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  • Hmmm. I noticed I asked some questions and I did not get any answers to them, such as regards to the reading of Ehrman.

    Originally posted by Gary View Post
    Ok, I read the McGrew article---all of it. McGrew is obviously a Christian believer, but still a very interesting article. Here is the last section of the article, which I agree with entirely:
    Yes he is, and quite likely the most educated man I know, and there are a lot of educated people I know.

    4.2 How much would credible miracle reports establish?

    In the final analysis, the relevance of background beliefs looms large. To say this is not to endorse a lazy and unprincipled relativism; rather, the point is that one's considered rational judgment regarding the existence and nature of God must take into account far more than the evidence for miracle claims. That is not to say that they could not be an important or even, under certain circumstances, a decisive piece of evidence; it is simply that neither a positive nor a negative claim regarding the existence of God can be established on the basis of evidence for a miracle claim alone, without any consideration of other aspects of the question.

    For the evidence for a miracle claim, being public and empirical, is never strictly demonstrative, either as to the fact of the event or as to the supernatural cause of the event. It remains possible, though the facts in the case may in principle render it wildly improbable, that the testifier is either a deceiver or himself deceived; and so long as those possibilities exist, there will be logical space for other forms of evidence to bear on the conclusion. Arguments about miracles therefore take their place as one piece—a fascinating piece—in a larger and more important puzzle.
    So your idea is not to respond to any actual arguments he made against miracles being seen as automatically implausible and/or impossible. Got it.

    Gary: And herein lies our inability to come to agreement on the "evidence" for the Christian miracle claims. You come to the evidence with a bias of belief that they must be true because you believe in the Christian God, and in your view, the Christian God is perfect; He cannot and does not make mistakes. If the claims in his Word are false, then He is false. Such a conclusion would be catastrophic to your world view.
    No I don't. In fact, I've stated just the opposite. I've said my position does not rely on Inerrancy. I've even said as much in print and I have a whole separate blog dedicated to that topic. You are the one who has made a big deal over Inerrancy. Not me.

    I too come to the evidence with a bias; a bias of disbelief in the likelihood of virgin births, resurrections, and other miracle claims. I believe that anything is possible, including miracles, but I believe that miracle claims are the least probable, so if there is a reasonable, more probable non-miracle explanation, more probable based on personal experience, and cumulative human experience, then I reject the miracle claim due to it being less probable, not due to it being impossible.
    BUt this is not a rational way of doing things. Let's suppose that you have a scenario and a miracle looks like an explanation for the event. It's a possible one, but there are other ones. If there are others and they are presented and shown to be not likely or even impossible or based on ad hoc claims, then the miracle claim should be more and more probable. If the evidence of other positions weakens consistently and the evidence of the miracle position grows consistently, one should go with the miracle. It looks like you're looking at prior probability and ignoring any evidence which is really saying "No evidence can persuade me."

    If that is what you are saying, rest assured everyone here is convinced of that.

    I have another bias I bring to the evidence: I don't believe that Yahweh ever existed (for multiple reasons) and I believe that Jesus is dead, because in my experience as a physician, truly dead people stay dead.
    I've said over and over you don't have to be a physician to know that dead people stay dead barring any outside interference. Being a physican cannot tell you if outside interference happened or is even likely. Science only tells you what happens barring no outside interference so you can be a master physician and still not be qualified on that area. Being a good metaphysician is what counts here. I also have a case for theism but that is not a bias. That is an actual argument, or in my case, at least five of them.

    For me to accept evidence now, contrary to my new, current worldview, would be a blow to my ego, and my self-esteem, for (foolishly, it would turn out) having abandoned my previously cherished faith for inaccurate evidence.
    A big concession, so it's going to be up to you if you want to sacrifice ego or not. Right now, since you're not budging a bit even to contrary evidence and not answering questions, I suspect it is not evidence that is the issue or you'd listen to it.

    So, we do have evidence for this miracle claim:

    1. Personal testimony from Paul.
    Actually, my evidence was the creed from Paul. Even if Paul was wrong in his having an appearance of Jesus, which I doubt, the creed still stands.

    2. Four anonymous books written decades after the alleged event with lists of alleged eyewitnesses.
    Never used in my argument and I have already dealt with the claim of being anonymous and decades later. I had asked you earlier when you said you would treat the Gospels like other accounts of history with the same standard if that meant you would believe the Gospels or disbelieve that Caesar crossed the Rubicon. No answer.

