Miracles and …

One of the things atheists are told is that science can only test the natural world and has no means to test the supernatural.

In other words, we cannot prove or disprove gods … or in context the Christian god, Yahweh.

Absolutely correct, and as most people who are non-believers would attest they would probably consider themselves to be agnostic atheists.

If the theist wants the atheist to change – and aren’t they compelled to spread the Word? (sic) – then simply provide evidence that demonstrates the sincerity of their objective and the veracity of their claims.

At least provide the evidence that convinced them to become Christian.

Ah … but then we are back to things supernatural which cannot be tested by scientific means as they fall outside the natural world. Right?

Well, yes … and no.

According to the story, when Yahweh became flesh and entered the world through his son, Jesus he was in many ways constrained by the natural world, or at least obliged to work within the framework of the natural world. This is obvious as if there was another way Yahweh would have simply revealed Himself to every human in some supernatural manner. He didn’t. So we had to have Jesus.

Jesus was born, lived – and one can presume he slept, ate and used the toilet just like regular people – and of course he died. Or at least this is the claim.

Prior to dying he … He spent around 30 years living among humans until he began his mission – to save the Jews and bring them back to Yahweh.

As we can see, he was, in many ways just a regular bloke, working in the family business, doing carpentry and/or similar jobs one would associate with “handyman”; In his home village and likely up the road in Yapha. His mum and dad trying to keep his divine nature quiet from the neighbours etc.

Yes, he was a regular bloke. Except for miracles. The miracles he did. Not least of which was raising Lazarus from the dead.

And this is where we should expect to find evidence. Some independent attestation of the wondrous deeds he did. After all:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

John 21:25

It’s in the bible, and the bible is the inspired Word of God, right?

And, yet, what do we have?

Not a word, not a whisper.

A god who lived among humans as a human and as a god for over thirty years and left no trace outside of a story?

There is absolutely nothing that can be checked. Nothing to back a single claim.

In this case absence of evidence is most definitely evidence of absence.

Evidence of miracles? Hmm …. I don’t think so.

And under such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to draw the only logical conclusion.

The biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is simply a work of fiction.

 

Ark.


226 thoughts on “Miracles and …

      1. The one in the bi-bill is the subject of miracle and divine inspiration. Are they different by the way? Or they are the same class of events for which science can’t examine?

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        1. Did someone mention inerrant facts? Here’s one from the Quran: 3:85: “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” Watching Christians argue with atheists is hilarious to me, a follower of The One True God, Allah. Both Christians AND atheists will burn together in the same Hell for their corrupt, evil, hurtful lies and beliefs. Why is this SO hard for you people to see?

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          1. Be forewarned. The end is coming for both Christians and atheists alike. From the Quran: 8:39: “And fight them until there is no more disbelief in Islam and the religion will all be for Allâh Alone…”

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          2. This: 9:29: “Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allâh, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allâh and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not Islam as the religion of truth among the people of the Scripture, until they pay the Jizyah [religious tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

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  1. Re “According to the story, when Yahweh became flesh and entered the world through his son, Jesus he was in many ways constrained by the natural world, or at least obliged to work within the framework of the natural world. This is obvious as if there was another way Yahweh would have simply revealed Himself to every human in some supernatural manner. He didn’t. So we had to have Jesus.”

    “As if there were another way …” As usual their “narrative” is full of holes. First of all, why is Yahweh confined in the supernatural realm? Did he not walk the Earth? Did he not talk to Adam and Eve and walk with Adam and Eve in the Garden? Are people not constantly looking for the Garden of Eden … on Earth, not in some supernatural realm?

    Yahweh apparent met with Moses on a Mountaintop, no? And …

    These Christians, when backed into a narrative corner of their own making, compound their problem by making shit up. Supernatural realm, indeed. What is this, other than a make believe land where their imagined world view is true? I assume there are lollipop tress and lemonade streams there, too.

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        1. Ah … you mean something along the lines of being raised from the dead?

          I still have all my teeth and hair. Only I just cannot seem to remember where I left them.
          I think I ought to go look for them, except I cannot find my glasses either.

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          1. LOL! Happy Birthday Arkenaten. You may be a year wiser but still an old geezer. Geeze. I might be older than you. I should be careful. :/

            @@@@
            | | | | < — Ark balloons 😀

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  2. One of the things atheists are told is that science can only test the natural world and has no means to test the supernatural.

    There are really no such things as “the natural world” and “the supernatural world”. There is just the world. We label some parts of the world as natural. And some folk try to use the label “supernatural”. But the labels are movable. What was once considered supernatural might later be considered natural.

    It’s mostly a game. People use the “supernatural” label in an attempt to protect their ideas from scrutiny. And the result is that “supernatural” has become a label for bad ideas (or absurd ideas).

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    1. Well, yes, Neil, normal people are aware of this.
      However, if one wants to play the game one sometimes has to tiptoe in and not make any loud noises so as not to scare the patient.
      Of course there are also times when one can’t help oneself and then falling about laughing at the absurdity of it all has to be excused.

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    2. It’s also a way of avoiding having to say, ‘I have no idea how that happened…” To a primitive tribesman electricity is a miracle, as is water running out of a faucet, or a radio. It does cover everything nicely.

      And happy birthday, Ark. Keep this up and you’ll be my age some day…

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        1. When my mother was in her 80s she said, “how did I get here so fast?” And I know what she meant. Suddenly Im galloping the same path, and seeing faint cracks in the cement, and already wondering what the weather will be like next Christmas. Which apparently will be here any minute…

          Cold comfort that it is, time is relative, and the less you have left of it, the faster it goes. Would be nice, though, to have it slow a bit on the good days and let us savor a bit….

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  3. One of the obvious things that makes this a farce for me is the fact that the Romans being as organised and diligent as we know they were, had nothing recorded, no statues or carvings that made any mention of a man that could heal sick people with the touch of his hand and apply amazing miracles to feed thousands of people. As Jesus was supposed to be drawing crowds, many Roman military would have been in attendance to keep a close eye on him and able to attest to these unexplained events that would have had deep emotional reactions on everyone in those days of superstitious beliefs.

    In fact, if what Jesus did was factual he would have become a phenomenon and all peoples, including the Jews who saw his power would have submitted to him, the Romans would have not killed him but would have immediately become dedicated followers not hundreds of years later In AD 313, when the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal and for the first time and of course no so called witnesses to anything were still living.

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    1. Indeed. His ministry lasted an entire year! No, sorry, that’s three years. Wait a moment in this gospel it says … ah fug it.
      Thousands turn up and he rode into town on his ass.
      A volatile situation in Jerusalem and suddenly up rocks Jesus Christ Superstar – (or like the triumphant entry into Rome of the Emperor) and the Romans do frig all?
      ”Oh, come on in, me old mate. Make yourself at home. Cup of tea, JC?”

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      1. Well, see, that was due to bad timing. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the same day everyone went to see the match between Rome and Liverpool; so there was no one around to take notice.

