CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

The last time I posted in a piece entitled "Star Trek, Proxima b, Nanovehicles and the Unlikely Appearance of Life," I wrote about the Star Trek Vision - a view point that has existed for a long time (thanks to fellow CADRE member Jason Pratt for pointing that out), but has become more in vogue over the last 50 years. The unsupported idea is that the universe is absolutely teeming with life such that any time a planet is thought to have water, it is almost automatically assumed that life exists on that planet. Just this morning, there is a story on Yahoo! News which provides more evidence of this rule.

According to Business Insider, NASA is set to announce surprising news about Europa -- (spoiler alert) -- it appears to have oceans of liquid water below its frozen surface. In the article entitled "NASA will soon reveal a 'surprising' discovery about a moon of Jupiter that may support life." To say that it "may support life" isn't really all that controversial and I have no problem with that assertion because, as I pointed out, it is statistically probable that there are thousands of planets that are capable of supporting life, but that doesn't meant that there are thousands of planets that actually have life. But, of course, that is where the Star Trek Vision takes us -- if the planet can support life, it is likely to support life. And the article delivers just such a viewpoint. 


Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa. Surprising evidence ... a subsurface ocean ... one of humanity's sharpest eyes in space ... could this be the discovery of extraterrestrial life?

Fortunately, the author of this article is a bit more cautious than most, because he answers that final question with "We wouldn't count on it." Unfortunately, such careful analysis is usually sorely lacking from these popularizations of science. The authors usually know that the readers expect life out in the universe and give them the hope that it has been found. 

But I pointed out last time that if we don't know how abiogenesis occurred (the springing of life from non-life) then it is becomes really difficult to predict the likelihood that life came into existence outside of our own little part of the universe. If the arising of life was a freak event - an event so totally unlikely that you are more likely to win a Powerball Lottery (or Mega-Millions Lottery - don't want to leave out potential blog sponsors) where you have to select the correct six numbers on a lottery ticket with a pool over a 100,000,000,000,000 numbers from which to choose - then it is possible that Earth is the only place in the universe that life arose. Or, for that matter, if the rise of life on this planet were the result of an all-powerful being who exists outside of this universe and He chose to place life only on Earth then it's certainly possible for Earth to be the sole home of life in the universe, as well. 

My last blog post pointed out that at least one scientist believes that humanity has no real idea as to how life could spring into existence independently. Talk show host and author Eric Metaxas focused on another aspect of the problem of life arising on its own in a recent article for CNS news entitled "Evolution Just Got Harder to Defend." In the article he points out how the discovery of some fossilized ancient stromatolites were causing headaches for those who believe that life arose through purely natural processes. Apparently, these stromatolites have been dated to 3.7 billion years ago -- about 220 million years older than the previously oldest existing fossils of living critters on Earth. That is a problem. Metaxas writes: 

This, admits the New York Times, “complicate[s] the story of evolution of early life from chemicals ... .” No kidding! According to conventional geology, these microbe colonies existed on the heels of a period when Earth was undergoing heavy asteroid bombardment, making it virtually uninhabitable. This early date, adds The Times, “leaves comparatively little time for evolution to have occurred … .” That is an understatement. These life forms came into existence virtually overnight, writes David Klinghoffer at Evolution News and Views. “[g]enetic code, proteins, photosynthesis, the works.” This appearance of fully-developed life forms so early in the fossil record led Dr. Abigail Allwood of Caltech to remark that “life [must not be] a fussy, reluctant and unlikely thing.” Rather, “[i]t will emerge whenever there’s an opportunity.” Pardon me? If life occurs so spontaneously and predictably even under the harshest conditions, then it should be popping up all over the place! Yet scientists still cannot come close to producing even a single cell from raw chemicals in the lab.

