Sunday, August 30, 2009

Can You Trust Luke?

According to atheists? No. Atheists will tell you that because the earliest COPIES of Jesus’ biographies are from thirty years after His death (which means of course the originals were written much earlier and are very close to the time of His death) we can’t trust what they say.

According to atheists, what the Bible calls prophecy isn’t prophecy; what the Bible says is the story line of God's plan for the salvation for the world, isn’t that at all.

So here we have atheists, from a different culture, a different race and a vested interest in destroying a diametrically opposed viewpoint to their world-view, AND from not five or ten years after the fact but from THOUSANDS of years after the fact, saying, “This is not what the authors meant.”

Arrogant? Valid? You be the Judge.

I’m going to give you 84 facts that have been confirmed by historical and archaeological research. These historical facts validate the Gospel writer, Dr. Luke as an historian extra ordinaire. Now:
. You can, as atheists consistently do, look at these confirmed facts and call it mythology.

. You can, as atheists consistently do, look at these confirmed facts and claim that Luke was not an eyewitness.

. Or, you can allow logic and reason to rule the day and you can ask yourself, “Is it likely that someone with an eye to such detail in his accounts got it wrong about Quirinias being governor of Syria in 6BC? Or is it perhaps the case that we are missing some crucial information for making this decision?”


. The natural crossing between correctly named ports Acts 13:4,5

. The proper port (Perga) along the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus 13:13

. The proper location of Lycaonia 14:6

. The unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra 14:6

. The correct language spoken in Lystra - Lycaonian 14:11

. Two gods known to be so associated - Zeus and Mermes 14:12

. The proper port, Attalia, which returning travellers would use 14:25

. The correct order of approach to Derbe and then Lystra from the Cilician Gates 16:1

. The proper form of the name Troas 16:8

. The place of a conspicuous sailors’ landmark, Samothrace 16:11

. The proper description of Philippi as a Roman colony 16:12

. The right location for the river Gangites near Philippi 16:13

. The proper association of Thyatira as a centre of dyeing 16:14

. Correct designations for the magistrates of the colony 16:22

. The proper locations (Amphipolis and Apollonia) where travellers would spend successive nights on this journey 17:1

. The presence of a synagogue in Thessalonica 17:1

. The proper term “politarchs” used of the magistrates there 17:6

. The correct implication that sea travel is the most convenient way of reaching Athens, with the favouring east winds for summer sailing 17:14-15

. The abundant presence of images in Athens 17:16

. The reference to a synagogue in Athens 17:17

. The depiction of the Athenian life of philosophical debate in the Agora 17:17

. The use of the correct Athenian slang word for Paul “spermologos”, 17:18 as well as for the court “Areios pagos” 17:19

. The proper characterization of the Athenian character 17:21

. And alter to an “unknown god” 17:23

. Areopagites as the correct title for a member of the court 17:34

. A Corinthian synagogue 18:4

. The correct designation of Gallio as proconsul, resident in Corinth 18:12

. The bema (judgment seat) which overlooks Corinth’s forum 18:16

. The name Tyronnus as attested from Ephesus in first-century inscriptions 19:9

. Well-know shrine and images of Artemis 19:24

. The well-attested “great goddess Artemis” 19:27

. That the Ephesian theatre was the meeting place of the city 19:29

. The correct title grammateus for the chief executive magistrate in Ephesus 19:35

. The proper title of honour “neokoros,” authorized by the Romans 19:35

. The correct name to designate the goddess 19:37

. The proper term for those holding court 19:38

. Use of the plural “anthupatoi,” perhaps a remarkable reference to the fact that two men were conjointly exercising the functions of proconsul at this time 19:38

. The “regular” assembly, as the precise phrase is attested elsewhere 19:39

. Use of precise ethnic designation, “beroiaios” 20:4

. Employment of the ethnic ter “Asianos 20:4

. The implied recognition of the strategic importance assigned to this city of Troas 20:7

. The danger of the coastal trip in this location 20:13

. The correct sequence of places 20:14,15

. The correct name of the city as a neuter plural “Patara” 21:1

. The appropriate route passing across the open sea south of Cyprus favoured by persistent northwest winds 21:3

. The suitable distance between these cities 21:8

. A characteristically Jewish act of piety 21:24

. The Jewish law regarding Gentile use of the temple areas 21:28

. The permanent stationing of a Roman cohort “chiliarch” at Antonia to suppress any disturbance at festival times 21:31

