One of the problems that you present is a cherry picking process of answering rebuttals. You will quickly lose street credibility if you selectively answer points and completely ignore others. You will also lose credibility by twisting arguments into something they are not.
If you don’t fully get an argument—ask for clarity. But don’t change it into something it’s not because that’s dishonest.
That being said: I’m going to patiently answer every single part of your last few posts, and expect a response that acknowledges that effort, and doesn’t simply flutter around trying to make the argument something it’s not. So – here we go.
I thought you guys were better informed on that Bible verse... In hebrew circle ALSO means sphere.
The issue is not contingent upon the translation of a Hebrew word although that’s part of it. You have to remember the criteria of standards here. Let’s say you’re right and “circle” is the English translation of the word “sphere” from the original Hebrew. Across 2,000 years of history, there were people completely unable to read who would not know this. Nor do people even today know that the word is “sphere” today. The idea that in order to understand the plan of god for one’s salvation one either needs to be uncritical of authoritative claims, or take foreign languages courses in order to understand the depth of the “message”, is absurd. Even if one was able to devote that much time into educating oneself, there are still so many nonsensical claims in the bible that the occasional “score” is nearly meaningless.
For instance, I asked you about Balam and the talking donkey, which you’ve ignored. Do you believe that Balam had such a discussion with his donkey
? I don’t. I think it’s pure mythology, plain and simple—no different than Icarus flying to the sun on wings of wax and the wax melting and him falling to Earth (he’d freeze, not melt in fact).
The bible was written by countless authors across thousands of years, and nothing in it—literally nothing – is beyond the scope of human knowledge of the time wherein it was written. Eratosthenes measured the circumference of the Earth
hundreds of years before the common era (what you’d call “B.C.”).
Given the huge span of time, the numerous authors, and the variety of ideas, plus countless translations and reinterpretations -- it's not surprising that the bible hits on a few "correct" assertions. It's also not germaine to its truthfulness that there are historical places that stand as the backdrop of the various stories. Stephen King wrote a book about the end of the world called "The Stand". In it, he populated two key cities-- Boulder Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada. These are real places, and he used these as his backdrop-- but that doesn't mean the world came to an end in a battle between Yaheweh and Satan!
Just because we might find the Temple of Solomon doesn't mean Ezekial flew to heaven in a fiery chariot.
I'm not cranky about my beliefs not having weight in the discussion. Of course they don't but I wanted to make clear where I'm coming from.
I didn’t say you would be cranky about your beliefs not having weight—I said don’t get cranky because I’m saying “so what?” to your beliefs as an insult. Then I went on to ask you about your goals in asserting this, and you answered by totally ignoring the question and changing why I asked you not to get insulted (cranky) about my saying “So what?”
That is not the proper way to respond; it’s insulting and frustrating. Address each point, even if it takes a while to do so.
Ok so your main argument is that the NT was written after the events. That's being naive because we're still talking about THE SAME GENERATION. 30 years (it was roughly that amount of time) means nothing. All the witnesses are still alive and it's still relevant to that generation. Even the next 2 generations after that are strongly bounded to that reality.
No, that is not the main argument, but it is part of a whole long litany of arguments. Christoff covers some of my objections to your argument here, but your entire approach to the bible is rife with a lot of problems. You seem to be utterly unaware of how time seriously affects memory. You seem to be unaware that there is almost no external corroboration for the claims in the bible—it’s so scant and questionable that it’s hardly worth noting (yet, this is the DIVINE PLAN for salvation). You seem utterly unaware that messianic cults were not only frequent in those days, they are even frequent today
and that people join them all the time—and even die for them. You also seem to think there are only two possibilities why a Jesus cult would exist—either he really is true and real, or it’s all a lie. There are numerous other possibilities, and I’ll get to that in a bit.
If my grandfather says he witnessed parts of WWII why shouldn't I believe what he says about WWII?
Because there is nothing particularly extraordinary about your grandfather serving in WW2. It’s totally within the realm of a common possibility that his age would indicate he served in WW2. There’s lots of corroboration that a WW2 happened. There are massive records, documentaries, and millions of participants, artefacts, even weapons and buildings still extant from that era. The mountain of evidence indicating a WW2 is overwhelming. And if in 1,000 years all that evidence is washed away, then there may be people who don’t believe it ever happened. But even if they did not believe it ever happened, this doesn’t affect their “eternal well being”.
You have to always remember that your claims are EXTREMELY EXTRAORDINARY. If true, your claims involve your IMMORTAL SOUL – not just some mundane artifact of history, such as, whether or not George Washington’s teeth were wooden. There is, of course, value in knowing the details of history, but it’s not utterly essential to one’s eternal disposition if GW’s teeth are wooden or porcelain or made out of friggin’ platinum. You, on the other hand, are adopting an argument that affects a person’s INFINITE CONSEQUENCE – so your evidence better be as extraordinary as your claims.
As noted, your evidence is not only not extraordinary in any meaningful way, it hardly exists. It all turns on a single book that contains a story about a talking donkey
– and that’s only one
crazy story it delivers. There are countless other crazy stories the bible floats, many of them directly counter to solid evidence.
You're essentially betting against probability in saying that the Bible is fiction. It's like trying to convInce someone I am indeed the same person as humanguy. What's the probability that I made the account humanguy 2 years ago, pretended to be one of you for 2 years, then finally making this account so that my masterplan of two years could have minimal impact on an active community of literally just a handful? Isn't it highly unlikely that an 18 yr old would devise that plan? I think I had better things to do.
