Blog break 14: Other news


Fellow sufferers here are two blogs that should leave you either entertained or depressed. I am sure it will be mostly depression.

While lurking [it has lately become a pastime] I came across this post, the atheist’s dilemma; a journey from atheism to Christ, which is a story of a young girl who was an atheist and went to Harvard, yes, and found god, which is all good. As I have said before in other posts where I write about belief that I believe a person believes as they are most convicted and not any other way. That being the case, I can’t hold it against anyone for believing in superstition, ghosts, phantoms and fairies. I think, however, that a person who has an opportunity to explore nature, to study it and understand it is being irresponsible when they say they found C.S Lewis convincing. Without committing the fallacy of No True Scotsman, one wonders whether the only atheist literature available is the God Delusion and the Koran :-P? I sincerely would want to know what other atheist literature she read, whether she considered other extant religions and how she found Christianity and specifically Catholicism to be the truest of all the man-made religions. Am more interested, especially so, since I became a non believer in adulthood having grown up religious, I find all the religious stories to be BS. How does one who has grown up godless and with the ability to tear apologists arguments to shreds all over sudden find the fairy tales so convincing and of all the places in Harvard, where I thought only the brightest of our lot go?

In this next post, will atheism survive the internet, would want us believe that atheism will not survive the internet. He tells us

Back to atheism and the internet. . . the problem with the net is that there is so much mis-information that our young surfers don’t know what is true anymore. They are looking for answers and are clearly not wholly satisfied with google. It will take more than ‘ string theory’  to fool the youth of today.

Yet the Bible has stood firm for over 2000 years. It is rock solid. It does not lie. Isn’t it comforting to have a source of wisdom and Truth that you can just feel in your bones is the right Way?

And these atheists are evil in their intent. They will pick any verse and twist it around. The other day they went on about talking donkeys, trying to trap me into asking if I believe a donkey really spoke to Balaam in the famous story. They wanted to know details, like did his lips move like a humans, did he bray as he spoke. . . was he like the donkey in Shrek. . . it always gets insulting when atheists are involved.

which yours truly found to be not only ridiculous but wishful thinking. I on the other hand believe, and strongly so, that whereas d’Holdbach said knowledge of nature will be the end of gods, I want to add that the internet is where all the religions may die.

Fellow sufferers, visit the blogs and have fun but if you are depressed, at least I warned you 😛

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

123 thoughts on “Blog break 14: Other news

  1. Alastair says:

    I think I will avoid them for a while 🙂

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  2. violetwisp says:

    I’ve seen the Harvard girl story before, must be a Christian favourite that does the rounds. I have to wonder about anyone whose lack of belief in deities hinges on questions like ” Could an omnipotent God make a stone he could not lift?”.

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    • makagutu says:

      It is interesting that her unbelief rested on such a quiz. Maybe as is usually said, there are people who really want to believe. So she is a golden girl of christian apologists to be passed around as if a convert is proof of the truth of a religion!

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  3. Allallt says:

    The second post sounds like “wouldn’t it be easier to trust this book; no, don’t think about it or critically think about data yourself, just trust this book”

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  4. Jason says:

    “How does one who has grown up godless and with the ability to tear apologists arguments to shreds all over sudden find the fairy tales so convincing and of all the places in Harvard, where I thought only the brightest of our lot go?”

    It really makes one think doesn’t it? I can’t help but agree with the girl in the article. I find it hard to believe God doesn’t exist.

    I make it a regular practice to read both sides of the “argument” and I can’t find any good reason not to believe in God. However, I do struggle from time to time with my beliefs, but when I stop to think about my objections, I find that it’s always emotionally based…not intellectually based.

    In fact, I find it hard to rationalize unbelief. In many ways, I think the atheist has to choose to ignore the evidences for God to maintain his/her’s atheism. I would give up my Christian beliefs if it could be demonstrated to be false and I believe Christianity is falsifiable, but I think their are any compelling reasons or arguments atheism.

    I’m a Christian, because I believe truth can be known and that Christianity can be demonstrated to be true.

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    • makagutu says:

      Jason, thanks for visiting and your comment. I would like you to tell me how Christianity is falsifiable and how to demonstrate its truth.

      There was a time in my life when the question of god’s existence was a given, it was never a part of the debate but looking back it was because no one talked about it. It wasn’t discussed in the circles I moved in and my time on the internet was spent on finishing assignments, mailing friends and such but never anything much to do with religion and now I find it hard to believe a god, any god does exist. I don’t struggle with this knowledge.

      I find it hard to believe that a person could be exposed to arguments for atheism and still remain a believer. In my view, the theist has remained impervious to all evidence to the contrary and is beyond help.

      And religion, I think is emotionally based, not intellectual.

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      • Jason says:

        Christianity could be falsified if someone can demonstrate that Jesus was a myth and didn’t exist, that there is no soul, that the bible isn’t reliable, or that Jesus did not rise from the dead…just to name a few. I think there is outstanding evidence in support of these. Many people have been trying to argue against some of these for many many years now and I have yet to see any compelling evidence or better explanation of the evidence. I’d give it all up if I thought there were better explanations.

        You said “I find it hard to believe that a person could be exposed to arguments for atheism and still remain a believer.” Why? What argument in particular do you find compelling? I’ve yet to find any…and I’m looking. I’ve read Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” and find that he drastically mischaracterizes Christianity and then attacks it (aka Straw Man). I’d have a huge problem with Christianity too if it was how he characterized it. In fact, I have a huge problem with Christianity…particularly American Christianity. Mostly because there is a lot of ignorant people in the church, but ignorant people don’t make it false.