The problem, of course, is exactly what Eric points out in that final couple of sentences. Using the best of equipment in controlled environments, scientists have not come even close to creating a single living cell. If it cannot be done in a specialized, controlled environment, how exactly does it happen naturally in a harsh environment? To say that life will "emerge whenever there's an opportunity" as does Dr. Allwood is simply the Star Trek Vision without any scientific basis establishing that life can "emerge" using purely naturalistic processes at all. Moreover, just because life exists on Earth does not mean that it emerged using only naturalistic processes unless you confine your thinking to the limited Carl Sagan viewpoint that the universe is all that is, all that was and all that ever will be. Isn't it possible that, given what we already know about life being very, very, very difficult to create in a controlled laboratory environment, scientists will never find a naturalistic means by which life arose? 

By the way, I am not suggesting that we stop looking for a naturalistic process. Like the great Christian scientists of old, I believe that God has put us here, at least in part, to discover and marvel at the works of his mighty hands. If God did it through a naturalistic process, then let's find it and praise God for being so incredibly creative that he could make it work when scientists couldn't figure out even where to start looking. However, if a person tells you that we are really close to knowing how it happened and being able to create life from non-life in a laboratory, just smile, nod your head and ask them if they have seen the latest Star Trek movie. That's what they really believe is true anyway. 

42 comments:

"sin a Powerball lottery" -- Freudian slip? {g}

Also, I think you're missing at least adjective in "about 220 years older".

Great report, though! ENV has been on our sidebar for some time (I even possibly mis-remember putting it there myself? -- or putting it back when it got deleted?), and I enjoy catching up with them occasionally.

JRP

Yes, you caught my typos. Thanks. I also enjoy reading ENV, but it seems like I don't have as much time to read them as in the past.

Relatedly, Dembski's classic argument in The Design Inference -- which I thought and still think had some serious problems, although I appreciate his overall thrust -- is that the mathematical odds for abiogenetic accumulation (up to the point where the resulting chemical mix can operate with minimum effective survival and reproduction functions) are astronomically greater, to some freakish degree, than the possible number of configurations of all particles in universal history up until now.

I forget the exact details (book isn't handy), but the idea is that there's something like 150 to the power of 20 possible ways (150 times 150, 20 times) the particles of the whole universe could have configured in universal history up until now, but the chances of random abiogenetic configuration (not even survival success, just getting to the point where its a viable breeding cell that could even have 'survival success'), is more like an exponential power to the 2000s (something like 40 times 40 over two thousand times).

His proposal is that the 1/(150^20) figure (or whatever it was exactly), or in principle some figure like that if he was wrong about the estimate of particle configuration in universal history, should serve as the absolute lower limit of our scientific tolerance for a theory's probability: any theory less probable as a natural operation than that, should be scientifically disregarded as a natural explanation, in favor of a more mathematically probable natural explanation or in favor of a supernatural explanation (from something introducing effects into the natural system beyond what the system itself would produce by its own behaviors).

JRP

Life did not arise by chance, and I suggest we do stop wasting tax dollars looking for how life could have arisen naturally because it is impossible. We been going at it for 150 years and it would be far better these people find cures for the illnesses we currently have than chasing ghost for another 150 years lol.

I believe that a "one size fits all" approach to debating Christians is misguided. I recently wrote a post on my blog entitled, "How to Debate a Christian". I believe that the key to debating Christians is to know which type of Christian he or she is: a Liberal, a Moderate, or a Fundamentalist. I believe that each of these three types of Christian has a different weakness in their Christian belief system; a weakness which the atheist/skeptic can take advantage of to win the debate. I would be interested in a Christian critique of my post if anyone has the time and inclination.

lutherwasnotbornagain dot com
how to debate a christian

Thanks,
Gary

I just took a look at your page. I'll admit that it reads like the same arguments that we have taken to task here many times. Maybe you have some nuance to your position, but the basic arguments are old hat which have long ago been answered.

The Sagan quote at the bottom of the page is, in my opinion, actually more fit for non-believers. It should read: "You can't convince an atheist of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to not believe."

Thanks for the feedback!

Good point, BK, especially the one Gary did about the Temple and 70 A.D. When Jesus talks about "this generation", that means that it is the generation that will see the temple destruction, not Christ's physical return.

