Reason Rally: Atheist Group Therapy

The atheists have the reason rally coming up? What’s my take on it?

I heard about the Reason Rally through Ratio Christi, an organization, which I work with, dedicated to bringing sound apologetics to the Christian campus. The Reason Rally is to be held on March 24th at Washington D.C. and plans to unite atheists and agnostics together to celebrate reason.

You know these groups. These are the atheists who say they don’t have any sort of unified front or anything of that sort. They just all happen to share a non-belief. The only thing they have in common is that they lack a belief in God. We’ve heard it, but this seems to go against it.

Before too long, let us start preparing for the non-unicorn rally or the non-leprechaun rally. We then can ready the non-fairy rally. Why? Well we’re not making any statements about reality with these rallies. All we’re saying is that we lack belief in those. Obviously, that does not mean that we think they don’t exist. It just means we lack belief that they do. Makes perfect sense. Right?

I didn’t think so.

Richard Dawkins will be one of the main speakers, which tells us about all we need to know. Richard Dawkins of course is the leading horseman of the new atheism with his book “The God Delusion.” This book has practically become a Bible for most online atheists today with a new fundamentalism that says “Richard says it! I believe it! That settles it!” Dawkins has spoken. The case is closed.

Never mind that Dawkins has ran with his tail between his legs from William Lane Craig and most recently has done so from a clergyman who interviewed him. In reality, most of us who are in the field of Christian apologetics would love a chance to debate the horseman.

Dawkins has made numerous unbacked statements that in essence become simply dogmatic “statements of faith.” Dawkins treats “Who made God?” as the ultimate stumper for Christians and repeatedly says that faith is believing something without evidence, a definition that he gives no evidence for.

Yet in all of this, Dawkins proclaims himself as a champion of science and reason, as if not believing in God automatically means you are a person of reason. Obviously anyone who is a Christian or a believer in any sort of deity has sold themselves out to delusion and abandoned reason. This assertion is not defended. It is just asserted.

Let us keep in mind the saying of Chesterton. “There are two kinds of people in the world, the conscious dogmatists and the unconscious dogmatists. I have always found myself that the unconscious dogmatists were by far the most dogmatic.” Chesterton would see the Reason Rally as an example. While the new atheist crowd wishes to speak against dogma, they simply take one dogma and replace it with another.

Dogma is one of those terms not really understood. In reality, we all have some dogmas. We all hold some beliefs in high honor that we wish others to hold. The difference between myself and the new atheists is that I know I am dogmatic. The new atheists do not know it and in turn end up pushing their dogma the most.

This is the belief that they have the market on reason. They have it so well, they need to merely assert their beliefs without argument and the world will consent. Think of how one Christmas they had the posters that said “You know it’s a myth. This season, celebrate reason.”

But what would be a myth? Is it a myth that Jesus was born? Are the events surrounding his birth a myth? Is everything in the gospels a myth? We do not know. We are not told. All we supposedly know is that deep down, all of us know that this is a myth and we need to abandon it for reason.

No argument is given. All that is given is an assertion. You can just say to someone “You believe in a being that is not scientifically detectable!” or “You believe in someone who is invisible!” or any sort of line like that. Yes. I do believe in a being like that. Can you demonstrate why that is ipso facto false?

In reasoning with many new atheist types online, I have found this mindset to be common. Why do so many “free-thinkers” think exactly alike? It gets to the point of saying “Okay. I know your argument. I can practically show you what book it’s in and what page it’s on. Can we get to a real argument sometime?”

It doesn’t matter how bad the argument is. If it’s from the new atheists, it is used. “It is reasonable to believe Jesus never even existed.” Never mind that professors of ancient history would have a hard time controlling laughter at such a statement. The giver of this statement has 99% of the time never read anything on historiography. They probably don’t know that the favorite biblical authority of the new atheists, Bart Ehrman, thinks this position should be abandoned. All we need to know is that a new atheist made the statement.

As sad as all of this, what is even sadder is that Christians aren’t generally capable of engaging. You don’t need to spend all you time in an ivory scholar to be able to answer these people. High schoolers could be easily trained to be able to answer them. It’s also certainly not that Christians are outnumbered. We certainly have the majority. It’s that most of us just don’t have the right equipment to do the job.

When our troops were storming Normandy, many of them would land in the water and unfortunately had this baggage of equipment they did not need then that would weigh them down and they would sink to their deaths or be so slow that they would be easy prey. We can get a lot of “equipment” through many of our feel-good books, and there is a place for non-apologetic material, but we need a church that is equipped with such material. Ideally, every church should have at least one point man to go to to answer questions.

Why not try to make a presence at Reason Rally, as I hope to do. That is exactly what True Reason (Link below) is doing. Consider this information of theirs:

Together, we represent Christians from the United States and around the world who believe that Christianity is a reasonable worldview. Our goal is to demonstrate a humble, loving and thoughtful response to the Reason Rally. We’ll be equipped there with:
Gifts of kindness to give away–free bottled water, for example
Mini-book (32-page) summarized versions of Reason Really, an exciting soon-to-be-published ebook written especially for this purpose.
Flyers advertising that ebook.
A limited number of copies of a currently published book on Christianity and atheism.

I will be doing what I can to be there and I’d love to see you there. Let’s be there to argue not against reasoning, which we should all love, but to argue against bad reasoning. Let us replace the reason of Dawkins with what Ratio Christi is named for, the Reason of Christ.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

A link to True Reason can be found here

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47 Responses to “Reason Rally: Atheist Group Therapy”

  1. vel Says:

    As an atheist, I am attending the Reason Rally because I share a lot in common with some atheists. some I do not. However, to ridicule people getting together to enjoy being with similar folk, well, I find it also very silly to see Christians gather for Christian music concerts when I *know* you don’t all agree on waht it means to be a Christian. I used to do that myself, having been a believer. Oh and Dawkins has not “run with his tail between his legs” from WLC. There’s no reason to distinguish such a poor liar like WLC by bothering with him. Oh and it is indeed a myth that JC existed. No evidence makes it so, unless of course you would want to go with any myth mentioning a historical place or person, which would make Athena, Zeus, Osiris, etc. all as “real” as your god. If you are interested in how atheists do take apart such poor apologetics, join me at the WWGHA forum: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php

  2. apologianick Says:

    Nope. Not ridiculing for that but for the idea that because one is an atheist, one is automatically a champion of “reason.”

    Yes. Dawkins has ran from Craig. You can say Craig is a liar all you want, but it has yet to be shown.

    Finally, historians will not take the Christ-myth seriously. Even Bart Ehrman has written against this whole idea. There is plenty of documentary evidence for Jesus.

    If you want to see how such nonsense is taken apart, the best place to go is a real forum like TheologyWeb.com

  3. Rational Gaze Says:

    First, for the first 1,000 years of Christian history, every Christian worldwide, with the exception of heretics, confessed one creed. Even today, with the divisions caused by the East-West schism and the Protestant reformation, every Christian still agrees on what it means to be a Christian. Heresy is just more widespread, and there is more disagreement over incidental details (such as: is God timeless or omni-temporal? Does God’s knowing x cause x to occur, or does x occurring cause God to know x?) Sure there are those who try and redefine what it means to be a Christian, but heretics aren’t Christians, just as meat-eaters aren’t vegetarians.

    Second, yes, Dawkins did run away. William Lane Craig is universally recognised as the world’s leading Christian apologist, has two PhDs, one in philosophy from Birmingham and one in Theology from Munich. Dr. Craig is widely respected amongst academics and some of his opponents (for example, Jeffery Jay Lowder of Secular Web wrote a blog post in defence of William Lane Craig.) You may think calling people names in lieu of argument is rational. Good for you. Intelligent people don’t.

    Third, no historian alive questions whether or not Jesus actually existed. We have more evidence for the existence of Jesus than we do for the Roman Emperors who reigned during Jesus’ lifetime (Augustus and Tiberius.) Furthermore, the New Testament documents are the most reliable documents in existence. We have tens of thousands of copies in multiple languages, with the earliest manuscripts dating to within decades of the events they describe, and only 0.5% of the text is spurious (but doesn’t affect any major element.) The second most reliable document only has a few thousands copies, the earliest date within a few centuries, and 5% of the text is spurious. Of course even that is good for ancient documents, since most documents only have a handful of manuscripts left, some dating to almost a thousand years after they were written. Yet classical historians are not in any doubt as to what these other documents say and whether or not they really happened.