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        • makagutu says:

          Jason, I must tell you, you sincerely have made my evening. There is a lot of literature dealing with the Jesus myth, I thought you have read them, existence of a soul would require you die first to find out, how this is falsifiable is beyond my feeble imagination and the bible far from being unreliable in its telling of history, tells us nothing about your god.

          I find it interesting that the only book theists mention is the God Delusion, seriously! I don’t even know where to start with you :-P. Kant, I believe was a christian, in his Critique of Pure Reason, which I highly recommend, he writes god can only be known through revelation, in effect making a joke of all the arguments for the existence of god leaving us with scripture only to consider and I don’t have to repeat that all the [un]holy books are wanting. So I need not give any one argument to support atheism.

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          • Jason says:

            I’m well aware of the literature written regarding the “Jesus Myth” and find it to be ridiculous. I just recently posted a blog that was an audio recording with Bart Ehrman to which Bart refuted the ridiculous notion that Jesus was a myth. There’s not much I agree with Bart on but I’d have to agree here…no serious scholar (christian or atheist) questions the existence of Jesus.

            Also, to falsify the existence of the soul, I believe one only needs to defeat the arguments for its plausibility.

            I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on Immanuel Kant, but I’d disagree with his view on how one can know God exists. I’d have to brush up on him, but he also believed that no one can know truth. How did he know that was true?

            My question for you is, if Christianity could be demonstrated to be 100% true, with no question about it…would you become a Christian? If not, then the problem isn’t intellectual or because of the evidence.

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          • makagutu says:

            no serious scholar (christian or atheist) questions the existence of Jesus.

            I don’t think you really are serious about this!

            I don’t think we have soul just like there is no god. All these are vestiges of an ignorant past. While at it, it would be interesting to know what you mean when you talk of soul.

            I think you should first read it then maybe you can disagree. While at it, I will tell you here that all the philosophical arguments for the existence of god attempt to bring god into existence by definition. None has been successful in demonstrating a god exists and it is for that simple reason theists keep churning them out hoping one day god will show up. It is a good exercise in philosophy though :-P.

            In response to your question, how could this be demonstrated? And for your information, I was brought up religious so what is this new information that you have? Why would a god, if what apologists say about s/h/it is true, want me to believe. Wouldn’t be knowing that one exists be just enough, why insist I believe?

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        • john zande says:

          “Christianity could be falsified if someone can demonstrate that Jesus was a myth and didn’t exist, that there is no soul, that the bible isn’t reliable, or that Jesus did not rise from the dead”

          Wow… did you truly write that?

          OK, let’s skip Jesus and the bible and jump right to the soul. Please demonstrate to us that there is a soul. Please cite experiments and identify data. If you’re going to say “Metaphysics” then please eexplain, in detail, what metaphysics is.

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      • tkjaros says:

        “I would like you to tell me how Christianity is falsifiable and how to demonstrate its truth.”

        Through the historical method.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_method

        But some beliefs don’t require demonstration of truth. For example, can you demonstrate for me that this proposition is true: ‘Humans must be able to demonstrate something to be true for us to believe it is true.’ I’m willing to see how you might demonstrate that to be true, but it seems to me on first thoughts to be a presupposition.

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        • makagutu says:

          Are you suggesting that christianity is one such belief that doesn’t require a demonstration of its truth?

          Humans must be able to demonstrate something to be true for us to believe it is true

          In this proposition are you implying that there is no need to demonstrate the truth value of propositions before they can be believed.

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          • tkjaros says:

            You agree with me that there are some beliefs that don’t require a demonstration of truth value, right?

            For example, ‘Propositions require a demonstration of truth value before they can be believed’ cannot be demonstrated to have a truth value.

            So why think the proposition ‘we need to demonstrate the truth value of a proposition in order for it to be believed’ is true? Why hold to a standard that the standard can’t meet itself?

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          • makagutu says:

            I don’t agree with the first statement. The only concession I make is people have believed things to be true even without demonstration. That standard is important if our beliefs and reality are to be congruent!

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          • tkjaros says:

            Makagutu,

            Put that standard to the test of the standard. Is that standard something that can be verified with evidence?

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          • makagutu says:

            tkjaros, this is semantics or as my friend put it, word games. I asked you then and now, what is your point? That people should believe things as true without demonstration?
            So the christian should believe that once upon a time, the Nile river and all other rivers was turned into blood or something of that kind? Or that a fellow lived in the bowels of a fish for 3 days? Really? Is this the point or what is it you want me to agree to?

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          • tkjaros says:

            Semantically, what you called “word games” everybody else understands as “logic.”

            The proposition, ‘All propositions are valid if only presented with evidence” is false on the basis that that proposition is not presented with evidence. Thus, the modifier must change from a universal to a particular.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_proposition

            My point is that you believe at least one proposition to be true without evidence, and it is this proposition: ‘all propositions are valid if only presented with evidence.’ So not only is the statement self-refuting, but you are acting inconsistent with that proposition.

            I’m not necessarily saying that we should believe anything and/or everything without evidence, but that there are at least some beliefs that can be held validly without evidence (Alvin Plantinga calls these ‘properly basic beliefs’).

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          • shelldigger says:

            Word games. Dodges. Willingness to wallow in the land of possibilities. Reminds me of the History channel.

            Still no evidence. Still no definitions. You got nuttin.

            You do put on a good show though, and are capable of spelling and sentence structure way beyond the usual creo, but you still have nothing but bluster and and an obvious well crafted ride on the merry go round. Keep it going in circles, and dodge the real issues.

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          • makagutu says:

            I couldn’t have said it any better than this 😛

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          • makagutu says:

            Am in a very generous mood, list just 4 of these basic beliefs and maybe we will see how basic they are and whether they do need to be a demonstration of truth.

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          • tkjaros says:

            Shelldigger,

            You just throw out accusations because you’re unable to comprehend my point that the standard of evidence you propose cannot meet its own criteria?

