan wrote The Power of Parable: How Fiction By Jesus Became Fiction About Jesus. His argument is that the gospels are parables. He thinks the love and peace Jesus is right one but the argumentative Jesus is the added on part, just the opposite of Hoffman says:

A Jesus outside this specific matrix would make no sense—a sui generis apocalyptic preacher in an age of prosperity and contentment?

In other fields, we can examine the methodology of scholars to see how they reach their conclusions. In this field, they have no methodology. The Jesus they come up with is more like a Rorschach test than an objective case study. How many of them entered the field without the assumption of the historical Jesus from childhood indoctrination and then come to believe it?

Hoffman doesn’t know too many New Testament scholars who think the gospels are good history. The epistles don’t tell us anything about a historical Jesus. The external evidence is weak and tainted. What is the scholarly consensus based on besides the scholarly consensus?

The other six sources are hypothetical and, if they existed, it is not certain that they were about Jesus, either.

And the problem with hypothetical’s is that they are a double edged sword that can cut both ways. And how many hypothetical’s were there that support a non-historical Jesus…if we are about inventing hypothetical’s and what they contain that is of course?

A good case can be made that one of Matthew’s M sources was the Epistle of James. The topic parallels between them are mostly for words of Jesus but James never quotes Jesus once. James barely mentions Jesus but not even as an earthly being. I have discovered a couple dozen Greek words and phrases that are used nowhere else in the New Testament but Matthew and James and most of them are spoken by Jesus in Matthew, too.

Thanks for your patience in dealing with this guy. Is it just human nature or is it a Christian thing? You’d think that just admitting a weakness in your position and moving on would be the best way to deal with it instead of digging in his heels, saying “Nuh uh!”, and changing the subject.

It appears that Rob don’t tolerate evidence realized he couldn’t support his claims so he deleted his account to hide the fact that he ever tried.

blogcom was the one who threated to shake his dust off on us but he had to be helped along. RDTI just kept saying goodbye without leaving, then left without saying goodbye.

With all these interesting antagonists, my cup sloppeth over! Dang it, but I just can’t keep them all straight.

I searched for the Standing article. I found a bit here:

In particular, I contend that the apocalyptic material found on Jesus’ lips and the hopes for a very real earthly historical transformation strongly suggest that there is an underlying historical basis to the claims that a man named Jesus made ‘prophetic’ statements about events that were expected to happen within his lifetime, and that this historical figure was considered by his band of followers to be the long awaited Messiah.

Sure, you can imagine a plausible Jesus from the Gospels, but the Epistles don’t describe that guy. The early Epistles describe a guy known only from the Old Testament scriptures. But Mark’s Jesus is also built from literature that is not about Jesus.

Questioning the Plausibility of Jesus Ahistoricity Theories—A Brief Pseudo-Bayesian Metacritique of the Sources Raphael Lataster University of Sydney

Edmund Standing, “Against Mythicism: A Case for the Plausibility of a Historical Jesus”, Think 9:24 (Spring 2010), 13-27

I had a look for “Edmund Standing”, it looks as though it could be this guy with a BA in theology, so not a historian.

I note that R. Joseph Hoffmann appears to have a Divinity degree, so someone else who is not a historian either.

Fair enough – I wasn’t claiming Hoffman as a historian, just as a blogger of interest to the discussion, since he makes clear why Jesus mythicism goes against Occam’s razor – have you got a refutation of his argument? As for Standing, his article appears in a peer-reviewed journal. HIs training is immaterial – he’s passed peer review. Some of the best scholars have not actually got degrees in their fields, they’ve just read and published in rigorous ways. Jesus-as-fiction people haven’t yet, except in the fringes, and they have not persuaded the scholarly community.

I wasn’t claiming Hoffman as a historian, just as a blogger of interest to the discussion, since he makes clear why Jesus mythicism goes against Occam’s razor

You have claimed and been asked a number of times to produce an actual historian who makes the case for the existence of Jesus, I had assumed that this was an attempt to produce one.

As for his argument, if you look through my posts you will find that I have pointed out that a minimal historical Jesus is plausible, but as Hoffman says, plausibility is not possibility. To convert the former to the latter requires evidence.

You will note that the Razor has nothing to do with evidence, all it says is that this hypothesis is more plausible than that hypothesis. It does not convert a plausible hypothesis into a possible one.

He produced a paper in 2010 that has (as far as I can see) no citations. Why do you expect me to be impressed by this?

Speaking personally, given the paucity of evidence for such a figure I tend towards agnosticism on the subject.

Look, mate, you’re the one in the dock making rash claims – when are you going to substantiate your wild nonsense about Jesus being fictional? Can’t you do it? Why do you expect me to be impressed by crankery? I am not here to defend scholarship – you’re putting up red herrings. If you have something to challenge the scholars, go and publish. I’m done with your anti-intellectual rantings. You keep pretending it’s up to me to argue for the historical Jesus, but I’m simply going with the experts, and note that the challenges to the scholars are completely unconvincing. Now deal with it.

I’m anti-intellectual for what? Pointin out the Razor is simply a heuristic designed to rank degrees of belief? For exposing your sources as theologians and not historians?

Who is making the ontological commitment here, you with your claim that Jesus existed or me saying that I am agnostic on the matter?

You’ve been exposed as clinging to anti-intellectual fringe crankery, with inadequate evidence and fanciful convolutions, if you veer towards the notion that Jesus was historical. That’s why you’re being anti-intellectual. Being agnostic is fine, but going for a wild explanation over the more parsimonious one is intellectually dubious to say the least. I prefer to go with scholarly consensus than fringe nonsense and woo.

You’ve been exposed as clinging to anti-intellectual fringe crankery, with inadequate evidence and fanciful convolutions

You came here bragging of the solid evidence produced by academic historians for the existence of Jesus. When pressed you have avoided the issue, eventually giving a list of journals which address the issue. On investigating these all the authors that I could trace turned out to be theologians or bible scholars. You then threw in a book and an article from a popular magazine, both of these turned out to have been written by computer scientists using a dubious methodology. Your last foray was a couple of articles which also turn out to have been written by theologians.

In other words all your claims have turned to dust. You obviously realise this, hence the resort to ad hominem attacks.

No, I came here pointing out that no one has persuaded any eminent historians or other scholars of the likelihood of Jesus being fictional. How are you going to substantiate your claims? They are still in the rubbish bin, not persuasive to any serious scholars. You realise this, since you keep dodging it. My comments are not ad hominems, they’re just plain facts – you are clinging to fringe crankery. That’s not ad hominem, it’s just a sad reality.

no one has persuaded any eminent historians or other scholars of the likelihood of Jesus being fictional.

And you are still to provide an eminent historian who makes the claim to Jesus being historical. Hence your recourse to “other scholars”.

Accusing me of “fringe crankery” without substantiation of your accusation definitely counts as an ad hominem.

You aren’t backing up your claims, the scholarly arguments you offer are pathetic, but you call other people cranks.

How are you backing your claims that the gospels are fictional? You swallowed that hook, line and sinker and seem mad that no one serious takes you seriously. That’s because in the academic world we need evidence. Where’s your evidence to support the assertion that the New Testament writings are based on a fictional character, such a convoluted notion, rather than applying Occam’s razor? What’s your problem with Occam’s razor?

It seems as though he is prepared to give up some territory but isn’t prepared to give up the central piece of apologetics.

Occams razor basically says that you shouldn’t multiply causes unnecessarily. We can quite easily explain the spread of Christianity without Jesus, because, at any rate, he wasn’t there to spread it. The razor would seem to indicate that this religion started like every other religion, priests and con men making shit up. We can kind of trace the history of it back to Cephas and James and Paul, via the writings of Paul. They seem to have been preaching a messiah who was “revealed in the scriptures”(that’s the way Paul puts it). What else do you really need?

Historians disagree with you .Why are you so attached to this particularly line of crankery? Do you desperately need it to be true or something? How do we explain your apparent need to embrace discredited crap?

You’ve apparently not come across an historian yet. Just theologians. Keep trying though. Oh, and discredited by whom?

I ask you again, what is the greater piece of crankery, that Jesus might have been a mythical figure created by Cephas, James, and Paul, “from the scriptures” as Paul attests, or that God impregnated a Virgin with himself to make himself a sacrifice to himself?

Point to me a serious historian with a good citation record who supports Jesus mythicism. That is the material point – when you can do that, you may have a point. Until then, you’re just full of hot air.

Then you have none? The point is, none have considered the question, from the standpoint of “What do we know and how do we know it.” Everyone has assumed the stories are in some way historical and work from there. Biblical scholars admit this. It’s not controversial.

You have none, I must assume, since you won’t provide any. This is the whole point of this discussion – people are claiming that Jesus is fictional. Well, let’s see some evidence – evidence that persuades eminent historians.

Show me an eminent historian that is not a theologian who has published on it. Lol Bart Ehrman who is also not in historian says that there are none.

If you don’t accept Ehrman’s statement, then I don’t know what to say to you, since you haven’t seen fit to attempt to disprove it. You’re flailing.

Every historian who has written a peer-reviewed article, study, or book on the subject has been persuaded by the evidence.

