Were the Gospels eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus?

May 16, 2007 at 7:51 am 109 comments

Jesus at the ResurrectionInspired by Nightline’s recent Christian-Atheist debate, we’ve been discussing the historicity of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. To further the discussion, I would like to post a comment by Michael Turton (DagoodS) from a previous blog:

Quotation Marks 1Any good introductory text will tell you that not only were the gospels not written by eyewitnesses, but they contain much that is fiction, and separating the cream from the dross is a difficult and demanding task.

A good place to start is with Udo Schnelle’s The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings. Schelle, a conservative Christian and scholar of the first rank, notes that none of the Gospel writers could have been followers of Jesus (see his discussion of the authorship of the Gospel writers in each of the chapters on the particularly texts).

Bart Ehrman sums the situation up in his widely-used intro work The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings: “…They were written thirty-five to sixty-five years after Jesus’ death by authors who did not know him, authors living in different countries who were writing at different times to different communities with different problems and concerns.”

Luke himself clearly states that he was no follower of Jesus. Nor could Matthew have been a follower of Jesus, for he depends almost entirely on Mark for the skeleton of his story. And Mark could not have been a follower of Jesus because the narrative portions of his story are made up almost entirely out of the Old Testament, while the sayings appear to be common to the Hellenistic milieu.

For example, read Mark 11:1-11, then go back to 1 Sam 9 and 1 Sam 10, and you’ll see how Mark parallels the story. Similarly, Mark created the story of the arrest in Gethsemane from 2 Sam 15-17,20. Much of the narrative of Mark is taken from 1 and 2 Kings, while Jesus trial and crucifixion and empty tomb appear to be based on Daniel 6. Ted Weeden, the ranking Mark scholar, has also identified Josephus as a source for Mark, showing that Jesus appears to be sourced from Jesus Ben Ananus, who appears in Wars, Book 6.

In other words, Mark’s work is fiction, and Matt and Luke are based on fiction. If Mark had any eyewitness accounts, he chose either to overwrite them, or ignore them in constructing his story.

For further study on the gospels, a good place to start is Peter Kirby’s www.earlychristianwritings.com. Another good site is Mark Goodacre’s NT Gateway.

Quotation Mark 2I do not know off hand of any atheist historian or NT scholar who accepts the Gospels as eyewitness accounts, and there are several scholars who appear to believe that Jesus was not a historical figure (Earl Doherty, G Wells, Burton Mack).

- Michael Turton

Be sure to check out Michael’s Commentary on the Gospel of Mark.

- The de-Convert

Entry filed under: The de-Convert. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Is Jesus mentioned in the Talmud? My thoughts on Brian Flemming’s The God Who Wasn’t There

109 Comments Add your own

  • 1. weliftthemup  |  May 16, 2007 at 12:05 am

    OR the Catholic belief of Topography is true and the Old Testament predicts the New and the New Fullfills the Old, and the truly inspired writings mesh because God is as all knowing as we believe. I trust that it would have been almost impossible for the Gospel writers to ‘make up’ a story as grand as the 4 gospels to fullfill the Old Testament so well. We are talking about 2000 years ago, it was not as easy to ‘google’ in those days to create a work of fiction such as the ones you mention above. Peace be with you.

  • 2. Justin  |  May 16, 2007 at 12:13 am

    I like your big quotation marks! haha :)

  • 3. LaShawn  |  May 16, 2007 at 1:47 am

    Justin, I have colored ones when I quote the ladies

    That made me chuckle!

  • 4. Mike C  |  May 16, 2007 at 1:48 am

    I do not know off hand of any atheist historian or NT scholar who accepts the Gospels as eyewitness accounts.

    Well then let me introduce you to one. N.T. Wright is a pre-eminent historian and New Testament scholar who doesn’t fit easily into either conservative or liberal academic camps when it comes to historical Jesus studies – and yet he has argued well against many of the speculative theories you mention above.
    You can find many of his articles online here.

  • 5. HeIsSailing  |  May 16, 2007 at 7:19 am

    weliftthemup sez:
    “We are talking about 2000 years ago, it was not as easy to ‘google’ in those days to create a work of fiction such as the ones you mention above. ”

    That’s true, but the ancients were no dummies either. Many of the scenes in Mark, especially the miracle stories, have Greek passages that are verbatim from the Septuagint passages concerning Elijah and Elisha. If this were today’s world, that would be called plagiarism. But copyright laws did not exist in the ancient world, and this sort of lifting and borrowing was quite common in the ancient world.

    If the Gospel writers were based on eyewitness accounts, then ask yourself who was the eyewitness to the scene in the Garden of Gethsemene when Jesus was praying while his disciples (eyewitnesses) snoozed away?

    *************************
    MIke C, thanks for the link. I have heard of NT Wright, but am not familiar with his research. I look forward to checking him out.

  • 6. Brendan  |  May 16, 2007 at 7:32 am

    An even more fundamental question than whether they were eyewitness accounts is whether there was anything to literally eyewitness. If the story began as metaphorical fiction to begin with, then it’s silly to take the jump to consider who was and was not an eyewitness.

  • 7. Michael Turton  |  May 16, 2007 at 7:33 am

    I trust that it would have been almost impossible for the Gospel writers to ‘make up’ a story as grand as the 4 gospels to fullfill the Old Testament so well.

    On the contrary, the Gospel writers clearly made up stories from the OT. Matthew’s well known error based on Zech 9:9 is a good example. In Mark Jesus correctly rides one animal into Jerusalem. But Matthew misread the original OT:

    Zech 9:9 states:
    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

    ….To think that the writer meant two animals. So Matthew wrote

    Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
    And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
    And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

    Similarly, the Gethsemane Scene is based partly on the scene where Elijah was fleeing Jezebel. But Mark omitted the angel when he crafted the account; Luke, knowing the source, put it back in.

    The authors also frequently tell their readers where they derived their tales.

    In addition to the OT, two other sources lie behind the Gospels. One are Greek and Roman religious traditions, the other, Hellenistic historical fictions. In the latter, empty tombs, deaths, resurrections, travel narratives, miraculous escapes, and so forth, are commonplaces. All of the events of the Gospels can be sourced in either the conventions of Greek fiction or the Old Testament. A good source for the Greek fictions is Hock’s edited volume on Ancient Fiction and Early Christian Narrative, but I also recommended Stephens and Winkler’s collection of the Greek novels.

    Well then let me introduce you to one. N.T. Wright is a pre-eminent historian and New Testament scholar who doesn’t fit easily into either conservative or liberal academic camps when it comes to historical Jesus studies – and yet he has argued well against many of the speculative theories you mention above.

    You must be joking. NT Wright is a well known religious conservative who believes the gospels are eyewitness accounts and Jesus was actually resurrected. He fits easily into the conservative camp; he’s one its biggest champions! As for my claims being “speculative” I suggest you pick up any mainstream NT text, not a far-right conservative like NT Wright, whose works are methodologically impoverished. In the extreme.

  • 8. Jeff  |  May 16, 2007 at 9:52 am

    NT Wright is a controversial figure in the field of apologetics and there’s a reason why. He’s a nutball. A Xian I was debating told me to listen to a 90-minute podcast by him which I did. He made gobs of assumptions based on no evidence or logic, he outright lied numerous times, and horribly misrepresented so many things I couldn’t count them all. But that was only when he made sense. Most of the time he rambled on and on with no point. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever listened to. NT Wright is as good as a source on the Bible as listening to a rock is.

  • 9. weliftthemup  |  May 16, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    The assumptions of Faith are that the Gospels are written as inspired writtings about the life of Christ from about the time of his ministry. We as Christians choose to belive that the inspired writings are truly inspired. Athiest assume that God does not exist, so there could be no inspiration given to the writers from a higher source. I see stricking resemblence in the writings from both the OT and the NT and have the faith that it is indeed inspired and divine. I have no doubt at all that the reason Christianity has survived for nearly 2000 years is because of the divinity of God. There have been many excellent work of fictions in the history of man, none of which inspired followings as did the death and resurection of Christ. Why? Because they were fiction. It accures to me that athiest must assume that Christians are ignorant people to have fallen under the ‘spell’ of a book that took nearly 2000 years to write. I assure you that you are incorrect in this assumption. The study of sacred scripture with the guidance of the Holy Spirit leads to true understanding. The study of sacred scripture with the guidance of Satin leads to the beliefs of athiest. I am sure that line will raise a few eyebrows as it were, but remember that from the Christian point of view, which is the only point of view I care to have, there is only two truths, good and evil. Christ or satin. Peace be with you.

  • 10. Pedro Timóteo  |  May 16, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    but remember that from the Christian point of view, which is the only point of view I care to have, there is only two truths, good and evil. Christ or satin.

    Satin sounds nice… :)

  • 11. Kim  |  May 16, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Weliftthemup sez:

    “There have been many excellent work of fictions in the history of man, none of which inspired followings as did the death and resurection of Christ. Why? Because they were fiction”

    Oh Really? What about Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Zorastorism? Are not also the followers of these religions inspired by their respective holy books in huge numbers? The followers of these religions far outnumber Christianity currently as well as in the past. It is the height of Christian arrogance to think that because their holy book inspired millions of people that it must be true. Since it is possible for billions of people to be inspired by works of fiction, it equally possible that Christians also belive a work of fiction.

    Weliftthemup sez:

    “but remember that from the Christian point of view, which is the only point of view I care to have, there is only two truths, good and evil. Christ or satin.”

    Why are you even here then? It is obvious you have your head in the sand as you will even consider anything anyone says here.

  • 12. Hearty Heretic  |  May 16, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Thomas Jefferson said that it was relatively easy to abstract “what is really his [Jesus'] from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separate from that as the diamond from the dung hill.” Stephen Mitchell does an excellent job of detailing the process in the introduction to his “Gospel According to Jesus.”

  • 13. Karen  |  May 16, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Satin sounds nice… :)

    Hee, hee! The religion of Satin, where we all worship luxurious bedsheets and underclothes at the Secret Church of Victoria. ;-)

  • 14. Justin  |  May 16, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    but remember that from the Christian point of view, which is the only point of view I care to have, there is only two truths, good and evil. Christ or satin.”

    As a Christian, this response is disappointing at the end of weliftthemup’s post.
    on a side note, the fact that the gospels aren’t eyewitnesses aren’t troubling. It is apparent that there is something more than the men who penned these books.
    The Bible was written in three different continents over a span of 1500 years and in three different languages, yet it remains consistent in its ambiguities, paradoxes and ironies. It may have been penned by over forty men, but it is evident to me that it was designed and directed by one author, by one mind. To create such a book, with no higher direction to maintain these common threads and produce the effect, would be the equivalent of creating the stereogram by accident. Yeah, not possible.
    Anyway, I have to go roll my windows up, it’s starting to rain! YIKES!

  • 15. Heather  |  May 16, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Justin,

    **As a Christian, this response is disappointing at the end of weliftthemup’s post.** Thank you for saying that. I’m glad that your viewpoint isn’t ‘black and white.’ (In some areas, I’m sure it is, as it is for everyone. But at least you’re not putting all of humanity in black or white categories).

  • 16. societyvs  |  May 16, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    “Many of the scenes in Mark, especially the miracle stories, have Greek passages that are verbatim from the Septuagint passages concerning Elijah and Elisha” (HIS)

    I would ask something quite simple – how easy was it to get a copy of that Septuagint to copy from? And when was this done?

    “And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.” (Micheal)

    Can’t this as easily be attributed to scribal mistake – to borrow from Ehrman an idea. Possibly the (and ‘ ‘kai’) was added in by a scribe – then the tenses to make it look right? Its funny cause there is 2 horses there – and yet Jesus only goes on one (unless he had a leg on both of them). I also just re-read Zech 9:9 (it could be that both were asked for?) “and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” MIs-reading or not – that’s a tricky one.

    I guess I have little problem with believing the stories were written with some literary techniques but relating a story that happened.

  • 17. HeIsSailing  |  May 17, 2007 at 6:02 am

    “I would ask something quite simple – how easy was it to get a copy of that Septuagint to copy from? And when was this done? ”

    Hi Society. I had an early commentator on my site who claimed the same thing and had a link to an artcle he wrote on this topic. It compared the stories of Jesus and Elijah healing a blind girl (I think it was that miracle if memory serves) – and he had photo copied the Greek passages of both stories into his article to show that there were portions that were in fact identical.

    I wanted to site that article here, but wouldn’t you know it, that article is now gone and the link is dead.

    Sheeesh, now I feel like the guy who saw Bigfoot, but the film in my camera was overexposed, and the rain washed the tracks away. “But I saw him! I really did!”

  • 18. Brendan  |  May 17, 2007 at 7:59 am

    HIS:I wanted to site that article here, but wouldn’t you know it, that article is now gone and the link is dead.

    You can find several such examples here:

    http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/mirc1.htm

  • 19. societyvs  |  May 17, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    I figure even if the disciples did that (or as some would say – later people did that) it only proves the people matched Jesus to various people of the Tanakh. Some words are similar – again this is greek comapred with greek – I am guessing they would have to be (being the same language and all). But this happens so often in any language that it proves coincidence more than fact (for the theory).

    Even if it was ‘paraphrasing’ from older texts (which I have some doubts about since I am not sure how readily avaialble the Septuagint was in Christian circles – there seems to be little proof for this idea). In english if I am re-itterating a story about a certian person like King Jr. for example – it is more than likely a few of my sentences will match up with another’s. That being said, maybe the writer’s (or later writers) are doing what we now call ‘quoting’ for comparison reasons.

    For me the most plausible thing is the disciples wrote and knew the stories from the synangogue – and likely remebered them (having no copies readily available in their home). Then when they wrote about Jesus (or maybe even Jesus himself made these comparisons) they wrote of the Tanakh characters and Jesus – and it’s no wonder some texts match up so excellently (both being greek versions of the passage). MInd you from the examples in that link – only some words match up – not whole stringing patterns.

    As for the stories matching up with Elisha and Elijah and other facets of the Tanakh – does it mean Jesus never did what he is claimed of doing? The stories are similar but they are slightly different also – even people of Jesus’ day (according to the gospels) compare him with Elijah and ‘the prophet’ (ie: Moses). One might not have to wonder why if these examples happened and were seen. Which seems to be half the point the disciples are making with the writings. I am not saying the similarities aren’t there – I think they are – but they also have Jesus as someone in the newer version as a point – that maybe a Jewish viewer might more readily understand than us. (possibly proving jewish writers and not greeks – except for Luke).

  • 20. GW staff  |  May 17, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    There appears to be much evidence that the gospels were written by the suggested authors. Having looked through references for 35 years and doing my own collating of time scales, personages and historical proofs…..I really do not have the time or the patience or the inclination to begin doubting Gods word at this stage.

    At every turn of the page, some naysayer will postulate a theory, throw it into the ring and watch doubt and insecurity spread like wild fire.

    The Bible IS his word…and Im sure what he wanted told is in there. The more study I do, the more ratification of the scriptures I find.

    That said, have a pleasant evening..
    G

  • 21. Mike C  |  May 22, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    You must be joking. NT Wright is a well known religious conservative who believes the gospels are eyewitness accounts and Jesus was actually resurrected. He fits easily into the conservative camp; he’s one its biggest champions! As for my claims being “speculative” I suggest you pick up any mainstream NT text, not a far-right conservative like NT Wright, whose works are methodologically impoverished. In the extreme.

