Saturday, April 11, 2009

Atheist Indoctrination at its Worst

Being Easter and all, it’s time for atheists to once again parade their lies and misinformation for the willing and eager ignorant to absorb. I met up with, I think it was a mother, on an Australian anti-religion blog. Here, she and her atheist friends were expressing their “outrage” that if their children wished to opt out of religious instruction, they had to clean up the environment around the schoolyard. I guess the environment is on its own in Australia. At any rate her child must have elected to stay in one of these classes and it’s his and his mother’s comments that drew my attention.

In fact, I wish to comment on a particularly egregious example of what I think borders on child abuse. In this example, which she proudly displayed for all the world to see, this atheist brags how her “precocious” child rudely, obnoxiously and condescendingly challenged a religious instructor at school. Why would he do this? Does he speak this way with all his instructors? Of course not. The only reason for the child’s disgusting behaviour appears to be that he had been trained to devalue, degrade and distrust people who hold religious beliefs, regardless of their level of education. This child who can only have been indoctrinated at home with misinformation, boldly asked his Christian teacher what it’s like to believe something that is simply copied from earlier myth. The child was referring to the “resurrection” of Osiris and says that the myth of Jesus’ resurrection is a counterfeit of this earlier legend. The parent, the author of this blog is actually proud of what’s been done to this child’s mind.

So what’s wrong with what this parent has taught the child? Well, I’m going to assume that any reader already knows the historical facts surrounding Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This may not be the case with Osiris. In all probability, any atheist who makes similar statements is simply repeating what s/he has heard on YouTube or similar source material i.e., Christianity has copied earlier resurrected god stories.

First of all, the ancient Egyptian cult of Osiris is the ONLY account of a god who regained life after death that predates Christianity. All others, that have anything minutely resembling Jesus’ resurrection postdate the beginning of Christianity by a minimum of 150 years.

Second, the story of Osiris relates how Osiris is chopped into fourteen pieces by his brother and is scattered throughout Egypt. Isis went around Egypt, collected the chopped up body parts and put Osiris back together with all but one piece. The Zombified thirteen piece Osiris then descends to rule the underworld.

And that, according to atheists, is the story which Christianity carefully copied. This is the information that this atheist parent passed on to the son so that he could proudly and arrogantly challenge his teacher. What this atheist parent doesn’t know, or doesn’t care to know is the fact that she didn’t become a bigot because she misinterpreted the facts of the story. She misinterpreted the facts because she’s already a bigot.

For what it’s worth, when I posted this corrective information about Osiris on her blog, my comment was deleted. After all, how can atheist bigotry survive if truth is allowed to leak out.

Fourth, virtually all aspects of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are nowhere near similar to events described in ancient myths. For example:

- Attis and Adonis were killed by a wild boar. The story of Adonis didn't arrive until AD 400.

- Osiris was torn to pieces by Typhon-Seth

- Dionysus-Zagreus was torn apart by the Titans

- Aesculapius was struck by lightning

- Vacchus, Herculies rode to heaven on the horse Pegasus

- Ariadne is now a star

- Not one of these examples contains even the hint of a resurrection. This is especially true of Osiris. Why? The Egyptians had no concept of bodily resurrection. All of these myths are repetitive, symbolic respresentations of the death and rebirth of vegetation. These are not historical figures, and none of their deaths were intended to provide salvation.

- In ancient romance literature, the hero was always saved at the last moment to make for a happy ending.

- Even “The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviours” is roundly condemned by atheist scholars as undependable fiction. That is, it’s condemned by all but those on the lunatic fringe of which this parent may very well be a member.

- Finally, the cult of Isis did not even exist in the part of Palestine in which Christianity had its beginning. It existed in Egypt. Therefore the idea that it was copied is foolishness.

Again, all other god myths that resemble the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in any way, didn’t even make their appearance until at least 150 years after the beginning of Christianity. Well, at least this blogger’s little darling will be trained in atheist bigotry from an experienced teacher, his own parent.

21 comments:

VeridicusX said...

"Well, I’m going to assume that any reader already knows the historical facts surrounding Jesus’ life, death and resurrection."

Excellent, historical facts.
Please let me have the links or point me to where these facts are published.

Verifiable, physical evidence plus reasoned logic - the kind that doesn't violate the rules of coherence and consistency - is all it will take for me, (and I suspect most other unbelievers), to reconsider my agnostic-atheist position and take the Bible Jesus seriously.

Of course, I will still think that is is right for this mother to protect her children's minds and futures from crazy religious ideas, gullibility and the sneering contempt for reason and evidence displayed by most religion.

Makarios said...

Does it mean anything at all to you that most historical scholars, including most atheist historical scholars believe Jesus to be a real historical figure?

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
. Why do we have multiple, independent, extra Biblical sources attesting to the risen Jesus?
. Why do we have virtually unanimous modern historical scholarship agreeing that the disciples truly believed they saw Jesus alive after His death on the cross.
. Why would atheist historian and New Testament critic Gerd Ludemann say, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”
. Why would atheist historian Paula Fredriksen say, “I don’t know what they saw, but as a historian I know they believed they saw Jesus.”
. Why would highly critical New Testament scholar Rudolf Bultmann agree that historical criticism can establish “the fact that the first disciples came to believe in the resurrection and that they thought they had seen the risen Jesus."
. Why would atheist and founder of the Jesus Seminar state, “The Jesus was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be” if Jesus wasn’t a historical figure?

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this doesn’t make sense. Why would the enemies of Christianity affirm the historical facts regarding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus if the evidence isn’t accurate and compelling?

True, there are some on the lunatic fringe who deny the historicity of Jesus but they deny the holocaust as well. Why would you want to join forces with them?

VeridicusX said...

I should point out my stance in regards to "faith".

I have vowed to build my life on knowledge not beliefs.
I am committed to personal, moral and intellectual courage and integrity. Therefore, I am an iconoclast. No gods, or fears or hopes will turn me from the love of the truth and of freedom.

Freedom of thought.
Freedom of opinion.
Freedom of speech.
Freedom of choice.
Freedom of action.

This freedom to love and live the truth is non-negotiable.

What is Truth?
Truth is Reality. Truth is conformity to Actuality. Truth is Life, The Universe and Everything.

I think that beliefs are necessary for children because they need to rely on adults as sources of protection and information. But, now that I am an adult, I am a source of information that people may come to rely on in the world, so I have an ethical duty to practice agnosticism. Moreover, beliefs determine behavior. Beliefs have consequences.

I seek to draw conclusions where possible. If there is insufficient verified information to draw a conclusion, I assign a probability to the information or suspend judgement.

Wherever possible I will answer my questions and I will question my answers.

I will form no conscious beliefs, neither will I prevent my mind from forming beliefs based on the quality of information available. And even though I allow nature to take her course in the formation of beliefs, I will practice metacognition and identify and assign probabilities to those natural beliefs based on physical evidence and reasoned logic.

How can I know what is true?
By depending on these principles:

1) Experience is how we encounter truth.
2) Truth is consistent with itself.
3) Reason is how we know the truth.
4) Reality is the only arbiter of truth.


I have vowed to build my life on knowledge not beliefs.

VeridicusX said...

"Does it mean anything at all to you that most historical scholars, including most atheist historical scholars believe Jesus to be a real historical figure?"

