Showing posts from March, 2017

Ancient Historical Writing as the Atheist's Inerrant Scripture

One of my projects this week has been an examination of claims by one of the supposedly better-educated atheist critics out there. I'm finding that, as usual, even when they have degrees, the education these folks have pretty much stops at the tip of their own noses.

One of the arguments made by this character is that the Gospels don't deserve our trust because they lack certain features of what they take to be reliable histories. For example, they quote the following from Dionysius of Halicarnassus:

For perhaps readers who are already familiar with Hieronymus, Timaeus,
Polybius, or any other historian that I mentioned a short while ago as being careless in their works, when they do not find many things in my own writings that are mentioned in theirs, will suspect me of fabricating them, and will want to know where I learned of such things. Lest anyone should hold such an opinion of me, it seems better that I should state in advance what narratives and records I have used as sou…

From the Exodus to Pentecost

Though it sounds like it could be the name of a distant planet in a sci-fi novel, the Tetragrammaton is actually the arrangement in Hebrew of the letters said to represent the very name of God, as first revealed by God himself to Moses in the Old Testament. Rabbi Jacobs says, "The Tetragrammaton is the four-letter name of God formed from the letters yod, hey, vav, and hey, hence YHVH in the usual English rendering."[1] Most commonly the divine name is translated into English letters as YHWH, and sometimes the vowels A (some say for another divine name, "Adonai") and E (for "Elohim") are inserted between the two H's to make the more readily pronounceable "Yahweh." "The original pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton," continues Jacobs, "has been lost, owing to the strong Jewish disapproval of pronouncing the name. The pronunciation Yahveh or Yahweh is based on that used by some of the Church Fathers but there is no certainty at all…

Discussion off Trinity with Secular Outpost guys

Resurrection of Christ: Historical or History Making?

Jurgen Moltman

I affirm the literal resurrection of Christ, as I affirm the Nicene creed. Unfortunately, affirming it and proving it are two different things. Many apologists try to use the Resurrection as proof in itself that Jesus was the Son of God. The problem is, the event itself has to be proven, and is of equal dispute to the claims of Christ deity. Thus, I doubt that it makes a great tool for verifying the claims of the faith, since it is itself such a claim. On the other hand, let us ask ourselves, "was the true purpose of the resurrection as a proof of Jesus validity?" I think not. I think the true purpose was not offer modern scientific "courtroom evidence" of the event, but to confirm in a religious way, for insiders, by provision of an important symbol. Tillich says that a symbol participates in the thing it symbolizes. Thus a bull fighter dying young is a symbol of darning courage going awry, but a non specific figure like the American flag is not a sy…

Thomas Brodie: Emotional Christ-Mythicism on Steroids

Despite claims to the contrary, we're still waiting for an academically sound defense of the "Jesus didn't exist" position, one that doesn't rest primarily on gyrations, begged questions, cherry picking, and/or paranoia. For this post I'd like to share two reviews of one such attempted defense, Thomas Brodie's Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus. One was written by me in 2013; the other was written by Nick Peters just this past week, and the original draft was done  without having seen my review first. We both manage to point out some of the same weaknesses. Might be something to that.

Boltzmann Brains and the Mind of God

 Readers familiar with Jonathan Swift's satirical tale Gulliver's Travels may remember Laputa, the third country visited by the adventurous Gulliver. A perfectly circular island measuring close to five miles in diameter, floating above the earth with the use of magnetism and navigated via Newtonian mechanics, Laputa is ruled not by small-minded, short-sighted politicians, as in the kingdom of Lilliput, but by astronomers and mathematicians obsessed with natural science. A secular prophet of sorts, Swift vividly portrayed the myopic (and often morally indifferent) visions of certain scientific intellectuals in his day, and in our own. Allan Bloom describes a preoccupation with all things abstract and theoretical among the Laputians, along with a herd-like groupthink, which together restrict their understanding of the everyday world: "The men have no contact with ordinary sense experiences. This is what permits them to remain content with their science. Communication with …

On Metacrock's Blog my answer to Papalinton

On the debate over JP's Banana postPaplimnton linked to a Wiki article (an article flagged as needing work be that as it may) saying:

Barbara King argues that while non-human primates are not religious, they do exhibit some traits that would have been necessary for the evolution of religion. These traits include high intelligence, a capacity for symbolic communication, a sense of social norms, realization of "self" and a concept of continuity.[1][2] There is inconclusive evidence that Homo neanderthalensis may have buried their dead which is evidence of the use of ritual. The use of burial rituals is thought to be evidence of religious activity, and there is no other evidence that religion existed in human culture before humans reached behavioral modernity.That is supposed to prove that religion is made up entirely by humans with no
God involved. I suggest that evolutionary nature of religion…

Peter Kirby's Straw man "Best Case for Jesus:" Talmudic Evidence.

Church at Nazareth dates first century

Here I will deal with his straw man on the Talmud.[1]Remember Kirby is doing a straw man argument, making the alleged "best case" for Jesus historicity so he can tear it down and say "I made the case and it doesn't stand up to my fierce onslaught." That's what I expect from a coward who is so threatened by better scholars that he chases them off his message board with the flimsy excuse that they have too many posts on the bard. So here we have the section where he makes his straw man version of the Talmudic Evidence for Jesus' Historicity.

Kirby writes:

This is the Jewish tradition regarding the trial of Jesus, found in the Babylonian Talmud, b. Sanh. 43a. While this text was finalized sometime in the fifth or sixth century, by its nature it incorporates many traditions that are very old, as it collects and quotes traditional commentary of the rabbis.
It was taught:
On the Eve of Passover they hung Yeshu the Notzar…