You have this habit of seeing things only in one direction. It’s entirely possible that humanguy, in order to fuck around with people on the forum, created YOU
as a sock puppet and this only occurred to him to do this last week because he’s unemployed and bored or just weird or just crazy.
Father Clement of Rome quoted John the Apostle's work in the NT around AD 90. John was actually STILL ALIVE then as well. What's the probability that Father Clement was being mislead by John who followed Jesus?
What is Clement’s evidence that John – or the person he knew as John – was really an Apostle of Jesus? Or that he knew him at all? If I told you that I was pals with Ronald Reagan, what proof would you need to believe me? Just asserting something doesn't make it true. And it's not my
fault (or problem) that as you go back more distantly in time, the supporting evidence fades and is less believable. I can show you a MacDonald's exists today, but in 10,000 years, there may be utterly no reference to it any longer. These claims of religions last for hundreds and thousands of years, but that doesn't mean they are true.
I understand if you don't believe this just as you didn't believe I was NOT a sock puppet. I think the only gullible people are the ones that don't see how incredibly unlikely it is that the Bible was fictional.
Yet you are the one it can be shown believes this stuff without any substantial supportive evidence at all. The fact is, on almost no corroboration, you simply believe all of this lock, stock, and barrel. You do this because you want to believe it – not because any of it passes any stringent tests of validity. You seem utterly incapable of seeing any possibility that a religion can be built up to control people, to garner wealth and power, and to feed one’s ego – though you likely do
see that as applicable to countless other religions.
Let’s use Scientology. What do you think of Scientology? It’s become a HUGE religion. Is it true? Why not? There are clear cut indications that L. Ron Hubbard devised it as a means to get rich, and that people who are involved with it today know it was “a lie” – yet adhere to it without budging, and would even do so in the face of death.
Better yet—what about Mormonism? Is it true? Joseph Smith was caught literally lying about the plates, yet still pursued it as a belief, and was even murdered for it. Why did he die for a lie – one he knew
was a lie? Why did so many others die for it?
This is an understatement. The probability that literally hundreds and hundreds of liars were persecuted for exactly that - a false, made up collection of witness accounts is just ridiculous.
People die for all sorts of things, willingly. Belief is a powerful motivator-- and religious belief is the KingPin of Belief Motivators. Most of your “hundreds and hundreds of liars” were not liars, but victims of a built up religion. Their deaths don’t prove their beliefs are true, any more than soldiers dying for Nazism proved Nazism a productive ideology. Or the 9/11 murderers prove that Islam is true. It’s just a bad, ill-conceived, and illiterate argument you’re championing.
I didn't say just because so many died means that it's true. I'm saying the founders died KNOWING they downright lied. I just can't see how that's probable. I quite value my life, don't know about you.
You are saying both
. Just a couple of sentences above, you say precisely this—here it is again:
The probability that literally hundreds and hundreds of liars were persecuted for exactly that - a false, made up collection of witness accounts is just ridiculous.
I can see what you're saying about the eye witness accounts, but again it's either they were truthful or they were dirty liars and they died for A HOAX and they knew it. Probable? They lied to these Jews that said to confess it's not true otherwise they die. Yet again they confirm it's not a lie therefore they die. Can you see what I'm getting at?
I can see what you want
to get at, but you are simply believing that this is what happened and it’s not based on any evidence
. What evidence do you have that hundreds
died in this manner—told to “Recant belief in Jesus or die!”? You have zero. Zip. Zilch. None. As time goes on and the religion takes hold, sure people start to die for these beliefs, but then that’s the case with all
religions unto this very day—people die for their religious beliefs all the time—often willingly. It’s because they simply believe in them.
Remember-- this is god’s supreme plan for our salvation, you assert. This is IMPORTANT! So important that nothing else really matters.
Yet Yahweh left us nothing to support any of these claims except a rickety book that easily critiqued as having many , and indeed left in place early church fathers who themselves dismiss these accounts as fraudulent. That’s some weird god you worship. It’s like having a defense attorney who only helps the prosecution against you. Hell, Yahweh even allows the pyramids and hieroglyphics of Isis to stand literally unchanged for over 4,000 years – carved right there in stone – while his “plan of salvation” undergoes endless translations and reinterpretations, suffocated under a mountain of books that are distinct and admitted frauds (called the “apocryphal works”) . But we’re
gullible because we reject such a shoddy provenance? Nope. Not going to fly.
KTR, I just had a look at your link (I was replying on the fly before and didn't have the time to look at it). I see what you're saying now.
Even if the deaths weren't as clear it still doesn't explain why they began the lie. The fact that the early Christian church was underground because they were getting persecuted supports my argument. Why keep the lie going?
How about: rebellion, oppression by Rome, dissatisfaction with the Sanhedrin and Herod, power, politics, ego, superstition, religious fervor, self-delusion. There are thousands
of reasons. Why did Joseph Smith “keep the lie going”? It doesn’t even have to be a “lie” – it could be grounded in mass hysteria and mental illness. Again—you seem utterly incapable of thinking outside of the “true or lie” box, which, by the way, ignores countless examples of human psychology we can cite over and over and over again.
Two final comments--
One: If you start skipping over issues and ignoring them or changing them, I will consider discourse with you to be a large waste of time. You have the right, of course, to approach any way you want, but if all you do is convince me this is all simply flying over your head-- well, I have better things to do with my time and will no longer engage with you. This is just me being truthful and warning you.
Two: Christoff also encourages you to read the forum. Take the adivce. If you are sincere in wanting to learn, that is a wonderful course of action to take. And listen to the podcasts. Emery's good at what he does.