Please try very hard to answer this lest we come away thinking that Carrier is the most cited historian on the issue of Jesus historicity/mythicism. Ehrman appears to be the only scholar to attempt a serious discussion on the matter of historicity but he is not a historian, which is your restriction.

Shouldn’t really matter if knobhead is being consistent, which of course he isn’t. In a comment to epeeist he defended his sources lack of credentials in a discipline even near what they needed. But here, he’s being a hyperspecific dick. Not just an historian, but a “serious” historian.

I think Lataster’s doctorate, dissertations, and peer-reviewed body of work, qualifies him, but knobby will handwave him off as not.

I ask you again, what is the greater piece of crankery, that Jesus might have been a mythical figure created by Cephas, James, and Paul, “from the scriptures” as Paul attests, or that God impregnated a Virgin with himself to make himself a sacrifice to himself?

You have been saying that historians say Jesus existed. I am just looking for a good argument for Jesus.

Those are not serious treatments. Their methodology is to squint to filter out the implausible and only look at the plausible bits. If you squint to filter out the flying and being bullet-proof, it is plausible that there was a man from Kansas named Clark Kent. Then if we look at the movie industry about him, plus truth, justice, and the American way, it has to be based on a real person.

Not me who is going to be disappointed. Looking at other things he has raised, such as the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, all the contributors that I could identify were theologians or bible scholars, no historians among them.

I really don’t know what his problem is, all that is being said is that the hypothesis of an existence of an historical Jesus is probabilistic in the same way as in all hypotheses in empiricist subjects. This being so, other hypotheses are possible.

He pointed at the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus and apparently assumed they were all about proving Jesus was historical. If they had such an article, I figured, it would have been early in the series but, judging from the titles, none were about that. I also looked at the most recent articles. At $26 per pop, I wasn’t going to wade through them so I insisted he point out an article that did that. He couldn’t be bothered to back up his claim.

A mark of his arrogance from the get-go, he assumed that we were know-nothing “anti-intellectual fringe crank[s]” who would simply bow to his obvious superiority.

I think it came as quite a surprise to him that not only were we not what expected but that we could also present solid arguments and references.

Yes, I have, which is why I see through your special pleading and bogus non-substantiated claims, as do all serious scholars.

Yes – pleading for special treatment of the rash and wild claim that Jesus was fictional, and no persuasive evidence to demonstrate that. Cite at least one eminent historian who is persuaded by arguments that the New Testament is based on a fictional Jesus.

Are you using the word “eminent” just to eliminate the only peer-reviewed authors who have written on the subject?

Name one eminent historian who has read the arguments that the New Testament is based on a fictional Jesus and not been persuaded.

You have been given links to the evidence. All you had to do was click on the link and read what pops up. But you keep your eyes closed to the evidence and keep your ears plugged to what you are told. You keep on about “serious scholars” but you cannot show one that has made a serious case for what you are arguing for.

If you want the case made for Jesus existing, read Bart Ehrman who wrote a whole scholarly book on the topic, as you yourself were discussing.

I’m not the one dodging requests for evidence to support your arguments mate – when are you going to cite serious historians who are convinced by mythicist assertions? Why can no one persuade any experts?

Clark Kent is completely plausible, and probably unfalsifiable. Sure, I mean, the Daily Planet never existed, but sure there were plenty of former farmboys working in Newsrooms after the Great Depression? THere’s nothing inherently implausible about that.

One of the incidental reasons to think that the Jesus of the gospels is not a stock or contrived figure is the lack of literary unity with respect to his character.

This simply one of those “Heads I win, tails you lose things.” If the Gospels tell stories that are identical, well, that is certainly evidence for an Earthly Jesus, and if there are definate differences in the Gosples, well, that’s proof of an Earthly Jesus too. Who could doubt a method like that?

In Aristotle’s era, dramatic heroes like Agamemnon or Odysseus possessed what was called “magnitude” (μέγεθος) or larger-than-lifeness,

Eh? Jesus casting out Demons, feeding thousands from nothing, and raising from the Dead isn’t larger than life?

(2) Allowing only for the credulity of writers and listeners of the time, there is nothing especially surprising about this description that would cause us to conclude it is fabricated or composed from assorted myths and legends,

See, this is exactly backwards, because we KNOW the myths that Jesus is constructed from, Paul TELLS us.

Lacking any positive grounds for thinking that the figure was invented through the fraudulence or malice of legend-spinners, it is more economical to think that it is a story (not an historical record) based upon the life and work of an historical individual.

An historical figure who’s only record is of doing multiple miracles for which there is no record. Gotcha.

Even at the point in the gospels where a mythic savior or celestial hero would defy death on Golgotha, smite his enemies and rise laughing into the heavens (as some strands of Gnosticism taught, the hell-harrowing Jesus of the Gospel of Nicodemus, and even the Christ of Philippians 2.5-11), the canonical Jesus simply dies a gloomy death, with only a drum roll and minor stage business thrown in to mark it.

But Jesus doesn’t just die a gloomy death does he? He rises from the Dead, and by doing so saves us all from Death!!! Yee Haw. And, he’s gonna come back with a flaming sword in his mouth and kick some Roman ass. Any day now. This makes perfect sense as a story told after the fall of Jerusalem, or possibly Bar Kochba. It’s also rather obvious from certain things in the story that the writers aren’t actually all that familiar with Palestine. It’s long been though, for instance, that Mark was written in Rome.

The appropriate response to (c) is that while there is every reason for a gospel-monger like Paul to make things up, given the fact that he is confronted directly–perhaps within two decades– with a post-crucifixion crisis in the life of a small band of religious orphans, there is no equally compelling reason for a gospel writer to do so. Indeed, the way in which the synoptic gospels confront the crucifixion has little symmetry with Paul’s expansive notion that the resurrection of Jesus is a “fate” that can be experienced by all believers, given a little tinkering with the definition of σάρξ (flesh).

But see, there’s no evidence that Paul had anything to do with a “band of religous orphans”. That’s reading the Gospels back into the Epistles. Paul doesn’t seem to know anything about the Gospel writers or any of their traditions.

No gospel survives in which the circumspection of the early community, as reflected in the earliest resurrection account, has not been displaced by Paul’s thunderous use of resurrection as the axial moment in the life of faith.

Yeah, that’s because all the evidence is that Paul was written first, and that’s our first record with no indications of other records. Paul started it, but the Author here can’t have that, because it crushes the whole thing.

Yet through simple redaction techniques and synoptic criticism we can reconstruct the movement from diffidence and caution to “proclamation” and elaboration. This pattern is the very opposite of the way in which myth develops.

Except, as I’ve just mentioned, the author here has got it bass ackwards. Paul is our first source, and by his very admission, he is, indeed, making it up. He repeatedly says that Jesus was “revealed to him from the Scriptures” and his teachings “Didn’t come from any man.” It’s actually pretty clear.

Examination of the contents of these (accidentally) canonical artifacts has to begin with accounting for this radical difference, and a primary question would have to be: Why would any two writers “just making things up” make up such completely different stories?

Because the Gospels are essentially fan fiction, based on the work of Paul. If you actually follow the order of attributed authorship, this isn’t hard at all. It explains both the differences and the similarities within the individual authors own theologies.

For reasons I will try to make clear in my book, I hold to a relatively early date for significant portions of the gospels, not because I wish to stick them closer to the time of the “historical Jesus”

As to (a), that Jesus is “made up,” or is a deliberate fiction in the service of religious cult: a consistent line would require us to state reasons for the fabrication.

Religious Jews wanted out from under Roman occupation? I mean, that certainly works for Pauls “Christ” who was going to come down from Heaven and smite the Romans and cause the worthy to rise with new bodies. I mean, c’mon, you just have to read what the guys actually wrote about.

What is the likely social context for making up a rather dull story about a failed messianic prophet from Galilee, especially when that story flies in the face of essential parts of later construals like Paul’s.

Paul is not a “later construal” Holy shit. Paul is the first record we have. Full stop. This has now descended into nonsense.

A strong reason for the existence of the story would be that the story had wide appeal because the man was a popular teacher and people rem embered him,

This doesn’t work either. A popular teacher whom no one at the time ever noticed and wrote about? Josephus names various sects but nothing about one this popular? See, that’s the problem here, that this author is simply postulationg on a complete lack of evidence, and ignoring the evidence that we do have, in the order that we have it. In other words, he’s making shit up to fit his pre conceived notions.

and that eventually these reminiscences, inconsistent and partial as they are, found their way into writing and then were copied, edited, and high;y elaborated and spiritualized by “John”

All of which is much more conjectural than “An early Jesus cult constructed a messiah and later authors wrote about it.”

it’s like putting the proverbial ivory tower (or at least those members of it who happen to be on Team Righteous) on a proverbial pedestal (they make deeply intellectual arguments and discoveries so we don’t have to! wheeeee!!). talk about overkill.

Ehrman is one little scholar amongst many, and I think you’ll find he is not well supported by other historians in that claim.

Has anybody disputed that nobody had published on the topic before Ehrman? Are you disputing that? Ehrman’s conclusion was that Jesus existed. So what are you worked up about?

Ehrman used seven pieces of evidence. One was the Gospel of Mark. The other 6 are hypothetical presumptions that are assumed to have been about Jesus, if they exist at all. But scholars who accept that Jesus existed have identified the sources for the Gospel of Mark. When you put them all together, there isn’t much left to be about a real Jesus.

