Why Some People Believe the Bible (And Why the Reasons Aren’t Good Enough)

I’m writing this post in response to something a fellow blogger has written about why the Bible is trustworthy (though I’ve lost the link to the post). He and I come down on different sides of this issue, and I thought the best way to tackle this would be to respond to each of his points in order.

1) We should treat the Bible like any other historical document.

Yes, we should, but this means different things to different people. When we read ancient historical texts, what do we think about the supernatural events that they relate? Many ancient historians talk about miracles, or attribute certain events to various gods — do we accept those claims? Of course not. We accept the events, like wars, famines, political upheavals, but we chalk up the supernatural claims to superstition.

However, when Christians ask that we treat the Bible the way we would treat other historical sources, they don’t mean it in the way I just described. They’ll say, “if you believe the histories about George Washington, why do you reject the stories of the Bible?” But this isn’t a true comparison. If we had an historical account that claimed George Washington could fly, we would dismiss it, even if everything else it recounted was factual.

There’s another difference as well. What we believe about George Washington has no real impact on the rest of our lives. However, most versions of Christianity say that if we don’t believe Jesus was the actual son of God, we’ll face eternal consequences. What could be more important than making sure we hold the correct view? So if God loves us and wants us all to believe, doesn’t it make sense that the “extraordinary claims” of the Bible would have “extraordinary evidence”? That’s the standard we would expect from any other historical document, and it’s the same thing we should expect from the Bible.

2) Witnesses for the Bible.

It’s often mentioned that the Bible was written over a period of 1500 years by 40+ authors. That timeline is not accepted by all scholars, but even if it were, this has nothing to do with whether or not it is accurate or inspired. In order for later authors to write things that fit with what came before, they only need to be familiar with those earlier writings. In other words, the Bible is much like fan fiction.

Paul says that Jesus appeared to 500 people after his resurrection, so some Christians point to that as evidence too. But who were these 500 people? Where did they see the risen Jesus? Was it all at once, was it 500 separate appearances, or was it something in between? This claim is so vague, there’s no way it could be contested. Even if a critic could have rounded up a multitude of people who all claimed to not have seen Jesus post-resurrection, Paul would only have to say, “It was 500 other people.” No, Paul’s 500 witnesses are completely useless. Instead of actually being 500 separate witnesses for the risen Jesus, this is just one claim — Paul’s. Plus, let’s not forget that Paul is telling this to fellow Christians, not skeptics. No one in his audience would be inclined to call foul anyway.

Sometimes it’s pointed out that the earliest critics of Christianity did not question Jesus’ existence or his miracles, but just claimed that he was one of many people who claimed similar things. But I don’t think we should really expect ancient critics to focus on his existence or miracles anyway. How do you prove that someone didn’t exist? And aside from Christian writings, we have no sources about Jesus anyway, so how could they disprove either his existence or his miracles? And these critics lived in a time in which the existence of miracles were almost universally accepted. So arguing from this point doesn’t seem very convincing to me.

When it comes to historical sources for Jesus, it’s true that Josephus probably mentions him. And there are a couple of other references by other historians within the first 100 years or so after his death. But these references tell us nothing about Jesus other than that he might have existed, and that there were people at that time who were Christians. These points are virtually uncontested — and they say nothing about who Jesus really was. It’s hard to count them as any kind of evidence in Jesus’ favor.

3) Archaeology

Christians will often cite the Bible’s agreement with archaeology as one reason to believe it may be divinely inspired. For instance, most historians used to believe that the Hittites never existed, since the only record of them came from the Old Testament. However, in the 19th and 20th centuries, evidence finally came to light that overturned that opinion, exonerating the Bible.

But does this agreement with archaeology really indicate that the Bible was divinely inspired? Many books have been written that seem to record accurate history — does this mean we should assume those authors were inspired by God? Of course not. While agreement with archaeology is a good sign, it’s not necessarily a reason to leap to the conclusion that God had anything to do with writing the Bible.

The story doesn’t end here, though. As it turns out, archaeology does not always agree with the Bible. The Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, for instance, has no archaeological evidence. While that is an example of missing evidence, we also have examples of contradictory evidence: archaeology indicates that Joshua’s conquest of Canaan did not actually happen, the kingdoms of David and Solomon appear to be far smaller than the Bible depicts, and the Book of Daniel contains several anachronisms, including its incorrect labeling of Belshazzar as Nebuchadnezzar’s son.

Examples like these show that the Bible’s agreement with archaeology is not nearly as strong as some would claim, making it very shaky grounds for staking the claim of inspiration.

In the next post, we’ll talk about other reasons that people give: prophecy and internal consistency.

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528 thoughts on “Why Some People Believe the Bible (And Why the Reasons Aren’t Good Enough)

  1. archaeopteryx1

    RE: “most historians used to believe that the Hittites never existed, since the only record of them came from the Old Testament”
    We also know that the Hittites introduced the chariot to Egypt in 1500 BCE (This, Neuro, is where I would normally have uploaded an image of Hittites in chariots, battling pedestrian Egyptians, but WP doesn’t allow for that), yet our “historical” Bible has Joseph and an unnamed Pharaoh riding in chariots 300 years earlier.

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  2. archaeopteryx1

    RE: “when Christians ask that we treat the Bible the way we would treat other historical sources, they don’t mean it in the way I just described. They’ll say, “if you believe the histories about George Washington, why do you reject the stories of the Bible?

         One thing I recall vividly from my text book in second grade, was the story of how the Father of America, George Washington, when just a child himself, received a new hatchet for his birthday. Anxious to try it out, little George surveyed the rows of blossoming cherry trees lining his father’s long, winding driveway. Choosing one of these, he commenced to break up the set by using his hatchet and chopping it down. Obviously his father noticed its absence on the buggyride up the driveway to the house, after a long day at the office, located his young son, and asked him about it.

         I think even those readers who may not be native to America are familiar with little George’s famous reply, “Father, I cannot tell a lie – I did it with my little hatchet.”

         As a reward for his honesty, little George’s father, George Herbert Walker Washington, declined to punish little George W for his behavior, thus freeing little George from the belief that actions require a willingness to accept responsibility for those actions, so that should he decide to invade a country for its oil, once he’d become president, he would feel no compunction about inventing weapons of mass destruction as an excuse. But I digress —

         Once upon a time in America, in 1800, there was a “gentleman,” and I use the term ever so loosely, named Weems. Reverend Mason Locke Weems, it seems, was not only a pastor but also, each in its turn, a sailor, a medical student, an accomplished player of the fiddle, author, and a traveling book salesman. During his pastoring days, which occurred sporadically whenever his book sales were down, he found himself teaching a Sunday School class in addition to his regular duties, predicting hellfire and damnation. He wanted his wide-eyed young class to learn the evil of telling lies, so he concocted the story of young Washington as a shining example of the reward for always being truthful. He taught his lesson of truthfulness by fabricating a lie and passing it on to innocent little minds as the truth, a lie so convincing, that generations later, that lie could still be found in reputable text books designed to educate other little children.

         Later, he wrote a book about the life of Washington, likely just as authentic as his Sunday School story, but because, in the early 1800’s, the public was hungry to learn about the father of their country (combined with the fact that there was little else but the Bible to take to the outhouse for reading material) that, authentic or not, it sold well. The story has since been deleted from all official public school books, but for many years, it was what all young children were taught.

    My response to your associate would be that that may have been true when this nation was young, just as a child believes in the Tooth Fairy, but no more – we have grown up and put away childish things.

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  3. John says Mary Magdalene went alone to the tomb before sunrise, found the stone rolled away, and then told Peter and James that his body was missing. Mark says Mary the mother of Jesus, the sister of Jesus (Salome), and Mary Magdelene went together, and encountered a man who told them he was risen. Matthew has mother Mary and Mary Magdelene go to the tomb together and witness the stone being rolled away by an angel. Luke has the stone already rolled away and there were two men who said, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” John says Mary Magdelene saw Jesus at the tomb. Matthew says Jesus’ mother Mary and Mary Magdelene were met by Jesus who told them to tell his brothers to go to Galilee to meet him (this is the only sighting of Jesus in Jerusalem found in Matthew). Luke has Jesus materializing in the upper room where he orders them not to leave Jerusalem. John has Peter resuming his fishing occupation in Galilee before Jesus appears to him. These accounts cannot be harmonized without the utmost gyrations in apologetics.

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  4. archaeopteryx1

    Linuxgal – another question would be, regardless of which Gospel you read , why were women sent to the tomb in the first place, without any manpower to roll away the heavy stone?

    The first three gospels, as you may know, are known as the “synoptic” gospels, because they “sound alike” – good reason for this, as Matthew copied from Mark, and Luke from both. Check out the ‘fishers of men” story from the synoptic gospels, and compare it to John, who says he, his brother James, Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew, all met Jesus when they were following John the Baptist (not fishing), saw him across the Jordan river (not the sea of Galilee), and followed him.

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  5. “These accounts cannot be harmonized without the utmost gyrations in apologetics.”

    au contraire. the resurrection account is one of my favorite contradictions to debunk. Most people who claim this suffer from “Easter play syndrome” where they thinking the people all moved in mock unison like in Easter plays. When I have the time I might come back and debunk it but I have spent far too much time today answering very weak evidence in posts on this blog..

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  6. Nate I might add that this post is in poor internet etiquette. If you are responding to a blogger it is customary to link to him and even let him know that you are responding point for point. If you can’t even remember enough to find the site again then its very unlikely you will even be doing a very good job summarizing what his points were much less responding to them point by point.

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  7. archaeopteryx1

    I have spent far too much time today answering very weak evidence in posts on this blog
    Could I get some links to those great debunkings,? So far, I haven’t seen any.

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  8. “Could I get some links to those great debunkings,? So far, I haven’t seen any.”

    You wouldn’t be honest enough to admit it even if you did. You could always flesh out your “fishers of men” claim whatever it is and I could debunk that as easy as a backstroke on a calm summer Sunday 🙂

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  9. archaeopteryx1

    I am SO sorry – it was the Hyksos, not the Hittites, that brought the chariot to Egypt in the 1500’s BCE – it’s been a long day, folks – mea culpa.

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  10. Yes folks, it’s wind up time! Nate’s ‘naughty side’ surfaces. I love posts like this.