    Interesting… you claim not to know of any NT scholars who believe in the historicity of the gospels, and yet when I mention one, you say that he is not credible precisely because he believes in the historicity of the gospels. Seems rather circular to me.

    Your only argument against him seems to be that he is “conservative” (3 times in one paragraph?!) and yet I don’t see how slapping a label on someone says anything about whether or not their scholarship is valid or their views are correct. I could just as easily label (and thereby dismiss?) your views as “liberal” – but I don’t see what that has to do with the actual arguments or issues at hand.

  • 22. The Myth of God’s Unconditional Love « de-conversion  |  December 25, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    [...] as to whether this event actually ever took place, we cannot deny the impact this story, related a few decades later in the gospels, has had on the world. This “good news” did not bring the promised peace on earth but [...]

  • 23. anarchy  |  March 24, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    “as to whether this event actually ever took place, we cannot deny the impact this story, related a few decades later in the gospels, has had on the world. This “good news” did not bring the promised peace on earth but”

    I think that if you say that the Bible, Christianity, or Jesus’ precepts that he preached is the cause for the holy wars and deaths of many people is similar to the ill someone does if they were to say technology is responsible for the deaths of armies and innocent people because of advancements like machine guns, high level explosives, and such – its just the wrong way of putting it. Specifically Christ said that no man should resist an evil person.

    It’s the interpretation it goes through when taken into military and politics – Christianity is a not a call to raise up violently and, sadly, whether youre an atheist or a believer, im sure we all do agree it has had an extreme cost on all of humanity.

  • 24. Mirjam  |  May 9, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Mike C,
    He said he didn’t know of any atheist historian or NT scholar. The adjective “atheist”, of course, refers to both historian & NT scholar. There’s nothing circular about it, because the author you mentioned is definitely not an atheist.

  • 25. Loyd  |  August 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Turton hasn’t been doing his research. He presents his ideas as if they are the only ‘scholarly’ ones out there. Ironically, this is not good scholarship. Dig a little deeper, instead of just presenting your own opinion and then finding those scholars who agree with it. The dross isn’t in the New Testament, it’s in this article.

  • 26. Joe  |  August 19, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Similarly, Mark created the story of the arrest in Gethsemane from 2 Sam 15-17,20. (from article above)

    I read 2 Samuel 15:17-20 and really do not see the correlation, accept for mentioning the Mount of Olives. This appears to be quite a stretch actually. It could be possible I guess—but I’ll be honest I don’t buy it. :)

  • 27. someone surfing through  |  October 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I’ve checked out all your references and I can honestly say that I think you’re smoking crack. I guess this is a webpage to make you feel better about your right to smoke it … huh? What else do you do wrong in your spare time that you feel the need to justify yourself?

  • 28. Mystery Porcupine  |  October 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    See that is the kind of comment (27) that should be immediately “unapproved” by a moderator. Do we need more comment moderators on this site? I will volunteer.

  • 29. Roy  |  October 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I agree, Porcupine.

  • 30. Quester  |  October 11, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Mystery P,

    There usually isn’t any comment moderation on this site. Not that I’ve noticed anyway. And I’m glad for it, for several reasons.

    1) You can’t learn anything if you shut people up just because they disagree. If you find people that have nothing to teach, like George or now Mel, just don’t read anything they type. It’s not hard. I have my personal list of people I don’t read or respond to. It just takes a bit of willpower to keep from feeding the trolls.

    2) When I first came on this site, I was still a Christian, and a practicing pastor. Arguments with the Christians who came on this site helped confirm for me that Chrisitianity has no logic, reason or evidence behind it. I needed to go through that step to admit to myself that I no longer believed.

    3) Sites like this survive or die by the presence of people commenting. Take some time to go through the archives and count the number of responses to articles where everyone agrees or stays on topic. There are a few. Now, compare those to the articles where some evangelist came by to blather ignorance. Maybe a statician will crunch the numbers and show me where I’m wrong, but for the past year I’ve been working under the impression that theistic morons have been keeping this site alive for the rest of us. They post easily-ignored stupidity, post-counts go up, links to the articles appear in Most Recent Posts and Today’s Most Read Posts, and older articles are suddenly linked on the front page where casual readers can get a chance to be exposed to them.

    I don’t think we need more comment moderators on this site. I won’t leave if they appear- this is not a ditch I’m prepared to die in, but I think this site benefits more than it loses from the insistent presence of stupid people.

  • 31. Roy  |  October 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I understand your position, Quester, but this “someone surfing through” just states his disagreement without explaining why and then launches into ad hominem attack mode. That adds *nothing* to the discussion.

  • 32. Mystery Porcupine  |  October 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Okay, I think I have misunderstood the purpose of the blog. I was looking for a place to hash things out with deconverts. There seem to be plenty of things to hash out and discover without all of these long drawn-out Biblical discussion, not to mention flames. One doesn’t know which people to ignore unless one actually reads a post and allows more junk into one’s brain.

    It’s all about what people are looking for, I guess. I’ll move along and leave you guys to it.

  • 33. Roy  |  October 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Porcupine, are you saying you are leaving the site completely or just not engaging in the long drawn out Biblical discussions? I, for one, would like for you to hang around.

  • 34. Mystery Porcupine  |  October 11, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Roy, thanks. :) The only forums and blogs I participate in are moderated. This ensures that I don’t use valuable time wading through flames and irrelevant posts. I was so excited to find this site. I mistakenly assumed that the posts that were full of preaching were the exception, not the rule. I assumed that these type of comments would normally be moderated out of discussion. But this community has been around for a while, and that’s not how they do things.

    I arrived here because I searched for the words “former Christians.” That tells you everything. I didn’t come here to read what Christians have to say about anything and everything they think is important. I came here to connect with deconverts. Instead it seems that I am mostly reading Christian comments and then watching decons argue with them. It’s a constant feud, and I was looking for something else. It’s not my kind of playground, and that’s okay. :-)

    I could try to “read around” all of the Bible stuff to get to the deconvert comments, but when I do, all of the decons are responding to the Christians, so the discussion doesn’t make much sense? Ahh, whatever. I will probably follow the main blog posts and type a comment when it is applicable without reading through the comment wars.

  • 35. Roy  |  October 11, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Whatever will be will be, Porcupine. I’m getting tired of the preaching too. Especially George’s. I admit culpability for letting him bait me into responding. I intend to cease taking the bait. As I hope I’ve made clear, I do not believe in the supernatural so I am not a theist. That said, I do believe that the teachings of Jesus are of great value in living a better life in the here and now, but I understand that the teachings of other religions may be as well. I will say this with regard to George’s preaching. *If* (and it’s a *big* if) George is correct, I can and do accept that, so I’m *safe*, even if in my heart of hearts I think he’s wrong. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, because I have long since moved past such concerns. I hope that makes sense to fellow de-converts and to George alike.

  • 36. Quester  |  October 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Mystery Porcupine,

    Have you tried the community linked to in the Today’s Featured Link up in the top right hand corner of the site? I don’t go there often, but it seems to be more of what you’re looking for.

    I’m quite happy when former Christians discuss common concerns with each other in these forums, but when everyone agrees with each other, what is there to say?

    *grin* Perhaps if I spent more time on the community site, I’d find out!

  • 37. Roy  |  October 11, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    You know what folks. I personally feel plenty of hostility from Christians *and* atheists on this site. Read the following carefully:

    I am an *individual*. I do not feel the least bit of loyalty to anybody regardless of their belief or lack thereof. Some want few comments with more content. Some want few comments with little little content.

    How’s this:

    No comments with no content. As far as I can tell, with a few exceptions, *all* of you are insane. I’m starting to realize that all of this debate, discussion, or whatever you wish to call it is a colossal wast of time. I will watch from the sideline for a while. If anybody has a question for me, I will answer. If anybody has a comment about me, I will ignore it.

    Is that enough content for this comment?

  • 38. Quester  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Roy,

    I apologize if I’ve come across as hostile. If I actually thought you had nothing to offer, I’d have not bothered with any attempts at helpful criticism. I also apologize for being unclear. I’m glad to hear you’re stepping away from the argument(s) you’ve been having with George.

  • 39. Roy  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Addendum to my previous comment:

    If there is a comment directed toward me that I think needs a response from me, then I will respond.

    Quester,

    You have not come across as hostile so no apology is necessary about that. You are actually one of the aforementioned exceptions.

  • 40. LeoPardus  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    FWIW, I think that for the most part the current level of non-moderation is pretty good. When we get someone who is particularly trollish, there should be some sort of consensus perhaps about getting him banned or at least having his posts put in a moderator queue.

    People come here in all stages of belief of unbelief and I think a very wide range of views is helpful. I really think that if we cut off the theistic morons, we’d alienate some folks in the “borderlands”.

  • 41. Joshua  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I’m quite happy when former Christians discuss common concerns with each other in these forums, but when everyone agrees with each other, what is there to say?

    I, for one, have found that ‘debating’ with Christians on this site has been really helpful. One of the most popular articles on the entire blog was written explaining how the Christian commenters on this site help solidify everyone’s experience of leaving the faith.

    On the one hand, we could moderate all of them out. On the other, I think a lot of ex-Christians have so many Christian friends and family that they need an opportunity to practice expressing the reasons they left to die-hards, especially when so many Christians are intent on ‘drilling’ de-converts with the ‘truth’. The practice of debating – as long as it does not turn into flame wars – is good.

    For myself, discussing / debating with Christians on this site helped me go through a necessary stage where I had to realize that being a Christians is not about being rational – in the least! Somehow, initially when I left Christianity I had this mistaken notion that I could reasonably talk to other Christians and they would see things from my perspective. Talking with dozens of them on this site – in depth! – has helped me not only to solidify the understanding in my mind that none of them has anything remotely resembling a Holy Spirit but also to practice my rhetoric – a very important skill to have when your entire family and hundreds of friends are all die-hard fundamentalist Christians, most from the Bible belt.

    I guess I’m saying all of this to just point out that I actually sorta like the debates… to an extent. George is overboard, for sure. He doesn’t listen to what is actually being said by anyone but himself. He just reacts to what people say and retorts with “but the Bible says…” Sadly, that attitude is found in most of my family, so learning to be patient with people like George is, well, a part of de-conversion. At least I think so.

    Does that make sense?

  • 42. Mystery Porcupine  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Hey Roy, I’ve enjoyed our exchanges and those I’ve had with several folks here. I didn’t meant to be discouraging. I just need space from all of the Bible quoting and condemnation – none of that really came from you. :)

    Quester, you asked, “when everyone agrees with each other, what is there to say?” That is a really funny question to me. I have a lot of meaningful dialogue daily with people who share common views. I am sure there are plenty of things that you could share that I don’t know yet, plenty of things that would be interesting to discuss, plenty of questions to ask. I can’t imagine that most de-converts have the same exact opinions about a lot of things. Philosophy, politics, relationships and ethics are all potentially affected by deconversion yet differ greatly from one person to the next. How does lack of faith in a personal God work out in life? There are so many things to consider. Those are the kinds of things that I enjoy discussing, not debates about whether prophesy will save my soul or not. ;)

  • 43. Joshua  |  October 11, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    See that is the kind of comment (27) that should be immediately “unapproved” by a moderator. Do we need more comment moderators on this site? I will volunteer.

    I like comments like that, personally. Every time I see one the immediate thought goes through my head “this person cannot have the Holy Spirit” and it makes me feel more confident in my de-conversion.

    If you want a community place to discuss things where that will not happen, see http://www.de-conversion.org. That is forum where basically only de-converts post.

  • 44. George  |  October 11, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Roy,

    I apologize if I’ve come across as hostile. If I actually thought you had nothing to offer, I’d have not bothered with any attempts at helpful criticism. I also apologize for being unclear. I’m glad to hear you’re stepping away from the argument(s) you’ve been having with George.

    Well, if you just was to discuss your de conversion status, all the reasons why you have figured out there is no god, go ahead. What does that do for you.

    I have never, to date, seen any reason in any post, including LEO, that would make me want to take a look at changing my mind regarding the person of Jesus Christ.

    Quester, I do not know what church you were the pastor of, do you mind sharing? And how did your flock handle your departure? Did you share your thoughts with them?

    Last question, did any of them follow your lead?

    Quester

  • 45. George  |  October 11, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Oh, and Roy, you seem to be changing and not for the better. You seem to be constantly sucking up to these full tilt atheists.

    Why?????

    You are not an atheist. Not even sure you are agnostic.

    Most in this de conversion have cast out of hand any chance of a god, of any sort. Not alone the God of the Bible.

    You are far more advanced then the atheists here.

    They just want you to become what they are. Don’t do it.

  • 46. George  |  October 11, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    In the Second World War, up to 78,000,000 lost their lives. This war happened a mere 70 years ago.

    According to the Bible, this is a small total compared to what is headed to this planet.

    The Four Horseman will ride, just as the Bible states. The stage is set. Why do you insist on being blind.

    Even if the world disarmed itself of all nuclear weapons, a real doubtfull outcome, conventional war will destroy 3/4 of earths population. Just as millions died in WW2 from disease and famine, the same will again happen. Also, biological warfare will be available. North Korea with 13 different varities on hand at this moment. God only knows what the world has stockpiled.

    You do not sense the world, the nations of the world moving towards war? Are you serious?

    Why did Obama receive the peace prize? The Middle East, becoming a socialistic nation, disarm our nation. The entire leftest agenda from Europe. They have Obama pegged. He will fall for it, he is their man.

    All part of sacrificing the nation of Israel. This is the solution seen in the Whitehouse by the entire Obama cabinet.

    Israel now realizes where they stand.

    The Bible clearly states, “Who blesses Israel I will bless, who curses Israel, I will curse.” You believe those words to mean nothing. Words from a book written by 40 authors over a period of several thousand years, 66 books. Meaningless?

    You will be changing your mind, many of you.

  • 47. George  |  October 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Quester, you I do not believe.

  • 48. Blue  |  October 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Is George the best Poe ever? No one’s this good at filling all those stereotypes at once.

  • 49. Mel  |  October 11, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I agree with George. How could the Bible be based on the Jews and Israel and not be relevant.

    I have heard there are mathematic equations that make the prophecies impossible not to be true? Has anyone ever heard of that before?

    A book by Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict.

    Maybe it was the prophecies about Jesus Christ being the Jewish Messiah.

    Anyway, it seems to make sense in light of what is going on with Islam and the Middle East.

    Could it really be that there is not an predesigned plan at work? Also, man will not survive this planet.

    About a year ago, we had an a astronaut for a client. Blaine Hammond, I had never heard of him. He had made two trips on the shuttle. I had a rare opportunity to spend quality time, what a blast. I also did not know that you can go to the Nasa site and watch video of all the missions inside the shuttle. Very interesting to see.

    I asked Blaine why we were doing these missions, the main reason. I know the scientific research, etc.

    The reason he gave, with no hesitation was short, to the point, and serious. Blaine said, “we are going to have to leave this planet someday.” At first I thought he was kidding, then I realized he was not. Nuclear war is in our future. When, not if. I hope he, and the mentality of a nation who believes it can wage a nuclear war and win, is dead wrong.

    But, this has been the difference between America and Russia for years. I do not believe their world goals have changed.