Gary, look at Acts 1. They ask Christ if he will restore the kingdom to Israel 10 days after he ascended (Day of Pentecost). Christ told them that it wasn't for them to know the day or the hour.

I believe you are taking the passage out of context, my friend. If you read the entire chapter, you will see that the disciple ask Jesus when the temple will be destroyed and how will they know the end of the age. Jesus answers them with a list of signs without separating the destruction of the temple with the end of the age.

Only because the end of the age did not happen at the same time as the destruction of the temple have Christians "spun" an alternative interpretation of this passage. Here is the chapter from Matthew in its entirety below:

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days


“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

"this generation will not pass away until ALL THESE THINGS (all the signs listed from verse four to the end of the chapter) have happened."

Jesus was wrong.
Jesus was not God.
Christianity is false.

I know that Christians have (multiple, very implausible) harmonizations for this dilemma, but I think we should listen to what the greatest Christian apologist of all time said about this passage:

"“Say what you like," we shall be told [by some critics], "the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, 'This generation shall not pass till all these things be done.' And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else." [Here the imaginary critics end speaking. CS Lewis begins next.]

It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grow side by side."

C.S. Lewis

If you are going to quote Lewis, you should complete the quote:

"The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grow side by side. That they stood thus in the mouth of Jesus himself, and were not merely placed thus by the reporter, we surely need not doubt. Unless the reporter were perfectly honest he would never have recorded the confession of ignorance at all; he could have had no motive for doing so except a desire to tell the whole truth. And unless later copyists were equally honest they would never have preserved the (apparently) mistaken prediction about “this generation” after the passage of time had shown the (apparent) mistake. This passage (Mark 13:30-32) and the cry “Why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) together make up the strongest proof that the New Testament is historically reliable. The evangelists have the first great characteristic of honest witnesses: they mention facts which are, at first sight, damaging to their main contention."

Gary, I know that you identify yourself as an ex-Christian. If true, my heart goes out to you. If you really fell for these atheistic speaking points as absolute proof that Christianity is untrue, then your faith must have been pretty tenuous to start with.

You have taken a strong position - that "all these things" mean everything from verse 4 onward. First, can you demonstrate to me that "all these things" must mean everything from verse 4 onward? Second, and more importantly, which of the things Jesus states beginning in verse 4 have already been completed? Wars and rumors of war? Nation rising against nation? Persecution? False prophets have appeared? What is it that you are saying has happened and been completed?

Gosh, last time I was here this article was about biology and the difficulty of abiogenesis. Weird. Almost like someone arrived trolling for attention in complete disregard of the article's topic... Ah well.

JRP

Dang, Jason, you just made me choke on my drink.

I added this comment to my post:

Important: Very rarely will a Christian, Muslim, or other theist deconvert from his supernatural-based belief system after just one conversation or debate. Don't be disappointed or discouraged if your efforts seem to have had no immediate effect. Deconversion is a process; for most of us who have gone through the process, it took months, if not years to finally realize that our cherished supernatural belief system is no more real than any other superstition. It is very, very hard to let go of it. It is a powerful source of security for most theists.

Be patient.

Continue to sow the "seeds" of Truth and hopefully one day those seeds will bear fruit.

BK,

Think about what CS Lewis says in the continuation of his comment that you posted above. What he is saying is this: Why would the Gospel authors allow for Jesus to admit that he was NOT omniscient unless Jesus had truly said this? The fact that the passages include Jesus admitting he was not omniscient is proof that the stories are historically factual.

Here are a couple of possibilities:

1. Jesus did say it and the authors recorded the story correctly. The consequences of this possibility for orthodox Christianity are disastrous. If at any time Jesus was NOT omniscient, then he was never God the Creator/Yahweh who the OT claims is eternally God, eternally omniscient. If Jesus truly said that he did not know the hour of the Second Coming, he was not God.

2. This story is legend. It developed sometime after Jesus' death. Jesus never prophesied the destruction of the Temple or the signs of the end of the age.