    Nate I might add that this post is in poor internet etiquette. If you are responding to a blogger it is customary to link to him and even let him know that you are responding point for point.

    Ah, diddums, did Mikey think we were talking about him den? Shame, poor liddle MIkey?

    I’ll let Arch and Mike duke it out for a while…

    I think we all know who should be arriving soon. 😉

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  11. @ archaeopteryx1

    I am SO sorry – it was the Hyksos, not the Hittites, that brought the chariot to Egypt in the 1500′s BCE – it’s been a long day, folks – mea culpa.

    Yes, get it right, you old fossil. This is about believable history: miracles such as waking on water and stuff, for the gods’ sake. The Hittites introduced the tea bag and a working model of the internal combustion engine.

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  12. Well said. This subject always reminds me of Rabbi Wine:

    “Facts are facts. They are enormously discourteous. They do not revere old books, they do not stand in awe before old beliefs. They do not bow before famous ancestors. They are simply the stuff out of which reality is made and the final judge of truth” (Wine, Sherwin. Celebration: A Ceremonial and Philosophic Guide for Humanists and Humanistic Jews (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1988), p. 156.)

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  13. Mark several times have seen people write posts and choose not to link to the original post for various reasons and Nate here has been forthright to say he can’t find the link. Why pick a bone where there is none?

    The question of inspiration for the bible ought to be answered. What does it mean to say a book is inspired?

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  14. “When I have the time I might come back and debunk it but I have spent far too much time today answering very weak evidence in posts on this blog..”

    You obviously have no clue how silly this sounds.

    Reminds me of 3 boys after school challenging a 4th boy who responds, ” I could stay here and whip all 3 of you, but I have to go home to feed my cat”

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  15. “You obviously have no clue how silly this sound”

    actually you have no idea how silly your retort sounds.

    A) its the standard fair of atheists to claim that theists or Christians sound silly (ego thing though they deny it). Not to fear though ark out did you in the silly retort area. second place is not as conspicuous as first. 🙂 Silver lining?

    B) No theist that posts on this blog would accept any assessment of how he sounds since its predominantly atheist and anti theist anyway.

    I had engaged Nate and Wiliam quite a bit yesterday and yes there are so many times in the week to reply online. at least for me (perhaps others have less of a life?). Me? bashful about engaging on subjects on this blog? Surely you jest.

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  16. I see that there is no thread nesting here. So perhaps Arch will see this if he’s subbed to this discussion.

    “(This, Neuro, is where I would normally have uploaded an image of Hittites in chariots, battling pedestrian Egyptians, but WP doesn’t allow for that), yet our “historical” Bible has Joseph and an unnamed Pharaoh riding in chariots 300 years earlier.”

    A simple link to the image would work. 😉 I also understand you meant to say Hyksos. Do share the link to the image if you care to bother.

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  17. “Mark several times have seen people write posts and choose not to link to the original post for various reasons and Nate here has been forthright to say he can’t find the link. Why pick a bone where there is none?”

    Its poor ettiquete and as such has nothing to do with how many times you have seen it. I’ve heard people burp at a dinner table and not say excuse me too but thats poor form as well. I can take you to countless blogs where the etiquette is observed. Plus its just dubious that you can answer a post “point by point” when you can’t remember enough of it to even find it in a Google search. You are just not going to do a good and balanced job 9 times out of 10.

    Now of course if you don’t want to hear the other side then of course you will find no issue with it. Thats the real point isn’t it?

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  18. There are cultures where burping at the dinner table is actually acceptable. Whatever your tastes, if you have a problem with it, too bad.

    Whether I want to listen to the other side or not is mine to decide, not yours

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  19. william

    Mike, instead of telling us how easily you could debunk issues we have with the bible, why dont you just present the information you have that debunks them?

    That way you get your point across without it getting tangled up blow-hardiness and we may actually learn something.

    I am very eager to see how you can reconcile the discrepancies (apparent) between the gospels. issues like those troubled me as a believer and are one reason I couldnt believe it any more. I just didnt see how a perfect god could mess up the details of his own story, nor could I understand how all of those events could be true simultaneously.

    that being said, i realize I have shortcomings and lack perfect understanding, so i’d be willing to consider what you have to offer.

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  20. william

    “Its poor ettiquete and as such has nothing to do with how many times you have seen it.”

    I cant speak for nate on this, but if i were him, I’d just say, “okay, sorry mike. I’ll do better” just so we can get back to the point.

    although, I do find it interesting that you’re complaining about proper etiquette anyhow. nevertheless, do you want to talk about blog etiquette or these biblical topics?

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  21. I’d like to see Mike’s debunking. I’m always interested in both sides of any given proposition.

    He said:

    You wouldn’t be honest enough to admit it even if you did. You could always flesh out your “fishers of men” claim whatever it is and I could debunk that as easy as a backstroke on a calm summer Sunday 🙂

    I would be honest enough to admit it if it were convincing. I’ve seen Nate engage in a respectful manner. I think we’re all after the truth here so it would be most dishonest of any of us not to concede a point that refutes the presented material with certainty.

    If it is so easy to debunk this, wouldn’t have been better to debunk it than to engage in sandbox theatrics?

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  22. I won’t have a lot of time until the weekend but since poor kcchief thinks I would need to run away to ahem feed my cat I’ll give you a quick taste of why the resurrection story contradiction claims flounder and for swiftness I’ll just use the one posted in this thread

    “John says Mary Magdalene went alone to the tomb before sunrise”

    This is a total fabrication John never States Mary was alone. Alone is nowhere in the text. One writer may refer to one person in a group. One may refer to other people in a group. Perfectly natural. I might say I responded to Kcchief a few days from now and someone might point out i also responded to Nate as well. Sorry no contradiction

    “ound the stone rolled away, and then told Peter and James that his body was missing.”

    Yes Mary does break away from the group and Goes to Peter and JOHN

    ” Mark says Mary the mother of Jesus, the sister of Jesus (Salome), and Mary Magdelene went together, and encountered a man who told them he was risen.”

    and?

    ” Matthew has mother Mary and Mary Magdelene go to the tomb together and witness the stone being rolled away by an angel.”

    Back to fabrication – One of Nate’s convenient readings of the text where what matthew really does is say there was an earthquake and then explains the reason for it. Though the Passage states that they talked to the Angel there is nothing in the passage that says that they saw the stone being rolled away. Thats an assumption/invention.

    “Luke has the stone already rolled away and there were two men who said, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

    NO problem there since Matthew never says they watched as the stone was rolled away as Nate claims I believe in his article as well

    “John says Mary Magdelene saw Jesus at the tomb.”

    NO problem there since John accurately indicates that Mary left the group. In real life people do not move around in unision like Cattle herded. this is probably the biggest error that people who swear the resurrection accounts are contradictions make. I call it the “easter play syndrome” since in stage re-enactments thats how people move around – however not in real life.

    “Matthew says Jesus’ mother Mary and Mary Magdelene were met by Jesus who told them to tell his brothers to go to Galilee to meet him (this is the only sighting of Jesus in Jerusalem found in Matthew).”

    This is just sloppy reading. The closest reference to that verse is “the women” in ver 5 Not Mary Magdelene specifically.

    “Luke has Jesus materializing in the upper room where he orders them not to leave Jerusalem.”

    How this is a contradiction seeing it comes way later than early morning is beyond me. Luke implies the evening of the day had come and gone so this is just dishonest to put in as a contradiction or there was some VERY lazy reading

    “John has Peter resuming his fishing occupation in Galilee before Jesus appears to him.”

    Again this is just sloppy and to be honest – quite dishonest. this occurs much later and has no inconsistency with the earlier events.

    “These accounts cannot be harmonized without the utmost gyrations in apologetics.”

    Your account maybe be but the New testament is quite fine. You just mangled it as you read (or scanned over it). Once we realize that Mary breaks away from the group the alleged contradictions fizzle and die and all that is left is begging and special pleading that there is a contradiction. EZ peazy

    Now ummm Can I go feed my cat now Kcchief. I can finish whipping the three boys (whoever they may be ) later. Yes I know. No matter how badly they are whipped you will claim otherwise. You’ll be a good friend but not too good with the facts..

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  23. “If it is so easy to debunk this, wouldn’t have been better to debunk it than to engage in sandbox theatrics?”

    Yes Ruth you have shown how fair and honest you are by claiming that my stating I was pressed for time was sandbox theatrics. Any other demonstrations of how fair you can be?

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  24. @ Mike,

    I’m trying to figure out why your lack of time caused you to do such a thing to begin with. Either engage with the post or don’t. My point was, if it was so easy, would it really take more time to write your debunking than it does to engage in this manner? I’m not saying you don’t have a debunk for it, I’m saying why engage in such a childish way instead of presenting your material? Your reply to me only further demonstrates this. That you cannot see that is bemusing.

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  25. Hey ratamacue0,

    thanks for the pretty pictures. Was there supposed to be something in there that was going to give me pause or are you just assuming a person you have never met doesn’t know the claims of atheists?

    MY bet is before this is over I will be hearing begging that the resurrection passages are contradictions not proofs

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  26. william

    “MY bet is before this is over I will be hearing begging that the resurrection passages are contradictions not proofs”

    they’re claims, not proofs, unless your speaking of something besides mere claims?

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  27. william

    and Mike, thanks for the tomb reply. I’ll reread my bible with your comments in mind before I conceded or disagree.

    thanks again.

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  28. From the OP:

    Paul says that Jesus appeared to 500 people after his resurrection, so some Christians point to that as evidence too. But who were these 500 people? Where did they see the risen Jesus? Was it all at once, was it 500 separate appearances, or was it something in between? This claim is so vague, there’s no way it could be contested.

    Yes, one of the many things that is said about how reliable these eye-witnesses was is that no-one refuted it. But how could they? Since it is such a vague claim no one would know that they were the ones being used as an eyewitness. You could never go into a court room and say that there were 500 witnesses to an event that happened, even five years ago, and not give names.

    And even though this was written, at the earliest 40 years after the event, it wasn’t widely distributed. It’s not like Paul made a thousand copies of it, or even ten. How many people read this account? How widely spread would the claim have even been?