"... there are some on the lunatic fringe who deny the historicity of Jesus but they deny the holocaust as well. Why would you want to join forces with them?"

Actually, I think that it is probable that there was an historical Jesus. (I don't think that a denial of the historicity of Jesus entails denial of the holocaust though).

". Why do we have multiple, independent, extra Biblical sources attesting to the risen Jesus?"

If this information exists I would like to be pointed in its direction.

". Why would atheist historian and New Testament critic Gerd Ludemann say, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”"

It may be taken as historically certain but it would be wrong to do so. It is not possible to attain an historical certainty of the contents of this statement.

". Why would atheist and founder of the Jesus Seminar state, “The Jesus was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be” if Jesus wasn’t a historical figure?"

A crucified rabbi in no way entails a magical Jesus, (in fact it points away from this conjecture because a magical Jesus could just use his magic to prevent them from killing him).

"Without the resurrection being historical fact, this doesn’t make sense. Why would the enemies of Christianity affirm the historical facts regarding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus if the evidence isn’t accurate and compelling?"

We must remember that "Historical Certainty" is not the sort of evidence that is admissible in court. Unless you have knowledge of historical sources that are not generally known, *none* of the persons quoted *or* their sources constitute admissible evidence, because they are all hearsay.

I've been to religious meetings where the leader has quoted Jesus saying, "... Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst." But Jesus wasn't there when I looked around.
In the Book of Acts Shaul/Paul "sees The Risen Christ", but those with him don't.
Stephen, the "first martyr" sees "heaven open" and "Jesus standing on the right hand of God", but those executing him don't. Not to mention that the Biblical cosmology is provably false - the sky is not a dome with windows and with stars embedded in it.
Oral Roberts "saw" a 900ft Jesus, (who, incidentally, was blackmailing him), but no-one else seems to have noticed.

The hypothesis which best fits the facts is that there was some gnostic, Midrashic or mystery practice, (or drugs), which led to some non-literal or subjective "seeing" of "The Risen Christ".

Before I could draw the conclusions that you have drawn, I would need to see *real* facts and weigh the probabilities to confirm that they conform to themselves and to wider reality.

David Hume said, "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be an even greater miracle than the fact which it endeavours to establish."

So far I have not seen or heard any facts which do not constitute hearsay and the world tested likelihood of someone rising from the dead currently stands at billions to one against and rising.

What is needed are facts and reasoned evidence, the plausible denial of which would require a miracle.
To accept the improbable gospel stories on less than that would constitute an abdication of moral responsibility and gullibility of the highest order.

Makarios said...

While we still disagree with "the universe is everything" (and that perhaps because I just don't understand what you're saying) (please don't try explaining further - for now) I am VERY impressed with the reply that contains that particular statement.

Is that yours, or did you adopt it from another writing? Either way, I like it, and believe it or not, I try to live by the same. I spent over a decade weighing the evidence for Jesus. Of course I came to a conclusion that you would not accept but I did not make it lightly.

Anyhow, I have understood your reply to be a request for information regarding the life, death and particularly the resurrection of Jesus. It's long. Not as long as it could be if I included all the extra Biblical quotes. Still, it's long. If you wish. I will include the actual quotes. So, without further delay -

Absolutely none of what you’re about to read has anything to do with the Bible being inspired or infallible or any other trappings of religion. These are historical facts attested to by the vast majority of secular, atheist and Christian historical scholars.

The reason that I’m not using the documents that were later compiled into what we now know as the New Testament is of course, atheists have a double standard when it comes to judging ancient documents.

Something that critics seem to forget is that the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life as well as Acts of the Apostles and the other letters that are included in the New Testament weren’t written FOR inclusion into the Bible. What are now part of the Bible were once independent documents circulating throughout the Christian and non Christian community. These guys weren’t journalists working for something like, “Bible Magazine.” The documents that were compiled into what we know today as the New Testament were separate ancient documents, written by people who were interested in the life of Jesus. Some had been followers of or students of Jesus. Others, like Dr. Luke were historians.

These people had no idea that what they’d written would one day become part of the biggest and most important movement in history.

As I said before, while there will always be those on the lunatic fringe who attempt to deny historical facts (eg. holocaust), to deny that there is extra Biblical factually accurate information regarding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus requires that you be either profoundly ignorant or a determined liar and most importantly, you must lie to yourself about what is factually and historically true.

Because of the way that you've determined to live your life, I know that you wouldn't want to do that.

Something that needs to be asked is, Why would the following have occurred if the facts of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection weren’t as described? There is absolutely no sustainable reason for the following historical events to have occurred unless the essential facts of Jesus death and resurrection are true.

If Jesus didn’t die on the cross:
Why would Josephus, Matthew, Tacitus, Mark, Lucian of Samosata, Dr. Luke, Mara Bar-Serapion, John, The Babylonion Talmud and John Dominic Crossan, the Founder of the “Jesus Seminar” all attest that Jesus’ crucifixion is historical fact? And why would that be when all but Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are non Christians?

If Jesus didn’t die on the cross, why would these historians and scholars write that He did? Why would they simply invent these stories? There was/is absolutely nothing of earthly value to be gained by concocting this as a lie.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
. Why would all the disciples, plus hundreds and hundreds of others believe that they saw Him alive?
. Why would they say that they spoke with Him?
. Why would they say that they ate with Him at various times and various places?
There is not a shred of evidence for drug use of cultic rituals being a probable cause. Hallucinations do not travel in groups. They are highly individualistic.
. If none of that is true, why would these people be willing to die for supposedly making up the lie of seeing Jesus alive? There was absolutely nothing of earthly value to be gained, and everything to lose by concocting the supposed lies about Jesus life, death and resurrection.

REMEMBER - And this is very very important - These people didn’t believe someone else’s lie.

Over the centuries many people have died for believing someone else’s lies. But if THESE people died for a lie, it was THEIR lie! They died for saying they saw Jesus alive again after His death. Liars simply do not make martyrs of themselves.

Without the resurrection being historical fact, their willingness to die for the “truth” doesn’t make any sense.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why do we have Paul’s testimony about His encounter with Jesus and why do we have his radical transformation in character from a persecutor of the Church and a killer of Christians to the greatest missionary that the Christian Church has ever seen?
- If Jesus is Spirit, if Jesus is God, He can reveal Himself to anyone He wishes, i.e., to one person or the whole group.

Remember:
. Paul was a rabid sceptic when Jesus appeared to him.
. Paul was an enemy of the Church when Jesus appeared to him.

This is not like most conversions whereby the person reads or hears something that persuades h/her to change. Paul’s evidence for the risen Jesus was first hand and so convincing that he endured years of hardship, persecution and rejection for proclaiming the risen Lord, before finally being beheaded by Nero in 64AD.

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this change in Paul’s character doesn’t make any sense. He had absolutely nothing of earthly value to gain, and everything to lose by concocting a story of meeting Jesus while on His way to persecute the Church.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
. Why in the world would Jesus’ brothers James and Jude go to their deaths proclaiming that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead?
. Why would they claim that they had seen Him alive after His death?
. Why would they confess that Jesus is the Lord God, Messiah?