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    2. sklyjd,

      That is a fantastic observation and one I try to impose on Evangy-Fundy Christians when they get into a frenzy. They just REFUSE to learn in detail HOW the Roman Empire worked, especially during its pinnacle (from Emperor Augustus to Emperor Aurelius), socially, politically, legally, and militarily. Then just as importantly is their gross ignorance of TRUE Jewish Messianism within sectarianism.

      Christians are simply neglegible with accurate, contextual history. Period!

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    3. Every religion needs a martryr, and if it doesn’t have one, well, wait a few centuries and make one up. By then there’ll be no one around to remember anyway, right? Pick a Roman god or goddess, clean ’em up, rename them, pick another, give them another job and name, and sooner or later you get a martyr, complete with family, history, and a mysterious unaccounted-for life…hard to think of anyone wandering about for x number of years without anyone noticing. That wasn’t exactly Times Square, there. Everyone knew everyone.

      And if no one can remember him, well, that’s because they’re all dead too. No one could prove he lived, but no one could prove he didnt. And God doesn’t leave bones. Besides, if he did die, and get resurrected, where did he GO after the magical return to earth?

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    4. One sidenote to this: the Catholics have always been idea borrowers. They’re like the guy next door who sees your neat new lawnmower and just has to have one of his own.
      this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNik8niSrrY clarified for me, at least, just what I had always felt but never bothered to put together.

      Once you get past the long intro and the mildly annoying mannerisms, Seth Andrews does a fairly nice job of tracking all the threads down. You may have seen him before, but he’s fun to listen to.

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  4. They are welcome to show me a miracle whenever they choose. Funny, to get a miracle approved in the Catholic Church it has to go through committee, and even amongst believers, they don’t believe it either.

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        1. The disingenuity of people like Pastor Mel and his ilk is how they tell you healing miracles are real and they have seen them but fail to produce verified evidence.

          And yet if we are to accept the bible as a source of authority there should be evidence of the overwhelming number of miracles Jesus is claimed to have performed.
          Some sort of record. But there is nothing.

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  5. I have to agree with Neil Rickert’s comment about words/terms and their flexibility and interchangeability when it comes to Christology and the supernatural. Christians desperately need mutable and immutable language to not be nailed down to anything… a “cross” especially!!! 😄 I had to say it, just HAD TO!!!

    Ark, for the sake of discussion about:

    The biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth is simply a work of fiction.

    The Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) Apotheosis of a Christ is an embellishment upon embellishment upon more embellishments. BUT… for an apocalypticist Teacher/Rabbi and Jewish Reformer named Yeshua, this is what one highly regarded scholar states/believes:

    These abundant historical references leave us with little reasonable doubt that Jesus lived and died. The more interesting question – which goes beyond history and objective fact – is whether Jesus died and lived.

    *

    This is where I see all the rampant distortion NOT BY the Jews and their Messianism, but by the Roman Empire and its kingly deifying traditions (via the Church Fathers) and traditions they forced to be unquestioned!

    * — https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died

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    1. Yeah, well 5 will get you 10 this bloke is a Christian, and all he is citing is the same old boring regurgitated and warmed up leftovers we have all read a million times.

      I prefer Bob Price’s response.
      There is a man who knows what evidence is… and there really isn’t any at all.
      If there were , there would be boundless examples of his miracles all over Galilee and Jerusalem.
      But lo … these is not any. How most fightfully odd.

      Pee Ess. Since mentioning that you loved her soccer cake and that you were a footballer, my daughter is now desperately trying to establish who you ( the footballer) are.
      I have informed her that I do not know but that you are not likely to be Pele, Franz Beckenbaur, David Beckham or the late George Best.

      She is now working her way through famous US players.
      I have also suggested there is a very strong chance you are Mia Hamm, but she doesn’t seem to believe me for some reason. Kids today. No trust.

      *Sigh* she is almost as soccer mad as me but much more relentless.

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      1. Hahahahaha!!! Well, let me address the subject of your post first. I’m pretty much in agreement with you and others here about the supernatural or “miracles.” 95% of them can be explained naturally. The other 5%? They will be eventually as intelligence and technology evolve/advance. Nothing wrong with saying TBD — to be determined. Done.

        Regarding my footballing days without me divulging details and time-frame, she’s not going to find much at all — particularly when the bulk of my “success” (relative term there) was collegiately, then briefly in West Africa and Brazil. I can contact you or you me via private emails if you two would like? 🙂

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          1. From another comment I made on another WordPress blog about this very subject…

            “I do prefer Professor, or PT, or versions of those two on here. Why? Just briefly because of the scope of my blog-contents and topics, making public my real name on social-media (not that WordPress is identical to Facebook or Instagram, etc) while living and working in an “At-Will” labor laws state is quite risky. Why risky? I would say riskier due to divorce, child-support, and visitation rights or threats of limiting them, complicating it worse, etc., as well as companies/employers here do indeed do “social-media” checks and/or monitoring on employees during interviewing-hiring or for performance reviews when residing an At-Will state.”

            Plus Ark, it doesn’t help that cause when a significant portion of my blog-content is my Alternative Lifestyles of Open-Swinger activities/narratives and SSC BDSM activities/narratives. Does that help? :/

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          2. LOL… rhetorical questions; I love ’em. No, that is correct.

            I guess to join you here today on YOUR exposed birthday and “one GIANT candle”… 😉 my playing days were way back in 1981-1985 (collegiately) then ’85 thru ’90 pro and semi-pro… i.e. before internet and the world-wide-web. Hahahahaha! Ugh, ouch… that HURT to say that. 😦

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          3. Hahaha! Fair enough.

            In my own opinion it isn’t worth it because 1) the USA was NOT a soccer nation then, not like it is now (another relative description – LOL! And 2) the clubs in W. Africa were ransacked, looted, etc, during the horrible civil wars, which is why I got out of there! 😮 LOL And I’ve already tried to get info/reports from my two clubs in Brazil for my son — he wanted to know more and see it. That failed. 😦 In other words Ark’s daughter, the actual people will be your only verification. Hahahaha! And I realize how that can be interpreted here, but I’m sorry. My current situation here and with my kids is much MUCH more important to me than “old old news.” 🤔😄 Anyway, I’m saying too much already.

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  6. FAITH! You must have FAITH! Whassamatta witchoo Ark? Haven’t you learned anything?

    Surely by THIS time in your life (🎂) you would have figured this out!

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    1. Thanks Nan! You backed me up before I even got to your comment—is that a real miracle, or what?

      See, Ark? God does work in mysterious ways, Nan just proved it. Hallelujah!!

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        1. Ha! He preemptively countered that objection three sentences earlier with: “Evidence is important (if you define evidence properly). . .”

