if your religion has you defending absurdities


It is probably time for a new religion.

Here we have a fellow who purports to answer tough questions from believing teens but not before he throws an accusation against atheists. So what’s the question?

God’s ordering the Jews to kill every living thing in certain cities (Deuteronomy 20:16-18): Is the above a correct understanding of scripture? If so, how was it right for them to kill the children that must have lived in a city so large?

Any rational person would say no, it wasn’t right. But not our apologist. First he compares this to WW2 or bombing of the ISIS, two events all right thinking people have condemned. But that is not all. He or she claims to be doing a root cause analysis arguing that this all began with the curse of Noah upon his grandchildren, shortly defending slavery to arguing these people believed in wicked gods so it doesn’t matter if they were all killed, defends the great land grab by Abraham’s descendants (that is still a cause of strife in the middle East) as the final justification for the murder of children. If you find nothing wrong with this, you can’t be helped.

Mike Ruel on the other hand is a comedian. He tells us there is internal and external evidence why the bible is true. I will not even consider what he calls evidence. If the bible is a miracle(inspired, dictated by a deity), no evidence is needed nor can any be adduced. If it is not a miracle, the absurdities found within its pages that are contrary to reason disqualify it from being true. Remember, Hume on miracles has not been answered.

And finally, this can be filed under bad arguments for theism. The author starts from some atheists have argued in favour of determinism to free will is incompatible with atheism and therefore god. This is poor argumentation. Whether atheism is true or false is not tied to whether determinism is true or false. The only question that is important for the atheist is, is there a god? All other questions are up for grabs.

About makagutu

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

492 thoughts on “if your religion has you defending absurdities

  1. These weak, idiotic theistic arguments make my noodle swim!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. maryplumbago says:

    Religion is the most vile, insidious, dangerous thing ever invented by man to control other men. I believe it is a evolutionary adaptation to keep the population controlled to certain levels worldwide. The strongest and most successful killing machine. Secularism and humanitarianism are threats to that, but at this point in evolution, are still minor ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. varnersd says:

    The world was a brutal place. Those acts of war and killing were not limited to the Hebrews. Which absurdities are you referring to that disqualify the bible from being true, and in what way? It is undoubtedly true historically, up to a time if you want to doubt the flood. A true and accurate historical account. The presence of miracles and such don’t disqualify the historical context automatically.

    I know this. If God moved the Hebrews to destroy a people and kill their children, like God did the day he brought judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah, it was just. If the Canaanites were sacrificing children as the Bible says, then perhaps it was just. The bible does not say genocide them, it’s says drive them out and kill everyone who remains in the cities. I think these difficult questions in the Bible are supposed to make you think more about the character of mankind. If you are making it a reflection of God’s character, the you are likely projecting mans character onto God, who is good, and just. According to God, he knew the Israelites would be a stiff-necked people who would not obey him. So it is possible that not everything they do in the name of God is what God wills.

    Liked by 3 people

    • makagutu says:

      You really are a piece of work.
      Talking snakes.
      Talking donkeys.
      Transporter fishes.
      People coming back to life.
      Tying foxes by their tales.
      Killing multitudes with a jawbone of an ass.
      Pregnant virgins.

      Historically true up to a point. Which point? Where Moses writes of his own death or where snakes are walking and Talking?

      Yeah, you need a new religion.

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      • varnersd says:

        I’ll show you what I mean real soon.

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        • makagutu says:

          If it includes justification for transporter fish and pregnant Virgins, I am not interested. Any anathema to reason makes me sick in the stomach

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          • varnersd says:

            I am sure a person possessing the powers of reason that you possess could come up with a scenario explaining how a virgin became pregnant through no choice of her own while all the angels in Joseph’s life remind him not to blame her because this child is from God.

            Talking donkeys? Many people are talk out of their ass all the time. Talking snakes, I have known a few.

            Though for some of it, it is not so easy to to give an equally true parallel. I can’t prove the red sea parted, but the Exodus happened, it’s is fact and there is proof. I can’t prove the Israelites shouted down the wall of Jericho, but it is a fact they came down right around the time the Bible says they did.

            Jesus of Nazareth was on those earth, even if you don’t want to believe that he rose from the dead in spite of four distinct eyewitness testimonies. Surely you accept that because ignoring so much evidence in favor a fairy tale that he never existed would be an anathema to reason.

            Liked by 1 person

            • makagutu says:

              I was very clear in my response to you that if what you have as a response is nonsense, you would rather not. There are no eyewitness for Jesus. In my post I said if any part of the bible relies on a miracle, it is inadmissible.

              Liked by 2 people

              • basenjibrian says:

                Even the “history” is questionable. Unbiased historians agree there was no Exodus, there was no captivity in Egypt, the Hebrews are of the same ethnic stock as other Palestinians, there was probably no King David and there was certainly no powerful “Jewish” state….on and on and on and on.

                Liked by 2 people

              • varnersd says:

                As I said there are four eyewitness to Jesus. But you believe this synoptic problem nonsense. When you look at the gospels you are counting the number of passes the people in the black shirts make with the basketball because the announcer said count the number of passes. When I look at them I am looking for the gorilla. You see copying because someone said it was copied so you believe it and that is what you see. I see stories that are standardized because the have been told and heard a million times, but the differences point to different perspectives on the events and clearly they are told by different people with varying degrees of relationship to Jesus Christ. It’s obvious when you read the sections side by side.

                Ever see the optical illusion where there is a spinning dancer and if you tilt your mind one way she spins to the left, and if you tilt it the other way she spins to the right. It’s just like that.

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                • Ron says:

                  Only the author of John claims to have been be an eyewitness account. Matthew and Mark make no such claims, and Luke states the information was “handed down to us” in the first two verses of his opening chapter (so he could not have been a direct eyewitness to the events).

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                  • varnersd says:

                    I didn’t say Luke was an eyewitness. But whoever he is talking to to get that information that information is coming from another eyewitness. We know Mark was not an eyewitness But we know that what he wrote came from one of them. Matthew does identify himself in the gospel as Matthew the disciple, because his is the only gospel that says Matthew was sitting in the tax office, all the others say Levi was sitting in the tax office, He is roundaboutly saying that I have the author am Levi the disciple.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Nonetheless, when information received second hand, it is deemed hearsay–not eyewitness testimony. In other words, anyone who begins an account with the words “someone told me . . . ” (or similar words to that effect) cannot rightfully be called a primary source of information.

                      Moreover, Luke claims that his information comes from eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, but makes no specific mention of who those eyewitnesses were, and Mark mentions no sources at all; so we can only postulate who they might have been rather than state we “know” it with certainty.

                      Likewise with Matthew: we can assume that Matthew is referring to himself, but we cannot pronounce it to be so with any degree of certainty.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      It would make no difference if we knew exactly who the account is comming from in every section of the Bible. The ones telling the story of the two healings are the primary sources. We don’t know who Luke is talking too, but we can reason it is James in this case. There is a cultural reason these authors don’t come out and state their direct involvement with these this. It’s not proper to testify of one’s self. Every bit of information that we take as history is second hand. Herodotus admits in his story of Cyrus the Great that this was just one of several stories that he had heard but the one that he believes is most likely true. And everything that scholars and historians think they know about Cyrus the Great they look to Herodotus’s account as the authority. This need for everything to be sourced did not exist then. Sourcing is not a guarantee that the information that you are receiving is true either. All it does is allow you to go to the source and check the information for yourself to make sure it was accurately represented. If a man calls his book according the Matthew, and then in the book changes his name that by other means is known to everyone as Levi

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                    • Ron says:

                      You’re right to the extent that the name of the author giving the report is not important, but that was not the point under consideration. Your argument was that these were four eyewitnesses to Jesus, which is clearly not the case as only one of the accounts (John) makes such a confession.

                      Matthew might have been a direct witness, but it cannot be presented as an established fact; and even if we provisionally granted such a concession for the sake of argument, he would still have been reliant on the second-hand testimony of others for all of the events that transpired in his absence (like Jesus’ birth, flight to Egypt, baptism, temptations, trial, floggings, crucifixion, burial and resurrection). And this same constraint would also apply for the other three authors.

                      So in actuality, the evidence of the gospels constitutes a series of unverifiable claims attesting to the veracity of the testimony about the events given by others — which could be true, false, or a mixture of both — rather than empirical evidence confirming the events actually transpired as claimed.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      It’s dose not. The gospels clearly represent a series of testimonies that agree in general about the events, but differ in detail as you would expect from several witnesses seeing things from different perspectives. The fact that I have three testimonies that agree about the hem of his garment story, and are clearly three different perspectives, is enough to establish that it happened, even if they are anonymous. I only needed two.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Two groups of three and eight witnesses signed an attestation to having seen and/or handled the Book of Mormon’s golden plates.

                      Does that establish that it happened?

                      Here is a link to a site with a list of all the people involved in the Roswell Incident, complete with photographs of some of the key witnesses:

                      https://www.nicap.org/roswelldir.htm

                      Does that establish that aliens actually crashed there on July 2, 1947?

                      Millions attest to having witnessed Sayeth Sai Baba perform miracles in their presence, and there are even YouTube videos of him performing such miracles. Should we accept those claims at face value?

                      Many have claimed to to have seen Elvis since his reported death. Does that establish that it happened?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • varnersd says:

                      No, signing a statement that we all saw this thing does not establish it is true or having happen. Their testimony is not independent of one another. They have admittedly collaborated and said we’re going to sign this thing that says that we all agree that this thing happened. That is a completely different thing than two people having seen something and one person telling it to news 2 and the other person telling it to news 4, And their stories being an agreement with one another. It would have been better if they had not signed anything regarding the tablets and just told their stories, if their stories were true then they would agree. But the whole purpose of signing the statement is to avoid the potential of one person telling one story that conflicts with the story of the other.

                      Sayeth Sai baba says millions testify to seeing him do miracles, perhaps some have given testimonials about things they’ve claim to have seen, But one person saying I saw him do a miracle one day and then another person saying I saw him do a miracle another day does not establish that either miracle happen. They have to testify of the same event, they must give the testimony independently. About Roswell, I don’t know, I haven’t seen all of the evidence, but if two or more people testify of the same event and their testimony agrees, then it’s it safe to accept that it happened. Could people conspire to fabricate a agreeing story, they could try, but it will sound rehearsed, and if they don’t rehearse then they will not agree.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Then according to the criteria you’ve established (a series of testimonies that agree in general about the events, but differ in detail as you would expect from several witnesses seeing things from different perspectives) you should have no problem accepting the testimony of the eleven witnesses, because they all agreed in general about seeing the plates, but they differed in who presented them (an angel for the first group, and Joseph Smith for the second.). There was also another independent female witness who said an angel showed her the plates in private.

                      So now we have three sets of independent accounts attesting to the same general thing under slightly different circumstances.

                      And the YouTube videos show Sai Baba performing his miracles in front of dozens of people.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      If they differed in who presented the plates then it is obvious that at least one of the two groups is not telling a true story, can you tell which one it is?

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                    • Ron says:

                      That’s odd. Because a while ago you stated that slight discrepancies enhanced the authenticity of the story and if they were totally identical, it would be evidence of collusion.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      Yes, when the two accounts are given independently you would expect slight variations in the accounts. You wouldn’t expect expect one who had to go to the bathroom to know what just happened in the first five minutes of the movie. Then one who was walking with his head in his cellphone only knew there was a crash, he didn’t see the lost deer running through the city that caused the car to run into the street lamp, but Nancy did, she saw the whole thing. Both saw the crash, just not all of the details.

                      An signed statement is collusion, by default.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      The discussion with Ron looks very interesting but I would like clarification on something. What are the details you want us to believe of the Jesus story that you say have at least 4 witnesses, I think I missed that. A brief list would. No elaboration is necessary

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                    • varnersd says:

                      The the last supper, the crucifixion and the resurrection, I believe it is the only story that is told by all four. Anything that exists in only one gospel cannot be established as true. That means that most of John cannot be established. That does not mean it’s not true, just that we can’t know for certain. I take it on faith that John is true. But any account that appears in more than one gospel that is not a verbatim copy is established. There are some passages with a very high degree of similarity. It could very well be the same speaker telling a story that he has told again and again. Most of those passages seem to appear in Matt and Luke or Mark and Luke, I don’t see those between Matt and Mark, Matthew gives either much fewer detail or way more details, like with the sermon on the mount. Luke being a historian is drawing from many sources, he is interviewing people and dictating their stories. He might be reading Matt or Marks gospel, but we know he had access to Peter, John and James. Some of it had to come from Mary, the details of the birth.

                      Im just answering his objections. I’m not trying to convince you to believe anything per se, only to defend the position that the words are from eyewitness. Now we are talking a bit about how we can know that a testimony is true. Our other poster is currently trying to trap me in a contradiction of word, to say that by my standard I would accept the testimony of 11 in a signed statement, but that isn’t what I have said at all.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      In essense, you are asking us to believe that the rest of the story is doubtful but the last supper, crucifixion and resurrection is to believed because four people record it? That is really to push the bounds of credulity.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • varnersd says:

                      No, I am saying the story is doubtful. I am saying there are some stories in the Bible that clearly only come from one witness, and therefore their story cannot established as true. That is not to say it is false, it simply cannot be verified. This is the same standard a historian uses to decide what is actually history vs hearsay, its the standard you would want if you were ever accused of a crime, otherwise anyone could claim anything and have you have put away for it just by making an accusation. There is no evidence for anything aside what I am saying to you. Two witnesses that agree independently, that is evidence. One of the witnesses might be blood on a knife and the other someone saying they saw that man stab that lady, but neither one alone is enough to convict the man over.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Claims are little more than claims. The only convincing evidence that a man came back to life is to present the man who is claimed to have come back to life. If Jesus is truly resurrected from the dead — and possesses supernatural powers, to boot — then he should have little problem in presenting himself to the world at large to settle the matter once and for all. The fact that he hasn’t done so indicates that he can not (either because he’s still dead or because he never existed in the first place) or will not for reasons entirely unknown. And if it’s due the latter, it becomes a moot point, because a god who won’t reveal himself is indistinguishable from a god who doesn’t exist.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • varnersd says:

                      I feel as though God has revealed himself to me, so the fact that you feel he hasn’t makes me think you are just doing it wrong. He tells you that your sins will cause him to hide his face from you, and Jesus tells you that if you believe and obey that he will reveal himself to you. So maybe it’s not that God dosen’t exist, but that you don’t obey and believe. Perhaps some of those believers know something you don’t.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Then how do you respond to the fact that I was raised in a Christian home and started out as a Christian believer but never once experienced God’s presence in my life despite engaging in fervent prayer requesting same?

                      If you tried to get in touch with an earthly father who never answered the phone or returned your calls or responded to your texts and emails or FB invitations, how long would you persist before finally giving up? And whom would you hold accountable for doing so? Yourself? or your father?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • varnersd says:

                      I felt the same a long while. I gave up as well, but then I came to realize that all the time I was asking for the Lord to reveal himself he already had in several ways. I kept needing a first hand experience to believe, let me see an angel, or let me see your face and live, I would pray. I didn’t know what I was asking for. Something happened, I experienced something, I saw something like the wheels and the angel the faces. It wasent a very pleasant experience. It was as though judgement was upon me. I came completely undone. I don’t know exactly what I experienced I just know that because of it I believed. But then I remembered he already had, and all of that needing of some experience had already been given long before. Much less unpleasant, just a little bizarre, but it didn’t cause me to believe. In fact I repressed the memory of it and forgot it completely. I can’t explain these experiences without Jesus Christ

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Ron it is sin. You have lived a sinful life that’s why your heart was hardened.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      I have been waiting for when this part will come.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      Well what else should I say to what he brought up? I believe the question or objection was something like If God is real then why does he seem like such a no-show. This part always come because you are really very hungry inside to know that there is a God.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      There are no witnesses for the resurrection. If I recall correctly, all find an empty tomb. And as long as your resurrection story relies on a miracle, it can’t pass muster. So where does this leave us? Not far from where we began.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      Why not? Why can’t it pass muster? What rule says miracles are not allowed? Who made up that arbitrary nonsense? We are talking about God here, the one who brought all things into being. What we really want to know is are those miraculous things true? There are four distinct accounts of having seen the man who died on the cross alive again, of which there are also four distinct accounts. Two of them verify the presence of the angel at the tomb I think. How else could one possibility prove or provide evidence of anything? Are you saying the the only witness that is valid for anything is some material witness? No, you aren’t, so then what would you expect as evidence? The bible is evidence. It is by the book evidence, no pun intended. Josephus verifies one on the Bible accounts by telling and almost identical story to a gospel section

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Of what gods are, we don’t know. How to confirm that a miracle has occurred we know not and I cannot accept the say so of anonymous people. But for a believer like you, all that is important is that it is written.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      No, it is important that it is written at least twice, by two different people, and that their testimonies agree

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                    • makagutu says:

                      That’s such a low bar. But it seems to work for you. Where events that are claimed to be miraculous are concerned, let ten people write about i will be more inclined to believe they are mistaken than to believe a miracle indeed took place.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      There is no other bar. If you have a better one present it. How else could you tell if a claim was true. What other quality about a claimed event could reveal the truthfulness of the event except that it be testified to by two witnesses agreeing under independent interrogation? Three witnesses? Four witnesses? I witness dosen’t have to be a person. A smoking gun might be a witness but it alone is not enough to convict. An accusation is a witness but surely noone should be convicted on the word of a single individual. If two agree under independent interrogation then it is true, if it is not true they will not agree under independent interrogation.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      This is probably my last comment on this issue.
                      Testimony from one person that a cow that was pregnant has given birth would probably be sufficient as there are no miraculous events related to this. We have reports, numerous of cows giving birth.
                      No amount of testimony would be sufficient without further investigation that a dead man has come back to life. We have no such reports anywhere.
                      Now, as to the matter under consideration, the people you claim to be witnesses were not interrogated. So your claim that these are independent witnesses under interrogation can’t apply.
                      Pretending for a moment that Jesus lived as told in the bible, we still have the problem of god. Is there a god what does it do or what’s its nature. And if the bible is the word of god, is it dictated by god or are the authors claiming to be speaking for god? How are we to know? Are they recording facts or metaphor? And if god is telling them what to write, does it matter if they are not witnesses?
                      And as I have said twice now, I can’t believe the claim that a miracle has occurred. It is more likely the case that the person making the report is mistaken

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • varnersd says:

                      It’s not a question of how simple or believable the situation is. That is irrelevant. The question is how does one ascertain that something is true. It does not matter if it is miraculous or supernatural. If two witnesses say they saw it, and their testimony agrees when scrutinized independently, then they are telling the truth. It’s that simple. The gospels meet that standard. Jesus existed, many people saw him do these miraculous things, he was crucified by pontius Pilate, also attested by non biblical sources, and he rose from dead. And I know this to be true because the witnesses show to be reliable, they establish themselves as true by giving independent testimony that agrees. Not every story in the Bible meets this criteria, but the most important ones do.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      You can’t have a moving standard that applies to supernatural claims differently than it does to non supernatural claims. That would an arbitrary, anti-rational refusal to accept truth.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      One man telling you a cow gave a birth is insufficient evidence on which to believe his story. It might be true, and there may be no reason to disbelieve him, but the story is still unestablished without a second witness.