            Give me a break.

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  5. aguywithoutboxersRoger Poladopoulos says:

    I think the example that you cited, my Nairobi brother, highlights the illusions and myths surrounding Harvard. They do admit the mentally challenged! 🙂 Good point! Much love and naked hugs!

    Like

  6. “it always gets insulting when atheists are involved”. Very interesting: these atheists start asking innocent questions and instead of trying to answer them, the theist feels insulted. I think this is at the root of much of the trouble religious people have with atheists. Sure, some atheists are pretty smug, but if you feel insulted just because people question your beliefs, I think you might be the one with the biggest problem.
    Thanks for posting this, Mak!

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  7. shelldigger says:

    This Jason chap…is he aware of what evidence is? Evidence is this thing that is used to bolster our understanding, it is this thing that supports facts and knowledge. Where is this evidence you speak of?

    Here is a hint, evidence is not a book of fables, evidence is not belief, evidence is not some wistful intangible deepity that says nothing at all, except to demonstrate ones willingness to wallow in the possibilities. Evidence dispels the possibilities. Evidence you ain’t got. (yes I know that isn’t good and proper English, it just felt right)

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    • Jason says:

      I’m quite aware what evidence is, my good sir and not only do I think there is good evidence…I think it’s outstanding evidence. Maybe we can narrow this down. What would you like evidence for? The existence of God? The resurrection? The life of Jesus?

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      • makagutu says:

        Before we go to the evidence for the existence of god. Start by telling us what god is, then maybe we will move to the evidence

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        • tkjaros says:

          What a juvenile response.

          We all have a general understanding of what we talk about when we speak of the being, “god.” Unless you have some seriously intellectual concerns, a la the problem of religious language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_religious_language), stop being a troll.

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          • makagutu says:

            You really must be an idiot to think me a troll. God is a meaningless word, means whatever you want it to mean.

            Either you can say what you mean by god or you can’t.

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          • tkjaros says:

            Verificationism is dead, my friend. It died a funny death last century when philosophers realized that they couldn’t verify verificationism.

            In fact, you at least give some sort of meaning when you use the word yourself! So it’s clearly not meaningless.

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          • john zande says:

            How about you forget philosophy as all it produces is word games. I asked you a question earlier, and I’ll ask it again here: why do you think 4th century Christians saw it necessary to forge a new ending to mark? Surely there’s a “real” answer to this. People don’t just go out of their way to deliberately (secretly) tamper with documents, do they? There has to be a reason for this crime, wouldn’t you say? So let’s hear it: why do you think 4th century Christians saw it necessary to falsify a new ending to mark?

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        • Jason says:

          I agree with tkjaros, I think everyone knows what we mean when we say God, but what the heck…I’ll take the bait. Obviously, tkjaros and I are referring to the Christian God in particular, but I don’t think it’s necessary at this point to make that case. We simply need to give reasons beyond a reasonable doubt for a theistic God (an immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful cause of the universe). From there a case can be made for the Christian God, but it doesn’t sound like we are ready for that yet. 🙂

          Like

          • john zande says:

            I think Mak will have a lot to say on this, but might i just say “an immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and enormously powerful cause of the universe” says absolutely nothing. He asked for a definition, not a wishlist of what you “hope” it is.

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          • Jason says:

            A wishlist? That is the definition of God. God is the uncaused first cause, the creator of all things physical and those would have to be the qualities of the God. Essentially, we are getting in the the Kalam Cosmological argument now. What do you suppose the first cause was? To quote Gottfried Leibniz, Why is there something instead of nothing?

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          • john zande says:

            Sorry to say, but it is indeed nothing but a wishlist. Now, which god are you even referring to? If it’s the Middle Eastern Yawhew then you have your definition completely wrong. YHWH was once just one of the 70 children of El in the Canaanite pantheon; a war god who started a redecoration process in the 7th century but wouldn’t actually assume the position of Devine King until the post-Exilic period, 5th Century BCE. Listen, even conservative Jewish rabbis today admit the Pentateuch is nothing but a geopolitical work of fiction commissioned to justify a northern land grab after the fall of Mamlekhet Yisra’el (Kingdom of Israel) in 722 BCE.

            Now, as its clearly not YHWH you’re talking about let’ get back to the definition. You named a lot of esoteric wishes but nothing actually real. “immaterial, timeless…” says nothing. You’re describing nothing.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            The question one is going to ask the christian who says his god is immaterial, timeless and spaceless and has a son who is material to reconcile the two and demonstrate how the second is possible

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          • john zande says:

            I like your answer. I’ll stay out it now and just watch.

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          • tkjaros says:

            John Zande,

            Asking for a definition is distinct from asking whether than thing exists. We can define a unicorn, but that is distinct from whether such a thing exists.

            So replying that x is merely “what you hope it is” is irrelevant to the question regarding the definition of x.

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          • john zande says:

            Word games. The question was patently simple: define this god you seem so sure exists. Presently I don’t care about evidence. Don’t dance around the question and play evasive tricks. Just define the god you’re talking about.

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          • Jason says:

            Word games? I don’t see word games…just valid points.

            I’m beginning to think you guys aren’t seriously open to knowing truth (whether it’s Christianity or not). I try to be as open minded as possible. Truth is the most important thing one can seek after. Seems you just want to hold on to your presupposed worldviews.