          Checkmate, you vacuous incoherent heathen! 🙂

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        1. Nan & Ron,

          Here’s what I find very peculiar with Mel and other radical Christians I might engage…

          When I let them know I once had a fully committed “heart” (born again via Holy Spirit) OPEN to God’s will, power, and intervention along with above-average knowledge and understanding of Scripture (Old and New) via a well-accredited seminary for 10-11 years of my life and ministry — requirements they frequently summon or reference as “keys” to (esoterical?) REAL understanding from God…and left it all as bogus! Suddenly I’m not qualified to speak on their Godly Christian topics! Hahahahaha! IOW, I did everything they say are prerequisites (like Mel with the heart-thing and open-mind thing) and it is STILL not enough!!! Where does that put them?

          And what I also find among the vast majority of Christians like him, they’ve never really examined ALL the secular criticisms of their “faith,” bible, and theology, much less the real contextual history surrounding the origins of their Early and Adolescent dedades/centuries Church, e.g. 3rd – 5th century CE Hellenistic Christology.

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          1. PT … I totally understand what you’re saying. Thing is … Mel is a pastor. Essentially, he’s writing a blog for his congregation. The fact that some of us (nasty) non-believers have intruded upon his cozy little niche and introduced dissenting ideas is … well … he simply can’t let that happen! I mean … c’mon! What if some of his readers actually began to QUESTION their beliefs? Oh my! The horror of it!

            No, he can’t let that happen. He MUST continue to discount any and all thoughts, idea, proofs, suppositions, EVIDENCE.

            AND … he must discount it by using circular language that doesn’t make sense to anyone reading along lest one of his faithful members might actually begin to “see the light.”

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          2. Funny how that approach is eerily similar (identical?) to how all kings/queens, emperors, dictatorships, police states, etc, etc, maintain “peace” and “order” amongst their flock/citizens or obedient robots. 😨 Can’t have doubt, higher education, and dissension in the masses, huh!? That would be too much liberty, too much freedom, too much democracy (as opposed to theocracy?). 🤔

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          3. And unfortunately, too many simply follow along … nodding their heads — “amen-ing” as they go — totally oblivious to the world around them.

            Oh the pain that comes with THINKING on your own! Simply cannot bear it! Far too difficult … far too upsetting.

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          4. Yes Nan, and then taking action AND taking full ownership for everything you do and say — all on your own shoulders right to death! — when Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection wipes all of that away at death, why risk it eternal damnation? Say yes to the Get-Out-Hell-Free card and it’s a cake walk no matter HOW many times you fuck up! Or from a psychological, moral, principles viewpoint… disempowerment and UNaccountability for Christians and their own life’s actions. 😮 You get a Proxy before the “Judge” who is blinded by His own blood-sacrificing!? 🤣 Go figure.

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          5. Suddenly I’m not qualified to speak on their Godly Christian topics!

            That’s the “no true Scotsman Christian” evasion. It is standard Calvinism, with their “Once saved, always saved” thesis.

            I looked into Calvinism, back in my religious teenage years. But it seemed wrong. A Calvinist is compelled to believe that you were never truly a Christian.

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          6. Ahhh, Neil… YES! Thank you Sir! You bring up a horrible theological Catch-22! That is, that the Scriptures — i.e. God’s inspired breathed final Word — the WHOLE Scriptures can be rightly interpreted for both Calvinism and Armenianism, which I guess equals “God’s” further mysteries, awe, and unknowing… which is sort of “subjectivism” that Pastor Mel cannot accept or endorse. Oh the MADNESS of it all!!! 🤣

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          7. Prof
            Mel wrote:

            Evidence is important (if you define evidence properly)

            This is a gobsmacking, insidious comment that he needs to be hauled over hot coals for.
            Reading his comments to you makes my fillings ache, but as with the quote-mined Flew comment that Neil mentioned his ”evidence ” comment also needs to be addressed.

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          8. Every comment he makes on such ”evidentiary” issues has a disgusting habit of subtly ( and sometimes not so …) contradicting something he said in a previous paragraph or sentence somewhere either in the same piece or somewhere else on his blog.
            It is much like reading different versions of the same event in the gospels..

            I am beginning to believe the only way to stamp this crap out is to demonstrate (gods know how at this stage) that Jesus is an entirely fictitious character

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          9. “When I use a word,” the apologist said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

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          10. @ Neil

            I’m pretty sure the Scott quote is, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” This is religious apologetics to a tee.

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          11. Neil,

            I was trying to write a comment on your “What is Knowledge” blog-post and there is nowhere to comment! I wanted to ask you if you were familiar with the fairly new scientific field/discipline of Agnotology? Thanks. 🙂

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          12. That’s an old post. I set comments to be closed after 30 days, because most such comments are spam.

            No, I was not familiar with agnatology. But I’m reading about it right now.

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          13. Agreed. It’s all just a smokescreen, because criticisms from apostates and non-believers will eventually be dismissed under the pretext that skeptics lack the spiritual guidance needed to interpret the scriptures correctly.

            BTW, that Anthony Flew quote in his response to you on the “About Miracles” post was quote-mined. You should call him on it. Here’s the context (I’ve highlighted the portion that he quoted):

            Did the Resurrection Happen?: A Conversation with Gary Habermas and Antony Flew
            By Gary R. Habermas, Antony Flew
            InterVarsity Press, 2009

            Part II: Anthony Flew’s Journey to Theism (pp. 85-86)

            Habermas: You and I have had three dialogues on the resurrection of Jesus. Are you any closer to thinking that the resurrection could have been a historical fact?

            Flew: No, I don’t think so. The evidence for the resurrection is better than for the claimed miracles in any other religion. It’s outstandingly different in quality and quantity, I think, from the evidence offered for the occurrence of most other supposedly miraculous events. But you must remember that I approached it after considerable reading of reports of physical research and its criticisms. This showed me how quickly evidence of remarkable and supposedly miraculous events can be discredited.

            What the physical researcher looks for is evidence from witnesses of the supposedly paranormal events recorded as soon as possible after their occurrence. What we do not have is evidence from anyone who was in Jerusalem at the time, who witnessed one of the allegedly miraculous events and recorded his or her testimony immediately after the occurrence of that allegedly miraculous event. In the 1950s and 1960s I heard several suggestions from hard-bitten young Australian and American philosophers of conceivable miracles the actual occurrence of which, it was contended, no one could have overlooked or denied. Why, they asked, if God wanted to be recognized and worshiped, did God not produce a miracle of this unignorable and undeniable kind?

            https://goo.gl/7JcFdR

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          14. BTW, that Anthony Flew quote in his response to you on the “About Miracles” post was quote-mined. You should call him on it.

            Thank you very much Ron for this! My issue is simply time — the time to dissect every little misdirection or mishap he writes, especially those he avows are spiritual or biblical “truths.” Confronting him on them, ON HIS BLOG, he will not allow to go unchallenged! Apparently his own congregation reads (I’ve been told by Nan) his blog-posts. He MUST show that “God” (thru him?) trumps everything we heathens could throw at him… blah, blah, blah, and it becomes a Black Hole of time, light, and energy for me. :/

            I’ll try to get over there, but don’t get hopes up. I have many other things I must do today and tomorrow. Anyone else is MORE THAN welcome to call him on it. 🤩👍

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          15. I’ve been told by Nan — Did I tell you that? I think I just intimated that this is the case. I mean, after all, he is a pastor that writes a blog so it would seem a natural assumption.