The whole story was an invention to make it look like Jesus had prophesied an event which had already happened (the destruction of the Temple). This is how legend's grow about charismatic leaders. The authors of the Synoptics included the statement of Jesus denying his omniscience for the simple reason that at the time of the writing of the Synoptics, Jesus was considered the (adopted) Son of God; these writers did not consider Jesus to be Yahweh, the Creator.

One can find the story of Jesus predicting the destruction of the Temple and his statement about "this generation" seeing the signs of the End Times in all three Synoptic Gospels.

Can anyone give me the chapter and verse for this story in the Gospel of John?

I tried and couldn't find it. Maybe I didn't try long enough. If anyone has it, please post it. But if it is true that this story is absent from the Gospel of John, it makes a lot of sense: By the time the Gospel of John was written at the end of the first/beginning of the second century, the generation that had seen the destruction of the Temple was dead, or mostly dead.

...and Jesus hadn't come back.

The story had to change if Christianity was going to survive.

So in John's Gospel, the Kingdom is no longer here on earth as Jesus preaches in all three Synoptic; an earthly kingdom established during the life times of his disciples, but some unknown time in the future...in another dimension...heaven.

Gary, You didn't address what I said about Acts 1.

In Chapter 1:5-8, Christ tells the disciples that they will be baptized with the holy spirit in a few days. Then, they asked him if he will restore the kingdom to Israel (his second coming). Jesus told them that it wasn't for them to know the times or the seasons for that because they were in God's power, but that they will be his witnesses to the uttermost part of the earth.

He clearly didn't know when he was coming back. Those scriptures in Matthew 24 that you showed have to do with 70 A.D:

Tektonics: Olivet Discourse

Especially check out the part that deals with Matthew 30.

One final note: Holding considers himself a Preterist, but he isn't a Full Preterist.

Gary why is destroying people's faith important to you? fundies hurt you and let you down that means all religion is evil that's very stupid. You are acting out, seems like you are just into stereotyping people,I don't see you makimng serious attempt to deal with ideas.

Hi JB,

If you are a Trinitarian Christian, it should be a real problem for your theology/Christology that Jesus allegedly stated that he did not know the timing of the Second Coming. The only way to reconcile this statement with orthodox/Trinitarian teaching which states that Jesus is Yahweh, the eternal, omniscient Creator, is to say something like this: "Even though Jesus was fully God, omniscient in all things, he CHOSE to limit his knowledge while he resided within an earthly body, therefore at that moment in time when he made this statement, he truly did not know the timing of the Second Coming, because he had voluntarily restricted his omniscience while he was in a human body.

Can you see how this looks like "spin" to outsiders/non-believers?

Let me give you an analogy.

In the Star War series, after the first three movies, George Lucas created movies which purported to go back in time prior to the original. So in these "prequels" we meet Darth Vader as a young boy; as a young man falling in love with a princess; and as a grown man when he turns to "the Dark Side". In one of the last scenes in the prequels, his princess wife gives birth to Luke and Leah, the stars in the original film.

But there is a problem.

In the original movie, Obi Wan Kanobi tells Luke that his father was killed by Darth Vader. How could Darth Vader have killed Luke's father when Luke's father is Darth Vader (which we only learn in the prequels)???

Does this "error" destroy the Star War Series credibility?

Answer: Of course not! You see, when dealing with supernatural tales, there are always ways to "harmonize" the story. So in this case, we can say that Obi Wan Kanobi was speaking in metaphorical terms. Part of his conversation with Luke was literal, such as discussing plans to help the Rebellion, but part of the discussion was metaphorical. What he really meant when talking about Luke's father is that Darth Vader (the evil side of Luke's father) had killed off the "good" side of his father. Obi Wan did not mean for Luke to take this part of the conversation literally. In this part of the overall conversation, Obi Wan spoke in metaphysical terms because he did not believe that Luke was ready to handle the truth.