    Lastly, yeah, what Nick said. Get to TheologyWeb. We could use a good laugh.

  4. J. P. Holding Says:

    I’ll third that. As editor of a leading book against the idea that Jesus didn’t exist, I’ll kick your tail into next year if you show up.

  5. Simplexion Says:

    I don’t exactly know how any one can say that Dawkins ran away from Craig. Craig requested a debate with Dawkins and Dawkins felt it was a waste of his time to join this debate: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/20/richard-dawkins-william-lane-craig
    I think that explains pretty well why debating with the likes of Craig would be a waste of his time.

    Historians would not back the existence of Jesus, except if they held Christian beliefs but then they are just being dishonest. This is a common myth stated by Christians who have heard someone else say it and have found it to fit their views: “We have more evidence for the existence of Jesus than we do for the Roman Emperors who reigned during Jesus’ lifetime.”
    There is absolutely no historical evidence for Jesus’ existence. Any historian (who has looked into it) claiming otherwise is either being deceitful or is blinkered by their religious beliefs.
    There is absolutely no contemporary historians at the time of Jesus’ life that wrote a single solitary word about him. The closest to Jesus’ lifetime was Josephus and he was born after Jesus, was supposed to have, died. His writing of Jesus was only a paragraph and what he wrote was just that he had heard people talking of him.
    There was a bit where he directly talked about Jesus as being Christ but that is a known forgery, as it doesn’t fit with the rest of his writing.
    The Bible is not a reliable source of any factual information. Here is a historian who used to accept the Jesus myth and decided to actually look into it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvleOBYTrDE
    You can try argue your case against him for the existence of Jesus. I have a feeling you will lose. Jesus didn’t exist; use your brains, they are evolved for thought.

    I seriously can not comprehend the lack of critical thinking abilities required to write a blog like this. Seriously, do you even sit and think about anything at all, or just write nonsense.

    • J. P. Holding Says:

      Dear Simpleton:

      >>>Here is a historian who used to accept the Jesus myth and decided to actually look into it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvleOBYTrDE

      RU SERIOUS? David Fitzgerald is a freakin’ JOKE. :D He just compiled a whole catena of poor arguments by people even stupider than he is (like Earl Doherty) as a way of kissing up to he committee formed by that fraud Rene Salm and trying to win their booby prize. All of his crap is stuff I answered years ago.

      Yeah come see us at TheologyWeb, you moron.

  6. apologianick Says:

    Simpleton: I don’t exactly know how any one can say that Dawkins ran away from Craig. Craig requested a debate with Dawkins and Dawkins felt it was a waste of his time to join this debate: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/20/richard-dawkins-william-lane-craig
    I think that explains pretty well why debating with the likes of Craig would be a waste of his time.

    Reply: Here’s how I can say Dawkins ran with his tail between his legs.

    Because he did.

    If Dawkins is so confident in his atheism and Craig’s arguments are so weak, then Dawkins should have jumped on the chance. Even several of Dawkins’s fellow atheists pointed this out. Dawkins just wanted an excuse.

    Simpleton: Historians would not back the existence of Jesus, except if they held Christian beliefs but then they are just being dishonest. This is a common myth stated by Christians who have heard someone else say it and have found it to fit their views: “We have more evidence for the existence of Jesus than we do for the Roman Emperors who reigned during Jesus’ lifetime.”

    Reply: Wow. So Bart Ehrman is dishonest then? Actually, RG’s statement is correct. By the standards of people like you, we would have to say the Jewish war of 70 A.D. never happened because the only contemporary source who mentions it is Josephus and obviously, he was biased.

    Simpleton: There is absolutely no historical evidence for Jesus’ existence. Any historian (who has looked into it) claiming otherwise is either being deceitful or is blinkered by their religious beliefs.

    Reply: Do you want to email Bart Ehrman again and tell him that? Go to a department of ancient history and tell them your beliefs. Once they stop laughing, they’ll explain history to you.

    Simpleton: There is absolutely no contemporary historians at the time of Jesus’ life that wrote a single solitary word about him.

    Reply: Same for Alexander the Great. Same for the majority of figures in ancient history.

    Simpleton: The closest to Jesus’ lifetime was Josephus and he was born after Jesus, was supposed to have, died. His writing of Jesus was only a paragraph and what he wrote was just that he had heard people talking of him.

    Reply: False. He mentions Josephus twice. Even the one reference that has interpolations is seen to not be an entire interpolation. The other passage is undoubtedly a reference to Christ.

    Simpleton: There was a bit where he directly talked about Jesus as being Christ but that is a known forgery, as it doesn’t fit with the rest of his writing.

    Reply: Known to who? Who are the Josephus scholars who say this?

    SImpleton: The Bible is not a reliable source of any factual information. Here is a historian who used to accept the Jesus myth and decided to actually look into it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvleOBYTrDE

    Reply: http://tektonticker.blogspot.com/2011/01/critical-review-david-fitzgeralds_25.html

    Simpleton: You can try argue your case against him for the existence of Jesus. I have a feeling you will lose. Jesus didn’t exist; use your brains, they are evolved for thought.

    Reply: INteresting final statement since you just implied teleology which goes against a naturalist worldview. At any rate, you’re free to come to TheologyWeb.com and go to the thread in Deeper Waters on the Reason Rally and try to argue this. You will not only lose, you will lose miserably.

    Simpleton: I seriously can not comprehend the lack of critical thinking abilities required to write a blog like this. Seriously, do you even sit and think about anything at all, or just write nonsense.

    Reply: ONce again, if you’re sure of yourself, come to TheologyWeb. We’re always looking for new fundy atheists.

  7. What price the golden rule eh? | Butterflies and Wheels Says:

    […] truculent Christian who plans to go to the Reason Rally in order to interfere with other people’s event. Richard Dawkins will be one of the  main […]

  8. Steve Bowen Says:

    WLC is demonstrably intellectually dishonestbif not an outright liar for Jesus. Dawkins was not prepared to give him mor credibility than he deserves. As I think RD said, it looks way better on Craig’s CV than on Dawkin’s

    • J. P. Holding Says:

      Hey dumbass, lemme ask you a question.

      Craig has debated the following atheists/Skeptics:

      Sam Harris
      Christopher Hitchens
      Richard Carrier
      Bart Ehrman
      Quentin Smith
      Corey Washington
      Kai Neilsen

      1) So how did a debate with Craig look on THEIR CVs?
      2) What’s so special about Richie that these big names are willing to step up and debate him, but Richie isn’t?

      BTW stupid, that’s “Dawkins” — not a possessive.

  9. apologianick Says:

    Have you even seen Craig’s CV? A debate with Dawkins does not add to it and as Dawkins’s own colleague said, a refusal to debate Craig is a glaring omission on Dawkins’s CV.

  10. H Says:

    Ah yes, why would Dawkins want to debate the leading Christian apologist in the world? He’s too busy debating fundamentalist American televangelists and going on the Bill O’Reilly show. Those are more at home with his ‘CV’

  11. Simplexion Says:

    My response about Alexander the Great is this: http://www.asktheatheists.com/questions/114-why-are-atheists-more-skeptical-about-jesus-than-they-are-about-alexander-the-great/
    It is highly unlikely that the Jesus of the bible was a historical figure.

  12. apologianick Says:

    Let’s see. What is there there about historical methodology? Um. Zip. Once again, if you want to say Jesus was a real person, but he never did miracles, that’s wrong, but it’s fine and more reasonable. You think an agnostic like Bart Ehrman believes that Jesus did miracles? No. He’ll tell you some facts he knows about Jesus however. Is his religion getting in his way?

    Furthermore, what do you mean by a literal interpretation of the Bible? That can be a difficult term to define. Consider your account of Matthew 27:52-53. Are you aware some don’t take that literally, such as Mike Licona in “The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach.”

    Can you also tell which Josephus scholars doubt that Jesus existed?

    I love how one poster ended with this:

    “Stephen Jay Gould school claimed that religion and scholarship occupied separate, non-overlapping worlds. I don’t agree with this view, but it would help the case for it if religious buttinskis didn’t keep shoving their noses into subjects they clearly aren’t qualified to discuss.”

    Yes. Don’t stick your nose into a subject you’re not qualified to discuss, like historiography.

  13. Jamrifis Says:

    Dawkins just debated the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    • J. P. Holding Says:

      Oh whap dee frickin’ doo. Dawkins is takin’ on a guy with a doctorate in divinity (!) instead of someone with a doctorate in philosophy. That’s like choosing to race against a little kid on a skateboard when Danica Patrick is calling your name.