    Liked by 1 person

  29. william

    “Ruth I have already begun to address what you claim I was not going to. that you skip that and go to rhetoric has us both bemused. Congratulations.”

    come on mike, let’s not fall back into our old ways criticizing someone for something you do as well. we were doing so well staying on point. you’re better than that.

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  30. Ruth I have already begun to address what you claim I was not going to. that you skip that and go to rhetoric has us both bemused. Congratulations.

    Yes, I see that. Thank you.

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  31. Not to fear though ark out did you in the silly retort area.
    Bless you , Mike. It’s always nice to get a compliment from the Box Seats where the intelligent monkeys sit.
    I guess it must be a better class of banana you lot throw.

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  32. ” You could never go into a court room and say that there were 500 witnesses to an event that happened, even five years ago, and not give names. ”

    reading the passage does wonders. You might even see some names if you did. Of course why would the passage go into 500 names since most of the people it would list were in Israel not Corinth? The title of the book is after all 1 CORINTHIANS so the well known names in the church are mentioned and the church at jerusalem is summarized as having a large body of people. No foul . No vagueness since names are mentioned. Weak point.

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  33. “Bless you , Mike. It’s always nice to get a compliment from the Box Seats where the intelligent monkeys sit.
    I guess it must be a better class of banana you lot throw.”

    You are welcome Ark. I will see if the attendant will give us anything but overripe bananas to throw to the lower seats but I cannot promise you anything.

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  34. @Mike Anthony.

    For what it’s worth, only a complete idiot ( or indoctrinated unfortunate who didn’t know better) would accept anything in Matthew, especially regarding the so called crucifixion and resurrection.
    First, let’s all remind ourselves that 600 verses in ”his” gospel were purloined from Mark. And ‘Matthew’s’ is the gospel that contains the Zombie Apocalypse for which even christian apologist Mike Licona lost his job over for stating in his book this was not to be taken literally which rather upset his apologetic buddies and employees.
    So, is ‘Matthew’s’ gospel trustworthy in any context?

    No, not really.

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  35. william

    “Weak point.”

    which point were you referring to? at first I thought it was yours, but then I thought that sounded weird – for you to make a point and then criticize yourself. But I wouldn’t put anything past you, so I figured I seek clarification.

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  36. william

    “well Ark that’s not fair. If it wasnt trustworthy god wouldnt have included it in his perfect bible. If it’s good enough for god, it should be good enough for us.”

    – is what i think mike might agree with.

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  37. “For what it’s worth, only a complete idiot ( or indoctrinated unfortunate who didn’t know better) would accept anything in Matthew, especially regarding the so called crucifixion and resurrection”

    SO much substance in that response Ark….Like all your recent comments.

    “Mike Licona lost his job over for stating in his book this was not to be taken literally which rather upset his apologetic buddies and employees.”

    I did a search in My Bible for Mike Licona. Guess what? His name didn’t come up. hmmm. Oh you think because you cite somebody agreeing with you thats evidence for your claims? ahhh. carry on. I will work on better bananas for you. The extra potassium may help you to make better arguments.

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  38. “which point were you referring to? at first I thought it was yours, but then I thought that sounded weird – for you to make a point and then criticize yourself. But I wouldn’t put anything past you, so I figured I seek clarification.”

    I’ve been working on a equation that seems to hold up upon repeated tests. Theres a direct correlaton between the inferior quality of your rhetoric when your claims are challenged and the fact that you have no immediate answer. Please work on reading the resurrection texts so the rhetoric at least rises to seal level. For your own good – you may drown diving that deep.

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  39. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

    So, I read the passage. I already had done. A number of times.

    He appeared to Peter alone, then to Peter with the twelve. That would be no big revelation since that had already been claimed. Then he appeared, apparently to his brother, James, and to the apostles.

    So the named are the twelve diciples and his brother? Oh, and himself.

    But my broader point still remains. How widely spread the letter to the Corinthians was, and those that are actually named goes to no one speaking up to say, “Hey, what’s he talking about? I didn’t see that!”

    You only made my point stronger by pointing out that he was addressing the Church at Corinth. He was writing this letter to convince people who were already believers. Preaching to the choir.

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  40. william

    Hey mike, my rhetoric is just a bit f tot for tat fun. I thought it was mutual, but your last response to me made me unsure. If you’re taking it personally, just say so and I’ll back off. I figured since you were doing it, it was open season.

    as far as my replies to your comments on the events at the tomb – what is there to criticize? I thanked you for your points, and since I dont have a photographic memory, said that my official response would come after I had a chance to consult the book we;re all talking about. the bereans were noble for doing this and I want to make sure I cite correctly – just dont have the time right now.

    is that really a problem? isnt it better if discuss the text itself, instead of our commentaries on it?

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  41. “But my broader point still remains. How widely spread the letter to the Corinthians was, and those that are actually named goes to no one speaking up to say, “Hey, what’s he talking about? I didn’t see that!””

    Totally incoherent. The twelve were all well known people, Paul makes 13 . Cephas and James mentioned in particular. Your claim that no names were mentioned or referenced has been debunked and rather than admit it you are just hand waving. You are doing a fine job of showing your claim at being objective was utterly false. How many names would be enough for you since 13 identifiable well known figures are specified. Is the magic number 14 or 41?

    “You only made my point stronger by pointing out that he was addressing the Church at Corinth. He was writing this letter to convince people who were already believers. Preaching to the choir.”

    Welcome to a minimal level of competence. Seriously you did not know corinthians was addressed to a church? You think that make your point stronger because you were clueless about the basics? No that proves you were clueless. thats about it. So there ought to be no letters in the Bible directed to churches or its vague? Why? the church should only teach atheists? Do tell Silly argument.

    P.S. Paul preached to people outside the church . He wrote letters to people he knew. No newstands in the first century. Go figure.

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  42. william

    “Totally incoherent. The twelve were all well known people, Paul makes 13 . Cephas and James mentioned in particular. Your claim that no names were mentioned or referenced has been debunked and rather than admit it you are just hand waving. You are doing a fine job of showing your claim at being objective was utterly false. How many names would be enough for you since 13 identifiable well known figures are specified. Is the magic number 14 or 41?”

    Mike, paul brings up “500” to make it sound like what he’s claiming is largely confirmed – but it fails to do so – and millions of people agree with me – but what differences does that make?

    If paul is using the “500” to bolster his claims, it’s fair to question the source. how many were named? 2 or 3, that’s start I guess. It’s far from an incoherent point. You saying it’s incoherent doesn’t make anyone question their position, just question yours.

    To someone who believes the bible is from god, a passage about 500 eye witnesses sounds great, but to skeptics, it brings on more questions – as it would with any issue.

    “Welcome to a minimal level of competence. Seriously you did not know corinthians was addressed to a church? You think that make your point stronger because you were clueless about the basics? No that proves you were clueless. thats about it. So there ought to be no letters in the Bible directed to churches or its vague? Why? the church should only teach atheists? Do tell Silly argument.”

    obviously that wasnt the point, so you’re either back to rhetoric yourself or you’re being dishonest. The point was that corinth was church and that spouting vague “evidences” to people who already agree with you just doesnt count for much.

    Should the church only tech atheists? I dont know about only, but spending some time on it may be beneficial if what you;re pushing is true.

    and by the way, that brings up another question, which version of Christianity is the right one?

    Like

  43. Now unfortunately my time has gone for commenting today. I guess you can return to the rhetoric of KKChief that I am running away to feed my cat. Don;t have a cat prefer dogs but I will try and work out something and still not forget the bananas for ARk.

    and william. I am cool bro. I don’t mind a tit for tat. As you can see I will zing back a tat for tit so as long as you aren’t going to get hurt on the zing backs – no problem mi amigo. I could do without the A hole business though but you have not gone there just saying.

    Like

  44. william

    “and william. I am cool bro. I don’t mind a tit for tat. As you can see I will zing back a tat for tit so as long as you aren’t going to get hurt on the zing backs – no problem mi amigo. I could do without the A hole business though but you have not gone there just saying.”

    delightful. I’m down with it as long as i know no ones feelings are hurt and it remains in good fun. But i like the wrestle – just adds some flavor. I’ll get back to you on the tomb scenario.

    Like

  45. “Mike, paul brings up “500″ to make it sound like what he’s claiming is largely confirmed

    NO thats your claim and its totally bogus Get a grip. You don’t know why Paul brings up anything. You can’t read minds now much less 2,000 years ago so thats just empty rhetoric.

    “– but it fails to do so – and millions of people agree with me – but what differences does that make? “”

    What millions of people? You are delusional. Corinthians was written to a church. If the passage even listed every name what would these millions of people do who you claim believe as you do now? drop on their knees and give their lives to Christ because Paul wrote down 500 names of now dead people?

    Stand by it. Its a silly argument and kinda desperate.

    Even among gentile communities there were some Jews (and gentiles) that would travel back to jersualem and visit the church there. 500 is merely away of indicating how many people were still alive in the Jerusalem church who were witnesses in addition to the 13 identified people (the 12 specifies 12 well known people).

    The fact that you people have to run down such silly weak points says it all.

    Like

  46. archaeopteryx1

    Mikey declined to show me how brilliant he is, however I anticipate his ego will not allow that status to remain quo for long.

    Like

  47. Welcome to a minimal level of competence. Seriously you did not know corinthians was addressed to a church? You think that make your point stronger because you were clueless about the basics? No that proves you were clueless. thats about it. So there ought to be no letters in the Bible directed to churches or its vague? Why? the church should only teach atheists? Do tell Silly argument.

    Did I say any of that? I don’t think so.

    I did know it was addressed to a church. I didn’t need you to point this out. That you did only bolstered my argument. This is the problem with addressing people you don’t know. I was a Christian for 20 years and took Bible study seriously.

    My point was he used a weak witness of 500 to address people who likely wouldn’t have even questioned it anyway. He was writing to believers, not trying to prove anything to anyone beyond that.

    Yet, many apologists use this argument that Jesus appeared to over 500 unnamed witnesses as an unquestionable proof of the claim’s veracity. That it was claimed that he appeared to the 13 well-known people isn’t in question here.

    I never claimed that no letter should be written to believers or churches. I only claimed that using these 500 alleged witnesses to pad the numbers of the claim does nothing for someone who doesn’t believe and who is skeptical about the historicity of the Bible to begin with.

    Using the Bible to prove the Bible seems a fruitless endeavor.