    3. A culture-defying new belief that dramatically changes the behavior of numerous people and spreads, eventually, to every corner of the world.
    Part of my argument, but changed behavior was not my argument per se.

    4. Second century hearsay testimony by Papias regarding the apostolic authorship of the gospels.
    Not a part of my argument seeing as my case never relied on the Gospels.

    The evidence is good enough for you. It's not good enough for me. And I believe that we can chalk up our disagreement to our biases...and call it a day.
    Oh you can quit if you want, but I will not chalk it up to you having a bias and my having a different one. I'll chalk it up to my going with the position evidenced by scholarship and your going with some other reason, especially since you were earlier in the thread condemning scholarship and asking me to admit it's nonsense. Sorry. Not going to happen.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Dave View Post
      This is only a problem if there was no belief that Jesus was raised, which we both agree is not the case.
      Actually, it still is. People who believed a crucified Messiah had been risen again would still be shamed by their peers for having a shameful belief.

      Because they were seeing him again. I can hear them saying, "Christ is alive! He will return and establish God's kingdom forever." This would be a welcome message among the downtrodden who very much disliked the Romans.
      The message would be nice, but why would they adopt a shameful belief just because they liked the message? They could like the message and just say "It's a nice story." There were numerous other Messiahs who said they were going to conquer Rome and never did. Note also that Jesus's message wasn't even one of "Throw out Rome." His Kingdom was not seen as an earthly one in that sense as the Christians were not insurrectionists intentionally. That kind of message would not be popular then since it sentenced one to shame and death.

      The Essenes would be a counter-example to this claim. They were not even allowed to get married, something Christians were allowed to do and the Essenes did not use money or have property. According to Josephus the Essenes had a large following.
      Actually, it's a demonstration. This is the case then that one could join a group that would not have the stigma of a shameful leader. Note also I pointed to the mystery religions. Want to have a rigorous lifestyle? You can be an Essene. (And I understand there is some debate on the marriage question. The Essenes had a tight view of marriage and Jesus actually one-upped them.) If you were a Gentile, you could be a cynic or something like that. No need to add a shameful stigma.

      They may have believed Jesus was physically alive again, but there is no evidence at this point that they checked the grave. The evidence cited in this creed is that Jesus was "appearing" to people. It gives the impression that he was not living with them again, but just making "appearances". Also, the creed makes no mention of what ultimately happens to Jesus. If the ascension was historical it would have been an amazing feat and would leave an impression worth including in this early creed.
      No it wouldn't have. There was no need to mention the creed. All that was needed to establish was the resurrection of Jesus and the ascension is not necessary to that. Furthermore, to say that the tomb was not empty would imply that the apostles were really stupid that they never bothered to look in the tomb and that no one ever produced a body.


      Or it could have been impossible if the location was unknown, if the body was among many, many other criminals in a common grave.
      Not at the time of Passover. Jews wouldn't tolerate even a criminal's bones being carried around by dogs. That would be horrendous. No. If a criminal died, the group that condemned him is responsible for burial.

      When you say "why start the story" this implies deception, which is not what I'm proposing. I am proposing that the disciples genuinely believed Jesus was alive again. I doubt the disciples would have challenged the authorities with their claims. In fact, it's very possible that most of Jerusalem knew very little about this movement when it first started. We don't have any secular accounts of the Christians this early on.
      Except just seeing Jesus in an appearance would not convince them Jesus was alive. It would convince them He was dead. They would say that this was Jesus's angel.

      No, I can't demonstrate those appearances are not real. Likewise we cannot prove that spirits are not communicating with their loved ones in these ADC accounts.
      Which like just appearances would convince the person was dead.

      Nor can we prove that people are not experiencing reincarnation as testified in these Reincarnation accounts. Yes, I have read several of these stories and some include "facts" that can be difficult to explain. I'm not sure that means we should jump to the simple, supernatural answer.
      I don't accept a natural/supernatural distinction, but I am not asking us to jump to an answer that is theistic. I am asking if it is consistent with theism. Don't jump to theism by all means, but don't have the opposite mindset of "anything but that." If that is your mindset, no evidence will convince you.