  14. The majority has spoken | Butterflies and Wheels Says:

    […] turns out to mean the testimony of 118 witnesses. I’m reminded of theists like Nick Peters who claim that Dawkins simply makes assertions about theism, without defending them, when in fact […]

  15. Havok Says:

    RationalGaze: First, for the first 1,000 years of Christian history, every Christian worldwide, with the exception of heretics, confessed one creed.
    It’s nice that you gave yourself an out there with “heretics”. It allows you to claim that the riotous diversity of “Christian” belief, pre orthodoxy, never existed.

    RationalGaze: Second, yes, Dawkins did run away. William Lane Craig is universally recognised as the world’s leading Christian apologist, has two PhDs, one in philosophy from Birmingham and one in Theology from Munich.
    And a very poor publication history. He’s an apologist, not a philospher, and as another commenter has mentioned, he is intellectually dishonest if not an outright liar.

    RationalGaze: Third, no historian alive questions whether or not Jesus actually existed.
    This is probably hyperbole on your part, since it is obviously false. Granted it’s a minor position, but that doesn’t mean it is nonexistent.

    RationalGaze: We have more evidence for the existence of Jesus than we do for the Roman Emperors who reigned during Jesus’ lifetime (Augustus and Tiberius.)
    Quite obviously false, since we have things like coins for Roman emperors, which tend to be regarded as rather significant evidence for a certain personage. We have nothing contemporary for this “Jesus” character.

    RationalGaze: Furthermore, the New Testament documents are the most reliable documents in existence.
    This is false. Perhaps you mean the most accurately conveyed down through history?

    RationalGaze: We have tens of thousands of copies in multiple languages, with the earliest manuscripts dating to within decades of the events they describe, and only 0.5% of the text is spurious (but doesn’t affect any major element.) The second most reliable document only has a few thousands copies, the earliest date within a few centuries, and 5% of the text is spurious.
    As I’m sure J.P. Holding ought to be able to tell you, after his debate on the reliability of the manuscripts with Richard Carrier, the number of manuscript changes increases as we go back in time, and we have no manuscripts from the first century, which is when we would expect the greatest number of changed to be made.

    RationalGaze: Of course even that is good for ancient documents, since most documents only have a handful of manuscripts left, some dating to almost a thousand years after they were written. Yet classical historians are not in any doubt as to what these other documents say and whether or not they really happened.
    You seem to have a perverse view of what those who study ancient history do. None of the authors are taken as being reliable on the face of it. All of them are questioned as to their provenence, who their authors were, what the authors sources were, what their motivations were, etc. When studied like this, the documents for Jesus’ life do not stack up all that well.

    • J. P. Holding Says:

      >>As I’m sure J.P. Holding ought to be able to tell you, after his debate on the reliability of the manuscripts with Richard Carrier, the number of manuscript changes increases as we go back in time, and we have no manuscripts from the first century, which is when we would expect the greatest number of changed to be made.

      1) Um yes, the changes do increase proportionately in line with the growing number of professional scribes in the later church — and they remain 99% meaningless in terms of the meaningful content of the text, dumbo.

      2) No mss from the first century: As that great philosopher Garfield once said, “Big fat hairy deal.” Real textual critics would slather and drool until they died to have the kind of mss evidence the NT has for a work like something from Tacitus. Lack of 1st century mss means exactly zero, except to paranoid fringe nuts who use this argument as their version of the “9/11 was an inside job” argument for textual criticism.

      3) As I also said in the debate, if you’re going to use that kind of extrapolation to appeal to mystery changes in the first century from when we don’t have mss, then you’ll also have to extrapolate all other aspects of the data — which means 99% of the unknown changes will also not be meaningful. Oh wow. You get to suggest maybe 2-3 extra words in the NT that might have been deliberately changed. :D If you’re going to extrapolate — no picking and choosing, goofball.

      >>We have nothing contemporary for this “Jesus” character.

      Like that means diddly squatola — already forgotten how the Rational Responders embarrassed themselves, have we? If you’re one of those “Jesus didn’t exist” morons, you’re in the top 1 percent of blithering idiots and I’ll skin you alive within the heartbeat of a hummingbird.

      • Havok Says:

        J.P. Holding: 1) Um yes, the changes do increase proportionately in line with the growing number of professional scribes in the later church

        That is not entirely what it indicates J.P. – I’d have thought you’d have known better.
        It indicates that early Christians had no qualms about modifying their texts (as well as writing in the name of others and inventing new texts, etc).

        J.P. Holding: — and they remain 99% meaningless in terms of the meaningful content of the text

        You can’t actually say that, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, with no MSS from the first century, you can’t really lay claim to what the content of those changes were (and neither can I, admittedly). Secondly, even if 99% of them are entirely meaningless, that still leaves that 1% (assuming your statistic is correct) that are not meaningless.

        J.P. Holding: 2) No mss from the first century: As that great philosopher Garfield once said, “Big fat hairy deal.”

        The “big deal” is that the manuscript evidence indicates Christians had no qualms modifying their supposedly inspired text, as mentioned above (we find the unknown authors and/or redactors of GMatt and GLuke doing this to GMark), and the lack of MSS from the first century means we can’t really be certain of what changes were made during that period, assuming the texts were written during that period of course. That is the point I’m making, and it seems obviously the case, does it not?

        J.P. Holding: Real textual critics would slather and drool until they died to have the kind of mss evidence the NT has for a work like something from Tacitus.

        So what? Tacitus is not taken by millions of people to be an absolutely true guide to life. As Carrier pointed out in the debate, Tacitus is “good enough for history”. The NT manuscripts are also “good enough for history”, but they’re not good enough to life your life by :-)

        J.P. Holding: Lack of 1st century mss means exactly zero, except to paranoid fringe nuts who use this argument as their version of the “9/11 was an inside job” argument for textual criticism.

        You seem hell bent on insulting me personally rather than actually engaging in a discussion J.P. I wonder why that is? :-)

        J.P. Holding: 3) As I also said in the debate, if you’re going to use that kind of extrapolation to appeal to mystery changes in the first century from when we don’t have mss, then you’ll also have to extrapolate all other aspects of the data — which means 99% of the unknown changes will also not be meaningful.

        I don’t have a problem with that. You folk are the ones who want to claim some kind of special status for your magical book.

        J.P. Holding: Oh wow. You get to suggest maybe 2-3 extra words in the NT that might have been deliberately changed. If you’re going to extrapolate — no picking and choosing, goofball.

        As the manuscripts show, the early Christians had no qualms about deliberately changing words. Your “2-3″ seems obviously false on the face of it, since we don’t know the extent of that “1%” from the 1st century, do we.

        J.P. Holding: Like that means diddly squatola — already forgotten how the Rational Responders embarrassed themselves, have we?

        No idea what you’re talking about J.P.

        J.P. Holding: If you’re one of those “Jesus didn’t exist” morons, you’re in the top 1 percent of blithering idiots

        I’m one of the “The magical Jesus of the Gospels didn’t exist” people, since the miracle claims are completely unconvincing. If that makes me a blithering idiot in your view, then that’s your problem, not mine.
        As for whether there was a person or persons who the gospel stories were based, I’m really not sure. It doesn’t really seem to be of much interest, since the gospel authors (and the early epistle writers for that matter) don’t seem particularly interested in these historical personages

        J.P. Holding: I’ll skin you alive within the heartbeat of a hummingbird.

        I’m terrified J.P., absolutely quaking in my boots :-)

  16. Greg. Tingey Says:

    I can’t make it.

    But

    You mentioned “faith” elsewhere …

    If the definition of “Faith” is NOT …
    Belief without evidence, then what is it?
    And if it does require evidence, where is it?
    And if it does not require evidence, why should we bother?

    Riddle me that syllogism, please?

    What also bothers me, as it does with all believers is the depth of your self-delusion …
    Here is something I worte to another brainwashed victim earlier today (the word liar applies to hiom, I hope it does not apply to you?

    As an ESCAPED evangelical, now an atheist I know only too well.
    You (the religious believers, as a body) are LYING.
    This is why I’m so permanently angry.
    I was LIED to all my childhood by a bullying and arrogant priest.
    I decided it was just him, and that there might be a BigSky Fairy, but not (his version of) a christian one.
    Then I realised that all the christain priests were lying, and so, probably were all the priests of the other religions.
    So I turned into a Spinozan Deist.
    Now, I realise, that with no BigSkyFairy anywhere between the photon the neutrino and the supergalaxy cluster, that it is all lying shit.