    Like

  48. william

    “NO thats your claim and its totally bogus Get a grip. You don’t know why Paul brings up anything. You can’t read minds now much less 2,000 years ago so thats just empty rhetoric.”

    mike, you’re flailing here. that’s obviously why he brought it up.

    “wow, 500 people saw jesus, so you can know it happened even if you didnt see him yourself..”

    that’s what he was saying. saying “nuh, uh” doesnt change that.

    Like

  49. I did a search in My Bible for Mike Licona. Guess what? His name didn’t come up. hmmm. Oh you think because you cite somebody agreeing with you thats evidence for your claims? ahhh. carry on. I will work on better bananas for you. The extra potassium may help you to make better arguments.

    Oh, dear. You just got the first Dickhead Award of the afternoon for that comment.
    I am now reasonably confident that those reading your posts will suspect you are a fraud.
    Next you’ll be saying I invented William Lane Craig and Gary Habermaas.

    Like

  50. william

    “What millions of people? You are delusional.”

    that;s the point. what 500 people?

    so I guess we agree after all, that just claiming a large number of people have seen something doesnt really count for anything.

    this wasnt even a trap. I mean, I laid out this as my point when i first made it…

    “drop on their knees and give their lives to Christ because Paul wrote down 500 names of now dead people?”

    I dont know. My pointy that “500 people” isnt a good proof and doesnt serve as evidence as many like to pretend.

    that’s really all I’m getting at.

    Like

  51. By the way, if the argument is silly you should be spending time on apologetics websites telling them to stop using that argument. It is silly. That is what I’m saying.

    Like

  52. He’s a first rate prat, and I suspect ignorant or a fraud – or maybe a troll? Look below. He’s just suggested I referenced apologist, Mike Licona because he agrees with me! RFLOL.

    Like

  53. archaeopteryx1

    “’You obviously have no clue how silly this sound”

    actually you have no idea how silly your retort sounds.”

    Did anybody else hear, “I’m rubber and you’re glue…?”

    Liked by 1 person

  54. archaeopteryx1

    A simple link to the image would work. ;)…Do share the link to the image if you care to bother.
    Nah, that’s like eating dry pancakes and then drinking syrup – text and images go together.

    Like

  55. “obviously that wasnt the point, so you’re either back to rhetoric yourself or you’re being dishonest. The point was that corinth was church and that spouting vague “evidences” to people who already agree with you just doesnt count for much.”

    Don’t know how to inform you any better . maybe read the book? Nowhere does Corinthians claim its written to anyone else but the church at Corinth. citing that it is written to a church as a point against it is just totally silly nonsense. Now that being the case would the church at Corinth relate the events at Jerusalem to unbelievers who could verify the facts? WHY YES!. How do we know? Because Thats called preaching the Gospel which all Christians are commanded to do.

    We could argue back and forth as to whether the church could have survived had there been no one in Jerusalem making a claim at seeing a risen Christ. Sure . Atheists do it all the time as if people back in that day were just dumb goats willing to die, be rejected from synagogues etc for something that would have been verified to them as never happening by anyones account. Should the blogger have left it out because nate and his readers beg that its not a legitimate argument? Nope.

    Like

  56. “By the way, if the argument is silly you should be spending time on apologetics websites telling them to stop using that argument. It is silly. That is what I’m saying.”

    Poor Ruth….Their argument is not silly. You argument that because it was addressed to a church it is negated is vastly silly. .

    Like

  57. “Look below. He’s just suggested I referenced apologist, Mike Licona because he agrees with me! ”

    Ark when you make a good point I will probably have a heart attack. My cardiac health is looking rosy. I am not very familiar with Liconia neither did I claim you invented him but like it or not lie about it or not you did use his name in support of one of your arguemnts

    “even christian apologist Mike Licona lost his job over for stating in his book this was not to be taken literally which rather upset his apologetic buddies and employees.”

    Thats just obvious. I never said he agreed with your entire position but you did cite him as supporting a position against apologist and did use it in support of your claims regarding Mattew but be my guess

    Lie some more.

    Like

  58. william

    “Don’t know how to inform you any better . maybe read the book? Nowhere does Corinthians claim its written to anyone else but the church at Corinth. citing that it is written to a church as a point against it is just totally silly nonsense. Now that being the case would the church at Corinth relate the events at Jerusalem to unbelievers who could verify the facts? WHY YES!. How do we know? Because Thats called preaching the Gospel which all Christians are commanded to do.”

    mike, what are you talking about? are you even trying to follow the discussion as we’re having it? all anyone said was how referring to 500 random people does nothing to validate a claim – especially when sharing it with people who already agree with him.

    are you dodging this on purpose? Paul is free to mention any number he wishes, it just doesnt serve as any proof or any evidence and we’re just saying that it’s is pointless to use it as evidence of any kind.

    this shouldn’t be a difficult point to grasp.

    Like

  59. “so I guess we agree after all, that just claiming a large number of people have seen something doesnt really count for anything.”

    Nope we don’t. does that passage PROVE the gospels are true by itself? Nope I don’t think so and neither does any Christian I know. Is it an argument for authenticity based on the fact that anyone that went to Jerusalem from Corinth could confirm or deny the fact given that a large segment of the church there would have had eye witnesses? yes.

    this is where Nate’s poor blogging etiquette comes in. You are all arguing as If the blogger hinged his argument upon that and yet you don’t know what he said, what importance heattached to it, what the exact context was etc. Its all hearsay based on Nate who can’t even either remember enough of the blog article to find it with Google or just cant be bothered because after all this is really just a rubber stamp readership so who cares?

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  60. and by arguments I mean any of the comments that seem to be more focused on critiquing what a person wrote earlier rather than sticking to the points being discussed that go beyond this

    Like

  61. Liconia

    Licona. Mike Licona. Do try to get it right, Mike. Please. Simply Google him. ‘Tis not that difficult, surely?

    Yes…I am becoming more convinced we are dealing with another SOM, ladies and gents.

    Oh, and Mike? Matthew is a crock, from start to finish.
    But wait, I am sorry, Mike. Perhaps I should have asked up front; do you actually believe in the raising of the dead at the Crucifixion?

    Like

  62. william

    “Nope we don’t. does that passage PROVE the gospels are true by itself? Nope I don’t think so and neither does any Christian I know. Is it an argument for authenticity based on the fact that anyone that went to Jerusalem from Corinth could confirm or deny the fact given that a large segment of the church there would have had eye witnesses? yes.”

    I think you’re just talking about something else, because we do agree that randomly citing any quantity of nameless individuals isnt good evidence and fails miserably as any semblance of proof.

    that’s been the discussion. that’s what we’ve been talking about, mike.

    Like

  63. william

    “who cares?”

    looks like just you. no one else care about your etiquette rules. That’s another blog topic – we’re on religion.

    Like

  64. “mike, what are you talking about? are you even trying to follow the discussion as we’re having it? all anyone said was how referring to 500 random people does nothing to validate a claim – especially when sharing it with people who already agree with him.”

    Nope thats not all that has been claimed. You have as much stated that Paul was trying to make it “sound like” the claim was confirmed as opposed to him legitimately holding that it was by the 500 and the name and identified apostles. Nate himself has indicated an intent that Paul would have to deceive and you all have argued not merely that it is not enough for us to day but that even at the time of writing it would have been necessarily vague

    “This claim is so vague, there’s no way it could be contested. Even if a critic could have rounded up a multitude of people who all claimed to not have seen Jesus post-resurrection, Paul would only have to say, “It was 500 other people.”

    Thats just nonsense. the 500 would have been part of the church. A simple visit to Jerusalem would have made it anything but vague.

    Finally Ruth raised the issue that no names were mentioned which is just totally false and has been debunked. So its you that have not been following the discussion.

    anyway really must go now . have fun

    Like

  65. “Licona. Mike Licona. Do try to get it right, Mike. Please. Simply Google him. ‘Tis not that difficult, surely? ”

    Maybe this will get though the density – Don’t care about Mike Liconia. Not an apostle, not in the Bible. Nothing to do with the text.

    the end.

    come up with something relevant for when I come back

    Like

  66. william

    “Nope thats not all that has been claimed. You have as much stated that Paul was trying to make it “sound like” the claim was confirmed as opposed to him legitimately holding that it was by the 500 and the name and identified apostles. Nate himself has indicated an intent that Paul would have to deceive and you all have argued not merely that it is not enough for us to day but that even at the time of writing it would have been necessarily vague”

    still not sure what youre trying to say. are you really saying that paul was informing, for mere sake of histrical record, that 500 people saw jesus? That doesnt hold water, not when reading the passage.

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  67. william

    “Thats just nonsense. the 500 would have been part of the church.”

    where does the text validate this claim? which church, at which location? itserces as nothing. even if the corintheans knew exactly what paul was talking about, the majority of the people who ever lived do not. it’s proof fo rnothing.

    again, paul is free to say it, it just serves as no evidence for the vast majority of people, if not every single person who ever lived.

    why are we even discussing it? it’s a bad point to use when validating the bible – that’s it. it doesnt serve to discredit it, so what’s up?

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  68. william

    “Finally Ruth raised the issue that no names were mentioned which is just totally false and has been debunked. So its you that have not been following the discussion.”

    you toss out a couple of possible names and suddenly you’ve debunked 500 witnesses? sorry, mate, you’re not making sense.

    I think we’re falling back into having different definitions for the words we use. for arguments sake, can we agree to default to dictionary.com? it’s available to everyone here.

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  69. Even among gentile communities there were some Jews (and gentiles) that would travel back to jersualem and visit the church there. 500 is merely away of indicating how many people were still alive in the Jerusalem church who were witnesses…

    Is there some reference other than the quoted passage in 1 Corinthians that says that all of these 500 were part of the church in Jerusalem? It says “brethren” but where are you getting that all these were in the church in Jerusalem? Paul doesn’t identify where these people can be found.

    Like

  70. archaeopteryx1

    The gospel writers – especially the ones called Matthew and Luke – were out to create a legend, dipping back into distant Jewish past and attempting to connect old prophecies to the Jesus story.

    As you likely already know, the four Gospels were written anonymously and the names arbitrarily assigned. According to Linda Woodhead (shut up, Ark), Professor in the sociology of religion in the Department of Politics, Philosophy & Religion at Lancaster University, “the gospels’ birth and resurrection narratives can be explained as attempts to fit Jesus’ life into the logic of Jewish expectation”.