You don’t need to recite what the scholars believe. I know that. What I do not know is why they think Jesus existed, besides being taught it when they were children.

And if you’re claiming that Ehrman reckons no one has published peer-reviewed work on the historical Jesus, then you are certainly mistaken. That is an obvious mistake.

He comes right out and says that he couldn’t find a single work defending the historicity of Jesus.

Scholars on the Level of James McGrath outright say as much. They simply assume the writings are historical and go from there. Try to find any “published” works demonstrating that the Gospels are not entirely fictional and why.

Where’s your citation? If he said that, he’s very clearly mistaken. And that’s very unlikely. Your name calling is not helping your argument.

First, I realized when doing my research for the book that since New Testament scholars have never taken mythicists seriously, they have never seen a need to argue against their views, which means that even though experts in the study of the historical Jesus (and Christian origins, and classics, and ancient history, etc etc.) have known in the back of their minds all sorts of powerful reasons for simply assuming that Jesus existed, no one had ever tried to prove it. Odd as it may seem, no scholar of the New Testament has ever thought to put together a sustained argument that Jesus must have lived. To my knowledge, I was the first to try it, and it was a very interesting intellectual exercise.

Ok no worries – well, Ehrman has now done it, so that should satisfy you. There was not really a need, since there is no viable alternative to historical Jesus to this point, but it’s probably not a bad thing that Ehrman did it.

There was not really a need, since there is no viable alternative to historical Jesus Rhett Butler to this point, but it’s probably not a bad thing that Ehrman did it.

The HTML tag you are looking for is “strike” but Disqus allows “s”. I am just looking at the initial post

I see you have fixed it but the HTML tag is “strike” but Disqus allows “s” for the strike. I still use “strike” because Disqus might change their policy which would undo all the old posts with the abbreviated tag.

Have we even got Rob to acknowledge the simple fact that the vast majority of Biblical scholars are professing Christians?

Bob S pointed that out to him. Then he appealed just to the subset of scholarship that excludes those types. I think the discussion was more like between Yale and Biola.

Oh and btw read Ehrman’s opinions about Jesus mythicism:

Karl Jaspers writes of him being “paradigmatic”, but he also applies the same categorisation to Socrates, the Buddha and Confucius.

Check out “Who’s Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank” by Steven Skiena, Charles B. Ward (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014)

Seriously? You want to base your argument on an algorithm developed by computer scientists that uses Google page ranks and pages from the English Wikipedia?

It’s because I value academic standards that I have respect for Skiena’s and Ward’s work – it’s robust and helpful. It’s not history – it’s basically memetics.

The authors both of the book and the Time article say that they trawled English web pages for their data. In other words, they didn’t look at pages in Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Hindi, Arabic etc.

It is a gross and obvious piece of selection bias, something that Nick Bostrom details in his book on the subject.

Fair enough – anyway, it’s not a point I’m standing on. My opinion that Jesus is the most influential chap in history doesn’t make me an insane apologist or whatever that post said. It’s fairly standard-fare opinion. But who gives a stuff?

Never said it did, just that the book and article you cite makes an extremely basic mistake, as such their conclusion doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Well who gives a fuck? My opinion is valid, and it’s not demonstrating I’m some kind of religion apologist. I’m just over the bullshit that internet ignoramuses keep throwing up, like anti-vax, creationism, Jesus mythicism, climate change denial and other crap.

I’m just over the bullshit that internet ignoramuses keep throwing up, like anti-vax, creationism, Jesus mythicism, climate change denial and other crap.

Is there evidence in favour of vaccinations and climate change? Yes there is, which why the anti-vaxxers and the climate change denialists are in the wrong. Is there any evidence in favour of creationism? No, there isn’t and there is considerable amount of evidence against it, which is why the creationists are wrong.

Is there the same amount of evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus as for the other subjects you raised? Absolutely not, which is why the scepticism.

Is there evidence to support the assertion that the existence of the New Testament and the church are better explained by a fictional founder than a historical one? What evidence do you have to substantiate such a convoluted and wild claim instead of applying Occam’s razor?

Is there evidence to support the assertion that the existence of the New Testament and the church are better explained by a fictional founder than a historical one?

If you are claiming that the New Testament is evidence for the existence of Jesus then one can equally point to The Illiad as evidence for the existence of Achilles or The Epic of Gilgamesh for the existence of Enkidu.

If you want to claim that the NT is different to the two works I have cited then you are going to have to show why this is the case.

No, it’s a requirement to substantiate your claims. Why won’t you? The works you cited are not Hellenistic historical documents, as the gospels claim to be, so your comparison is not appropriate (again, you need to go to experts and scholars, not internet trolls).

The works you cited are not Hellenistic historical documents, as the gospels claim to be, so your comparison is not appropriate

You do realise that the existence of Gilgamesh is accepted by scholars, and of course who is not aware of the finding of Troy by Schliemann.

If you’re claiming Jesus was fictional, you need to provide evidence to account for the composition of the gospels and the founding of the Christian religion on the basis of an entirely fictional bloke. No one has managed to persuade any serious historian that such an assertion holds any weight.

Dammit, epeeist is not claiming Jesus is fictional. He is pointing out that your arguments for historicity are piss-poor.

You have been presented the evidence many times but you refuse to consider it. What are you so afraid of? It’s not like you don’t enjoy wasting time which is all you would have to lose.

A serious historian with a doctorate in the classics, particularly the Roman period around the time of Jesus, was persuaded. He was like most folk, and just assumed like everyone else, that Jesus was a real bloke, just not a god-man.

That same serious historian had to be dragged kicking and screaming to have a look at Earl Docherty’s mythicist thesis. Eventually he did, and that spurred him on to dig a bit deeper. What he found was what has been known by scholars for a long time. Christianities foundations are spurious.

The serious historian was approached by a group of benefactors that fronted the serious historians work on two books on the subject.

That serious historian with a doctorate is Richard Carrier. He was an historical Jesus proponent until he looked at the evidence, then he wasn’t. That’s how these things work.

I also know there are serious historians/scholars that are on the record as being agnostic on the subject and others that have admitted to large problems in the historicity question.

The funny thing is, in practical terms it doesn’t matter. The Church grew just fine without Jesus walking around. People convert and prosyletize today without ever having a glimpse of the “real” Jesus. The only Jesus needed is the one in there head, and I see no reason that was different in Antiquity. It’s really a side show argument, unless you need the historical Jesus to hang your celestial Jesus theology on.

A religion needs people to make it grow but it doesn’t need a real object of worship for its growth. Paul and his letters are explanation enough for it to survive the war and Mark was enough to jump start it. It’s all imagination anyway.

I don’t know if you’ve been following Vridar much lately. But I though this comment by RG. Price was just fantastic.

Yeah, the whole “high Christology” / “low Christology” thing makes no sense and as Carrier points out, leads to problems as soon as its even acknowledged anyway. Because the problem is that as soon as you acknowledge the early existence of “high Christology” the early Jesus becomes irrelevant.

And as I say in my book, I think the core theology of “Christianity” from the beginning was the idea that the material world was hopelessly corrupt and had to be destroyed so that a new immaterial world could be created in heaven.

To me, this was the distinguishing feature of the earliest Jesus cult, that there was need for a new heavenly immaterial world and the role of Jesus was to create this new immaterial world. So, from the beginning, the role of Jesus was the one who would overthrow the demons of the lower heavens who controlled the material world, destroy the material world, and create a new immaterial heavenly kingdom for the righteous.

A human being has no role in this. This is a cosmic drama. Now, why was Jesus not Enoch? Because really this is basically Enoch’s role. Well, because Enoch was not the messiah.

Jesus, IMO, is a Recasting of Enoch in a messiah role, and also, of course, Jesus was said to have existed eternally, which Enoch did not. Why was his name Jesus? I don’t know. Why was his name anything. No matter what his name was this question would remain.

I think Jesus was used because it was supposed to be a common name. Jesus was supposed to be like an every-man messiah. But Jesus definitely wasn’t an “angel” per se, he was an “immaterial man”. Jesus, as Paul says, was the immaterial Adam. He was the archetype of man for the new immaterial world.

He wasn’t an angel, he was the perfect, flawless man, uncorrupted by ever having become material. That’s the irony, is that you can clearly see in early Christian, and even late Christian, theology, the need for Jesus to be immaterial and uncorrupted. And its amusing the mental gymnastics that Christian apologists have undertaken to explain a Jesus who was both human and divine.

All of this mental gymnastics of nonsense like the trinity and Jesus’s suffering and perfection and of Mary’s immaculate conception so that Jesus would be without sin, etc. all clearly derives from the efforts to fit the square peg of the Gospels into the round hole of original Christian theology.

The human Gospel Jesus clearly doesn’t even fit into the theology. That’s why they had to invent logical impossibilities to explain the theology. Real “Christian” theology makes sense internally and has a coherent form and ideology. “Catholic” style theology is totally irrational nonsense full of contradictions.

Any Christianity with a human Jesus in it must accommodate vast and complex theological gymnastics. A Christian theology based purely on a an immaterial heavenly messiah is coherent (if still nonsense) and consistent.