. The flight of steps used be the guards 21:31,35

. The common way to obtain Roman citizenship at this time 22:28

. The tribune being impressed with Roman rather than Tarsian citizenship 22:29
Anania being high priest at this time 23:2

. Felix being governor at this time 23:34

. The natural stopping point on the way to Caesarea 23:31

. Whose jurisdiction Cilicia was in at the time 23:34

. The provincial penal procedure of the time 24:1-9

. The name Porcius Festus, which agrees precisely with that given by Josephus 24:27

. The right of appeal for Roman citizens 25:11

. The correct legal formula 25:18

. The characteristic form of reference to the emperor at the time 25:26

. The best shipping lanes at the time 27:5

. The common bonding of Cilicia and Pamphylia 27:4

. The principal port to find a ship sailing to Italy 27:5,6

. The slow passage to Cnidus, in the face of the typical north-west wind 27:7

. The right route to sail, in view of the winds 27:7

. The locations of Fair Havens and the neighbouring site of Lasea 27:8

. Fair Havens as a poorly sheltered roadstead 27:12

. A noted tendency of a south wind in these climes to back suddenly into a violent northeaster, the well-known gregale 27:13

. The nature of a square-rigged ancient ship, having no option but to be driven before a gale 27:15

. The precise place and name of this island 27:16

. The appropriate manoeuvres for the safety of the ship in its particular plight 27:16

. The fourteenth night - a remarkable calculation, based inevitably on a compounding of estimates and probabilities, confirmed in the judgment of experienced Mediterranean navigators 27:27

. The proper term of the time for the Adriatic 27:27

. The precise term “Bolisantes” for taking soundings and the correct depth of the water near Malta 27:28

. A position that suits the probable line of approach of a ship released to run before and eaterly wind 27:39

. The severe liability on guards who permitted a prisoner to escape 27:42
. The local people and superstitions of the day 28:4-6

. The proper title “protos tes nesou” 28:7

. Rhegium as a refuge to await a southerly wind to carry them through the strait 28:13

. Appii Forum and Tres Tabernae as correctly place stopping places on the Appian Way 28:15

. Appropriate means of custody with Roman soldiers 28:16

. The conditions of imprisonment, living “at his own expense” 28:30,31

These historical facts validate the Gospel writer, Dr. Luke as an historian extra ordinaire.

. You can, as atheists consistently do, look at these confirmed facts and call it mythology.

. You can, as atheists consistently do, look at these confirmed facts and claim that Luke was not an eyewitness.

Or, you can allow logic and reason to rule the day and you can ask yourself, “Is it likely that someone with an eye to such detail in his accounts got it wrong about Quirinias being governor of Syria in 6BC? Or is it perhaps the case that we are missing some crucial information for making this decision?”

25 comments:

salvage said...

Since this is a continuation of the below post I will likewise continue the comments:

>I've given this evidence in a fairly recent post - within the last couple months. If you're such a big historical fan, you can go look for it.

Can you provide a link to that post? Unless it's like this one; using the Bible to prove that the Bible is true because as I've already posted that isn't a compelling argument.

> we can’t trust what they say.

We can't trust what they say because they're written after the facts by people who were not witnesses. Furthermore the accounts are contradictory on many points and have been subjected to much misinterpretation and selective editing.

The fact is you're claiming that your god performed Earthly miracles and then came back from the dead and it took thirty years for anyone to note such fantastic events. That makes it all highly suspect considering the Romans were quite effective at keeping records of all the important things that happened at the time. Why are there no other accounts of Jesus if he was as the Bible says he was?

Makarios said...

they're written after the facts by people who were not witnesses."

So every historian must also be an eyewitness?
===========

"it took thirty years for anyone to note such fantastic events."

This is why I don't want to waste the effort. Such silly statements show that you are a serious historian nor are you serious about learning. You pre conceived notions render you impotent for resolving any of this.

The copies that we have are from thirty years after His death. Copies mean that the originals are from much earlier. The Creed that is found in 1 Corinthians 15 dates from oral traditions that are dated from the second or third month after Jesus' death.
==============
"That makes it all highly suspect considering the Romans were quite effective at keeping records of all the important things that happened at the time."

In one of the posts that I will give you, "The lives of the Ceasars" does in fact talk about the happenings to Jesus and his followers.
============

The name of one post is "Who Wrote the Gospels?" and the second is, “Not Again!”

salvage said...

>So every historian must also be an eyewitness?