Think about it! This was their half-brother, someone that they’d previously mocked and ridiculed. James’ and Jude’s conversions were a drastic change from thinking their Brother was insane and an embarrassment to the family.

What would it take for you to make this kind of change? What would it take for you to DIE for that change? For me, it would take nothing LESS than a resurrection.

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this change in the beliefs of Jesus’ siblings doesn’t make any sense. They had absolutely nothing of earthly value to gain and everything to lose if what they said about Jesus appearing to them after His death was not true.

Remember, Both Paul and James were sceptics at the time that Jesus appeared to them. Why would they become His followers if His resurrection wasn't historical fact?

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why was His tomb empty?
. Jesus’ ENEMIES were the ones to CONFIRM that the body was missing by proposing that the disciples stole it. Enemy confirmation is powerful attestation to the historical fact of the event.
. The disciples didn’t have the power nor the inclination to steal His body. They were hiding behind locked doors.
. Jesus’ enemies had no reason to steal the body and every reason to keep it right where it was. They posted an armed guard, and sealed the tomb with the Governor’s seal to make sure that nothing happened to the body.
. The first proclamations of the empty tomb were made right there in Jerusalem where Jesus was murdered and buried. The tomb could have been easily checked out.

If the resurrection isn’t historical fact, how is it that the tomb was empty with no sound explanation other than the resurrection?

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why do the ancient documents written by Jesus’ followers make the “mistake” of saying that women (who at the time were seen as lower than dogs and not capable of telling the truth) were the ones who discovered the empty tomb and encountered the risen Lord. If it wasn’t true, if the disciples were trying to convince others of a lie, if the resurrection wasn’t historical fact, why would the writers invent the testimony of women to say that it was true?

If the resurrection isn’t historical fact, it doesn’t make any sense that His followers would do that.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why did Josephus, Hegesippus and Clement of Alexandria all non Christians and all historians write about Jesus’ brother James, his leadership in the Jerusalem Church and his martyrdom for proclaiming Jesus as risen Lord and Saviour?

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this doesn’t make any sense. I think they would only write these things if the evidence convinced them that it was accurate.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why do we have an early oral tradition or creed that dates from the year of Jesus’ death attesting to the fact of Him rising from the dead?

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this doesn’t make any sense. There is no hint of legend or exaggeration in this oral tradition. (You can find it in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8) And these people had their lives to lose by repeating it. Why would they do that if it wasn’t true?

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why do we have the written works of the early Church with hymns, poetry and creeds, stemming from the early oral history telling about Jesus rise from the dead?

Without the resurrection being historical fact, we simply wouldn't have this.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why do we have the Christian Church? Paul told early Christians, “If Jesus did not rise from the dead, your faith is worthless.” He's saying, if this isn't true, then get out of here. But if you know that it is true, then let's get on with speading this wonderful news.

Without the resurrection being historical fact there wouldn’t be any Christianity. Yet here it is today, over 2 billion strong.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
How did Paul know what He knew about Jesus prior to any contact with the apostles and why would they accept Paul as one of their own based on what he was teaching about Jesus? Paul was an “outsider” eager to kill the leaders of the early Jesus movement, now coming to them with a knowledge of Jesus’ teaching equal to those who had been insiders.

Without the resurrection being historical fact, and without Jesus appearing to Paul and teaching Paul about Himself, this doesn’t make any sense.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why do we have the four ancient biographies of Jesus, one of them by historian and physician Luke who got his information from eyewitnesses all affirming the resurrection of Jesus? Why would they tell Luke that these things happened if they weren’t true? They paid for that "lie" with their lives. Would you die for a lie that YOU'D invented?

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this doesn’t make any sense.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
Why do we have Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Polycarp and others, all saying that they had been taught by the apostles that Jesus had risen from the dead. And THEN, all of these men were themselves martyred based on the believability of what the disciples had told them. These were not ignorant, gullible men. These were brilliant, educated individuals. Yet the evidence made sense to them.

Without the resurrection being historical fact, how could that happen?

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead:
What would account for the disciple’s radical transformation from fearful and cowardly men who denied Jesus and who ran away from Him during His trial, to bold individuals who were so confident of the truth of what they saw and heard regarding His resurrection, that they were willing to undergo years of persecution as well as torture and death rather than change their story.

Peter thrice denied even knowing Jesus at His trial. After Jesus' resurrection, Peter stood before the most powerful people in his culture, the very people who'd had Jesus crucified and to their faces called them murderers. What would account for such a transformation?

Peter watched his own wife being crucified just prior to his own crucifixion. Surely, if the risen Jesus was a lie concocted by Peter himself, he wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.

Without the resurrection, this type of behaviour doesn’t make any sense.

If the accounts of what the disciples taught weren’t true:
. Why was it that Polycarp wrote of the endurance under torture of Paul, Ignatius, Zosimus, and Rufus for their belief in the risen Christ?
. Why was it that Ignatius also wrote of the suffering and death of the apostles?
. Why was it that Polycarp and Ignatius were both martyred?
. Why would they be willing to die in such a manner if the accounts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection weren’t accurate?

These were historians. They would have checked out the disciple's accounts of Jesus' life.

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this doesn’t make any sense.

If the accounts of what the disciples taught weren’t true:
Why would we have confirming accounts of the disciples teaching and deaths in Roman public records called “Lives of the Caesars.”

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this doesn’t make any sense.

If the accounts of what the disciples taught weren’t true:
Why would Origen write, “Jesus, who has both risen AND led His disciples to believe in His resurrection and so thoroughly persuaded them of its truth that they showed to all men by their suffering how they were able to laugh at life’s troubles beholding to life eternal and a resurrection clearly demonstrated to them in word and deed by this one Jesus.”

Without the resurrection being historical fact, it doesn’t make any sense that Origen would write that.

If the accounts of what the disciples taught weren’t true:
Why do we have Eusebius, Dionysius of Corinth, Tertullian, Hegesibous, Josephus, Clement of Alexandria, all of these sources, Christian and non Christian alike affirming the historicity of Jesus and the disciples willingness to die for what they believed to be true.

Without the resurrection being historical fact, it doesn’t make any sense that these many and varied individuals would make this stuff up.

Listen carefully to this next one -
If the accounts of what the disciples taught weren’t true:
. Why is it that Luke writes that Jesus spent about 40 days with the disciples after He rose from the dead, and

. Why can it be further calculated that about 50 days after His death, Jesus’ followers started proclaiming His resurrection, and

. Why did Tacitus, an ENEMY of Christianity, write “Jesus’ execution by Pontius Pilot checked, for the moment, the Christian movement but it then broke out with force not only in Judea but even in Rome.”

. Why would these accounts, one from a follower of Jesus and one from a secular historian and enemy of Christianity be so similar unless they’re true?

Without the resurrection being historical fact, this doesn’t make any sense.

Absolutely none of what I’ve just written has anything to do with the Bible being inspired or infallible or any other trappings of religion. These are historical facts attested to by the vast majority of secular, atheist and Christian historical scholars. While there will always be those on the lunatic fringe who attempt to deny historical facts (eg. holocaust) to deny that there is extra Biblical factually accurate information regarding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus requires that you be either profoundly ignorant or a determined liar and most importantly, you must lie to yourself about what is factually and historically true. There is absolutely no sustainable reason for the above historical events to have occurred unless the essential facts of Jesus death and resurrection are true.