                      These gospel witnesses are under interrogation. People read them and scrutinize them every day. I have already shown you how to identify three distinct witnesses in on particular story, for the passion and crucifixion it is obvious.

                      The fact that there is a God, and he revealed himself to the Israelites is subject to the same scrutiny that Jesus’s existence is subject to. The standard of two witnesses who agree independently is a biblical standard for establishing witness as true. Therefore if there is a God and he honors this word as his word, then there will exist two or more witnesses that agree independently for everything that he wants you to believe. And there is.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      And lastly, the Bible tells you God’s nature. God is good, God is great, he is mighty. He is the judge of the world and just and he is merciful, long-suffering, giving to each according to his works. Compassionate towards his children, loving those who love him, seeking those who seek after him. Hiding his face from the transgressor, revealing himself to those who would do his will. He demands we obey, because everything he has required of us is for our good, and that we do not transgress against others. He loves the stranger and stands for the cause of the poor and for the widow. He hates an unfair balance. There is alot you can learn about God’s character in the Bible. And sometimes it’s difficult because the Israelites do some things and say God told them to do it but it seems to go against the previous rules God laid down, but God tells us through his prophets that not everything that is written is what he said. So maybe it’s left for you to decide. Do you think God is a genocidal monster or do you think he is just and good. Then you have to trust that if he did say eliminate Canaanites then it was just, and if it was unjust then he didn’t say that.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      Let God be true and every man be made a liar.

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                    • Ron says:

                      At the risk of sounding repetitive, I’ve already provided the bar: arrange to have us meet this physically resurrected man in the flesh.

                      If Jesus rose from the dead and still exists, this should present no challenge, because the author of the gospel according to John — the only gospel in which the author claims to be an actual disciple pf Jesus — states Jesus promised his followers that “Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (14:13)

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                    • Noone said all of the authors of the gospels were disciples. He has already told you how to arrange that meeting.

                      You bar is not proof of anything. So what if we met him, maybe you have. That dosen’t prove anything in he Bible. Then you would insist he do a series of parlor tricks for you that you dismiss as street magic. None of that would constitute proof of anything in the Bible. The question is not how to prove Jesus exists, the question is how to know that something is true, anything, whether is a claim of miracle or a accusation of a crime, or a claim that a cow gave birth. So the only way to believe that a cow gave birth then is to meet the cow in person, because that is your standard of truth. The only way to know if a crime was committed was to see it for yourself, because a first hand experience is your standard of truth.

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                    • Ron says:

                      You’re right: no one claimed they were disciples; but you claimed they were all eyewitnesses to Jesus, and the only gospel that even comes close to making that claim is the one who referred to himself (herself?) as the “disciple whom Jesus loved) in John. Luke outright states it was passed on to him from others, so he can’t be considered an eyewitness to Jesus, and the other two make no claims one way or the other, so it would be erroneous to conclude that they were pending further further evidence. Which means that you have not met the two witness minimum you have set for yourself. Furthermore, absolutely none of the four gospels claim anyone actually witnessed the physical resurrection as it happened. They all claim the tomb was empty — i.e., that the corpse was gone when everyone went there in the early hours of the morning on the day following the Sabbath.

                      To repeat: claims by themselves are meaningless without corroborating evidence to substantiate them, and especially so when it involves extraordinary claims of the supernatural and paranormal.

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                    • No, I claimed that the people the authors are gathering this information from are eyewitnesses. Luke claims in the second verse these words came from eyewitness. There is no way to know from who each author is gathering the information from, and not every story has two or more witnesses, but as I have shown you from the beginning, such as with the story of the hem of his garment and the raising of the little girl from the dead, the three witnesses that exist to these stories in Matt, Mark and Luke are three distinct witnesses, as is evidenced from the context of each telling. The four Gospels testify that he was dead on the cross and the four Gospels testify that he was alive again three days later, noone said it testifies to the actual moment of his resurrection, but if something is dead and then you see it alive again, it is safe to assume as some moment in between being dead and alive, it rose from the dead.

                      The fact that there are four testimonies that agree IS corroborating evidence. They verify one another. Just like if I went and reported a crime, my testimony by itself is not evidence of anything, but if someone else files a report and our testimonies agree, then it would be taken by the officer to have happened just as I said it happened. Two witnesses that agree is evidence. It’s the only evidence there is for anything.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Now you are backtracking, because you claimed “in spite of four distinct eyewitness testimonies” and “As I said there are four eyewitness to Jesus”) in two separate replies to makagatu on October 8 — a clear and unambiguous reference to the four gospel accounts.

                      So let’s review what we have:

                      1. Luke claims he received the information from eyewitnesses, but we have no way of determining who he interviewed or if their testimony was accurate or reliable. And as I stated before, second-hand accounts are called “hearsay” and do not constitute “eyewitness” accounts. No competent judge on earth would accept testimony in which a witness relayed information gleaned from a third party (“My cousin George said he saw . . .”) without then calling that witness to the stand, as well.

                      2. Neither Matthew or Mark claim to be eyewitness testimony, or make any mention of their sources. So it cannot properly be called “eyewitness” testimony, even under your relaxed definition of that term.

                      3. John claims to be a first-hand account, but we have no way of verifying that; and in case, he cannot possibly have witnessed the events that he wasn’t privy to, so he too would have had to rely on the testimony of unknown others we can’t cross-examine, which makes those parts hearsay as well.

                      In short, we know absolutely nothing about the authors or their sources, and not a single one of the authors’ accounts can be verified for accuracy.

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                    • There are four eyewitness testimonies to Jesus Christ’s life death and resurrection. You are the one who is associating the four eyewitness testimonies with the gospel authors themselves. That’s not what I’ve said and it’s not what I’ve meant. I am saying that the The gospel authors have spoken to four people who are eyewitnesses to the events. It is a reference to the gospel account, but I’m not claiming that the author is the one who gave the account. I I know that Luke didn’t give the account given in the book of Luke, I know that he is speaking to someone else to gather that information to put it down in a book. But the person that he spoke to is an eyewitness. What is so difficult to grasp about what I’m saying here?

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                    • Ron says:

                      By definition, an eyewitness is someone who saw something happen, and I will not permit you to alter it or add facts not in evidence (that the author of the Gospel according to Matthew was the tax collector named Matthew) for your convenience. So per that definition, the first three gospels are not eyewitness accounts; which leaves you with only one self-professed witness whose story cannot be verified or corroborated. And once we add the conflicting accounts on the most crucial portions of the story and the fact that no one claims to have seen the actual resurrection event took place, you have zero evidence in support of the claim that a dead man rose from the grave slightly less than 2000 years ago.

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                    • It dosent matter if we know that Matthew was one of the witnesses or not. We just so happen to know that he is. This fact is not being altered, I said this from the beginning. Knowing who the witnesses is is not what lets us know it was given by an eyewitness, we know the accounts are eye witness testimonies because they are told from a perspective of one who saw. Who the gospel authors are have no bearing on this fact. Matthew was a disciple, we know the authored Matthews, the only we know that Matthew is Levi is because he tells us he is, otherwise we would be scratching our heads wondering who Matthew is. We know Mark was a friend of Peter from the epistles. Peter, the predominant speaker, is the eyewitness, not the author. Noone ever said the authors were necessarily the eyewitness. One cannot even be sure that it is always Peter speaking in Mark, in Luke it must be Mary who is speaking in the beginning. All of these things I have already. I’m am squarely in the lane I began in, the only jumping happening is in your mind.

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                    • Again, there are no conflicting accounts. This is also in your head. Someone told you they conflict and you believe it. You explain to me the how people testify that a man was dead and then alive a few days later. Noone said the bible contained a testimony that anyone saw the moment Jesus rose from the dead. It is immaterial to anything we have spoken about.

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                    • Ron says:

                      It’s not in my head and no one told me anything. I discovered them on my own while comparing the gospel accounts side-by-side.

                      I’ve already explained precisely how and why the birth narratives are in conflict, and thus far you have not addressed that issue.

                      In regards to the conflicts contained within the post-resurrection accounts, I will leave you this link tabulating them all in a nice table, to save myself the effort of copying them from my hand-written notes:

                      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2021/01/31/contradictions-in-the-resurrection-of-jesus-accounts/

                      These are not the types of disparities one can write off as minor details, or differences in perspective. If the eleven disciples first met Jesus on a mountain in Galilee (per Matthew) then could could not have also met up with him for the first time in a house in Jerusalem (per Luke). And if their memories really were that foggy that they could not remember such an important detail (It’s the equivalent of a group of people saying they watched the towers fall in a hotel room in Lower Manhattan the very morning it occurred in one account and then telling you they first heard about it while they were hiking the East Peak trails in New Haven County, Connecticut in another. You know that both accounts can’t possibly be true.)

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                    • I have addressed your birth narrative objection. I do not agree that the two narratives are in conflict.

                      There is no account in Matthew that says Jesus first met his disciples on a mountain in Galilee. Matt, Mark and Luke all give the same account of Jesus choosing his disciples, and they give the account of Jesus calling Levi/Matthew from the tax office. According to you and this silly interpretation of what is happening in Matthew, they met Jesus on the mountain in Galaliee before Jesus called them to be disciples. Clearly, the story of the sermon on the mount in Matthew is out of chronological order. It’s an scribal error, not a contradiction.

                      I will just make one point about the so called discrepancies at Tippling Philosophers page. Just take the the one labeled time of the women’s visit. He says day was dawning and sun had risen for Matt and Mark respectively. What Matthew actually says is “as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week”, and Mark says “morning of the first day of the week, at the rising of the sun”. Mark does not say the sun was already up as Tippling philosopher suggests. Both accounts say this happened at dawn. Luke says “first day of the week very early in the morning”. John says “first day of the week while it was yet dark”. None of these statements are a contradiction of the other. Now if you have every been up at sunrise and watched the sun come up you know there is a period of relative darkness while the light is growing on the horizon, and them a sudden change from dark to light as the lifts over the horizon. None of these statements contradict. They just each describe the time of day just before and at sunrise. And I guarantee if go through all of these statements by Tippling philosopher I will find the same misrepresentstion in every one of them, claiming the bible contradicts when In fact it does not, even saying the verse says something it does not to create the illusion that the discrepancy exists. Mandy before suggesting in go through all of them, perhaps you should.

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                    • Ron says:

                      In regards to the birth narrative, you never responded to my follow-up reply. In case you missed it, it can be found here:

                      https://maasaiboys.wordpress.com/2021/10/07/if-your-religion-has-you-defending-absurdities/comment-page-1/#comment-86553

                      As to the rest, my link has nothing to do with the selection of the disciples.; it is solely about what the gospels report having happened after the alleged resurrection.

                      The account of Jesus first post-resurrection meetup is given in Matthew 28. Mary M and the other Mary visit the tomb. There’s a violent earthquake and an angel of the Lord comes down to roll away the stone. The guards become petrified and angels inform the women Jesus is risen. They run off to tell the disciples to go meet Jesus in Galilee and that’s where they go to meet him. There is no mention that any of the disciples went to the tomb to investigate (as per Luke or John) — an odd omission if Matthew was a member of the Eleven.

                      The account in Mark 16 states a young man inside the tomb told Mary M, Mary the mother of James and Salome to have the disciples meet up with Jesus in Galilee, but they fled and told no one (vv. 1 – 8). Again there is no mention of any disciple visiting the tomb.

                      Note: biblical scholars state the following verses do not appear in the earliest manuscripts of Mark, but I will include them here for completeness.

                      Per verse nine, when Jesus rose early on the first day, he appears first to Mary Magdalene and tells her to inform the disciples, but no one believes her. (This is a contrivance intended to expand upon the abrupt ending within the original manuscripts of Mark, but creates an internal contradiction because verse one already stated that Mary M went to the empty tomb early in the morning and was informed of Jesus’ resurrection by a young man already inside the tomb. If she’d already met Jesus prior to visiting the tomb, then what reason would she have had for going to visit an empty tomb to embalm a non-existent corpse? Or leaving trembling and bewildered and telling no one? And if she had already seen the empty tomb to anoint Jesus body and been informed that Jesus was resurrected, then Jesus could not also have appeared to her right after he rose, because that would then have occurred much later than “early in the morning”.)

                      Next he meets two of unspecified followers walking in the country and they report back to the rest, but no one believes them either. Finally, Jesus appears to the Eleven as they are eating and rebukes them for their lack of faith.

                      Luke 24 reports that multiple women went inside the empty tomb and then suddenly two men in “clothes that gleamed like lightning” appeared before them. The women (who are identified as Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others) informed everyone of what they’d seen, but nobody believed them. Nonetheless, Peter ran to the tomb by himself to investigate. Jesus next appears to two men walking to Emmaus, but they do not recognize him until he reveals himself during dinner. They go running to Jerusalem to inform the rest and Jesus appears to everyone while they are still talking. Later he leads them to Bethany and ascends to heaven.

                      John 20 reports Marry M went to the tomb, finds the stone removed and informs Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved, who engage in a race back to the tomb and Peter loses. But the other one only peers inside and Peter enters first. Then they both leave and Mary stays behind weeping, at which point two angels appear to ask her why she’s crying, and as she turns around she sees Jesus but doesn’t recognize him until he calls her name. She then goes to tell the disciples with the news. Later Jesus appears to the Ten (Thomas wasn’t there) behind locked doors, shows them his hands and they are overjoyed. Then he appears at the same house a week later to convince Thomas who didn’t believe the others.

                      I might have missed a few things, but it is patently obvious that these accounts don’t sync on major points and cannot have occurred simultaneously. To recap:

                      – how many women went to the tomb?
                      – was the stone already moved away when they arrived, or wasn’t it?
                      – did they go in or not?
                      – who did they meet (a young man, two men, an angel, two angels)?
                      – were those men/angels located inside or outside of the tomb?
                      – what was the order of the appearances?
                      – did Jesus appear to all Eleven in a single visit or was it to the Ten and then the Eleven a week later?
                      – did Jesus first post-resurrection appearance to the disciples occur on a mountain in Galilee or in a house in Jerusalem?

                      Nor can it be handwaved away as just a matter of difference in perspective. To forget who you were with or which geographic location you first met Jesus after the resurrection constitutes a severe memory failure.

                      Like

                    • Two women are at the Tomb when they first arrive in the morning. This is attested to by Matthew Mark and Luke. John is telling the story from the point when she comes to them to tell them that the tomb is empty. Who would know that Peter and John went to the tomb early in the morning after Mary M came to them…likely Peter and John. John is setting the record straight, “no I went into the tomb first”

                      Who would have known that there was an earthquake and have seen the angel descend…the keepers, and Matthew is inserting what happened just before the women arrived, the testimony of the keepers. You have to break out of the mindset that everything in these texts is arranged temporally, it’s not always the case. When the women arrived the stone was already rolled back.

                      One woman saw one angel, and the other woman saw two angels. This is not unprecedented. In John 12:29 God speaks to a crowd and some hear thunder and others say an angel spoke. Apparently some spiritual experiences are relative to the observer and by their nature they cannot be established.

                      There is not contradiction in Mark, it is explained in John. Mary enters the tomb the first time and the angel tells her to tell the disciples to meet Jesus is Galilee, after John and Peter examine the linen cloth Mary goes back into the tomb where she sees two angels again, and it is then that Jesus appears to her.

                      As for whether Jesus appears first on the mountain or in Jerusalem, since he is buried in Jerusalem, it is safe to assume that their initial activities are centered in Jerusalem. In Luke they are traveling to a town near Jerusalem in the post tomb scene, and them after they Jesus they arise return to Jerusalem. You assume that because a section appears in the same relative position in the text as another section this means that the events are happening simultaneously. But the spatial and temporal information is there in the text if you would sit down and read for understanding rather than trying to find a flaw. You read no other book in this way that you are scouring for seeming inconsistencies. You convince your mind that inconsistencies exist where there are none. There might be some, but these things that you mention, aside from the two angels vs one, are not them.

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                    • You can’t make some arbitrary that a seeming discrepancy can’t be explained by a difference of perspective. The whole thing hinges on being able to identify who the speakers are. At he very least being able to differentiate that the individual telling the story in one section is not the same individual telling the same story in the other gospels. I don’t know who the speaker is in Matthew in the telling of the two miracles, the hem of his garment and the raising the girl the dead. But I know that he is not John, James, or Peter, because is perspective is of someone who is clearly outside of the house, the other gospels are two people in the house with Jesus. I don’t really feel like analyzing text right now, but I guarantee you the answer is obvious. The problem that you keep encountering is the same problem. It’s a preconceived notion that the text is riddled with contradictions. Are you actually reading the text with me? You approach it with a list of “problems” already in your mind. There is no way that your mind can process what is really there. All you can see is the straw man that you created.

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                    • But bu Matthew is an eye witness, he is Matthew the disciple, levi, he does say that much.

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                    • Ron says:

                      As stated before, you infer that the tax collector named Matthew and the author of the gospel according to Matthew are one and the same, but there is no evidence to confirm that; so you cannot state it as a fact.

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                    • There is evidence to confirm that Matthew is the tax collector. Matthew is unknows except from Mathew, everywhere else he is called Levi. If I call my account according to Matthew and change my name in the account to Matthew, it’s a pretty safe bet that the author and the tax collector are one and the same. I have two witnesses, all of the other accounts that said his name was Levi, and the account where he calls himself Matthew, allomg with the fact that I call my book according to Matthew. There is a cultural reason for this reluctance to declare oneself the author and testify of one’s self. Read the gospels and you will understand why.

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                    • Ron says:

                      What you’ve provided is a “just-so” explanation. That is to say, you’ve created a meta-narrative by meshing together three separate accounts. But there is no evidence that Levi and Matthew were the same persons.

                      To help sort it out, here is a list of the disciples in each gospel itemized in tabular format:

                      https://www.pesherofchrist.com/Twelve_Disciples.html

                      While the first three gospels (plus Acts) mention a Matthew, only Matthew refers to him as a tax collector, and John doesn’t mention him at all. More importantly, if Matthew and Levi are the same person, why would Mark call him “Levi, son of Alphaeus” (2:14) and then switch to just plain Matthew in the next chapter (3:18) and fail to group him with his brother (James son of Alphaeus) like all the other brothers? You might be tempted to argue that their were two fathers named Alphaeus, but that would then become another just-so explanation created solely for the purpose of trying to reconcile the two accounts.

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                    • No, I am tempted to argue that Matthew-Levi and James were brothers and that Alphaeus was their father. But this is not necessarily so.

                      We know that Matthew and Levi are the same person because the account of Jesus calling him from the tax office is given in all three synoptic gospels, and he is called Matthew in Matthew, but he is called Levi in Mark and Luke, in that particular story of Jesus calling him out of the tax offices. All three call him Matthew when they roll call the 12 disciples. But both Levi and Matthew are called the tax collector that Jesus calls out of the tax office. It’s fairly safe to say that they are the same person.