            It looks like we’re just talking past each other then.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            They are word games, that is what you guys are engaged in. You keep parroting the same trope apologists have written and think you have said something. You have presumed that christianity is true or that it holds the truth and whereas this is what am asking you to demonstrate, you have failed to do so. How you get to

            Seems you just want to hold on to your presupposed worldviews

            I don’t see, for I think I have asked of you only 3 questions.
            1. To tell me what you mean by god
            2. To demonstrate that the god so defined exists or is necessary
            3. To demonstrate how you get to the point of the universe requiring a creator.
            If you can answer these simple questions, we can hopefully get to discussing Judaism then at some point we shall get to christianity! I hope this is agreeable

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            1. “As the cause of space and time, this entity must transcend space and time and therefore exists atemporally and non-spatially, at least sans the universe. This transcendent cause must therefore be changeless and immaterial, since timelessness entails changelessness, and changelessness implies immateriality. Such a cause must be beginningless and uncaused, at least in the sense of lacking any antecedent causal conditions. Ockham’s Razor will shave away further causes, since we should not multiple causes beyond necessity. This entity must be unimaginably powerful, since it created the universe out of nothing.” -William Lane Craig, “The Kalam Cosmological Argument” in Philosophy of Religion: A Reader and Guide, (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 107-108.

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          • makagutu says:

            Hahaha, if it is changeless why would it create a universe? Are you implying that ain’t a change? Why can’t this property of being without a beginning and un-caused by applied to Nature? Why posit other unnecessary causes out of Nature? What reason do you have for positing that Nature required a cause? other than what you have been told in some church?

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          • john zande says:

            Jason, trying to imply we are not interested in truth is a stretch, don’t you think? Isn’t asking for a definition of your god an appeal for “truth”? So far all you’ve given is a wishful daydream with lovely words like “timeless.”

            Jason, what is time? What does timeless mean? These are real questions and i’d hope you can start providing real answers so we can move this along.

            All the best
            J

            Like

          • Jason says:

            “These are real questions and i’d hope you can start providing real answers so we can move this along.”

            We give you real answers and you don’t take them seriously. You simply dodge and side step the answer with silly excuses:

            “1972. Yes, that makes all the difference. Cosmology was so well developed in 1972!”

            “And yes, Vilenkin… the physicist apologists love to quote”

            “That’s the “scholarly” paper you cite…. a database of articles on a subject written by an evangelical apologist?”

            “…refrain from weak appeals to authority…”

            You are side stepping the evidences and the argument by trying to find some silly reason to “throw the baby out with the bath water”. Come on! Please refrain from appeals to authority?! We all make appeals to authority. Nobody can know everything. How does an appeal to authority discredit the argument?

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          • john zande says:

            I’m sorry, Jason, you’re a very weak apologist. Nothing you’ve said has been remotely new, and has fallen back to simple wishes. To avoid spinning the tires and boring me senseless what I’d suggest you do is, again, try to define your god. Define how/why it is exempt from the causal relation requirement which you’re actually using in the first instance to assert its existence. Explain what timeless means. Do that and you might be able to advance the argument you’re trying to make.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I will be waiting but not with bated breath because I may die without an answer 😛

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          • john zande says:

            No one seems willing to answer this question.

            Even Potato danced around it for days before running away.

            Mmmm, i think we’ve found the apologists ultimate weak spot.

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          • john zande says:

            And you still haven’t answered why you think 4th Century Christians saw it necessary to falsify a new ending to Mark.

            I’d appreciate it if you would finally answer this rather straightforward question. Thanks!

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          • makagutu says:

            Jason, instead of answering to the questions I asked you, you have chosen to pick a battle that isn’t going nowhere. Now it would be intellectually honest to say you don’t know that to pretend we are side stepping issues then we could find if there is anywhere we agree and move on from there.

            So please, just try and respond to the few questions I asked you earlier in the day and as I had said, you can start a new response thread and it can be as long as WP would allow you to type. I will not reproach you for it neither am I about to delete any portion of it. So please, take this olive branch and wow me 😛

            Like

          • Jason says:

            Sorry guys, but my spare time is almost nonexistent at this point (hence my short replys). I will respond when I get time.

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          • makagutu says:

            I told him the same thing!

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          • makagutu says:

            That is an assumption that philosophers like Platinga who have realised that there is a problem of defining god and have chosen the path you too seem to take. This, however, isn’t the case so it is important to define specifically what you mean when you say the word god. In your definition of god you say s/h/it is the cause of the universe. How do you get to the point where the universe requires a creator?

            2. You say your god is immaterial, timeless and spaceless and enormously powerful- take a moment and draw a deep breath, then tell me how if you were to explain this to your old granny how this would make sense.

            3. Let’s posit for a moment that the universe had a cause, how do you get to theistic god without special pleading and why has this cause to be powerful?

            4. In causing the universe, how does an immaterial and spaceless god interact with material things that occupy space?

            And as a bonus question what was your god doing in god time before he created the universe?

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          • tkjaros says:

            1. Because the universe began to exist. You don’t get something from nothing (and no, I don’t mean it in the Lawrence Krauss sense).

            2. “Grandma, God is immaterial, which means he is not bound or confined to the material world. God is timeless, which means he is (or at least was) outside of time. God is spaceless, which means that he is not bound or confined by space. Classically, the way I am describing God right now is by defining what he is not. This is referred to as via negativa. Check out this wikipedia article, Grandma: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_religious_language#Via_negativa

            3. Powerful: because it created the universe
            Theistic: (As defined as including at least one instance of intervention within the creation) Because the creator wanted to let his creation know he exists. Other arguments help us get to this point, too (like the argument for the resurrection).

            4. Various attempts to explain this. Here is one: http://www.paulcopan.com/articles/pdf/did-God-become-a-Jew_A-defense-of-the-incarnation.pdf
            I don’t see the difficulty you pose.