    Russia has tried to destroy Israel by proxy since 1973 and earlier. According to the United Nations reports on nuclear weapons, Israel is highly armed, even though they say they have no nuclear capability, The UN states Israel has a large amount of its weapons trained on Russia, and Russia knows it.

    Why are these things shaping up just as the Bible says???

    There is far more to it, including the reason for Islam and the 22 Arab states. I hope some of you come to understand. Do not be taken in by the thought that you will die like an ant. Nothing after this life. Do not fall for it.

  • 50. Quester  |  October 12, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Roy,

    You have not come across as hostile so no apology is necessary about that. You are actually one of the aforementioned exceptions.

    Ah, all right. Thanks. When you’d said,

    Some want few comments with more content.

    I assumed that was a direct reference to me, and therefore a comment on my hostility to you. As I have badly misjudged how I am coming across in a solely text based medium before, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

    Er, better to be sorry than to cause more harm? Something like that.

    Mystery Porcupine,

    Those are the kinds of things that I enjoy discussing, not debates about whether prophesy will save my soul or not.

    Fair enough. Please do so. Feel free to ask The de-convert for permission to be a writer and write articles on those subjects. When others articles, respond to points that interest you. Ignore George, Mel, and those like them who come, bore us for a month or two, and drive up traffic to this site making sure it stays active for those who need it. They’re their own worst enemies, shooting down their own arguments and supporting our site every time they type a comment. Asking them to change their actions won’t work. Asking the site owner to change his actions might work. Changing your own actions is the most likely thing to actually work. If there are certain types of conversations you want to have, start those types of conversations and see what happens.

  • 51. George  |  October 12, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Good for you, Quest. Keep your doctine in tact with your club of doubters.

  • 52. SnugglyBuffalo  |  October 12, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I have to agree that talking with the fundies that come to this site can help with the deconversion process. Nothing solidifies apostasy like seeing someone make the same arguments you used to make and realizing what utter garbage those arguments are.

    I also have to agree that George is getting out of hand, though. He’s reached the point where he’s just repeating the same trash over and over, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop any time soon.

  • 53. J.Jason  |  November 23, 2009 at 11:54 am

    well i beive that you are right in your piont but wrong in the FACTS..
    May GOD bless you

  • 54. Andrew  |  November 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Well, John was a disciple of Jesus, and he wrote the gospel of John. Luke interviewed many eye-witnesses of Jesus for his gospel. Mark wrote down the disciple Peter’s testomony. Matthew was also a disciple of Jesus. So you are wrong, the gospels are eye-witness accounts. And John did also write 1 and 2 John!

  • 55. Ubi Dubium  |  November 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Andrew, you should get a little education. There is no evidence that any of those books were written by those people. They appear to have been written many years later, and those names were put on them to make them look more authentic. And apparently it worked, because you bought it.

    If we had original manuscripts that we could date, then you might have a case. But we don’t. We don’t even have the first copies of the manuscripts. We have copies of copies of copies of copies, etc etc, and none of our manuscripts even match each other.

    Andrew, if believing your books are somehow holy and special makes you happy, then great for you. But for us to accept them as more than ancient books of tall tales, we need something better than your assertions.

  • 56. PopQuiz  |  December 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Sites like this clearly bring home the points made in scripture of false teachers, scoffers, those falling from the faith, and those that are just downright liars that would come on the scene in the days of the end , when our Lord will return> I’ve never seen Christianity come to life as much in the past as it is now.
    . It’s a shame that so many are “de-converting”, as those will be the ones that will be in the most shamed state as they are thrown into Hell.

    The bible is the source of eye witness accounts and it’s awful to see so many people falling for the lie of anti-theism. You never were a Christian if you claim you are de-converting….you are just exposing yourself as the follower of the Liar, Satan himself.

  • 57. Paige  |  December 25, 2011 at 10:56 am

    @ 56 PopQuiz

    It’s comments like yours that make us just shrug our shoulders, again. Do you think that those of us who have left the faith haven’t heard this time and time again? Most of us understand clearly just why you say it. Many of us believed once as you do now. We get it.

    Naturally, I’m assuming, you understand that most of us no longer believe the Bible to be infallible. We just don’t. I know this is bothersome to you because you believe we’ll burn in hell. I can’t fault you for your belief. I once believed as you do now.

    It’s a scary thought to think that one can be a Christian but later, through study, come to a different conclusion. It’s easier to just say that we were never Christians in the first place. Not only is it easier I think it is comforting to Christians to use that excuse for those of us who have deconverted.

    As a former Christian, I can tell you that I don’t believe in Satan. I realize this means nothing to you as you have judged differently. and that’s okay. I get it. I use to believe in Satan too.

    It’s a common misunderstanding to believe that those of us who have left the faith are anti-theistic. You’ll find some militant anti-theistic people out there, just as you’ll come across militant anti-atheistic people. In fact, it’s likely that far more theists hate atheists than the other way around. After all, we are Satan’s liars according to you, right?

    Merry Christmas

  • 58. robert  |  December 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    i was recently watching joseph campbell. he said the word demonic actually comes from the word dynamic. the dynamic of life. so the creator is actually against life. so they turned it into a devil. instead of looking at life as something awesome they turned it into something to be despised. jesus even said to hate your life.

  • 59. Rob  |  June 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Ok the lies and ignorance are absurd here. N.T. Wright is not considered a nutjob but one of the pre-eminent scholars. These types of statements are just inexcusable ignorance pedantic axe-grinding scoffers regurgitate when they cannot deal with scholarship they cannot refute, “I suggest you pick up any mainstream NT text, not a far-right conservative like NT Wright, whose works are methodologically impoverished. In the extreme.” I suggest you quit lying and produce evidence of his biased methodology. Bias is a claim like any other that must be proven. And the biased methodology is all yours Michael Turton. As well Jeff, this is a puerile lie, “NT Wright is a controversial figure in the field of apologetics and there’s a reason why. He’s a nutball”

    The fact is Richard Bauckham using Samuel Byrskogs work has written a thorough analysis showing the Gospels are based on eyewitness testimony written when the eyewitnesses were still alive to be questioned conforming to the best practices of ancient historiography and compared to Thucydides and Polybius.

    As well there is a consensus amongst historians including atheists like Gerd Ludemann and liberals like John Dominic Crossan that the eyewitness basis of Peter and James of the Corinthian Creed is dated to within three years of the crucifixion and resurrection.

    And then the few scholars that have actually studied the dating of the Gospels, John Wenham and A.T. Robinson (confirming the earlier work by A. T. Robertson, F.F. Bruce etc) based on analysis of the historical and archaeological evidences and internal evidences, instead of mindlessly repeating the biases of the higher critical school, have concluded that the Gospels and entire New Testament was written and in circulation by 65 AD, to the destruction of the Temple.

    “Interesting that two conservatives (e.g., F. F. Bruce, John Wenham) and liberal (Bishop John A. T. Robinson) have penned defenses of early dating for the New Testament is a witness to the strength of the data for an early date. For example, in redating Matthew Mark and Luke, noted conservative British scholar John Wenham presents a convincing argument that the synoptic Gospels are to be dated before 55 A.D. He dates Matthew at 40 A.D. (some tradition says the early 30s); Mark at 45 A.D.; and Luke no later than 51-55 A.D.34 Liberal bishop John A. T. Robinson argued in his Redating the New Testament that the entire New Testament was written and in circulation between 40 and 65 A.D.(source: Knowing the truth about the Bible Ankerberg and Weldon, p.19)

    The great Greek scholar A.T. Robertson said that the real concern is only with a thousandth part of the entire text. This would make the New Testament 99.9% free of significant variants. He dates the NT between 40 -to 65 Ad.”

    http://www.letusreason.org​/Apolo22.htm

    “18. Out of a number of scholars that date all New Testament books within the first century John A. T. Robinson seems to make the best argument (Redating the New Testament [Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976]). A. Harnack, C. E. Raven, and a number of contemporary scholars today also believe all NT books were written before A.D. 70.

    http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2011/08/04/The-Physical-Resurrection-a-Historical-Fact-Part-One.aspx

    The entire reason the higher critical school claimed the Gospels were written after the destruction of the temple were two biases enumerated by late dater C. H. Dodd in his letter to John A. T. Robinson.

    ““You [John A.T. Robinson] are certainly justified in questioning the whole structure of the accepted ‘critical’ chronology of the NT writings, which avoids putting anything earlier than 70, so that none of them are available for anything like first-generation testimony. I should agree with you that much of this late dating is quite arbitrary, even wanton, the offspring not of any argument that can be presented, but rather of the critic’s prejudice that if he appears to assent to the traditional position of the early church he will be thought no better than a stick-in-the-mud.”
    (Dodd, cited by Robinson, RNT, 360)

    Reference:
    Robinson, John A.T. Redating the New Testament. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1976. Print.

  • 60. cag  |  June 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Rob, there are treatises by birthers, Bigfoot believers, homeopathy proponents and all forms of woo. Just because someone writes something does not make it true.

    Please provide a citation for the words of Gerd Ludemann in regard to the proximity to the “crucifixion”. It would be interesting to know if this was from a time before Ludemann was enlightened, as there is usually a bias in the conclusions of christian historians, intent on justifying their beliefs. In his post enlightenment pronouncements, Ludemann states that at least 85% of what is attributed to jesus is fabrication. From this I surmise that the other 15% simply has not yet been refuted. Ludemann’s studies turned him into an atheist, I suggest you study more and perhaps you too will be free.

  • 61. restoredrob  |  June 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Right cag. Biased much? Your whole comment is based on your ignorance and bias, no evidences. And anyone who disgrees with you, even noted scholars, well they are biased also. Take a logic class, bias is a claim like any other that cannot merely be asserted but must be proven. The fact is you cannot present any evidences by any serious scholars to back your claims while I, due to space limitations only could refer to a few and gave sources. So put up or shut up. Back up your claims. You cannot. All you do is make excuses for your biases.

    I exposed the biases of the late daters enumerated by C.H. Dodd which you did not and cannot respond to. I referred to the scholarship of the few scholars that have actually studied the dating of the Gospels and guess what, when the external evidence is followed of history and archaeology corroborating the internal evidences, instead of the blind atheistic irrational biases of the higher critical school, the evidence demonstrates the Gospels were written prior to 65 AD. Go ahead, provide evidence otherwise. You cannot as the only thing you and other ignoramouses can do will be to refer to outdated claims based on the biases I already exposed.

    So unless you have any actual evidences refuting Wenham, Robinson, Bauckham, Byrskog Robertson, Dodd, Raven, and Wright et al then all you are doing is emoting and exposing your ignorances and biases.

    And I have earth-shattering news for you, denial is not refutation. When evidences are cited and your response is, ‘nuh-uh’ you lose.

    In logic and argumentation failure to deal with an argument proven with evidences is to necessarily concede that argument so guess what cag…whether you like it or not and whether you acknowledge it or not you have already conceded this argument.

    To further your education learn something. Historians are on the third phase of a hundred year long research project called the ‘Quest for the Historical Jesus’ of which the third phase is called, ‘The Third Quest for the Historical Jesus’ whose research is published in numerous peer-reviewed journals such as, ‘The Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus,’ and ‘The Journal for the Study of the New Testament.’ And the consensus of historians necessarily including non-Christians is that Jesus is historical and even performed healings for which there are no natural explanations. If the Gospels were not based on eyewitness testimony there would be no consensus’ on this.

    So just for fun I will post some more of the evidences you and your ilk are in ignorance of. For some reason you geniuses think your emotions are self-evident truth that requires no backing. Your emotions saying the New Testament is bunk, the Gospels are not eyewitness accts, Christianity has no foundation is just fact because you feel it. Nice thinking, children are led by their emotions, adults learn to adjust their thinking to the facts and evidences. So here comes more of the evidences you scoffing geniuses have no clue about because you dont bother to actually do your due diligence and actually apply critical thinking to test claims by actually using the scholastic method and researching these things.

  • 62. restoredrob  |  June 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Here ya go cag et al, Michael Turton and the genius who wrote the first post deconvert, evidences that the disciples took notes at the end of the day when the days events were still fresh on their minds. So go ahead, start the lies and misrepresentations in ignorance cag when you cannot maturely and intelligently deal with the evidences, misrepresent them and claim bias even though you have no clue the scholars are biased or not as you have not actually researched it and cannot provide any evidence for or against. Your claims are the usual knee-jerk response when the scoffer has no clue and is desperate to respond so they misrepresent what they do not understand:

    “”1. So what are scholars saying about early written Jesus traditions?
    Here are some representative scholars, whose publications have been numbered for clarity. They are placed in chronological order of their publication.

    (1) Edgar J. Goodspeed uses analogies in the larger Greco-Roman world and the Jewish environment in Israel to compare to Matthew’s Gospel. Goodspeed says that Matthew the tax collector may have written down some of Jesus’ teachings. Indeed, it would have been strange if Matthew had not. Plus, Goodspeed writes: “[Jesus] now has a secretary, a recorder, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah had, to such tremendous advantage!” (p. 10). A little later Goodspeed writes: “Tax collectors were not only proficient in writing but many of them knew shorthand, in Jesus’ times and a hundred years before. While we cannot say that Matthew used it in taking down Jesus’ utterances . . . even without it dictation could be taken down with great speed” (p. 17)….

    (2) Jewish scholar Saul Lieberman, an expert in Talmudic literature, offers a brief summary of the possible practice of Jesus’ disciples. Lieberman writes:

    Now the Jewish disciples of Jesus, in accordance with the general rabbinic practice, wrote the sayings which their master pronounced not in a form of a book to be published, but as notes in their . . . codices [plural of codex or early book], in their note-books (or in private small rolls). They did this because otherwise they would have transgressed the law. In line with the foregoing we would naturally expect the logia [sayings] of Jesus to be originally copied in codices. (p. 205 emphasis original)

    What Lieberman means about transgressing the law is that the Pharisees and the rabbis were careful not to publish formally the oral law in books, in case they were confused with the Law of Moses. But notes and notebooks or codices (early forms of the book) for note-taking of the oral law were acceptable.

    (3) E. Earle Ellis comes up with several factors that indicate that “some written formulations of Jesus’ teachings were being transmitted among his followers during his earthly ministry” (p. 243). Some of these factors include the education of Jewish children, particularly in the synagogues that were located in Israel’s villages. “The picture of Jesus’ followers as simple, illiterate peasants is a romantic notion without historical basis. Unless it can be shown otherwise, it must be assumed that some of the disciples and / or their converts were capable of composing written traditions” (p. 243).

    Next, Ellis notes that the Qumran community had no inhibitions about written commentaries and interpretations of sacred texts. Apparently the early rabbinic (Pharisaic) transmission was inhibited about writing their interpretations in case they may get confused with the Torah (first five books of the Bible) (pp. 243-44).

    Further, Ellis connects some level of writing with the early mission of the Twelve during the ministry of Jesus and afterwards. The villagers and townspeople encountered growing opposition, so they were in need of teaching. Their social need called for some writing. “It is more plausible [than just oral teaching] to suppose that at least some written paradigms of the Lord’s pronouncements would be left with those who received his message of the kingdom” (p. 245).