            However, he did point out in response to a question I asked him about why he carried on these lengthy discussions that he is doing it for “for believers and seekers.” What’s funny is that in the same sentence he wrote .. “not for hardened atheists or secular humanists.”

            If not the latter, then why spend so much time responding to same? Hmmmm?

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          16. He’s emboldened to convert those who promote building a society that values reason and human decency without appeals to some celestial dictator because they promise a better alternative to what he’s offering. Can’t have that.

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          17. Ahh, yes. That was it Nan. Thank you. 🙂 I do remember now you asking him why the long apologetic conversations with me and other non-Xians. I mentioned to him on one of his gazillion posts about ‘everything Jesus/Christianity’ that if he and his readers do NOT want to read any alternative viewpoints and challenges to his/their “faith,” then make his blog private, by membership only and blockout all opposition! Mel never responded to that. Hahaha. 😉

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          18. They have to spread the Word(sic) , dontcha know? And Mel just lurves to get it out in public and flash it to all and sundry.
            In truth this Word is about as welcome as an S.T.D. in a brothel.

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          19. 🤣 But to honestly give a bit of credit to him and any other verbose, John-the-Baptist-fire-and-brimstone-Types, they are indeed following or obeying exactly what the New Testament is ordering/teaching. Their choice of lifestyle — though certainly based in many fallacies & folklore — is SUPPOSE to separate them out of life (ala the Hebrews to everyone) and civilizations… because afterall, they ARE God’s chosen ones and biblically speaking ‘Do not belong in this world’… ala the radical Muslims too. HAH! 🤪

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          20. Well, according to Revelations, which we know for certain is absolutely 100% accurate and not a bunch of delusional mushroom-induced dribbling, there is no guarantee that they’ll get chosen no matter how good and spiritual and pious and righteous and virtuous they are. As Curtis Knight once sang: ”Hey, you’re not one of us … get to the back of the bus.”

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          21. Yep, and right there Ark you’ve open up the crazy, endless theological Can-O-Worms and Pandora’s Box that has caused ALL THREE Abrahamic religions to fragment into a bazillion different sects and denominations and over history many times they’ve wanted to exterminate the others! It’s pure insanity and cannibalism and SELF-cannibalism when you dissect and boil down the ENTIRE Bible to its base… i.e. this world and this life is not worth helping or saving because it is doomed anyway! It’s quite toxic when you finally get down to its root message and narrative! 🤢 🤮

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          22. I appreciate the effort required to counter a Gish Gallup. And swamping his readers with quotes and long videos is part of his overall strategy to keep detractors occupied. But it’s all foam and no beer. I just think calling him out on such a blatant misrepresentation might put him on notice that we’re paying attention. Plus, with apologists it’s easy to spot quote-mines: they usually contain ellipses. The worst example I’ve ever encountered joined two thoughts separated by several pages. And if it’s anything attributed to Sam Harris, you’re practically guaranteed it’s a misquote.

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          23. Yes Ron. Agree on all points. Thanks for understanding. I just can’t be the Police of Bogus-ness 24/7. Sucking the marrow out of life is much, MUCH more important to my decadent, hedonist, heathen appetites than a bland, vanilla, Same Ole Same Ole like him and his extrapolations of life. (yawn) LOL 😛

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          24. LOL… I do Ark, but when it’s on MY terms, on MY clock, and when I have the energy to deal with…

            hmmmm, how do I put this? To deal with people with severe horse-blinders on so damn tight it crunches there eyes into their big noses. 😛 That can be very exhausting sometimes.

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          25. It had something to to do with oral sex. He was probably brought up to believe it is rude to speak with one’s mouth full so he banned me.
            No sense of occasion these Crispyuns. They blow a gasket at the drop of a hat. Or blow something.
            *Shakes head*

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  7. I know the comment section is getting a bit unwieldy, but someone just commented on the “father’s house” and actually questioned you-know-who about his afterlife perspective. Of course, he punted and said it wasn’t so much about what’s to come as it was the “moment by moment” life in Christ that really turned him on. Ahhhh yes.

    @ “So Where’s Your Hope”

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      1. The bible (Jesus) says the inhabitants of heaven will be like the angels — who, supposedly, are “sexless.” The bible does say no marriages, but as we all know, sex doesn’t need marriage. 🙂 It would be interesting to see what kind of answer “the guys” would come up with.

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          1. Just got to thinking … why go to heaven when you’ve got sex? Pretty much one and the same, don’t you think?

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    1. And Branyan turned up…
      They are like a pair of theological Siamese twins!
      Or maybe a more accurate description would be a theological version of Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey.

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        1. As I have only ever been a christian in the cultural sense, this almost anal fixation he has with staying on topic has always suggested to me that he knows if we cast out gaze either side of the narrow line of focus he has drawn we will see how fallacious the argument truly is, hence why he always gets flustered when such things are pointed put to him.
          And you know it is only a matter of time before he hauls out his epithet: ”Whatever”.

          Of course this approach changes in an instant if you are considered to be commenting out of context.

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          1. Arrgghhh! Now he’s interjecting his verboten “science” by saying (in his latest response): Time is contingent and temporal. … and references Einstein. None of which addresses the question asked by “Carburn.”

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          2. Mel just wrote (in response to PT): Yup, Easter is a perfect April fools analogy. Everybody thought Jesus was dead. Oops! April fools! Sorry…He’s alive!

            I soooo wanted to respond … PROVE IT!

            But I figured BrainYawn would get involved (he has a fixation on me) so I’m sharing it here instead. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey dp! How the Gehenna are you! the
      I don’t know or have a particular theory who might have been specifically responsible,to be honest. Though I doubt it was a single individual
      People with motive, obviously.. If there was a real figure behind it all as Price noted he is lost to history.
      What we can be sure of is the Lake Tiberias Pedestrian, the god-man was obviously a work of fiction.

      But, of course, you probably have a slightly different POV. You are Catholic, if memory serves, yes? Feel free to present what ever evidence you may have.

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      1. There is no evidence for anything other than the church and a handful of texts that directly and indirectly reference the beliefs of the early church, my question is if we can come up with a plausible theory about the originator of those beliefs.
        This is the historical problem as I see it:
        There needs to be a creator (or group of creators) who account for transition from 1st century Judaism to the first century church, right? Someone has to take Jewish elements (scripture, liturgy, prophetic traditions, law, messianic ideas, etc) break them down, and reorganize them into a new synthesis. The time frame for his or their activity is from the career of Jesus to the conversion of Paul some two to seven years after Jesus’ death, since in his subsequent writings Paul takes the basic outlines of early Christian doctrine and practice as givens, even if he adds developments of his own.
        The creator(s) need to be Palestinian Jews active in the 30s, theologically literate and somewhat ingenious to come up with this whole new synthesis and convincingly communicate it.
        The most obvious candidate is Jesus himself. That does not necessarily imply any supernatural origins to the story, it just attributes those basic outlines of Christianity to him.
        If it wasn’t Jesus, then the next most likely figures for creating this new synthesis are his disciples retroactively rewriting the story independently of what Jesus did and taught. So the real mastermind wasn’t Jesus but a disciple, but in that case why bother attributing the synthesis to Jesus at all and not to the real genius, the disciple?
        If not Jesus’ disciples then it would have been an anonymous shadow figure, perhaps some ingenious rabbi who invented the story and co-opted Jesus’ core disciples. The problem with that hypothesis is that it is arbitrary and needlessly complex since we already have an ingenious rabbi named Jesus who formed the group of disciples in the first place.
        Any other theories?