    Pseudo-Mark was likely the most sincere, in his efforts, while pseudo-Matthew copied, in many instances word for word, from Mark, adding embellishments as he went, and pseudo-Luke copied from both, with his own set of embellishments.

    Even Jesus’ name wasn’t Jesus, it was Yeshua – Jesus was only the Greek translation of the Hebrew name, “Jesus”, just as “Matthew” is the Greek translation of “Levi,” whom one could assume was Levi, the tax collector, collected by Yeshua to join his Boy’s Club, except had that actually been the case, Levi would have had his own story to tell, from his own perspective, and had no need to copy pseudo-Mark.

    Writing in a time in which, even though the country (and most others) were under Roman occupation, Greek, remnant of Alexander’s conquest 300-400 years earlier, was the lingua Franca d’jour, and it is highly unlikely that pseudo-Matthew and pseudo-Luke could even read Hebrew, and thus had never read the Torah or the Tanakh. This is evidenced by the fact that both anonymous authors insist on informing us that Yeshua was born of a virgin – which the Greek Septuagint confirms is true. However the translator of the Tanakh into Greek made a mistake. Drawing from Isiah 7:14, pseudo-Matthew came up with – and pseudo-Luke followed suit, with embellishments – “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel.

    In the original Hebrew, the passage actually reads: “Hinneh ha-almah harah ve-yeldeth ben ve-karath shem-o immanuel” (emphasis, mine), The Hebrew words ha-almah mean simply the young woman; and harah is the Hebrew past or perfect tense, “conceived,” which in Hebrew, as in English, represents past and completed action. Honestly translated, the verse reads: “Behold, the young woman has conceived-[is with child)-and beareth a son and calleth his name Immanuel.” Almah means simply a young woman, of marriageable age, married or not, independent of whether or not her hymen is intact. Neither pseudo-Mark, pseudo-John, nor Paul or Peter, ever mention a virgin birth, and It’s hard to believe any would omit a miracle such as that, if they knew it to be true.

    Pseudo-Mark wrote his tale about 45 years after the death of Yeshua, pseudo-Matthew five or so after that, pseudo-Luke anywhere from 10 to 30 years later still (as he also wrote “The Acts,” and it has been determined that “The Acts” was written well into the first century), and pseudo-John well after that, as no copies of his writing ever showed up anywhere until after 150 CE. Thus was created the greatest story ever sold.

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  71. I seriously don’t know why this seems to be such a huge point of contention, the 500 witnesses are referred to by Paul 🙂 can’t we all just agree on this?

    Like

  72. Ron

    Its all hearsay based on Nate.” Mike Anthony

    You mean unlike the hearsay based on Paul and the four pseudonymous gospels? Because the gospels make it crystal clear that none of these so-called witnesses actually witnessed the actual resurrection itself. So unless you yourself were physically present to witness that event you’re entire body of evidence consists of little more than a hierarchy of uncorroborated claims found within pages of some ancient parchments.

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  73. archaeopteryx1

    Even if your assessment of Arch is correct…
    How could you even THINK it?!!! I’m crushed to the quick!

    Like

  74. Josh

    For what it’s worth, I’ve come to be much less bothered by the fact that all of this is so hard to “prove”. I still have a knee jerk reaction to want to respond and retort. However, I know that things are never quite as “clear” to another person as they “are” to me – anyone else’s life history and world perspective that they bring to the discussion is going to color their assessment, just as mine colors my assessment. And, from the standpoint of the Christian scriptures, God has nearly always chosen to operate via less-than-obvious means. If God exists, and if God is the God revealed in Jesus and the NT scriptures, then God clearly isn’t interested in dominating people with proof beyond doubt. If He was, then we probably wouldn’t be bothered with all the stories of how people reacted badly to Jesus teaching, or the fact that he was a poor carpenter’s son from an obscure town, or that he hung around with people who would never be allowed in church. It just doesn’t seem important to this God to interact this way. So, if this is the God in which you claim to believe, I don’t see how you can expect that He would operate differently with people now (so obvious no one could doubt) than he did when He came to earth in the form of a human (which, by the way, is probably the least obvious way the God of Israel, the One God with NO equal, could possibly have revealed Himself to His people).

    Now I’m rambling. Done. Thanks, Nate.

    Like

  75. archaeopteryx1

    I guess it must be a better class of banana you lot throw.
    I’m not sure that brown handful was a banana —

    (I liked stacking better!)

    Like

  76. archaeopteryx1

    @Ruth
    You only made my point stronger by pointing out that he was addressing the Church at Corinth. He was writing this letter to convince people who were already believers. Preaching to the choir.
    Yes, and no, Ruth – the people in Corinth were a cantankerous bunch, and Pablo had to go back and kick their butts a time or two, even though he didn’t consider himself much of a public speaker.

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  77. archaeopteryx1

    @Ruth
    “em>’He appeared to Peter alone, then to Peter with the twelve.’

    Sorry, that should say the other eleven.</em"

    Ten? Judas go bye-bye —

    Like

  78. Well, sure. Doesn’t that happen even today?

    Millions go to church on Sunday and a preacher tells them they’re dogs who have fleas and they thank him for letting them know.

    No, they didn’t have it all “together”, but they did believe. Their “old habits” just died a hard, slow death.

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  79. Ah, yes, but the text says..”then the twelve”. So had they replaced Judas? How quickly did they cast those lots to replace him with Stephen?

    I didn’t think it was as soon as Jesus appearing to them in the “upper room”, but I could be wrong. They were pretty disorganized at that point, weren’t they?

    Like

  80. william

    “Ah, yes, but the text says..”then the twelve”. So had they replaced Judas? How quickly did they cast those lots to replace him with Stephen?”

    for what little it’s worth, when i was a believer this didnt bother me. someone had told me that “the 12” was basically the title of their group, and I could see that. I still can, at least to the extent that there are much bigger fish to be fried in the way of biblical issues.

    of course, to me now, it’s just one more issue on the mound of issues…

    Like

  81. william

    arch, you talking to me?

    I dont have time to bring out the good book and type out quotations to support my points just yet – but i always have time to shoot from the hip.

    that okay?

    Like

  82. archaeopteryx1

    Thanks for not bothering.” i.e., “Thanks for not serving me dry pancakes, then bring a half-cup of syrup to drink after I’ve finished.” – you’re welcome! I know you’d do it for me —

    Like

  83. archaeopteryx1

    Is it an argument for authenticity based on the fact that anyone that went to Jerusalem from Corinth could confirm or deny the fact given that a large segment of the church there would have had eye witnesses? yes.
    Corinth was a city-state, located on the Isthmus of Corinth in Greece (sorry, WP doesn’t allow me to upload a map) – anyone wonder how many of the church members there regularly commuted to Jerusalem? No doubt Mike has an answer, though how credible it may be is anyone’s guess.

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  84. archaeopteryx1

    They were pretty disorganized at that point, weren’t they?
    Apparently – it seems that Pete gave up fishing for men and went back to fishing for fish. “Fishers of Men” – sounds like a good name for a gay bar, at least it doesn’t pull any punches..

    Like

  85. archaeopteryx1

    And before anyone jumps all over me for not being politically correct, there’s a known Gay a cappella choir group in a city near me that has an album out – one of the titles on it is about how “the Mounties always get their man” —

    Like

  86. for what little it’s worth, when i was a believer this didn’t bother me. someone had told me that “the 12″ was basically the title of their group, and I could see that. I still can, at least to the extent that there are much bigger fish to be fried in the way of biblical issues.

    I can totally see this being the explanation and even concede it as a point. Like you, I think that is a relatively small issue and easily explained.

    The much bigger issue (that Mike seems to think he’s debunked) that no names were given. That Jesus allegedly appeared to the eleven isn’t news, though as has already been pointed out, the authors of the gospels are anonymous and were written after this letter to the Corinthians. Apparently none of the supposed eyewitness, except possibly John (and Paul if you count his vision), wrote about it.

    Because I don’t just jump on the bandwagon of this supposed debunking I’m being dishonest. No, I’ve conceded that the passage mentions the disciples/apostles. This isn’t new. The mention of more than 500 witnesses besides themis new. Why anyone would think that mentioning 500 random people without [at least some] names or locations would be convincing to anyone except a believer is puzzling.

    I don’t mean to keep arguing the point, and I likely won’t. I think I can see this from a believer’s viewpoint. If a believer means to convince any unbelievers, especially former believers, they might want to consider their audience and try to see it from a skeptic’s viewpoint even if they don’t agree. But maybe Mike only likes the argument and doesn’t care about “winning lost souls” and more about belittling anyone who dares to question it? *shrug*

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  87. anyone wonder how many of the church members there regularly commuted to Jerusalem?

    It was called the BS Express…the fastest donkey train in the Middle East.

    Like

  88. william

    Ruth, I’m with you.

    and several of the Christians on here try to ct like Christians, although not all – but that’s life.

    Like

  89. archaeopteryx1

    @William – re: Robert De Niro’s “…you talking to me?”
    I don’t know if I am or not, without a quotation – that’s the big problem with not stacking – without a quotation, no one really knows who’s talking to whom! If I quoted something you said, then yes – if not, probably not. Is that any clearer? Good, then you can explain it to me!

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  90. “…it seems that Pete gave up fishing for men and went back to fishing for fish.”

    Yeah, and apparently that was way harder work and possibly less lucrative than having “supporters” pay your way so you can preach.

    On an unrelated note: Apparently most, if not all, of these disciples had wives and families. How did they support them? Me thinks Paul would not have approved.

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  91. I haven’t read all the comments yet, so maybe this has been addressed:

    Is it an argument for authenticity based on the fact that anyone that went to Jerusalem from Corinth could confirm or deny the fact given that a large segment of the church there would have had eye witnesses?

    Mike, this is a good example of the problem. You assume that the event witnessed by 500 people occurred in Jerusalem, but Paul doesn’t say that. We’re given no indication of who these people were, when this happened, or where it occurred. It’s impossible to track down.

    I agree that Paul probably wasn’t hinging a great deal on this claim at the time, but it’s a fact that a number of people do today:
    http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html
    http://christianity.about.com/od/easter/a/7-Proofs-Of-The-Resurrection.htm
    http://executableoutlines.com/why/why_10.htm

    And it’s simply not a good argument.