No, every historian must taken into consideration the value of eyewitness testimony vs. hearsay. In the case of Jesus we have no eyewitnesses, not one etching, not one carving, nothing.

>The copies that we have are from thirty years after His death. Copies mean that the originals are from much earlier.

An how do we know what the originals said? How do we know there were originals? If so what happened to them? Why were there copies made? Were there any changes from the originals?

See you're still at the same place; the Bible is the only proof that the Bible has to its veracity and that is simply not good enough for history.

Nor are "oral traditions" otherwise known as folk tales.

If there was a man named Jesus of Nazareth who caused some sort of commotion in Judea around the year 0 there is no record of it in any of the sources from that time.

>"The lives of the Caesars"

Is one of the accounts with a suspect reference to Jesus that is at best hearsay.

Once again and for the last time, there is no physical proof of Jesus, there is only the Bible.

Doesn't that strike you as odd? That such an important man of his time left less of a record than Roman tax collection? That no scholar of the time thought to write about the miracles and goings on?

The Atheist Missionary said...

So every historian must also be an eyewitness?

When the supposed events are miraculous - absolutely.

Makarios said...

An how do we know what the originals said? How do we know there were originals? If so what happened to them? Why were there copies made? Were there any changes from the originals?"

Oh, my. You don't know a freakin thing about history - do you? You're just some atheist goof trying to sound like you know what you're talking about. Go away.

Makarios said...

TAM which of the things listed in this post have to do with the miraculous?

salvage said...

>Oh, my. You don't know a freakin thing about history - do you? You're just some atheist goof trying to sound like you know what you're talking about. Go away.

Ah, here we go, I was wondering how long it would take you to resort to insults and childish pouting.

No, I know a fair bit about history and that era in particular, that's how I know there is no real evidence for Jesus. Only the Bible (which simply is not a dependable source) and two other, suspect, mentions.

You have yet to dispute that point, only pointing to sources that use the Bible as their source.

Let me tell you what's really going on here, you want the Bible, Jesus and your god to be real. You want there to be a omnipotent being who shares all of your cultural and moral beliefs who will look after you and ease the fear of death. You want that to be true that you will accept any "proof", no matter how flimsy that confirms your delusion and will clap your hands over your ears and yell at anything that suggests otherwise.

You're the sort of theist that makes being an atheist easy.

Makarios said...

“You have yet to dispute that point, only pointing to sources that use the Bible as their source.”

Neither of those posts use the Bible as their source and your comment proves that you never looked at either of them.
================
“shares all of your cultural and moral beliefs”

Creator God doesn’t share ANY of my cultural or moral beliefs. However, by the Grace of God He is bringing me around to seeing that my way of doing things is a lost cause and His way of doing things is the key to a life of peace and joy and moral integrity.
================
“You're the sort of theist that makes being an atheist easy.”

That’s what I thought. The writer of the atheist blog "whispersessions" nailed it perfectly. "It’s imperative to understand that not all atheists are advocates of reason. We are all born atheists, therefore it is our default state. Many atheists don’t believe in a god because they simply never gave it a thought. They could very well be dishonest, angry people who have no moral code whatsoever. Some are atheists out of rebellion to their family. They may have never given a thought to philosophy or science, let alone ethics and morality. Some are atheists simply because they despise religion. Their “lack of belief” is actually a vicious anti-belief, and when asked about what they do believe, they’ll generally have nothing more to say than how badly they hate someone else’s beliefs. They will tell you that religion is wrong, but they’ll have nothing to say about what is right. They’ll say theism is false, but they will have nothing to say about what is true. To be sure, many atheists’ atheism rests upon nothing at all. They are not advocates of reason. They are advocates of nothing. They are atheist, non-rational, amoral, and anti-reason all at the same time."

Tell me something, what criteria do you use, regarding any document from antiquity to determine if it’s accurate or reliable?

The Atheist Missionary said...

Mak, as you know, none of your listed items are miraculous. Most historians would not dispute that plenty of the events described in the synoptic Gospels are loosely based on actual events. However, how does my writing about the 2009 Masters (which actually occurred) result in the historical accuracy of my my suggestion (written 30 years later) that I won it and walked across water at the same time?

salvage said...

>Neither of those posts use the Bible as their source and your comment proves that you never looked at either of them.

No silly person, what I said was that those sources? They use the Bible as their source so it's the same thing in the end isn't it?

>Tell me something, what criteria do you use, regarding any document from antiquity to determine if it’s accurate or reliable?