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        1. There needs to be a creator (or group of creators) who account for transition from 1st century Judaism to the first century church, right?

          There was no church in Israel. Christianity rose in Syria and Turkey.

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          1. Turkey didn’t exist in the 1st century. I’d normally assume you knew that but you are the guy who thought I ought to preform animal sacrifices because he is ignorant of contents of the Letter to the Hebrews.

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          2. Paul mentions visiting Jerusalem to confer with the Apostles in one of his letters, I forget which, maybe Galatians?
            But your assertion is arbitrary and absurd. I feel stupider even entertaining it.

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          3. Is Galatians one of the forged letters? And I believe I said correspondence WITH a church in Palestine… Not Paul making shit up.

            arbitrary and absurd… then, by all means, DEMONSTRATE the existence of a church in Palestine.

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          4. It is generally considered Paul’s. As for a demonstration, I just did you ass.
            Paul’s fundraising in Corinthians for the church in Jerusalem just came to mind. Would be hard to do if there was no church in Jerusalem. Maybe you are the one who has some demonstrating to do.

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          5. No, you didn’t. You alluded to a possible letter where Paul says he has to go to Palestine.

            Paul created Christianity. He was quite the storyteller.

            So, show me a letter from someone from a church in Palestine.

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          6. Again, arbitrary assertions that fly in the face of the only available evidence we have on hand. I am not the one bearing the burden of proof here. You are a hopeless crank.

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          7. Sure, arbitary.

            Be sure to let me know when you have your correspondence with church people in Palestine, OK…. and not just the grand imaginations of the founder of your religion.

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          8. I’m asking for proof for a church in Palestine.

            I KNOW there’s proof of churches forming in Turkey and Syria… Just not Palestine.

            Odd that.

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          9. And not me regarding the sacrifices, rather a Christian theologian:

            What Christians most often forget is how to read the whole Bible as the complete Word of God. For some, there is a misunderstanding that the Old Testament no longer applies to Christians. That would be a mistaken understanding because Jesus came to fulfill the “Law and the Prophets” (the Old Testament), but not to change a “jot or tittle” of it. Jesus did change some of the incorrect ways that the Jews were practicing the Law, but did not change the Law itself.

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          10. Yes, I recall your “influential tea-party theologian” (sic) whom no one never heard of. Not exactly Karl Barth. Now go read Hebrews.

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          11. He’s not a Teabagger, not that i’m aware of. But don’t get all grumpy with me if one of *your* church leaders and thinkers says *you’ve* got it all wrong.

            Take it up with him.

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          12. Or you can go to what everyone considers an authoritative source on such matters, the New Testament. But you won’t do that because you are lazy and superficial.

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          13. Again, don’t get all grumpy and moody with me because one of your church leaders and thinkers (you know, a professional, unlike you) says YOU’RE wrong.

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          14. If I recall he is a self published guy with a blog, AKA, about as influential as me. Say, why don’t you start quoting me as an authority? Unlike you I’ve actually read the New Testament instead of googling Bible verses to look smart.

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          15. Yes, I have a degree in theology though that was years ago and I’ve made no use of it. I am not and never have been a pastor. But I am still smarter than your asshat theologian and smarter than you who can’t be bothered to read the Letter to the Hebrews because you are too lazy and shallow and know you are full of it.

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          16. Oh, well I did not know that.

            So, we have two people studying the EXACT same religion, yet arriving at two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT interpretations of it.

            Great messaging, guys! Trully, impressive.

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          17. I can’t help it if the other guy is a moron any more than I can help you. But you can help yourself, pick up the Letter to the Hebrews and read it… nah, too hard.

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        2. There is no evidence for anything other than the church and a handful of texts that directly and indirectly reference the beliefs of the early church,

          Which rather leaves the door wide open for any clever individual/s looking to put one over the Jews and gentiles with the view to establishing a universal …. katholikos … ha ha … religion.

          As I mentioned , Price seems to be on the right track when he stated that IF there was a figure behind it he is surely lost to history.

          As a number of people have alluded, it could have been Paul and some even believe that Paul may not have been a real figure either – there are allusions to Marcion, based on the belief (fact?) he was the first to gather all the so-called letters of Paul.
          Certainly modern Christian doctrine owes more to Paul and the Church rather than the biblical character Jesus.

          As the first gospel , Mark , which we know featured no resurrection was written at least 4 decades after the events in question then memory tends to get a bit fuzzy and facts ( ?) have a nasty habit of going the same way.
          As we have no contemporary accounts or evidence then ostensibly we are left with trusting the accounts of the bible.
          As these are fraught with fraud, there truly is no reason whatsoever to give any serious credence to these texts.

          Who made it up? We’ll probably never know, unless the church comes clean.
          Once agan, what we can say is the biblical character, the supposed god man Jesus of Nazareth is simply a narrative construct, a work of fiction.
          Belief in this figure is solely a matter of faith.
          Then as now, history proves is isn’t that difficult to con people if you can find the right type of leverage.

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          1. I think I understand dpmonahan’s frustration. It’s not with JZ, you, or any other theologian. It’s with himself. He is having a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that he has been conned by a FABLE; a popular MYTH.
            Face it, dp. The story just doesn’t make any sense.

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          2. Its good to quote me since I’m generally right.
            Anyway, the texts did not appear out of a vacuum, they are products of the church which claims to be continuing the work of Jesus. So the question is the same, who brought the church into existence out of Judaism, Jesus, or someone else.
            Saying Paul is the inventor of Christianity would fit with scenario 3 above, but you end up cutting off the branch you are standing on: you assert Paul is the inventor because his letters are the only contemporary evidence of the first generation church, but when you notice that Paul treats the basic outlines of church teaching and practice as givens you declare Paul unreliable. It is a self-contradictory hypothesis.
            So I think any plausible and coherent hypothesis about the growth of the church out of Judaism has to center on Jesus and his immediate followers. Then the problem becomes trying to distinguish the contributions of Jesus and the contributions of the Apostles. The problem is probably intractable insofar as there are more than one possible and plausible scenario, but it is worthwhile to try and flesh those scenarios out.

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          3. Oh, and JZ. As far as the idea of having a theology degree gives anyone any kind of credibility; remember that one can basically get one through the mail from many of the ‘pretend’ colleges granting titles in the States.

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          4. Unquestionably.