    Finally, Ellis says that some of Jesus’ travels took him into more or less Hellenized regions. For example, some of his disciples had Greek names: Andrew and Philip. They were from Bethsaida, a town located north of the Lake of Galilee and having a Gentile presence (or perhaps they were from the Bethsaida on the Lake of Galilee). The Decapolis was also influenced by Greek culture and language. “If he attracted such followers, he must have been concerned to mediate his teachings – and they to have them – in their own language” (p. 246). So this language need is a factor in producing early written documents in some form. Ellis reaffirms this factor in a later article (1999, pp. 53-54).”

    “2. Is there Scriptural evidence for notebooks (of sorts) and for writing?
    Yes, some direct pieces of evidence, others indirect, based on our knowledge of the historical context.

    We already noted in the previous Q and A and the section on Bauckham that Paul used parchment notebooks (2 Tim. 4:13). Next, Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, called for a small tablet to write down his son’s name (Luke 1:63). The tablet was close at hand. Further, in the Parable of the Shrewd Manager the manager used written bills to settle his accounts (Luke 16:6-7). In this parable Jesus assumes that his listeners would take this kind of writing for granted, as if it is not unusual or outlandish. Also, Matthew or Levi (Matt. 9:9-13) and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) are named as tax collectors, and, according to the historical context, they recorded sums and figures. Next, Cuza is named as the manager of Herod’s household, and, according to the historical context (see my book) notes and documentation were required to keep business in order (Luke 8:3). Finally, the scribes or teachers of the law, Pharisees, Roman government officials, and centurions would be used to writing, the Romans through assistants and secretaries. Millard concludes:

    To imagine any of these people going out with papyrus roll, pen and ink to take down the words of a traveling preacher would be absurd. To imagine some of them opening note-books they carried for their day-to-day business, perhaps hung at the belt, and jotting down a few key striking sayings that they had heard, or writing a summary of what they had experienced while it was fresh in the memory is quite feasible. (p. 223)

    3. Are these early possible notes and notebooks proto-Gospels?
    No. Bauckham is on target when he writes: “Such notebooks would not be a wholly new factor in the process of transmission through memorization . . . They would simply have reinforced the capacity of oral transmission itself to preserve the traditions carefully. They should not be imagined as proto-Gospels” . . . (p. 289). Thus, they were used only in the transmission process, both oral and literary (written) traditions.”

    References

    E. Earle Ellis. “New Directions in Form Criticism.” In Ellis, Prophecy and Hermeneutic in Early Christianity: New Testament Essays. Mohr, 1978. Pp. 237-53.

    —. “The Synoptic Gospels and History.” In Authenticating the Activities of Jesus. Ed. Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans. Brill, 1999. Pp. 49-57.

    Saul Lieberman. Hellenism in Jewish Palestine. The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1962.

    Edgar J. Goodspeed. Matthew: Apostle and Evangelist. John C. Winston, 1959.”

    Richard Bauckham. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Eerdmans, 2006.

    Alan R. Millard. Reading and Writing in the Time of Jesus. NYUP, 2000.

    http://bible.org/seriespage/did-some-disciples-take-notes-during-jesus%E2%80%99-ministry

  • 63. restoredrob  |  June 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    A little more for your education cag, a summary of the points by Bauckham, that the Gospels conform to the best standards of ancient history, written when the eyewitnesses were still alive to be questioned, comparable to Thucydides and Polybius:

    Byrskog defines “autopsy,” as a visual means of gathering data about a certain object and can include means that are either direct (being an eyewitness) or indirect (access to eyewitnesses). Byrskog also claims that such autopsy is arguably used by Paul (1 Cor 9:1; 15:5–8; Gal 1:16), Luke(Acts 1:21–22; 10:39–41) and John (19:35; 21:24; 1 John 1:1–4).

    “This, at least, was historiographic best practice, represented and theorized by such generally admired historians as Thucydides and Polybius. The preference for direct and indirect testimony is an obviously reasonable rule for acquiring the testimony likely to be reasonable.” (Pg 479)

    Loveday Alexander, in his book The Preface to Luke’s Gospel offers the translations: “those with personal/firsthand experience; those who know the facts at hand (Bauckham, pg 117). One of the greatest assets of Bauckham’s book is the reminder that ancient historians thought that history had to be written during a time when eyewitnesses were still available to be cross-examined.”

    http://chab123.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/historiography-101-a-look-at-the-role-of-the-testimony-and-witness-in-the-new-testament-2/

    New Testament historians Richard Bauckham and Samuel Byrskog on the historicity of the Gospels:

    “What Bauckham and Byrskog have in common is their emphatic insistence that many Jewish, Greek, and Roman authors – including the Gospel authors – valued very highly eyewitness testimony as the foundation of their writings, during the authors’ lifetime.

    Byrskog points out that “ancient [Greco-Roman] historians exercised autopsy [visual means to gather information] directly and / or indirectly, by being present themselves and / or by seeking out and interrogating other eyewitnesses” (p. 64).

    Bauckham says, right after quoting Bryskog from p. 64: “In their close relationship to eyewitness testimony the Gospels conform to the best practice of ancient historiography. For ancient historians this relationship required that good history be contemporary history, written in the lifetime of the eyewitnesses. So the Gospels were written over the period, from the death of Peter to that of the Beloved Disciple [the professed author of John’s Gospel], when the eyewitnesses were ceasing to be available” (p. 310).

    Finally, the relatively short period of oral transmission between Jesus’ ministry and the written Gospels means that we are in the realm of oral history, not exclusively oral traditions, which are passed on over several generations. Oral history takes place during the life span of the narrator (Eddy and Boyd, p. 289, note 72). In the previous quotation from Bauckham (p. 310), that’s his main point.”

    Richard Bauckham. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. Eerdmans, 2006.

    Samuel Byrskog. Story as History, History as Story: the Gospel Tradition in the Context of Ancient Oral History. Brill, 2000.

    http://bible.org/seriespage/reliable-gospel-transmissions

    As Bauckham notes:

    “As Bauckham notes, the Greek word for “eyewitness” (autoptai), does not have forensic meaning, and in that sense the English word “eyewitnesses” with its suggestion of a metaphor from the law courts, is a little misleading. The autoptai are simply firsthand observers of those events. Bauckham has followed the work of Samuel Byrskog in arguing that while the Gospels though in some ways are a very distinctive form of historiography, they share broadly in the attitude to eyewitness testimony that was common among historians in the Greco-Roman period. These historians valued above all reports of firsthand experience of the events they recounted. Best of all was for the historian to have been himself a participant in the events (direct autopsy). Failing that (and no historian was present at all the events he need to recount, not least because some would be simultaneous), they sought informants who could speak from firsthand knowledge and whom they could interview (indirect autopsy).”

    In other words, Byrskog defines “autopsy,” as a visual means of gathering data about a certain object and can include means that are either direct (being an eyewitness) or indirect (access to eyewitnesses). Byrskog also claims that such autopsy is arguably used by Paul (1 Cor 9:1; 15:5–8; Gal 1:16), Luke(Acts 1:21–22; 10:39–41) and John (19:35; 21:24; 1 John 1:1–4).

    “This, at least, was historiographic best practice, represented and theorized by such generally admired historians as Thucydides and Polybius. The preference for direct and indirect testimony is an obviously reasonable rule for acquiring the testimony likely to be reasonable.” (Pg 479)

    Loveday Alexander, in his book The Preface to Luke’s Gospel offers the translations: “those with personal/firsthand experience; those who know the facts at hand (Bauckham, pg 117). One of the greatest assets of Bauckham’s book is the reminder that ancient historians thought that history had to be written during a time when eyewitnesses were still available to be cross-examined.”

    http://chab123.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/historiography-101-a-look-at-the-role-of-the-testimony-and-witness-in-the-new-testament-2/

  • 64. cag  |  June 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Rob, all your bloviating does not provide any evidence for god or jesus, only that a number of people have been grasping for apologetics. There is only one evidence, have jesus and god convince me, not some third party recipient of hearsay. Until I hear from jesus and god there is no credible evidence. I’m not holding my breath, as both jesus and god were just constructs in an elaborate (but horrifying) sales manual.

    Am I to assume that an omnipotent, omniscient, loving entity who could save the lives of millions and guarantee the well being of all humanity loves us so much that not a finger is raised to improve our lot. Excuses for your atrocious god and its lackey jesus do not make them any more real.

    If god doesn’t care about me, I don’t care about god. If jesus doesn’t care about me, I don’t care about jesus. An omnipotent being knows where I am, a caring being would “save” me. Imaginary god and imaginary jesus would react exactly as things are unfurling, no difference from what is happening in the real world.

    There are unquestionably a number of historians who believe in jesus just as there are those that don’t. It has to be noted that a lot of these historians are just quoting each other, with some twist being added as a “revelation”. Even if jesus actually existed, he was just another human who was out to avoid manual labour.

    To sum up, if god and jesus don’t want to contact me directly, I will conclude that they don’t exist. No excuses.

  • 65. restoredrob  |  June 26, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Brilliant pedantics cag. As if God is subject to your puerile demands. Reminds me of the stupid philosophy professor who says ‘if there is a God when I drop this chalk prevent it from hitting the floor’ who then drops the chalk and when it hits the floor then claim, ‘See, I just proved there is not God.’ All he proved is God is not subject to his infantile demands. Same goes for you. First, deal with the fact that you have been refuted. I am not here to convert you or proselytize, but to correct ignoramouses like yourself who make absurd claims in ignorance such as you did in your first response to me. And when refuted with evidence you cannot deal with you make excuses, just as predicted. So when you cannot deal with the evidence refuting your claims you then try to offer the red herring fallacy. Brilliant. Deal with the fact that I provided numerous evidences that the Gospels are indeed eyewitness accts, that the only reason they were ever late dated was due to the biases Dodd enumerated.

    What you dont get cag is that your ignorance is no excuse. You also dont even know that not only are the gospels eyewitness testimony but of such caliber that historians by consensus, necessarily including non-Christians, state that denial of the historicity of Jesus is as extremist as skinhead holocaust denial and then even one step further, that the historical evidence, the eyewitness testimony even proves that, again by consensus of historians including non-Christians, Jesus performed healings for which there are no natural explanations. I’ll cite that evidence below. The reasons for the two consensus’, of Jesus historicity and historicity of His healings, are that when the numerous tests historians apply to the Gospels that they apply to any acct to verify or falsify it as authenticated history (like multiple attestation, coherence, convergence, embarassment, divergent traditions and ect.) the Gospels pass with flying colors. And then you will find that the very same evidence tested the exact same way, demonstrates the resurrection is a historical event. Which means game over for your claims, for your ignorance. Whether you like it or not you will be held accountable.

    “particulars, including that Jesus…was a Galilean miracle-worker”
    (Allison, JN, 52)

    “There is a consensus of sorts on a basic outline of Jesus’ life. Mostscholars agree that Jesus… engaged in healings and exorcisms”
    (Levine, HJC, 4)

    “There is agreement on the basic facts: Jesus performed miracles, drew crowds and promised the kingdom to sinners. It is a natural assumption that miracles and the inclusion of sinners are intimately tied to Jesus’ conception of the kingdom and of his own mission. Thus far most scholars will agree.”
    (Sanders, JJ, 157)

    “Today these questions [of Jesus’ miraculous powers] seem a little lame. Few serious historians now deny that Jesus, and for that matter many other people, performed cures and did other startling things for which there was no obvious natural explanation.”
    (Wright, JVG, 188)

    “That Jesus performed physical healings is also widely conceded, again as an important attestation of the kingdom’s inauguration and of Jesus’ identity (see esp. Matt 11:4-6 par.), although debate remains over whether they were genuinely supernatural events or psychosomatic cures by the power of suggestion. Again, there is the distinctive directness by which a simple command effected a cure. There are three passages that involved the characteristic ancient use of spittle or mud (Mark 7:33; 8:23; John 9:6), and in one of these a two-stage healing potentially makes Jesus’ powers appear deficient (Mark 8:23), so it, too, is not likely to have been fabricated….Further support for the authenticity of Jesus’ healing miracles comes from their appearance in multiple source and forms, including later Christian testimony in Acts 10:38 and Heb 2:4, and from the brief remarks of the Jewish historian Josephus in Ant. 18:63-64.”
    (Blomberg, JG, 282-3)

    References:

    Allison, Dale C. Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. Fortress Press, 1998. Print.Sanders,

    Levine, Amy-Jill & Allison, Dale C. & Crossan, John D. The Historical Jesus in Context. Princeton, NJ. Princeton University Press, 2006. Print.

    Sanders, E.P. Jesus and Judaism. First Fortress Press, 1985. Print.

    Wright, N.T. Jesus and the Victory of God. Fortress Press, 1996. Print.

    Blomberg, Craig L. Jesus and the Gospels. B&H, 2009. Print.

    And educate yourself by reading the end of the article I cite below, the summation which you and every other biased ignorant scoffer would do well to read, it reviews the numerous historiographic criteria historians use to test all ancient accts for historicity or falsity and how they are applied to the resurrection which authenticate it. This is the scholastic approach. Applying the scientific criteria scholars use and apply to all ancient accts instead of biasedly deciding a priori w/o evidence it did not or cannot happen. I dont care if you accede to this, just be aware of it and that it removes your excuses and ignorance, enjoy:

    “The Historical Probability of the Resurrection

    No one saw the resurrection of Jesus. All that was seen was the resurrected Jesus. If, then, a resurrection took place, it must be demonstrated with a reasonable degree of certainty, historiographically speaking, that Jesus actually died and then was seen at some later time alive and in bodily form.78 A brief sketch of the Gospel testimony runs something like this: 1) Jesus died; 2) was buried in a sealed and guarded tomb; 3) the tomb was found empty three days later and 4) Jesus was seen alive and the disciples held the belief of his resurrection. From this outline we may test the various incidents according to how well the testimony survives under the criteria of authenticity. This section seeks to analyze these various ideas according to the details of the Gospels and the criteria of authenticity.

    The Death of Jesus79
    Before a resurrection can even be entertained, the death of the individual in question must be reasonably demonstrated—lest we get another “swoon theory.” That Jesus did indeed die is unanimously attested by all four gospels (Matt. 27:50, 58, 59;
    Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30). They all agree that he died by crucifixion, which itself was ordered by Pilate at the request of the people (Matt. 27:20, 26; Mark 15:1, 10, 15; Luke 23:20-25; John 19:13-16) and all the Synoptics converge on the timing of the death (Matthew 27:45, 46; Mark 15:33, 34 and esp. 45; Luke 23:44-46). The early traditions coming out of the church clearly affirm that Jesus died. Peter’s preaching in Acts 2:23 and 3:15 clearly affirm that Jesus died by crucifixion.80 Paul affirms Jesus’ death in 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Romans 1:3, 4 and Philippians 2:5-11. Thus the criterion of multiple attestation, coherence, and multiple forms demonstrate with reasonable certainty that Jesus did indeed die by crucifixion. That crucifixion was indeed practiced by the Romans, as indicated in the New Testament, is confirmed by Josephus (BJ 4.449). This satisfies the criterion of Palestinian Environment.81 Concerning the death of Jesus by crucifixion most scholars would agree.82

    Jesus’ Burial in a Sealed and Guarded Tomb
    The earliest tradition we have concerning the actual burial of Jesus Christ is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 3, 4. The expression μti . . . μ . . . μ. . . μ . . . in verse 3, 4 and 5 indicates the emphatic nature of each part of the tradition.83 The tradition that Paul received indicated that Jesus had indeed been buried ().84 The gospels also confirm this testimony. All three Synoptics, as well as John, indicate that Jesus died and was wrapped in linen and then buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. All three agree that this took place on the day before the Sabbath, i.e. the day of Preparation. Matthew and Mark state that a large rock was rolled in front of the tomb and both Luke and John state that no one had been interred in the tomb before (Matt.27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; Luke 23:50-55; John 19:38-42).