These questions, stemming from this evidence demands more than just a flippant, “People rising from the dead is impossible.” Something totally “other” happened back then and ignoring it is not a rational nor a logical thing to do.

If Jesus did in fact supernaturally rise from the dead, then what He taught about being the Son of God and about the existence of Creator God must also be true. The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus demands a verdict. With the evidence so overwhelmingly pointing to the fact of His resurrection, one can do three things:
. Submit to Jesus as Lord and Saviour - Or
. Lie to yourself that none of this proves anything - Or
. Say to yourself, “I don’t care if God is real, I’m going to live my life, my way.”

VeridicusX said...

Mon 2009-04-13 10:06

Thanks for your kind reply.

Yes, "that" reply is mine. Of course, it contains some unoriginal ideas and phrases.

"While we still disagree with "the universe is everything" ..."

The usual meaning of the word 'universe' is 'everything', a dictionary definition is "everything that exists anywhere", but I accept that it can also be used in other ways.

I am a Pantheistic Atheist.
Because reality is that than which none greater can be conceived and because this is the definition of God, it follows that reality is God. I am therefore a Natural Pantheist, the love of the truth is nothing less than a total devotion to reality. Nature is my God. The love of "Life, the Universe and Everything" is my deeply fulfilling atheistic stance. (As Richard Dawkins puts it pantheism is sexed-up atheism).

What I am saying is, I don't have a need to *believe* anything. I don't have a need to "have faith". The Universe is perfectly adequate. Therefore, I can weigh assertions on their merit.

============================================

The Bible fails the merit test for four reasons:

1) It contradicts morality.
2) It contradicts the facts.
3) It contradicts reason.
4) It contradicts itself.

Based on the principle that "truth is consistent with itself" - reality is coherent, I can confidently say that the main claims of the Bible are false.

You say that the writings that constitute the Christian Greek Canon - "The New Testament" - were not written to be part of a book of books. Nevertheless, only those writings that could conceivably fit into a certain point of (Christian) view were included by a team of Christians brought together for that purpose. Other writings that contradicted the general point of view provided, were excluded.

The compilation of the Hebrew Canon in the form of "The Old Testament" went through a similar process. Only those that conformed to a certain religious point of view were included.

"As I said before, while there will always be those on the lunatic fringe who attempt to deny historical facts (eg. holocaust), to deny that there is extra Biblical factually accurate information regarding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus requires that you be either profoundly ignorant or a determined liar and most importantly, you must lie to yourself about what is factually and historically true."

You don't seem to understand the concept of adequate and valid evidence.
Eyewitness testimony is amongst the least reliable forms of evidence.
And hearsay is generally inadmissible in court and always inadmissible as a means of determining the veracity of extraordinary claims. If you don't believe me check it out.

Even though Jesus was allegedly drawing huge crowds, no contemporary historian, (and they did exist), makes mention of him and we have *no eyewitness testimony at all*.

The most reliable information, in my opinion, is Paul's. Luke contradicts Paul's own testimony in Acts, (concerning the gentile question), and seems to involve himself in the invention of speeches as was the style at the time.
The Gospels likely come later than Paul's writings as Paul indicates no knowledge of them.

The Gospels are clearly fabrications. They contradict each other, they include false cosmology - you can's see "all the kingdoms of the world" from a high place. They include things that the author could not possibly have known, such as the private thoughts of an individual.
You can try the test of creating a coherent resurrection narrative from the five resurrection accounts that we have, (I'm including Paul's received creed here). Without a tremendous amount of invention, omission and sophistry, it cannot be done - and even then I'm not sure it can be done convincingly.

A couple of the non-Christian writers whom you seem to think mentioned Jesus, are believed, for good reasons, to have had their writings tampered with and had Christian interpolations. Even if that were not the case, their testimony constitutes hearsay evidence.

The clear teaching of Paul is that it is "sown a natural body and raised a spiritual body" and "... the Last Adam became a life-giving spirit". These verses along with other New Testament teachings, which seem to indicate that the Earthly is a shadow or type of the Heavenly and that there is a realm of angels and demons, is evidence, in my opinion, that early Christians had a Platonic worldview and that the resurrection was a "spiritual" one.

The examples I gave in a earlier post show that early Christians thought that certain subjective experiences or even spiritual beliefs were equivalent to real objective experiences. Paul says that Jesus "appeared" to him just as to the 500. We can conjecture from Luke that this "appearance" was most probably subjective - Luke points out in Acts 22 that the others with him didn't see anyone, Luke alleges that they saw a "light from heaven". But perhaps this is not the "seeing" that Paul refers to. Maybe it was Acts 22:17 where he falls into a trance and "sees Jesus".
Naturally these Damascus Road stories contradict each other - see Acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26.

To the best of my knowledge, the Christian belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus is simply that, it is not supported by *any* valid evidence whatsoever.
The belief in a very real spiritual (or Platonic) realm is enough, as 9/11 shows, to explain the alleged behaviors of the martyrs. And a subjective experience of the "Risen Christ" is enough to explain the resurrection stories, (and obtain apostolic status in the early church).

Even though I chased up the references that I am not familiar with that you pointed me to, I am not convinced by the, very kind, presentation of reasons for your conviction. I do not think that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is proven beyond reasonable doubt, or even comes close, and I do not think that you should think so either.

The kind of evidence provided is no more valid than the Mormon's evidence or the Muslim's evidence or the Hindu's evidence.

Makarios said...

Now, if I understand you correctly veridicus:
You have vowed to build your life on knowledge.

You are committed to personal, moral and intellectual courage and integrity.

You believe that to live the truth is non-negotiable.

You believe that truth is conformity to Actuality.

I can’t think of a better way of directing one’s life.

You claim that you assign probabilities to your beliefs based on physical evidence and reasoned logic. You admit that Reality is the only arbiter of truth. You have even vowed to build your life on knowledge not beliefs.

I hope that’s true veridicus. On the other hand, if you understand probability theory I’m not sure why you still hold to Hume’s long refuted claims regarding miracles.

Nevertheless, I’m going to present for you NOT beliefs but reality, actuality and knowledge. First, though I want to make a few comments on your last reply. I thank you for the obvious thought and effort that you’ve put into your reply but I do need some clarification on a few points.

Before I begin, however, let me just suggest that since holding to an a priori rejection of a whole category of evidence completely contradicts your manifesto, I would encourage you to pretend you have an open mind (I think you said somewhere that you’re willing to go where the evidence leads) and read the following with that attitude. As well, I would encourage you to set aside the absurd atheist “trick” of denying both eyewitness testimony and evidence obtained from eyewitnesses. When an intelligent person willfully abandons classical historical scholarship and begins to deny known and knowable facts of history, but ONLY as they apply to the person of Jesus, I know that I’m dealing with someone who is confronted with a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists as demonstrated in the person of Jesus the Christ. No, no, no. Don’t close off on me. I'm just asking you to set aside your preconceived notions, just for half an hour and read the information openly and honestly. I’ll do the same for you. So without further delay - to your statements,
===============

“To the best of my knowledge, the Christian belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus is simply that, it is not supported by *any* valid evidence whatsoever.”

What would be valid evidence for you? If you answer no other question, please answer this one.