                      You assume it is the author that switches from calling him Levi in one section to calling him Matthew in another. It could very well be the speaker that changes. The author would have been writing down the story as someone spoke it. That was one of the main functions of a scribe, to take dictation. It is quite possible that it is Matthew speaking in all three gospels regarding Jesus calling him out of the tax office. The change in name however could indicate a change in familiarity with Matthew. It is not an uncommon thing for people to have two names, I have a name that I use with family and most everyone else knows me by a different name. They are both my name’s, a first and a middle. Asking why the change from Levi to Matthew in Mark and Luke is pointless, we don’t know why and it could be any number of reasons, but because both names are used in the same context we can be sure that Matthew and Levi are the same person.

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                    • By my standard I have already sceeded that one can’t be sure those words of Jesus from John are even true, because he’s is the sole witness to those words. Nowhere did I claim that the bible give reliable testimony to the notion that Jesus is still alive in the flesh, only the rose from the dead. For all I know the audience you seek might not be possible. So you are asking for proof of this that I have not even claimed are true by the standard I present.

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                    • Ron says:

                      You’re right: Matthew and John mention no ascension event, but nonetheless, you’re going to have to make a choice and stick to it: you either believe that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven (as per Mark 16:19 and Luke 24:51), which means he still exists, or you don’t. And if it’s the latter, then your faith is in vain (per Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:14)

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                    • If there are two witnesses that say they observed this ascension event and their testimony agrees, then yes, it happened. I didn’t say all four had to agree, only two. There is only one account of the mass resurrection that took place Matthew, so that story is not established, but the ascension is established. It just so happens that we have four, five actually, counting Taticus, accounts of the crucifixion by pontius pilates. That this man existed and died by crucifixion is air tight fact. That he was seen alive three days later is air tight fact.

                      Of course Jesus still exists, but that does not mean he is still flesh and blood that he can come down and have a cup of tea just because one asks him too. Notwithstanding, if you ask him, he will. It just might not meet your expectation of obvious proof. But one thing I can testify to, is that he says that if you believe and if you obey he will manifest himself unto you, and if you seek him, and if you seek to do his fathers will, and you ask him to reveal himself to you, he will. But places conditions on such things. You must believe and keep his word.

                      The point I am impressing on you is that God does not expect us to believe these things without evidence. But the problem is that everyone who demands evidence for these things seems to have no clue about what evidence is, or how certain pieces of information constitute evidence. I have asked the question several times, if two agreeing witnesses do not constitute evidence, then what does? What is your standard of evidence. You say empirical evidence, then what is empirical evidence? What I gather is that the non-believer will only believe a first hand experience of God or Jesus Christ, but they don’t seem to understand that their experience alone would not constitute evidence. So I tell my story, that I have experience of God and of Jesus Christ, and when I do, they are very quick to point out that my experience is not evidence of anything. Yet that is what they are asking for as proof that God exists. So I try to relate it to the experience of someone having commited a crime, how are we sure that someone commited a crime. We agree that the testimony of one should be evidence, but the question is what is evidence then, DNA? That alone is not evidence, it is only one witness. So I need DNA in some context, and something else, to complete the scene so to speak. So I need two witnesses to establish that this person committed a crime. Then bring that back to the bible, and say that I have four witnesses to the fact that Jesus lived after he died, and suddenly the standard of evidence shifts. Two witnesses aren’t good enough, neither are four, and to those who say Jesus didn’t exist at all, neither are 6 witnesses enough. So the shifting that is going on is in your mind about what evidence is.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Based on your reasoning, any claim in which the testimony of two or more people agrees becomes an accomplished fact. If two people accused you of exposing yourself in public or screaming racist epithets at them, or having an affair with an anonymous woman, and their testimony agrees, you’d be guilty as charged without need of any further evidence, regardless of whether or not you actually committed the deed. And if two people said they’d been abducted by aliens, and their testimony agreed, you’d also be forced to accept it without question. All I can say to that low standard of evidence is that I hope you never sit on a jury in any state that still has the death penalty.

                      I’m not sure how you can matter-of-factly state “of course Jesus still exists” if you’ve never physically encountered the man. It’s no more evident than someone saying “of course Elvis is still alive” “of course Mohamed split the moon and rode to heaven on a winged a horse”.

                      As to “just ask him” — I did. Repeatedly. For years. There was no response. Nor are there any riders or conditions or caveats in Matthew 7:7 where Jesus promises “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Or in John 14:13-14 when he says, “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

                      So if he really exists and fails to deliver on his promise, that’s on him, not on me.

                      Finally, empirical evidence means that which can be detected via the physical senses or a physical instrument. Thus, empirical evidence for a supernatural entity would be a physical manifestation of that entity. And you can’t argue that God doesn’t work that way, because the bible reports he did just that on multiple occasions.

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                    • No, I would not be forced to accept it if two people walked up to me and said “we were abducted by aliens”. That is insufficient. But if I could sit them in a room apart from one another and have them write a statement of what happened, or tell me what happened, writing is better, and when brought together their testimonies tell a non conflicting story of the same event, then I would be forced believe their alien abduction story. The assumption is that if they were lying, and then they we’re separated and forced to give the account in their own words, they will not produce two testimonies telling the same story in agreement. They would literally have to create two stories that are not identical but similar enough to seem to be referromg to the same event, and write the testimonies in advance, and practice the testimony, each their own part, until reproducing the carefully crafted details was a reflex. But they will have difficulty if asked any question about the event that was outside of what they had rehearsed. It may not be impossible, but it is an extremely high bar for a false witness to be so careful engineered as to meet all of those requirements and escape scrutiny.

                      If the story is true however, then giving the account is effortless. They agree without trying, they are not taken off guard by questions seeking additional details or clarification beyond what they provided, because it isn’t rehearsed, it’s as natural as breathing.

                      I have encountered Jesus, I am pretty sure he exists. I asked him for years as well, and I lost faith asking as well, but later I realized that he did answer those calls. He responded every time I called on his name. He was not a flesh and blood man as far I perceived, but a spirit.

                      I also had an experience that I relate to God, not that he caused it but allowed me to perceive it, where I detected something with my senses; with my eyes, and with my nerves but there was nothing physical that I could associate with the physiological responses. There was simply no physical or emotional stimulus that should have produced the level of neuro-physiological shock that I experienced quite suddenly at the onset of one these experiences, and that shock lasted for several years. I was seeing something durring these times, but there was nothing there physically except the people that I interacted with daily. It’s not a hallucination because I didn’t actually see anything that wasent there, but there was the detectible presence of something else there, with them, in them, on them around them. I was seeing the spirit, because I had asked to be shown with my eyes some proof of something spiritual.

                      But my experience isnt evidence of anything.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Alright, applying the same constraints we’re faced with in evaluating the veracity of the gospel accounts, I’ve written and posted the following two reports of the same alien encounter here:

                      Would you believe?

                      You may respond here or there — whichever your wish.

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                    • I sort of pre-empted you there because I know that is what you are going to say. Not that I am psychic, that is just what they always say. “Your personal experience isn’t evidence of anything”. Yet it meets the requirement of being accessible to the senses. It was empirical evidence of something, that is for sure. To me that is, but you can’t verify it, therefore you will say it was evidence of nothing. But, this is precisely the experience you are asking for as evidence of God. You want something out of the ordinary to happen that demonstrates to your physical senses that God, or a spiritual realm, or Jesus Christ exists, and you claim this would be satisfactory evidence to you that God exists. And yet you are already questioning wheather the experience that I claim I had was due to some mental health issue, a psychotic delusion. You are already trying to rationalize the empirical experience away as a figment of a psychoactive imagination, and it hasen’t even happened to you yet. So what if several people see it. You have said this is not sufficient evidence of the truth of anything, therefore it must be concluded that you will call the group empirical experience a mass delusion.

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                    • Ron says:

                      What can I say? You asked me what evidence would be needed to believe in the gospel accounts and I gave you one. Now it appears you wish to ignore my request by raising all kinds of excuses for why that cannot be done.

                      So I’ll be blunt: according to the Bible, God is an all-powerful and all-knowing being, and NOTHING is impossible for God to do. Moreover, the Bible informs us that God desires to have an ongoing relationship with each and everyone of us. So those things alone should grant God sufficient reason to step in and fulfill my request.

                      To repeat: If God is all-loving, then God should be anxious to convince me to acquire belief in his existence. And if God knows everything, then God knows what it will take to persuade me into believing he exists. And if God is all-powerful, then God will be able to bring that to fruition.

                      On a side note: my comments are fairly simple, straightforward and unassuming, so it would be best for both of us if you focus on what I’ve actually written rather than trying to read in things that I haven’t.

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                    • And I gave you a counter argument of why what you are saying would be evidence to you is absurd. You wouldn’t accept it evidence. You would most certainly immediately begin convincing yourself that you were ill, or hallucinating, or delusional, if the first hand experience of God or Jesus Christ appearing to you actually occured. Because that would be the rational explanation for what happened. If he walked into the room as flesh and blood man you would never be convinced that it was Jesus Christ. The fact that my experience cannot be taken for evidence of anything is the same reason why your experience if you were to have it would not be evidence of anything. It’s much easier for the rational mind to assume that my experience was a delusion, and for that same reason, you would convince yourself that a sudden appearance of God was some sort of mental trip.

                      So I’m fact you haven’t presented a standard of truth. You by your own arguments have excluded the possibility that such an experience could be anything other than a mental illness.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Once again you are ignoring what I wrote to entertain that which I didn’t. How do you know what or what I wouldn’t accept as a satisfactory demonstration of God’s powers? Can you read my mind?

                      To repeat: if God knows everything and has the power to carry it through, then he should have no problem in convincing me to believe he exists. The fact that this hasn’t occurred can only be explained in one of four ways:

                      1. God wants to but can’t.
                      2. God can, but doesn’t want to.
                      3. God doesn’t want to and can’t.
                      4. God doesn’t exist.

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                    • It’s number 2.

                      He tells us through the prophet Isaiah, Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have put separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you that he will not hear. Isaiah 59.

                      He seeks those who seek him.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • As for can I read your mind, I don’t know, can I? You would know better than me. If I am reading anyone’s mind it’s almost indistinguishable from a normal thought.

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                    • Ron says:

                      It was a rhetorical question. I doubt you or I can read each other’s minds.

                      But your question prompts me to ask: How do you discern between your own thoughts and those received from God?

                      Like

                    • I don’t claim to be receiving thoughts from God. These are all my thoughts as far as I know, but i do wonder at times the extent to which God communicates with me or how often he leads me to an understanding or a conclusion. I would very much like it to be all the time. Sometimes there are these moments where something occurs to me and there is a sense that that was a communication. I look to Jesus Christ to guide me in everything, and I believe he does. The essence of your question however is dishonest, you want me to say either their is no difference in which case you would say then it’s only me, there is no God, if there was a God he would perfectly capable of distinguishing himself from me in my mind. Yet if I say that he is distinct voice, you will say that is evidence that I have some mental issue. And yet the truth neither, it’s not a distinct voice, but it is not an indistinct experience either.

                      Did I just read your mind, or did God tell me?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      I’m not sure why you keep assuming I come to the discussion with dishonorable intent? My questions might be direct, but they’re not delivered as gotcha’ questions, so much as an honest inquiry into why you believe what you believe.

                      I’m not accusing you of being crazy. My point in asking is because you and other theists claim to have had experiences that I and other non-theists have not had, and I’m trying to discover how you separate your own internal thoughts from the feelings you attribute to divine guidance — that’s all.

                      Like

                    • It seemed like a setup for a gotcha question. I don’t assume you have dishonorable intent, but there are patterns. Gotcha questions and demands to answer a question in a certain way. If you don’t then they will try to lead you into defending their assumption about how you should have answerd that question. “I’ll take it that since you didn’t say anything that you mean this”. You don’t seem to be projecting any hatred, but there is that guy. Snide, smuggly superior, condescending, speaks only to his straw men about who and what Christians and believers are. Dehumanizing, one is less than human in his eyes for having a belief, particularly in Jesus Christ. So I am on high alert. I saw this question where no matter how I answered the question you could have had something ugly and negative to say. In general it is nice talking with you and I have enjoyed it.

                      I haven’t talked with very many believers. I am fairly much alone people wise on my spiritual journey. I have family who are Christian and we both believe in Jesus Christ but I feel very alone in my spiritual experience. It’s big, it seems to span my whole life. I still struggle with how much of it is real or not at times. It’s easier for them to believe I came down with some illness, but I find it harder to dismiss. When it got to a point where the assumption was that nothing I said was true it was all a part of some presumed Illness, i had to take my leave of them.

                      What I experienced mentally and physically was like a sudden onset PTSD that had no discernable cause. I had delusions that I was having visions about people around me, but what I found out later was that these visions were actually memories and I was not consciously aware of them and I was projecting them onto those around me. But the visual perceptions of something like a spirit around people I believe that was real. Technically one would call it a delusion, but I believe it was more than that. A few years later the delusions and the spirits persisted untill another rather sudden event. I had an acute episode of sorts where the memories I was blocking suddenly came to the surface. It was like an inversion of my conscious and subconscious mind. I think I did have an hallucination durring that episode, but when the dust settled I remembered, and mostly I remembered all of the times in my life where I would say Jesus Christ appeared in some way. It is hard to explain how Jesus Christ is so intimately involved in every aspect of all of this but I believe that he showed up in my life again when he did to save me from a very bad outcome. I didn’t see an apparition of Jesus Christ, I saw his countenance.

                      There were some days when it was very difficult to separate my own internal thoughts from God’s guidance, but I believe with every fiber of my being that it was God’s guidance through Jesus Christ.

                      May the Lord bless you
                      and keep you.
                      May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
                      May the Lord lift up his countenance toward you and give you peace.

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                    • Arnold says:

                      I like your thoughts on relationship with Christ. I often wonder that all thoughts, even the sinful ones, are him measuring us up as only a Maker can, and giving to us our due according to our deceitful heart, our rebel nature (Jer 17:9+10). He knows what’s in us, hence, ‘You must be born again.. given a new heart and spirit.’ I understand your view of Christ, and like it.

                      Like

                    • And rightly so that you would not be convinced that a fleah and blood man walking into the room was Jesus Christ. At least you have that much sense about you.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Where did I write that?

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      It doesn’t matter how many people testify to an event. What matters is whether or not there is empirical evidence to support the claims being made. If I said I had dinner with Elvis last night, the only evidence that could validate my claim would be for Elvis to reveal himself. Testimonies from anonymous sources would not suffice.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Man, you are not a nice fellow. You give a fellow rope then come with a hammer.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      These conversations always play out the same way.

                      I tell the theist that claims alone do not constitute evidence. They respond along the lines of “then what evidence do you demand”, to which I reply “evidence of an actual man”, to which they reply: “You’re being unreasonable. The claims alone should suffice.”

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Somewhere in apologetics land, claims alone suffice. The maxim is, if it is in the bible, then it is true.

                      Like

                    • This is why I’m a devout Muslim. In the Quran it CLEARLY states, “This book is not to be doubted!” Mic drop, baby!!!!

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I, too, should be a Muslim. How can such a book be doubted?

                      Like

                    • Welcome to the fold! Allahu Akbar

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Thank you very much.
                      Now I just need a campus to establish where Mecca is and start my prayers

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • No, that is not the only evidence that could support your claim is for another witness to say he saw you there with Elvis. Elvis could be the other witness, but he dosent have to be. By your standard no testimony at all is acceptable. Two people saying they saw the man snatch the bag is no better than the man claiming that someone else did it, assuming he no longer has the bag. But reason tells you that if two people say they saw that man snatch the bag, he did it, and he would be convicted on the word of the two.

                      Two witnesses that agree is empirical evidence. It’s the only empirical evidence.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Eyewitness testimony is often unreliable, and many innocent men have gone to prison based on false or inaccurate testimony, only to be exonerated many years later when further evidence came to light.

                      Like

                    • Many innocents may have gone to prison on the testimony of a single witness, which should never have occured. A single witness cannot be established as true and as such it is unreliable. But no innocent has gone to prison on the testimony of two or more witnesses that agree under independent interrogation. The requirement of a second witness is the check for reliability.

                      I don’t know why this concept of two that agree is what makes it reliable is so difficult. The only thing that would make that unreliable is if you assumed the witnesses conspired, but I think it would be very hard to get someone to conspire to these things, and then they have to keep their story straight, which is but impossible unless the story is true. Which is why the written of the gospels is different than a joint a statement as with the Mormons. A joint statement is admission to conspiracy.

                      This is all I am going to say about it. If you evwryy actually think about it you will understand that two independent agreeing witnesses is the only evidence there is for anything, material evidence just being another kind of witness. I don’t think you are really thinking about.

                      Like

                    • But it’s not as simple as saying I was Ron with Elvis last night. One would have to give an account of the event, as would you, and if the accounts agreed, the it would be true. Your account will not agree if you are making it up.

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                    • Ron says:

                      And exactly how are you going to establish that the people giving an account of our dinner with Elvis didn’t rehearse what they were going to say beforehand?

                      Like

                    • By their testimony. No matter how well rehearsed, take them apart and interrogate and they will not agree. But I think you over estmate the propensity of someone to go along with a conspiracy unless they were coerced.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      To your second point, here’s a recent story that disconfirm your theory that collusion is not possible. The article contains links to the relevant supporting source data and court documents showing strong evidence of collusion between a jailhouse informant and police officers. .

                      https://www.cltampa.com/news-views/local-news/article/21156847/tampa-man-wrongfully-imprisoned-for-37-years-sues-tpd-officers-for-falsifying-evidence

                      Like

                    • I didn’t say it’s not possible. I just don’t think it’s very common, and there will be tells in the details that indicate they are conspiring. Just as in this case.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Not common? Conspiracy and collusion are about as common as it gets. Even the Old Testament records such occurrences: Abe and Sarah conspired to deceive the Pharaoh and Abimelech about their marital relationship; Joseph’s brothers conspired to lie to their father about what happened to their brother Joseph; Jacob’s sons conspired to kill every male in a city because the son of the ruler had defiled their sister, Leah. Should I go on or will those three from the patriarchs of the very first book be sufficient to establish a pattern of treachery and receipt that continues on throughout the OT?

                      Like

                    • You say conspiracy and collusion are as common as it gets because an argument for conspiracy is a get out of reason free card when it comes to the testimony of the bible, yet when someone uses that same thinking about covid or the moon landing, or a flat earth, you are likely to suggest that those people are whack jobs for using the same reasoning that you are now using.

                      Abraham and Sarah may have conspired but both times they were found out. We only know that the Lord revealed the truth of it in some way. Joseph’s brothers conspired to kill Jospeh but never actually lie to their father about what happened to him. They don’t know what his fate was, they simply neglect telling him what they did. This kind of conspiracy agreeing together to harm someone or making a plan for revenge or agreeing not to say anything, is the not the same kind of conspiracy as making up four distinct but agreeing testimonies. You are not comparing apples to apples. Abraham and Sarah are guilty only of withholding information, they are not inventing some elaborate story that they have to reherse and keep straight under scrutiny. Even so, they still don’t manage to pull off their ruse. Yes mankind is treacherous, that is the point of these stories in the old testament, to contrast what God expects and hopes for from mankind with what man actually does. If four people were to make up a story and each devise to tell it from their own perspective while keeping the details straight under scrutiny, this would be the lie of the millennium, of all time even. Many liars can’t even keep their own story straight under scrutiny.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      In regards to your first paragraph, why are you projecting thoughts I never expressed into the conversation? I decline to comment on it because it does not address anything I wrote.