I don’t know, maybe its a personal thing and I’ve fabricated too much of my own reality around this, but from my perspective, that Jesus never existed is blatantly obvious and so clear that I can’t even figure out how anyone could argue otherwise. The origin and development of the religion from a cult worshiping an immaterial heavenly messiah in the pattern of the Son of Man from Enoch seems abundantly clear, cohesive, and makes absolute sense.

I mean “second” coming? Come on? The whole idea of a “second coming” is obviously so stupid. That concept doesn’t even make any sense. Obviously Paul was talking the FIRST coming of Jesus. Why would Jesus come to earth and then come again? That makes no sense. It’s obviously a justification trying to shoe horn early Christian theology into the Gospel narrative. But the idea of having a savior that would come, not do his mission and then need to return again is just stupid. Paul never talked a return of Jesus, because Paul was expecting him to come for the first time, as any sensible theology would.

Why was his name Jesus? I don’t know. Why was his name anything. No matter what his name was this question would remain.

I was in the process of doing so when you posted this. I have repeatedly provided the evidence but you keep your eyes closed and your ears plugged.

Richard Carrier is a historian who accepted that Jesus was historical until he looked at the evidence for Jesus and the evidence that Jesus was a myth. He was persuaded by the evidence.

Where is your evidence that any professional historian was persuaded by the evidence that Jesus existed? Being persuaded before they became a historian doesn’t count unless they have made a serious argument for Jesus historicity. That is more than an argument for Jesus plausibility.

It’s not an appeal to plausibility, it’s a request to demonstrate you have a case. Why can’t you cite any serious scholars who are convinced by your arguments? Because they are fanciful. You’re trying to shift the burden, but the argument is whether Jesus is fictional or not – show that any serious historians are persuaded that he is. Then you might have something – until then, I call your ideas crank, fringe nonsense.

I’ll repeat it yet again, I am agnostic on the matter hence I am not making the claim that Jesus was fictional.

What I am is sceptical of the claim that Jesus definitively did exist. I would claim (based on Quine’s ideas of under-determination) that other hypotheses are possible and that each of these will have an associated probability in the same way that the hypothesis that an historical Jesus existed has a probability.

Is there evidence to support the assertion that the existence of the New Testament and the church are better explained by a fictional founder than a historical one?

…the answer to which is yes…Richard Carrier wrote a whole peer-reviewed book detailing such a thesis c/w supporting evidence.

Using Bayes Theory, he concludes the odds are 12,000-1 against…but by giving the historical Jesus the benefit to every doubt, pulls that down to a fortiori position of 3-1 against there being an historical person behind the NT yarns.

Rob doesn’t wanna know it, but that won’t make it go away…

Is there evidence to support the assertion that the existence of the New Testament and the church are better explained by a fictional founder than a historical one?

YES! The early epistles don’t know anything about Jesus except what they got from the Old Testament. They don’t say anything else about a first century Jesus. I have cited the epistle verses and the OT verses where the information comes from to you more than once. I have given you a reference to a ton of evidence for the sources of the gospels, and those sources were identified independently by New Testament scholars who accept a historical Jesus. However, Robert M. Price compared their cases, and showed that when combined, practically all of the Gospel of Mark is from sources that are not about Jesus, thus it is a fictional story. The other gospels revolve around the Gospel of Mark stories, showing the other authors had no real information about Jesus, either.

What evidence do you have to substantiate such a convoluted and wild claim instead of applying Occam’s razor?

Do you believe the two stories about the Feeding of the 5000 and the Feeding of the 4000 or do you apply Occam’s Razor? Many of the miracles of Jesus are patterned from the OT miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. See the Feeding of the 100 in 2 Kings 4:42-44 and combine in the two feasts attended by Telemauchus, Odysseus’ son, in The Odyssey, one of which had nine groups of 500. Then notice other parallels with the Homeric epics modified with OT passages, and Occam’s Razor says we should discount all of those parts of the story.

But then we can do that with parts of the story that appear to be plausible. Compare the Mocking of Jesus with the Mocking of Carabbas from Philo’s Flaccus VI (IIRC).

Mark uses Aramaic terms and Latin terms. He explains almost all of the Aramaic terms but never the Latin, which indicates he wrote for Romans. He mentions “Bartimaeus” to explain that “bar” means “son of”. He has Jesus open his Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father”, a phrase found in Romans and Galatians, so that when Barabbas is introduced, his readers would know that there are two people called “Son of the Father”, and the story parallels Leviticus 16:5-22 where one goat is killed for the sins of the people and the other is released into the wilderness. Mark screwed up though, as this is the Yom Kippur ritual and Atonement Day is about five months after the Passover.

Note that the difference between “Barabbas” and “Carabbas” is exactly the same in the Greek and that the Barabbas story immediately precedes the Mocking of Jesus. The parallels are so dense and specific that Occam’s Razor tells us that it is unlikely to be mere coincidence. Occam’s Razor tells us the story is contrived and not historical.

We should expect that most of the sources of Mark should have been lost to history but over 80% of the gospel can be accounted for from extant sources. Occam’s Razor tells us not to put much stock in the other 20%, mostly parables, as being authentic.

Since the other gospels have elements of Mark’s contrivances, Occam’s Razor tells us to not trust them either. That some of their sources can be deduced as not being about Jesus further enforces that Razor.

Cite eminent historians who have seriously considered the evidence who have not been persuaded by it. Cite eminent historians who think NT scholars are following the historian’s methodology regarding Jesus historicity.

Your arguments are destroyed by a moment’s consideration. You really should look at the evidence that has been presented to you numerous times and address that. You should try thinking for yourself instead of believing people who have never looked at the evidence to the contrary.

I don’t know if Rob doesn’t know that biblical studies is filled with Apologists acting as scholars or Doesn’t care or is trying to carry water for them.

I don’t know if Rob doesn’t know that biblical studies is filled with Apologists acting as scholars

I am presuming you have noticed him backing off from talking about historians to using the word “scholars” instead.

It’s scholars when it is something he relies on, and it’s “serious” historians when it’s something he also relies on.

He handwaves at scholars in general for his support but your support must be peer-reviewed and eminent historians.

The “anti-vax, creationism, …, climate change denial and other crap” folks go around making unsupported claims. You go around making unsupported claims.

The “anti-vax, creationism, …, climate change denial and other crap” folks don’t like to look at evidence. You don’t like to look at evidence.

No, you’re the one making unsupported claims. You’re claiming that the gospels and existence of the church can be explained by a fictional founder. What’s your evidence? Why do you resist evidence so fiercely?

Have you seen the numbers on how many biblical studies types are constrained by a faith statement? I’ve seen it at over 60% but I can’t seem to find it.

No, I haven’t seen that number, but that would be interesting to get. You would need to know whether this was just in the US, worldwide, and so on.

But we can anticipate Rob’s response. He’d probably say that those so constrained aren’t proper scholars.

Like Clement’s three sources for Hitler’s atheism…even a scholar or expert’s opinion doesn’t count.

Not according to Carl Sagan and others. Strongly held consensus that are wrong generally only change as the old gaurd dies off and the new group coming up accepts the new information. The old gaurd has too much invested. Sagan uses the example of Steady State theory. I thought you were well read?

Yes, that’s part of it, and Sagan was onto something (as a populariser of science). But the point is that the evidence needs to persuade the experts eventually. It’s not prudent for some novice or amateur to presume to know better than the experts – we need to wait until the experts have been persuaded, since otherwise any old crank notion will hold sway (that is far more of a problem these days with internet “experts” who don’t know their stuff).

Uhm, no, the point isn’t that the experts are eventually swayed. The point is that the view changes as the old gaurd either retires or dies off.

It’s exactly how you’d expect a consensus to change – through demonstration and evidence, as with any scholarship.

According to Carl Sagan that’s actually the main way. In a field like biblical scholarship that’s faith based why would you expect it to change except by the most extreme evidence?

Nope…didn’t some religious fuckwit say that in a choice between scripture and evidence, no matter how extreme the evidence, scripture always trumps.

Yet, no expert has made a logical case for the historical based on the evidence. New Testament studies are based on an assumption. If the assumption is disproved, they are not historians, but literature experts. Maybe they do not want to look too closely.

If it was easy, we would have lots of proofs. If it was hard, we should expect a successful case would have been made by now. That leaves extremely difficult or impossible. Some of the experts are relying on the consensus of experts who do not know themselves but some actually do know they cannot show the existence of a historical Jesus from the evidence using historical methods.

It might be interesting to pick another figure, say Lycurgus of Sparta, and compare the evidence for his existence and that of a purportedly historical Jesus.

Using historian methods, you can throw out the supernatural claims but, for Jesus, you can throw them out because they seem to be derived from the literature of the day, most of which were not about Jesus. But you can apply that to the more plausible events and conversations, the gospels are worthless as evidence.

The epistles don’t actually say much about Jesus that doesn’t come from writings that were already centuries old. It’s like they are either saying Jesus existed long ago in their past or what he would be like if he existed.

Both appear to me to be greater indications of being invented than being about a first century person.

Lycurgus of Sparta has so much information that it cannot all be true but there is no way to sort out the true parts from the false parts, with not much that can be eliminated by implausibility.

It turns out, that Diogenes of Sinope has much better evidence, including primary archaeological evidence that corroborates key parts of his story.