    If by “spirituality” you mean the hopes and aspirations and real emotions of people, then what the bleeding fuck has that got to do with Yeshua Ben Joseph?
    It has a lot to do with people.

    But then, you are just another deluded, are you not?

  17. apologianick Says:

    Greg: You mentioned “faith” elsewhere …

    If the definition of “Faith” is NOT …
    Belief without evidence, then what is it?
    And if it does require evidence, where is it?
    And if it does not require evidence, why should we bother?

    Riddle me that syllogism, please?

    Reply: If it is not? Let’s start there. If you think that is the definition of faith, the find me a biblical lexicon that lists “Belief without evidence” as the definition of pistis.

    Greg:What also bothers me, as it does with all believers is the depth of your self-delusion …
    Here is something I worte to another brainwashed victim earlier

    Reply: You sent a letter to yourself?

    Greg:As an ESCAPED evangelical, now an atheist I know only too well.
    You (the religious believers, as a body) are LYING.

    Reply: Evidence of this? SHowing that you think a proposition is false is not the same as showing that your opponent knows it to be false.

    Greg: This is why I’m so permanently angry.
    I was LIED to all my childhood by a bullying and arrogant priest.
    I decided it was just him, and that there might be a BigSky Fairy, but not (his version of) a christian one.

    Reply: And today, you’re still the victim as you’re allowing his view to determine your life. You’re just going the opposite way but still running from it Break out of that victim mentality.

    Greg: Then I realised that all the christain priests were lying, and so, probably were all the priests of the other religions

    Reply: You spoke to all the priests exhaustively? My oh my. WHen did you develop super speed?
    .
    Greg:So I turned into a Spinozan Deist.
    Now, I realise, that with no BigSkyFairy anywhere between the photon the neutrino and the supergalaxy cluster, that it is all lying shit.

    Reply: Is that really supposed to be an argument?

    Greg: If by “spirituality” you mean the hopes and aspirations and real emotions of people, then what the bleeding fuck has that got to do with Yeshua Ben Joseph?
    It has a lot to do with people.

    Reply: Really switch to decaf so what you say can make sense.

    Greg: But then, you are just another deluded, are you not?

    Reply: Come to TheologyWeb.com and see if I’m as deluded as you think.

  18. Greg. Tingey Says:

    Theology is a subject with no content.
    First it must be demonstrated that BigSkyFAiry exists
    THEN one can debate/exeperiment.investigate the properties of said BSF.

    Your sneer about “all the priests” is typical.
    Fuck off, or learn to debate seriously.
    I will accaept evidence, as usually meant in a scientific laboratory or a court of Law.
    No exceptions.
    Bronze-AGe goatherders’ myths (since BogSkyFairy here seems to be the christian one) does not count, and is not acceptable in court.

    In the meantime, please give me YOUR definition of “faith” – at least we can then have ONE term we might agree on?

  19. Greg. Tingey Says:

    Oops & PS
    Just looked up W L Craig
    Oh really – “first causes” as in Augustine and possibly ontological argument (Anselm)
    Can’t he do any better than that?
    Havers over evolution – sorry WRONG
    Evolution is a fact, no weaselling allowed

    I have heard that he is also a proponent of the “Gish Gallop” – if so, then there is no point, AT ALL in “debating” with such a public fraud.

  20. apologianick Says:

    Greg: Theology is a subject with no content.

    Reply; You’re living under a misconception. This is the part where you’re supposed to give an argument that could persuade your opponent and not repeat a sound bite that reveals low study on your part.

    Greg: First it must be demonstrated that BigSkyFAiry exists
    THEN one can debate/exeperiment.investigate the properties of said BSF.

    Reply: I will use for the existence of God the Five Ways of Aquinas. Now give your refutation and note that Dawkins’s arguments don’t work. Don’t bother trying them.

    Greg: Your sneer about “all the priests” is typical.

    Reply: I wasn’t the one who first used the term “all the priests.”

    Greg: Fuck off, or learn to debate seriously.

    Reply: Is this supposed to intimidate me? It doesn’t. I just see a victim still.

    Greg: I will accaept evidence, as usually meant in a scientific laboratory or a court of Law.
    No exceptions.

    Reply: Scientifically establish that all truth claims must be backed by scientific evidence.

    Greg: Bronze-AGe goatherders’ myths (since BogSkyFairy here seems to be the christian one) does not count, and is not acceptable in court.

    Reply: Do you know when the bronze age was?

    Greg: In the meantime, please give me YOUR definition of “faith” – at least we can then have ONE term we might agree on?

    Reply: Do you want to admit you were believing a definition of faith you have no evidence for?

    • Havok Says:

      apologianick: Reply: I will use for the existence of God the Five Ways of Aquinas. Now give your refutation and note that Dawkins’s arguments don’t work. Don’t bother trying them.
      I’m sure Greg could avail himself of the 800 years of philosophy since Aquinas – he doesn’t need to rely upon Dawkins at all :-)

  21. Simplexion Says:

    This is a pointless argument. Jesus probably was not a real person, and even if he was a real person he definitely didn’t perform any miracles. I could argue my case, as many historians who are much more knowledgeable about the information, but it would go on forever.
    It is impossible to argue against faith. It adds blinkers to your rationality in a way that makes in impossible to accept facts that go against your faith.
    If you take the bible out of the picture as an historical document you are left with very little in terms of evidence for the historicity of Jesus. I easily take the bible out of the picture because I see it as a work of 100% fiction. As I see Harry Potter as a work of fiction even though it includes real life locations and nationalities in its pages.
    I know you may argue that this is bad for looking at history as disregarding a whole historical book because it contains obvious fairy tales, but I don’t care.
    I don’t think there is any other historical document that talks about historical figures with as much nonsense as the bible does. I just can’t take it seriously and I can’t take you lot seriously. It is delusional to believe that a man walked on water and turned water to wine.
    Peace out.

  22. J. P. Holding Says:

    @Havok the Pinhead:

    Me: 1) Um yes, the changes do increase proportionately in line with the growing number of professional scribes in the later church

    You: That is not entirely what it indicates J.P. – I’d have thought you’d have known better.

    I do know better. Your assessment is merely vague claptrap and doesn’t address anything I said. To wit: Modify in WHAT WAYS? By whom? Who wrote what, and for what purpose? Spare me; you’d lose your skin if you got into specifics.

    >>>You can’t actually say that, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, with no MSS from the first century, you can’t really lay claim to what the content of those changes were (and neither can I, admittedly).

    Precisely my point — you’re just pissing into the wind.

    <<>>>The “big deal” is that the manuscript evidence indicates Christians had no qualms modifying their supposedly inspired

    Waah waah waah, vague claptrap, no specifics. BTW, stupid — you’re working with a modern, Western idea of what “inspired” means, the sort of idea a KJV Onlyist would have. Ancient and oral societies were not so fussy or precision minded about exact words. Please stop reading fundy atheist literature and consult some real scholars for a change.
    >>>So what? Tacitus is not taken by millions of people to be an absolutely true guide to life.

    So what? That doesn’t make a whit of difference. It’s a made up rule posed to raise the bar of evidence arbitrarily. It’s good enough to rule your life by if you don’t want to make excuses.

    <<>>I don’t have a problem with that. You folk are the ones who want to claim some kind of special status for your magical book.

    Um, who’s “you folk,” moron? Want to quote me on that?

    >>>. Your “2-3″ seems obviously false on the face of it, since we don’t know the extent of that “1%” from the 1st century, do we.

    Like I said, dumbo — if you want to extrapolate, you have to do it consistently — and if you do that, it’s just 2-3 extra. Period.

    >>>No idea what you’re talking about J.P.

    Haw haw — I’ll bet you don’t. :D RR did a contest — go look it up. Or ask one of their cronies.

    >>>I’m one of the “The magical Jesus of the Gospels didn’t exist” people, since the miracle claims are completely unconvincing. If that makes me a blithering idiot in your view, then that’s your problem, not mine.

    Nah, just an idiot — not a blithering one. But I’ll take your lack of interest as an admission you know better than to debate me on it.

    >>>I’m terrified J.P., absolutely quaking in my boots

    Check your Fruit of the Looms for stains, too!