      As for him still being dead, I think a lot of the appearances were cases of mistaken identity. It was a big city with a lot of people in it. If there was a notion of Jesus still being alive a lot of them would have been on the look-out for him. The sightings of Elvis Presley after his death are a perfect example of people not able to accept someone being dead and thinking they saw him here and there, at the airport, at the diner, etc.
      If that was the case, it's surprising we have so few accounts. If you think it was mistaken identity, feel free to explain that. Also feel free to explain why Jesus's brother was convinced especially when he was a skeptic. Most people would be able to recognize their brother.

      I don't think we should assume that the creed is a perfect history of all of the appearances. It could very well be listing names by order of importance. Peter was the most important of the twelve and James was the most important out of the rest of the apostles. So there may or may not have been group appearances here.
      I never said perfect. I just say it is accurate.

      The group of 500 could be an exaggeration or it could be referring to an instance similar to what happened in Zeitoun, Egypt when Mary was seen by thousands of onlookers. Mary has appeared to several groups of people. Mary appeared in Knock, Ireland in 1879 to a group of villagers who for three hours saw Mary, Joseph, and John along with a lamb on an altar and hovering angels. She appeared in the sky in Pontmain, France to a group of children for about three hours in 1871. Then there are the famous, more recent sightings in Medjugorje.
      Then feel free to show it was an exaggeration and feel free to show that in the Marian appearances, there was no objective reality to what was being seen.


      It's not desperation. It's a perfectly reasonable explanation because people lie all the time. Paul wanted to be considered equal to the apostles.
      Yeah it is. People lie, but usually to gain something for themselves. Paul had nothing to gain. Why be considered equal among the apostles when they were seen as a shameful group by society at large?

      "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord." 1 Cor. 9:1-2.
      And?

      I don't see why you're referring to Christians as troublemakers. You make them out to be these shameful rabblerousers as if they had nothing going for them.
      In the eyes of the society, absolutely. This was a culture that was crossing every t and dotting every i in following the law. By doing this, they assure themselves that God will not abandon them to their enemies again, especially Rome. Now you have a group showing up worshiping on Sunday, putting a crucified man in the divine identity, and saying the Law doesn't matter. They will bring the judgment of God on this place so yes, they were seen as troublemakers.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Apologiaphoenix View Post
        Hmmm. I noticed I asked some questions and I did not get any answers to them, such as regards to the reading of Ehrman.



        Yes he is, and quite likely the most educated man I know, and there are a lot of educated people I know.



        So your idea is not to respond to any actual arguments he made against miracles being seen as automatically implausible and/or impossible. Got it.



        No I don't. In fact, I've stated just the opposite. I've said my position does not rely on Inerrancy. I've even said as much in print and I have a whole separate blog dedicated to that topic. You are the one who has made a big deal over Inerrancy. Not me.



        BUt this is not a rational way of doing things. Let's suppose that you have a scenario and a miracle looks like an explanation for the event. It's a possible one, but there are other ones. If there are others and they are presented and shown to be not likely or even impossible or based on ad hoc claims, then the miracle claim should be more and more probable. If the evidence of other positions weakens consistently and the evidence of the miracle position grows consistently, one should go with the miracle. It looks like you're looking at prior probability and ignoring any evidence which is really saying "No evidence can persuade me."

        If that is what you are saying, rest assured everyone here is convinced of that.



        I've said over and over you don't have to be a physician to know that dead people stay dead barring any outside interference. Being a physican cannot tell you if outside interference happened or is even likely. Science only tells you what happens barring no outside interference so you can be a master physician and still not be qualified on that area. Being a good metaphysician is what counts here. I also have a case for theism but that is not a bias. That is an actual argument, or in my case, at least five of them.



        A big concession, so it's going to be up to you if you want to sacrifice ego or not. Right now, since you're not budging a bit even to contrary evidence and not answering questions, I suspect it is not evidence that is the issue or you'd listen to it.



        Actually, my evidence was the creed from Paul. Even if Paul was wrong in his having an appearance of Jesus, which I doubt, the creed still stands.



        Never used in my argument and I have already dealt with the claim of being anonymous and decades later. I had asked you earlier when you said you would treat the Gospels like other accounts of history with the same standard if that meant you would believe the Gospels or disbelieve that Caesar crossed the Rubicon. No answer.