                      As to the remainder of your argument:

                      First off, I would like to point out that you entered the conspiracy/collusion argument into the discussion and I entertained that idea by stating such a thing was entirely possible. You responded that it was possible but unlikely, which I will concede as a fair criticism of my having unintentionally straw-manned what you wrote. Nonetheless, I addressed your objection by providing examples of such occurrences taken directly from the OT.

                      So now you have subtlety shifted the goalposts by arguing that those examples don’t really count because they were lies of omission rather than lies of commission.
                      But it matters little, because by definition, a conspiracy is a secret agreement between two or more parties to commit an illegal or wrongful act and collusion is a secret agreement to partake in an illegal or deceitful undertaking, and no distinction is made in what manner the deception was carried out.

                      IOW, it makes no difference that Abraham and Sarah only agreed to keep mum about their marriage, because the end goal was the same: to deceive the two men into thinking she was unmarried. Worse still is that God appears to have been an accomplice in this arrangement because he threatens to punish both men for having committed adultery with another man’s wife on account of this deception. And to compound matters, Abraham absconded with a hefty bride’s price for marrying off his half-sister/wife to Pharaoh plus tribute from Abimelech as compensation for having deceived him. Not cool.

                      Likewise with Joseph’s brothers: the end game was to cover up their treachery by dipping Joseph’s coat in goat’s blood, showing it to their father without further explanation, and then permitting him to let his imagination run wild thinking his son had been devoured by a ferocious animal. Totally not cool.

                      And as to your concluding remarks (“If four people were to make up a story . . .”), I submit that this has occurred on many occasions, and the story I linked to before is a prime example of that. Had his death sentence not been commuted to life imprisonment, he would have been executed and none would have been the wiser. And even then, had he not fought for decades to have his sentence overturned, none would have been the wiser.

                      Like

                    • I am not shifting any goal posts. The examples you provide do not represent what we are discussing. They are related only very loosely to what we are discussing by the concepts of collusion and conspiracy. It’s technically true that Abe and Sarah conspired, but theirs is a conspiracy to omit giving out certain information. My mom made me party to the same conspiracy when she told me not to talk to strangers and dont tell them anything about yourself. It’s hardly on the level of inventing roles to play and convincingly portraying those roles to someone who is putting your performance under scrutiny. I think you are not just throwing things out there to be pat or snide or anything like that, but I wonder how you can draw that parallel and not see that what Abe and Sarah did is not exactly what I am describing. It comes of as trying to win on a technicality rather that trying to understand what is being said. You even repeat the definition of conspiracy as though the technical definition is all that matters, no nuance allowed. Obviously there is a great deal of nuance, perhaps so great is really isn’t all that subtle, between Abraham and Sarah’s conspiracy and the sort of conspiracy to which I am referring.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      This is more than a question of me being petty or pedantic. Words have defined meanings, and strict adherence to those meanings places everyone on the same page. so that we avoid talking at cross-purposes to one another. If you want to operate under an alternative definition of what a word means, then at least state that from the outset, so that the person you are addressing has an understanding of what you are talking about. Otherwise, we’ll end up going in circles.

                      Like

                    • Well if a different word exists for the difference between the shade of meaning that you are referencing as conspiracy, and what I am talking about, I don’t know it. I just know that the sort conspiracy that I am referring to is not meerly an agreement to refrain from divulging information, it is not just a joint descision to take some action together.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I still fail to see how this distinction matters.

                      From a moral perspective, a lie is a lie — is it not? If you know that omitting pertinent facts will lead someone astray, how is it any less wrong that an outright misrepresentation of the facts?

                      And from a legal perspective, a secret agreement to cheat someone — whether it be via willful intent to withhold important information or via willful intent to disseminate misleading or inaccurate information — results in the same legal penalties. For instance, if a company’s financial officers intentionally omit listing significant items (like pending lawsuits, or labor disruptions, or regulatory changes, etc.) in the notes to the financial statements they are just as liable as if they intentionally fudge the numbers.

                      Like

                    • To start, noone is ever under any obligation to divulge everything about themselves up from. To keep information about yourself to your self is not to lie. They didn’t lie, Sarah was Abraham’s half sister. But the question at hand is not whether lying is wrong, the question is how can we know that something is true. If there were litmus test for the truth of a claim what would it be? The standard I am talking about it presented in the Bible itself.

                      “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.” Deuteronomy 19:15

                      This is why there are two witnesses is revelation. Jesus talks about it at length with the Pharisees, and about the witness of one’s self not being true, which is why they do speak in first person in the accounts.

                      Jesus said “I am the one who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me”, speaking I believe of the miraculous works that he did in God name.

                      So the assumption is this. If this is a standard of truth, then this is the word of God, and God, having given a standard of truth, will have left evidence that meets this standard for establishing a testimony as true, for everything in the Bible that he wants you know is true. And that is exactly what he has done. So far you are off the hook for having to believe that the red sea parted, but you are on the hook for believing that the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, you are on the hook for the sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus, all of the historical claims of the Bible, the bible according to God’s own standard is true. The gospels according to that standard are true, no including the several accounts for which there are only one witness.

                      This is generally how history is decided as being factual. If one can find two witnesses of an historical event or person, the it is regarded as a well established fact. I believe it’s the standard of law, I doubt too many are convicted on a sole testimony or a single piece of empirical evidence. Yet when it comes to the bible, this standard isn’t enough for the unbeliever, and in fact they demand something as evidence that they are quick to say is not evidence when they encounter it from someone else.

                      The bottom line is that the bible, the Old Testament history, the gospels, the existence of Jesus Christ, his ministry and many of his miracles his death and resurrection are well established fact, so well that if it were a testimony regarding a crime it would be an open and shut case.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I realize we’ve drifted off topic, but at the moment I’m more intrigued by your stance on morality than the evidence of the gospels and we’ve pretty much exhausted that one anyways., anyways.

                      You state that no one is ever under any obligation to divulge everything about themselves up front. True enough. But when a third party seeks your (or your spouse’s) hand in marriage, wouldn’t one become both morally and legally obligated to inform them that you’re already married to one another to ward off any misunderstanding? Or by way of another example, if I sell something, don’t I have a moral obligation to inform the purchaser of hidden defects that could harm or kill them, or otherwise render the item unfit for the purpose it was purchased? IOW, wouldn’t you consider it my moral duty to inform you the vehicle air bags are missing, or that the ground wire on that appliance you just bought is faulty?

                      You state that the litmus test for the truth of a claim is the Bible. But this is begging the question because it assumes that we’ve already established that the Bible is the litmus test and that everyone acknowledges it as such. But this is clearly not the case, or we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Nor am I alone: this biblical litmus test is questioned and/or outright rejected by the billions of people who follow other (non-Abrahamic) religions. So given the above, let me ask you this: by what metric did you determine the Bible was the standard for the truth of a claim? And how will you go about persuading myself and others you are correct (assuming it is your intent to do so)?

                      You pointed to Deuteronomy 19:15 as the prescribed method for evaluating whether or not a charge can be established, but that only lays the groundwork. Verses 16-18 also mention that malicious witnesses must be thoroughly vetted for their truthfulness, and dealt with harshly if they are proven to be liars. Ok, let’s run with that.

                      I submit that in-person interviews afford us the greatest opportunity to question and evaluate the truthfulness of another person’s claims, and if they are poor liars, this will work out well. On the other hand, if they are skilled liars, you will still end up being deceived. So relying solely on this method to establish the truth of a claim is a gamble that you are more skilled in detecting lies than they are in telling them. Also keep in mind that live interviews describe an ideal situation. The further you are distanced from the person your are evaluating, the greater the chance they have of succeeding.

                      Which brings us back to the gospel accounts. They are the furthest removed from us in terms of granting us an opportunity to thoroughly vet the witness, because the witnesses are all deceased and dead wo/men tell no tales — be they true or false. In other words, it’s impossible to evaluate the honesty of someone who no longer exists. Nor is it possible to ferret out the testimony of honest people who are/were genuinely mistaken about what they witnessed.

                      So eventually we are forced to pull out the only tool that consistently provides reliable results: the cold steel of empiricism.

                      Like

                    • No I didn’t say the litmus test for a truth claim is the Bible. I said the Bible presents such a test for determining the truth of a claim. I have also stated that witnesses must be thoroughly vetted.

                      The truthfulness or falsehood of the claim has nothing to do with the perceived trustworthiness of the witness. So honest people/dishonest people really dosen’t come into play here. Noone is being accused of lying. Like you say, a person might give an errant account because they are mistaken. The wager is that there is something incredibly difficult if nigh impossible about fabricating two agreeing testimonies, and rehearsing those testimonies, executing those testimonies in such a way that they will hold up under scrutiny. Anything that is asked that they didn’t rehearse will become contradictory, the testimonies simply will not agree. It is hard enough to make up one story and produce a coherent testimony, but here they will have to make up two who’s details are alike enough to be telling the same story, but different enough not to be a signed statement, then they have to coordinate a huge production and keep it all together while being interrogated. I think you underestimate how astounding it is that four accounts can be made over 30 years providing supporting details without contradictions or absurdity. And they do not contradict. The only way it comes together without show stopping discontinuities is if it is true. I submit that it is impossible for men to have fabricated this story. Noone sat down 10 and 15 and 30 years later from Matthew and said oh, in this section I’ll make it appear as though it’s Peter talking. And then Luke comes along and says oh this is great, I’ll make this one look like it is from James, that way there will be three testimonies that look like they agree but those 21 century rubes will never know we made it all up and kept it straight with over 30 years in the writing. This is going to be great. The very idea of it is absurd.

                      It’s fashionable among non-believers to dismiss everything in the Bible as fiction. Throw out 4500 years of history because if there is a miracle in it it cant be true. One guy told me he believed the whole thing was made up in the 5th or 4th century. Manetho records that a lamb spoke in one of the Egyptian kings reigns, and another king was reported to be a speaking statue. Noone says throw out all of Egyptian history because of it. But supposedly someone sat down and conspired to create this biblical chronology and according to him it didnt match up with any known history. First it is just not true, the chronology is accurate to the year for every known date in history, but then to postulate something so absurd that someone would be able to reverse engineer the bibles historical account and make it up after the fact. By his reckoning, every person who ever had anything to do with the Bible was in on some grand conspiracy to create the elaborate deception we call the Bible. And they will rewrite history in order to maintain their denial that bible is true, and that there is ample evidence for it, and that it could not possibly have been created in a conspiracy. Because that is what we are ultimately talk about, how can we know that the Bible true, and once we have established that it is indeed true, for it is then we can discuss what that implies in regards to the existence of God.

                      Like

                    • I think the moral imperative in Abraham’s mind Abraham was making it through his visit to Egypt alive. I don’t know what Abraham was thinking, I don’t know how he expected to get through the part where Pharaoh might would want to make a wife of his wife. What is stranger is he does it twice, even after it didn’t go so well the first time. But it’s not to judge Abraham. Morally, I think giving the truth before Pharaoh went to wife his wife would have been prudent.

                      I didn’t determine that the bible perse was the standard of truth for a claim, I only said the Bible presents a standard, and if this standard is true, then it is God’s word, and God will honor it by ensuring there are witnesses to his word, to his existence, providing reliable testimony that agrees. He will ensure the Bible meets it’s own standard if it is his word or contains his word. That is my belief.

                      Like

                    • Drifted off topic? More like we completely hijacked makagutu’s blog entry. He dosen’t seem to mind, so thanks makagutu for letting us rant.

                      Like

                    • As for your article, I don’t think it is wise to comment on a bunch of allegations. I am certain that I don’t have all the information regarding this story, and I am not willing to suggest whether he is guilty or innocent based on a press release. I can say that DNA alone is not evidence of anything, and it’s not capable of convicting or exhonorating someone by itself. But there are professional people who do that job and they are good at it, and I don’t believe they conspired to ruin a man, possibly put him to death just because. People can be treacherous, but that would be maniacally evil to do such a thing, malevolent to the nth degree, to conspire to injure a man like that, and I don’t believe that it happened. And I don’t believe it would have escaped the defenses notice if they did.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      He’s already been exonerated and released, based on the DNA evidence. The only thing that remains to be decided is whether or not the police officers were guilty of collusion in railroading him into a false guilty verdict.

                      Like

                    • And over estimate their ability to keep a story straight when interviewed independently.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      You’re going to have to pick a lane and stick with it. If the authenticity of the gospel accounts is enhanced by the discrepancies in their details, then it behooves you to apply that same standard when it comes to the discrepancies of my dinner guests. Because doing otherwise would indicate you adhere to two sets of standards.

                      Like

                    • There are no discrepancies in their details. There are different details, given by different people who see things from different perspectives. There is no contradiction. We have already been over this, and you bring it back around again.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      You mean to say it would make a difference if you knew the name of the one claiming they saw a miracle happened. Somehow I doubt that will make any difference.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      at what point did i say that or you are trying to misrepresent what i said? I said we have no way of proving a miracle has taken place. The second comment on anonymity is not the main point here.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      It seemed to me you were saying that you couldn’t believe a miracle took place if the claim came from an anonymous source.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      No. I am saying I can’t believe a miracle.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      Of the gospel sections by telling and almost identical story with a different ending. There were multiudes comming into or out of Galilee, only he attributed it to a politician. The story went far a wide, and it was changed to satisfy political sensibilities. What else could be evidence? If not witnesses that agree independently? I am asking you, just if this isn’t good enough evidence tell me what would be.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Which story does Josephus tell with a different ending?

                      Like

                    • O People of the Scripture. do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
                      — Quran 4 (An-Nisa), ayat 171[4]

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      We have heard you. Where do we kneel? Which direction is Mecca

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • varnersd says:

                      It’s the story beginning at Mark 3:6. Someone showed me a passage in Josephus, I can’t remember if it was antiquities or Jewish wars, that has a highly similar wording where it says “from Galilee, and the Decapolis, and Jerusalem, and Judea, and beyond the Jordan”, speaking of the multitudes, that Josephus then attributes to the presence of some political figure who’s name I cannot remember. I cannot find it again. I tend to these similarities are suggestion rather than actual similitude, but to me it seemed the story had probably circulated orally and it evolved for the Roman audience. The one who showed it to me was trying to make it out as though this was evidence that Mark copied Josephus, although by every stretch of the imagination Josephus is too late for that to have happened.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      There aren’t exactly a whole lot of ways to state “I saw the plates”, so a jointly signed statement seems more expedient than having eleven individual statements saying the same thing — wouldn’t you agree? Besides, the gospels don’t present the individual accounts of every person who witnessed the miracles of Jesus, so why would you demand more for this event?

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      No, i wouldn’t agree with that it is more expedient. The goal is not expediency, the goal is to arrive at the truth. A joint statement fails because there is no test for disagreement. It is litterally a statement that several have all colluded to agree to this thing. But the tell of whether or not they are telling the truth comes from how the details are handled. Failing to mention that someone else helped him with the cross just means he was not there for that, but saying he took the cross to Mount Julip on the other side of town, when everyone else says he took it to Golgotha, is probably an indication that he wasent really there and he is relating a false account. I know that the account given by Matthew for the hem of his garment story is a different person from the person in the Mark account because it is clearly the same event through two different pairs of eyes. It is is litterally the difference between one guy standing outside seeing this through a window who can’t hear what is being said inside, and a person standing inside with Jesus. That accounts for the variance in the story. He simply didn’t hear anything being said except when everyone went dead silent as Jesus started speaking to the woman. See, I can draw an image of what was happening because the variance does contradict. But if you sat those eleven signers of the statement down, if that really even happened, and asked them to write down what happened the day they saw the plates individually and you would likely have a very different picture than the painted by a joint statement. A joint statement is basically and admission of collusion.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      It appears to me that you are applying different standards of evidence to the gospel and Mormon eyewitness accounts.

                      On the one hand, you are prepared to accept the claims presented by four anonymous authors — two of which (Matthew and Luke) incorporate almost a verbatim copy of the narrative found within the third (Mark) — attesting to the claims of unsourced witnesses without reservation, while rejecting the claims of documented eyewitnesses who never recanted having seen those plates.

                      And I fail to see how how affixing three or eight (or even a hundred signatures, for that matter) to a joint declaration automatically indicates there was collusion involved, especially given the prevalence of such documents.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      But I am not applying different standards. The standard is two or more witnesses giving independent testimony that agrees. The signed statement of the Mormons do not meet this standard as the testimony independent. The various testimonies of the Bible do meet this standard, because it is obvious the when the speakers are distinct individuals from context.

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                    • Ron says:

                      How does eleven (twelve actually, if we include the testimony of the non-signatory witness) independent witnesses attesting to the same thing not meet your standards. The most important part is that they all testified to having seen those plates, and including (or leaving out) the minor details surrounding that event in no way improves (nor detracts) from the significance of that event.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      I have already explained this to you.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Yes, you have. But it seems like a contrived objection. If a multitude of people sign a statement saying they witnessed the JFK assassination, of what import is it that they affixed their signature to one document and didn’t include the trivial details attendant to that event? The main point is that they testified to having witnessed the actual event itself. The rest is just fluff.

                      Likewise with the plates: whether or not they saw them is all that matters.

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                    • varnersd says:

                      Whether or not they agree under independent interrogation is what matters. When separated and scrutinized do the accounts agree.

                      By your standard we should believe both Xenophon and Herodotus on their accounts of the death of Cyrus the Great, even though their accounts don’t tell the same story. All that matters is that they both they both know that Cyrus died, right? The rest is just fluf.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      At first you said they all signed a statement, which I accepted in good faith from you. If they all signed a statement, then their testimony did not differ. Now you are saying their testimonies differed, there were actually signed statements. You can’t even agree with yourself on this. Either way, a signed statement is not an independent testimony. It is conspired by its nature.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      There were two groups of independent witnesses (three and eight) who signed different statements.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      I have seen Benny Hinn do similar miracles. I believe Sai Baba does something in front of dozens of witnesses, whether it’s a miracle or not I cannot say.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Ok. But if the people who attended those events claim it’s a miracle, why would you doubt there testimony?

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      If family stood up at a Benny Hinn event and said this our grandfather, he hasen’t walked in five years, and then after Benny Him did is thing he got up and walked, I would believe it. Because if it were not true, one of those witnesses is going to tell.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I can’t find a video of that particular situation, but there are videos in which parents brought their children to a BH event for healing.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Correction: that should read Sathya Sai Baba

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      To Matthew, then it is a pretty sure bet that he is referring to himself.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      “We know” … Really? You know?

                      You CLAIM to know simply because you read it in a several thousand year old book that surpasses all other books in the number of gaffes and bloopers it contains. And yet … amazingly! … people are certain it’s all “truth.”