Now, as Christians, you might find this analogy with a fictional movie silly, but this is how we skeptics view the supernatural claims of the Christian story. We don't believe that Jesus had fortune telling powers. We believe that the "prophecy" of the destruction of the Temple was invented by the author of Mark or it was a legend that had developed prior to "Mark" writing it down. Just as none of you believe that other humans today have fortune telling powers, we skeptics don't believe that Jesus had fortune telling powers.

Is it possible he did? Yes. Anything is possible. But since most of us, including Christians, do not believe in fortune telling powers for other humans, we skeptics don't believe it is at all PROBABLE that Jesus had fortune telling powers.

I personally think that the most likely explanation for this prophesy is that it was a legend that had developed sometime after 70 AD and this legend was placed in the Gospel of Mark either because the author believed this legend to be factual or the author knew it was legendary but believed that the story was useful for spiritual purposes. Remember, the authors of the Gospels were not writing history books. They were writing documents for evangelization purposes.

My own articles on Olivett discourse

Part 1


Part 2

Hi Joe,

My primary reason for engaging in these discussions is because I love to debate/argue, and I especially like to debate/argue on subjects which have significant impact/influence in our society and culture. So politics and religion are fun topics to debate for me.

Secondly, I believe that my debating/arguing is serving a very important service to humankind as a whole. I believe that supernatural based beliefs, otherwise known as superstitions, are unhealthy and often deadly for individuals and societies. I believe that I am involved in one of the greatest movements in the history of man: the debunking of religious superstitions.

Yes, I'm sure that many of you have your own views on what Jesus meant by "this generation will not pass away..." and I'm sure that what you have written on your blogs is very interesting. However, here is a link to a Christian blog author who has listed the most popular Christian views of this passage:

http://www.thingstocome.org/whatgen.htm

As you will see, there is a "Full Preterist" view, a "Partial Preterist" view, a "Spiritual Interpretation" view, an "Offspring Interpretation" view, and several more!!! Christians have had two thousand years to wrestle with this dilemma and have come up with some fascinating harmonizations (which we skeptics refer to as "spin").

But as in my analogy with the Star Wars series, when one is dealing with the supernatural, there is ALWAYS a harmonization. However, I would suggest that instead of reading the text as it is and accepting it for what it literally says, Christians have been turning themselves into pretzels for 2,000 years over this passage because in their worldview JESUS COULD NOT HAVE MEANT WHAT HE LITERALLY SAID.

But Jesus did say it.

And it isn't as if this is the only discrepancy in the Bible. There are MANY such as: how did Judas Iscariot die; who bought the Potter's Field; on which day of the week was Jesus crucified; when did Mary Magdalene first learn that Jesus had been resurrected and who told her; did the resurrected Jesus order the disciples to go to Galilee or to stay in Jerusalem until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and on and on...

It is an ancient tall tale, folks.

And why can't you see it? Answer: your subjective, internal feelings of a presence within your body who "talks" to you, comforts you, and "leads" you, and, your perception of "miracles" in your life and that of other believers are the real basis for your insistencethat your invisible Friend is real.

I suggest that your "miracles" are nothing more than rare coincidences and that the "presence" you hear/feel inside you is none other than...YOU.

Gary,

I am not spinning anything here. The destruction of the temple was originally prophesied in Daniel 9:27. The verse basically says that the Messiah (Christ) will confirm the covenant for one week (7 years).

Then, he will be cut off (killed) in the middle of that week, and he will make it (Temple) desolate for the overspreading of abominations. It doesn't say that Messiah (Christ) will return physically when the temple is destroyed.

And, you talk about ridding the world of superstitions. Well, you are an atheist, right? You believe in superstition: That life came from non-life. Why don't you take some time to figure out how that could have happened (here's a hint: It didn't), and stop your bungling of the Bible, okay?

The desolation of the Temple occurred during the Greek occupation of Palestine when the Greek ruler intentionally defiled the Temple to insult the Jews. This was not a prophesy. The author of Daniel (most likely a priest in Jerusalem living during the Greek occupation in the 3rd century BCE) wrote about a PAST event, not something in the future.