Forgive me if I assume ahead of time that you’re still trying to place your bets on Hume’s, what even atheist contemporary philosopher’s now call an "abject failure" regarding his miracle statements. ==============

“What I am saying is, I don't have a need to *believe* anything.”

Yes but you do believe things and you believe them very strongly. For example, you state, without a shred of evidence that hundreds of people saw the resurrected Jesus because of their drug use. That goes completely against the claims of your manifesto that you only make conclusions based on direct empirical evidence.
===============

The Bible fails the merit test for four reasons:

1) “It contradicts morality.”
Whose morality does it contradict? Yours? Mine? The guy next door? Can you give me an example?
================

“It contradicts the facts. It contradicts reason. It contradicts itself.” I can confidently say that the main claims of the Bible are false.”

And what would those main claims be? Again, just a couple examples would be really helpful.
============

“includes only those writings . . . ” . . . that those who were taught by Jesus agreed fit His teaching.
=======

“Only those that conformed to a certain religious point of view were included.”

Well, what would you expect? That they would include the writings of Pantheism? Does it offend you to not find any Marxism in Hindu scriptures?
==============

“You don't seem to understand the concept of adequate and valid evidence.”

“ I ” don’t understand? I’m giving you evidence provided by the brightest and most advanced minds in their specialty. I’m not sure who you are veridicus, or perhaps more correctly who you think you are but you are going against some pretty heavy hitters in historical scholarship.
==========

“Eyewitness testimony is amongst the least reliable forms of evidence. And hearsay is generally inadmissible in court and always inadmissible as a means of determining the veracity of extraordinary claims.”

Ok, I think I see what’s happening. What you’re really saying is that unless it’s naturalistic history then it is not factually historical. Is that correct? You begin with a presupposition that a priori rejects a whole category of evidence and then, surprise, surprise, you reach a conclusion that conforms to your preset world-view. Again, it seems, that what you do in practice contradicts the goals of your own manifesto :-)
=============

“Even though Jesus was allegedly drawing huge crowds, no contemporary historian, (and they did exist), makes mention of him and we have *no eyewitness testimony at all*.”

I’ll resolve that issue for you later in this reply
===========

“They contradict each other,”
Example please?
========

“they include false cosmology”

Only if you’re reading it through the eyes of a naturalist! Again, and forgive me for sounding rude, but it seems absurd to me to, on the one hand admit the reality of a supernatural spirt being, namely satan, but deny that he could supernaturally display all the kingdoms of the world.
===========

“They include things that the author could not possibly have known, such as the private thoughts of an individual.”

Only if you a priori reject their own claims to have come from the testimony of those who lived the events themselves.
===============

You can try the test of creating a coherent resurrection narrative from the five resurrection accounts that we have, (I'm including Paul's received creed here). Without a tremendous amount of invention, omission and sophistry, it cannot be done - and even then I'm not sure it can be done convincingly.”

Well, I disagree absolutely. One only runs into trouble if one imagines that these people spoke like automatons and that the accounts were meant to be word for word copies and they somehow made a consistent series of errors in that effort. The validation from embarrassment alone shows their honesty and believability.
=============

“Even if that were not the case, their testimony constitutes hearsay evidence.”

That’s a neat trick that atheists have tried to push through. If the information came from John “It’s eyewitness testimony and that’s not reliable.” If the information came from one of John’s students, “That's hearsay and that’s not admissible.”

Veridicus, your statement regarding faith presents an individual of character and integrity. That’s what impressed me so much. I actually believe that is the true you. However, this kind of flim-flam is beneath you.
===========

“that early Christians had a Platonic worldview and that the resurrection was a "spiritual" one.”

Not a chance! The Jews had absolutely no concept of a spiritual resurrection and only of a bodily resurrection.
=============

“We can conjecture from Luke that this "appearance" was most probably subjective”

And that, to you accounts for
1) The empty tomb,
2) The disciple’s belief that they saw Jesus,
3) The conversion of the sceptic James and
4) The dramatic change in character of the disciples?

A subjective experience on the part of Paul explains those other things? I don’t think so.

Veridicus, any solution that you choose must explain all of these things. That is one of the reasons that I, maintaining an open mind to ANY and ALL possible evidence went with a supernatural resurrection. It’s the only solution that explains the historical, factual evidence, evidence that isn’t a priori rejected from a pre-determined world-view.
==============

“The belief in a very real spiritual (or Platonic) realm is enough, as 9/11 shows”

And that explains why a billion Muslims throughout the world are carrying out terrorist attacks? C’mon veridicus. You’re smarter than that. Suicide terrorists are groomed and brainwashed. They aren’t operating on “simple” belief.
============

“And a subjective experience of the "Risen Christ" is enough to explain the resurrection stories.”

Don’t do this veridicus. Please! You’re destroying my original impression of your intelligence. No one goes through a crucifixion for an apparition.
==============

Now to the contemporary evidence of which you say there is none.

Extra Biblical, Non Christian documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples: Regarding Jesus died due to Crucifixion -

“The Christians, you know, worship a man, the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites and was crucified on that account.” Lucian of Samosata - (The Death of Peregrine), 11 - 13

“Nero fastened the guilt of the burning of Rome and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, Called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.” Tacitus - Annals 15.44

“When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified.” Josephus - (Fides et Historia) 13

“Or what advantage came to the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them?” Mara Bar Serapion, in a letter to his son from prison. - Fragment currently at the British Museum, Syriac Manuscript

“On the eve of the Passover, Yeshua was hanged on a cross.” The Babylonia Talmud - Sanhedrin 43a - I. Epstein Editor and translator, London

Extra Biblical documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples: Regarding the dramatic changes in the character in the disciples and claims of witnessing the resurrected Jesus.

“Therefore, having received orders and complete certainty caused by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and believing in the Word of God, they went with the Holy Spirit’s certainty, preaching the good news that the kingdom of God is about to come. Jesus’ apostles were fully assured by Jesus’ resurrection. Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried on earth a very long time, and when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles.” Clement of Rome - (1 Clement ) 47

“Bishop Clement has conversed with the apostles to the extent that it might be said he had their preaching still echoing and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone, for there are many still remaining alive who had received instructions from the apostles. When I was still a boy I saw you in Lower Asia with Polycarp, when you had high status at the imperial court and wanted to gain his favour. I remember where Polycarp sat and conversed, his comings and goings, his character, his personal appearance, his discourses to the crowds and how he reported his discussions with John the apostle and others who had seen the Lord. He taught what they reported about the Lord and his miracles and his teaching, things that Polycarp had heard directly from eyewitness of the word of life and reported in full harmony with Scripture.” Irenaeus - (To Florinus) 5.20

“For this is the manner in which the apostolic Churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein, by John the apostle; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter.” Tertulian - (The Prescription Against Heretics) 32.

“Paul himself and the other apostles, for they did not love the present age, but Him who dies for our benefit and for our sake was raised by God.” Polycarp - (To the Philippians)

The above sources point to multiple, very early and eyewitness testimonies to the disciple’s claims of witnessing the risen Jesus. The late New Testament critic at the University of Chicago, Norman Perrin, who rejected Jesus’ resurrection wrote, “The more we study the tradition with regard to the appearances, the firmer the rock begins to appear upon which they are based.” What we have are three categories of evidence that the disciples claim to have seen the risen Lord. 1) Paul 2) Oral tradition 3) Written Tradition.
Paul had firsthand fellowship with the disciples. We have an oral tradition originating from the time of Jesus resurrection. We have written tradition that attests to the disciples claims.