        Part of my argument, but changed behavior was not my argument per se.



        Not a part of my argument seeing as my case never relied on the Gospels.



        Oh you can quit if you want, but I will not chalk it up to you having a bias and my having a different one. I'll chalk it up to my going with the position evidenced by scholarship and your going with some other reason, especially since you were earlier in the thread condemning scholarship and asking me to admit it's nonsense. Sorry. Not going to happen.
        Nick: "BUt this is not a rational way of doing things. Let's suppose that you have a scenario and a miracle looks like an explanation for the event. It's a possible one, but there are other ones. If there are others and they are presented and shown to be not likely or even impossible or based on ad hoc claims, then the miracle claim should be more and more probable. If the evidence of other positions weakens consistently and the evidence of the miracle position grows consistently, one should go with the miracle. It looks like you're looking at prior probability and ignoring any evidence which is really saying "No evidence can persuade me."

        Gary: If the evidence favors the miracle claim, I would seriously consider the miracle claim. I apologize if I did not make that clear. My position is that, at least in my reality, the miracle explanation has always been the least likely. Maybe it has been different for you. I am open to evaluating the possibility of the miracle claim but only if other more typical (or common in human experience) explanations are LESS likely than the miracle explanation.

        For instance, if I wake up tomorrow morning and find that my car keys are missing, the LAST explanation I am going to consider is that an invisible demon stole them in the middle of the night. Even an extremely implausible explanation, such as that Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, snuck into my house last night and stole my keys, is MUCH more probable, in my worldview, than that a demon did it.
        Last edited by Gary; 08-07-2015, 10:21 PM.

        Comment


        • Nick, got a thought for you. In Gary's latest post (which I've mostly been skimming) he said, "And herein lies our inability to come to agreement on the "evidence" for the Christian miracle claims. You come to the evidence with a bias of belief that they must be true because you believe in the Christian God, and in your view, the Christian God is perfect; He cannot and does not make mistakes. If the claims in his Word are false, then He is false. Such a conclusion would be catastrophic to your world view."

          You replied that this is a non-issue for you because your faith doesn't rely on inerrancy, which is a good answer for the last part of that paragraph, but it seems to me that even before you get to that last bit, Gary's second sentence is circular, and is something you could deny right from the start. In particular I'm referring to his statement that bias forces you to agree with the evidence for the Resurrection because you believe in the Christian God, which...doesn't make any sense. You can't have a foundational belief in the Resurrection after you've already believed in the Christian God. It only works if it's the other way around. Only if you acquire a foundational belief that the Resurrection actually happened can you have a belief in the Christian God. Now, one may come to the conclusion (perhaps through natural theology) that some sort of deity that fits the general Judaeo-Christian ontology makes the most sense, but, again, it's only till you accept the Resurrection that you can be said to have a belief in the "Christian" God.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
            Nick, got a thought for you. In Gary's latest post (which I've mostly been skimming) he said, "And herein lies our inability to come to agreement on the "evidence" for the Christian miracle claims. You come to the evidence with a bias of belief that they must be true because you believe in the Christian God, and in your view, the Christian God is perfect; He cannot and does not make mistakes. If the claims in his Word are false, then He is false. Such a conclusion would be catastrophic to your world view."

            You replied that this is a non-issue for you because your faith doesn't rely on inerrancy, which is a good answer for the last part of that paragraph, but it seems to me that even before you get to that last bit, Gary's second sentence is circular, and is something you could deny right from the start. In particular I'm referring to his statement that bias forces you to agree with the evidence for the Resurrection because you believe in the Christian God, which...doesn't make any sense. You can't have a foundational belief in the Resurrection after you've already believed in the Christian God. It only works if it's the other way around. Only if you acquire a foundational belief that the Resurrection actually happened can you have a belief in the Christian God. Now, one may come to the conclusion (perhaps through natural theology) that some sort of deity that fits the general Judaeo-Christian ontology makes the most sense, but, again, it's only till you accept the Resurrection that you can be said to have a belief in the "Christian" God.
            I challenge your assumption.