    I started this post months ago, but neglected to paste in the original link. I spent some time yesterday going through my internet history as well as several pages of Google results, but can’t find the original article. I wish I still had it, and I’ve done many similar posts that always link back to the original article. I just can’t find it in this case, but didn’t think that was relevant enough to withhold the post. Sorry if it offends you.

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  92. william

    i guess it all boils down to who are you gonna believe; god or man? the thing is, everything people claim to know about god comes from some other man – so i guess Christians are all man believers – disciples of man.

    When a man claims to speak for god, and then cites 500 nameless individuals, who can argue with that? could it be any clearer? why, it would be a miracle if it werent true, except that miracles prove it’s true, so no matter how you look at this, those guys were spot on. praise god and the man jesus.

    maybe that wasnt fair

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  93. archaeopteryx1

    That’s another issue of contention for me – traditionally, all Jewish men were encouraged to marry early, yet here we have Yeshua, well into his 30’s, running around the countryside with a bunch of men. Hmmmm —

    Not – as Seinfeld says – that there’s anything wrong with that —

    Like

  94. yet here we have Yeshua, well into his 30′s, running around the countryside with a bunch of men. Hmmmm –

    Yeah, Jesus and the “sons of thunder”…

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  95. william

    “That donkey would need water wings – the Isthmus of Corinth is in the Mediterranean.”

    for a god that can do anything, it’s easier to explain the problems away, because, well, he can do anything – like make flying donkeys, or make multiple contradictory events not contradictory.

    and you know what? i take comfort in that, because he can then condemn people to hell, but then send them to heaven. behold, bachelor jesus, son and father to himself.

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  96. william

    I should probably apologize for that one. I’ll stop. It’s juvenile. I just feel someone bitter, at times, over the length at which i was deceived by it. and looking at it now it’s all so obvious.

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  97. archaeopteryx1

    “Ya homophobe! :D” – yeah, well, my grandson, at 8, won the CD in a contest. After he played that piece, he looked up at me and asked, ‘What does that mean?” – wish I’d had someone like you there to explain it for me.

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  98. Just to add on to this thought:

    From Bible Hub commentaries:

    Pulpit Commentary:
    Verse 6. – Above five hundred brethren at once. We cannot be certain whether this memorable appearance took place in Jerusalem or in Galilee. It is, however, most probable that this was the appearance on the mountain (Matthew 28:16, 17; comp. Matthew 26:32).

    Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:
    After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once,…. Not at, or near Jerusalem, for the number of the disciples that were together there, made but about an hundred and twenty, Acts 1:15 but in Galilee, where Christ, in the days of his flesh, had most chiefly conversed, most frequently preached and wrought his miracles, and where the number of his disciples and followers were very large: here he promised his disciples to go before them, and show himself to them after his resurrection, as he accordingly did…

    Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:
    6. five hundred—This appearance was probably on the mountain (Tabor, according to tradition), in Galilee, when His most solemn and public appearance, according to His special promise, was vouchsafed (Mt 26:32; 28:7, 10, 16). He “appointed” this place, as one remote from Jerusalem, so that believers might assemble there more freely and securely.

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  99. “Yeah, well, my grandson, at 8, won the CD in a contest. After he played that piece, he looked up at me and asked, ‘What does that mean?” – wish I’d had someone like you there to explain it for me.”

    Oi! 😕

    Well, see…the Mounties are Canadian Police. They always apprehend the appropriate suspects.

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  100. archaeopteryx1

    i guess it all boils down to who are you gonna believe; god or man?
    Ah, but which god? There were so MANY —

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  101. There were so many gods right there in the Bible. The one who couldn’t see Adam and Eve when they were hiding, the one who had to go down to see the Tower of Babel, the one who wrassled Jacob, the one who wiped out the entire population of the Earth except for eight folks, the one who is “love” according to John,…take your pick.

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  102. archaeopteryx1

    behold, bachelor jesus, son and father to himself.
    Surely you’ve seen this, William:

    Sorry I couldn’t upload it to my comment – WordPress, you know – so I had to break the continuity by making you go to another site, whereas all could have shared it at a simple glance.

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  103. archaeopteryx1

    “Acts”? As in THE “Acts”? the one that wasn’t even written until well into the next century?

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  104. “Acts”? As in THE “Acts”? the one that wasn’t even written until well into the next century?

    Presumably so. I know of no other Acts which might be referenced.

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  105. “But what do they do with them after they apprehend them?”

    They are hauled off in handcuffs. Beyond that I wouldn’t want to venture a guess.

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  106. archaeopteryx1

    Not my point – which is that the anonymous author of the Acts, writing a hundred years after the fact, if it was a fact, referenced Paul, and is no source of independent corroboration.

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  107. Oh, I got your point.

    These commentaries are rather old, but I think a good many theologians still use them and reference them. Fundamentalists, especially, don’t buy into modern historical and archaeological evidence that suggests later dates of authorship.

    It’s more along the lines of…”anything that contradicts the Bible cannot be true” vein, and a line of thinking that our friend likely also subscribes to. The Bible, itself, is enough commentary on the Bible. Scripture should only be interpreted using scripture. Sola Scriptura. Or, in the case of Catholicism, whatever the priests say that scripture means according to tradition…or not.

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  108. @ Mike Anthony

    come up with something relevant for when I come back

    You are a Dickhead. I honestly think that’s the most relevant comment you deserve.
    Consider yourself fortunate in this regard.

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  109. william

    I love that brand – don’t see it around too much anymore, but quality material at reasonable prices… and oh… that was an “i” and not a “u.”

    well never mind.

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  110. I wasn’t attacking Mike, only trying to make light of his statements. He had already began attacking people personally rather than defending his comments. When this starts so early on, you know the lack of civility is only going to get worse.

    Mike’s best game was his personal attacks. That’s all he has. He knows it. We all know it.

    Most of us understand why people like Mike resort to this. As Christian de-converts most of us know what it is like trying to defend the indefensible.

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  111. archaeopteryx1

    Just ran across this in an email I got from Freethought Nation, in case any Americans here are interested:

    “In 2012, a survey by USA Today/Gallup showed that 54% of Americans now say they would vote for a qualified atheist candidate. This is the first time in the history of this survey that a majority of Americans say they would vote for an atheist.”

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  112. “Mike, this is a good example of the problem. You assume that the event witnessed by 500 people occurred in Jerusalem, but Paul doesn’t say that. We’re given no indication of who these people were, when this happened, or where it occurred. It’s impossible to track down.”

    No Actually Nate its a good example of your own problem with reading and coming up with half baked answers. Observe what you quoted

    “Is it an argument for authenticity based on the fact that anyone that went to Jerusalem from Corinth could confirm or deny the fact given that a large segment of the church there would have had eye witnesses?”

    At least there I make it perfectly clear that it is the eyewitnesses that would be there not that the event had to take place at Jerusalem. Fact of the early church is that most of the early participants Did attach themselves to the church at Jerusalem. Why? its where the apostles were located. Thats where the church had home base. Thats repeated over and over in Acts. Again Nate how could you have been a Bible teacher and not know this? What kind of “Bible teacher” were you? So again you are wrong and my point stands “a large segment of the church there would have had eyewitnesses”. Actually to that and many other events. You guys really should do some reading beyond quote mining and trying to find contradictions. its pretty obvious you don’t grasp key issues in regard to what you are trying to rebut

    “http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html
    http://christianity.about.com/od/easter/a/7-Proofs-Of-The-Resurrection.htm
    http://executableoutlines.com/why/why_10.htm

    Nate I’ve been meaning to ask?why is your research always so pathetically poor? None of your own links point exclusively to the 500 but to the general argument of eye witnesses which goes well beyond I COr 15

    “And it’s simply not a good argument.”

    The argument is fine as expressed in all of your links since none of them are exclusive to I Corinthians 15 as you pretend. Instead they are references to eyewitness of the Gospels, of the apostles, of the church and of several named peopled in it.

    Now will you counter argue the point? Sure but the idea that eye witness accounts extending beyond the 500 are all of no consequence is just begging. It counts for something (even legal evidence) that the gospels attest to the events. It counts for something that another figure paul attests to it. It counts for something that it was the early church’s creed which consisted of thousands of people at a historical geographic Jerusalem. It counts for something that an institution called the church that was so sure of it that they gave up privileges in support of it.

    In no court of law would that be a poor argument. Incomplete perhaps but not poor. I’d reserve the poor argument label to your claims of animals somehow explaining our fine tuned sense of morality. now that WAS a poor argument. I’d say even desperately poor.

    “. I just can’t find it in this case, but didn’t think that was relevant enough to withhold the post. Sorry if it offends you.”

    You misread again Nate. Offend would imply that I expected you to do better than give a point by point rebuttal to an article you can’t remember enough of to do a Google search and find. Given your misapplication of the links above pretending that they are based on Paul’s 500 verse only confirms my real expectations were correct.

    But good night we must get the post out even if its probably a hatchet job based on not remembering enough of its details. I do understand. 🙂

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  113. “I can totally see this being the explanation and even concede it as a point. Like you, I think that is a relatively small issue and easily explained. ‘

    actually its not small at all. its a total non-point because you seem blissfully unaware as you have been in other ways that the Judas was replaced by another eyewitness so that there is no issue with Paul saying the twelve

    “How quickly did they cast those lots to replace him with Stephen?”

    Lol….oh my….As Yoda might say the bible illiteracy is strong with these ones. Judas was never replaced with anyone called stephen.

    “The much bigger issue (that Mike seems to think he’s debunked) that no names were given. That Jesus allegedly appeared to the eleven isn’t news, ”

    Thoroughly debunked. Three names are given 12 people are designated. The fact that it isn’t news means the sum total of Nada. Its still 13 identifiable witnesses

    “Because I don’t just jump on the bandwagon of this supposed debunking I’m being dishonest. No, I’ve conceded that the passage mentions the disciples/apostles. ”

    No what makes you dishonest is that the first time you posted this you claimed no names whatsoever when that got debunked you just moved the goal post

    “Why anyone would think that mentioning 500 random people without [at least some] names or locations would be convincing to anyone except a believer is puzzling. ”

    Yes ruth because if you ever hear Anyone say “Jim and I
    went to church ad we heard the Pastor cursing in fact everyone in the church heard him cursing it would be curious as to why they would expect you to believe them since they did not give names of the church people in attendance at that time.