    • Havok Says:

      @J.P. the blowhard:

      Modify in WHAT WAYS? By whom? Who wrote what, and for what purpose? Spare me; you’d lose your skin if you got into specifics.

      It seems a little bit one sided to ask me for such detailed specifics when we don’t really know the answers to those questions for the texts in question.
      For the ways they’ve been modified, we can simply retroject the modifications we do have concrete evidence to support. I mean, Christians had no problems fabricating entire post-ressurrection endings for GMark, and writing whole letters from “famous” people.

      Precisely my point — you’re just pissing into the wind.

      And so are you by claiming they’re insubstantial and/or irrelevant.

      Waah waah waah, vague claptrap, no specifics.

      I thought you’d be able to follow along without me having to hold your hand J.P.
      Specifics such as the endings of GMark mentioned above. Specifics such as the way in which GLuke and GMatt (and GJohn) make changes to GMark, without care for historical accuracy.

      BTW, stupid — you’re working with a modern, Western idea of what “inspired” means, the sort of idea a KJV Onlyist would have. Ancient and oral societies were not so fussy or precision minded about exact words.

      I’m not working with any idea of what “inspired” (by the “divine”) means. And Ancient and oral civilisations weren’t so fussy about recording history. And for oral history (can I assume you’re laying claim to some oral tradition predating the gospels?) you still need to provide external controls in order to assess historical reliability- something which doesn’t seem to exist for much of the Christian foundational texts.

      Please stop reading fundy atheist literature and consult some real scholars for a change.

      Who would you recommend I read to wash away this supposed “fundy atheist literature” (whatever fundy atheist might mean)?

      So what? That doesn’t make a whit of difference. It’s a made up rule posed to raise the bar of evidence arbitrarily.

      Actually, it seems to be a reasonable rule of thumb – Historians work with probabilities and possibilities. Your position requires a greater level of certainty than historians comfortable work with, and than the Christian texts can provide.

      It’s good enough to rule your life by if you don’t want to make excuses.

      It’s good enough if you have a prior faith commitment and care more about it than about honestly looking at the evidence :-)
      If the Christian texts were good enough to support such lofty claims as they make, then all sorts of other silly beliefs would seem to be “good enough to rule your life by”.

      Um, who’s “you folk,” moron? Want to quote me on that?

      You folk would be Christians like yourself J.P., who want to trumpet the “Truthiness” of Christianity regardless of the truth.

      Like I said, dumbo — if you want to extrapolate, you have to do it consistently — and if you do that, it’s just 2-3 extra. Period.

      Perhaps 2-3 additional modifications to important doctrinal points, but not 2-3 words as you suggested, J.P.

      Haw haw — I’ll bet you don’t. RR did a contest — go look it up. Or ask one of their cronies.

      Still in the dark here. I found something from 2006 about “contemporary proofs”. Is that what you mean?
      Unfortunately I don’t have one of their cronies handy to question.

      But I’ll take your lack of interest as an admission you know better than to debate me on it.

      What lack of interest is that J.P.?

      Check your Fruit of the Looms for stains, too!

      Thanks for the heads up. I laughed so hard at your posturing and blustering that nearly made a mess. Your routine is comedy gold J.P. – you should take it in the road.

      • J. P. Holding Says:

        Havok the Ignoramoose:

        >>>It seems a little bit one sided to ask me for such detailed specifics when we don’t really know the answers to those questions for the texts in question.

        Translation: You’re ill-equipped to do more than recycle canards manufactured in popular Skeptical literature, and actually know as much about the matter as a retarded chimpanzee.

        >> I mean, Christians had no problems fabricating entire post-ressurrection endings for GMark

        First of all, learn to spell “resurrection”.

        Second, moron, this is exactly an example of you merely recycling canards you read uncritically. You have merely ASSUMED that the ending of Mark was “fabricated” with the purpose to deceive. Excuse me, but did you happen to notice that (cough) patristic writers showed awareness that Mark 16:9-20 was NOT original? That means that for whatever reason it was added, it was NOT done to try to fool people into thinking it was really Mark’s work. Which means your use of it as proof of “fabrication” is raving idiocy.

        If there was any reason it was added at all, it was in order to make Mark better suited for liturgical use — and there’s not one sign it was done deceptively. Therefore, it fails as evidence for your case.

        >>>and writing whole letters from “famous” people.

        Duh ah — specifics, moron? This is what I mean when I say you grade school Skeptics have no idea how to actually argue your issues; you just copy and paste from your fave popular source. Since you’re too chicken to pony up examples, I’ll give you one I kicked the curb ages ago: Paul and Seneca’s correspondence. Care to use that one, little fellow?

        >>And so are you by claiming they’re insubstantial and/or irrelevant.

        Nope. I’m showing they are with every admission and example I force out of you.

        > >>I thought you’d be able to follow along without me having to hold your hand J.P.

        Not at all. I’m familiar with all the examples. I’m just going to force you to choke them out and defend them so I can make a fool of you some more.

        >>>Specifics such as the way in which GLuke and GMatt (and GJohn) make changes to GMark, without care for historical accuracy.

        Um, moron:

        1) You need to argue for and prove Markan priority.
        2) That’s not “specifics,” that’s vague claptrap again. Verses, narratives, specific examples, you coward.

        <<<>> And for oral history (can I assume you’re laying claim to some oral tradition predating the gospels?)

        Yes. I provided the control data in one of my books. So I’m ready to pummel you into dust if you try to dispute that the Jesus tradition would have been accurately transmitted in substance by oral means. Just try it.

        >>>Who would you recommend I read to wash away this supposed “fundy atheist literature” (whatever fundy atheist might mean)?

        Start with these:

        http://www.tektonics.org/books/socialbooks.html

        Then watch this to see your mind at work:

        >>Actually, it seems to be a reasonable rule of thumb –

        No, it’s a made up rule in which you demand an exceptional standard of evidence above and beyond what is acceptable and necessary.

        >>>Your position requires a greater level of certainty than historians comfortable work with, and than the Christian texts can provide.

        No, it doesn’t. That’s also the same made up rule. Spare me the whining:

        http://tektonticker.blogspot.com/2012/02/melting-ice-waiting-for-delivery.html

        >>>If the Christian texts were good enough to support such lofty claims as they make, then all sorts of other silly beliefs would seem to be “good enough to rule your life by”.

        No they wouldn’t. As usual you’re just recycling canards since specifics will cause you to be ground into pieces.

        >>>You folk would be Christians like yourself J.P., who want to trumpet the “Truthiness” of Christianity regardless of the truth.

        I asked for a quote where I said that. Shall I ask again using a billboard, or do you think you can comprehend it this time?

        >>Perhaps 2-3 additional modifications to important doctrinal points, but not 2-3 words as you suggested, J.P.

        Yes, 2-3 words. That’s all. There are no mods to “important doctrinal points” — not except to those whose understanding of Christian doctrine is grade school. Examples?

        >>>Still in the dark here. I found something from 2006 about “contemporary proofs”. Is that what you mean?

        Sounds about right. And you’re right about being in the dark for sure!

        >>>What lack of interest is that J.P.?

        Precisely. :D

        Check your Fruit of the Looms for stains, too!

        >> Your routine is comedy gold J.P. – you should take it in the road.

        I do — and while I’m on the road, I make a lot of fundy atheist roadkill like you.

      • Havok Says:

        J.P Holding: Translation: You’re ill-equipped to do more than recycle canards manufactured in popular Skeptical literature, and actually know as much about the matter as a retarded chimpanzee.

        Your translator appears to be broken J.P., as it’s giving you nonsense.
        Then again, that seems to be how you normally write, so perhaps the problem is not with the translator :-)

        J.P. Holding: First of all, learn to spell “resurrection”.

        Oooh. An insecure windbag AND a spelling Nazi.

        J.P. Holding: You have merely ASSUMED that the ending of Mark was “fabricated” with the purpose to deceive.

        I mentioned nothing about motives J.P. – are you psychic as well as a blowhard and spelling Nazi?

        J.P. Holding: That means that for whatever reason it was added, it was NOT done to try to fool people into thinking it was really Mark’s work.

        That’s a non sequitur J.P.
        Just because the Patristic writers didn’t mention it, or thought it to be a forgery (or were unaware of it, or whatever), doesn’t mean it wasn’t done to pass it off as a part of the Gospel, nor that it wasn’t taken as being Mark’s work by others.

        J.P. Holding: Which means your use of it as proof of “fabrication” is raving idiocy.