It was a fake prophesy. An act of fraud. As may well be the case with the"prophesy" in the Gospels about the destruction of the Temple allegedly quoting Jesus.

Here is something to think about, JB. Every major religion believes that its prophets have predicted (prophesied) future events. But, how many historians believe that these predictions were true predictions? Can you quote any credible source which asserts that the majority of historians believe that any historical event has been correctly predicted/prophesied by any alleged prophet of any religion?

I don't think you can.

Why?

Answer: Because fortune telling is not real. Scientific investigation has found that fortune telling is HIGHLY inaccurate.

Daniel wasn't writing about a past event. Jesus references the Abomination of Desolation (spoken of by Daniel the prophet) in Matthew 24. I don't know where you get your material, but you should check this out:

Daniel 9:24-27

My primary reason for engaging in these discussions is because I love to debate/argue, and I especially like to debate/argue on subjects which have significant impact/influence in our society and culture. So politics and religion are fun topics to debate for me.

great welcome man, I love to debate too you are more than welcome to come debate on my blog Metacrock's blog.

Secondly, I believe that my debating/arguing is serving a very important service to humankind as a whole. I believe that supernatural based beliefs, otherwise known as superstitions, are unhealthy and often deadly for individuals and societies. I believe that I am involved in one of the greatest movements in the history of man: the debunking of religious superstitions.


SN and superstition are not the same thing. In act most understanding of SN in the world is false based upon bogus concepts atheists introduced in the enlightenment,


9/23/2016 11:43:00 AM Delete
Blogger Gary said...
Yes, I'm sure that many of you have your own views on what Jesus meant by "this generation will not pass away..." and I'm sure that what you have written on your blogs is very interesting. However, here is a link to a Christian blog author who has listed the most popular Christian views of this passage:

http://www.thingstocome.org/whatgen.htm


that's what we call a straw man argument, you can;'t just pic some version of an idea and expect all believers to defend it, i only have to defended the ideas I believe, if you don't answer my idea then you are not answering the defense and your attack is invalid,



As you will see, there is a "Full Preterist" view, a "Partial Preterist" view, a "Spiritual Interpretation" view, an "Offspring Interpretation" view, and several more!!! Christians have had two thousand years to wrestle with this dilemma and have come up with some fascinating harmonizations (which we skeptics refer to as "spin").


yes I know but I'm not one of them and they don't speak for Christianity as a whole


But as in my analogy with the Star Wars series, when one is dealing with the supernatural, there is ALWAYS a harmonization. However, I would suggest that instead of reading the text as it is and accepting it for what it literally says, Christians have been turning themselves into pretzels for 2,000 years over this passage because in their worldview JESUS COULD NOT HAVE MEANT WHAT HE LITERALLY SAID.

problem there is we have different versions of it



But Jesus did say it.

And it isn't as if this is the only discrepancy in the Bible. There are MANY such as: how did Judas Iscariot die; who bought the Potter's Field; on which day of the week was Jesus crucified; when did Mary Magdalene first learn that Jesus had been resurrected and who told her; did the resurrected Jesus order the disciples to go to Galilee or to stay in Jerusalem until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and on and on...


kid stuff man. you need to what real theology is abouit ,It;s no fun debating easy targets who can't defend themselves, if you really want debate you need take on the challenging thinkers you wont find those spouting that comic book Christianity,generally speaking the more literalistic one is the less thoughtful one is,


It is an ancient tall tale, folks.

that's not important because not the basis of Christianity



And why can't you see it? Answer: your subjective, internal feelings of a presence within your body who "talks" to you, comforts you, and "leads" you, and, your perception of "miracles" in your life and that of other believers are the real basis for your insistencethat your invisible Friend is real.

first of all you don;t know anything about me and you don't know anything about what I think inside my head, Secondly I have 200 empirical studies from peer reviewed psychology journals showing that religious experience is real, valid, good for you,k and it;s effects ca remeasured scientifically,



I suggest that your "miracles" are nothing more than rare coincidences and that the "presence" you hear/feel inside you is none other than...YOU.