    The information supplied by Paul, which appears to be an early tradition in the church, along with the Gospel records, unanimously affirms that Jesus was buried in a tomb after he had died. One may also consult Acts 13:28, 29. Therefore the criterion of multiple attestation argues for the authenticity of the event. That the tradition is early (30-36 A.D.)85 negates the possibility of the development of a legend concerning his death and burial—there were still eyewitnesses living. Some of those eyewitnesses were indeed women (Matt 27:61; Mark 15:47 and Luke 23:55) who played a role in the early church in which the traditions developed (Acts 1:14; cf. with Luke 8:2, 3; 23:49 and 23:55-24:10).86

    That the tradition is secure and accurate is further confirmed by the fact that all the Gospel writers mention Joseph of Arimathea and Luke tells us that he was a member of the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:50).87 Given the fact that all the writers implicate the religious leaders in Jesus’ death,88 it seems rather odd that a member of the Sanhedrin should offer to bury Jesus, unless it really happened. Such a unanimously spoken of tradition would probably not survive due the presence of eyewitnesses, unless, of course, it were true.

    The tradition of his burial is not surrounded by adornment and embellishing which satisfies the “criterion of the developing tradition or dissimilarity.” The writers do not develop the burial of Christ into an apologetic or into a theological treatise of some kind in an attempt to encourage faith on the part of their churches. The later church cannot be read back into the description of Jesus’ burial.

    The “criterion of Palestinian environment” is satisfied in that the tomb in which Jesus was laid meets with archaeological discoveries, and the fact that Jesus, accused as a criminal, was buried in a new tomb coheres with the Jews not wanting to pollute other family members interred there.89 Also, it was Preparation day (Mark 15:42), the day before Passover, and Jesus’ body would not have been allowed to remain on the cross until the next day, lest the corpse defile the land (cf. Numbers 9:6-10). Therefore, the fact that Joseph was allowed to bury him is reasonable.90 And since he died around the sixth hour (Mark 15:33-37), Joseph probably had time to accomplish the burial before nightfall and the beginning of the Sabbath.91

    There has never been another conflicting tradition about the fact of Jesus’ burial. Therefore, it seems reasonable, based upon this and the foregoing discussion, to assert that the burial of Jesus Christ, as outlined in the New Testament, is a true and accurate account of what actually happened. Crossan argues that it was the custom for the guards who crucified Jesus to bury the deceased. They stayed at the site to protect it from people who would try and help release the crucified (cf. Josephus, Life 421) and therefore to ensure the victim did indeed suffer a slow and agonizing death. He says that the people would have fled, thus “nobody knew what happened to the body of Jesus.”92 This, he asserts, “presented early Christianity with an intolerable problem, one that is very clear across the texts of 70 Burial of Jesus [1/2].”93 Crossan maintains that an analysis of the Synoptics, John, and the so-called Cross-Gospel (from the Gospel of Peter) reveals a developing, fabricated tradition, as an attempt on the part of the early church to bring the tradition from a burial by an enemy (i.e. Joseph) to a regal embalming in John’s Gospel.

    Crossan’s analysis is doubtful for several reasons. First, he totally disregards the fact that the tradition has women as witnesses to the burial, women who were later, a part of the early church. Second, his reconstruction based upon a so-called Cross-Gospel is wanting for it is doubtful that the Cross-Gospel represents another distinct tradition—as Crossan would affirm. It is simply not a tenet upon which to build a convincing argument.94 Third, his dismissal of Joseph as historical is probably not accurate for reasons suggested above. Fourth, the extreme skepticism with which he treats the sources, combined with the freedom he exerts to recreate the situation is irresponsible and unwarranted. The tradition does appear to develop, but not in the fanciful ways he suggests.95

    The Tomb Found Empty
    According to the overwhelming evidence in the Gospels and other early traditions (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:3, 4), Jesus of Nazareth did die by crucifixion and was buried in a guarded and sealed tomb. On the third day after all that took place, the tomb was found empty—according to the Gospels. Some have contended, however, that

    the account of the empty tomb is a late tradition created by the early Church to help explain the resurrection appearances. . . The account of the empty tomb is therefore seen as completely secondary, an apologetic legend, unknown to Paul and of no significance in the apostolic preaching.96

    We turn now to see if indeed the criticism are just or whether the account of the empty tomb is reasonable.

    That the tomb was indeed found empty is secured by several facts. First, it is clear that the apostle Paul believed that the tomb was empty. The fact of the empty tomb stands behind the third element of the tradition he had received, according to 1 Corinthians 15:4. The statement, “he was raised,” implies that the tomb was found empty, just as the fact that “he was buried” implies the burial traditions included in the Gospels. Since this was a tradition Paul received, perhaps from Ananias (Acts 9:9, 10), from other disciples in Damascus (9:19b) or from Peter (Galatians 1:18),97 it is likely a very early tradition—and Paul believed it. It would be incomprehensible for Paul to so boldly preach the bodily resurrection of Jesus, if he did not believe in the empty tomb.98

    Second, the same criteria that were used to substantiate the burial of Jesus, figure in confirming the historical reliability of the empty tomb. The empty tomb tradition is found in Mark (16:1-8), Matthew (28:1-10), Luke (24:1-6) and John (20:1-2). Thus there is multiple attestation for the tradition of the empty tomb. And the tradition is found in three of the Gospel strata (i.e. Mark, “M” and John).

    Third, the empty tomb narrative in Mark, Matthew, Luke and John is not overlaid with theology for apologetic purposes.99 This makes it dissimilar to the preaching of the early church and therefore unlikely that the early church invented it.

    Fourth, the Synoptics all maintain that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James were there. John only mentions Mary Magdalene, Mark adds the mention of Salome (16:1) and Luke mentions “Joanna and the others with them” as well (24:10). There is no contradiction in the tradition and no need to postulate a conflict as to who saw the empty tomb. Each writer included the women he wanted and knew of, but no writer explicitly denies the assertions of another. The fact that women were witnesses to the empty tomb while the disciples were hiding in fear speaks volumes for its authenticity. If such a tradition were false, it would be difficult to conceive how it would be propagated for any length of time (cf. the criterion of embarrassment).

    Matthew records the presence of one angel outside the tomb sitting on the rock (28:2). Mark mentions a young man dressed in a white robe in the tomb and John mentions no angels at all. The fact that Luke speaks of two men (24:4) dressed in clothes that shone like lightening references the fact they are angels (also cf. v. 23) and links us up with the transfiguration in 9:28ff. But, there may be a basic apologetic here for the resurrection in the light of Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15 and the fact that Luke describes them as “men.” It is, however, not developed. The fact that there are two angels in Luke and only one in Mark and Matthew, is not a contradiction for it is not entirely out of character for an evangelist to focus on only one individual when others were present—as in the case of the blind man at Jericho (Mark 10:46, Luke 18:35 and Matt. 20:30). Since there is no basic contradiction in the accounts there is no need to postulate other competing traditions.100

    Fifth, all the Gospel writers use the expression “first day of the week.” This is significant for early preaching referred to his resurrection as being on the “third day” (1 Cor. 15:3, 4). This indicates that the tradition goes back very early in the church and is therefore to be regarded as authentic. This, of course lends support to the whole tradition of the empty tomb. There are also other Semitic influences on the tradition including Matthew mentioning the “angel of the Lord” (28:2), the phrase . . . (Matt. 28:5) and Luke’s “bowed their faces to the ground” (24:5).101

    Sixth, Craig also adds that the investigation of the tomb by Peter and John is probably historical.102 This is true because both John’s own testimony (20:3) and tradition independent of John (Luke 24:12, 24) indicate as much. The fact that the Gospels do not record the disciples fleeing to Galilee (cf. Jesus command to meet the disciples in Galilee implying that they were still in Jerusalem; Mark 16:7) suggests that they probably visited the tomb site due to the testimony of the women (Luke 24:9-12). It is reasonable they would have wanted to see what was going on with the body of Jesus, though they were not anticipating a resurrection as both Peter’s puzzlement (Luke 24:12) and the explicit statement of John (20:9) make clear.

    Seventh, there is also the consideration by some that if Jesus’ body were really left in a tomb, he should have been venerated by his followers and his tomb enshrined. But there is no evidence that a tomb exists and that he was worshipped as such. Personally, I do not find this thesis probable. It is at best a corroboratory argument for the empty tomb, and may be difficult to support since Jesus was not really considered by Israel as a whole to be a prophet or man of God (an underlying premise in the argument). He had very few followers at the time of his death which makes this unlikely.103

    Eighth, from the perspective of the Jewish leaders, in the development of their attack on the apostles, they did not deny that the tomb was empty (Matt. 28:15). Besides, the religious leaders could have put an end to the whole mess, if they could have produced a body. No such evidence was ever presented according to our sources.

    From the preceding evidence it is clear that the tradition of the empty tomb passes the historiographical tests of: 1) multiple attestation; 2) dissimilarity; 3) tendencies of the developing tradition; 4) semitisms and 5) embarrassment. Therefore, a belief in the empty tomb is reasonable historically speaking. It bears all the marks of being early, and not a later creation of the church. It is to be regarded as authentic.

    Jesus’ Appearances and the Disciples’ Belief in His Resurrection
    Sanders is incorrect to affirm that “the resurrection is not, strictly speaking, part of the story of the historical Jesus, but rather belongs to the aftermath of his life.”104 Such a statement goes back to an unfounded wedge between history and theology. The Gospels record actual physical appearances of Jesus and therefore the sources in which those affirmations are found can be tested historiographically. According to Craig there are essentially four lines of evidence one can adduce in support of the historical reliability of the resurrection appearances: 1) The apostle Paul’s testimony; 2) the genuine character of particular resurrection appearances, 3) the evidence for the general trustworthiness of the Gospel accounts and 4) the fact that the appearances were of Jesus’ resurrected body. Since we have already discussed #3 and #4 (see the preliminary discussion to the criteria of authenticity for #3), we will concentrate on the #1 and #2. We will discuss #1 under the heading of “Paul’s Testimony in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8″ and #2 under the heading “The Historical Veracity of Certain Resurrection Appearances, and Other Phenomena.”

    Paul’s Testimony in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8
    It is generally believed that the earlier a tradition is, the more likely it is to be authentic. This, of course, is a major idea behind the criteria of authenticity and form criticism. It is already been argued that the tradition in 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 developed very early in the church. We maintain that the “witnesses” of 15: 5-8 are a part of that early tradition.105 There was not enough time to develop a legend in this regard, for the tradition here can probably be dated before A. D. 40 and some argue before A. D. 37.106 Since Jesus appeared then, to Peter, the Twelve, to 500 brothers, to James, other apostles and finally to Paul himself this is unlikely to be a fabrication. Peter, the Twelve and James were original leaders in the church (cf. Acts 15 and the Jerusalem Council) and had early contact with Paul (perhaps A. D. 36-39; Gal. 1:18). He also appeared to over 500 other Christian men whom Paul says were still living. The Corinthians could have checked it out, and yet there is no reference in our sources to the Corinthians, after Paul sent his letter, denying the resurrection.

    The Historical Veracity of Certain
    Resurrection Appearances, and Other Phenomena
    The fact James was doubtful of Jesus’ identity during his life (Mark 3:21; John 7:1-5) and that he later became a pillar and apostle in the church (Acts 15; Gal. 1:19) requires a sufficient cause. A myth about a resurrection, or dreams about such a thing for that matter, cannot honestly lead to such a change of heart. The last James saw of his brother, was his death on a cross. The only reasonable explanation is that Christ did indeed rise from the dead and appear to him, just as tradition says (1 Cor. 15:7).

    If it is difficult to see how James came to faith in his own brother as Messiah, it is even harder to account for Saul, the Pharisee and as Luke says, the one who was going about trying to destroy the church of God and wipe out for ever the name of Jesus from under heaven (cf. Acts 8:1; 9:1). Did Paul suddenly feel remorse for his actions? Probably not. This might lead him to desist from his attacks on the church, but it cannot account for his faith in Jesus as Messiah (Rom. 10:9, 10). Did he just realize from his background that Jesus fits the Messianic bill, so to speak? This is unlikely, since the bodily resurrection of an isolated individual is not found in the Judaism of Paul’s day. There was only the general resurrection of all people at the end (criterion of Palestinian environment [context and expectation]).107 And, the concept of a dying and rising Messiah was probably foreign to Paul. There is simply no natural cause adequate to explain how a Pharisee of Paul’s standing and zeal (cf. Phil. 3:2-6) could so reverse his direction in life, abandon his understanding of the Law, and proclaim Jesus, not only as Israel’s resurrected Messiah, but also the Savior of all men, Jew and Gentile alike (Phil. 3:20; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21). He even goes so far as to teach Jewish/Gentile equality in God’s plan (Eph. 2:11-22; 3:6). Not only this, but Paul suffered greatly as a result of his faith in Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 11:23-29) and as tradition would have it, ended up dying for that conviction.108 This is only reasonably accounted for on the basis of his seeing the resurrected Jesus as outlined in Acts 9. All natural explanations crumble under the weight of the evidence.

    Both Matthew and Mark, as well as John, affirm that Jesus’ first appearance was to the women, including Mary Magdalene out of whom Mark says, Jesus cast several demons (Matt. 28:8-10; Mark 16:9-14; John 20:18). In first century Judaism, since the claim of women witnesses would not carry much weight, it is likely, given the criterion of embarrassment that this tradition is true. It does nothing to help their cause in promoting Jesus as risen from the dead. The fact that Paul leaves the women out in his list of witnesses confirms this interpretation (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

    The emergence and growth of the church in Jerusalem and around the known world at that time is difficult to explain on the basis of naturalistic causes. Fear of the religious and political authorities (cf. Acts 4:3, 21; 5:33, 40) would have squelched the movement, as in the case of the Theudas and “the Galilean” (Acts 5:36, 37).

    One must consider how the early church treated sin as well. They did not tolerate it, as can be seen in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). This is not exactly the way a movement goes about the process of attracting followers. There was belief in Jesus’ resurrection and only such a belief would cause sane people to become a part of the church. In this connection, as a corroboratory piece of evidence, we ought to consider Paul’s ethics which he enjoined on the churches in the name of the risen Lord. It is an incredibly demanding ethic and not very easy to live out (Rom. 6:12, 13; 2 Cor. 10:5; Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 3:5; 4:29). It is difficult to believe that people would submit to this without a sufficient reason. The resurrection of Christ provides the a priori reason to move toward a lifestyle like Paul outlines in his letters and also offers the hope required to fulfill that ethic. This must not be diminished given what we know about human nature and its propensity to all kinds of social evil.