        Whataver helps you sleep at night J.P.
        Of course, the evidence does indicate that this was added to GMark, and that it wasn’t a part of the original, which is all I think needs be shown to carry my point.

        J.P. Holding: If there was any reason it was added at all, it was in order to make Mark better suited for liturgical use

        Really? For someone who is so keen for others to caugh up arguments and evidence, you don’t seem quite as eager to do this for your own claims.

        J.P. Holding: — and there’s not one sign it was done deceptively.

        Again, you’re putting words in my mouth. The editor(s) who added the various endings of Mark might have felt they were filling in a gap in the Gospel, or harmonizing it with the other gospel accounts. Even if, as you claim, it was done for liturgical purposes, there doesn’t seem to be any sign it was distinguished as “not Mark” in any fashion.

        J.P. Holding: Therefore, it fails as evidence for your case.

        Not really, since all I was using it for was evidence that the Christian’s had no problem changing their texts.

        J.P. Holding: Duh ah — specifics, moron?

        Once again J.P., I didn’t think I’d have to hold your hand. This is an exchange on a blog, and you’re supposed to be a big boy.

        J.P. Holding: This is what I mean when I say you grade school Skeptics have no idea how to actually argue your issues; you just copy and paste from your fave popular source.

        A little hypocritical coming from someone who hasn’t bothered to give any specifics in this exchange either.
        Besides, I haven’t “cut&paste” anything :-P

        J.P. Holding: Since you’re too chicken to pony up examples, I’ll give you one I kicked the curb ages ago: Paul and Seneca’s correspondence. Care to use that one, little fellow?

        Didn’t have that in mind at all.
        I was thinking more of the NT documents, such as Paul letters which appear to be inauthentic, as well as the letters by Peter & John, which don’t appear to be written by Peter or John (though I suppose they could be written by a Peter or aJohn).

        J.P. Holding: Nope. I’m showing they are with every admission and example I force out of you.

        Really? Perhaps I am as dense as your idiotic insults are trying to make out, because I’m not really seeing it.

        J.P. Holding: I’m just going to force you to choke them out and defend them so I can make a fool of you some more.

        Yet so far all you seem to be doing it attacking me for things I’ve not really claimed.

        J.P. Holding: 1) You need to argue for and prove Markan priority.

        For a start, I don’t need to, since others have done it for me.
        Secondly, it doesn’t actually matter what order they were written, as the latter works will still have modified their source seemingly for other than historical reasons – which is not surprising since it doesn’t appear that they were concerned with writing history, but rather were engaged in myth making.

        Jp> Holding: 2) That’s not “specifics,” that’s vague claptrap again. Verses, narratives, specific examples, you coward.

        Again, I don’t see why I need to hold your hand so much J.P. You’re a big boy.

        J.P. Holding: Yes. I provided the control data in one of my books.

        What is the control data J.P.?
        Surely someone who likes details from others, like yourself, ought to be willing to provide details for his own points – or should I just take your word for it?

        J.P. Holding: Start with these:

        Thanks for the book suggestions J.P.

        J.P. Holding: Then watch this to see your mind at work

        Hmmm. Doesn’t seem to apply very well to me, as far as I’m aware, nor have we interacted long enough here for you to be able to confidently claim such a thing from the evidence.
        This must be another example of your psychic powers :-P

        J.P. Holding: So I’m ready to pummel you into dust if you try to dispute that the Jesus tradition would have been accurately transmitted in substance by oral means. Just try it.

        Well, first I’d like to see the evidence that there was an oral “Jesus Tradition” substantially similar to the Gospel traditions prior to the first gospel being written. – perhaps that control data you mentioned previously?

        J.P. Holding: No, it’s a made up rule in which you demand an exceptional standard of evidence above and beyond what is acceptable and necessary.

        Your problem seems to be that your “Jesus Belief” doesn’t seem to pass through the filter demanded of other historical investigations, rather than this being a legitimate complaint.

        J.P. Holding: As usual you’re just recycling canards since specifics will cause you to be ground into pieces.

        Actually, I’m avoiding specifics becase this is a blog comment. If you want to present reasons as to why Christianity deserves special treatment, go right ahead, I’m simply pointing out that it seems to need such special treatment to be believable.

        J.P. Holding: I asked for a quote where I said that.

        The fact that you appear to be arguing that exceptional claims do not need exceptional evidence in the case of Christianity (ie. your continued claims of “made up” rules) indicates that you do indeed want your magic book treated differently.

        J.P. Holding: Yes, 2-3 words. That’s all. There are no mods to “important doctrinal points” — not except to those whose understanding of Christian doctrine is grade school. Examples?

        An obvious one would be GMark’s ending, which GMatt & GLuke (and GJohn) amended to suit their own purposes.
        Even if we grant your claims of no doctrinal points being effected, that doesn’t make Christianity true in the least bit.

        J.P. Holding: Sounds about right.

        Great. I didn’t see anything “embarassing” though (I didn’t look too hard). Perhaps you could provide a quick description, or provide a link to it.

        J.P. Holding: And you’re right about being in the dark for sure!

        You seem to be quite happy to spend a lot of words attempting to belittle those you are in discussion with, but are loath to spend any words in actually clarifying your claims. You could have written 2 sentences on this (and other parts of your comment) and cleared things up. You seem to prefer obfuscation to clarity, J.P.

        J.P. Holding: Precisely.

        Again you prefer to belittle rather than actually discuss anything. You could quite easily have written what it is that you think I show a lack of interest in, but you prefer to try to put me down.

        J.P. Holding: I do — and while I’m on the road, I make a lot of fundy atheist roadkill like you.

        Considering that basically all you’ve done here is engage in insults and ask me for clarification, without providing much of anything of your own, to support your own points, I find your claims to creating “roadkill” rather unbelievable. Perhaps people get sick of your lack of engagement and insults and leave the discussion, rather than your arguments being so watertight that they cannot respond.
        Given your bluster and lack of details in this brief discussion, it seems the far more likely scenario.

  23. Simplexion Says:

    J. P. Holding, you really are an angry little man. Why can’t you make some points without using ad hominems, insults and general aggression?

    • J. P. Holding Says:

      ROFL! No, I’m not angry at all — I’m Lao Tzu, little man. :D

      Tell you what, though — you and Mumbo-Jumbo up there can quit with the vague claptrap. Don’t just give me a vague whine about alleged forgeries; PROVE there were forgeries. Don’t just claim there were meaningful textual problems — give EXAMPLES! And so on. Don’t just regurgitate what you read in some fundy atheist handbook — that’s how fundy atheists/Skeptics like you used to proof text the Bible when you were Christians!

      Fact is, the way to stop me calling you “stupid” — is to NOT say stupid things! Thinking a twit like David Fitzgerald is a reliable source is A1 proof you’re in over your head.

      • Havok Says:

        J.P., I gather you really crave attention, and the insults and generally aggressive posture you put forward get it for you from your “in group”.
        From this side, however, you just come across as a ridiculous, loud mouth braggart.

  24. J. P. Holding Says:

    Havok the Dipstick:

    I gather you’re insecure, which is why you resent the fact that I do get attention, while you don’t. From this side, however, you just come across as an ignorant person trying to make it sound like you have some idea what you’re talking about.

    Gee this is fun! Do you smoke cigars too?

  25. J. P. Holding Says:

    @Havok the Dim Bulb:

    >>>Your translator appears to be broken J.P., as it’s giving you nonsense.

    Nope. It’s working just fine — translates well from your native tongue of Loserese.

    >>>Oooh. An insecure windbag AND a spelling Nazi.

    Hey, if you want to argue as though you’re an expert on the subject, you’d better not cry when it’s shown you aren’t.

    >>>I mentioned nothing about motives J.P.

    Yes, you did — you used the word “fabricating” — meaning, invent or concoct (something), typically with deceitful intent. Fact is, you got caught with your pants down not having the ability to validate your argument and now want to backpedal.

    >>Just because the Patristic writers didn’t mention it, or thought it to be a forgery (or were unaware of it, or whatever), doesn’t mean it wasn’t done to pass it off as a part of the Gospel, nor that it wasn’t taken as being Mark’s work by others.

    Yeah, sure, that’s great Dan Brown logic there — just because all the evidence shows X is true, doesn’t mean it is! Duh hah! :D Hey, maybe you can also speculate that time travelling aliens from Area 51 interpolated Mark 16:9-20 then brainwashed the patristic writers into thinking they were put in there without intent to fool anyone. Sure got as much evidence for that as for all your wacko knucklehead speculations!