when the odds agaisnt an event are astronomical and keeps occurring it;s obvious the game is fixed,


9/23/2016 12:10:00 PM Delete

Gary as for your end times stuff I think your assumption about what Christians believe are based on a limited sample, For example I have none of those end times ideas you are talking about. I don't care if the abomination of desolation was Anticou. doesn't bother me in the least,

try to confine your argument to issues in the thread,

btw Gary come on over to my blog where I love debating imn comment section


Metacrock's blog

Hi JB:

Scholarship is important. We can all concoct our own theories about events from the past, but I suggest we listen to the experts. Most Old Testament scholars do NOT believe that Daniel wrote the Book of Daniel. Here is an excerpt from an article which I will list below:


Since the 19th century, most Old Testament scholars have dated the Book of Daniel to the 2nd century BCE. Liberal Christians generally accept this dating and believe that the book was really written during the Maccabean revolt against the Greek occupying forces in 168-164 BCE. They regard the book as pseudepigraphic - written by an anonymous author or authors, and attributed to Daniel. They conclude this for a number of reasons:

-The text contains a number of Greek words; yet the Greek occupation of the area did not occur until the 4th century BCE.
-One of the musical instruments mentioned in Daniel 3:5 and in subsequent passages did not exist until developed in 2nd century BCE Greece.
-Daniel 1:4 refers to the "Chaldeans" as a priestly class in Babylon. This term did not attain this meaning until much later than the 6th century.
-About 180 BCE, Jeshua ben Sira listed the heroes of the Jewish faith, including "Enoch, Noah and Abraham through to Nehemiah;" Daniel is not mentioned - presumably because Jeshua is unaware of him. This would indicate that the book of Daniel was written after that time.
-Chapter 12 discusses the dead being resurrected, judged, and taken to either heaven and hell. At the time of Daniel, the Jews believed that all persons went to Sheol after death. The concept of heaven and hell was introduced centuries later by the Greeks. It did not appear in Israel until the time of the Maccabean revolt.
-Daniel 11:31 (and elsewhere) refers to "the abominable thing that causes desolation." This appears to refer to the erection of a statue of Zeus in the Jerusalem temple in 167 BCE, and would indicate that the book was written later than that date.
-Prior to Daniel 11:40, the author(s) has been recording past events under the Babylonian, Median, Persian and Greek empires. In Daniel 11:40-45, he really attempts to predict the future. He prophesizes that a king of the south (of the Ptolemaic dynasty) will attack the Greeks in Judea, under Antiochus. The Greeks will win, will lay spoil to all of northeast Africa, and return to Judea where Antiochus will die. The end of history will then occur. The author(s) appeared to be a poor psychic because none of these events actually happened.

Antiochus did die in 164 BCE, but it was in Persia. Thus, the book was apparently completed before 164.

Summary: Many liberal Christians believe that the Book of Daniel is a work of fiction. Fables and myths about a non-existent ancient hero, Daniel's, were passed down orally for centuries, and then finally written down by an unknown author(s), sometime between 167 and 164 BCE. At the end of the book, the author(s) then unsuccessfully attempted to predict the future.

Source: http://www.religioustolerance.org/daniel1.htm

As I have said before above, fortune telling has a VERY poor track record. The author of Daniel is a classic example.

I realize that evangelicals and other moderate Christians have ready explanations for each and every "discrepancy" listed above. But, the questions each person must ask himself/herself are these:

-"Fortune telling today is highly inaccurate. Why should I assume that fortune telling in the ancient past was any better?

-Which is more probable: That an ancient person DID have fortune telling powers, or, this "prophecy" was not a prophecy but a fake prophecy---a work of fraud--the events "prophesied" had already happened."

Hi Joe,

You said, "when the odds agaisnt an event are astronomical and keeps occurring it;s obvious the game is fixed,"

Could you give some examples?

If you are talking about health recoveries after prayer to Jesus, I have a question for you. How "miraculous" are these health recoveries/cures when Christians pray for healing for every occurrence of an health disorder (every time they are sick), whether it's cancer or a migraine headache???