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      Nan, the rest of you have been reading wrong. There are eleven or is it 4 eyewitnesses whose account we are told.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • varnersd says:

                    In fact you can reason from the story of the woman touching the hymn of Jesus’s garment, Matthew was not part of the inner circle of Peter James and John who were very close to Jesus, therefore his account is very far removed from the action of what is going on, and when Jesus goes into the house to raise the little girl from the dead Matthew stays outside and he doesn’t see or hear what’s going on inside of the house, and he says the fame of this went out through all of the land. Then in Mark’s account and in Luke’s account both of these witnesses go into the house with Jesus, because they here and see everything going on inside of the house, but the two accounts while similar have distinct differences that identify them as two different people telling the story, in particular the witness in Mark relates Jesus’s words in Aramaic, and the witness in Luke relates the words in Greek, And they give slightly different accounts of the details and things that happen during that particular story, this is the hem of the garment story and the story of the girl being raised from the dead, They are treated as one story because they’re so close to one another and in my Bible it is called two miracles of healing. You can tell by reading them the side by side that they are three different perspectives of the same story, two of which are close eyewitnesses who are in the house with Jesus. Since John wrote his own account it would be safe to assume then that the witness and Luke is James, and the witness and Mark is Peter.

                    Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Read in parallel, we also note some serious discrepancies between the accounts, and especially in the parts that matter the most, i.e., the passion and post resurrection events.

                      And even the discrepancies in the events you mentioned are more serious than just a matter of perspective. For instance:

                      – In Matthew (9:22), Jesus immediately turns around and addresses the woman who had touched the fringe of his cloak, whereas in Mark (5:30-32) and Luke (8:45-47), Jesus first asks the disciples who had touched him and waits for the woman to identify herself.

                      – Only Mark and Luke explicitly state that Jesus permitted none other than Peter, James and John (the brother of James) to follow him into the house and commanded everyone to be silent afterwards, while Matthew mentions neither of those things.

                      Nor can we assume that John is the author of John, because he only identifies himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (21:20-24).

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • varnersd says:

                      The whole point that I was making is that the witness in Matthew is not as close to the events as the witnesses in Mark and Luke, hence he did not hear everything that goes on. The discrepancy is one that you would except between one standing in the front row, and the other standing a little farther off. Like when a friend walks up to the group and says hey what are you talking about? If Matthew had include a detail like Jesus only let the three go in with him you would have yelled that it was too convienient that all three accounts say exactly the same thing in exactly the same order.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I will concede that these are minor discrepancies. But the conflicting birth, passion and post-resurrection accounts are not as easy to dismiss.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      None of them conflict, one just relates things that the others didn’t relate. Perhaps they didn’t know. If you arrive at 5, and I leave at 5 :30, our stories are not going to be the same, but that does not mean neither of us were at the event. There is nothing conflicting about the passion narrative. I have heard the argument that John is telling different sequence of events from the synoptics but not by my reading. There are some details that are confusing, but if you read through them carefully you can spot the elephant in the room. They all give exactly the same passion account, except for the sending of Jesus Herod first that appears in Luke. That may have been a politically conscious author not wanting to step on royal toes.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Here’s a link to a short list of the contradictions in the crucifixion accounts:

                      https://www.learnreligions.com/contradictions-in-gospel-accounts-of-jesus-crucifixion-250140

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      I looked through the first three so called contradictions in this link, and again, you are picking at details. If all three had related the exactly same details you would say they conspired, if they had all said Pilate wrote The King of the Jews, you would have said that it is evidence that they all copied that verse from Mark, and when you have a story told from three different perspective, clearly, you call it contradiction and discrepancies. Maybe John didnt this think the fact that the two men were thieves was relevant, or he just didn’t think of that particular detail 40 years later. Perhaps John was not able to follow Jesus all the way Golgotha to see that Simon helped him carry the cross. These objections are banal, and it’s a failure to see the larger picture for a differing detail that is expected when several people give an account of the same thing. Did he have blue eyes or brown? Was that robe red or purple? Perhaps the one who saw red was blue color blind. And so they carry on like this verse by verse and say these details are discrepancies, untill they are exactly the same, and then they say it was all copied from Mark.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Are you suggesting that three of the four authors thought it unworthy to mention a giant earthquake followed by an influx of walking corpses? And that no contemporary Roman or Jewish historian of that era noticed or deemed it noteworthy either?

                      If I can’t trust the authors to agree on the pertinent details concerning the chain of events leading up to the death, why should I trust them on the chain of events that followed thereafter? And given that biblical scholars agree that Matthew and Luke copied 97% of Mark’s account (with slight alterations), how do I know they are independent testimonies, and not just altered versions of the same account?

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      If only one of the authors wrote about it then it cannot be established. But four out of four wrote about Jesus resurrection.

                      The authors agree on the sequence of events. See, now they are 97 percent alike, now that you are getting nowhere with the “rife with contradictions” argument. We are going in circles though, I have already addressed that.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      The major contradictions are contained primarily within the birth narratives (which are not included in Mark or John), the parts in which Matthew and Luke diverge from Mark and John, and the passion/resurrection accounts. There are also internal inconsistencies within some of the gospel accounts.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      What is the birth narrative contradiction? I have heard the genaology mentioned before, which is easy to understand that one is through Mary and the other through Joseph. John diverges from all three, I don’t know what you are saying there. All I know is that any internal inconsistency I have looked into in the gospel, it is always rectifiable. One speaks of how John seems to be saying that Jesus’s last supper was not the Passover and this dosen’t match up with the other gospels, but looking closer one can see that is not the case. I was told this was 3rs century interpretation, and all sorts of theories that this inconsistiency stems from John being written around a different theology have emerge because of it, and it just is not true, a side by side reading from the Passover to the ressurection shows them all to be in agreement.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Matthew claims Joseph’s family escaped to Egypt after Jesus was born and moved to Nazareth after Herod died because Herod’s son Archelaus was the new ruler in Judea.

                      Luke claims they went to the Temple to perform the purification rights (40 days after Jesus was born) and then returned back to Nazareth immediately thereafter. It goes on to mention that they returned for the Passover every year.

                      Like

                    • varnersd says:

                      So what is the point? Matthew also says Jesus was a young child when he was sent to Egypt. He was already born and some time had passed since he had been born. Surprise, not everything that is written in the Bible happened all at the same time. Time passes between sections, you can get a sense of how much time has passed by paying attention and reading for understanding instead of cynicism. The flight into Egypt is clearly some time after the presentation at the temple.

                      But there is only one witness to either account. It is immaterial to what they agree upon, that he was concieved by the holy spirit, that he was born to a virgin, Mary, wife of Joseph, and he was born in Nazareth.

                      The contradictions are in your mind.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      The point is that both stories cannot have happened simultaneously or integrated together seamlessly under any stretched timeline. They either traveled from Bethlehem (where Jesus was born) to the temple in Jerusalem (for the purification rites) and then back home to Nazareth, as described in Luke, or they stayed on in Bethlehem after Jesus birth and then fled to Egypt (to fulfil prophecy) for a while before moving to Nazareth (to fulfil prophecy), as per Matthew.

                      If Joseph truly feared Archelaus, as per Matthew, then he would not have dared to attend the yearly Passover (per Luke) because Archelaus ruled for about nine years and was such a brutal dictator that he had to be deposed (per other historians). In fact, shortly after his ascension his first order of business was to quell a Temple riot in which around three thousand Jews were killed during the Passover celebration.

                      Moreover, the only direct first-hand sources available to recount the birth narrative would have been Mary (who was still alive according to the gospel accounts) and Joseph (who was probably not given he’s never mentioned during Jesus’ ministry), so messing any part of this story up presents a serious problem.

                      Like

                  • varnersd says:

                    Oh and the two witnesses in the house relate that Jesus said, “make sure noone knows of it”. It’s not some editorial oversight, it’s because one story comes from a witness outside of the house, and the other two come from someone who was inside the house.

                    Like

                  • varnersd says:

                    But the four accounts are actually compiled from 11 eyewitness, we just don’t usually know who is doing the talking at any given point in the story.

                    Like

                • makagutu says:

                  I am glad to have met you, one with special revelation and access to four distinct eyewitness to Jeebus. You are a rare type.

                  Like

    • shelldigger says:

      You might be better off to stop with the “I think’s” and move on up to the “I know’s.”

      Even more important is the “I don’t know’s.” From there actual learning can begin. Unless of course… bigot.

      And the “I believe I know, so it must be true,” is the hallmark of a damn fool.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ron says:

    I think it started around the second or third century with Tertullian, who is credited with the saying ‘I believe because it is absurd.’

    Like

  5. Those questions have been in circulation since we came down from the trees and will be in fashion until we are being replaced by artificial intelligence. But that is really not the point. Those who argued had always occupied the higher ground notwithstanding the side they were on. The decisive question is, who is profiteering from those disputes? What would happen if we all agree on one issue or the other? Those scholars and sophists would be soon all out of business and would have to trudge along in mundane occupations like most of us. And who profited from the first book to be printed and still in circulation? It all comes down to one thing, as long there’re disagreements money will flow!

    Like

  6. mike ruel says:

    Thank you. My mom always thought I was funny. Others, not so much.

    If God exists, then miracles exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nan says:

    Mak — isn’t it fascinating how believers go to such great lengths to “prove” bible scripture? Or, as your blog title says, to defend absurdities.

    No matter how many -obvious- inconsistencies there are, they always manage to come up with a “work-around.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. basenjibrian says:

    all this debate about the details of Scripture. We are ignoring the fundamental WICKEDNESS of the core message of Christianity:

    There is an Omniscient, Omnipotent “God” who exists outside time and space who creates imperfect sentient beings in a hostile natural setting. he then blames said imperfect sentient beings for failing to live up to ridiculous, ever changing, poorly explained, confusing “laws”. He in all his glory then sets up a place of eternal torture where he will throw what we are told is the VAST majority of human beings into to be scorched forever. Unless they believe the correct interpretation (because there are so many, contradictory ones) of a strange torture story of himself in order to allow Him in His omnipotence to “forgive us” because his own (son’s???) torture somehow pays for the “crimes” we all commit.

    To quote George Carlin> “Holy Shit”

    Even if this ridiculous story were true…is it moral to “worship” such a being? Why does an omni-being NEED worship? What benefit does craven worship provide US?
    All the endless quibbling over details seems to miss the point? The STORY itself is a BAD ONE.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      In fact, it is not even about details. That’s giving it a lot of credit. We are being told there were witnesses to an event that only children and those invested in the belief think can be true

      Like

  9. Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

    Remember Hume has been answered. https://youtu.be/hg55A3oWeIE

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      You really are a joke

      Like

      • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

        Very thoughtful indeed. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Moloch-ancient-god 1. Cannanites practiced child sacrifice 2. God gave them time to change but they did not. http://newjerusalemcommunity.blogspot.com/2011/10/character-of-canaanites-cult-justifies.html?m=1

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          I am not going on a wild goose chase with your links.
          I watched the first link you shared and it was nonsense.
          That the cannanites practised child sacrifice is no reason to justify land grab. Plus I thought your god was all powerful. It could persuade them out of error without killing them but it seems you are limited in your ability to think about what is humane n what isn’t

          Like

          • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

            Sure God has sufficient reason to give iver their land to others. He gave them free will and holds them accountable. So you agree with Cannanite child sacrifice? Or do you think they are wrong and why? On what basis do you decide between right and wrong? Let alone judge God!

            Like

            • makagutu says:

              It seems to me you are incapable of seeing that both child sacrifice and land grab are wrong. That’s a weakness that seems incurable

              Liked by 1 person

              • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                Land grab is not wrong. If the people deserve to be removed the owner who is God can give it to whomever he wants. Moreover you are not all knowing, all wise God. Moreover you have no moral foundation for saying anything is right or wrong. If nothing is right or wrong without a moral law giver then it is your preference not actual right or wrong. God can judge any nation and give it anyone he wants. He is JUST is doing that. You are NOT God. Neither are u all knowing nor all powerful nor all wise. You must at least know you are finite and God is infinite. You cannot know or judge God’s reasons. If you think finite can comprehend and critique the infinite you need help.

                Like

                • makagutu says:

                  You are an interesting fellow.
                  Divine command theory seems to be your fallback position. Whatever god ordains is right, no questions asked. In effect, you Samuel, are not moral because your motivations for doing right depend on your bet that it will make you a candidate for heaven.

                  Like

                  • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                    God is perfect. We are NOT. Divine command theory therefore is right and perfect. Pure logic!
                    You are just hearing about divine command theory right? You were writing those things in ignorance of so many such things. Your ignorance is deep but typical of arrogant self opinionated person. What is the value of your ignorant opinions? Nothing. They are just assertions not even arguments. You don’t seem to know about logical arguments. Finally you seem to assume you can arrive at truth through reasoning. You must read the critique of pure reason and practical reason by Kant. All the best! (Please capitalize the ‘if’ in your title)

                    Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      hahahaha. Samuel, you are a piece of work. What makes you think i haven’t read Kant? Or that I didn’t know about DCT, William Craig’s favourite defence for the Cannanite massacre?

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      I m not going into why about you. But your views are opinions not arguments. You have no arguments. You have only opinions and assertions and some comments on what you think it means. Trash!

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      The nonsense you are writing here deserve nothing more but ridicule. You are yet to present anything that looks like a coherent argument.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      That us exactly what applies to you. No moral foundation. No logical arguments. Just trash talking every response as if you know everything.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      -By definition, perfect means complete (i.e., without fault, without defect or blemish, as it gets and lacking in nothing). So by extension, a “perfect” being would have no needs or desires.

                      Yet the bible presents a god who: desires worship and adulation, commands obedience and respect, issues threats and ultimatums, expresses regret and frustration, is easily riled to anger and retaliates with extreme vengeance.

                      Thus, this deity cannot be called perfect.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You are perfectly wrong. God as you said does not desire but commands worship because it is the right thing. Perfectly right. Hope you understand you are not perfect now.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      We have a word for those who command worship: dictators.

                      We also have a word for those who have an inflated sense of self-importance: narcists.

                      And finally, we have a word for those who blindly obey orders: sycophants.

                      If you think subservience to a narcissistic dictator represents the epitome of perfection, have at it. But I decline to follow suit.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      God is right because he us perfect. You can call him anything you like in your imperfection. Misundrrdtood name calling will not change anything nor does it affect God. God is love. Jesus loves you. He died for you on the cross to demonstrate God’s love to you. It is logical to obey all knowing God. It is illogical to NOT obey him. You totally cannot break the logic. It is tight. The only way is for you to change your illogical and misinformed view.

                      When doctor prescribes abd you reject they stamp a AMA(against medical advice) seal in red. This is to indicate even if the patient dies the doctor is not responsible as the patient chose to go against medical order which could have saved his life or limb.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      He died for you on the cross … do you have evidence of this outside of the bible and its so-called “witnesses”?

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Yes Josephus the Jewish historian talks about it in his book.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Tacitus the Roman historian also reports it.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      https://www.bethinking.org/jesus/ancient-evidence-for-jesus-from-non-christian-sources pl read this collection for exact quotes from ancient historians. This is called hostile witness.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      There is no logic to break because thus far you haven’t presented any logic to break. Like I said in my first comment, God cannot be perfect because the bible presents an entity possessed of attributes that signal a lack of perfection. That’s logic, and no amount of special pleading or hand waving or circular reasoning can refute it.

                      Nor is blind obedience logical (or moral). Doing what you are told — especially when it conflicts with your sense of better judgement — constitutes an abdication of personal responsibility and logical thinking. Otherwise you’d have to concede that every person who ever obeyed the orders of an evil despot (like Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Muammar Gaddafi, etc.) acted logically.

                      As to the remainder of your statements: A god who kills people or sends then to everlasting torment for not following its commands cannot be called “loving” without perverting the meaning of that word. And a god who is incapable of convincing me it exists cannot be called all-knowing or all-powerful.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Ron, God is perfect. He cannot be wrong. What is the difficulty in understanding this? All those examples are examples of imperfect people not a perfect God. God demonstrated his love on the cross. You can accept it or reject it but you cannot alter the consequences of your choice which is confronting you every time you are engaged in this or similar conversation.

                      Moreover, God is the one who give and takes life of everyone.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Merely repeating your claims does not make them so. Moreover, your own arguments contradict your position. If we allow that God created everything that exists and exerts complete control over everything that was created, then by logical extension God must ipso facto bear full responsibility for the existence of imperfect people. In effect, you are asserting that a perfect being created imperfect beings — which constitutes another logical contradiction.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      A perfect being can create imperfect and finite beings because the perfect being cannot be created. Perfect being is uncaused first cause. All others are imperfect and he has given free will. He has also created the only way to be saved through becoming children of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore there is no logical contradiction. You have to explain how a perfect being can err. He cannot. You have caricatured God in a wrong way which makes your argument a logical fallacy called ‘Strawman fallacy’.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      At the risk of being repetitive: by definition a perfect being is complete and would have no needs or desires to create anything — not even a universe (let alone a universe with imperfect beings).

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      He does not create out of necessity but free will. All these have been covered over the last 2000 years. The only issue is your ignorance of Christian theology and the nature of God topic where this all covered. You need to inform yourself by reading and not put an exhibition of your ignorance.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I wrote “no needs or desires” for a reason: a being in a state of perfection possesses neither. If you’re married to the perfect man or woman, you don’t look for a more suitable mate on Tinder. If you have found the perfect job, house, neighborhood, etc. you don’t check the want ads and real estate listings looking for something better. Ditto for your god. If it already exists in a self-fulfilled state, it has no impetus to make any changes.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You have misunderstood the character of God because you are imagining. He is a necessary being.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I have imagined nothing. I have simply explained why the words Christian theists use to describe God’s character fail to meet the test of logic and reason.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You explanation is wrong. It is called strawman fallacy.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      A perfectly good being has the best desires that a being can have, and exhibits the best traits of character, and acts in an unsurpassably excellent way. This practical excellence is, furthermore, typically understood as moral excellence (Morris 1989b, p. 26; Wierenga 1989, p. 202).

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Even within that altered definition of “perfect” God fails the test, because the bible depicts a deity possessing less than perfect character traits: remorse, jealousy, anger, hated, vengefulness, narcissism, braggadocio and all-around despotism.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      God is perfect and bible is trying to communicate to humans using anthropomorphic language. If you want to twist it using finite examples then you are wrong.
                      Most important question is on what basis do you differentiate between right and wrong?

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Based on the biblical description, the only thing I see God is perfect at is being a complete jerk.

                      As for my sense of right and wrong, that comes entirely from within. I refrain from doing things to others that I wouldn’t want them doing to me. No gods required.

                      In fact, I’ll reiterate what I briefly touched upon in an earlier comment: blind obedience is not a moral virtue. Obedience demands one do as one is told, regardless of whether one thinks it wrong or right, whereas morality entails doing what one thinks is right, regardless of what one is told.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      That is blasphemy. But God loves you and has demonstrated his love for you on the cross. Quotations from bible.

                      1. God is love (1 John ).

                      2. Greatest commandment- Love God and Love people. Mark 12:30-31.

                      3. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:14

                      4.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Blasphemy: you said something I deem an insult to my imaginary friend.

                      As to your biblical references, they are contradicted by all the Old Testament verses in which God commands plunder, destruction and complete annihilation.

                      Furthermore, true love must be freely given — it cannot be commanded.