The same criteria historians use. The more valuable a source the more it's backed up by other sources and material proof. In the case of Julius Caesar we know he existed because of the writings about him from different times and areas all support each other. For instance Julius writes in his campaign journals about kicking some northern barbarian ass, a report of battle written by a legionnaire in his memories supports that. Added is the physical proof of battle in the areas described, the particular Barbarian nations' vanishing from history about the time that JC and others said he whacked him and perhaps some relief or other artwork showing Caesar's Triumph seals the deal.

That's the sort of evidence that I and other accept as incontrovertible.

If all we had to go on for Julie was say Shakespeare's play, a note written in 62 AD and lots of people insisting they saw him wandering about after he was killed muttering "Brutus you dick." then I would have to say that the evidence for his existence was pretty thin. A man that great would leave more of a mark on history.

Strange that Jesus didn't isn't it?

But as I said you want it to be true and so you'll insist it is no matter how unlikely.

You do understand that the story of Jesus itself makes absolutely no sense whatsoever right? That your god sacrificing himself to himself so he wouldn't be angry with the creation he created acting as he must have know it would is pure lunacy, right? That if Jesus wanted to prove his divinity he could have raised dead people till the cows came home or after his resurrection if he had flown back to the Temple and said "Right, now anyone doubting me?" but instead he just did a few parlor tricks for a select few and expected everyone else to go on faith alone.

All rather illogical and implausible.

On the other hand a noble Roman sweeping across known Europe then returning home to stage a coup then being cut up by the outraged other nobility is quite plausible. In fact that sort of thing happens quite a bit in history in general and in Rome, well pretty much every other half-century.

They never did get the hang of succession the poor bastards.

Makarios said...

You know, as happens from time to time, when I'm working with a couple and realise that I'm putting more effort into saving the marriage than they are - we part company. Same here.

salvage said...

So then we can conclude that your proof of the Bible's veracity is that the Bible says it's true? You never actually answered me when I asked if this sounded like a reasonable argument so I guess I can assume that you understand it's illogical and just don't want to admit it.

You admit that one bit of your delusion doesn't make sense and gosh, who knows where that'd lead?

Enlightenment and free thought isn't for everyone I'll admit.

Makarios said...

Oh, and by the way, there are at least 5 main criteria for establishing the trustworthiness of an ancient document. Six, if we count your "somebody else saw me do it."

I still think you're a fraud.

Glen20 said...

What I've learnt from this blog: if you disagree with Makarios you are a fraud, a nazi, illogical, not worth talking to, etc...

Makarios said...

"What I've learnt from this blog: if you disagree with Makarios you are a fraud, a nazi, illogical, not worth talking to, etc..."

You know Glen, everytime you go away for awhile I let down my guard and think, "Hey, maybe with age Glen has gained some wisdom and can see through the foolishness of what his fellow atheists are saying." And then you come back and disappoint. Aw well, what can I do.

. Listen anyone who tells me that he's a historian and then can't even tell me how historical documents are assessed is a fraud.

. Atheism leads to illogical, self-defeating and incoherent beliefs about self and the universe and

. Those who ask for documentation but refuse to read it, are in my mind not worth talking to.

I've presented a wall of evidence that any reasonable person would at least consider. Atheists, by and large are not reasonable people. They say they follow they evidence but the evidence shows they do nothing of the kind.

So, there you are. Oh, and the Nazi thing was, as I said, just some childish goofing around. I shouldn't have done it and I'm sorry.

Glen20 said...

. Atheism leads to illogical, self-defeating and incoherent beliefs about self and the universe and

I could say the same about religion.

. Those who ask for documentation but refuse to read it, are in my mind not worth talking to.

Didn't you ask Flute questions and then say you don't read hardly anything she says?

I've presented a wall of evidence that any reasonable person would at least consider. Atheists, by and large are not reasonable people. They say they follow they evidence but the evidence shows they do nothing of the kind.

These "walls" of "evidence" when examined are often lacking.

So, there you are. Oh, and the Nazi thing was, as I said, just some childish goofing around. I shouldn't have done it and I'm sorry.

Oh okay, I hope that fellow knows this, he seemed pretty annoyed...

Makarios said...

“Didn't you ask Flute questions and then say you don't read hardly anything she says?”

Look Glen, if you keep highlighting my inconsistencies I won’t be able to play with you anymore.
==============

“Oh okay, I hope that fellow knows this, he seemed pretty annoyed...”

Ya, well, he had a good reason.

salvage said...

>Listen anyone who tells me that he's a historian and then can't even tell me how historical documents are assessed is a fraud.