Extra Biblical documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples: Regarding the suffering and martyrdom of the disciples:

“The greatest and most righteous pillars have been persecuted and contended unto death. Peter, endured, not one or two, but many afflictions, and having borne witness went to the due glorious place. Paul pointed to the prize. Seven times chained, exiled, stoned, having become a preacher both in the East and in the West, he received honour fitting of his faith. Thus he was freed form the world and went to the holy place. He became a great example of steadfastness.” Clement of Rome - (1 Clement ) 5:2-7

“. . . the unlimited endurance of Ignatius, Zosimus and Rufus as well as the apostle Paul and the rest of the apostles among others. In association with Jesus they also suffered together. For they did not love the present age. Polycarp - (To the Philippians)

“And when Jesus came to those with Peter, he said to them: “Take, handle me and see that I am not a bodiless demon.” And immediately they handled him and believed, having known his flesh and blood. Because of this they also despise death.”
Ignatius - To the Smyrnaeans 3:2

“That Paul is beheaded has been written about. And if a heretic wishes his confidence to rest upon a public record, the archives of the empire will speak. We read the Lives of the Caesars: At Rome Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising faith. There is Peter girt by another, when he is made fast to the cross. Then does Paul obtain a birth suited to Roman citizenship, when in Rome he is ennobled by martyrdom.” Tertulian - Scorpiace, 15

According to Tertullian, if one did not want to believe the Christian records concerning the martyrdoms of some of the apostles. He could find the information in the public records, namely “The lives of the Caesars.”

“The disciples’ devotion to the teachings of Jesus was attended with danger to human life and that they themselves were the first to manifest their disregard for death’s terrors. Jesus who has both once risen Himself, and led His disciples to believe in His resurrection, and so thoroughly persuaded them of its truth, that they show to all men by their sufferings how they are able to laugh at all the troubles of life, beholding the life-eternal and the resurrection clearly demonstrated to them both in word and deed by this one, Jesus.” Origin - Contra Celsum - 2.56

. Papias cites both Paul and the apostle John and records their sufferings and deaths. (Fragments: Traditions of the Elders) 2,5 (Fragment 5)

. Eusebius in Ecclesiastical History 2.23 cites Dionysius of Corinth - Tertullian, Origen, Josephus, Hegesippus, Clement of Alexandria, all who wrote of the “martyrdom of James the brother of Jesus.”

All these non-Biblical sources affirm the disciples’ willingness to suffer and die for their claims that Jesus rose from the dead. The disciples’ willingness to suffer and die for these claims indicates that they certainly regarded those claims as true. The case is strong that they did not willfully lie about the appearances of the risen Jesus, for liars make very poor martyrs.

. On his way to be martyred in Rome Ignatius of Antioch penned several letters to various churches. All of which attest to the reality of Jesus and the suffering of His disciples.

In his letter to the church in Smyrna, Ignatius writes that the disciples were so encouraged by seeing and touching the risen Jesus that “they too despised death” and that after his resurrection, Jesus ate and drank with them like one who is composed of flesh. 3:2-3 “So pay attention, however, to the prophets and especially to the Gospel, in which the Passion has been made clear to us and the resurrection has been accomplished.” 7:4

In his letter to Philadeophians, Ignatius writes concerning the gospel, which of course was at the centre of Christian preaching. “But the Gospel possesses something distinctive, namely, the coming of the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, his suffering, and the resurrection.”

In his letter to the Magnesians, he writes, “I want to forewarn you not to get snagged on the hooks of worthless opinions but instead to be fully convinced about the birth and the suffering and the resurrection, which took place assuredly by Jesus Christ.” 11:2-4

“And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James. Origen on Josephus - (Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 10) (Antiquities of the Jews) (Contra Celsum) 1.47

“Jesus appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him.” Agapius - (Historia) 1.7.13

“Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with the head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner. Andrew preached to the Sythians and Thracians, and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree at Patrae, and town of Achaia; and there too he was buried. John, again, in Asia was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found. James, Jesus brother, when preaching in Judea, was cut off with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there. Philip preached in Phygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there. Bartholomew again, preached to the Indians, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward. And was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armeia. And Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Pathia. And Thomas preached to the Pathians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians and Margians and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear at Clamene, the city of India, and was buried there. And James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem, was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple. Jude who is also called Lebbaeus, preached to the people of Edessa, and to all Mesopotamia and fell asleep at Berytus, and was buried there. Simon the Zealot, the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there. And Matthias who was one of the seventy, was numbered along with the eleven apostles, and preached in Jerusalem, and fell asleep and was buried there. And Paul entered into the apostleship a year after the assumption of Christ; and beginning at Jerusalem, he advanced as far as Illyricum, and Italy and Spain preaching the Gospel for thirty five years. And in the time of Nero he was beheaded at Rome, and was buried there.” Hippolytus - Cyprian, Novatian, Appendix [ECF 1.5.0.2.3.0]

. Celsus - a critic of Christianity wrote strongly against the resurrection but admitted that the tomb was empty and that no body was found anywhere. He was forced to propose magic or deception i.e., lies. This type of claim shows that critics like Celsus had to respond to the reality of the empty tomb and the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

. Pliny the Younger, . Suetonius, Tactus, and Celsus were all enemies of Christianity yet attested to the historicity of Jesus and His death on the cross.

“Nero fastened the guilt of the burning of Rome and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus. Tacitus - Annals 15.44

. Shepherd of Hermas (Parable 9, section 28); (Vision 3, section 1) . Melito of Sardis
. Hegesipius . Polycrates - (To Victor of Rome) are early Christian authors attesting to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Modern:
. “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.” John Dominic Crossan - Founder of the Jesus Seminar - In (“Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography”) San Francisco, Harper Collins, 1991 - 145,154, 196, 201

. Rudolf Bultmann - (“What Really Happened to Jesus - A Historical Approach to the Resurrection.”) John Bowden Trans. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995 - 80

. Paula Frederickson - Historian - In an interview with Peter Jennings for “The Search for Jesus,” American Broadcasting Company, 2000.

The amount of evidence that we have concerning Jesus is actually very impressive. We can start with approximately nine traditional authors of the New Testament. Another twenty early Christian authors, and four heretical writings mention Jesus within 150 years of His death on the cross.

Moreover, nine secular, non-Christian sources mention Jesus within the 150 years of His death: Josephus, the Jewish historian; Tacitus, the Roman historian; Pliny the Younger, a politician of Rome; Phlegon, a freed slave who wrote histories; Lucian, the Greek satirist; Celsus, a Roman philosopher; and the historians Suetonius and Thallus, as well as the prisoner Mara Bar-Serapion.

In all, at least forty-two authors, nine of them secular mention Jesus within 150 years of his death. Why am I telling you this? Let me make a comparison.