    >>>Of course, the evidence does indicate that this was added to GMark, and that it wasn’t a part of the original, which is all I think needs be shown to carry my point.

    Too bad — it isn’t. What you need to carry your point (which is slowly being modified to get you out of trouble) is proof of intent to deceive. There is none. Play TAPS, bury body of Havok the Numbskull at sunset.

    >>>Really? For someone who is so keen for others to caugh up arguments and evidence, you don’t seem quite as eager to do this for your own claims.

    Gee, well, I didn’t expect you to be that stupid, but someone who acted like he knew as much as you act like would know that one of the essential practices of performing a liturgy is to offer a complete set of texts or narratives for people to perform. Logically, that means making Mark suitable for liturgical use would require rounding it off properly. Duh hah…where’d you study church history, off the back of a box of Cocoa Puffs?

    >>>Again, you’re putting words in my mouth.

    Yeah, words like “fabricating” — “Invent or concoct (something), typically with deceitful intent.” — Merriam-Webster. Better get that word out of your mouth, it’s embarrassing you.

    >>> Even if, as you claim, it was done for liturgical purposes, there doesn’t seem to be any sign it was distinguished as “not Mark” in any fashion.

    Um, sure. There weren’t any patristic authors discussing it at all as something added later. And there also weren’t ever any scribal marks made indicating that it was added. Not one sign at all — not to the uneducated, anyway.

    <<>>I was thinking more of the NT documents, such as Paul letters which appear to be inauthentic,

    YAWN — all old and stale canards. Every one of them, even 2 Peter, does equal to or even far better on tests of authorship than any secular document. Been there, done that, wrote the book. Bring up specifics and get trashed.

    >>>Really? Perhaps I am as dense as your idiotic insults are trying to make out, because I’m not really seeing it.

    One of the wisest things you have said so far!

    >>>For a start, I don’t need to, since others have done it for me.

    Yes you do, since others have argued against it comprehensively. Reality is, you don’t want to get trashed on it, as you know you will since you’re merely accepting it uncritically.

    >>>Secondly, it doesn’t actually matter what order they were written, as the latter works will still have modified their source seemingly for other than historical reasons

    Examples? You seem to have a hard time naming any. Can’t imagine why… :D

    >>>Thanks for the book suggestions J.P.

    Hope you learn to read someday so you can take advantage of them!

    >>Hmmm. Doesn’t seem to apply very well to me, as far as I’m aware, nor have we interacted long enough here for you to be able to confidently claim such a thing from the evidence.

    Yes it does. Yes we have. Yes I can.

    >>>Well, first I’d like to see the evidence that there was an oral “Jesus Tradition” substantially similar to the Gospel traditions prior to the first gospel being written. – perhaps that control data you mentioned previously?

    Yup. In summary:

    1) The nature of education in the ancient world, which was rooted in rote memorization.
    2) The practice of education in Jewish contexts in particular.
    3) The direct evidence of Jesus’ own words, which are clearly crafted for memorization.
    4) The formatting of the NT text in ways to enable memorization.

    Feel free to make a stupid and misinformed reply based on your readings in “The Poky Little Puppy,” as opposed to works by real scholars like Samuel Byrskog, Whitney Shiner, and Jocelyn Small.

    <<>>Actually, I’m avoiding specifics becase this is a blog comment.

    Yeah sure you are. And also because the dog ate them.

    >>>The fact that you appear to be arguing that exceptional claims do not need exceptional evidence in the case of Christianity (ie. your continued claims of “made up” rules) indicates that you do indeed want your magic book treated differently.

    I don’t “appear” to be doing anything of the sort. Thank you for admitting you can’t produce an actual quote.

    >>>An obvious one would be GMark’s ending, which GMatt & GLuke (and GJohn) amended to suit their own purposes.

    An obvious one I answered above and have forced you to severely modify your claims on. Yup.

    Great. I didn’t see anything “embarassing” though (I didn’t look too hard). Perhaps you could provide a quick description, or provide a link to it.

    >>>You could have written 2 sentences on this (and other parts of your comment) and cleared things up. You seem to prefer obfuscation to clarity, J.P.

    Nah, I prefer tormenting obvious idiots too lazy to check things out to wasting time on them is all.

    >>>Considering that basically all you’ve done here is engage in insults and ask me for clarification, without providing much of anything of your own, to support your own points, I find your claims to creating “roadkill” rather unbelievable.

    Of course you do. You’re dead on the road. You can’t believe anything whatsoever. All I’m doing now is using a shovel to wipe you up. :D

    • Havok Says:

      Holding: Hey, if you want to argue as though you’re an expert on the subject, you’d better not cry when it’s shown you aren’t.

      Wow. It’s good to know that a simple spelling mistake is enough to prove beyond doubt that someone is mistaken.

      Holding: Yes, you did — you used the word “fabricating” — meaning, invent or concoct (something), typically with deceitful intent.

      I bolded the pertinent part of your comment. The author could have felt they were doing “God’s work”, and not intended to deceive (believing that they were amending something an earlier copyist, or even the original author, had failed to complete).

      Holding: Fact is, you got caught with your pants down not having the ability to validate your argument and now want to backpedal.

      Fact is, J.P., you’re an loudmouthed windbag, and seem to latch on to any perceived trivial problem rather than engaging with your interlocutor. I’m not trying to backpedal, I’m trying to get you to stop making things up.

      Holding: Yeah, sure, that’s great Dan Brown logic there — just because all the evidence shows X is true, doesn’t mean it is!

      J.P., you’re the one using flawed logic here. The writings of the Patristics doesn’t indicate the motivations of the redactor of Mark (unless one of them was the redactor and wrote about why they made the addition).
      But keep the buffoonery up – it’s very entertaining.

      Holding: Sure got as much evidence for that as for all your wacko knucklehead speculations!

      You’re the one who made the “wacko knucklehead speculations” about Mark 16:9-20 being added for liturgical purposes. You didn’t actually bother trying to argue for that.
      I simply stated that it was added after the fact, and that it was evidence that Christians had few qualms about modifying their texts. To undermine that point you’d need to show that the person(s) who added the endings (plural) to Mark intended them for liturgical purposes, or indicated them as such.
      I’ll try to dig up some other examples of modification while I’m waiting for you to demonstrate your claims on this point.

      Holding: Logically, that means making Mark suitable for liturgical use would require rounding it off properly.

      Which, using your own words, implies the redactor didn’t think Mark was a complete text, and that adding the ending was simply rounding it off properly.
      Also, if the modification(s) were made to GMark for liturgical purposes, then why was no birth narrative added? Surely such a lack would have been noted, and something would have been added to complete the text and round it off properly.
      And besides, you still didn’t bother to argue the case with evidence, but rather made up a story that might fit.

      Holding: Every one of them, even 2 Peter, does equal to or even far better on tests of authorship than any secular document.

      By which I think you’re claiming that 2 Peter was writen by the same author as 1 Peter. That doesn’t mean that they written by the “Peter” of the Gospels, nor does it indicate that what they talk about was historical.
      All it means, if I accept your claims here, is that the same author wrote both 1 & 2 Peter.

      Holding: Been there, done that, wrote the book. Bring up specifics and get trashed.

      Writing a book doesn’t make it so J.P.
      Since you’re such a fan of specifics, and you’re a full time apologist, why don’t you pick something which the mainstream is mistaken about and we can go from there?

      Holding: Yes you do, since others have argued against it comprehensively.

      And others have argued against that comprehensively. Are we playing a game of he said/she said here?

      Holding: Reality is, you don’t want to get trashed on it, as you know you will since you’re merely accepting it uncritically.

      Reality is, I do this for fun in my spare time. I’m not a full time apologist who solicits donations from the credulous masses :-P

      Holding: 1) The nature of education in the ancient world, which was rooted in rote memorization.
      2) The practice of education in Jewish contexts in particular.
      3) The direct evidence of Jesus’ own words, which are clearly crafted for memorization.
      4) The formatting of the NT text in ways to enable memorization.

      None of which seems to actually provide evidence of a prior oral tradition, nor any evidence of what the contents of such an oral tradition may have been.
      GMark could just as easily have been written to be performed, and not be relying upon much of any preceeding oral tradition, going by the evidence you’re presenting. Where is the evidence that something akin to the gospel narratives was alive as oral tradition prior to the writing of the Gospels?