There are over a billion Christians in the world (maybe two billion, I can't remember.) If every time one of these one billion persons gets sick, no matter how slight, he prays, how surprised should we be that sometimes he gets better? And how surprised should be that whenever any of these one billion Christians has cancer, and they pray for healing, once in a while, some of them recover; even some of them who have been diagnosed with terminal/end stage cancer?

I don't think we should be surprised at all. Why? Answer: Rare coincidences happen!

Now, if every time Christians pray for healing they are healed, THAT would be very strong evidence for the power of prayer to Jesus. And I would concede that even if healing occurred after prayer to Jesus more often than recovery occurs in the general population, that would be good evidence for the powers of the allegedly resurrected Jesus. But that is not the case, is it?

In addition, rare health recoveries happen after Mormons pray to their god; after Hindus pray to their gods; after Muslims pray to their god; and even to atheists who pray to NO gods! Christians do not have a statistically significant lower morbidity rate or mortality rate: Christians get just as sick and die just as often as Mormons, Hindus, Muslims, and atheists!



Since the 19th century? That's a red flag right there. That century was a haven for Jesus mythers and other crap about the Bible.

BTW, here is that link from Religious tolerance:

Religious Tolerance: Daniel

I see that Farrell Till is one of the sources in the references. I don't think that he is a very reliable source.

SINCE the nineteenth century.

Ever since the nineteenth century, the majority of Old Testament scholars do not believe that Daniel wrote the Book of Daniel. Do you have evidence that the majority of OT scholars no longer hold this view?

I don't know about the majority, but here's a pretty good scholar who disagrees with your Maccabean hypothesis:

Tektonics: Daniel defense

His conclusion: The Maccabean hypothesis isn't based on evidence, but on the belief (that you hold) that fulfilled prophecy can't happen.

Well, once again, we non-scholars can always concoct our own theories regarding ancient history, but I suggest we look to the experts for guidance in examining these issues. There is certainly a minority of Old Testament scholars (mostly fundamentalist and evangelical Christians) who believe that the book of Daniel was written during the time period that the book purports to have been written. But the majority of scholars/experts believe that it was written in the second century BCE. Could the majority be wrong? Could the majority be biased as you infer? Yes, of course. However, what each reader of this post should do is to ask himself/herself the following; which is more likely to be true:

1. The majority of scholars/experts is wrong. They hold their view out of a bias against Christianity and the supernatural. An ancient Jewish prince DID have fortune telling powers.

2. The majority of scholars/experts is right. The Book of Daniel was written AFTER the events it purports to predict. Fortune telling powers in the ancient world were just as inaccurate as they are today.

Scholarship is important. We can all concoct our own theories about events from the past, but I suggest we listen to the experts. Most Old Testament scholars do NOT believe that Daniel wrote the Book of Daniel. Here is an excerpt from an article which I will list below:


I am an expert you don;t seem willing to listen to me. this is not message board, you have to be om topic an d you have to respond to what other people sayi, you can't just talk at us about whatever is on your craw, stop the flaming or don't comeback. this is not a message board.,

Well, once again, we non-scholars can always concoct our own theories regarding ancient history, but I suggest we look to the experts for guidance in examining these issues. There is certainly a minority of Old Testament scholars (mostly fundamentalist and evangelical Christians) who believe that the book of Daniel was written during the time period that the book purports to have been written. But the majority of scholars/experts believe that it was written in the second century BCE. Could the majority be wrong? Could the majority be biased as you infer? Yes, of course. However, what each reader of this post should do is to ask himself/herself the following; which is more likely to be true:

I am a scholar shut up and listen

Wow. Why the nastiness?

I asked for an opinion on debating Christians (yes, off topic). But BK gave an opinion; I thanked him; the conversation was over.

Then JB brought up the issue of the destruction of the Temple and the "this generation" topic. The conversation has been about that issue ever since. I have only responded to YOUR comments on the off topic issue that YOU brought up.

You guys are very tightly strung.

Relax.

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