            Bonus: Dang. You got me there man. I guess the creator must not exist if we don’t know what he/she/it was doing.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            tkjaros, you have not told me what god is just what it is not. And for your information, I have read about the via negativa and it takes us nowhere. You have little choice really in this matter, either to define god anthropomorphically or to resort to using such meaningless words as spaceless timeless and unbounded, which are as abstract as they come for you or no one else can demonstrate how such a thing is possible other than as a figment of the imagination.

            1. are you suggesting that matter was created? and if yes can it be destroyed?

            3. you or no one has shown why the universe requires a creator and how we get to the christian god. You are now becoming funny :-P. We are still at whether a personage by the Jeebus existed and you are at the resurrection. Thank you very much, you got me there 🙂

            4. there is no where in my question where I say that if you can’t tell me what god was doing in god time it doesn’t exist. I don’t know how you get to that point, maybe you could enlighten me.

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          • tkjaros says:

            Rejecting via negativa is odd. We commonly describe thing by describing their opposite. ‘He isn’t tall,’ for example.

            You really ought to be more precise in your labeling words as meaningless. Even you think they have meaning, if only in an imaginary world (since you think they are figments of the imagination). But the fact is, these things do have meaning. I imagine you very well understand the proper use of the suffix -less, and thus can use your mind to understand the idea being communicated (hence, there is meaning).

            1. I see that you’re trying to trip me up with a question pertaining to the law of conservation of mass. First (tentative) thought is, created: yes, destroyed: no. I’m no astronomer/cosmologist, so I’ll simply have to quote guys with PhDs on this: “as Cambridge astronomer Fred Hoyle points out, the Big Bang Theory requires the creation of matter from nothing. This is because as one goes back in time, one reaches a point at which, in Hoyle’s words, the universe was “shrunk down to nothing at all.”21 Thus, what the Big Bang model of the universe seems to require is that the universe began to exist and was created out of nothing.”
            http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-existence-of-god-and-the-beginning-of-the-universe#ixzz2dQhGfnRt

            3. Required? Because otherwise it would not have come into existence.
            Christianity? Through other arguments, specifically ones pertaining to the historical Jesus.

            Bonus: It was perceived as being implied. Otherwise your question is too vague. How is it, as stated, relevant to the topic? (Except under the Internet Atheist mission of trolling.)

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          • john zande says:

            tkjaros

            What year was this quote? As much as Hoyle was a genius, his greatest work was done before we even had an inflationary theory. It’s true, you are not an astrophysicists, neither am I, but I do know my cosmology and quote mining (which I am seriously suspecting was something written/said in the 1950’s or 60’s) will not serve your purpose. Do try and be intellectually honest.

            Now, the universe does not have a beginning. The simple, truthful, fact is, we just don’t know. All current theoretical models state that Inflation started to happen, which does not mean the universe started happening. Even more bizarre, the very latest superstring theory contends that Inflation in fact occurred before the bang, which is mindboggling, to say the least (link below). Either way, positing a god in there is nothing but meaningless, unjustified shoehorning. It would be refreshing for once if an apologist actually presented something people could honestly consider, rather than just waste time explaining why it is wrong.

            Try not to make statements which are simply false just because you need them to be true so you can justify your god.

            http://superstringtheory.com/cosmo/cosmo41.html

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            Year of quote: 1972 (better than your 50s or 60s guess).

            “All current theoretical models state that Inflation started to happen, which does not mean the universe started happening. Even more bizarre, the very latest superstring theory contends that Inflation in fact occurred before the bang, which is mindboggling, to say the least (link below). ”
            No qualms there.

            “Either way, positing a god in there is nothing but meaningless, unjustified shoehorning. ”
            Qualms there. 🙂 haha

            In this interview Alexander Vilenkin admits (at the 6:50 mark) that the laws of physics appear to come explanatorily prior to the inflationary state (and thus “prior” to space-time): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XYGo3wjdoM
            (He even admits that he believes the laws exist “independently of the universe.”)

            In this lecture he argues for an ultimate beginning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXCQelhKJ7A

            Vilenkin, betting back to that interview, presents for us a nice disjunctive argument:

            P1: Either the universe came from nothing (with no cause), or some cause brought it into existence from nothing.
            P2: The universe did not come from nothing (with no cause)
            C: Therefore, some cause brought it into existence from nothing.

            Positing the Creator hypothesis provides an explanation that the limitations of science (which can only observe the physical universe) cannot explanatorily reach. It doesn’t appear to be shoehorning to posit a Creator as bringing something from nothing. “Nothing is what rocks dream of” and if you can get space-time from rocks dreaming, let me know. 😉

            Like

          • john zande says:

            Hahahaha… 1972. Yes, that makes all the difference. Cosmology was so well developed in 1972! Like I said, quote mining is not being intellectually honest. You just end up looking like a fool.

            And yes, Vilenkin… the physicist apologists love to quote. Of course, you are failing to mention that Vilenkin categorically states that nothing can be concluding about the universe having a beginning or not, merely that inflation appears to have a beginning. Big difference. Again, it’d be nice if you apologists could actually find new names to quote rather than roll out the tired old excuses and appeals to authority that have been dealt with a thousand times.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Thank you for being my good historian 😛

            Like

          • john zande says:

            And before you even mention the next name I’m sure you are, Guth, know that he contradicts you: “Conceivably EVERYTHING can be created from nothing… in the context of inflationary cosmology it is fair to say the universe is the ultimate free lunch.”

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Is Guth still around for a beer?

            Like

          • john zande says:

            Not with any apologists, that’s for sure. He loathes Craig and has gone out of his way to demand old WLC stop misquoting him.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Our good apologist quoted WLC in a response supporting the KCA

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Your Velkin in P1 and P2 assumes there could only be two possibilities and leaves out the one where the universe always existing in some form or another requiring no cause. Positing a creator doesn’t in anyway provide an explanation because you still have to explain the creator and the how of creation. It multiplies our problems without ever being able to answer even a single one.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Why do people admitting we don’t know a difficult answer for many people? JZ, the apologist says god, then hides and resurfaces if no one asks them what this god is. They presume once they have said god, then we know what they are talking about and the next part of the argument can proceed.