            “The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science, without our being in possession of the principles upon which it is founded; and as this is the case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.”

            ― Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

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          5. It’s rather frustrating to me that some naive non believers go out of their way to make comfortable the room for otherwise intelligent people to believe stuff incompatible with how we know the world operates, the way that allows us to utilize this knowledge into making things that work for everyone, everywhere, all the time.

            The problem is, to make room for the former, one cannot help but have to cast doubt on the latter.

            That’s what these tolerant non believing agnostic-promoting folk are really accomplishing when they try to make room for superstitious nonsense: they themselves are helping to sell doubt in real world knowledge as if accepting this contra-knowing belief as legitimate were without any larger pernicious effect. The comfort of devout old ladies, apparently, is the primary concern for such nice people. It’s almost as if these faithesists say, “Whodathunk the two – faith-based belief and evidence adduced knowledge – were inversely related?” Things like understanding climate change and vaccinations… you know, the understanding of the real world that really does has global implications on the actual welfare of not just every single human being today but and every single future human being. To not disturb the comfort level of pious old ladies is of equivalent concern, you see, because one cannot be nice and tolerant if one is more concerned about the real world welfare of humanity versus accepting as virtuous the make-believe world of the religious.

            Who would be so idiotic to actually think this were reasonable ‘accommodation’?

            Well, apparently these well-meaning faithesists do, who presume their expansive tolerance and niceness of those who maintain (quaint) faith-based belief to be equivalent to (but of a different kind of) evidence-adduced knowledge magically will bring this lost tribe of the gullible and indoctrinated into respecting reality – and what we know about it – more than believing in various versions of POOF!ism that undermine not just our honest understanding of it but fundamental actions we should be taking for the welfare of all.

            It’s not a mystery why anti-scientific beliefs are directly related to rates of religiosity.

            There is a veritable plethora of nice and tolerant non believers who think this conflict, this incompatibility between how we know anything vs what we’d like to believe in its stead, this false equivalency that religion and science comport because each produce a mutually supportive kind of knowledge and therefore must be okay together, that this never-ending tension and conflict demonstrated by incompatible beliefs about the world, must not cause unending interference with how we know we can reduce real harm to real people in real life. These nice faitheists – for that is in fact what such nice and reasonable people are in effect – help this interference… in the name of respecting these batshit crazy anti-scientific and incredible dangerous superstitious ideas on behalf of those lovely people who honestly have fooled themselves into thinking that believing in such faith-based beliefs is not just acceptable but actually a virtue.

            Good grief.

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          6. Yes. But how do you propose we move forward? Because in my opinion, reasoned discourse is the only way to sway someone into adopting a position voluntarily. The others (insults, censorship, suppression and violence) only push unpopular ideologies underground until they amass enough supporters to launch a counter-offensive. Witness the steady rise of religious and nationalistic fervor in former eastern bloc nations since the dissolution of the USSR. (http://www.pewforum.org/2017/05/10/religious-belief-and-national-belonging-in-central-and-eastern-europe)

            As to arguing with old ladies — what’s the point? They’re beyond the age of convincing. Apply the efforts towards persuading younger generations while they’re still amenable to change. That’s how religion attracts its lifelong converts. 🙂

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          7. My question to Ark was about history, not theology: what are plausible scenarios for transition from 1st century Judaism to the 1st century church, who was the person(s) behind it all. There are likely several possible and plausible scenarios but saying Jesus was unrelated to the event seems to be the least likely.

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          8. Who was the first person behind Brahman? Who was the person that first enunciated Quetzalcoatl? And so on?

            Dpmonahan, emergent religious character ideas written about like a Jesus figure are the norm, which is why we have such equivalent ‘gospels’ for all kinds of resurrection deities pre- and post dating this one. Asking for the author who first wrote about a figure in just this one case as you do here – as if this unknown primary source is indicative of the ‘fire’ where all the later accounts are the ‘smoke’ – means you’re going to have to accept the same reasoning arguing for the actual real world existence of all these resurrected gods. After all, who was that very first author writing about this god or that one… if not someone real? And why would they do so?

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          9. It depends. Myths often propose to take place in some time before time, or an ideal world that the real one is based on, so for a lot of these religions it really could the wrong approach, you would ask instead what the myth meant and how the system worked, maybe track its development over time, but not worry so much about the origins.
            But it isn’t unreasonable to, say, construct possible models of the lives of the Buddha, St Patrick, Isaiah the Prophet or Zoroaster. Or models of how some half-known historical event unfolded.
            In this case we are talking about the first century and why two religious movements that still exist split off from each other and I think we have enough documentation and a narrow enough range of dates to build scenarios of how it happened and who/what the catalyst would have been. So far I have heard “anyone but Jesus”, a self-defeating theory about Paul.

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          10. I think you might get more historical traction by approaching why any itinerant Jewish preacher (or preachers) might gain distant followers when the message trickling away seemed to include a much higher status to and for women. Most of these enclaves of Jesus believers were very much communal, very much women oriented from what I have been able to glean, and required a centralizing connection to gain more authority than the vague messaging from a
            few scrolls, which is why Paul had to travel so much far beyond Palestine but still within the Roman influence and why presenting himself as a centralizing figure could gain status and authority. I suspect men found Paul’s messaging much better tasting that elevated their masculine status within the ever-so-slowly rising ‘church’. This also explains why the Jews of Palestine found the whole Jesus phenomena so foreign.

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          11. Curious. I wouldn’t look so much at communication via scroll or even word of mouth but though actual movement of people among diaspora communities and to and from Judea: pick up the Jesus thing while on pilgrimage or studying and then go home to the Jewish quarter in Corinth or Alexandria.
            So we are contrasting Jesus’ feminism with Paul’s patriarchy, leading to Paul’s success in the diaspora and Jesus’ successors’ ultimate failure in Palestine?
            Thanks for the effort but I don’t know how to judge the scenario, because I don’t know if categories like patriarchy or feminism would have made any sense to people the first century.

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          12. I don’t know, Tildeb. I used to believe what one of our ministers said (in fact, I believed it for years), “Jesus was the first feminist”. I now think it is wishful thinking. If Jesus was a real person, it seems more likely that he was a man of his time. The hierarchy – god, then man, then women and children – would have probably been the norm. What little information that can be taken from the Bible to support that idea (Jesus as a feminist) I now see as women trying desperately to read something in that’s definitely not there. It’s a comforting theory, though! 🙂

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          13. IF … one believes the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), then the hierarchy you mentioned is the one that was in effect at the time Yeshua arrived on the scene. And IF … his message was to the JEWS (which I believe and most would attest to), then to assign him the label of “feminist” is totally wishful thinking on the part of some Christian apologist along the way.