Um where did I say I was a "historian"? You aren't very good at understanding stuff are you? What I said was I was a fan of history. Like I can be a fan of football but not actually be a player.


>Atheism leads to illogical, self-defeating and incoherent beliefs about self and the universe and

Huh? Atheism is the belief that there are no such things as gods. Are you suggesting that someone who thinks the planet was made from the bones of a slain giant and that if he dies on the battlefield chicks ridding winged horses will swoop down to take him to the best party ever has a more coherent belief about self and the universe?

>Those who ask for documentation but refuse to read it, are in my mind not worth talking to.

I read your "documentation" and it all leads back to the Bible and as I've said and you have not disagreed with that isn't a compelling argument.

Show me a source that doesn't use the Bible as its source and I will be happy to look at it.

Makarios said...

>Atheism leads to illogical, self-defeating and incoherent beliefs about self and the universe and"

I didn’t say there was only one way to deceive oneself.
============

Show me a source that doesn't use the Bible as its source and I will be happy to look at it."

Well, what exactly do you think that Bible is. It sounds like you are saying that if you’d read those independent documents before they were compiled into what we call the New Testament, it would have been fine and worthy of your examination. One hour later however, after they’ve been bound into one volume, all of a sudden they aren’t trustworthy?

As well, you are in error. The twenty-three extra Biblical references that I gave you aren’t in any way referring to or using the Bible as their source. They are referring to characters and events that are referred to in the Bible but that is what you wanted, remember? Extra Biblical corroboration of characters and events described in the Bible would of necessity require referring back to the Bible. Doesn’t that make sense?

Flute said...

The twenty-three extra Biblical references that I gave you aren’t in any way referring to or using the Bible as their source. They are referring to characters and events that are referred to in the Bible but that is what you wanted, remember?

If I remember correctly most of these references were mostly just proved Christians existed or stated things like Christians worship a man named Christus. Unimpressive.

You have referred to the authors of the New Testament as historians. We are not reading history texts. The NT authors were writing religious propaganda to convert and build up the membership of their respective sects. "but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:31.

About your original point about Luke; think of Gone With the Wind. There are numerous other sources which confirm the social system described in the book, the various Civil War battles, the names of cities and geography, etc. None of that, however, is an indication that Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara are real people.

Flute said...

In any case, it looks likely that the author of Luke-Acts relied on the works of Flavius Josephus.

The same names appear in both works. The author of Luke use the uncommon vocabulary that Josephus uses. The parallels (the story of Jesus' childhood is very similar to the story of Josephus' childhood).

Makarios said...

“You have referred to the authors of the New Testament as historians.”

That is incorrect. I quoted Historical Scholars who refer to Dr. Luke (he is the author of two letters to a person named Theophilus. The first letter is known as the Gospel of Luke. The second is known as Acts, or The Acts of the Apostles) as a first rate historian,

Historian:
One who writes or compiles a chronological record of events; a chronicler.
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“We are not reading history texts.”

That is correct. We are reading historical chronological accounts, very accurate historical chronological accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

Prior to being compiled into what we now know as the New Testament, these accounts were circulating as independent documents, mainly in the Christian community.

Only those on the lunatic fringe, equivalent to those who deny the holocaust, deny the existence of Jesus of Nazareth and the people recorded in His biographies.
==============

“The NT authors were writing religious propaganda”

Yes? And your point would be?Unless you are deliberately attempting to inflame the issue through the use of the term "propaganda" I suspect that out of ignorance you assume that propaganda never contains the truth. In actual fact, most propaganda is made up of truthful statements designed, as you correctly suggest in this propaganda style reply, to convey a message of import, at least to the writers of the document.
================

“None of that, however, is an indication that Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara are real people.”

As with the writers of the New Testament documents, the writers of the movie show that they knew what they were talking about, they knew the culture, the society, the norms about which they were describing.

Don’t do this kind of silliness, ok, Flute? You’re an intelligence person who has no need to waste our time with ridiculous side issues.

Albert Ip said...

Suppose I am writing a fiction, but throw in a few pieces of historical facts here and there, does it make the story in my fiction real?

Makarios said...

No of course not. But why would you write a fiction AND lead a life that coheres with that fictions that leads to a life of deprivation, hardship, torture and death?

Christ Follower (no longer) said...

"AND lead a life that coheres with that fictions that leads to a life of deprivation, hardship, torture and death?"

You seem to think that they actually DID, instead of that being still more stories.