            Like

          • john zande says:

            Regretfully it’s all rather boring. Be nice if an apologist could actually present a new argument, or be able to define the god they’re talking about without running off a wishlist of qualities they hope it is. Oh well, the rational world continues to advance while the irrational theists’ are still left with their excuses. Nothing to see here, move along, move along 🙂

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            tkjaros, no, we can easily say he is short. In fact we rarely describe things by their opposites.

            Am very precise when I label the word god meaningless. It means whatever one wants it to mean and can explain anything, in essence, it explains nothing. You can say my rejecting the via negativa is odd, I don’t really care, what we must consider is whether it really tells us anything about what god is. I posit it doesn’t. I know many apologists have claimed that we can’t comprehend what god is, my usual response usually is why talk about it in the first place. Then they say it is beyond reason and again I say, then it isn’t meant for reasonable people.

            Aha, am no cosmologist, but when I last checked, the physicists said it is the property of matter to be un-created and that it is force in motion. I don’t see why it would need a cause outside of itself to act in a certain manner. The question of creation out of nothing exists chiefly in the christian mind. In fact, in many cultures, creation as understood in the christian west is a foreign word, so before you can insist that the christian worldview is correct, you would have to show where the conceptions of other cultures are fallacious and two you still must show why the universe requires a cause.

            The arguments pertaining to Jesus are a wishlist of christian apologists, you know, those things you wish were true and so they are true. That is simply the argument here.

            You are at it again, calling me an atheist troll. The question required you to hazard a guess since you can’t know what changed in the godspace and godtime to make it create time[?] and space[?]

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            How do you guys expect me to have a conversation with 2 people at once? 10 comments just in this sub-sub thread? 30 email notifications since this morning. Jeepers.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            stop complaining 😛 just respond when you have time.

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            Via negativa:
            “we can easily say he is short.”
            Sure. But that does not mean we can’t also define from what he is not.

            In fact …
            in reply to “we rarely describe things by their opposites.”:

            Shelldigger wrote, “evidence is not a book of fables, evidence is not belief, evidence is not some wistful intangible deepity that says nothing at all”

            So it still seems to be the case that not only can we describe things by what they are not, but we in fact do describe things by what they are not.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            lets us for a moment agree you have told me what your god is not, now tell me what it is

            Like

          • Jason says:

            Mak – There was a lot you just said and a lot more questions that followed. I can’t possibly address them all on the comments portion of your blog site, Your first question was:

            “How do you get to the point where the universe requires a creator?”.

            Would you posit the universe is eternal? If so, how do we arrive at the present if there was an infinite past?

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Jason, one you can write a post to address the issues you think you can’t address here and just link to my site. I will check them over and two you could start a new response thread. I have no problem with either.

            In response to your question, am going to turn it on its head, if you posit that god is eternal how does s/h/it continue to exist in the present if there has been an infinite past?

            Like

      • john zande says:

        @James… I agree with Mak: do please first define this god you’re referring to. If we count the Rigvedic and Vedic deities there are over 33 million gods. With this in mind i think it only reasonable for you to name and define the god you’re talking about.

        Like

      • Arkenaten says:

        @Jason
        Before you do anything, you, as a Christian have to demonstrate not only the existence of Yeshua, but also that he was divine. Only then can you even begin with the Christian assertion that this eschatalogical narrative construct is also the Creator of the Universe.
        Bear in mind that William Lane Craig is an expert apologist and he has
        never convinced a non-Christian of a single divine claim attributed to Yeshua
        But I’ll make it easy for you to demonstrate you know your stuff.
        Convince me ij non apolgetic terms of A) the Virgin Birth and B) Explain to me the archaeology and etymology of Nazareth
        The floor is your
        Convince me…..

        Like

    • tkjaros says:

      “is he aware of what evidence is?”
      Seems to me like you’re begging the question of your own definition instead of engaging in a discussion. Maybe if you didn’t come off as snobbish you could find yourself convincing people of your view.

      Regarding historical evidence, the resurrection hypothesis has 12 supporting facts that are best understood under the resurrection hypothesis, whereas competing theories fail in various ways to account for the facts.

      For example, the conspiracy hypothesis fails to consider 4 historical facts: 1. The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus. 2. The disciples were transformed from cowards and doubters to bold proclaimers of Jesus’s death and resurrection. 3. James was converted when he also saw the risen Jesus. 4. Paul was also converted by an experience which he believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.

      Feel free to interact with me on this at a blogging website: http://www.realclearapologetics.com . But if you fail to recognize these as facts, your ignorance of the academic general consensus (and devotion to Internet Atheism) will be quite telling.

      Evidence also requires intelligence to analytically and critically understand what the evidence is communicating us. From there we form beliefs. Though, evidence isn’t required to believe in some things. For example, the proposition, ‘You need evidence to believe in something’ has zero evidence to support its claim. It’s a a belief that you’ve adopted dare I write … irrationally!

      Like

      • makagutu says:

        I would presume it ain’t me you are inviting for a discussion because we can do it here. You claim that there are 4 compelling reasons to believe the Jesus story which unless one is already steeped into this fraud, one can’t buy. No one disciple wrote the bible, no eyewitness wrote the bible and all these claims you are making are based on the bible story. You have first to demonstrate the bible is true even before we can have a discussion.

        You commit a fallacy of false dilemma by telling us here that we either believe your “facts” or we are ignorant. This position leaves out many possibilities such as you being wrong, these you call facts being just so stories and so on. So please, they could appear as facts to you, but they are far from what the educated general public calls facts.