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          14. I’m not trying to reference OT scripture, Carmen; I’m referencing the idea of a rabbi whose closest followers were women, who sold an idea of divinity of human souls based on raising the son of God to be the way, the path forward, using very feminine virtues to be those most desired, most pleasing to this mythical figure. These communal enclaves of Jesus followers had many women leaders and councils that included important women. And that would be a reason for the Jesus myth to be a very attractive one to join especially to disenfranchised Jews far from the Promised Land without having to give up their Jewishness., their special relation as the Chosen People with the creator of the universe. Of course, given time and distance and local constraints, dividing into branches that shared only a central core of beliefs would be inevitable. But the widespread growth of the movement had to be family driven and that means it had to be of more benefit than only the prescriptive behaviours offered that we read in the Bible today. We read the ‘victor’s version’ of the Bible remember, and not the basis of writings used for the gnostic movement. The opposition to the gnostic movement was very much the male version of the competitive sect, and this was the threat we saw played out with the gnostic Cathars. That’s why the Church carried out a genocide, to solidify it’s absolute power over what they determined was scripture and what was heretical. So the Jesus you read in today’s Bible is this more robust but oh-so-loving god who introduces us to the ‘utopia’ of hell and damnation. Nice! And, besides, this guy – unlike all those other resurrected gods (nudge, nudge,m wink, wink) – was a real decedent of Adam and Eve, donchaknow, and it was all Eve’s fault we have death and sin, donchaknow, and so we need a manly blood sacrifice to get our eternal debt paid, and we need to report weekly to our priestly probation officer and give them money and power and prestige to show our proper contriteness, ahem… devotion, donchaknow, and yada, yada, yada. Isn’t that a great selling feature to help spread the Word to these enclaves? Hardly.

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          15. Ahh, yes. I see what you are getting at now. 🙂 It’s as you assert, though. Definitely, if one actually analyzes what the scriptures say, they’re overwhelmingly anti-woman. Which so many women seem to ignore.
            Imagination, again.

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          16. Highly anti-woman. It’s actually amazing to me that any woman finds Christianity more palatable and righteous compared to the equality rights and freedoms and dignity of personhood fundamental to secular humanism. I suspect it’s the ‘Brownie Scale of Guilty Indebtedness’ that suggests the more suffering she endures now to be the Good Christian Woman (TM), patiently and kindly received with a loving heart and compassion for her Betters, the bigger the payoff and appreciation she’ll receive from her Divine Father… even if in the next life. She finally will be owed, you see.

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          17. What are you trying to say there, Carmen? That a Street Preaching Certificate from Ray Comfort’s online School of Biblical Evangelism is without merit?

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          18. @ DPMonahan
            I repeat,as Price stated, IF there was a real figure behind it …. ”Jesus” …. then he is lost to history.

            So the question is the same, who brought the church into existence out of Judaism, Jesus, or someone else.

            And I have said, I do not know , but I can guess like everyone else, I suppose.
            There have been allusions made that Paul too was a narrative construct.
            You are surely not going to assert that the character Paul as depicted in Acts is a genuine historical figure, I hope?

            The actual date of composition of Mark is somewhat speculative, as are the dates of the other gospels, and loosely based on the date surrounding the destruction of the temple, but who knows if this also is correct? We have no original texts.

            I am not declaring Paul is unreliable, although much of what is claimed to be his writing is fraud, but rather if he was or was not a real historical character also.
            There is no verifiable independent evidence for him.

            Maybe Marcion is responsible for Paul’s creation and his letters?

            So I think any plausible and coherent hypothesis about the growth of the church out of Judaism has to center on Jesus and his immediate followers.

            For whom of course there is absolutely no contemporary and no verifiable evidence.
            And we are to trust the bible?
            *Smile* Methinks you ought to chuck your lot in with faith and leave it at that, dp.

            If you take one or two isolated incidents/characters one could possibly arrive at a scenario that fits with christian teaching/doctrine, but when you take everything as a whole, including the rampant violence, abuse, lies and fraud the Catholic church and its allies perpetrated over the centuries to ensure the Christianity ”Won The Day” then a religion made out of whole cloth seems equally as likely , if not more so.

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          19. You can’t assert “Jesus is lost to history” as a way of invalidating historical theorizing. I was suggesting an historical exercise, no one is interested, that is fine.
            You’ve teased that “Paul is a myth” crap before, it is stupid and you know it which is why you hedge it so much.

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          20. You can’t assert “Jesus is lost to history” as a way of invalidating historical theorizing.

            I am not. Price is.
            As there is no contemporary or verifiable evidence for the character it is a perfectly valid hypothesis.

            Why couldn’t the church have simply made it all up?

            You’ve teased that “Paul is a myth” crap before, it is stupid and you know it which is why you hedge it so much.

            The only ”evidence ” we have for Saul/Paul are the supposed letters he wrote.

            Oh, so I cannot ”historically theorize” about the possibility that Marcion was Paul?

            As we know a great many of his ”letters” are fraud and those that are considered genuine are, in at least one case, ”cut and paste” how do we know that ”Paul” was a genuine historical character and was not Marcion?

            After all, if was Marcion who is credited with collecting the letters and handing them over to the church.

            So, no, it is not stupid, especially when we have absolutely no contemporary or verifiable evidence for this character either.

            As I said, when you look at all of it rather than bits in isolation it seems all the more plausible that the church made it up.

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          21. I suppose the church inventing everything wholesale is within the range of possible models but not really plausible. You are positing that the church spontaneously generated or are just moving its foundation to some other charismatic Jewish visionary, just not one named Jesus.
            The problem with Marcion as the secret author of Paul is that Marcion’s crackpot theology is different from Paul’s. Marcion = two gods, Paul = one. It just isn’t possible.

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          22. Yes, I am aware of the difference. Yet I read somewhere that the church took the letters presented to them and ”cleaned” them up.

            Scholars already know that some were cut and paste as I have already mentioned.

            If it is within the range of possiblity then it is as plausible as anything we have at present, bearing in mind there is absolutely no verifiable evidence for any of the major characters within the story, and much of what we do have is blatantly fiction.

            Once more, when one considers the religion and its history as a whole, especially as we know what the orthodox Church did to ensure all dissent was crushed, then making up a religion is not really so far-fetched at all.
            After all, if it were so obvious surely it would not have taken centuries to iron out all those ”little problems”?

            And of course , we haven’t really touched upon the garbage of the god – man and the nonsense about him.
            Seriously, you would do yourself a big favour if you simply acknowledged all you have is faith.

            Perhaps someone/some people looked at all the nonsense surrounding all these Messiahs’s and thought:
            ”You know what … I’ve got a great idea…”

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          23. By the time you get to Marcion the church is probably too big but not organized enough to pull off those sorts of forgeries.
            You seem to think that if you say “Sure, Jesus preached the Kingdom and Beatitudes, was a prophet and faith-healer with messianic aspirations who founded the church, maybe even intentionally gave his life, why not” you suddenly have to somehow admit he was the Son of God and rose from the dead. But the above figure, whether he he was supernatural or not, accounts for the transition from Judaism to the church without resorting to conspiracy theories.

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          24. From my research, there are only two parts of your statement that can be considered true:

            Jesus preached the Kingdom … with messianic aspirations

            The rest is simply deluded thinking that Christians have assumed (and want to believe) is fact..