    For these reasons it is difficult to accept Sanders’ view that the resurrection of Jesus is simply something Jesus’ followers believed to be true (though it was not), due to some experience (but not Jesus’ bodily resurrection) they had. He says that they believed it, lived for it and died for it.109 This kind of rationale simply denies the early nature of the tradition, the testimony of manifold witnesses (including women), and suggests a cause that according to the principles of correlation one finds to be inept as far as producing the results affirmed by the book of Acts. Behind this reconstruction lies the commitment he so clearly enumerated on page 143 of his book. He completely denies the miraculous.

    Crossan says that the resurrection was “the continuing presence in a continuing community of the past Jesus in a radically new and transcendental [sic] mode of present and future existence. But, how to express that phenomena?”110 Crossan argues that the first Christians picked up the language of resurrection in order to accommodate their idea of Jesus’ continuing presence, but they knew that it was not literally true. This interpretation fails for a number of reasons. First, the earliest tradition (i.e. 1 Cor. 15:3, 4) links up the resurrection of Christ with the resurrection of believers. This cannot be interpreted as “continuing presence.” Second, as stated above, there is no real antecedent in Judaism to give the apostles the idea of a resurrection of a single individual and then claim that as such he is the Messiah. This would not have been believed by so many Jews (cf. Acts 2:41) unless it actually did happen. They did not expect such a Messiah. It is very difficult to believe that they could have invented the whole story—while eyewitnesses were still living. Third, if Crossan is correct, Paul’s discussion about the resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:35) is a total fabrication, misleading and therefore essentially a lie. Fourth, it is very difficult to explain the early, widespread belief in Jesus’ resurrection, if indeed it were not true. Fifth, such a reconstruction is simply inadequate to account for James’ and Paul’s conversion and the emergence of the church.111

    Summary
    This chapter began with a statement and brief description of the criteria of authenticity. Then, from a worldview that allows for the supernatural, we tested the various traditions in the Gospels to see if they qualify as historically reliable witnesses to the resurrection. We demonstrated that Jesus did in fact die by crucifixion and then was buried in a sealed and guarded tomb. Then we showed that the tradition surrounding the empty tomb was reliable. Finally, we demonstrated that the resurrection narratives and early traditions are credible witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. The result is that the tomb was found empty because Jesus did indeed rise bodily from the grave. Although Sanders and Crossan suggest alternative theories, this is the best answer to account for the traditions and the subsequent history of the church.

    Chapter 4:
    Conclusion
    The study noted that many scholars recognize that there have been two previous quests for the historical Jesus and that we are presently in the third. The one common commitment among many scholars presently engaged in the pursuit of the historical Jesus, a presupposition about history that goes back to the Enlightenment and thinkers like David Hume and Benedict de Spinoza, is an a priori denial of the supernatural. This they bring wholeheartedly to the study of the Gospel materials. We pointed out in the second chapter that such a commitment is unfounded and in reality, an illusion. In so doing we opened the door for an analysis of the Gospel materials relating to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus from a worldview which allows for the supernatural.

    We looked at the narrative material surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and found that after analysis on the basis of several of the criteria of authenticity, the traditions should be regarded as accurate accounts of what actually happened in history. The traditions are indeed very old and attested in all the Gospels and different layers of the Gospel strata. The presence of eyewitnesses, the radical changes in people’s lives (e.g. James and Paul) and the emergence of the church in Jerusalem despite opposition, are only accounted for the on the basis of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Any other cause, like those suggested by Sanders and Crossan, cannot cohere with the data of the Gospels and lacks sufficient power to account for the effects outlined in Scripture.”

    http://bible.org/article/historical-veracity-resurrection-narratives

  • 66. cag  |  June 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    More excuses for the non performance of your god. At least you have proven that you can cut and paste.

    Just as I reject the fiction of Hubbard, I also reject the fiction of your bible. It took me exactly the first 10 words to determine that the bible is fiction. The words of some sychopants do not alter the fact that the earth was not created before both the sun and the universe. Your god does not exist, fortunately. Imagine if your god existed, what a horrid, uncaring monster, able to but unwilling to alleviate suffering, the exact opposite of loving.

    You are right that your god is not subject to my puerile demands, or the needs of any of the more than 6 billion humans. It would have to exist in order to react. You have bought into the scam and are unwilling to admit that you’ve been had.

  • 67. restoredrob  |  June 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Right Cag, all you prove is that you refuse to deal with the facts, evidence and logic and that instead we are dealing with your will. You dont care about being rational, you refuse to believe despite the fact you you cannot and have not dealt with the evidence proving the Gospels are indeed eyewitness testimony and that the resurrection is a historical event. You even pedantically tried to change the argument from the Gospels being eyewitness testimony, which you lost hands down, no question, game over, case closed, to your red herring of no evidence for God which, despite your puerile tactics, I then refuted anyway as, according to the standards of historiography, the criteria of authenticity fulfilled by the numerous individual criterion of historiography such as multiple attestation, coherence, embarassment etc. the eyewitness testimony of the Gospels, which again you cannot and have not dealt with, proves the resurrection is historical refuting your claims of no evidence.

    Learn something son, stop acting like a child, your petulance doesnt change the evidence you cannot and have not dealt with here, denial is not refutation. All you have done in the face of clear, overwhelming evidence is say, ‘nuh-uh, I dont wanna!’ And in logic and reason, failure to rebut an argument given, supported with copious evidence, is to necessarily concede that argument. Whether you like it or not, or whether you acknowledge it or not, you have conceded this argument both on the eyewitness basis of the Gospels and what that eyewitness evidence proves, the historicity of the resurrection.

  • 68. cag  |  June 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    restoredrob, you accept the bible as true, I accept the bible as false. The first lie in the bible is that the earth was created before all the other objects in the universe, making it lose all credibility as far as I’m concerned. Using analysis of the bible to prove anything is problematic to the extreme for me. I do not depend on the words of people whose livelihood is based on coming up with arguments for the existence of your god. Just because people believe the bible does not make it true. How many people believe the nonsense of L. Ron Hubbard? How many died because they believed in Jim Jones and David Koresh? How many died for believing the Solar Temple lies? Heaven’s Gate is another sorry mess that some people believed.

    Until you provide irrefutable, verifiable evidence for your god, any claims about the son of god are just that, claims. Thousands of gods have been believed and then discarded. Your god is no different than any of the others.

    Without god there can’t be a son of god. Prove that god exists without reference to the bible. We all know that the bible claims god exists because the bible claims to be the word of god. Talk about circular reasoning. You are not allowed to “beg the question”. You are not allowed to make arguments about god, arguments are not evidence.

    All kinds of claims for god but not an iota of evidence. Only the words of recruiters whose livelihood depends on deceiving the masses. Still waiting 2000 years later.

    Until you have the evidence, anything you write is just the scribblings of a delusional believer. Until you come up with evidence for your god, your prattling about the son of god prove nothing. Not holding my breath as yours would be a world first. There is no longer a sword available to convince me to convert.

    If you reply in a condescending manner

    Learn something son, stop acting like a child, your petulance doesnt change the evidence you cannot and have not dealt with here

    you can expect a response in kind. I do not have to deal with your cribbed nonsense as the starting premise (son of god) is false.

    List of some gods.

    more gods.
    Lots of gods in those lists, all of them the product of human imaginations. Some of them were believed in so fervently that people were killed for non-belief. Your god is just as believable as all the others, none.

  • 69. restoredrob  |  June 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Just as predicted, you cannot maturely or intelligently deal with the evidence provided so you just say, ‘nuh-uh’. What part of denial is not refutation do you not understand?

    I provided clear evidences the Gospels are authenticated eyewitness accts, there is even evidence that notes were taken daily during Jesus ministry.

    I provided clear evidences that when the same secular historiographic tests are applied to the Gospel accts that historians apply to any acct to test it for historical veracity the Gospels more than pass muster.

    I provided clear evidences that the resurrection when tested in the same unbiased manner is proven to be historical.

    You cannot and have not dealt with any of it, just responded ‘nuh-uh, I dont wanna.’ All you are doing is emoting in the face of evidence. No one cares. All you have done is expose your ignorance, bias and disregard for the truth. Brilliant.

    And lastly, and what has to hurt and burn, is that logically, failure to rebut evidence given is to concede that evidence. So you have conceded this debate whether you like it or not, whether you acknowledge it or not. Game over, case closed, you lose.

  • 70. cag  |  June 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    restoredrob, so you are unable to provide evidence for your god. God does not exist, so there can’t be a son of god. All the bullshit from your authorities does not change anything, there is no god. Your refusal to provide irrefutable evidence for your god obviates the need to refute the fanfic nonsense that you cribbed off the internet. Without god there is no resurrection. Even if there were a god, the “evidence” you have provided is questionable. It is of the same value as that provided by the Discovery Institute.

    No god = no son of god, is that so hard for you to understand? Do not trumpet your “victory” until you have proven the existence of your god.

    Where is it, where is your evidence for god? Until you get over that hurdle, your posted cribbage means nothing. Game over, all right, but the victor is not you.

  • 71. restoredrob  |  June 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Can you read? I cited historians on the historicity of the resurrection! Are you obtuse, hard of reading? You have already conceded this debate.

    I provided historical evidence of the resurrection which as been authenticated by historians applying the standards historians use to test accts in order to verify or falsify accts as historical or not, and as I proved already, the resurrection is authenticated as an historical event. Case closed, you lost.

    So what dont you get? Denial is not refutation. The ‘la la la la la’ cant hear you defense doesnt work.

    So all you do is admit you cannot maturely and intelligently deal with the evidence so you just pretend it isnt there.

    You do realize you are making an ass of yourself publicly right?Brilliant.

  • 72. cag  |  June 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    restoredrob, what does it take to get through your thick scull that if there was no god, there was no son of god. I don’t care what quack historians, parroting each other, have to say about jesus if there is no proof of god. If there is no verifiable evidence for god it means that god does not exist. No god, no son of god. Quit slapping yourself on the back and instead give irrefutable evidence for god. You can’t, so you harp on some god smitten historians mistaken conclusions. They also failed to provide evidence for the existence of god. As the non existence of god would have made their work moot, they failed, as has every human that ever existed, failed to find a god that wasn’t imaginary.

    To repeat, if there is no god, the rest is just hot air. News flash, there is no god so any talk about a son of god is a non starter. You do not build a house by starting with the roof, you do not conjecture about the son of god if there is no god.

    Your and the historians you quote are presupposing the existence of god. That is not the sign of an honest thinker.

    Quit the ad hominem.

  • 73. restoredrob  |  June 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    First son, you dont have a choice here. You dont have a special exemption from logic and reason and evidence, nor do you set academic and scholastic standards nor do you have the ability to change logic. You, whether you like it or not are bound by these standards and the simple application of these standards refute you.

    Second, applying these academic standards and logic expose you as an ignorant, biased liar. As I already taught you, bias is a claim like any other, so you dont get to assert w/o evidence recognized, respected scholars in a field are quacks simply because you are ignorant and are desperate to avoid the evidence. This is called the begging the question logical fallacy. As well, your bias, ignorance and lies are exposed as several of the historians I have cited are not Christian! Further, not only must you prove bias, but your standard is biased. You dont get to assert that merely because a scholar is a Christian therefore they presuppose Christianity which influences their work, you must provide evidence from other experts in the field that this has happened. And your standard is also false because it is an arbitrary, self-derived standard experts in the field to not use. No historian says the personal beliefs of their peer automatically makes them biased, that is called the genetic fallacy. Then I can turn that on you, if you claim it works for you, then it works for me. I can say that any scholar/historian who doesnt believe in God is then necessarily biased against God and therefore their work is compromised. See…I can make the same claim with just as much legitimacy. So this is exposed as fallacious and illegitimate, you must prove bias and I cited non-Christians as well. So, again, game over. You are just pedantically making excuses with dishonest lies to avoid the evidence with which you cannot intelligently and maturely deal.

    You then reason in a circle. You have no evidence there is no God, you presuppose this based on your ignorance and biases use it as a premise from with to reason and your conclusion is inherent in your premise, the very definition of circular reasoning. As well, claiming there is no God is the universal negative logical fallacy, you cannot prove it. So you whole position is based on begging the question, reasoning in a circle and then denial of evidence based on begging the question of two types. Every premise of your position is a logical fallacy.

    Finally, this is not the ad hominem, learn something son, the ad hominem is refusal to address the arguments, evidence and logic given and instead to claim that the arguments and evidence have no merit because of a claimed character deficiency of the individual. I have not done that, I have exposed your ignorance, bias and lies on this subject because of the evidence, arguments and logic at hand. You lost and are again, just embarassing yourself.

  • 74. restoredrob  |  June 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    One other point cog, you cannot honestly and maturely deal with academic standards of historiography, the criteria of historiography used to test all accts for historicity so why would I bother presenting you with other evidences?

    The historically authenticated evidence of the resurrection establishes Jesus as God in flesh ending all debate that you have not and cannot deal with and so you lie and mischaracterize it with false attacks on the scholars many of which are not even Christian because you have absolutely no education and knowledge on this subject, nor them, your knowledge on this is abject poverty and so you knee-jerk out inane dishonest responses based on your emotions, ignorance and biases which are contradicted by the evidence, logic and reason.

    So when you cannot intelligently and maturely deal with some simple evidences already given you why should I cast pearls before swine and give you additional evidences that you will just lie about also? You will follow the same morally corrupt false methodology.

    You have proven you care not for the truth, are emotionally and irrationally based, so why would I waste my time present you more evidences and logic when you have proven yourself already incapable?

  • 75. cag  |  June 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    So present some logic, reason and evidence. Can’t you understand that if you can’t provide evidence for god than your jesus is just another lie. Until you provide evidence that god exists you have nothing. You have not built your foundation. You have not proven that your god exists. Your emperor has no clothes.

    Lovely roof you have there, too bad there is no foundation, floor or walls. You could have video of jesus walking about, but without there being a god (of which you have no proof) your jesus is just another snake oil salesman. It doesn’t matter what historians say about jesus if they haven’t got evidence that god exists.

    You have not responded to the god dilemma, just harping on what some historians repeat about jesus. Surely those historians have covered all the bases and have evidence for god. What, they have no evidence? What kind of fool would spend years researching a figment of the imagination?

    Evidence for god or shut up. You cannot claim truth if your argument is not based on accepted genealogical progression. The father has to exist before there can be a human son. The god has to exist before there is a son of god.

    Quit patronizing me and provide the irrefutable evidence for your god. Your argument requires the existence of your god. Without god you have nothing.

    Present your evidences and logic (logic does not make a god) for the undeniable existence of your god. Quit harping about what may have happened next. If you can’t provide evidence for god then anything you say about jesus can be ignored without prejudice. If you can’t provide evidence for god then everything you and the historians say about jesus is a lie and you are a liar.

  • 76. restoredrob  |  June 28, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Nothing but pedantic angst based emoting in response to clear evidence from recognized historians many of them not Christian.

    What part of

    1) The Gospels are proven to be eyewitness based accts dont you get. I posted the evidence, you could not deal with it, lied about the historians that you know nothing about and cannot present any evidence to back your claims.posted evidence from historians, do you not get?

    2) The Gospels as authenticated history testify to the resurrection and historians applying the same standards of historiography used to test all historical accts have proven the resurrection is authenticated history do you not get?

    3) You have no evidence to back your claims, all you do is emote, whine and lie about recognized sources you cannot refute.