                      “The demand to be loved is the greatest of all arrogant presumptions.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      God commands love because to do otherwise is wrong. It indicates what is right and wrong. So commands are important. Nietzsche was insane. It is a fallacy called “cliche”.
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjBeR6f-NZ8 only 7 min but answers your objection

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      So if I don’t love despicable men like Stalin, or Mao, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, or Saddam Hussein — I’m doing wrong? In what way, exactly?

                      Furthermore, I don’t believe in your “God” because it doesn’t actually exist. It’s a fictitious character invented by superstitious men, and the words attributed to this vengeful and bloodthirsty tyrant reflect the morals the the men who penned them. Which makes it all the more ridiculous when apologists such as yourself and Frank Turek attempt to proffer outlandish justifications for the moral atrocities committed in the name of that God. It’s the modern day equivalent of trying to defend the moral integrity of Darth Vader or Hannibal Lecter or a James Bond villain.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You don’t believe he exists. It does not mean he dies not exist. You cannot prove the non existence of God. God is not another human. He is your creator and heavenly father. Every molecule belongs to Him. He created it. You have wrongly understood God. So your description of the biblical God is a strawman fallacy.
                      Nice chatting with you. You need revelation. Reason alone is not enough.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      You have that reversed. I don’t need to prove anything. You boldly proclaim that God exists, so the onus is on you to validate that claim. I simply reject it for lack of empirical evidence, and your presuppositionalist apologetic proclamations alone fail to meet that standard.

                      As the late Christopher Hitchens noted:

                      “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Empiricism does not have empirical evidence. Do you know that? That is scientists abandoned it and went for falsification.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      A BETTER way of putting it … You believe he exists; it does not mean he does exist. You cannot prove the existence of God.

                      And BTW … no capitalization of ‘he” — where’s your holy respect??!??! 😮

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Holy what 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      I believe based on evidence from my science textbooks.
                      ‘“Science,” Davies has argued, “offers a surer path to God than religion.” … God is neither “an old man in the sky pressing a button” nor an “interventionist God,” he said, but rather a “timeless, eternal thing, an abstract notion” that lies outside the ken of conventional science.’ https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-03-11-me-41323-story.html

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      “A major factor in Davies’ award, according to the Templeton group, was “his contention that humankind’s ability to understand math and science–which in turn allows for comprehension and calculation of the physical universe–evidences purpose and design to human existence. His stance is not dissimilar from that advocated for centuries by the world’s major religions.”
                      https://www-latimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-03-11-me-41323-story.html?amp_js_v=a6&amp_gsa=1&_amp=true&usqp=mq331AQKKAFQArABIIACAw%3D%3D#aoh=16357561916566&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.latimes.com%2Farchives%2Fla-xpm-1995-03-11-me-41323-story.html

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      Oh yes. There are several misguided individuals that promote the confluence of religion (god) and science. Unfortunately, their opinions/”discoveries” are rarely given credence by those in the authenticated field of science.

                      Further, the “Templeton Award” is hardly a sought-after award by true scientists.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You have no argument against their arguments.

                      These do not debunk their arguments.

                      Finally you are the misguided one who cannot reason from effect to cause. From creation to creator. From beginning to a beginner.

                      You are not engaging the arguments. May be you cannot. That explains why you are an atheist.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You have made no arguments for anyone to engage.
                      You have not demonstrated there is a beginning. Just a claim.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.
                      Richard Dawkins
                      No good no evil in atheist universe. Why are you complaining God is evil,especially a perfect God ? You as an atheist have no moral foundation. Just pitiless indifference is expected from you.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I am surprised you don’t understand English. The universe is indifferent. A child dies of hunger, the universe is pitiless. Only humans can show pity to one another!

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      First off, here is the full quote:

                      “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

                      All of which actually underscores the absurdity of claiming the universe was designed by a “perfect” being — unless, of course, you’re prepared to argue that all the pain and suffering we see in the natural world is evidence of a perfect designer.

                      Second, the whole “atheists have no moral foundation” argument is weak sauce, because neither do theists. Simply proclaiming that God is your objective standard is tantamount to begging the question: by what standard did you determine that your imaginary God should be the deemed an objective standard? In other words, you need an objective standard by which to judge whether or not this imaginary God should be used as a moral standard.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Ron the pain and suffering is temporary and heaven is permanent where there will not be any suffering or pain as you expect. This is the testing and place of choosing whether one wants to be part of the perfect heaven. So what you expect is heaven which is there. May be you are ignorant of the theistic universe.
                      Goodness is in God’s essence. He is the standard. He has demonstrated his love for you on the cross. A self sacrificing God motivated by love, grace and mercy. Suffering is not evil. According to which more standard is suffering evil. Suffering is testing and discipline and a deterrent for evil. If you don’t control evil you will be in the jail…suffering. Moreover you are imagining atheits have moral standard.
                      If there is no moral law giver there is no morality. And if you were not deigned to be moral you will not have moral complaints like the rest of the animals. What is your moral standard according to which you can differentiate between good and evil?
                      Still the point of Dawkins is that there is no good or evil as he sees it. That is what he believes as an atheist all along enjoying life and popularity.
                      So what are you suffering from Ron? What suffering makes you think there is no good God.
                      What about the goodness in the world and good enjoyment you have in life? Who made it possible? God has made both pleasure and happiness and despair and suffering.
                      Moreover the evidence is that more people find God through suffering. They experience God’s peace and goodness in the midst of suffering like a shade and cool water on a hot day. People also understand that there are seasons of suffering…not their entire life. This whole outcry about suffering by atheist is a emotional one…not a logical one.
                      Dawkins is just is making an emotional outcry. It is not at all logical to think one knows more than God. An all wise God has a good reasons to allow suffering temporarily. One cannot say there is no reason to allow suffering at all.
                      Genetics is the most powerful pointer to God. The genetic code. You must have a lot of faith to be an atheist.
                      Still atheist Dawkins observes no good, no evil just pitiless indifference. This conclusion undercuts his position as he cannot complain because in his universe there is no good, no evil just indifference. Now he has to be I different to God because he has no moral foundation just emotional state and genetics which has predetermined he should complain like that. Are not you and Dawkins just dancing to your DNA?
                      Your position self destruction.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Why would an all-knowing being create a temporary testing ground? If God already knows which way everyone will decide before they are even born, why not skip all the drama and just create this perfect heaven from the outset?

                      You claim goodness is God’s essence. But that doesn’t answer the question: By what metric did you draw that conclusion? Because you still need to apply an outside standard in order to make such a determination; otherwise it remains just another unsupported claim.

                      You claim that suffering is not evil, but I never said it was (and neither did Richard Dawkins). That is your own projection into the conversation. We merely pointed out that such pain and suffering were evidence against the argument for a perfect designer because such a being would be able to achieve its goals without them. In effect, you are arguing that God needs do-overs because he is incapable of doing things right from the get-go.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Perfect heaven is already there. It is for the perfect earth. He wants true lovers and free willing children not automatons.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      A perfect heaven already exists? Not according to Revelation 21:1, it doesn’t.

                      Nor can there be “free will” in a preordained cosmos.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Rev 21:1 is talking about the renewing of this creation into new heaven and new earth. There are 2 heavens. 1. Our atmosphere as in Rev 21:1. 2. Second heaven 3. Third heaven.
                      “Free will” is preordained. We are given the ability to choose morally for or against and other non-moral things. It is the degree of freedom. Limited freedom not unlimited freedom of choice.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      According to Hebrew cosmology, heaven is the space directly above the earth.

                      “God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.” Isaiah 40:22

                      And in Acts 1:9, Jesus ascends to the clouds.

                      The term “free will” appears nowhere in the bible. In fact, it explicitly states that God created everyone to serve a purpose — chiefly, to show off his powers. (see Exodus 9:16 and Romans 9)

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Heaven third heaven

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I’m aware of all these things, but the fact remains that biblical cosmology does not reflect reality. When Jesus claimed “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” — it was meant to be taken literally, not figuratively.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I like this quote.

                      One might ask, “How can you prove that a god does not exist?” One can only reply that it is scarcely necessary to disprove what has never been proved.
                      — David A. Spitz

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      It is apocalyptic language and genre of literature. It is NOT to be taken literally.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      It is NOT to be taken literally.

                      Who says? You? Other parts of the bible where such “apocalyptic language” is used are taken seriously. Why not this one?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      Nan, you had been told earlier you don’t have arguments 🙂 I am not sure this query will be answered

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Nan says:

                      Ahhhh well … c’est la vie!

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Read up and see what is apocalyptic language. Please do that and tell me.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      DUH! 🤪

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      So then in your opinion, the entire preamble:

                      “Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go back inside to retrieve anything from his house. And let no one in the field return for his cloak. How miserable those days will be for pregnant and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not occur in the winter. For those will be days of tribulation unmatched from the beginning of God’s creation until now, and never to be seen again. . . . So be on your guard; I have told you everything in advance.”

                      . . . should also be deemed “apocalyptic literature” instead of being taken literally?

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I vote Apocalyptic 😀😀

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I vote fantasy fiction. 🤣

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      It was written to those on Judae about the 70AD apocalypse in which the center of Jewish life the temple was destroyed by Romans. This is the recommended action. What to do when the judgment unfolds? That is this section.
                      The recommendation is literal. The description is apocalyptic.
                      “The language in Mark 13:25 is what is known as apocalyptic.  This style of literature is used much in Jewish writing, both in the Bible and in extra-biblical writing. In apocalyptic writing, the author uses very dramatic pictures symbolically to represent something that is happening.  Most often it is about a time when God comes to either save or to judge his or other people.  There are dozens of examples of this in both Testaments.  For example, in Acts 2:17-21 Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32, describing “wonders in the heavens… The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood…” This is not to be taken literally.  There is much apocalyptic language in Revelation, of course, but there is similar apocalyptic language in Ezekiel 37, with the Valley of Dry Bones (a prophecy of the restoration of Israel) and Ezekiel 38 with Gog and Magog. Daniel has apocalyptic visions, and there is quite a bit of apocalyptic language in Isaiah and Zechariah. The visions of the Four Horns and the Four Craftsmen or the Man With a Measuring Line in Zechariah are all to be taken symbolically, not literally.” https://evidenceforchristianity.org/what-is-the-meaning-of-the-stars-falling-from-the-sky-in-mark-1325-is-that-an-asteroid-or-a-meteorite/

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      The problem with your “just so” explanation is that it is all the events are sandwiched between the opening question (“What will be the signs”) and the decisive conclusion (“At that time you will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”) along with a guaranteed promise that “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

                      IOW, it’s quite clear that the gospel’s author(s) intended this to be read literally — not symbolically or metaphorically.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      What would I do without your encyclopedic knowledge?

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I don’t consider it being encyclopedic so much as being well-versed from having spent over a decade listening to sermons informing us that every word within the bible was to be taken as a literal truth. We’re talking about men who unreservedly shouted out “If you don’t get right with God today, you’re going to HELL . . . FOREVER!!” stuff here, not the watered down “there are many paths to salvation” pablum being served up by the mealy-mouthed preachers of today.

                      Apologists should have their heads in shame for downgrading God’s awesomeness to a mere metaphor. A real believer would say, “Who cares what modern cosmology tells us? Our God is so powerful that he can shrink stars down to the size of peas and hurl them towards earth in the blink of an eye.”

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I think Thomas Paine was right when he said the believers are the blasphemers. They have made a monster of their god and then try to convince everyone else that those monstrosities are acceptable if done by a loving god

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      I am a free will Christian. Of course there is difference within the church between calvinist and arminians on this issue.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      It doesn’t matter what you believe; it matters what is actually written, and there is no mention of “free will” anywhere within the pages of the bible. It’s God’s way or the highway from the first verse of Genesis to the last verse of Revelation.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      How can you with your ignorance and inperfect knowledge claim there is no reason God cannot allow this state all the while enjoying life.
                      Pain and suffering play an important part in testing. Testing is for those who will really live God. Gid of course knows but that person has to know as a free will agent.
                      God cannot be wrong because he is perfect. You are having a logical contradiction complaining about God. Hope you get it. Only God is perfect. How can you know what are the purposes of a perfect God? We can never know as finite beings. So the atheist rant is illogical. There is no response to this contradiction.
                      God is free to create any state of affairs as he determines in his infinite wisdom and knowledge.

                      You are talking as if you are suffering and not enjoying at all. You have to account for both. Christianity account for both…suffering and enjoyment.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      See my opening comment here.

                      To reiterate, by definition, perfect means whole and complete (i.e., finished, without flaw or defect, unblemished, lacking in no essential detail, as good as it gets, beyond further improvement or refinement).

                      So your entire argument falters on the shoals of an illogical presupposition — namely that a perfect being would be motivated to move away from a state of perfection to “create” things. And it is even more illogical to propose that such a perfect being would desire love and worship and adoration.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      A perfect being, who they say was living out of time and space got bored and decided that it should have some drama. Apologists make me sick.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Well, to play the devil’s advocate, where’s the grandeur in knowing you are the greatest thing in existence if you are the only thing that exists? God had to create things in order to let them know that he was the greatest.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      So, for a timeless duration in a spaceless dimension, it didn’t know of its greatness! Or was it the darkness

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      To misquote Winston Churchill:

                      “I cannot forecast to you the actions of God Almighty. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is God’s personal self interest.”

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      The atheist cannot blaspheme. I think it was Thomas Paine who said the bible is a blasphemy. The qualities it gives to its god are so out of character, the book should be indexed

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      In fact, the bible god is proud at being a jerk. I your god, am a jealous god- read a jerk.

                      Like

                    • Quran (5:51): “Don’t take Jews or Christians for friends. If you do, then Allah will consider you to be one of them.”

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Allah should give us a break

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Yes. It’s almost like the ancient Hebrews decided to affix the worst qualities of men to their imaginary cosmic supervillain.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Heads or tails.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjBeR6f-NZ8 only 7 min but answers your objection

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      He creates NOT out of necessity. He is free to create and free not to create in any way he chooses or any type of beings.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      It’s not a question of free will. It’s a about logical consistency. Necessity and desire are synonymous. To feed a desire is to act out of necessity. There’s no way around it.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You understanding of necessary being is wrong. God has no necessity. Strawman fallacy and factual error.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I never once mentioned anything about a “necessary” being — so you are battling against your own strawman. And your jumping the gun, because you have yet to establish that your God exists, let alone that your God is a necessary being, or that a necessary being is even required, or that such a necessary being cannot be anything other the Hebrew volcano god you’ve chosen to worship.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Necessary being is the character of God. There are lots of evidence for God because of which famous atheists have abandoned atheism.
                      1. Pl read my latest blog https://samzlogic.wordpress.com/2021/10/27/why-did-anthony-flew-the-famous-british-atheist-philosopher-abandon-atheism/
                      2. NEW PROOFS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. https://amzn.to/3mnzzps
                      3. You are about 100 years behind quoting Neitsche.
                      4. https://logosherald.com/famous-quotes-science-god/ where scientists say.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      for a guy quoting or defending the bible, you are are blind and can’t see the irony in saying Ron is 100 years late in quoting Nietzsche

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      That is your opinion and imagination stemming from a biased, uninformed mind and self-opinionated views. That is all. Nothing else. No arguments as usual.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You seem to ‘imagine’ your comments are an argument in themselves. The are just assertions. Nice reading atheist imagination from you guys.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      And where are your stellar arguments, dr!

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Is it my blog? I am responding to your non arguments.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.
                      Richard Dawkins
                      So for atheists there is no good no evil only pitiless I difference. That is your ultimate reality. You have no moral foundation to call anything good or evil let alone calling God evil.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      1. Yes, Anthony Flew abandoned atheism. But what of it? It no more proves that gods exist than if he had claimed he now believes in elves or leprechauns proves the existence of those things. Furthermore, he became a deist (someone who believes in an impersonal god) rather than a Christian theist.

                      And if changing one’s beliefs is your standard for determining the veracity of a claim, then you would have to concede that the number of those who have abandoned Christianity to become atheists or followers of other religions far exceeds the move in the opposite direction, because the statistics show that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, while Christianity has been on a steady decline in the western world. Here’s a link to the stories of over a thousand former preachers who abandoned Christianity

                      https://clergyproject.org/stories/

                      2. I’m not asking for “proofs” (aka philosophical arguments) for the existence of God; I’m asking for hard empirical evidence for God. Do you have any?

                      3. Doesn’t matter how far I’m behind. Only matters that what I quoted encapsulates the absurdity of your proposition that love can be commanded from others.

                      4. Quotes and quote-mines (Einstein was a pantheist) do not constitute empirical evidence. If your god exists, it will have to do a better job of convincing me it exists.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Anthony Flew accepted that there is a creator God based on evidence. Can you do that because he was an atheist philosopher for 40 years who abandoned atheism. That shows there is evidence for a creator God. A very strong argument.
                      Hard empirical evidence for God is BGV theorem.
                      “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof (BGV theorem) is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
                      – Alexander Vilenkin
                      A cosmic beginning is a creation event. Creation event is proof of creator.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I’ve already addressed this. A claim isn’t proof of anything, other than the existence of a claim. Anthony Flew might have abandoned atheism for deism, but it provides no more evidence for a creator god than if he had claimed he now believes in Santa Claus, or elves or leprechauns proves the existence of any of those things.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Einstein was a Jew. He seems to have believed in a creator God. He was not an atheist. That is why I quoted it. What about you? You can based on these abandon atheism. Since there is good reasons to do so. You can search for truth and you my God only if he grants you revelation. Without revelation you cannot know a personal God. But still there is enough evidence not be an atheist just by following the evidence and the testimonials.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Einstein was a Jew. So were physicists Frank Oppenheimer, Niels Bohr and Richard Feynman. Again, what of it?

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Why not become a pantheist like Einstein. Do you have better arguments than him? Why are u still an atheist?

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I’m still an atheist because to date no one has presented empirical evidence for their existence and an argument does not constitute empirical evidence.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      What is the empirical evidence for empiricism? There is none. It is your delusion. Another contradiction in which you are living.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      What a ridiculous argument. I am asking you to provide evidence subject to observation and experimentation. You either have it or you do not. According to your own scriptures, Jesus promises that those who are true believers will possess the ability to perform miracles, like healing the sick, which constitutes an empirical demonstration of your beliefs.. Can you do that?

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      They will even make mountains move. I am waiting for them to move a valley next door

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Then you possess the patience of Job.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      One has to give them some rope

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      The apologist most often resembles the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Ron empiricism should be proved with empirical data. Otherwise it is self contradictory and self destruction according to its own standard.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Here’s what Jesus said:

                      “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:17-18, NIV

                      Can you do these things? If not, your faith is in vain.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      Not as an individual but as the church. Different people have different gifts and they perform these things. https://henrycenter.tiu.edu/2019/05/signs-of-the-kingdom-craig-keener/ please read Craig Keener on ‘Miracles’.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      lol. It amuses me no end to see the mental gymnastics Christians perform to account for their inabilities to demonstrate the powers of their professed faith.

                      Your bio says you practice radiology, so it’s a safe bet that you employ modern medical equipment to diagnose and treat your patients various illnesses, rather than prayer and the laying on of hands. In other words, your very profession betrays your lack of trust in the power of God Almighty.