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          25. It is impossible that Jesus was a faith healer and exorcist when both roles existed before and after him? That he modeled himself on the prophets whom he would have read? And why be a prophet without an eschatology? Why be eschatalogical without thinking that his contemporary cultural situation was unsustainable (which it wasn’t )? Wouldnt refounding Israel be a messianic role?
            I think it is a sound scenario, though not the only one. It does have the benefit of attributing the new synthesis to the obvious figure rather than an unknown one.

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          26. By the time you get to Marcion the church is probably too big but not organized enough to pull off those sorts of forgeries.

            Really? I am going to assume you are aware of the approximate dates when Marcion lived/died?
            And you seriously think the church was ”too big’ around this time?
            Based on what evidence may I ask?

            Could not pull off forgeries? Are you kidding?
            You would consider yourself a well educated man who is quite capable of discerning truth from fiction, able to investigate such claims and be firm in the belief that it would be highly unlikely if not impossible that you could have the wool pulled over your eyes in such matters.

            And yet, look what we have! A thoroughly indoctrinated adult male (you) who believes he is a sinner and, needs a 2000 year old man-god that is so obviously a narrative construct to ensure he is saved and thus gains the opportunity of eternal life in heaven to be with said man god.

            Yes, we can all see you are the perfect candidate to judge what the early church could or could not have done.
            You have fallen for the greatest conspiracy theory ever and you are too blind to see it yourself. Isn’t indoctrination wonderful!
            Go on, dp, tell us again how the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is the most plausible answer for the ”evidence”.

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          27. Sorry did I argue for the truth of the Resurrection? That would be odd seeing as how I kind of doubt arguments about supernatural events are possible. I presented at sketch that I think is plausible, simple, and has explanatory power. A more complex one would create more separation between Jesus and his diciples, which would be equally plausible but would need some kind of reason for why the disciples would do that.
            You offer conspiracy theories.

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          28. Sorry did I argue for the truth of the Resurrection? That would be odd seeing as how I kind of doubt arguments about supernatural events are possible.

            Apologies. I have always understood that you are a Christian.

            So, let’s clear this up once and for all. You agree that the miracle performing god-man of the gospels who, as told in the story, was raised from the dead is simply a narrative construct, yes?

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          29. It’s as I suggested then dp. You have a vivid imagination and you rely on it to convince yourself of facts.

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          30. My apologies, I misread your previous comment.
            You said you doubt arguments about supernatural events are possible.
            I would disagree as a simple request for evidence would dispel such notions in an instant. However I suspect you will see things a lot differently, am I right?

            So, to be clear, you do, in fact, believe that the biblical character, the man-god Jesus of Nazareth was real,the Resurrection actually happened, and you are required to accept the veracity of this in order to be saved from sin and to ensure your entry in heaven and eternal life, yes?

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          31. Fair enough.
            So how do we separate the ordinary itinerant Jewish rabbi called Yeshua from narrative construct, the bearded long haired white-robed sacrificial lamb of the gospels you have to believe in to get to heaven?

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  8. It’s my experience that people love to pretend they are the spokesperson for a god. It’s so good for the humble ego, donchaknow, and increases one’s stature and power among the flock. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

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  9. I agree that people love pretending to speak for their god. As I’ve mentioned other times, it’s as if they truly believe their names are listed on a big, celestial piece of bristol board and they’re picturing shitloads of angel-dust stars being affixed to the poster.

    Imagination, dpmonahan, is a powerful drug.

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  10. @ Ron,

    Once the principle is established – the ‘what’, which in this case is framing faith-based beliefs to be the vice is it – only then can we begin to address it’s perniciousness – the ‘how’ part of your comment.

    Like most people, you assume the negative portrayal of any and all faith-based belief – especially religion – MEANS the people who hold them are being portrayed negatively. Yes, in one sense this is quite accurate because it’s true! So let me shift to an analogy to show you why this assumption is a central problem to solving the real issue that faith-based belief is not a virtue but a vice… because that, too, is true! So how do we re-frame it so that we don’t end up protecting the problem from necessary solutions?

    Let’s replace faith-based beliefs with smoking. Let’s pretend although we know there is overwhelming evidence that smoking is harmful to human health that we are urged to see any criticism of smoking to MEAN we are criticizing smokers and that that is no way to reduce the harm. What do we do? Well, we set in motion a public relations campaign that always portrays smoking as a vice it really is. We get it out of the public domain and stop any and all public subsidies to promoting it. We set up smoke-free environments and make smoking something to be done only in private, always pushed to be a fringe behaviour. We also tax it. Within several generations, its use declines dramatically and it becomes socially unacceptable to pretend smoking is a virtue when we know it is a vice.

    In the same way, we have to start portraying faith-based belief to be the spiritual equivalent of smoking, that those who try to pretend in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary that it’s a virtue are challenged, that the practice is criticized, that the idea of granting trust and confidence to any faith-based motivation for behaviour has to get out of the public domain and become socially demeaning. That necessarily involves treating believers as one would smokers, that what you do in your private life is your business but if you try to bring it into the public domain you will be rather severely reproached using all the tools of the public domain.

    Religion is the mother ship of faith-based beliefs and so it is the primary target of anyone who wishes to reduce its perniciousness by re-casting it not as a virtue but the vice it really is, by casting those who practice it as unreasonable and dishonest when they try to argue it is ‘another way of knowing’, an equivalent way to gaining insight into how reality operates, a moral blueprint to a better life, and on and on…. all lies. If we put the same faith-based approach into any other area of human endeavor, into the decision making machinery of business and government, it becomes obvious this approach is equivalent in all ways to ignorance and superstitious nonsense which clearly interferes with and impedes finding and implementing real solutions to real problems.

    I think allowing the problems to continue in the name of ‘respecting’ those who empower ignorance and superstitious nonsense is not justified but a very shortsighted rationalization covered with the patina of showing tolerance and niceness that in effect is the handmaiden to allowing this ignorance and superstitious nonsense to continue delaying and impeding real solutions to real problems in the real world that harm real people.

    And the turning point isn’t that far away because like smoking, there is a tipping point where even a large minority suddenly gets on board and rates drop precipitously. Imagine, a poll of thousands of Icelandic people under the age of 25 asked if they believe in God. The result? Zero. Unimaginable even a couple of decades ago but that’s what happens when religious belief is held culturally to be a vice these people want nothing to do with. That’s how we can begin to address the real problems with real world solutions: by getting faith out of the social picture entirely and seen as only the idiotic reference it really is.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Would that you might put these thoughts in front of “the pastor.” Undoubtedly he would counter, but perhaps the ideas would fester and grow amongst his blog followers.

      And I agree with Ark … good comparison to smoking.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The emphasis was supposed to be on the comfort level of the old ladies… people assumed to be too brittle to withstand the rigors of having beliefs challenged (obviously, those who promote this image certainly did not know any of the old women in my life who found such twaddle particularly worthy of intellectual disembowelment… but in a nice way, of course, and with tea).

      Liked by 1 person

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