Showing posts from June, 2013

Jesus, Josephus and... the Testimonium Slavianum? (Part 2 of 2)

In Part One , I discussed the famous paragraph from Josephus’ Antiquities known by its nickname the Testimonium Flavianum : the testimony of ‘Flavius’ (Josephus’ patron Roman name) to the life, death, and appearances-after-death (at least) of Jesus Christ. The internet hardly needs another article on the TestiFlav, of course, as it's quite famous, and has been chewed over repeatedly by proponents and opponents on all sides of the aisle. I wouldn't even have written Part One at all, except I wanted to remind readers of the principles for why and how scholars across the board, conservative and liberal, from true believers out to even some hypersceptics, accept the testimony as being mostly original to Josephus. (Some hypersceptics think the entire passage is an interpolation, and not everyone agrees about what the value of the passage is even if it's original, but that's a whole other issue.) That's because there's another version of the TestiFlav which no

Jesus, Josephus, and... the Testimonium Slavianum?

(Edited to add: by "recently" I mean mid-March 2010. My schedule is odd. {lopsided g}) Recently, our compatriot Victor Reppert reposted a link to Chris “Layman” Price’s fine essay on the major testimony from Josephus about Jesus ( which can be found archived here. ) Readers may be surprised to learn that there are a few other references to this testimony in ancient documents, which we can analyze for comparison with text-critical principles, to help derive an idea of the original text. But what happens when we turn those same principles on a very late source for the Testimonium, which has been (almost?) universally rejected as material for comparison--including by Chris? I think the results, while far from conclusive, are at least interesting! But first, some background for comparison. (Note: this entry deals with facts and theories very well-known among students of the early history of Christianity, especially on questions of the historical Jesus, and so co

Is it becoming more obvious that Atheism is a Religion?

Back in 2007, I posted a piece wherein I explained why I think that Atheism is a religion. The piece was unimaginatively entitled, WhyI Believe Atheism is a Religion , and in reviewing it for the preparation of this particular blog entry I found that the ensuing years have not changed my mind. In fact, news stories that have been published in the years since that time have only cemented in my mind the correctness of my original arguments. Today, for example, a colleague of mine in the work of Apologetics whose base is a fine website called The Apologetics Response (hopefully, he will add the CADRE to his friends roll on his blog) referred me to a story on the CNN Belief Blog that has served to confirm my convictions even more. The article is entitled, Church without God – by design and is a story about two churches in Massachusetts and Louisiana which aren't really churches at all – at least, not if the atheists who claim so adamantly that Atheism is not a religion are corre

plug for Metacrock's Blog

Today on Metacrock's blog I talk about a shocking development in the chruch that I has to be looked at. It's called "The Day Evangelical Christianity Stood Still." Not about making conservatives feel back or gloating about the elections. I do think being a Christian is about a personal relationship with Jesus not about accusing other groups of secret alien worship. It's not about rapture escapism or about tax breaks for the wealthy. Please take a look and think about it. A engagement of the fundamentalist world is actually claiming that the Catholic chruch is a secret alien worship cult. Yes, Alien, as in Klatoo Barta Nico. Beam me up Scotty, that sort of thing. In this case I guess it's "Beam me up, Peter." Metacrock's Blog

Does A Belief That Reality Is Fundamentally Kind, And Punishes Cruelty, and Rewards Kindness, Promote Kindness?

Yes. Duh. Obviously I am following up on fellow Cadrist BK's excellent article from Wednesday, which I recommend reading first. (See also Metacrock's sociological article at his weblog. ) And I will reiterate what I said in the comments to another recent article of his , that I am far from being the world's biggest fan of arguments from socio-cultural utility. To this I will add that, just as obviously, no idea 'promotes' anything unless a person acts coherently in concert with the idea. Even people who believe (and promote) the idea that all human ideas (tacitly excepting their own human ideas, or this human idea of theirs anyway) are only irrational reactions to memetic stimulations, would agree that unless the 'idea' (or the electro-physical impulses which on this theory are the actual and only reality behind what we call an 'idea') stimulates a reaction along the same lines as the 'shape' of the 'idea' (or words to that ef

Does Atheism Promote Kindness?