    It appears that you crave attention, any attention even negative as that is the only reason anyone would act like you do. You are obviously what 18-21 at the most, uneducated and with a chip on your shoulder? The immature wounded adolescent angst bit is passe and just acknowledgement you cannot deal with the evidences honestly. So to satisfy you need for negative attention, gootchie-goo-goo cag, gootchie-goo-goo…feel better?

  • 77. cag  |  July 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    restoredrob, I see that you still haven’t provided any evidence for god. Until you do, don’t talk about its son. Historians disagree about lots of things, but until there is evidence for god, any god, anything about the consequences of that god can be dismissed without evidence.

  • 78. restoredrob  |  July 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Evidence acknowledge by non-Christian historians is not up for debate whether or not it is evidence. The Resurrection has been shown to be a historical event. You have nothing to counter with so you just deny it is evidence. Basically you are emoting in the fact of evidence and again, ‘nuh-uh’ is not refutation, it is denial. Your unqualified opinion in the face of historically recognized analysis, recognized by non-Christians, has no merit.

  • 79. cag  |  July 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    restoredbob, there are all kinds of people who are conspiracy theorists. That does not make them correct. As you are unwilling or unable to provide evidence for your god, anything beyond that point is speculation. Evidence has to have a foundation. The foundation for “the son of god” is god. If you can’t provide evidence for god then you have no foundation for anything else. There is no consensus among historians about jesus, so until there is unrefutable evidence for god, jesus is just a personal name.

    No god means any speculation about the life and death of jesus is just a thought experiment. I care not for any so called evidence that starts at the end and refuses to examine the beginning.

    There have never been any gods, and the fact that you are unable to provide any evidence for your god should tell you something. Come back when you have evidence for your god, until then quit harping about how I’m ignoring your “evidence”. I have told you why your quoting “historians” is meaningless if there is no god, so provide the missing piece or accept that your “evidence” has no foundation.

    Don’t write about how resplendent the emperor is in his new raiments when in fact he is naked.

  • 80. ubi dubium  |  July 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Restoredrob, I looked over this whole conversation, and I’m puzzled. Why do you even care whether Cag thinks your book is correct? You seem really really emotionally invested in proving it. So much so that you come on a deconversion blog to argue it at great length. Is the fact that some people think your book is a work of fiction a threat to your own faith?

    Do you go to Hindu and Jewish websites and do the same thing, since they don’t accept your book either? I know I certainly don’t go to xian websites to tell them everything they think is wrong, that would be rude. So why are you here?

  • 81. cag  |  July 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Ubi, the silly little theist known as restoredrob refuses to provide evidence for god, but thinks that his #78 is evidence for the resurrection. What he fails to understand is that atheist historians are not a confirmation of their fairy tale, but a refutation. If these historians considered the silly story to be true they would no longer be atheists. Their rejection of religion after rigorous study makes using them as support for the theist position ludicrous. Not surprising as the whole theist position is ludicrous.

  • 82. M  |  July 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    What is the greatest commandment? In the scriptures it says to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. To “know God” requires a love that includes our all. No one can depend upon the mind alone or any one of them without the balance of the others. People have always been overly interested in proving or disproving a certain belief and getting into endless intellectual debates. This kind of life pursuit misses out on the great potential we have as humans.

    Who else can we or do we love with all of our mind, heart, soul, and strength? Who is worthy of all our praise? We all will pass away, but His word and promises will live forever. What I’m trying to say is this. . .

    We can know God and we can know Jesus by so many Ways and methods. In seeking Jesus with everything I have, I have found that my heart is changing for the broken, my mind is filled with a redemptive attitude, my soul is awakened to the work of the holy spirit, and my strength is sustained when I am weak. I know Him because I have “tasted and I have seen.” I have seen the mystery of the Holy Spirit in action. I have seen the blind receive sight in His name. I have seen and experienced the wonder. I have personally experienced his power in me. In all of this, it has been by seeking him in spirit and in truth. When we seek the Holy Spirit we in fact are getting it all – Jesus and the Father.

    I guess my urge is to seek Jesus not with your mind alone, but with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength. The world doesn’t need a doctrine or democracy. We need a savior, a person and I have found him to be Jesus. So it would be my prayer for all of us to turn towards living a life with Jesus as our guide. Jesus was for the weak, the last, the losers, the broken, the peacemakers, and I’m a loser.

    Come Lord Jesus, Blessings to all – be filled

  • 83. ubi dubium  |  July 14, 2012 at 10:30 am

    M, you’ve got it all wrong! The greatest commandment is to sit in the most sincere pumpkin patch on Halloween night, and the Great Pumpkin will rise up and give toys to all the children who truly believe. I know this is true, because I read it in a BOOK, and because somebody who really really believed it told me it was true.

    Now take your fairy tales elsewhere.

  • 84. cag  |  July 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    M, if your imaginary friends can cure blindness, why are people still going blind, why is the “love” not reciprocated? Why are children starving to death, Why are children dying of malaria? Doesn’t this bother you? Your fairy friends are, according to the myth, capable of doing even more than the human mind can imagine, but won’t lift a finger to make the lives of millions of children tolerable. Is this not the definition of monsters? Your delusions do not, in any way, diminish the suffering of the dying children. Your delusions do not change reality.

    Thankfully neither your god or your jesus ever existed. There is not a shred of evidence for god. The bible makes claims for god but it argues in a circle, god exists because the bible says so – the bible is true because it is the word of god. Do you understand how this is not evidence? If I write a book that claims that I’m god because the book is my word, you would laugh at the ridiculousness. Those of us outside the delusion laugh at the ridiculousness of your so called evidence for both god and jesus. Try again.

  • 85. M  |  July 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I think the main point is that greater humanity should stop worrying about defending faith. Christianity is not the solution nor is any other faith. Living a life of trying to follow Jesus one step at a time is kind of it. There’s not much else to it. It’s not religous. Whether or not you believe in him is almost besides the point. First, just try to be like him. Don’t be religious about it.

    On the “world is full of evil comments”. . . While there are terrible things happening every day around us, we aren’t helpless or hopeless. In every situation we have so much power and authority to bring hope to others. We all share in this. We can start with people that we know who live on our streets or people in our work place. You don’t have to submit to any religion or set of rules to bring hope into the world. When religious people turn there backs on the hurting it is shameful. It’s not right. Jesus, thankfully, didn’t stand for this and shamed the religious who patted themselves on the back for their knowledge and their positions of power. He was angered by those who showed no mercy to the people suffering right in front of them.

    So while we can’t do it ALL ourselves, we can still breathe life into situations around us by following the examples of Jesus. Jesus is a signpost for the hope of the world.

  • 86. cag  |  July 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    M, Luke 14-26. You can walk around the middle east in your sandals all you want. As for me, I do not hate my life, my parents or my siblings. Also, I exist. I have never cursed a fig tree in my life. I have condemned slavery.

    If I was omnipotent, there would be no misery in the world, no disease, no illness, no wars, no superstition. Someone claiming to have the power to improve everyone’s life and then does nothing is just another liar, not someone to emulate.

    Jesus over promises and never delivers. Matthew 17:20. I have never promised anyone that they can move mountains with faith. Your jesus has nothing to offer me or anyone else.

  • 87. M  |  July 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Cag, I’d love to hear your story. What has shaped you and what have you experienced? Thanks for being so honest.

  • 88. cag  |  July 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    M, I was born 70 years ago to a superstitious mother and an unbelieving father. As a child I read Greek mythology and such. It made me realize that what is written is not necessarily true, sometimes it is just the imaginings of some author. It made me read with a degree of questioning, rather than accepting, if something is true. I was always interested in science and astronomy, so when I cracked open a bible and read that, according to the “inerrant” word of “god”, the earth was created before any other object in the universe, I was 100% sure that the bible was a work of fiction. All it took was the first 10 words, from that point on the bible was irredeemable. Having an understanding of the relative sizes of the earth versus the universe made the biblical lie that the christian god spent 5 days creating the earth and 1 day creating the rest of the universe a laughable lie. I knew then that I could not trust the bible as a guide to anything and that all the cults that the bible generated were just some scam artists vehicle to power and control.

    Looking back at the history of christianity, it became obvious that Constantine used it as a controlling mechanism. A religion that reveres leaders will naturally create followers who will look up to leaders of any stripe. Very useful in controlling a rebellious populace. Further analysis of the inquisitions and threats of the church made me realize that christianity did not thrive on reason but on fear. To avoid having their children killed by the church, parents would indoctrinate their offspring to be believers. This was so successful that for generations even unto this day, parents are lying to their children just as they were lied to by their parents. Having realized that all religions are false and all gods are imaginary, it was no great challenge to realize that christianity, islam, hinduism, judaism and all other cults have nothing to offer.

    Every time that I pay taxes there is the disgusting fact confronting me that part of those taxes are being paid to offset the taxes that superstition peddling institutions are being exempted from. These are the institutions that strive to keep humans ignorant of reality in favor of the lies in the bible. Many churches promote creationism / intelligent design because of the lies in the bible. They actively dissuade their parishioners from learning what science has revealed. I have to, in good conscience and according to my ability, oppose such stifling of human intellect in support of superstitious nonsense.

    Finding the bible less than truthful makes me reject the christian god just as I reject the Roman gods, the Greek gods, the Norse gods, the Egyptian gods and all other gods. There is nothing about the christian god that is more compelling than any other god. As such, the idea of jesus as the “son of god” makes no sense to me as there never was a god.

    I have no god or jesus to excuse me if I make a mistake. I have to live my life knowing that there is no one else to blame if I make a mistake. That makes me cautious about how I act, but it does not make me look for an out, such as absolution.

    I bow to no gods, I do not pray, I am disgusted by “royalty” and am baffled by why anyone would belong to or give money to any religious organization. I accept that after I die, I will be dead, no afterlife, no soul, no heaven, no hell just oblivion. Just because a fairy tale is comforting does not make it true. The bible with its mass genocides such as the flood, stoning to death for trivial actions, support for slavery, maulings by bears, general misogyny and all manner of brutality is not a comforting fantasy, but it is a fantasy.

    That’s the short form of why I do not buy into the big lie.

  • 89. M  |  July 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks cag. Out of all of that, the thing I question most is your age!

  • 90. cag  |  July 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    M #89 Interesting. What makes you think I am not 70? It is a good thing (for me) that IBM Canada accepted my age as 50 in 1992 when they offered a buyout to anyone who was 50 or over. It is also a good thing (for me) that the Canadian government has been sending me my Old Age Pension for the last 5 years. It is a good thing (for me) that the British Columbia government arbitrarily retired me Jan. 31, 2007 so that I could get my old job back as a contractor on Feb. 1, 2007 with a substantial raise (but no benefits). I’m fully retired now and enjoying the experience.

    I hope that you are not making assumptions about older people that they are all delusional and clinging to god as they get closer to death. Richard Dawkins is my age, so is Stephen Hawking. Not all of us can suspend our reality to accept the absurdity of religion.

    My wish for my last words would be for some goddist standing over me in an attempt to administer last rites and telling him/her to “bugger off you miserable fraud and take your delusions with you”, only my words would be a little more explicit and contain an action which would require extreme flexibility.

  • 91. M  |  July 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    You have quite the story then to share, my friend. In your life time, have you been motivated out of love or anger? I pick anger because your comments have that feeling behind them. But, i suppose anger could be out of love so maybe love is the answer. In that case, you actually might be the most loving person I’ve known. Well, if you are motivated by love, then God I ask that you keep it coming. Fill Mr. Cag with love overflowing. Blessings to you today. No need to reply.

  • 92. Anonymous  |  July 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Cag and Ubi are pedants arguing from ignorance and emotion, like glassy eyed-cultists who dont care about the truth, evidence or being logical. They are atheotards, atheopaths, religious zealots for atheism using the exact same methodology as scientology, Jim Jones and the cults. They are simply exercising blind faith in their beliefs that they cannot prove which have been disproven.

    In their stupidity and ignorance they have no clue what the historical and archaeological evidences are and can only mock and deny what they do not understand. Even though the evidences presented they couldnt directly address at all, because it was so far over their heads it isnt funny, they still stupidly and childlessly just keep repeating their glassy-eyed mantra, ‘there is no God, there is no God’ not knowing that 1) This is the Universal Negative logical fallacy, 2) It is begging the question and circular reasoning and 3) Has been ovewhelmingly and easily refuted.

    And once again, an argument unrefuted or unrebutted in logic and argumentation is necessarily conceded. Cag and Ubi could not and did not deal with the evidences and arguments provided. In their puerility and ignorance they think that denial is refutation, it isnt. So the inarguable fact remains, the historical case was made using the same historiographic criteria and methodology used for all ancient history and with research from non-Christian historians and Cag and Ubi in their willful and inexcusable ignorance could only say, ‘nuh-uh’ and then lie about the evidence and historians claiming they are all Christians which just proves their ignorance and bias.

    So keep denying Cag and Ubi, all you are doing is emotioning and attention seeking, even negative attention so let’s give you what you want, gootchie-goo-goo Cagie and Ubi, gootchie-goo-goo…feel better?

  • 93. ubi dubium  |  July 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Let’s see, an anonymous troll, throwing around some ad hominems, a few big words, and a complete lack of evidence for the existence of any god. Yawn. How is it attention seeking for deconverts to comment on a blog for deconverts? Go back to your church, whoever you are, and enjoy your kool-aid.

  • 94. Anonymous  |  July 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    So M, you do your think I am doing mine by holding pedants accountable for their pedantry, holding them accountable to the same standards of evidence and logic that we all are, secular, pagan and Christian. They dont care they violate this, they think their emotionsl are self-evident truth that requires no evidence so anyone who disagrees with them is stupid, uneducated or deluded while in fact, they are the glassy eyed ignorant zealots. My mission here M is to destroy lofty speculations and arguments against the knowledge of God and I have done so easily exposing the lies, willful ignorance, childishness of the claims against Christianity here. And the only responses are not based on logic, evidence or reason but on puerile emotions. Glassy eyed, hypocritical, religious, intellectually stunted, emotionally wounded, willfully ignorant pedantic atheism. They are products of their environment, the new atheist crowd that even the intellectual elite amongst atheists regards with scorn and derision.

  • 95. ubi dubium  |  July 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    More anonymous insults? Somehow our very existence here seems to threaten you, Mr/Ms Anonymous. Is your faith so weak that you must lash out in anger against any who do not share it? I thought christianity taught “love thy neighbor”. Maybe you should go read that part of your book again.

    M, thank you for asking real questions instead of just preaching. That’s how better communication gets started, and that is always appreciated.

  • 96. Anonymous  |  July 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Not anonymous Ubi, I simply forgot to sign in. First son, learn some logic. The ad hominem is to ignore the evidences and arguments given and to try to get others to do so by using a red herring fallacy , and beg the question by making a claim against the persons character. I have not done that. Exposing your and scags ignorance and bias on the evidence and argument by holding you two accountable to the evidences and logic is the opposite of the ad hominem. Your claim is like a liar who is exposed claiming the person is mean for presenting the evidence proving they lied making them liars in the attempt to ignore the proof that they lied!

    And no these are not big words, they are standard logic and terms of logic. You just again demonstrate your ignorance.