      Holding: as opposed to works by real scholars like Samuel Byrskog, Whitney Shiner, and Jocelyn Small.

      Reading widely doesn’t mean your claims are any more legitimate J.P. :-P

      Holding: Yeah sure you are. And also because the dog ate them.

      I’m more of a cat person – you should have known that given you think you know me so well :-)

      Holding: I don’t “appear” to be doing anything of the sort. Thank you for admitting you can’t produce an actual quote.

      So you aren’t arguing that the scant evidence available in the gospels is sufficient to sustain a claim that the miracles happened, while miracle claims made in other texts, often of greater historical merit, are unjustified?
      Oh, and here’s a quote for you:
      “It’s good enough to rule your life by if you don’t want to make excuses.”
      I don’t suppose “good enough to rule your life by” means not accepting the miracle claims as legitimate does it?
      If it does, then you indeed appear to be asking for special consideration for your magic book, over and above the methods of historical enquiry used more generally.

      Holding: An obvious one I answered above and have forced you to severely modify your claims on. Yup.

      Actually, above we were talking about the additional endings to GMark.
      Here I’m alluding to what appears to be the actual ending of GMark (16:8), and the fact that Matt and Luke appear to diverge quite wildly from there (lacking a “control” in the form of a resurrection narrative in GMark, apparently).

      Holding: Nah, I prefer tormenting obvious idiots too lazy to check things out to wasting time on them is all.

      Good to know – amusement and torment are more important to you than reasoned dialog, and informing others.

      • Havok Says:

        Ps. I’m still waiting to be skinned alive by the razor sharp intellect you apparently think you possess. So far it’s invective and obfuscation.

  26. J. P. Holding Says:

    @Havok the Dum Dum:

    >>>Wow. It’s good to know that a simple spelling mistake is enough to prove beyond doubt that someone is mistaken.

    Nope, it’s enough to show you haven’t done any serious or depth study. Otherwise you’d have seen the word spelled correctly thousands of times in the literature and got it right.

    >>>I bolded the pertinent part of your comment. The author could have felt they were doing “God’s work”, and not intended to deceive (believing that they were amending something an earlier copyist, or even the original author, had failed to complete).

    Oh dear. Trying for a rationalization after the fact after using a word that clearly committed you you to a certain position? Nice try. So now we went from “fabricating” to “honestly deceived.” Never mind of course that the evidence for “they thought they were doing God’s work” is no more in evidence in the patristic authors, and in the manuscript evidence (including scholia) than “they were fabricating”. Any made up excuse will work if you’re looking for one.

    >>>Fact is, J.P., you’re an loudmouthed windbag, and seem to latch on to any perceived trivial problem rather than engaging with your interlocutor.

    Fact is – someone like you who backpedals and evades specifics as long as possible isn’t here to be “engaged” – and deserves no respect.

    >>>J.P., you’re the one using flawed logic here. The writings of the Patristics doesn’t indicate the motivations of the redactor of Mark

    Like I said, Dan Brown logic and scholarship: Every shred of evidence says X, and not one shred of evidence says Y, but that’s OK, as a freethinker you can speculate wildly about unknown motives of unknown scribes and make up excuses that you pulled out from between your buttocks.

    >>>You’re the one who made the “wacko knucklehead speculations” about Mark 16:9-20 being added for liturgical purposes. You didn’t actually bother trying to argue for that.

    Yes, I did. I explained fully what the purpose of liturgy was; it coordinated exactly with what was done to Mark, completing it as a narrative; it accords with the patristic and manuscript evidence. Your response: “Duh ah, duh, how does u know, duh ah? Maybe aliens did it. Duh ah.”

    >>>Which, using your own words, implies the redactor didn’t think Mark was a complete text, and that adding the ending was simply rounding it off properly.

    Duh…yeah. It obviously isn’t complete ending at 16:8:

    http://www.tektonics.org/lp/markend.html

    Let me know when you refute all of that.

    >>>Also, if the modification(s) were made to GMark for liturgical purposes, then why was no birth narrative added? Surely such a lack would have been noted, and something would have been added to complete the text and round it off properly.

    Um, no. That’s apples and oranges, wacko boy. An ancient biography didn’t need a birth narrative. In contrast, Mark 16:8 leaves the reader hanging without a resolution. Not the same thing. Take some basic courses in literature and get back to me.

    >>>And besides, you still didn’t bother to argue the case with evidence, but rather made up a story that might fit.

    Translation: I gave the evidence, and you were so defeated that you opted for yanking out the words “made up a story” to excuse yourself from answering.

    >>>By which I think you’re claiming that 2 Peter was writen by the same author as 1 Peter. That doesn’t mean that they written by the “Peter” of the Gospels, nor does it indicate that what they talk about was historical.

    Yeah, why not – make up as many Peters as you need. Never mind the internal testimony that matches with life episodes of Peter in the Gospels. Must have been some other Peter (maybe Popoff?) otherwise unknown. Actually there were so many Peters in the Roman Empire that you couldn’t swing your arms without hitting one. And oh, the Annals of Tacitus? Not by Cornelius; could have been some other guy with the same name. Moron.

    >>Since you’re such a fan of specifics, and you’re a full time apologist, why don’t you pick something which the mainstream is mistaken about and we can go from there?

    Here you go:

    http://www.tektonics.org/af/ephauth.html

    Get back to me when you’re done.

    >>>Reality is, I do this for fun in my spare time. I’m not a full time apologist who solicits donations from the credulous masses

    And you get what you pay for. That’s why you work for free.

    >>None of which seems to actually provide evidence of a prior oral tradition, nor any evidence of what the contents of such an oral tradition may have been.

    The evidence doesn’t provide evidence. Ayup. Wash your white flag, it’s getting dirty. Then refute this point by point with real arguments rather than bare denials:

    http://www.tektonics.org/ntdocdef/orality01.html

    Fact is, you’re in over your head, which is why all you can do is repeat, “DUH HAH WHEREZ DE EVIDENCE” after having it thrown at you like a brick.

    >>>>GMark could just as easily have been written to be performed, and not be relying upon much of any preceeding oral tradition, going by the evidence you’re presenting.

    And your evidence for this is? *zero* Since Jesus is the main source of said material, it is YOUR burden to explain why he is NOT the origin of it. “Could have been” is not an argument; it is a delusional fantasy used to get yourself out of fulfilling your burden.

    >>>Reading widely doesn’t mean your claims are any more legitimate J.P.

    It does mean you’re behind the 8 ball and losing badly, though.

    >>>I’m more of a cat person – you should have known that given you think you know me so well

    Yeah, I guess that explains the litter box scholarship.

    >>>>So you aren’t arguing that the scant evidence available in the gospels is sufficient to sustain a claim that the miracles happened, while miracle claims made in other texts, often of greater historical merit, are unjustified?

    No, I’ve never said anything that simple minded, though it sounds like something you’d assume since the real arguments are too hard for you.

    >>>I don’t suppose “good enough to rule your life by” means not accepting the miracle claims as legitimate does it?

    No, that’s utterly irrelevant to the point. Plenty of professed Christians also doubt specific miracle claims. Keep trying and failing; maybe one day one of your prefab canards will stick.

    >>>Actually, above we were talking about the additional endings to GMark.

    None other of which have any serious pedigree, and therefore are irrelevant.

    >>> Matt and Luke appear to diverge quite wildly from there

    Examples, and explanations of why there is a problem? “DUH AH” is not an answer.

    >>>Good to know – amusement and torment are more important to you than reasoned dialog, and informing others.

    I’ve already produced material to inform. As for reasoned dialog, that’s not what an idiot like you wants in the first place. Pick your skin up on the way out. :D

  27. Bob Stichter Says:

    I have been “protesting” at many places where christians gather to “worship”, for many years. (Surely no less than six times in Washington.)I have been spit on, knocked to the ground by fists and feet, and heard “death threats” COMING FROM CHRISTIANS! (They call the cops for protection. And the arrests have come.)

    And I have had many chats with atheists. But not even once have I experienced any violence coming from an atheist. What makes christians so violent when they are so filled with God’s love?

  28. apologianick Says:

    I personally condemn such actions as the debate does not need to be settled with violence, but where exactly are you protesting and why?

    • J. P. Holding Says:

      Never mind. He’s a troll posting this same comment over and over again on multiple blogs. He’s probably never been assaulted by anyone unless he was throwing punches himself.

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