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  114. archaeopteryx1

    “Thats where the church had home base. Thats repeated over and over in Acts.”
    Hey, here’s a plan – let’s take that case into the hypothetical court of law you mentioned, and tell the judge that we have an anonymous witness, about whom we know nothing, and who can’t be cross-examined as to credibility, due to being somewhat dead, who wrote of a set of circumstances, claiming, without evidence, that those circumstances existed 100 years earlier, and likely well before the anonymous author was even born. Wonder what a judge would do with that?

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  115. Mike,

    I could really do without the vitriol. It distracts from the arguments you’re trying to make.

    I grant that many here are responding in kind. So, everyone, what do you say? Can we all tone it down and actually discuss the issues at hand, instead of jokes, name-calling and bluster? At least for a little while. I’d like to see if there’s actually any content worth considering.

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  116. “Yes ruth because if you ever hear Anyone say “Jim and I
    went to church ad we heard the Pastor cursing in fact everyone in the church heard him cursing it would be curious as to why they would expect you to believe them since they did not give names of the church people in attendance at that time.”

    Mike , if I told you the majority of people participating in this post commented that you were full of crap , you could easily verify this by going back and reading comments.

    If I told you that I showed your comments to this post to 500 people in front of the Empire State Building and they all confirmed you were full of crap , this would have to be met with skepticism and could not be verified .

    But some on this post would believe it ! 🙂

    I think this is what Ruth was trying to convey to you before you started to belittle her.

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  117. “If I told you that I showed your comments to this post to 500 people in front of the Empire State Building and they all confirmed you were full of crap , this would have to be met with skepticism and could not be verified . ”

    Your analogy is poor and therefore the point is meaningless, the 12 is an identifier and the 500 are located in Israel and was surely part of the church at jerusalem. So let me fix your analogy

    “”If I told you that I showed your comments to this post to 500 people who are part of the Empire State Building preservation society and they all confirmed you were a wonderful human being because they were not atheists would that be a confirmable statement?”

    Why yes because it is conceivable I could go to New york and check on the society and verify whether it was true.

    the end.

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  118. “Why yes because it is conceivable I could go to New york and check on the society and verify whether it was true.”

    Go back 2000 years. How would you go about verifying the 500 ? I would love to hear your plan.

    .

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  119. “I could really do without the vitriol. It distracts from the arguments you’re trying to make.”

    Ratamac the vitriol from your side detracts from the arguments they make.Its a two way street

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  120. Mark,

    “the vitriol from your side detracts from the arguments they make.Its a two way street”

    Thus the rest of my post, where I asked if everyone can let up for a while.

    And even if some won’t, maybe you can be the better man?

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  121. “Go back 2000 years. How would you go about verifying the 500 ? I would love to hear your plan.”

    If I went back to when it was written I’d go to the place that the events of the resurrection were said to take place and ask around. Thats just common sense. Whats so difficult? Since I can’t then the indirect evidence of the church and the fact that historically people attested to it would be one thing I would consider but since I could not ask them myself then it would require a bit more. For me thats prophecy.

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  122. “Thus the rest of my post, where I asked if everyone can let up for a while.

    And even if some won’t, maybe you can be the better man?”

    The way you phrased you posts does nothing to hide your bias. According to you your friends are merely responding in kind (that was the “rest of your post) when in fact this is not my first time posting here. In the last thread during what I thought was a civil conversation one of them launched into name calling of asshole.

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  123. If you could go back to when it was written, and you asked around, but couldn’t find the 500 people, would that mean they didn’t exist? Especially when they could have lived anywhere? And the fact that this claim was made at least 20 years after the event?

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  124. Mike, why can’t we move onto something more substantive? Most of us here obviously don’t find the “500 witnesses” claim to actually count as 500 witnesses, since there’s no information given about who these people were. Maybe you don’t see it that way, but we’ve spent a whole lot of comments now going round and round over this. Why not move onto something else?

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  125. “The way you phrased you posts does nothing to hide your bias.”

    I’m not hiding anything.

    I’m a very recent (and tentative) unbeliever, based on research. I am a lay person, not a scholar.

    My theory is that the truth should be able to withstand scrutiny. I want to make sure I’m not missing anything, so I’m legitimately interested in seeing you make the best arguments you can, and in having them clearly understood.

    In particular, I’m interested in putting my newfound views to the test. Since *you* are the one here making opposing arguments, I personally am most interested in understanding those arguments.

    “According to you your friends are merely responding in kind (that was the “rest of your post) when in fact this is not my first time posting here. In the last thread during what I thought was a civil conversation one of them launched into name calling of asshole.”

    OK, so say they started it. All the more opportunity for you to be the bigger person.

    Now can we all focus on the issues at hand?

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  126. “If I went back to when it was written I’d go to the place that the events of the resurrection were said to take place and ask around. Thats just common sense. Whats so difficult? ”

    There were approx 600 witnesses on the Deally Plaza in Dallas to the Kennedy Assassination . If this is all you knew , how confident would you be of finding the majority of these witnesses the very next day ? How about 20 years later ?

    What’s so difficult ?

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  127. “If you could go back to when it was written, and you asked around, but couldn’t find the 500 people, would that mean they didn’t exist? Especially when they could have lived anywhere?”

    Ridiculous reasoning Nate, They would not have lived anywhere but Israel unless you are making up your own narrative. If I went back to Jerusalem and found no one that could corroborate the story then that would be the end of the story since the church was supposed to be there. Thats precisely why apologists do bring it up because the non existence of a church at Jerusalem or of anyone that would corroborate the story WOULD logically tend to have hampered the growth of Christianity, It didn’t Which whether you like it or not is a point

    “And the fact that this claim was made at least 20 years after the event?”

    and? Did you even read the text? Thats specifically why he states the greater part were still alive

    “but we’ve spent a whole lot of comments now going round and round over this. Why not move onto something else?”

    Why tell me to move on right after asking me a question? Have I been conducting a conversations with myself or with people addressing me?

    However I am more than willing. to your first point in the post,You seem to have a circularity to your argument regarding if a passage states anything supernatural it being therefore unreliable. Not an uncommon argument mind you but i would be interested to know your definition of supernatural and how you had come to the conclusion that whatever you claim as supernatural is in fact not believable

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  128. “There were approx 600 witnesses on the Deally Plaza in Dallas to the Kennedy Assassination . If this is all you knew , how confident would you be of finding the majority of these witnesses the very next day ? How about 20 years later ?

    What’s so difficult ?”

    Your analogies are hopeless.

    If you are not going to address the culture, time and geography of the text in questions your analogies will forever be as awful as they are now.

    Dallas is very large
    People move around much more than they did in the first century AD

    Further if the 600 witnesses would regularly meet to in dallas every week to break bread they would be easy to find,

    Again whats so difficult?

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  129. “Always an excuse. Never an answer …..”

    If you think that is an excuse you are just absolutely ridiculous and we need not continue any more dialogue on the issue.. Your analogy seeks to compare a modern city with a city that by todays standards would be considered small and rural AND it ignores that believers congregate together regularly.

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  130. “Your analogy is poor and therefore the point is meaningless, the 12 is an identifier and the 500 are located in Israel and was surely part of the church at jerusalem. ”

    “Dallas is very large”

    “Further if the 600 witnesses would regularly meet to in dallas every week to break bread they would be easy to find,”

    Now YOU are dreaming !!!

    Jerusalem at the time of Jesus ‘ supposed resurrection was very conservatively 80,000 including pilgrims there for passover. Israel had between 500,000 and 600,000 .

    For all you know, the majority of the 500 could have been visitors not regular attendees of the Jerusalem church which was actually many home churches not one big church.

    You seem to be a minority of people who feel my analogies are “poor” and “meaningless”

    Mike , your argument is weak at best. Sorry you don’t see it. Go feed your cat. He’s hungry.

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  131. “Jerusalem at the time of Jesus ‘ supposed resurrection was very conservatively 80,000 including pilgrims there for passover”

    sigh such VAST silliness. what does pilgrims have to do with going back and finding witnesses at another time? Look I am done with your foolishness. You want it spelled out its simple and easy. I would go back to Jerusalem NOT AT the passover (sheesh) I would ask about events at least some people would know of, ask residents about Jesus and the stories I had heard then I would ask for anybody who knows a believer ask them directly then ask them about the church’s leaders and then ask them for eyewitnesses. IF no one knew anything about what i was talking about I would write it down as a fraud

    The end. So incredibly simple

    “For all you know, the majority of the 500 could have been visitors not regular attendees of the Jerusalem church which was actually many home churches not one big church”

    Yes of course kcchief Jesus made sure to show himself only to visitors. Plus no they could not be visitors Paul was referring to because he states to know they are still alive! what s the keyboard equivalent here that shows rolling eyes?

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  132. “The end. So incredibly simple”

    If it is so simple why didn’t his own race believe it and still doesn’t to this day ? It’s simple to those who have been indoctrinated .

    Roll your eyes all you want. The late Geza Vermes, one of the foremost scholars on the subject of Jesus said this in his book, “The Resurrection”.

    “To put it bluntly, not even a credulous nonbeliever is likely to be persuaded by the various reports of the resurrection: they convince only the already converted. The same must be said about the visions. None of them satisfies the minimum requirements of a legal or scientific inquiry. The only alternative historians are left with in their effort to make some sense of the resurrection is to fall back on speculation, hopefully on enlightened speculation. “

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  133. archaeopteryx1

    You’re right, KC, he has nothing to offer – I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in which his character speaks of, “…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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  134. “To put it bluntly, not even a credulous nonbeliever is likely to be persuaded by the various reports of the resurrection: they convince only the already converted.”

    More VAST silliness…..upon the claims of your author I am supposed to ignore that hundreds of Millions have believed the Gospels through the centuries since the Bible was written? Some of them being the very founders of science? Please.

    “If it is so simple why didn’t his own race believe it and still doesn’t to this day ? ”

    Mentioning the Jews will only hurt your case more than you have already. After all they don’t deny his existence and in some of their writings they corroborate Jesus did miracles. Worse it makes Daniel 9 impossible for them to have included after the fact. Lastly there are many and growing messianic Jews today as there were in the first century.

    and yes My eyes are still rolling. I’ll have to take a break from this blog to stabilize them.