                      Nor are you alone. When churches routinely install metal doors, deadbolt locks, wrought iron window grills, security alarms and surveillance cameras to protect themselves against intruders, it sends a clear signal that they don’t trust God to protect his own sanctuary.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      I don’t see, how without gymnastics, they would keep doing apologetics

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      These are your imaginations Ron. We know we live in a fallen world and these things are not evidence of lack of trust. We can have doors and scans temporarily. In eternity we don’t need this.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I don’t think I’m imagining the things mentioned, or the fact that some churches routinely hire security guards to “protect” themselves against theft and vandalism. It speaks volumes that Christians place more faith in their fellow man than in their God when it comes to warding off evil.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      God has delegated authority to government to control evil according to Rom 13. So this idea remains an atheist delusion.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Paul’s instructions in Romans 13 neither address nor negate the fact that Christians don’t place their full trust in God to protect them against evil. (see Psalm 118:8)

                      Furthermore, Christians don’t follow those instructions either.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You cannot brush aside Flew abandoning atheism just like that. He was unlike you an atheist academic philosopher you abandoned atheism.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I can and I do brush it aside, because Anthony Flew’s belief(s) have no bearing on my own.

                      Furthermore, it’s a silly cherry-picked example — because had Mr. Flew remained an atheist it’s doubtful you would be using him as an example in support of the evidence in favor of atheism.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      He is NOT because of the evidence. Do you know why he abandoned atheism after championing it for 50 years? What are your reasons for rejecting those same arguments of Flew? The point is simple. Where did Flew go wrong? Engage his arguments.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      What empirical evidence did he present? Because arguments based on awe and wonder don’t cut it.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      ‘“Science,” Davies has argued, “offers a surer path to God than religion.” … God is neither “an old man in the sky pressing a button” nor an “interventionist God,” he said, but rather a “timeless, eternal thing, an abstract notion” that lies outside the ken of conventional science.’ https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-03-11-me-41323-story.html

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      WHY DID FLEW ABANDON ATHEISM?
                      “One month later, Flew told Christianity Today that although he was not on the road to becoming a Christian convert, he reaffirmed his deism: “Since the beginning of my philosophical life I have followed the policy of Plato’s Socrates: We must follow the argument wherever it leads.”[54]
                      In late 2006, Flew joined 11 other academics in urging the British government to teach intelligent design in the state schools.[55]
                      In 2007, in an interview with Benjamin Wiker, Flew said again that his deism was the result of his “growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe” and “my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source”
                      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Flew

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You need to disprove Einstein and Flew to remain an atheist. So you cannot be an atheist. Their argument for not being an atheist is strong.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I have no need to disprove anything. You’re the one making the claim for the existence of gods, so the ball is in your court. Either put up the empirical evidence, or admit you have no case.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You are making a claim that this universe and chemicals and life have no creator. You are also giving an alternative to God…like chance is suffient to explain all of reality. You are a “Chancian” championing your view against a designer.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      I’ve made so such claims. I’ve simply rejected your claim that it was created by your “perfect” God pending further evidence. Thus far, none has been presented.

                      Like

                    • What would hard empirical evidence for God be? I don’t know if it exists because I don’t know what it looks like.

                      However, existence of things is pretty hard evidence. This universe of stuff at some finite point in the past found its way into into a thermodynamically impossible state, like someone pulled back a slingshot and released. Never will that slingshot pull itself back into that stretched state. The probability of it ever finding itself under that tension again without something acting deliberately on it is almost zero. Then the probability of it ever having been in that state without something acting deliberately on it is zero.

                      The null state does not exist. There is not state of nothing. There is one way for nothing to exist, there is an infinity of ways for something to exist. Therefore the probability that the state of nothing ever existed is effectively zero. Now this material universe has a definite finite age, we can measure it. At some point in the past this material universe appeared seemingly from nothing. But nothing does not exist. So there has to be other states of being which exist outside of our normal space and time that are non-corporeal.

                      Go ahead, be bold, call it spiritual.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      existence of things is pretty hard evidence

                      And I disagree. It can not be concluded that because A is, so B is true. How do you get from this thing exists so this other totally different thing must exist?

                      Like

                    • Because the material existence is finite in time. It had a beginning. There was a point in time when this material universe did not exist. Like I said we can calculate the date. But it is also true that a state of nothingness is not possible either. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the probability is so great that there will be something that the likelihood of nothingness is zero. So the material universe didn’t always exist, nothingness cannot exist, therefore there has to be some state or states of being that is non-material that exists in the absence of and alongside the material universe.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Why is a state of nothingness not possible when theists argue that god lived in a state where nothing existed. You have to make up your mind really.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • God cant live or exist in a state where nothing exists. Because he exists. Therefore something exists.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      Because he exists.

                      Proof?

                      Like

                    • I don’t need to prove God exists in order for the statement to be true. If God exists, and has always existed, then he has never existed in a state where nothing existed, because he existed. This is true independently of whether God actually exists or not. The conclusion that “he never existed in a state where nothing exists” is a necessary condition in order for the supposition that “he always existed” to be true.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      😀😅😄😂 Sounds like word salad to me.

                      I suppose one must rely on whatever perspective they can come up with to validate whatever it is that they believe is true.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • If that sounds like word salad to you that is very unfortunate. Perhaps you should stop jumping to conclusions and slow down and read and follow the argument. I assume you have a normal human intelligence capable of grasping a logical argument. Yet you have concluded the argument is flawed before you have understood it. You are concluding it is flawed and you haven’t even understood the argument.

                      Like

                    • Actually you conclude that BECAUSE you failed to understand it, the argument must be flawed.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      No, I didn’t say or think the argument is flawed. I think the fact that it takes so many words in order to prove/reinforce an argument is indicative of a weakness in the argument itself.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • No the argument is simple and as you say not flawed, but you didn’t seem to get it the first time, so I decided to double explain in hopes that it would become clear to you. The fact is you didn’t understand the argument or you would have never responded with your first response, and certainly not with your second response. Now I am assuming you are capable of understanding, so I have to also assume that you simply made no effort to understand what I saying in the first place. You read three words and snapped to your responses, that you already had half formed in your mind.

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                    • Nan says:

                      I do so love the way people who don’t know me seem to be able to read my thoughts and assess the meaning behind my words. Such talent needs to be recognized!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thank you, thank you.

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                    • It has nothing to do with knowing you, it has to do with what you said. It does not follow from someone who read and understood what I said.

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                    • Nan says:

                      Well, maybe it’s because you tend to go around in several circles before you make your point. In any event, I’ll try not to interrupt your train of thought again,

                      Like

                    • Or you could trying talking to me, with me, instead of at me. You challenged my reasoning and I defended it, don’t be offended when the truth is arrived at.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      It is word salad

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      This is what we call the Chewbacca Defense. Your proposition would also hold true if we replaced God with any other god or fictional entity (like Santa Claus or Darth Vader or the Tooth Fairy).

                      If Thor exists, and has always existed, then he has never existed in a state where nothing existed, because he existed. This is true independently of whether Thor actually exists or not. The conclusion that “he never existed in a state where nothing exists” is a necessary condition in order for the supposition that “he always existed” to be true.”

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                    • The proposition has nothing to do with the existence of God. The intent is not to establish that God exists, it is to negate the statement that you made that God once existed in a state of nothingness.

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                    • Ron says:

                      Nonetheless, it fails because it is an argument that presupposes the very thing that remains to be proved (i.e. God’s existence.) The clue for that is contained in your opening statement “IF God exists”.

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                    • That if there is for your benefit, so that you don’t get you head bent out of shape banging on the fact that you don’t believe that God exists. But you can’t resist.

                      You are right, the argument presupposes the existence of God. It requires the presupposition of God existence. That does not mean the argument failed. The argument did exactly what was intended. It demonstrated that God could not have existed in a state of nothingness. In fact that statement is a contradiction.

                      There is no logical proof that anything exists. For all you know there is nothing outside of your mind and its all a product of your subconscious trying to keep itself sane and ordered. See, when my mind slipped that is exactly what I started believing, that I was really in a hospital or trapped in a box and everything that I was experiencing was a hallucination and something or someone was going to wake me up and I would find out my whole life has been a lie, or I would find myself trapped in some horrible circumstance. I’ll tell you this much, when your sense of what is real slides like that, and you don’t know what is on the other side of the boundary between your mind and the world, you will hope like hell that God is real and that God is good and that God will save those who cry out his name.

                      I know this much about what is on the other side of that boundary. It isn’t nothingness.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      So you say there is no logical proof that anything exists and without skipping a bit write a whole tome about a god existing! A god you have not told us what is and how we can know it is.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      What makes you think I’m getting bent out of shape? I simply pointed out that your argument doesn’t prove God’s existence. Moreover, one could just as easily argue “IF an eternal uncreated singularity existed prior to the formation of the universe, then it could not have existed in a state of nothingness” and conclude that God is an entirely unnecessary insertion into the equation.

                      Nor am I looking for logical proof; I’m asking for empirical evidence. Absent that, you are wasting your time, and mine.

                      Like

                    • I think your statement and mind are equivalent.

                      My argument wasn’t trying to prove God’s existence.

                      Empirical evidence? For what, God’s existence? I can’t tell you that such evidence exists. I know there is a ton of evidence for the bible, and at least one miracle confirmed by archeology.

                      What is empirical evidence of God’s existence? A golden toenail clipping? A blood sample? Saying “empirical evidence” is insufficient. There is empirical evidence for Jesus Christ, both historical and miraculous. But you systematically reject and deny all the evidence. You will accept nothing as evidence and you cannot describe what would be evidence.

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                    • Ron says:

                      It’s not just a paucity of empirical evidence for the existence of God. It’s also the lack of empirical evidence for the claims made within the book. Where are the tablets of stone bearing God’s commandments? Or the ark of the covenant? Or the burial sites of the patriarchs? Or the pillar of salt that used to be Lot’s wife? Or artifacts attesting to the 40-year campout in the desert? Or independent historical accounts corroborating the enslavement, emancipation and conquests carried out by the Israelites under the guidance of their leaders, judges and kings? Where are the historical artefacts or contemporaneous accounts or documents attesting to the life and death of Jesus? Or the writings and sermons and speeches attributable to such a man? Are we to assume that neither Jesus, nor his followers, nor anyone else deemed it a worthwhile endeavor to document what he said and preached at the time he said it? And perhaps most importantly, why can’t his current followers demonstrate the miraculous powers he claimed would accompany all those who believed in him? (See Mark 16:17-18)

                      Like

                    • Your request already demonstrates how you will receive all such evidence by the way you ask for contemporaneous accounts and documents attesting to Jesus. You know very well they exist and you insist they do not. In other words you lie.

                      I don’t really care to have another banal argument about the annonmity of the gospels, the were not, or the fact that they were copied from Mark, they were not, or that they were late 1st to 4th century inventions, they were not. You lie, you lie, you lie.

                      And you will lie about the evidence of the enslavement and the emancipation the conquests, and the time In the desert. You already know much of it and you already have your lie prepared. I could add new evidence that shows the biblical chronology places all of those events exactly at the same time it’s Egyptian chronological counterpart places the events, creating an air tight association of Jericho and the conquest with the Amarna letters, and Akhenatens conversion to monotheism with the biblical account of the sun standing still, and which positively associates the Hyksos kings as being Joseph and his descendants rulling in lower Egypt, and that equates the so called Hyksos expulsion with the Exodus, as if it were not already obvious to Amy intelligent observer.

                      But you already have the lie and the pat dismissal prepared in your mind. So why would I bother presenting any of the evidence to you when I know that you will not actually consider any of it, in spite of your fallacious claim that you are an evidence based rational thinker. You will dismiss every shred of evidence out of hand. Because you request for evidence is just a setup for you to do just that.

                      I’ve been dealing with atheists for a little while now. You are about the most intellectually dishonest bunch I have ever encountered, and poor logicians.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      I’ve been dealing with atheists for a little while now.

                      And I can’t help but ask … why do you bother? Seems like you’re using a lot of time and energy that you could be using to “worship your god.” 🙏

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I like the conversation, I just don’t like the lying pretense of “there is no such evidence” when there most certainly is.

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                    • Ron says:

                      It appears to me that you’re the one getting bent all out of shape. All I asked for was empirical evidence to corroborate the biblical accounts. How is that dishonest?

                      You either have the evidence, or you don’t. And if it’s the latter, why take it out on me and others who don’t believe?

                      Like

                    • Don’t think I am calling you a liar. I know you believe those things. To you it seems reasonable. But it is unreasonable to have a stack of clay tablets that speak of the conquest of Jerusalem saying “The Habrui are at the gates they have taken all the cities in the region if the king dosen’t send archers there will be no more cities to the king in the whole land”, and then for you to say there is no evidence of the conquest of Canaan. That signals to me that I am not dealing with a reasonable person.

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                    • Ron says:

                      There’s nothing unreasonable about asking for clay tablets with the 10 Commandments written upon them. If God is powerful enough to have written them with his own hand, then it seems reasonable enough to assume that that same God would be powerful enough to preserve them for posterity. Or is your god incapable of safeguarding things from natural destruction?

                      Like

                    • I can’t say anything about the evidence we don’t have. For all I know the arc and the ten commandments are in some German warehouse, or hidden in a deep Vatican catacomb somewhere, hidden from the public. No idea, but none the less evidence of the biblical account does exist.

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                    • Ron says:

                      On the one hand you say you can’t account for the missing evidence, but on the other you insist that you’re positive it exists. How do you square that circle?

                      Like

                    • By noting that you are putting words in my mouth and misrepresenting what I actually said.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      How am I putting words in your mouth? You wrote:

                      “For all I know the arc and the ten commandments are in some German warehouse, or hidden in a deep Vatican catacomb somewhere, hidden from the public. No idea, but none the less evidence of the biblical account does exist.”

                      You either know or you don’t know. Which is it?

                      Like

                    • Ok, so perhaps there is an ambiguity. The intent is “we don’t know where the arc and tablets are and I can’t speak to that, but there is evidence of other accounts of the bible.”. To say there is no evidence for Exodus, Jericho, conquest, being slaves in Egypt, that is not true. To suggest as some do that the whole bible is a fiction is absurd.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Where is the evidence of the Exodus? Because the archaeologists have combed that desert for over a century and found none. Nor is there any extra-biblical evidence for the Egyptian enslavement. Or the fall of Jericho as described in the Bible (in fact, the archaeological records indicate that the city fell long before the Jews arrived on the scene).

                      If you have documented evidence or artefacts attesting to these things to support the claims within the Bible, then please present it. I’ve been waiting for decades for this stuff, and thus far no one has produced it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      I have read nearly all the comments by the theists who have commented on this particular post. They start hot, claiming they have evidence. Then claim that we will reject the evidence or that the arguments they have presented suffice as evidence or repeat some oft repeated claim by famous apologists and think they have met the demand to provide evidence and then it is the same circles all over again.
                      This last one has decided to call us liars because we have demanded he provide evidence for his claims. What a piece of work.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Ron says:

                      Yes. We seem to be dealing with a perpetual stream of neophytes fresh out of Faith Academy Inc. 🙂

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You are being unreasonable. The clay tablets with god’s own handwriting were destroyed in the last heavy rain. They were not burnt clay so they couldn’t withstand extreme weather

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      I originally asked for the stone tablets, but somewhere along the way it got downgraded to clay tablets. Too bad God didn’t have the foresight to write his commandments in the stars or genetically tattoo them in a prominent location on our bodies.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      Had the stones been preserved we would at least know the handwriting of god. Now we can’t a make decision on this one way or the other

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                    • makagutu says:

                      It is not Ron who said that. You said a state of nothingness cannot exist. And if that is the case, something else besides god has always existed. Unless you want to argue as other apologists do that your god can exist in a spaceless and timeless continuum

                      Like

                    • It does not follow that since a state of nothingness cannot exist then something else besides God must have always existed. I didn’t claim that it was God that always existed in my argument, I only that something non-physical must exist, and non-material realm of existence. I suppose that would be outside of our spacetime since those things are components of the physical universe. I assume that the nonphysical thing that exists is God.

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                    • It may have been someone else’s reply originally, not yours. But still the point was missed.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Tautology.
                      God exists because he exists tells us nothing.
                      You have no proof. In fact, you can’t even tell us what a god is without running into contradiction or incoherence.

                      Like

                    • Assuming God, The conscious creator who willfully caused the universe to come into being, is the only thing that breaks an infinite chain of causality. Otherwise it’s turtles all the way down

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                    • makagutu says:

                      You amaze me with how confident you move between assumptions to facts in the same breath

                      Like

                    • Just how I showed you that something non-material had to.act our universe to put it into that initial state, something had to cause that non-material realm to be, and so on and so on until you assume an eternally existing and conscious creator being, who can be still for some indeterminate amount of time and then arbitrarily decide to bring creation into being. Otherwise you must assume an infinite chain of causes, the universe sits on the back of a turtle sitting on the back of another turtle, sitting on the back of another turtle, and what’s at the bottom, there is no bottom, it’s turtles all the way down. God provides a foundation.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      You didn’t show. If you call what you did a demonstration, then we are wasting time here I should rather watch paint dry.
                      There is no contradiction in an infinite chain of causes.
                      God does not provide a foundation because we can always ask what caused god.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Talking to some I am wasting my time. Their eyes and ears are closed to the truth. And I could present a million flawless arguments and lay a mountain of evidence at their feet and they would not give an inch to their irrational beliefs, even though they pride themselves on their rationality and the fact that they make descisions based on evidence.

                      Some it is wasted on yes, but not all.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Why being pompous? What truth do you think you have? It’s all nonsense all the way. Repeating the same kind of rubbish you have been fed over the ages. Please, give us a break.

                      Like

                    • I didn’t know I was being pompous. What I told you earlier is true, about the universe being flat and the necessity of something outside of the physical universe having created the physical universe, and about the probability of a state of nothingness existing being zero. All of these things are true. A cosmological truth, a thermodynamic truth and a mathematical truth. Possibly, unless there is an error in my reasoning somewhere.

                      You don’t understand it therefore it is rubbish, and I am pompous?

                      If you like I could try to explain it again, but I don’t think you are actually interested in understanding.

                      My limited understanding of cosmology and thermodynamics and mathematics came from an undergraduate degree in Physics followed by several years of graduate work in the same discipline. I am no expert but I am far from being in the dark on the matter. As far as I know my arguments are my own, except the insight about the probability of the non-existent state being zero. That came from a poster on some forum, perhaps this one I am not sure. But that person stated it simply. Since there is only one way for nothing to exist, and and a very large number of ways for something to exists, this pushes the probability of a state of nothing existing to zero.

                      Practically what that means is your vacuum chamber will implode before there is nothing in the chamber, or if you could make a very sturdy chamber, something, some particle would pop into existence before the chamber became devoid of something. It will be creation or catastrophe, but not a vacuum chamber with absolutely nothing in it. I think that’s how it goes. That is the basic idea of quantum field theory if my understanding is correct.

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                    • Nan says:

                      My limited understanding ,,,. ‘Nuf said.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Maybe I’m just being humble.