Best and worst, simultaneously, by being the only published case, apparently. I add “published” as we don’t know how many attempts wound up in the circular file.

Maurice Casey was another atheist who tried to make the case for the historical Jesus…a couple of years after Ehrman…but if ya think Ehrman’s effort was pathetic…don’t touch Casey’s with a 10 ft barge pole…

I have not seen any Category d books and nobody has ever recommended one, so I don’t think anyone has completed one. It doesn’t mean nobody has tried, though.

locked away in the Vatican obviously. of course the timing of its release must wait for the Maximally Sectarian Division of Earth, because [rhubarb rhubarb mysterious rhubarb revelation rhubarb]

Apologetic? What the fuck are you one about? I have said what I have said – that the experts are not at all impressed by the crankery of Jesus mythicism – the only apologetics here is from the crank fringe view pretending it’s taken seriously. I didn’t say “if you read one book” – I pointed to a scholarly resource that sums up the whole field – you need to get yourself to a library and escape such ignorance.

Dude, we talk about the “evidence” such as it is, quite often. But you wouldn’t know that because you’re too busy mentalbating over in the corner.

That’s hand-waving. When you actually look at it, they do not have actual evidence for the historical Jesus. That is their basic assumption.

Odd as it may seem, no scholar of the New Testament has ever thought to put together a sustained argument that Jesus must have lived. To my knowledge, I was the first to try it, and it was a very interesting intellectual exercise.  –Bart Ehrman

Take it up with the scholars – you’ll have to work hard to demonstrate that the evidence such as the existence of many gospels and a large organisation with many ancient buildings and art works tracing its origin back to Jesus all arose from some other source. You will need to publish in the peer reviewed literature if you want to persuade anyone who actually thinks seriously.

If the gospels are evidence for Christianity then the Qur’an must be evidence for Islam, the Vedas for Hinduism, the Book of Mormon for Mormonism…

I don’t care whether they are “noble” or not, I care whether they are true and whether their adherents are trying to force me to abide by their tenets.

Except We don’t have anything tracing back to Jesus. We have stuff tracing back to Paul, and Cephas, and James.

The work has been done by Christians and non-mythicists. There are several studies, many peer reviewed, that show that aMark was likely drawing on some of the common literature of the day. When you look at each one, it is pretty obvious that the scholars are correct. But when you combine these studies, nearly the whole gospel of Mark is based on the literature of the day and not on oral traditions.

Since Mark invented the stories, when we see the stories in the other canonical gospels, we can tell they were copying Mark. Matthew and Luke copied a lot verbatim while John seems to have been careful to not copy verbatim yet passages like the Feeding of the 5000 match up point for point and detail for detail with Mark more than the Synoptics. The other gospels of Jesus were so far-fetched they were rejected by folks in the second century but they made the canonical gospels seem almost reasonable by comparison.

So the canonical gospels don’t stand to scrutiny. Now do you know of anything in the early epistles that give us any information about Jesus that doesn’t come from Old Testament sources?

The author of John was writing about an issue which was some 50 years AFTER Jesus’s death. Namely the exclusion of Christian Jews from their local synagogue. It’s why in John, Jews are referred to as ‘the darkness’, ‘the world’ and ‘children of your father, the devil’…John’s use of the term ‘the Jews’ shows that the community of John had totally cut themselves off from Judaism, unlike the earlier gospels where the Disciples continued to worship in synagogues.

SO basically the Gospel of John is the result of a local feud between two communities with Jesus placed into it.

That is interesting. I have never considered that possibility. John 1:1-18 seems to favor Philo, though, so maybe that synagogue rejected Philo.

There are some real similarities in the way Paul and Philo describe men-women (falsely translated as homosexuals) in the temple eg comparing Romans 1 with

“It begins with the men who belie their sex and are affected with effemination, who debase the currency of nature and violate it by assuming the passions and the outward form of licentious women.” — Philo, Volume VII, edited by G. P. Gould, The Loeb Classical Library (LCL 320

and Philo’s Special Laws III “Moreover, another evil, much greater than that which we have already mentioned, has made its way among and been let loose upon cities, namely, the love of boys, which formerly was accounted a great infamy even to be spoken of, but which sin is a subject of boasting not only to those who practise it, but even to those who suffer it, and who, being accustomed to bearing the affliction of being treated like women, waste away as to both their souls and bodies, not bearing about them a single spark of a manly character to be kindled into a flame, but having even the hair of their heads conspicuously curled and adorned, and having their faces smeared with vermilion, and paint, and things of that kind, and having their eyes pencilled beneath, and having their skins anointed with fragrant perfumes (for in such persons as these a sweet smell is a most seductive quality), and being well appointed in everything that tends to beauty or elegance, are not ashamed to devote their constant study and endeavours to the task of changing their manly character into an effeminate one. ”

” ….At all events one may see men-women continually strutting through the market place at midday, and leading the processions in festivals; and, impious men as they are, having received by lot the charge of the temple, and beginning the sacred and initiating rites, and concerned even in the holy mysteries of Ceres. (41) And some of these persons have even carried their admiration of these delicate pleasures of youth so far that they have desired wholly to change their condition for that of women, and have castrated themselves and have clothed themselves in purple robes, like those who, having been the cause of great blessings to their native land, walk about attended by body-guards, pushing down every one whom they meet.”

Romans 1:17 (NRSV)17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”

Habakkuk 2:4 (NRSV)4 Look at the proud!    Their spirit is not right in them,    but the righteous live by their faith.

Romans 1:18-23 (NRSV)18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

Psalm 19:1-4 (NRSV)1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;    and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.2 Day to day pours forth speech,    and night to night declares knowledge.3 There is no speech, nor are there words;    their voice is not heard;4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,    and their words to the end of the world.In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,

Wisdom 13:1-5 1 For all people who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know the one who exists, nor did they recognize the artisan while paying heed to his works; 2 but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world. 3 If through delight in the beauty of these things people assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them. 4 And if people were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is the one who formed them. 5 For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.

Wisdom 11:15 15 In return for their foolish and wicked thoughts, which led them astray to worship irrational serpents and worthless animals, you sent upon them a multitude of irrational creatures to punish them,

Wisdom 12:24-27 24 For they went far astray on the paths of error, accepting as gods those animals that even their enemies despised; they were deceived like foolish infants. 25 Therefore, as though to children who cannot reason, you sent your judgment to mock them. 26 But those who have not heeded the warning of mild rebukes will experience the deserved judgment of God. 27 For when in their suffering they became incensed at those creatures that they had thought to be gods, being punished by means of them, they saw and recognized as the true God the one whom they had before refused to know. Therefore the utmost condemnation came upon them.

Wisdom 13:10 10 But miserable, with their hopes set on dead things, are those who give the name “gods” to the works of human hands, gold and silver fashioned with skill, and likenesses of animals, or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.

Wisdom 14:8 8 But the idol made with hands is accursed, and so is the one who made it— he for having made it, and the perishable thing because it was named a god.

Romans 1:24-27 (NRSV)24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

Psalm 81:12 (NRSV)12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,    to follow their own counsels.

Wisdom 14:12 12 For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication, and the invention of them was the corruption of life;

Wisdom 14:24-27 24 they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure, but they either treacherously kill one another, or grieve one another by adultery, 25 and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury, 26 confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors, defiling of souls, sexual perversion, disorder in marriages, adultery, and debauchery. 27 For the worship of idols not to be named is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.

There are other passages in Romans and 1 Corinthians that appear to be influenced by the Apocrypha writings but no others from the “authentic” Pauline epistles. I think the Epislte of James is mostly a response to Galatians and that Paul responds here and there to James in Romans and 1 Corinthians so I think those are later letters.

I haven’t seen in other indications that Paul read Philo, but then, I haven’t read Philo thoroughly either. ___________________________________

John 1:1, Philo, De Somniis; On Dreams, The Logos is considered the same as God. Heraclitus of Ephesus used “Logos” circa 500 BC. John 1:2, Philo, De Allegoriis Legum; Allegorical Interpretation, The Logos was in the beginning with God John 1:3, Philo, De Allegoriis Legum; Allegorical Interpretation, All things were made by the Logos John 1:9, Philo, De Somniis; On Dreams, The Logos was the true light John 1:18, Philo, De Confusione Linguarum; On the Confusion of Tongues, No man hath seen God…. The Logos hath declared him

The earliest manuscripts found have been parchment in Egypt and they are all pieces of John, so it appears that the most popular gospel at the time in that area was John. Perhaps it appealed to them because it relates to the teachings of Philo of Alexandria.

You are playing your “I’m not smart enough in scripture to bring any of you to the Lord” caveat to a tee. Dime Bar.

Paul read Greek literature as can be seen from the epistles. Why wouldn’t he have read Hebrew literature, too?

Well Mr. Intelligent the scripture I stated went right over your 180 IQ head. Who would of thunk that.

You have been brainwashed to maintain your brainwashing. You just look for reasons to stop thinking. That is what religion does to people. It makes you useless.

What evidence? The extra-biblical evidence is way too late and seems to be derived from the gospels. The gospels are based on a fictional combination of the literature of the day. The epistles never talk about a preacher teacher from Galilee or his teachings. The early epistles don’t tell us anything about Jesus that doesn’t come from the Old Testament.