    So you can keep denying in glassy eyed ignorance and zealotry all you want, you have refuted already. Repeating a refuted position doesnt magically rehabilitate it again. What part of the Resurrection is demonstrated by the same criteria used to authenticate any ancient acct dont you get? So claiming their is no evidence for God when you cannot deal with some simple historical evidences given, simple evidences you dont even understand, does not refute those evidences. What part of denial is not refutation dont you and scag get? So, again, you only have one logical option and that is to deal with the historical evidences given demonstrating with the same methodology historians apply to all ancient accts to determine historicity, continual denial as predicted just exposes your ignorance and inacpability to be mature. So every time you say ‘nuh-uh’ to the historical evidence of the Resurrection, you fulfill predictions that you cannot deal with it and prove what I am saying every time. So go ahead, say ‘you haven given any evidences of your God’ Ubi, repeat it, it’s your glassy eyed mantra, say it over and over, you fulfill the prediction that this is all you can say, because you are willfully and inexcusably ignorant of this, and that is what pedants do when they cannot deal with the evidences that they know nothing about, just deny and mock in ignorance. You and scag are utterly predictable in your pedantry and ignorance. So say it again, ‘you havent given any evidences of your God.’ Yep I see now, because you repeat your mantra mindlessly, that logically and evidentially deals with the historical evidences on the Resurrection refuting you. Say it again, mock in ignorance some more, ‘you have not presented any evidence of your God.’ Anyone reading this can see you do this because you cannot deal with the historiographic evidence of the Resurrection so you just try the ‘la la la la la’ cannot hear you there is no evidence of your God’ the Jr High approach. So go ahead deny it again, and then the proper response becomes, ‘gootchie-goo-goo Ubi and Scag, gootchie-goo-goo.’

  • 97. ubi dubium  |  July 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    It’s good manners, “son”, to sign in. It’s good manners not to assume the gender of the person you are talking to without some clue as to what it is. You are barging into a deconversion website like a drug dealer trying to sell their pills at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, and it’s uncommonly rude.

    I don’t respond to trolls who do nothing to add to the conversation, and just throw insults. I’m unsubscribing from this comment thread and will not respond to Mr. Anonymous any further. Cag, I hope you’ll do the same.

  • 98. cag  |  July 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Ubi, anon is just that idiot restoredrob who has no evidence for god and fails to understand that you can’t build an argument by starting in the middle. rr is such an idiot that he thinks that millions of children dying from diseases that a god who could eliminate all human misery with a wave of its hand but does nothing is just and loving.

    Amazing isn’t it that this god who wants our adoration only appears to those who are already adoring. Talk about preaching to believers. Wouldn’t it make more sense for this love starved god to appeal to those who are unbelievers, but no, just to the suckups.

    The resurrection has no meaning if there is no god. rr, until you prove that god exists, the rest is just verbiage. rr has not figured out that if historians “researching” jesus and the resurrection remain atheists, the “evidence” is less than compelling.

    Until there is evidence for god, belief in god is just wishful thinking. You talk about ignorance, rr. How about providing evidence for any god, something that has evaded theologians for all of written history.

  • 99. M  |  July 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Debating. . . Debating at it’s core is about arriving at a winner & a loser: Someone is always shamed, people become emotionally invested, and usually say things out of context. So, I think a blog like this unfortunately has that potential. I personally feel that there is no reason to feel a need to defend Jesus. I think the approach does more harm than good.

    So my question is this, what is one de-converting from? It may be from religiosity, it might be from extremism, it might be from people that see things as black and white, it might be from legalism. . . But, It’s hard to fathom that one can “find” Jesus and then decide one day that maybe in the end they didn’t “find” him. I put that in quotes because can we really put Jesus in a box? We dont “have” him. So how can we “lose” him. Also, we all have our own lense of seeing the world and typically we all feel that our way is the right way. In most cases, people have never drawn close to or experienced a personal relationship with Jesus, but instead we sign up for something that we really don’t know much about and then when it turns out to be something that we don’t like we leave.

    So Jesus, he didn’t come to set up some exclusive religion for the “right” kind of people, he didnt come to make us become “Christians”, he didn’t come to give us all the right answers to the most challenging theological questions. I believe that he came to “dwell” among us and “draw” us to him so that we would seek Him in all that we do. In doing that, we become more like him (we’re for others first when our natural inclination is to think of us first), we ask Jesus to restore the world around us by using us to “make things right” (Jesus was for restoration & taught how to pray for healing, to care for the needy, and to stand up for justice), and finally which to me is where a lot of people get hung up, through him we experience the “new creation” after we leave the earth.

    Now, to me arguing about salvation and life after death is close to pointless. Who even knows about it? Instead, living a life that brings a taste of heaven to earth is much more in line with what Jesus had in mind for all of us. So, there isn’t much of a need to defend Jesus and there isn’t much need for asking others to believe something that they don’t believe in. That’s the “crazy cycle”. Let’s find out what really makes us tick. Why are we who we are? What is it, really, that is drawing someone into a de-conversion mindset? Whether or not we “believe” in Jesus, how can we be more like him? Sorry this was so long!

  • 100. M  |  July 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Also, to agree with Cag, let’s put our faith in God to do the converting, not each other. We tend to get in the way too often. Cag, whether or not you believe it, I’m for you and I believe Jesus is too. Sometimes you do have to simply ask for it. It’s mysterious to me. Have a good day

  • 101. cag  |  July 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    It is amazing to me that a fairy tale can take over the minds of so many humans. This is not a debate, it is truth versus wishful thinking. There is no evidence for god, which makes any discussion of jesus as useful as discussing Superman or Paul Bunyan.

    Putting your faith in god to do the converting seems to be a foolish thing. How has it worked so far? Able to create anything but unable to convince more than half of the world’s population of its mere existence. Not very impressive.

    Living my life according to a fairy tale is not for me. I’ll pass on the slavery, misogyny, stoning to death of disrespectful children, stoning to death for a variety of petty offences and mass genocide. The only comfort I get from the bible is the relief I feel in knowing that it is just the most awful, crappy book ever assembled, and I don’t believe any of the bullshit that it contains. My morals are not grounded in killing the children and domestic animals of the Amalekites. My morals do not include killing all the men, boys and non-virgin women but keeping the virgins for my amusement. My morals do not prevent me from eating shrimp or pork. My morals do not prevent me from wearing poly-cotton.

    I reject vehemently the warped “morals” of the bible. I reject the bible as anything but a sadistic mishmash of text without any significance to modern life. I have no use for the family values in the bible. I reject wholeheartedly the love in the bible. I have no problem rejecting the bible as anything but the product of a group of control freaks codeifying their method for subjugating the masses. I reject the bible, which is the “proof” of jesus, therefore I accept jesus as being just as real as Betty Crocker.

  • 102. restoredrob  |  July 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Wrong M, debate is a method to test claims for truth. The evidence is analyzed using logic to arrive at sound or successful conclusions. And there is only one truth so categorizing it as win-lose is a misfocus, yes the truth will win, but the important thing is it is the truth that has been verified by testing. That is what the scientific method does, it refuses to accept a hypothesis as valid until it survives attempts to falsify it. Debate uses hypothesis testing as it’s main paradigm.

    Christianity tells us to ‘test all things hold fast that which is good’ in 1 Thess 5:19-22.

    God told us in Isaiah 1:18, ‘Come let us reason together though your sins are scarlet they shall be as white as snow.’

    We are told to test those who claim to be prophets and apostles in Duet 13, 18 and Revelations 3.

    In Acts 17, the Bereans were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica because they tested what Paul told them while the Thessalonians w/o testing, just outright denied Paul based on their ignorance just like cag and ubi do

    That’s why cag et al have no clue what they are talking about, they are glassy eyed fanatics who are ignorant of the facts, evidence and logic, instead they have the biased a priori presuppositions based on their emotions and keep childishly repeating, ‘there is no God therefore there can be no evidence for God’ and when clear indisputable evidence is provided even from non-Christian historians they lie in their ignorance and claim ‘those are just biased Christians’ etc.

    You are not doing anyone any good by enabling them. There is a point at which Christians hold scoffers accountable. Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees liars and snakes in Matthew 23, Paul said of the Judaizers who tried to add circumcision onto salvation, ‘I hope the knife slips.’

    So there is a point at which pedantry is rebuked. We are to destroy speculations against the knowledge of God in 2 Corinthians 10:5 and punish disobedience:

    ” 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

    Cag and ubi are simply emotionally wounded, intellectually stunted adolescents who are here to express their angst in their inexcusable ignorance. They have been easily refuted and cannot even begin to respond to the historical evidences of the Resurrection verified by secular methodology that historians apply to ancient accts to authenticate them.

    All they do is predictable, they are ignorant, uneducated and simply deny and even when this is exposed and predicted they cannot stop, they just keep on denying because they have nothing else, their positions are based on their emotions which are refuted by the evidences already presented. So all they will keep doing is pedantically repeating, ‘there is no God, there is no evidence for God’ in their glassy eyed, ignorant zeal. They are atheist zealots, products of their environment, incapable of not being products of their environment. They dont use logic and reason, they are ignorant of the facts and evidences.

    So, winning the debate here, which has already been done and conceded, logic demands that,evidence unrefuted, arguments unrebutted are necessarily considered conceded and cag and ugi, could not and did not deal with the historical evidences of the Resurrection which is simply the truth which has been verified. So recognize that cag and ubi are not here for the truth, but to scoff in ignorance. They crave negative attention, so give them what they want. Hey cag and ubi, ‘gootchie-goo-goo, gootchie-goo-goo.’ There ya go, you got what you want, feel better?

  • 103. cag  |  July 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    restoredrob the ignorant, why do you refuse to provide evidence for your god? Could it be that there is no evidence for your god? Nothing in the bible that you quote means anything if you cannot prove the existence of your god. The resurrection which you love to harp on is meaningless without evidence for god. You’ve made the extraordinary claim about the son of god, a claim that falls apart if there is no evidence for god. Quit your childish whining and claims of victory and come up with the evidence. Until you do, your infantile blather and ad hominem attacks are just indicative of the emptiness of your blather.

    How many children has your god killed today? None, because there is no god.

  • 104. restoredrob  |  July 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Yep, scag, begging for more negatived attention, gootchie-goo-goo scag, gootchie-goo-goo. You are utterly predictable, you have already conceded this debate whether you like it or not and whether you acknowledge it or not. Game over, case closed, you lost. What part of denial is not refutation do you not understand? The Resurrection is historically verified, making it the evidence for God genius. Unintelligently going ‘nuh-uh’ doesnt change that, it only makes you look stupid. You have not because you cannot deal with the evidence. You had no clue about it until I cited it for you. Deal with it. Logically, you only have one avenue and that is to refute the evidence given that the Resurrection is a historically authenticated event, but you cannot. So instead you just pedantically repeat your glassy eyed atheist zealot mantra, ‘there is no evidence of God, there is no evidence of God’ as if your denial makes the historical evidence given magically disappear. Even when predicted and exposed you cannot help yourself and continue to expose and display your stupidity and ignorance scag. All you can do is pathetically repeat as predicted, ‘there is no evidence for God’ when all you are doing is ignoring evidence you cannot refute. What part of the Resurrection is, according to secular methodology and standards, historically verified evidence that Jesus was God in the flesh do you not understand?

    So you can keep being a pathetic idiot, stupidly repeating, ‘there is no God, therefore there can be no evidence for God’ which changes nothing, the fact is you have been given evidence you cannot deal with so you just lie and claim it doesnt exist. Historians including non-Christian historians disagree with you. Grow up. Learn something. Being an intellectually stunted, emotionally wounded adolescent atheist who confuses his angst for a valid position is no way to go through life son.

    So go ahead, beg for more negative attention, repeat your emotion based, a priori bias mantra of ignorance, ‘there is no evidence of God, there is no evidence of God. I can reply gootchie-goo-goo scag, gootchie-goo-goo all nite.

  • 105. cag  |  July 18, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    restoredrob, you pathetic little child, still unable to provide evidence for your god. What has the resurrection got to do with anything if there is no god. Are you so stupid that you can’t understand that your god is the main character. If there is no god then there is no play. No amount of “evidence” for any resurrection will overcome the lack of a god. You, in your childish way, refuse to provide the necessary evidence for god, harping on something that fades in the absence of god. I have no need or desire to refute that which requires the existence of god, if the existence of god is not proven.

    Can you not understand that if non christian historians actually accepted the resurrection that they would then become believers. The lack of belief by these individuals makes your cut and paste efforts an exercise in futility.

    None of your stuff works without evidence for your god. Come back when you have that evidence, not a moment before. Your resurrection crap does not need refuting as the prerequisite condition, the existence of god, has not been proved. Your answer does not match the question. It is up to you to provide the evidence for god, not me. You haven’t even come near on the god issue, you are presupposing god, which I do not accept. You are acting in a most childish way.

    So where is the evidence for god? It appears that you have none. I’m stating the fact that you have not provided evidence for your god. I’m offering you the opportunity to provide that evidence, but you refuse to do so. Shut up about the resurrection till you have overcome the main hurdle.

    So put up or shut up you condescending twit. I’m not the one who believes fervently in an imaginary friend, a friend for whom you have no evidence.

  • 106. restoredrob  |  July 19, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Gootchie-goo-goo scag, gootchie-goo-goo. Still trolling for negative attention? Feel better child?

    You lost already, game over, case closed. In logic, reason, argumentation and debate failure to deal with the evidences and arguments given is to concede and you have already conceded this debate. Pedantic denial doesnt change this. You dont decide what is and isnt evidence so your glassy eyed, blind faith, emotion based denial just reveals your ignorance and bias. Historical evidence of the Resurrection given using secular historiographical standards which you know nothing about, have never heard of in your ignorance so you just stupidly deny. And learn something else, look up the universal negative logical fallacy, your denial is not only just pedantic, pathetic ignorance and bias but is a classical logical fallacy. And not only the universal negative logical fallacy, it’s classical question begging and circular reasoning. So at a minimum you have committed at least three logical fallacies and debate concession with one glassy eyed mantra repetition. And just as predicted you stupidly cannot deal with the evidence, historical evidence you knew nothing about so you just idiotically deny. Learn something child, denial is not refutation. Even when your pedantic, ignorant, glassy eyed responses are predicted, refuted you mindlessly repeat them. Go ahead, be predictable and expose your adolescent atheist angst based on your emotions and bias, say it again, ‘there is no God, therefore there can be no evidence of God.’

    Gootchie-goo-goo scag, gootchie goo-goo. Grow up. Ignorant, lazy, biased and uneducated is no way to go through life son.

  • 107. cag  |  July 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    rr, you make fatuous claims that secular historians support your delusions about the resurrection. You have used Gerd Ludemann as justification for your ludicrous claim. Ludemann started out his examinations of jesus as a christian and the results turned him into an atheist. Rather sloppy work on your part. Quote mining other atheist historians to make them appear to support your fantasy doesn’t ring true as they did not get down on their knees and beg for forgiveness. If all these historians had abandoned their atheism and converted to christianity then there would be something to consider, not accept unreservedly, but consider. As this did not happen, these historians rejected the resurrection. For further refutations of your silly hypothesis, please check out this extensive debunking.

  • 108. LOL  |  February 21, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Wow cag is a moron.

  • 109. gratis fickkontakte  |  September 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

    It’s wonderful thaat you arre gettijg thoughts from this article as well as
    from our discussion made at this place.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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