                      Like

                    • But really the only truth I know is Jesus Christ.

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                    • I imagine the kind of particle that popped into existence would be tuneable by changing the dimensions of the vacuum chamber. That should be an easy equation to solve.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      It is saying god exists because I want it to be so

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      So something has always existed besides god?

                      Like

                    • That isn’t what I said. No thing can exist in a state of nothingness. If it exists then it is somethingness. The state of nothingness does not exist, it cannot exist, except for perhaps the very briefest of moments once at the beginning of eternity. But that is contradicting the concept of eternity you see? Eternity has no beginning. Nothingness is prohibitively improbable. So something always existed, but we know that the material universe did not always exist, it is temporally finite, at least at one end. It had a beginning. The thermodynamic state that it began in would have required something non material to have caused it in that initial state. Non material because the material universe did not yet exists, but something existed, therefore whatever it was was non-physical. We presuppose, that is we believe, that God was the thing that always existed, a non-physical, non material, spiritual, conscious being that caused the material universe to come into being.

                      Like

                    • You can be sure the material universe didn’t always exist. If it had existed for an infinite amount of time, it would have long ago decayed into the lowest possible state. It would be a cold infinite cosmic sea of photons. There is no mechanism in our material universe whereby the universe could revert to that initial state at the big bang. There is no dynamic breathing universe of big bangs and big crunches. It is a one way ride. The universe couldn’t have existed in that initial state for any length of time by thermodynamic laws. It had to be put in that state, created in that state, by something outside of the material universe.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      No, you can’t be sure about that. I know this is William Craig speaking but he nor you have no way of proving that. We do not know whether the universe is an open or a closed system. If you have a way of knowing this, I would be glad to be pointed to it.

                      Like

                    • I don’t know who William Craig is but we do know whether the universe is open or closed. The parameter in question is the energy density of the universe, if the density is less than a certain critical density then the universe is open and it will expand forever, if is greater than the critical density it is closed and it will collapse upon itself. This density can be measured and all measurements indicate the universe is flat. Meaning the universe will expand to a certain point and approach becoming static. It will very nearly stop expanding, but never fall back in on itself. You can look this us on the internet. Just type “is the universe open or closed” maybe throw in “critical density” and you will find it.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You can always use the Google search tool.
                      No, we can’t know that about the universe. We don’t even know the extent of the universe. Oh and by the way, the information we have about the universe is not definite but is only as good as our measuring tools and assumptions. I thought you should know this.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • We most certainly can know this. Cosmologists study this everyday. The universe is flat like a pancake It will not expand forever It will not collapse it on itself this is a fact.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You assume too much. Science is provisional

                      Like

                    • When you need it to be.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Nope. Unless you think so. Scientific results are provisional depending on our assumptions and measurements. That is also why they can be revised or overturned with better results.

                      Like

                    • It will be a monumental discovery that significantly changes the value of the energy density of the universe. I mean, if something suddenly changes enough to significantly alter the value of that measurement then planets are litterally going to fly out of their orbits and crash into their suns all across the universe, we are talking cosmic catastrophe here.

                      Hubble was a pretty smart guy, I wouldn’t argue with him on this.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You really are good at cherry picking. The calculations that led to the now agreed send off was a matter of doubt for well over 60 years and that’s why I said our assumptions change with our measurements. The universe is. Our ideas of the universe change with how well we can measure.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      What would hard empirical evidence for God be? Well, if God is as all-knowing and all-powerful as he is claimed to be, then he should already know what that evidence would be — should he not?

                      The remainder of your comment is mere conjecture because you have no method of determining what is and isn’t possible — let alone the probabilities.

                      Like

                    • Desire is not the same as a necessity. A necessity is something required for your continued ability to live or function. You will die eventually if you do not drink water, but you will not die if you are unable to scratch a lust. The impulse will pass, but the need to drink water will only keep growing until your eyes bleed. One is necessary, the other is a desire. I pity the fool who has the two conflated. I did also at one time.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      That is but one definition (and a rather narrow one at that). Synonyms for necessity include: need, want, desire, urge, obsession, compulsion, needy, etc. — qualities that don’t align with the notion of a perfect (i.e., complete) being.

                      Like

                    • That’s not a very good thesaurus. Wants can be compulsions, but they are not needs. It’s more grey than life or death, but an impulse to buy the latest gadget on release day is not a need just because there is a compulsive component to it and because someone might have been obsessively thinking about it counting down to release day.

                      Your notion of a complete being, not the notion. The things that God creates may very well be the things that he needs to be complete. Maybe his being isn’t perfect. Maybe it is difficult and chaotic and he must arrange things a certain way to achieve order within himself. It just one guess. The point is not to try to guess an answer to what God’s being is because we wouldn’t comprehend it even if we had it, but rather to recognize that fact. Its one thing to wonder and marvel about what God is, it’s another thing to believe that our tiny blip of an existence has given us the perspective to know what God is.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      This I find very interesting. On the one hand, apologists insist that they know what god is, what it wants and all. And here you are saying we don’t have the capacity to know such things. Which is it?

                      Like

                    • I don’t know what apologist say. I suppose to a limited degree we can know what God wants, from us at least, by what God has revealed to us about himself. That is if you accept that he has revealed himself through the Bible. He makes it clear why he does some of the things that he does. When he destroyed the earth it was because mankind was wicked. So it tells you something about his character, he will tolerate all but so much wickedness. He said it was because violence had filled the Earth. That tells us that God does not want us engaging in violence. But you have to be careful because a little while later it says God tells the Hebrews to kill every man woman and child and beast among one of the ITES. So from that do you assume that God is a genocidal monster? It could also be that not everything said about God is God’s word. But it could also be God giving recompense to a violent people according to the works of their own hands. And that is what he reveals about himself in his word. He tells us that is how he does justice, and that he merciful to the repentant.

                      So there are things we can know about what God wants and desires in regards to mankind if we believe he revealed himself. But that does not tell us his motivation for things. It does not tell is what he is. Imagine whatever he is, if he is the creator, the true extent of his reach must be greater than creation. And that by definition is unfathomable. Our knowledge and understanding is limited within creation. We can’t see beyond the event horizon. Maybe God has and event horizon too, who knows, but it is far outside of our ability to comprehend what the nature of those constraints are, and he is not limited to anything within the purview of the creation itself. He sets all of the parameters, the variables, the constants. He can make it whatever he wants it to be.

                      Of course I am just wondering and marveling at Gods existence. I don’t know any of those things, it’s just a very limited attempt to grasp something I can never truly ascertain from my position as a created being within the creation.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Let’s be clear. Language is important. Men have claimed god has revealed herself through the bible. Not god. It is men speaking for and on behalf of god. And to that extent, I don’t accept its claims.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Nan says:

                      The “problems” arise when one considers this statement: That is if you accept that he has revealed himself through the Bible.. There is no evidence to validate that any of the claims in the bible are true and/or accurate. The writings were done by human beings who felt compelled to propagate people and events that they considered were out of the ordinary.

                      In FACT … there is NO authentic and/or documented proof that a supernatural entity exists. The fact that people WANT to believe in a god does not make it so.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • When you say “there no evidence to validate any of the claims of the bible”, that is false. All of the historical claims and some of the supernatural claims have a great deal of evidential support.

                      You are right there is no proof that a supernatural entity exists, there is just a very large body of circumstantial evidence.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      And “circumstantial evidence” is what proves whatever one wants to prove. Yes?

                      Like

                    • But there is direct testimony of having witnessed God, that is not circumstantial. The only question is are the witnesses telling the truth. Would you agree that if someone were to come back to life after being dead three days that this would be evidence of some supernatural entity beyond our knowledge and comprehension? It is circumstantial still, because we don’t know if the ressurection was an entity or a very rare natural phenomenon. But most would probably take it as close enough to infer the existence of God.

                      So we have a testimony that several people rose from the dead. The question is are they telling the truth. How can we know for sure? You tell me.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      I would say in answer to your question … consider the source.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Two questions, who are these who witnessed god?
                      We can dismiss their claims without a second thought that they must have been mistaken or that the reporting is false.

                      Like

                    • You can’t dismiss the claims without a second thought. You, and I mean you makagutu, haven’t ceased giving the claims a second thought since the day you declared that you didn’t believe in God. Your atheist identity is constructed around thinking about God and the bible In particular.

                      In general there are some claims that we cannot establish, but others we can. We can establish that Jesus lived, ministered and performed great wonders, was crucified and rose from the grave. That is not an belief that is a fact. Four testimonies from a dozen or more witnesses say they saw him after he had died, they testify of the miracles, and they agree on the events. I don’t want to get into a debate with you about whether the Bible is eyewitness testimony, or whether they were written decades later, or whether one was copied from the other, or whether they contradict each other, or whether they were anonymous. It is all nonsense, playing dumb, denial of evidence, acting like you are completely incapable of connecting the dots just so you don’t have to recognize the facts that are inconvenient to the beliefs you have adopted about God and the bible, just like how in your mind just a little while ago science suddenly became an inept tool for us understanding the universe. “We can’t possibly know that about them universe”. Because it indicated something to you that was inconvenient to your beliefs. Because an argument was presented that you understood and could not contradict, and it told you scientifically and logically that there must be a non physical realm, and because that was uncomfortable to you your faith in science suddenly took a back seat to your dogma.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You really are presumptuous. You claim to know more than you can know

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      We cannot establish that Jesus lived, nor that he ministered. In fact, these are beliefs not facts.
                      That you don’t want to argue about whether the bible is admissible as eyewitness testimony is well and good with me.

                      Like

                    • You can live it that delusion if you like, as for me I’ll believe the evidence.

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      There. Is. No. Evidence.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • You. Lie. To Yourself

                      Like

                    • But perhaps even moreso because it told you that nothingness does not exist, and you have hung all of your expectations about life and it’s end on that highly improbable outcome.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Like which ones? Would you care to list

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Not a good thesaurus? Well, both my dictionary and my thesaurus are print versions published by Merriam-Webster; so until you can demonstrate that they are not, I will continue to accept them as authoritative sources. Furthermore, the main argument here is that a perfect being would possess neither needs or desires.

                      Nor is God’s perfection my unique notion of the Abrahamic god — rather, it has been the conception of God presented by religious apologists and theologians throughout the ages. When Jesus tells his disciples to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” he is referring to a being that has already achieved that stage, not one still in the process of moving towards it.

                      Like

                    • I have no idea what a perfect being might require. I don’t dwell much on God’s perfection because I don’t know what it means. If it means lacking needs and desires then I would think that God is not perfect. He would obviously possess some inner drive to make all of this. He seems to have some desire to make reality different than it was before he created it. If we are made in his image, them our emotions and needs a drives are taken from a template his own. Creation is often born from desire and need, sometimes its an unintentional by product of fufilling those desires and needs. But all of this is human language and experience trying to describe what we can’t conceive or understand.

                      When he tells the disciples to be perfect he is referring to a perfection of thought and action, controlling desires, remembering the commandments, being disciplined. The disciples are human beings, they aren’t just going to all of a sudden be without needs or desires, so that cannot possibly be what Jesus meant when he said to be perfect. So then God’s, the Fathers, perfection must mean something different that having no needs or desires.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      As I already explained to Dr. Samuel Inbaraja above, by definition, perfect means complete (i.e., without fault, without defect or blemish, as it gets and lacking in nothing). So by extension, a “perfect” being would have no needs or desires.

                      Furthermore, this isn’t just my special take on the matter. Here is the definition of “perfection” taken straight from the Catholic encyclopedia:

                      “A thing is perfect in which nothing is wanting of its nature, purpose, or end.”

                      https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11665b.htm

                      . . . and its description of God’s nature:

                      “The best way in which we can describe the Divine nature is to say that it is infinitely perfect, or that God is the infinitely perfect Being.”

                      http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06612a.htm

                      So based on the above, it becomes a logical contradiction to argue for a perfect being that desires things.

                      Like

                    • If that is how you want to define it then I guess by your definition I do not believe that God is perfect. If he had no needs or desires he wouldn’t have decided create, but he did create, therefore he is not perfect by your definition. I’m ok with that.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      It’s not how I want to define: it’s just how it is defined. But I have no objection if you don’t subscribe to that particular belief about God.

                      Like

                    • That is how you define it. You define it the way they define it. If you define it some other way then you tell me what you think perfection is and let me have a conversation with you instead of a conversation with Webster.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Yes, I use the same definition used by everyone else because it keeps everyone on the same page; that’s kind of the point in having a dictionary.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You even know the mind of your supposed god!

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Theists make up some of these things as they go along.

                      Like

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      There are no perfect jobs or houses. Those are relative terms. When it comes to God he is absolutely good and perfect. So he cannot be wrong.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      The point is not whether such things exist. It is that someone who claims to have found the perfect mate, job, house, etc. would have no motivation to seek out another. Likewise, a perfect being would have no motivation to alter its state of being.

                      The theist proposes that God existed for eons in perfect harmony with himself and then decided to create a universe. That means God acted upon some want or desire, which betrays any claims of God being in a state of perfect stasis.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      That is a wrong understanding. Gid is outside time. He is not waiting for eons. You are totally wrong. Strawman fallacy.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      Alright, God exists outside time (according to the Christian apologist). But the point remains: if God existed in a state of perfection before the universe began there would have been no motivation to alter that state or create anything.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      I would like to know how to exist out of time looks like

                      Like

                    • Nan says:

                      Dr.(???) Sundar:

                      You write … Your ignorance is deep but typical of arrogant self opinionated person.

                      Interesting … you make a rude comment like this and then end with “All the best!” ???

                      A fine display of hypocrisy.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • makagutu says:

                      I think he is a doctor of theology which means he studies a subject with no testable results nor subject matter.
                      I find it interesting he considers his rambling or quote mining arguments while the rest of us are only sharing opinions

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

                      You can have your opinions.

                      Like

                    • Ron says:

                      “Dr.(???) Sundar:”

                      https://samzlogic.wordpress.com

                      And I think “All the best!” might be a rewording of the expression “Bless your heart!”

                      Like

          • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

            There are only three links. If you read you will understand the crime of cannanite and the just punishment.
            So do you even have a moral foundation to decide between right and wrong?

            Like

          • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

            “You thought”? How does it matter? That is your imagination. Reality need not conform to your imagination.

            Like

      • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

        “God also is a just God (Deuteronomy 32:4) and would not displace a nation simply to give another nation the land. The Lord eventually allowed the Israelites to conquer the Amorites who had grown exceedingly wicked. The mythological literature of cannon that was discovered describes their gods as blood-thirsty, deceptive, and immoral beyond imagination. And the inhabitants also were so evil that they sacrificed their children to their gods, worshiped serpents, and practiced immoral rituals in their temples. Their sanctuaries housed professional prostitutes of both sexes.

        The Lord said, “For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.”
        https://bibleask.org/god-wait-400-years-give-israelites-land-canaan/

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          We killed them because they were dirty.
          That’s your justificstion for a land grab. You really need help.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

            You need help if you think everyone who disagrees with you needs help. You are deluded. Gid will give his earth to whomever he wants. He owns it. We bring nothing onto the world and we will take nothing out of it. You have no moral fpundations to critique others.

            Like

      • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

        “Many people seem to react emotionally, without engaging with the detail of your arguments and without providing their own moral foundations on which their outrage can stand.”
        https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-slaughter-of-the-canaanites-re-visited what is your foundation for morality? Why do you think what you think is right or wrong applies to everyone or anyone i.e even you?

        Like

  10. Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

    Atheism turns out to be too simple
    My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak,funny-photo-man-falling-rain why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.

    Quotes from Mere Christianity, Part 15
    C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 38-39.

    Like

    • O People of the Scripture. do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
      — Quran 4 (An-Nisa), ayat 171[4]

      Like

      • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

        From fake scripture and false prophet

        Like

        • And they say, “The Most Merciful has taken [for Himself] a son.” You have done an atrocious thing. The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation that they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.
          — Quran 19 (Maryam (sura)), ayat 88-93[7

          Like

        • Quran (5:51): “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.”

          Like

          • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

            https://youtu.be/MgZixwxZXxQ imperfections of the Koran

            Like

            • Quran (5:51): “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.”

              Like

            • And they say, “The Most Merciful has taken [for Himself] a son.” You have done an atrocious thing. The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation that they attribute to the Most Merciful a son. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.
              — Quran 19 (Maryam (sura)), ayat 88-93[7]

              Like

            • makagutu says:

              Isn’t this a funny exercise.

              Like

    • makagutu says:

      The old Lewis canard repeated over again by those who are unable to think

      Like

      • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

        You don’t even know how to think. Your opinions will not pass the tests for truth. You probably have not heard about them. Thinking for yourself assumes your mind is designed for thinking and points to a designer. If your mind is a product of chance then it is not designed for thinking and truth but for survival. So you cannot use your mind for purposes of truth finding but only for survival. Your mind cannot help you. Your own thinking is no argument for truth, neither is it true that you can know the truth from a mind evolved from monkeys. This is called “Darwin’s doubt”.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          I know this is an ad hom, but what is your PhD in really? You are so invested in religion am not sure you can do any independent research well. How does an un-designed mind look like?

          Like

      • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

        But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?
        [To William Graham 3 July 1881]

        Charles Darwin

        Like

      • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

        You have no argument against Lewis because that is a strong argument because of which Lewis abandoned atheism. But you you seem to lack the ability to think rightly and consider your own imaginations and views as thinking.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          Ah, that is the reason Lewis abandoned atheism? That he couldn’t trust his mind. What a waste!

          Like

          • Dr. Samuel Inbaraja Sundar says:

            It is logical. What you wrote is trash!

            Like

            • And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen. I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness. If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
              — Quran 5 (Al-Ma’ida), ayat 116-118[6]

              Like

  11. Nan says:

    Mak — do you realize how very, very fortunate you are to have written this post? Just look at the “outstanding” responses you have received from a certain “doctor” who, obviously knows so MUCH more about religion than your average readers. I’m sooo in awe. 😮

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I have been in awe of this post for a long time now. First there was a fellow whose intent was to show Ron and I that we have been reading the NT wrong and that there are actually 4 or is it 11 witnesses to the resurrection. We were told if 2 witnesses agree under interrogation, their testimony is true but were not shown where the anonymous authors of the gospels were interrogated.
      Now we have the good doctor. He will soon tire and another apologist will take his place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quran (5:51): “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.”

        Like

  12. Arnold says:

    I believe God is sovereign–he orders ALL things. And so Deuteronomy credits the genocides to God. I can’t KNOW this is true–I can only BELIEVE, or not believe it’s true. This is why we blog.

    Same with Jesus Christ–his story is known worldwide, yet I can’t know it’s true. There are documents for me to peruse, and choose to believe, or not.

    I happen to believe BOTH testaments are true for the telling, but I won’t defend them by argument. My only defense is telling them (per Holocaust). You decide. Time fades history.

    Like

  13. Nan says:

    Rather than add to the VERY long thread, I’m going to add my remarks here …

    Mak, your observation after reading all the theist comments was spot-on! And yet … and yet! … they persist, confident that the constant and ongoing gibberish will SURELY convince the non-believer. (Surprise!)

    Liked by 1 person

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