            I believe that a presumption that the Christian god is the Creator is the primary factor in people believing in the resurrection of Jesus not the other way around. I believe that most missionaries convert people based on convincing people that their god is the only true god, not that the resurrection evidence is so strong that this is what convinces the non-believer to believe. Of course in come instances it is the reverse, but I hold that the majority of people who convert to Christianity do so because they have been convinced that the Christian god is the Creator, and therefore after conversion, they accept his miracle story of redemption, by the death and resurrection of Jesus his Son, as explained in the Bible, without little if any demand for evidence for this laws-of-nature defying claim.
            Last edited by Gary; 08-07-2015, 11:21 PM.

            Comment


            • I think it is obvious that neither Nick nor I are anywhere near changing our minds.

              However, I still believe that this long discussion has been worthwhile. In the past, most Christians and other theists simply accepted as fact what their pastor, priest, mullah, or rabbi told them from the pulpit. For the past almost 2,000 years, most Christians had little exposure to skeptical reviews of their miracle-based belief system. Now they have access to thousands of pieces of skeptic literature at the touch of their finger, as they sip their morning coffee. It is my hope that more Christians, and more theists in general, will take the time to look at both the pro and con positions regarding their religious beliefs and at least come to an informed decision.

              Peace and happiness to all.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                I think it is obvious that neither Nick nor I are anywhere near changing our minds.

                However, I still believe that this long discussion has been worthwhile. In the past, most Christians and other theists simply accepted as fact what their pastor, priest, mullah, or rabbi told them from the pulpit. For the past almost 2,000 years, most Christians had little exposure to skeptical reviews of their miracle-based belief system. Now they have access to thousands of pieces of skeptic literature at the touch of their finger, as they sip their morning coffee. It is my hope that more Christians, and more theists in general, will take the time to look at both the pro and con positions regarding their religious beliefs and at least come to an informed decision.

                Peace and happiness to all.
                Haha, Gary you don't know as much as you think you know

                tell that to the early Christians who had to deal with Gnostic literature.

                Tell that to Augustine who dealt with skeptical Pauline interpretations such as Pelagius.

                Ever heard of Celsius? Origen?

                How about when two of my favorite philosophers of the middle ages clashed on the ontological argument? That is skepticism on whether or not God can be proven a prior.


                Christians are more skeptical than you think

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Cornell View Post
                  Haha, Gary you don't know as much as you think you know

                  tell that to the early Christians who had to deal with Gnostic literature.

                  Tell that to Augustine who dealt with skeptical Pauline interpretations such as Pelagius.

                  Ever heard of Celsius? Origen?

                  How about when two of my favorite philosophers of the middle ages clashed on the ontological argument? That is skepticism on whether or not God can be proven a prior.


                  Christians are more skeptical than you think
                  Yes, the elite, a very small minority, had access to skeptic literature, but the overwhelming majority of Christians, those sitting in the pews every Sunday, couldn't even read.

                  I'm not saying that if a Christian reads one piece of skeptic literature, he is going to deconvert immediately. I fought my deconversion, tooth and nail, for four months. I furiously read the works of Christian apologists and appealed to numerous Christian pastors for their assistance to counter the onslaught of skeptic assaults on my cherished Christian faith. The loss of faith doesn't happen over night for most "deconverts". It is a slow, agonizing process of finally realizing that your belief system is nothing but a house of cards.
                  Last edited by Gary; 08-08-2015, 11:41 AM.

                  Comment


                  • I have heard Nick and other Christian apologists make the claim that the cumulative evidence points to only ONE explanation: the Resurrection of Jesus. I believe that this is a bogus claim. I believe that Christians come to this conclusion based on their biases. Christians will often say that alternative explanations are "completely implausible", but implausible is not the same as "impossible", and we skeptics would say that the reanimation of dead human tissue is much more implausible than our alternative explanations.

                    I am going to post one alternative explanation that I believe explains all the evidence that we have for the development of the early Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus. When I say "all the evidence" I am referring to all the evidence that both Christians and the majority of skeptics agree upon, as stated in Gary Habermas' Minimal Facts Argument. My original scenario leaves out the empty tomb, but I give an alternate scenario at the end which includes it which does not change the conclusion: ALL the evidence can easily be explained by much more probable events that do not involve miracle claims. I challenge any Christian to prove that this explanation, or any detail therein, is “impossible”:

                    Jesus lived in first century Palestine. He got on the wrong side of the Jewish authorities; they asked the Romans to crucify him, which the Romans did.