I mean the evidence to support the claim that the experts are in consensus. So unless you want to be on the level of climate deniers and anti-vaxers, you need to put up some evidence to displace the consensus. No one has managed to do that persuasively to the experts yet.

I mean the evidence to support the claim that the experts are in consensus. So unless you want to be on the level of climate deniers and anti-vaxers, you need to put up some evidence to displace the consensus.

The consensus of experts is usually a good way to go unless the consensus of the experts is based on the consensus itself. I showed you the quote of Ehrman that he couldn’t find anybody who had tried to prove Jesus actually existed. That does not mean that nobody tried, only that nobody has come up with an argument convincing enough to publish.

Ehrman’s argument for the existence of Jesus relies on the Q document, which is not in existence today, and there are no references to it in any ancient documents. One of Ehrman’s most famous students, Mark Goodacre, is not a mythicist, but the argument he is known for is that Q didn’t exist, that Luke used Matthew.

I understand the climate change argument down to the basic physics because I looked at both sides of the argument, the evidence, and the methods so I accept the reality of climate change. I have looked at the evidence for vaccinations and the arguments for both sides. The anti-vaxxers evidence and methodology does not stand to scrutiny. Before you compare me to a young-earther, I have looked at the evidence for evolution and the paleontologist methodology and the evidence for the Big Bang and the astrophysicist methodology and find they stand to scrutiny. I look at the evidence for Jesus and the arguments for both sides, and it is the evidence for Jesus that does not stand to scrutiny, nor does their historical methodology.

Richard Carrier says he has been in contact with the experts you assume agree with the consensus and he says many of them are sympathetic to his argument.

You have been saying that the scholarship proves that Jesus existed but you cannot show a single peer reviewed study that shows that. Even Bart Ehrman doesn’t know of any. You appeal to a consensus that is not based on the evidence or argument, because nobody in the consensus can show that the consensus is based on anything more than the consensus.

I am not asking you to believe me. I am asking you to show me the evidence. I am easy to convince with evidence.

We see it as completely polite and lovely to say “hi, you old cunt” to a mate. Swearing is polite as fuck.

If that is the case, your people are just as crude as my people. That is all right as long as you are real. Good thing is that I am Vietnamese, so I don’t care about political correctness. If I take your words seriously, what I see on abcqanda is just an act.

I guess I will not trust what I perceive as good manners that Christians and Muslims in Australia show to me from now on. Inside their head, I am just a heathen who deserves a fate worse than death only because I don’t believe in the same god as they do.

I remember how Cory Bernardi tap-danced around the issue about funding Christian chaplain in schools. He made it sound like it was supposed to be inclusive to people of all faiths even though he was clearly in favor of his religion over others.

Same thing with Randa Abdel-Fattah. She made the argument about radical Muslims as if her religion was innocent.

Thank you for being honest. I don’t like pretentious people, especially the religious. They don’t dare to admit that they dislike certain people because their holy book says so.

Ummm, you’ve moved a mountain of goalposts from the BuyBull to Jebus. After reading the nonsense within The Holey Book, I really didn’t care whether there was a Jesus or not, still don’t.

The character, in the same source everyone works from, is quite clearly a myth regardless of the possibility of there being a preacher with a common name back in the day.

No, mate, I’m pointing you to actually think and not give into confirmation bias and intellectual laziness.

Just a pity there are so many of youse. Christian hypocrites…using the YahwehJesus as an excuse to do bad shit since the get-go.

Again, if you believe anyone who justifies violence ANYTHING with appeals to God, you’ll believe anything.

yep. as soon as i see/hear someone use a phrase like “healthy conscience” or “human nature”, i immediately require as many details of their background as possible. (with at least lip service to the merits of their reasoning in context, of course!)

In social psychology, fundamental attribution error (FAE), also known as correspondence bias or attribution effect, is the concept that, in contrast to interpretations of their own behavior, people tend to (unduly) emphasize the agent’s internal characteristics (character or intention), rather than external factors, in explaining other people’s behavior.

Basically, if I do something bad, it’s due to external circumstances. If you do something bad, it’s because you’re a bad person.

Thanks for reminding me of the name. In my mind, that’s most evident when pro-life women stand on the picket line in front of the abortion clinic once a week. When they discover they’re pregnant, they slip in the back door or go to another clinic in town to get their abortion. A week later, they’re back on the picket line.

Y’see, their circumstance was different (broken condom, things got carried away just once, etc.). They’re not a thoughtless slut like those other women.

That’s a pretty extreme example of that. You wouldn’t happen to have any statistics on how often something like that happens? It strikes me as the sort of story that is particularly susceptible to being anecdotal.

Stats would seem impossible to get, but these anecdotes might be helpful. Here’s the source I was thinking of:

I must take issue with one portion of your comment, sir. I noticed when visiting Muslim countries that 5 times a day, every day, religion interferes in the life of everyone — Muslim or not — out and about in the public sphere (there may be exceptions in places here and there, from time to time, depending upon the national political climate du jure, and the ideological nature of mullahs and national/local political leaders [assuming they are not one and the same] calling the shots at a given time).

Yes, you’re absolutely correct, of course. That portion of my comment was meant somewhat flippantly as you probably guessed. Some people even in Christian countries put in more than a Sunday morn. But, my point, I think, still stands. Even in the Muslim countries I found people who were both good and bad, just like every other place I’ve ever been, home and abroad.

I absolutely agree with you that people everywhere are alike in that we all are comprised of an amalgam of every trait present in humans, varying as individuals in the strength/weaknesses of each trait and in how we, as individuals, manage those strengths/weaknesses. And I should have added a snark symbol to my comment, intended not to condescendingly lecture but only as humor.

The Christian religion effects the lives of everyone here in this part of the world to in a negative way…perhaps not everyone all the time, but it is still a huge pain in the arse all the same.

I’m probably a bigot, but I tend to distrust very religious people, especially in business deals. They have too many ways to justify screwing you over, IMHO.

Well I kinda agree. In my experience if the person is just a Christian that has Christian books and stuff around the office but never says anything about it unsolicited they are probably fine. I have never had an issue with someone like that. If however, everything thing they say is peppered with Jesus, etc….watch the fk out, they are trying too hard for a reason imo.

There’s a certain seed company (Becks Seed) that finds it necessary to put a note from the company Chaplin on every newsletter they send out. The make a big deal out of praying at company meals and how patriotic they are, etc. They are about the most dishonest, marketing based seed company there is. I wouldn’t do business with them on a bet.

My accountant is a Seventh Day Adventist…he has books and stuff all over, Chuck Colsten, etc. (yuck) I have done business with him for 15 years, he has never said one religious thing to me and he has no idea of my opinions on the matter. He is honest to a fault.

That’s possibly a sign of overcompensation. If people have to wear this on their sleeve, it may be to cover up their sordid actions. Show, don’t tell, applies here.

I’ve several long time evangelical friends and one guy who is always looking for investment windfalls has been fleeced 3 times over the decades by people in his own church. I keep saying don’t just assume they are are honest because they claim to be Christian but it falls on deaf ears.

In the south, we have lots of businesses (especially HVAC and other service companies) that purposefully advertise their Christianity. I avoid those companies. I mainly do so due to the idea that when companies advertise they use descriptors like honest, on time, friendly, etc., because the opposite of those descriptors (dishonest, late, mean…) would be bad. If they think that not being Christian is a bad thing, then they won’t be getting any of my business.

I never saw that type of religious marketing for business where I grew up in the midwest, but now it seems to be all over and getting more popular.

Like anything, it all depends on how you practice. Just saying you’re a guitarist doesn’t mean you’ll sound great.

We have a Christian on this blog that claims that Christians don’t practice very well at all…he says you are all hypocrites…which is a form of dishonesty.

So referring to the Christian ‘sheet music’ (the Bible) is just not allowed in a discussion using a music analogy…you sure do make up rules as you go.

pah, i still don’t buy the “bible as a whole” concept no matter who it’s coming from. that’s a book that BEGS to be cherry-picked. seriously, apart from the fact that clerics had the monopoly on literacy, what credentials did the Canon Committee even have? i wonder if they indulged in extra preliminary dedications/benedictions/hokeypokeys at the beginning of meetings. maybe the fact that nobody burst into flame, was struck by lightning, etc. during these proceedings* was sufficient proof that they were Picking & Choosing As Gawd Intended!

Bash those babies against the rocks… but don’t you DARE have an abortion after your father rapes you.

In college, my thesis was on the Arthur legend, so I read Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. The Arthur part was probably made up out of whole cloth (and subsequent writers had no problem mutating the story, so the version you’ve heard is quite different), but the most implausible part to me was the bit where he claims Britain was founded by a Trojan refugee named Brutus. Basically he was copying the Aeneid, but for England.

If 1000 years after Christ, the dominant model of history was “make stuff up and pass it off as history” — because it isn’t written like mythology, it’s written like Geoffrey actually KNOWS this stuff, though he doesn’t give a source — how do we know the gospels themselves are any better? To say nothing of saint stories (like the stories of the apostles’ martyrdoms) and any other claims of the church’s “tradition.”