Julius Caesar, was one of Rome’s most prominent figures. Caesar is well known for his military conquests. After his Gallic Wars, he made the famous statement, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Only five sources report his military conquests: writings by Caesar himself, Cicero, Livy, the Salona Decree and Appian. If he made such a great impact on Roman society why didn’t more writers of antiquity mention his great accomplishments? Yet no one questions whether Julius made a tremendous impact on the Roman Empire. Yet within 150 years of his death, more non-Christian authors alone comment on Jesus than all of the sources who mentions Julius Caesar’s great military conquests within 150 years after his death.

One more example. Tiberius Caesar was the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus’ ministry and execution. Tiberius is mentioned by ten sources within 150 years of his death: Tacitus, Suetonius, Velleius Paterculus, Plutarch, Pliny the Elder, Strabo, Seneca, Valerius Maximus, Josephus and Luke. Compare that to Jesus’ forty-two sources in the same length of time. That’s more than four times the number of total sources who mention the Roman emperor during roughly the same period. If we only considered the number of secular non-Christian sources who mention Jesus and Tiberius within 150 years of their lives, we arrive at a tie of nine each.

I’ve mentioned that the vast majority of historical scholars, be they merely secular, atheist or Christian attest to the life, death and resurrection “sightings” of Jesus. These scholars attest to the empty tomb, the conversion of the sceptics Paul and James, the dramatic change in the disciples and of course the rise of the Christian church based solely on the belief that Jesus rose from the dead. As there are not very many historical scholars who specialise in this area I will list them here. Glank, Blinzler, Bode, von Campenhausen, Delorme, Dhanis, Grundmann, Hengel, Lehmann, Leon-Dufour, Kremer, Lichtenstein, Manek, Martini, Mussner, Nauck, Rengstorff, Strobel, Stuhlmacher, Trilling, Vogtle and Wilckens. There are sixteen additional prominent scholars who are not evangelical who attest to the historicity of the above: Benoit, Brown, Clark, Dunn, Ellis, Gundry, Hooke, Jeremias, Klappert, Ladd, Lane, Marshall, Moule, Perry, Robinson, and Schnackenburg.

These forty-five prominent scholars believe that there was an empty tomb, that the disciple truly believed they saw the resurrected Jesus, that that belief caused such a dramatic change in Jesus’ followers that they endured hardship, persecution and many suffered execution for that belief, that the sceptics Paul and James were changed by an encounter with what they believed to be the resurrected Jesus. In the world today, more than one hundred historical scholars who specialise in this areas believe these premises versus thirty-five who do not.

Now, if I understand you correctly veridicus:
You have vowed to build my life on knowledge .
You are committed to personal, moral and intellectual courage and integrity.
You believe that to live the truth is non-negotiable.
You believe that truth is conformity to Actuality.

You say that you are a source of information that people may come to rely on in the world,
but an important question remains.

Are you going to be a source for accurate information or are you going to continue to put forth only information that agree with your pre set world-view?

You claim that you assign probabilities to your beliefs based on physical evidence and reasoned logic. You even admit that Reality is the only arbiter of truth. You have even vowed to build your life on knowledge not beliefs.

I hope that’s true veridicus. I’ve just given you a huge amount of actuality, reality and knowledge, NOT beliefs.

I’ll be interested to see what you are going to do with it.

VeridicusX said...

"You claim that you assign probabilities to your beliefs based on physical evidence and reasoned logic. You admit that Reality is the only arbiter of truth. You have even vowed to build your life on knowledge not beliefs.

I hope that’s true veridicus. On the other hand, if you understand probability theory I’m not sure why you still hold to Hume’s long refuted claims regarding miracles."

You mentioned probabilities. So lets get to basics.

What are the chances of the conjecture that the Easter Bunny created the Universe being correct?

1) The conjecture is unnecessary. Enough is known about the universe to make a creator conjecture unnecessary.
2) The conjecture is baseless. There is no verifiable evidence that there is an Easter Bunny or that the universe was created.
3) The conjecture is improbable. The Easter Bunny is supposed to be one of a kind. There are no other Easter Bunnies in any possible world yet this unlikely entity is conjectured to have created our universe.
4) The conjecture is one member of an infinite set. There are a potentially infinite amount of baseless, improbable, unnecessary creation conjectures.

So, the probability of the Creator Easter Bunny conjecture being correct is 1/infinity=0. Or more properly the limit of 1 divided by n as n goes to infinity is zero. (lim n-->inf 1/n = 0).

Therefore, it is reasonable for my default position or null hypothesis to be that the Easter Bunny did not create the universe unless irrefutable evidence to the contrary is presented.


I don't deny that extraordinary things can happen. It is possible but not probable for half the sea to be frozen and the other half to be boiling. But, were that to happen and someone told you about it, you would require the same standard of evidence that I require for stories of bodily resurrections. Which is overwhelming *real* evidence that would (at least) stand up in a court of law.

I used Hume's quote but not in the way that Hume is imagined to have used it. I clearly expressed that valid evidence would move my position, also I don't think that a miracle is necessarily a suspension of natural laws.
I think a recent rebuttal of Hume's thesis on miracles fails in an important point, namely that, an extraordinary event does *not* a miracle make and it isn't clear how you could prove that the event is a miracle. For instance, if the Red Sea parts, there is no automatic assumption that a supernatural, invisible white haired guy in the sky is doing it.

An extraordinary event is not necessarily a miracle, but a miracle is necessarily an extraordinary event.
When we introduce probability and the law of large numbers, it seems that what the detractors of Hume's argument have shown is that it would take a miracle to prove a miracle. But, be that as it may ...

For any kind of extraordinary claim, a person of integrity will be skeptical and want valid, cross correlated evidence that convinces beyond any reasonable doubt.

I will consider and address your other questions tomorrow.

Makarios said...

“An extraordinary event is not necessarily a miracle, but a miracle is necessarily an extraordinary event.”
Ah, it’s good to agree on something. Thank for that breath of fresh air.
===========

“For any kind of extraordinary claim, a person of integrity will be skeptical and want valid, cross correlated evidence that convinces beyond any reasonable doubt.”


Again, agreement. Good night

Makarios said...

Hey veridicus, do you have any idea why we do this? I mean, I'm still interested in your next reply, but, really, what's the point? Neither of us are going to change positions. We're both aware of exactly the same evidence. We've just chosen to go in different directions. And it's soooo much work. At least for me it is. Too much actually. So unless you have a good reason to continue, I think I'm going to bail out. I'm gone for the next couple days anyway - so - But please send your next reply. Maybe that's why we do it. I am interested in your point of view. But surely there must be an easier way to see what someone else is thinking. Or maybe it's just cause we've got some huge family issues going on right now and I can't do both . . .

VeridicusX said...

"Before I begin, however, let me just suggest that since holding to an a priori rejection of a whole category of evidence completely contradicts your manifesto ..."

Let me start by saying, begging the question is not going to cut it with me. I want PEARLs not rotting FISHes. (Physical Evidence And Reasoned Logic not Fantasy, Intuition, Superstition, Hearsay).

You are begging the question. "A whole category of evidence" implies that the information in question is evidence. Hearsay is simply that. It may or may not be true. It is useful to establish what people think. It is not admissible as evidence in the courts of civilised countries or in the courtrooms of television law firm dramas.