                    Jesus body was left on the cross for days as a warning to other potential troublemakers, as was the Roman custom. At some point in time, the remains of his body were taken down and thrown into an unmarked, common dirt grave along with the remains of other executed criminals, as was the Roman custom. The site of the grave was known only to a few soldiers who quickly forgot about it.

                    Jesus’ small band of disciples were emotionally and psychologically devastated. They had expected to reign with Jesus in the New Kingdom after Jesus had driven out the hated Romans. Instead, their leader and friend was dead. All hope was lost. They returned to Galilee to take up their former occupations.

                    Days, weeks, or months later, a few of the female disciples of Jesus are sitting in a garden talking, they look up and see a man at the edge of the garden. “It’s Jesus!” they cry out. But the man quickly disappears into a crowd and they can not catch up to him. The man the women saw looked remarkably similar to Jesus. Was it Jesus or just someone who looked like Jesus? The women were sure it was Jesus, and run to tell the male disciples.

                    The male disciples at first do not believe, but when ALL the women swear it was Jesus, and describe the man’s physical appearance, they are overcome with joy. “He is risen!” Hope is restored to the small band of early Christians.

                    Days later Peter reports to the others that Jesus appeared to him (in a vision). Soon other disciples, and James the brother of Jesus, are having visions of Jesus or sightings of Jesus. The group is gripped with near hysteria. “The New Kingdom is near! We will soon reign on thrones with Jesus, as he promised!”

                    The once timid and spineless disciples are now courageous believers in the “Resurrected Jesus”, and begin preaching his message far and wide. The small band begins to grow as other (mostly) poor, hopeless, down-trodden peasants are told of the coming kingdom and of an afterlife living in mansions on streets lined with gold and rewarded for their faithfulness in this life with crowns studded with jewels. Christianity promises nothing but persecution and pain for a short time, but in the New Kingdom, and in the afterlife, which could come at any minute, they will be rich and forever happy!

                    A Jewish rabbi, Saul of Tarsus, also has a vision. In his vision, the Jesus whose followers he is persecuting, designates him as the most important of all Jesus’ apostles, and orders him to carry his message to all the world. Saul/Paul believes his vision is from God, and therefore obeys.

                    For a little over two centuries, Christianity grows, how much we cannot say for sure, but within a short time, there are Christian churches in almost every major city in the Roman world. Then, in circa 300 AD, the emperor of the Empire has his own vision of Jesus, and converts to the new faith. If he had had a vision of Mithras the world might be predominantly Mithrian today, but his vision was Christian…and the rest is history.

                    P.S. And just in case you believe that the empty tomb must be included in this story as indisputable evidence, as many conservative Christians claim, then you can make the following change to the above story and it will not alter the conclusion whatsoever:

                    The gospels' account that Jesus was buried in the rock tomb of Jospeh of Aramathea did occur, but, the body was either moved or stolen, by someone, sometime before the women arrived Sunday morning...finding an empty tomb without any explanation. Then, the women see a man at the edge of the garden. "It's Jesus!" ...and the story above continues.
                    Last edited by Gary; 08-08-2015, 11:58 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                      Yes, the elite, a very small minority, had access to skeptic literature, but the overwhelming majority of Christians, those sitting in the pews every Sunday, couldn't even read.

                      I'm not saying that if a Christian reads one piece of skeptic literature, he is going to deconvert immediately. I fought my deconversion, tooth and nail, for four months. I furiously read the works of Christian apologists and appealed to numerous Christian pastors for their assistance to counter the onslaught of skeptic assaults on my cherished Christian faith. The loss of faith doesn't happen over night for most "deconverts". It is a slow, agonizing process of finally realizing that your belief system is nothing but a house of cards.
                      Backpeddaling again? All it takes is a small minority...Look at the influence of those such as Aquinas, Anselm, Origen, and Augustine

                      Quality > Quantity

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Gary View Post
                        I furiously read the works of Christian apologists and appealed to numerous Christian pastors for their assistance to counter the onslaught of skeptic assaults on my cherished Christian faith. The loss of faith doesn't happen over night for most "deconverts". It is a slow, agonizing process of finally realizing that your belief system is nothing but a house of cards.
                        You just stunk at defending Christianity.

                        Don't make excuses.