Throughout most of history, the people doing the recording of it were doing so with the motivation of producing propaganda of one form or another. It’s really only recently that historians have stopped just taking all the ancients at their word on everything. It’s not like the Romans and Greeks didn’t do the same thing to varying degrees over the centuries. The modern concept of history being “what actually happened” is very very modern in comparison to the timeline of recorded history, and not all of that can be blamed on Christianity. It’s a pretty human thing to prefer recording whatever makes you and yours look badass. Just look at people’s facebooks.

I like to use the modern accounts of the SAS section escape from Iraq…B20 (Bravo-Two-Zero) and how a single set of events can be reported so differently.

I’ve personally been involved in such corruption of accounts being reported after the fact…we are inherent story tellers and love to embellish….and dare I say, make stuff up.

Nope….I’m saying that just because someone says it was so, or that it is recorded in a book, doesn’t mean it happened, or happened the way it was recorded in that book.

I wonder if Christians are able to apply the same logic to say the Koran or L Ron Hubbard as they are to the Bible?

It all comes down to circular logic: it’s true because it says it is and because it says it is it’s true.

I wonder if Christians are able to apply the same logic to say the Koran or L Ron Hubbard as they are to the Bible?

That’s essentially John Loftus’ “Outsider Test for Faith” and the answer is nope. When I bring it up, and I quite often do, what I get back is *crickets*.

It all comes down to circular logic: it’s true because it says it is and because it says it is it’s true.

It was a flying horse dressed in a dragon suit…dragons don’t tolerate being ridden like flying horses…they will have none of it, no matter what anyone says on the subject.

That reminds me of a counterfactual I occasionally ponder–what if there hadn’t been an influential Christian Church in late antiquity, and there had been no missions, no abbeys, no network of lettered clergy across Europe?

Literacy and philosophy weren’t much valued among the Celtic and Germanic peoples that occupied the vacancy left by the Empire Formerly Known as Roman. Say what you will about Christianity’s flaws, its personnel and infrastructure were a civilizing influence, at least insofar as they preserved and spread the written word for several centuries. Nerds among jocks, clerics (etymologically related to “clerk”) wielded the quills from which the overwhelming majority of medieval writings poured.

It’s true that maintaining the ability to read Greek and Latin for almost a thousand years so they could take advantage of ancient Greek and Roman knowledge was important but it is unfortunate that they were so focused on religion that they couldn’t see the value of understanding and maintaining the knowledge itself throughout those centuries.

Yeah, unfortunately (but also unsurprisingly) the preservation/copying of pre-Christian works wasn’t a big priority, unless the Church specifically thought the material useful. Copious records of antiquity were lost–sometimes temporarily, but often forever.

One kinda interesting quibble with your comment. Literacy in Greek was actually atrocious in the medieval Catholic Church for many centuries. Perhaps surprising to us now, but it makes sense when we consider that Latin was the language of church documents, of the official Vulgate, etc.

Not only did they not preserver works, but they actively copied over scientific and mathematical works. The true extent of it is not really clear, but it certainly happened.

Yes every so often historians find a parchment with fabulous Greek knowledge. They find it because modern scientific techniques allow them to read what was on the parchment before monks scraped it clean to write down a prayer.

I wrote about bishop Nicole Oresme and Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (who foresaw heliocentrism in key respects) at length in my 2010 book, Science and Christianity: Close Partners or Mortal Enemies?:

Nicholas Oresme (c. 1323-1382; bishop) Oresme conceived the idea of employing what we should now call rectangular co-ordinates . . . and thus forestalls Descartes in the invention of analytical geometry. . . . In opposition to the Aristotelean theory of weight, according to which the natural location of heavy bodies is the centre of the world, and that of light bodies the concavity of the moon’s orb, he proposes the following: The elements tend to dispose themselves in such manner that, from the centre to the periphery their specific weight diminishes by degrees. He thinks that a similar rule may exist in worlds other than this. This is the doctrine later substituted for the Aristotelean by Copernicus and his followers . . . But Oresme had a much stronger claim to be regarded as the precursor of Copernicus when one considers what he says of the diurnal motion of the earth, . . . He begins by establishing that no experiment can decide whether the heavens move form east to west or the earth from west to east; for sensible experience can never establish more than one relative motion. He then shows that the reasons proposed by the physics of Aristotle against the movement of the earth are not valid . . . [source: Catholic Encyclopedia: ”Nicole Oresme”] He wrote influential works on mathematics, physics, and astronomy. In his Livre du ciel et du monde Oresme discussed a range of evidence for and against the daily rotation of the Earth on its axis. From astronomical considerations, he maintained that if the Earth were moving and not the celestial spheres, all the movements that we see in the heavens that are computed by the astronomers would appear exactly the same as if the spheres were rotating around the Earth. He rejected the physical argument that if the Earth were moving the air would be left behind causing a great wind from east to west. In his view the Earth, Water, and Air would all share the same motion. As to the scriptural passage that speaks of the motion of the sun, he concludes that “this passage conforms to the customary usage of popular speech” and is not to be taken literally. He also noted that it would be more economical for the small Earth to rotate on its axis than the immense sphere of the stars. [source: Wikipedia bio] His work provided some basis for the development of modern mathematics and science. Oresme brilliantly argues against any proof of the Aristotelian theory of a stationary Earth and a rotating sphere of the fixed stars and showed the possibility of a daily axial rotation of the Earth. He was a determined opponent of astrology, which he attacked on religious and scientific grounds. He states – more than 300 years before Robert Hooke (1635–1703) and Newton – that atmospheric refraction occurs along a curve and proposes to approximate the curved path of a ray of light in a medium of uniformly varying density, in this case the atmosphere, by an infinite series of line segments each representing a single refraction. [source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy bio] In the whole of his argument in favor of the Earth’s motion Oresme is both more explicit and much clearer than that given two centuries later by Copernicus. He was also the first to assume that color and light are of the same nature. He asserted methodological naturalism: “there is no reason to take recourse to the heavens, the last refuge of the weak, or demons, or to our glorious God as if He would produce these effects directly, more so than those effects whose causes we believe are well known to us.” [source: Wikipedia: ”Science in the Middle Ages”] He also showed how to interpret the difficulties encountered in “the Sacred Scriptures wherein it is stated that the sun turns, etc. It might be supposed that here Holy Writ adapts itself to the common mode of human speech, as also in several places, for instance, where it is written that God repented Himself, and was angry and calmed Himself and so on, all of which is, however, not to be taken in a strictly literal sense”. Finally, Oresme offered several considerations favourable to the hypothesis of the Earth’s daily motion. In order to refute one of the objections raised by the Peripatetics against this point, Oresme was led to explain how, in spite of this motion, heavy bodies seemed to fall in a vertical line; he admitted their real motion to be composed of a fall in a vertical line and a diurnal rotation identical with that which they would have if bound to the Earth. This is precisely the principle to which Galileo was afterwards to turn. He adopted Buridan’s theory of dynamics in its entirety. [source: Catholic Encyclopedia: ”History of Physics”] “Most of the essential elements in both his [i.e., Copernicus’] criticism of Aristotle and his theory of motion can be found in earlier scholastic writers, particularly in Oresme.” [source: Thomas Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution (New York: Vintage Books / Random House, 1959), p. 154] [pp. 64-66 in my book]

Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464; cardinal) Nicholas anticipated many later ideas in mathematics, cosmology, astronomy, and experimental science while constructing his own original version of systematic Neoplatonism. In Book II of On Learned Ignorance he holds that the natural universe is characterized by change or motion; it is not static in time and space. But finite change and motion, ontologically speaking, are also matters of more and less and have no fixed maximum or minimum. This “ontological relativity” leads Cusanus to some remarkable conclusions about the earth and the physical universe, based not on empirical observation but on metaphysical grounds. The earth is not fixed in place at some given point because nothing is utterly at rest; nor can it be the exact physical center of the natural universe, even if it seems nearer the center than “the fixed stars.” Because the universe is in motion without fixed center or boundaries, none of the spheres of the Aristotelian and Ptolemaic world picture are exactly spherical. None of them has an exact center, and the “outermost sphere” is not a boundary. Cusanus thus shifts the typical medieval picture of the created universe toward later views, but on ontological grounds. The natural universe itself, as a contracted image of God, has a physical center that can be anywhere and a circumference that is nowhere. [source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy bio] Cusanus said that no perfect circle can exist in the universe (opposing the Aristotelean model, and also Copernicus’ later assumption of circular orbits), thus opening the possibility for Kepler’s model featuring elliptical orbits of the planets around the Sun. He made important contributions to the field of mathematics by developing the concepts of the infinitesimal and of relative motion. He was the first to use concave lenses to correct myopia. His writings were essential for Leibniz’s discovery of calculus as well as Cantor’s later work on infinity. [source: Wikipedia bio] The astronomical views of the cardinal are scattered through his philosophical treatises. The earth is a star like other stars [spherical], is not the centre of the universe, is not at rest, nor are its poles fixed. The celestial bodies are not strictly spherical, nor are their orbits circular. The difference between theory and appearance is explained by relative motion. [source: Catholic Encyclopedia bio] “Copernicus . . . had probably at least heard of the very influential treatise in which the fifteenth-century Cardinal, Nicholas of Cusa, derived the motion of the earth from the plurality of worlds in an unbounded Neoplatonic universe. The earth’s motion had never been a popular concept, but by the sixteenth century it was scarcely unprecedented.” [source: Thomas Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution (New York: Vintage Books / Random House, 1959), p. 144]

Yes Christians do science, and they do it very well as long as their theology does not get in the way. But pointing out that Christians do science really is no more interesting than if they happen to enjoy golfing or long strolls on the beach.