The facts of eyewitness testimony speak for themselves. Apparently studies have shown that eyewitness testimony is wrong at least 50% of the time and if you look at the spate of prisoner releases due to DNA exoneration you will see that in the majority of cases eyewitness testimony convicted them.

Take a look at the ACS site. American Constitution Society.

If we take as evidence the hearsay of people, who were as suggestible as the rest of us *and* had a magical worldview, who allegedly heard things from eyewitnesses who were as suggestible as the rest of us *and* had a magical worldview, we're on a hiding to nothing.

If God exists he or she knows that no honest, reasonable and ethical person is going to base their life on information from such a sources, even if those sources didn't contradict themselves and known facts, especially when the claims are billions to one against.

In fact, the preceding information makes it highly doubtful that the Gospel stories represent information about a powerful God saving us from hell. A God who didn't want to send people to hell would know that this information is inadequate and do a lot better than that.

"For example, you state, without a shred of evidence that hundreds of people saw the resurrected Jesus because of their drug use."

Please don't misrepresent me. I made no such assertion about resurrection appearances, I simply presented plausible scenarios that seem more probable to me and would seem more probable to any reasonable person. Real evidence would have to exclude these more mundane possibilities - real evidence not hearsay and invention.

Your appeals to authority and hearsay do not constitute an argument. Verifiable facts and reasoned logic do. Some authorities believe in a talking snake and a talking donkey and an Earth that is less than 10,000 years old - without a shred of valid evidence and in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
The atheistic historians you've sourced are atheists for a reason and that reason is likely to be that there is insufficient evidence to be convinced of the beliefs of early Christians.

It is perfectly OK for a reasonable person to hypothesize that early Christians did not believe in a physical resurrection, but a spiritual one, particularly when Paul actually says so!

Given the above it *cannot*, in any possible world, be the case that the physical resurrection of Jesus is proven beyond reasonable doubt.

I will address the questions you raised earlier, in a final post.

Makarios said...

So, remember? I only asked for a minimum of answering one question? You stated,
“To the best of my knowledge, the Christian belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus is simply that, it is not supported by *any* valid evidence whatsoever.”


And I asked, "What would be valid evidence for you?"

If you answer no other question, please answer this one.

Hello?

VeridicusX said...

You've asked why people would promote a belief and go on to suffer and die for that belief. The answer is, that's how we're made. It isn't very hard to understand. Beliefs Determine Behaviors!
People from all kinds of "faiths" and religions mutilate themselves, their children and innocent strangers based on their beliefs. But, believing something does not make it true.

As for your other rhetorical questions and statements, I'm not going to go through them all and provide corrected answers because you've said that your position won't move. If you're interested you can find the information yourself, but I will remind you again that making unqualified baseless assertions is lying.

I noticed that you mixed in false information and hearsay (Gospels), uncertain or unrelated information (Tacitus and the compromised writings of early historians) as well as true information from various letters and writings.

"Not a chance! The Jews had absolutely no concept of a spiritual resurrection and only of a bodily resurrection."

Could this be why the majority of Jews remained Jews and didn't become Christians?
Paul was a Jew. You might want to read some of his writings.


===================

What constitutes valid evidence?

The hearsay Christian Gospel writers seemed to know the sorts of information that would be necessary. But they all suffer from one insurmountable problem - they are all hearsay!

Rebuttals were written, in the hearsay and inventive Christian Gospels, to all the objections they could think of.

What WOULD constitute valid evidence, in support of the alleged physical resurrection of a first century rabbi called Jesus, would be INDEPENDENTLY CORROBORATED EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY.
The independent corroboration would preferably be PHYSICAL rather than human testimony.
(An example of this kind of independent corroboration would be that the reported solar blackout and earthquake, associated with the crucifixion, could have been recorded by Pliny the Elder who collected data of this kind. This would have lent weight to the later allegations of a resurrection, not because eclipses or earthquakes are associated with resurrections, but because a source of the allegation of the resurrection becomes more trustworthy. Or, from our knowledge of astronomy, we could calculate that an eclipse coincided. Or, more directly, we could all see Jesus wandering around town).
Moreover, the eyewitness testimony would need to answer all the reasonable objections in the way that the anonymous hearsay Christian Gospel writers tried to do.

Together, all the evidence would have to comply with the principle that reality is coherent, that truth is consistent with itself.

This evidence alone could not establish that this resurrection was a miracle.

An event derives its meaning from its context, so there would have to be irrefutable proof that God exists *and* that he had performed a miracle in this instance.
Given probability and the Law of Large Numbers, it would take at least one miracle to establish this meaning for the alleged event and a miracle to establish that miracle, ad infinitum.

Makarios said...

“You've asked why people would promote a belief and go on to suffer and die for that belief.”

veridicus, just a reminder, I’m using caps on for emphasis, not emotion :-)

Having said that, I did NOT ask that! I asked,

Why would these people promote A LIE - NOT a BELIEF but a lie - more importantly THEIR LIE and spend the rest of their lives suffering extreme persecution and poverty and a torturous death for THEIR LIE.

Can you really not comprehend what’s being said? The cynical part of me thinks that you understand perfectly well what’s being said but you just want to baffle and confuse the casual passer by. But maybe the reality is, you really can’t get it.

Veridicus, people, several hundred people, something that is multiply attested to by dozens of extra Biblical writers, do not suffer for a lie that they invented. They may and often do die for believing someone else’s lie, but we do not do it for our own lie. Make it more personal. For the sake of argument, suppose that atheism was a colossal lie. Cunning and clever arguments were invented and you bought into it hook, line and sinker. You believe that lie. And suppose, again, for the sake of argument that you were willing to die for that lie. That’s not unbelievable. As you say, it happens all the time.

Now suppose that atheism is YOUR lie. You were the instigator of that lie. You knew that it was false but you are a highly intelligent individual who for your own twisted reasons perpetrated this hoax on the scientific community.

I know this is a lousy analogy but work with me here.

Would you die for that lie? Would you undergo persecution and torture for YOUR lie? Would you watch your wife and children suffer for that lie? I doubt it.

And now, do you think that you could get twelve of your closest friends to go along with you on this conspiracy, and get them to recruit another 500 people to go along with this lie, not for money, not for fame, not for any worldly prize but knowing, absolutely knowing that your fate would be similar to that of your leader - umm - well, in this case, ok, the analogy is done I guess, - anyhow, would you do it? Of course not. And neither did they. But that is exactly what you're suggesting.
==========

“But, believing something does not make it true.”

It doesn’t mean that its not true either.
===========

“Could this be why the majority of Jews remained Jews and didn't become Christians?”

Paul was a Jew. So was James and the several hundred people who also claimed to see Jesus alive.

You might want to read the sightings accounts again and pay attention to how they didn’t / couldn’t / practically wouldn’t believe that it was really Jesus.
I especially like the one near the end of John where Peter or John, after seeing Jesus on the beach said, “We didn’t dare ask Him who He was because we knew it was really Him."

To overcome this Jesus had them touch Him, eat with Him, walk with Him, be taught by Him.

Of course the main reason the Jews didn't believe it was Jesus was because, not having the advantage of hind-sight that we have, misinterpreted the prophecy and, as I think you said, they believed that Jesus simply didn't fulfill the prophecies of the Messiah.

How would you define a miracle?

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