                        Thank you

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Cornell View Post
                          You just stunk at defending Christianity.

                          Don't make excuses.

                          Thank you
                          Possibly, but you can't be absolutely sure, can you?

                          I would take a look at your denomination's annual membership numbers, baptisms numbers, and weekly attendance numbers over the last ten years. Chances are you will see a downward trend. I believe that the internet and skeptic literature is the explanation for a significant percentage of this decline.

                          So I guess I'm not the only "idiot" who realized that his religious beliefs were a house of cards.

                          Comment


                          • Nick, many of our points have been based on what we think people will or won't do.

                            ---------------
                            You think that no one would join the Christians because it would have been shameful. I disagree because I think there were several positive aspects including belief in a risen and returning messiah, eternal rewards and the honor gained by giving to each other.

                            You think that Paul would not lie and jeopardize his honor. I think that he could have lied in this instance because he needed to gain credibility among the in-group so that his teachings would be taken seriously.

                            You think that the creed in 1 Cor. 15 is an accurate account of early appearances while I think it could be based on a ranking of importance.

                            You think that the appearance to 500 people is not an exaggeration, but I think it could be.

                            You think that everyone who had an appearance would have gone and checked his grave, while I think they may have had no idea where his body was because he was buried privately by the Romans or the Jewish authorities in a common grave/tomb along with many other criminals.

                            You think that without an empty grave everyone would think Jesus' angel was visiting. I think there could have been enough of a combination of realistic dreams (ADCs) and real life "sightings" that the hopeful disciples would have believed Jesus was alive again and that as the messiah he would be coming again to play a key role in the ushering in of the Kingdom of God.
                            ---------------

                            Now you want to bring a deity into the picture to say that it raised Jesus from the dead and all I'm saying is, hold up a second, before we go to that extreme and try to assume we know what a deity will or won't do, can't we admit that there is a possibility this can all be explained by natural human tendencies? Humans lie, they see things, they believe in bizarre things, they change their minds, they buck the system and go against the flow of society, they hope for something better, they get swept up in a movement, they exaggerate stories, they die for causes they believe in and they preach to others with the honest belief that they are speaking on behalf of God.

                            I propose we set aside our different opinions on how humans may or may not behave for a moment and approach another topic that (I think) we both agree on. It is my hope that you can see where I'm coming from and that, at least in this instance, might be as skeptical as I am about the claims people make. I am going to assume that we both believe that reincarnation is not something that happens. If this is a false assumption then I will have to try and think of something else. But if, like me, you doubt that human souls become recycled and reused in new bodies, let's examine this together. I propose you read some of the accounts on this page and then tell me which one you found the most compelling. Here is the account that impressed me the most (I read about ten of them): Am I My Sister? by Melinda (Mar. 2004). Here is my question: Do you think Melinda is a reincarnation of her sister or do you think there could be a natural explanation for this account? I will give my opinion after you share yours and if you'd like to share an account that you found compelling I will share my thoughts on that as well. Thanks.

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                            • With honour/shame societies, it could go either way - they're kind of unpredictable, and it often comes down to an individual's evaluation of what is more likely to result in either.

                              The part that can't be dealt with quite so glibly, is the rise - some would say meteoric rise - of popularity on the part of Christianity. The cultures of Rome and Greece already had a plethora of Gods to choose from and give allegiance to - and there was more than one to suit any taste. Nor could the comparatively austere practices of the new religion be considered a major attraction - again, they already had gods that promoted austerity. If there is anything that won't sway large numbers of an honour/shame it is novelty value.

                              Paul declared that the peoples who heard the Christian message (accurately preached) were themselves eye witnesses to the miracles that confirmed the truth of the message. He was saying "you yourselves have seen", and not "others have seen", so you have no excuse for not believing. The obvious response if his claim had not been considered valid by the members of the church addressed, would have been "eh...when?" Members of other churches would have been saying "why them, and not us also?".

                              So, these people, even if they had been the gullible and stupid know-nothings that some like to believe, still had what they considered reasonable evidence for changing allegiance from their erstwhile gods to the Christian God.
                              Last edited by tabibito; 08-08-2015, 07:16 PM.
                              sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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                              • No time to get to this today. Definitely not posting on Sunday. Might not Monday due to Allie's 25th birthday. If not then, I should by Tuesday.

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