Christian doing science shows nothing since one big plus of science is the way it tries to remove confirmation bias. What would be impressive is if a Christian used science to test their religious beliefs. I wonder why they don’t do that?

What would be impressive is if a Christian used science to test their religious beliefs. I wonder why they don’t do that?

I think that is kind of what they were doing. They could see the value in the advancements of thought and naively assumed these insights would prove their religious beliefs. But they found many beliefs about the universe were wrong. When they stopped trying to factor God into the science, science took off by leaps and bounds.

I’m still of the opinion, unverifiable and unearned, that what became the scientific method probably arose, at least in part, as a mechanism to protect scientists from the Church. ” Look , we dotted all our I’s and crossed all our T’s and this is what we got! ” It may have been encouraged by the need to protect skin.

First you ban Bob from your site, apparently because you cannot bear speaking with him. This is after you used his words to create a blog post.

And you’ve banned a number of people here. We were just laughing about it yesterday. And most of us were banned after you used our words to create several blog posts. And you have so little integrity you don’t even notify the subjects that you are using and twisting their words.

Then you come to Bob’s site and post links back to your site, inviting us all to come read your unadulterated sludge. Ooh, but we mustn’t comment there. Someone might hurt your weak and delicate feefees.

In the immortal words of The Bandit, addressing Buford T. Justice, “Do the letters F.O. mean anything to you?”

It is quite amazing and truly memorable to see cowardice, absolute lack of integrity, and mean spiritedness combined in a single package. Go look in the mirror and armire yourself.

P.S. Please tell me all about Jesus, cuz I want to be a cowardly, cheap, mean spirited and dishonest Christian just like you. In your wet dreams.

P.P.S. Don’t bother to reply. I don’t have a ban hammer, so I’ve merely blocked you. Bye bye asswipe.

Buford T. Justice: Give me a diablo sandwich, a Dr. Pepper, and make it quick, I’m in a god-damn hurry.

One of my favorite scenes. Jackie Gleason was great. He was so different than the Jackie Gleason Show or the Honeymooners.

I blocked him ages and ages ago. Nice to see that my powers of discernment over who is an gigantic asshole are still sharp.

Christianity has been opposing science since the first church was formed. It is still actively opposing education and science, as anyone who takes a look at American politics can see. Most of these ‘discoveries’ you are claiming had already been discovered by other cultures and then later destroyed by Christians. The Mayans had known that shit for centuries, then along came Christianity to burn all their texts. Most of ‘Christian’ discoveries were simply rehashing things other people already knew before the Christians came along to burn their shit.

Bob specifically requested that I take on one of his anti-Christian posts. More than happy to oblige:

Did he request this before or after you used him as the subject of a blog post despite banning him so that he cannot reply?

He did last night in the midst of the maniacal 300-post + frenzy of hatred against me. He can reply to THIS new post of mine on his web page (as I explained last night). I would then post all his words and my replies in another new post. That way, he is heard on my page, and my rules of civil discourse are also maintained at the same time. Capiche?

You are just a schmuck, don’t confuse hatred with just pointing out your jerkish behavior. You aren’t that important, but I have no doubt you really want to believe it is hatred for the sake of you ego.

Speaking of wild maps, check out the map the guy uses for the flat earth convention just held in my city.

Bob is exhibit #1 of what C. S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery” and what G. K. Chesterton has written about:

“[T]here is something odd in the fact that when we reproduce the Middle Ages it is always some such rough and half-grotesque part of them that we reproduce. But why is it that we mainly remember the Middle Ages by absurd things? Few modern people know what a mass of illuminating philosophy, delicate metaphysics, clear and dignified social morality exists in the serious scholastic writers of mediaeval times. But we seem to have grasped somehow that the ruder and more clownish elements in the Middle Ages have a human and poetical interest. We are delighted to know about the ignorance of mediaevalism; we are contented to be ignorant about its knowledge. We forget that Parliaments are mediaeval, that all our Universities are mediaeval, that city corporations are mediaeval, that gunpowder and printing are mediaeval, that half the things by which we now live, and to which we look for progress, are mediaeval.” (Illustrated London News, “The True Middle Ages,” 14 July 1906, when Chesterton was still an Anglican, not yet a Catholic)

“It was perhaps the one real age of progress in all history. Men have seldom moved with such rapidity and such unity from barbarism to civilisation as they did from the end of the Dark Ages to the times of the universities and the parliaments, the cathedrals and the guilds.” (The New Jerusalem, 1920, ch. 12)

“The medieval world did not talk about Plato and Cicero as fools occupied with futilities; yet that is exactly how a more modern world talked of the philosophy of Aquinas and sometimes even of the purely philosophic parts of Dante.” (The Spice of Life and Other Essays, “The Camp and the Cathedral” [1922] )

“I have never maintained that mediaeval things were all good; it was the bigots who maintained that mediaeval things were all bad.” (Illustrated London News, “Mediaeval Robber Barons and Other Myths,” 26 May 1923)

“They started by saying that mediaeval life was utterly miserable; they find out that it was frequently cheerful; so they make an attempt to represent its cheerfulness as a wild revolt that demonstrates its misery. Every impossibility is possible, except the possibility that the whole assumption about the Middle Ages is wrong.” (Illustrated London News, “More Myths, Mediaeval and Victorian,” 2 June 1923)

OK, giving you a “like”– because it seems you are not on this OP for entertainment and boredom. See that, an angry atheist — in chill mode!

However, we already know medieval was not all bad…just a shame that Western religion and theology was still holding us back…e.g. the examples in the OP (map with Jerusalem in the center)…compared with an otherwise steadily improving culture described here…

No, I guarantee that is exactly what he is angling for so he can then run to his blog and proclaim we are just as bad as him.

He is definitely angling for that, but it doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do; he’ll spin anything so that he comes out on top.

He is a waste of space, isn’t he? Thanks for the input. I’m hoping he’ll remove himself, but if that doesn’t happen I’ll follow your suggestion.

I marvel at how he comes back despite it being clear that he has only hatred to offer. At the moment, he amuses me.

TL;dr “I’m not getting any traffic to my site, so if I piss off the crowd here, maybe SOMEBODY who I haven’t *ALREADY* banned will come over and increment my hit counter.”

True, universities, etc. are medieval but in some cases at least were product of a church that wanted them as a way to form priests. I doubt, however, had Enlightment not appeared, we’d have gone so far (and I’m thinking not on Christian scientists but in Church-endorsed scientific research in those times)

In name, yes; in function, not really. A king with divine right of rule calling on nobles, bishops, and representatives of townships to give him advice is not a representative form of government.

We’ve got the house of lords here in the UK ffs….don’t get me started on the democracy on NI political democracy vis a vis there that is the feckin the US is a feckin’ ….we just have to suck it up until the day things are right.

i thought i’d drop this link here really quick. no particular reason, just feels like it might be useful on this thread for some reason

This is hardly unique to Christianity: You ever read Natural History by Pliny the Elder, a Roman pagan? It contains tons of nonsense and mythical creatures. By the 1500s however they were finally on the cusp of the Scientific Revolution. I don’t know whether that can be credited to Christianity (though many Christians think so) but it did happen on their watch, and the majority involved then were of course Christian. So yes, things did improve under Christian rule. Whether that was owed to them is more the issue.

Some of the spoils from the Crusades were ancient Greek and Roman writings that had been kept and copied by the Muslims. When the Christians, who could at least read Greek and Latin, read these writings from more than a thousand years earlier, their science advanced.

I’ve heard that, and the Muslims had their own beginnings of a scientific revolution earlier (sadly it wilted after the Mongol rampage over them). These writings remained around in the Byzantine Empire, but they didn’t have this (perhaps too busy fighting off Muslim invasions?).

Yeah, some of those same critters were in Pliny. I often use them as an example of why we cannot take any written work from the far past at face value. Pliny was a brilliant, discerning, educated individual … but he was still credulous enough to fall for legends like these. As were the Christians who came later.

Yup. And there’s no way to tell the difference. Which is why archaeology and related historical fields of study are far more important than any written word from ancient days.

Well you can tell to a certain extent, if their work matches logic or scientific facts. Of course, there is much we can’t decide either way. So a huge grain of salt in needed in a lot of areas.

The Catholic Church must be credited for perpetuating the scientific errors and myths of the Greeks and Romans by blindly copying their writings and taking their info at face value without further investigation. Hell, they treated the musings of Aristotle et al as if they were inherent scripture. Just like the Thomists at

True, but that’s another issue. In their case it seems they don’t expect much at all. Or perhaps God being eternal means a thousand years is nothing to him, as they say. He’ll get to all that in his own time.

Which is why a lot of the doing science at the time was done on the QT…or being done by Muslims and others in the East.

Coincidentally, I see that Tim O’Neill, an atheist history gadfly of sorts, recently discussed the “Dark Ages” here:

Very much worth a listen, even if you don’t agree with everything he says. Indeed, especially if you don’t agree.