        Like

        • tkjaros says:

          You’re clearly not keeping up with the intellectual, academic discussions if you think this is pure fantasy. Check out this survey of 30 years worth of academic research on the historical Jesus: http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005.htm

          And when I say there are 12 historical facts surrounding the (supposed) resurrection of Jesus, I am citing the general consensus of the academic scholarship. I think it’s a mistake to confuse internet atheism with “educated general public.”

          Like

          • makagutu says:

            Maybe you may find this interesting so I don’t know what you mean by general consensus. Who are these who agree?

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            I cite an actual scholarly source, you cite an internet article. Well done.

            From my source, “Since 1975, more than 1400 scholarly publications on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus have appeared. Over the last five years, I have tracked these texts, which were written in German, French, and English. Well over 100 subtopics are addressed in the literature, almost all of which I have examined in detail. Each source appeared from the last quarter of the Twentieth Century to the present, with more being written in the 1990s than in other decades.[1] This contemporary milieu exhibits a number of well-established trends, while others are just becoming recognizable. The interdisciplinary flavor is noteworthy, as well. Most of the critical scholars are theologians or New Testament scholars, while a number of philosophers and historians, among other fields, are also included.”

            And look at all his citations. That’s serious research with such diverse views (if you’re familiar with the academic discussion).

            To the internet article, the first argument Price raises is the parallel to pagan myths. Without further information, this is simply committing the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. It’s simply an assertion if he’s not going to put forth evidence supporting causation.

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            To clarify, I’m not knocking Price as a scholar (though I think his arguments are poor). I know he is one. But I’d prefer to be provided with links to articles that have been accepted into academic journals.

            Like

          • john zande says:

            I’d ask you just one question regarding the evidence: “Why do you think 4th century Christians saw it necessary to molest the oldest of the synoptic gospels, Mark, and secretly insert a new ending?”

            Like

          • Jason says:

            Why does this matter? Who knows why they added it. People do stupid things all the time…including Christians. Does this prove something?

            Like

          • john zande says:

            Should I repeat the question?

            “Why do you think 4th century Christians saw it necessary to molest the oldest of the synoptic gospels, Mark, and secretly insert a new ending?”

            Like

          • Jason says:

            The blog only let’s you reply to a certain depth level, so I’ll just post a reply here to your latest comment on the question.

            Your latest comment:
            “Should I repeat the question?

            “Why do you think 4th century Christians saw it necessary to molest the oldest of the synoptic gospels, Mark, and secretly insert a new ending?”

            I understood the question the first time, and I thought I was clear. I don’t know why they added the ending…why does this matter? What’s your point? Does this prove something?

            Like

          • john zande says:

            Are you not even willing to guess at why 4th Century Christians falsified an ending to the oldest of the synoptic works, Mark?

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            How does Mark 16:9-20 affect the argument pertaining to the resurrection hypothesis?

            Like

          • john zande says:

            You didn’t answer the question. Should I repeat it?

            Why do you think 4th century Christians saw it necessary to molest the oldest of the synoptic gospels, Mark, and secretly insert a new ending?

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            John,
            How many home runs did Sammy Sosa hit in 1998?

            If you don’t answer this question, then I’ll just keep repeating the question, despite the question’s irrelevance to the topic at hand. If you want to make a point regarding the importance of that question, then just state the point you want to make so the rest of us can try and understand its relevance.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I cite an actual scholarly source, you cite an internet article. Well done.

            For pettiness, you truly deserve a trophy. Which is important, the source or the content? So either you can demonstrate at what point or where the document isn’t useful or this is just an evasion tactic. Am not, for any moment, saying any internet article has value, but at the same time you can take a whole day naming apologists to bolster your case and still we will be at the same place, special pleading or some other fallacy.

            All these articles that your source cites will just be using a tooth-comb to examine the biblical stories, and the Gnostic gospels and literature written by others on the story of Jesus hoping to find a small nook that someone hasn’t sealed. How far they go to proving the existence of a son of god[whatever god] will one require proof that a god exists and that the said god chose in the course of human history to commit suicide but if the Jesus you are implying is an out of the woods preacher-man or revolutionary, for that you can’t fail to get a candidate.

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            “Which is important, the source or the content”

            Content. But the having an article published in an academic journal illustrates merit. I know Price has other stuff published, but I have yet to come across an academic journal article that sufficiently argues for the parallels between Jesus and pagan myths. The fact is, even if there are parallels (which there are not, upon further investigation) it merely posits a correlation, not causation. No piece put out by mythers has been able to argue causation.

            James D. G. Dunn writes in his article “Myth” in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, “Myth is a term of at least doubtful relevance to the study of Jesus and the Gospels.” It simply is not an intellectually viable position.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I agree that having an article published in an academic journal illustrates merit. That said, in your response to me when I shared the link was to write how many sources the citation reviewed but you didn’t say anything substantive to the debate unless you are implying that it is true because so and so has said then you and me know that is a logical fallacy.

            It is uncomfortable for most people to consider the Jesus story as myth or legend, and will write many things to oppose this. At this point, all we can say is we may never know if Jesus existed but I think he didn’t. He is myth all the way down.

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            Could you provide for me some reasons why you think it is myth?

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Yes I could.
            1. If Jesus was born without intercourse, he should have been definitely male.
            2. In Genesis 12, where Joseph interprets some dream, there is a parallel to the Jesus crucifixion story where one would say that the second one is a re-interpretation of the first narrative.
            3. There is nothing new that the character Jesus taught that wasn’t already known, one can actually posit that the sayings attributed to him are just to give them credence and nothing more
            4. no one knows for sure whether he was born in Nazareth or Bethlehem
            5. there is no record of the slaughter of first born males anywhere except in the bible
            6. there is no record anywhere of a great cosmic event, where a star altered its course to escort three men
            and now am tired and a little drunk maybe I continue another time.