In doing a little research for a post that I am working on, I came across a blog post by Austin Cline of the Atheism and Agnosticism page of The page, which was entitled, “ Pleasures of Atheism: Why Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics Find Joy in a Godless Existence ,”  lists seven reasons for believing that Atheism brings more pleasure than theism (and more particularly, conservative faith in Christianity). One of the reasons he states is that an Atheist is free to be kinder. Here’s what Cline wrote: A common misconception that many theists labor under is the belief that the only kind people are those who follow a particular god or religion. To this, any atheist or freethinker with common sense will no doubt reply ‘rubbish.’ British philosopher Bertrand Russell, a well-known secularist himself, made the following statement in his essay ‘The Faith of a Rationalist:’ “Men tend to have the beliefs that suit their passions. Cruel men believe in a cruel god and use their belief

The Most Pointless Plea for Atheism I Have Ever Read

An atheist friend of mine (yes, I have atheist friends) posted the following on Facebook.  We need to make this very clear. Atheists are not trying to "take you down". We want to take down your beliefs. Sure, a lot of good things have been done in the name of religion, but they were done by human hands, out of human hearts. And yes, religion has brought peace to people in times of need, but (having been religious myself), finding truth and living free of the chains of religion has brought me more happiness than I could have ever dreamed possible.   Atheists (most of them) are not full of hate. We are disgusted by the things we see, and are frustrated that more people cannot look at our world more objectively. We are tired of the lies. Tired of the delusion. Tired of the smoke and mirrors. Who can possibly even turn on the news these days without thinking that something is terribly, terribly wrong? Something has got to change.   Would ridding the world of religion solve e

John Shelby Spong's New Book is HIs Old Book...Again.

Our old friend, pseudo-Christian John Shelby Spong, has apparently written a new book entitled The Fourth Gospel, Tales of a Jewish Mystic .   Those who are long-time readers to the blog may remember that I first addressed Bishop (a title that he doesn't deserve) Spong's work in a post entitled The Theology of John Shelby Spong . I was going to make it a series, but our own Jason Pratt beat me to the punch by coming out with a series that had titles about JRP v. Spong, beginning with JRP v. Bishop Spong v. Judas Iscariot: Round 1 .  Needless to say, we didn't think much of Bishop Spong's theories.  Now, with a new book out I was afraid I might actually have to read it (which would be pure torture). But fortunately, the always thinking Rob Bowman at the Parchment and Pen blog has written a wonderful review of the new book in a post entitled John Shelby Spong on the Gospel of John (sort of rhymes, doesn't it?).  I highly recommend reading it before you waste your t

Is the Invisible Pink Unicorn a good or bad rhetorical tool?

I love reading what certain skeptics have to say about my writings. When they take notice (which is admittedly not as often as I would like) they usually discuss the content among themselves using the typical, pompous, condescending tone that was captured so well in the parody,  The Freethinkers' Guide to Debating Christians on the Internet . I honestly think that they see themselves as positioned atop a mountain (I’ll call Mt. Skepticism for the same of brevity) looking down compassionately on us poor, ignorant, deluded Christians. They then speak to themselves about how sad it is that Christians cannot climb the heights to understand their deep, brilliant thoughts. Such was the case with some skeptical comments pointed out to me with respect to my latest post on  How should a Christian respond to the Invisible Pink Unicorn? On what appears to be a pretty typical atheist blog entitled The Ace of Clades , the author, a gentleman posting under the name of Aron Ra (possibly his

How should a Christian respond to the Invisible Pink Unicorn?

As I discuss the evidence for the existence of God with various people, I occasionally run across a skeptic who somehow believes that she is making a case against God’s existence by countering every Christian contention for God’s existence by arguing that the same argument makes an equally strong case for the existence of the Invisible Pink Unicorn (or its even more absurd relative, the Flying Spaghetti Monster). By this method, the skeptic concludes that she has shown that the Christian arguments for God’s existence to be nonsense because they can be used to support these chimeras. Rather than split time between the absurd Invisible Pink Unicorn (IPU) and the even more absurd Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), I will focus my attention on the IPU. So, the first question becomes what is the IPU and where did it come from? According to the website (which I take to be the definitive word on the IPU):   The Invisible Pink Unicorn (blessed be her holy hoov