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            1. Sorry, I’m not tracking you on this.
            2. You have to provide evidence for causation, not just correlation. JFK and Lincoln were both shot next to their wives, by men with three names (consisting of 15 letters). Both presidents were assassinated on a Friday in the back of the head, before a major holiday. Both married in their 30’s to 24-year old women who could speak French fluently. Oswald shot JFK from a warehouse and was caught in a theater. Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and was caught in a warehouse. Lincoln had a secretary name Kennedy and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln! The list goes on regarding parallels. It, clearly, does not imply that the two events were causally related.
            3. Again, so what? But besides, many people during that time (from our knowledge of the Jewish culture) had forgot or neglected those old teachings. There were various prophets telling people to go back to the Torah.
            4. Who says we need to “be sure”?
            5. Why must every fact be corroborated by outside sources? Herod had paranoia to some degree, as he killed many people, even 3 of his sons for fear that others would kill him for the political power. So the event is, at the very least, plausible from what we know via other sources on Herod.
            6. Who ever said a star “altered its course”?

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            My bad,
            6. should have been a star stopped
            5. what other sources? do you mean the bible?
            4. so we can speculate he was born both in Nazareth, a place I hear didn’t exist till later, and Bethlehem?
            3. you and who? and you ask so what? your Yeshua character can be a cardboard figure who words are accredited to just to give them traction
            2. What causation, I said there are parallels and that the later story could have been based on the first. Show me why you think this isn’t the case here
            1. biology was my worst subject, but during the class on reproduction, they mentioned something about XX and XY chromosomes. Now if Jesus would have been born without male input from a male, he ought to have been female. I could be wrong about the biology so I will ask some biologist I know

            Like

          • john zande says:

            “Since 1975, more than 1400 scholarly publications on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus have appeared.”

            Priceless! That’s the “scholarly” paper you cite…. a database of articles on a subject written by an evangelical apologist?

            OK, how about you now produce some data….

            Like

          • Jason says:

            “Priceless! That’s the “scholarly” paper you cite…. a database of articles on a subject written by an evangelical apologist?”

            Are you saying that because he is a Christian that his arguments aren’t valid? Why? Because he’s biased? I hear this complaint often from atheists. Show me how bias disproves his argument? Everyone is biased! This in no way discredits the arguments or reasons given. You have to address the arguments directly. You can know whether something is objectively true, regardless of one’s biases.

            Like

          • john zande says:

            I’m saying its priceless because its nothing but a database of articles written on a subject. There is no argument presented. There is no data. Here, I just Googled “aliens” and 90,500,000 search results showed up. By your reasoning that’s definitive proof aliens are real!

            Like

          • john zande says:

            Apologies, not by “your” reasoning, rather by tkjaros’ reasoning. It was his comment.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Jason, nope, that is not what my good friend is saying. Your good buddy dismissed an article I asked him to read and then decides to write that his source cites 1400 or so articles without telling me anything substantive from what he read. How was that for argument in the first place? Stop looking at this exchange as “us” against “them” but consider each argument on its merit, then tell me where claiming that a source has cited hundreds of sources is an argument!

            Like

      • shelldigger says:

        You must be joking…believed, is the key word in #1. #2, says who? #3 see #2, #4 see #1. Belief is not evidence. The rest is like arguing over what color a leprechauns underwear might be.

        I am afraid your idea of evidence is a far cry from mine.

        That last paragraph is bollocks. The 1st sentence rings true, but after that it goes off the rails.

        Like

        • tkjaros says:

          Yes, and so one must defend a theory based upon these facts. The theory that best fits the data ought to be advocated as the one most probable. So which theory is it that you posit?

          Like

          • john zande says:

            Data? What data?

            Like

          • tkjaros says:

            The vast majority of critical scholars all agree upon 12 historical facts. They are:

            1. Jesus died by crucifixion.

            2. He was buried.

            3. His death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope.

            4. The tomb was empty (the most contested).

            5. The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus (the most important proof).

            6. The disciples were transformed from doubters to bold proclaimers.

            7. The resurrection was the central message.

            8. They preached the message of Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem.

            9. The Church was born and grew.

            10. Orthodox Jews who believed in Christ made Sunday their primary day of worship.

            11. James was converted to the faith when he saw the resurrected Jesus (James was a family skeptic).

            12. Paul was converted to the faith (Paul was an outsider skeptic).

            Like

          • john zande says:

            Errmmm, you are aware, aren’t you, that the oldest synoptic work, Mark, didn’t mention a resurrection. That part was added by 4th century Christian editors.

            Now, tell me, why do you think 4th Century Christians saw it necessary to add a new ending to the oldest gospel?

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Mark forgot. Easy 😛

            Like

          • john zande says:

            And do please refrain from weak appeals to authority: “The vast majority of critical scholars”

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            Did he tell us who they are by the way?

            Like

          • john zande says:

            Of course not…. and i particularly liked the way he slipped in all those unrelated points as if they were things upon which the “vast majority” agree on. Oh, that reminds me, i actually have a recent list of all biblical scholars, and there isn’t anywhere even near a majority. In fcat, the predominant movement of scholarly thought is toward the Mythological Jesus. Let me see if i can find it….

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            That would be a great find, it will help move this discussion forward. I think it could also be found somewhere on Club’s blog. I will ask her

            Like

          • john zande says:

            I think i copied it from there. Yes, i did.

            Like

    • makagutu says:

      It sounded right too 😛

      Like

  8. john zande says:

    I found it, it’s huge!

    Like

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