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  135. archaeopteryx1

    When a Mormon church elder told British writer and comedian Stephen Fry that he would be reunited with his entire family after death if he become a Mormon, he replied “What happens if you’re good?” He was asked to leave Salt Lake City immediately.

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  136. The eye rolling and rhetoric here has been poured on very strong which is typical of apologists. Actually it is very apropos given the subject – what is it that convinces people to convert to a cause or religion? We have modern day examples that show that even in the face of strong disconfirming facts religions can still grow to very large followings. Rhetoric, charisma, and guilt along with many other psychological factors play huge roles in this

    And Mike is right about several things – one of them being that we should also put this in the context of 1st century AD. With Corinth so far from Jerusalem and even across waters the time it would have taken for a Corinthian in that time period to travel there would have been way too long to expect that anyone was going back to check on the 500 claim. And the amount of money needed for that would also have made it impossible for many to do that – who was really going back and checking? Could someone have done that? – sure, but that is pure speculation in the face of what is more likely, which is why this claim is a weak argument for the resurrection.

    Another interesting topic related to the resurrection proof texts is that Paul’s experience is listed along with all the other people who had experiences. I’ll leave people to think about what the implications of that might be.

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  137. Good points Howie ! I am reminded of the Missionaries who would come to our church and tell outrageous stories of their experiences on the missions field. Never a way to confirm them.

    Paul thought it was quite OK to tell a “whopper” if it promoted the “Glory of God”.

    ” More VAST silliness…..upon the claims of your author I am supposed to ignore that hundreds of Millions have believed the Gospels through the centuries since the Bible was written?”

    Mike appears to have never read any works of Geza Vermes. If he was ever going to do a
    serious study of the resurrection, Vermes writings would have to be on his list.

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  138. Mea culpa:

    I said:

    “How quickly did they cast those lots to replace him with Stephen?”

    I said Stephen when, in fact, it was Matthias. I misspoke. I should have referenced the passage before speaking. It’s been a little while since I read it. Stephen was, in fact, one of the first deacons.

    Moving on to other points of the original article:

    Extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence. The claims of miracles were common, not only by Jesus, but by other “deities” as well. We reject the notion of any other deities at this point. Belief in healing and other supernatural events was fairly widespread, not only within Judaism, but Greek and Roman practices as well. There are miracles recorded by the Romans and Greeks attributed to their various gods the we discount as miracles today because we know those gods don’t exist and never have.

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  139. “And Mike is right about several things – one of them being that we should also put this in the context of 1st century AD. With Corinth so far from Jerusalem and even across waters the time it would have taken for a Corinthian in that time period to travel there ”

    Yes Howie and since Rome was far further away from Jerusalem than Corinth it would be impossible for romans to be travel to Jerusalem….oh wait.

    Corinth was a major hub.with a harbor. Boats Howie they go across water. Jews would return for Jewish observations and feast all the time. kcchief just finished mentioning pilgrims during the passover. If you are going to understand the context of another time you should do some research for goodness sake or how about looking at a map.

    If you find apologists rolling their eyes at you a lot its probably for good reason more to do with you than them. The eye rolling is entirely apropos not for the subject but because over and over you guys demonstrate you do and did no research but run all over the internet form blog to blog. telling people how you were serious Christians not wanting to give up your faith but were forced by the facts. Your knowledge on very basic stuff prove otherwise. YOU need to be opposed forcefully because its quite clear you wish to get others to wash out of their faith based on your lack of any real research or study. I’ve said now countless times this 500 issue is not THE issue to convince people but that its a point. Nate says to move on but you guys hang on to it like a bone because I have demonstrated a ton of things you did not know some of them which any serious Christian having done any research would know.

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  140. william

    Mike, where does it say that the 500 were in Jerusalem? The text I have seems to just say that he appeared to 500 others. Paul is giving all of these “accounts” to bolster the faith in the resurrection. as if to say, “it’s not just us who saw it, 500 others did too, so you can know we’re telling the truth.”

    the thing with this kind of argumentation when given to people who already believe in the end you’re validating, is that no one will try to verify the claim. But even so, god supposedly inspired Paul to write 1 Corinthians to all of mankind, not just those at corinth.

    Paul can claim anything he likes, but just saying “500” saw jesus walking around after he died, just doesnt serve as evidence – at least no more in me claiming that 10 thousand saw jesus’ corpse rot on the cross like everyone else who was crucified by the romans.

    So I dont even know what there is to talk about anymore.

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  141. to your first point in the post,You seem to have a circularity to your argument regarding if a passage states anything supernatural it being therefore unreliable. Not an uncommon argument mind you but i would be interested to know your definition of supernatural and how you had come to the conclusion that whatever you claim as supernatural is in fact not believable

    Ruth has already done a great job of addressing this point, but I’ll add one or two additional things. I’m not saying that the supernatural can’t happen, but by definition (something that violates the laws of nature) it would be very unlikely. Most people assume that a particular event has natural explanations unless they’re given extremely good evidence to the contrary.

    This precedent is upheld in many Bible stories too. Before Moses believed that God really wanted him to go to Pharaoh, God performed several miracles for him. The 10 plagues were supernatural events that were supposed to convince Pharaoh that the Hebrew God was a force to be reckoned with. Many other characters in the Bible were given such signs: Gideon, Hezekiah, the disciples, Cornelius, etc. John 20:30-31 talks about the evidentiary value of miracles as well.

    So I’m not saying they can’t occur — just that we should expect very, very good evidence if they did. We don’t accept them from any other ancient sources, or even modern ones (Sathya Sai Baba), just based on reporting.

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  142. “Mike appears to have never read any works of Geza Vermes. If he was ever going to do a
    serious study of the resurrection, Vermes writings would have to be on his list.”

    Utter nonsense which is just a rhetorical device. the resurrection accounts have been with us for nearly two thousand years, written on by thousands, researched by thousands. the idea that one man has to be read to study it and the texts that give an account of it is just handwaving and vacuous nonsense. You appeal to him without indicating a single piece of evidence he puts on the table. Thats fallacious. Since you guys love wikipedia so often you can read about your fallacious reasoning here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority

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  143. Nate says to move on but you guys hang on to it like a bone because I have demonstrated a ton of things you did not know some of them which any serious Christian having done any research would know.

    You’re misreading things, Mike. I didn’t suggest moving on because you’re some master debater who has blown all our points out of the water. I suggested it because this has become so tedious.

    If the 500 witnesses claim isn’t a huge point, as you just said, then there’s no point in going round and round over it. That doesn’t mean you’ve “won” — it just means that we’re not getting anywhere. What William said (as well as several others) is right: the 500 are not specified. I believe Ruth provided several quotes from scholars who think they were most likely centered around Galilee, not Jerusalem.

    However, most skeptics don’t believe they ever existed in the first place. Paul was an outsider to the original disciples. It’s likely that this claim of 500 witnesses was something he heard about, not something he had independently verified. Now sure, if you’re assuming that Paul was completely legit and that he was actually inspired by God, then the 500 claim must be true. But no skeptic starts with that assumption, which is why we’re not going to get anywhere in this discussion.

    Are you ready to “agree to disagree” for the sake of moving forward?

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  144. william

    and even with many of the jews travelling for feasts to and from jerusalem, what are they going to do? walk up to every person they see and ask, “were you one of the 500 who saw jesus after he rose from the dead?” – and that’s assuming they were even in Jerusalem too. why couldnt they have been in Galilee or somewhere else?

    if they did ask everyone they saw, but couldnt find one of the 500, they could just chalk it up to bad luck – “the 500 must be among the number I wasnt able to question.”

    The fact that paul said 500 people saw something isnt a big deal. It just isnt evidence for anything.

    Mike, if you’re convinced by it, then cool. But I doubt this mention of 500 brought you from disbelief to discipleship. Instead, i’m assuming you already believed, and then believe paul’s 500 claim mostly because it’s in the book you already believe to be perfectly true – as well as dictated by god.

    I, on the other hand, am not convinced by it, and cannot see where the mere mention of a large number adds any validity to the story.

    We may as well move on.

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  145. “Ruth has already done a great job of addressing this point, but I’ll add one or two additional things. I’m not saying that the supernatural can’t happen, but by definition (something that violates the laws of nature) it would be very unlikely. Most people assume that a particular event has natural explanations unless they’re given extremely good evidence to the contrary.”

    Thanks for the reply Nate. I had feared my questions would be lost because I too wish to come off the 500 issue. However what I was asking was how do you define the supernatural. There is in atheist thinking a priori regarding the supernatural as if Science or nature has indicated it is extraordinary. The problem with priori is that they seldom have evidence to back them up.

    Now you did say “violates the laws of nature” but thats fuzzy. What is a law of nature? In Quantum physics a great many things are highly improbably but not impossible and thats coming from atheist Quantum physcisist not theists. I’ve come to the logical conclusion that the supernatural is inescapable. that being the case its illogical to have apriori against it and its illogical to claim that it must have an extraordinary threshhold to prove. A solid threshhold but not necessarily extraordinary as Atheist beg for (and have no concrete criteria for which allows them to move the goalpost for repeatedly).

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  146. I don’t have an a priori objection to the supernatural. But since it’s defined as something “beyond nature,” I think its occurrence would be extremely unlikely.

    I’m not versed enough in quantum physics to go down that road, nor do I think any layperson is, so I’ll leave that aside for now. When I think of the supernatural, I think of miracles. There’s no natural explanation for Jesus walking on water or healing lepers, for instance. I’ve never seen anything to make me think that events like that can happen. I’m not saying they’re impossible — but I haven’t seen enough evidence to make me believe in them yet.

    I agree with your assessment of the way some atheists view this, but I don’t share their objection. I don’t dismiss the notion of the supernatural out of hand — I believe that if God exists, then he could probably violate the laws of physics if he wanted to. But since I’ve seen no good evidence of this, I don’t believe it happens.

    That’s the position I was coming from when writing this post.

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  147. Mike – perfect response – exactly the one that I was expecting, and yes your response and it’s quality is quite apropos for what we are talking about – rhetoric is a big part of what does the job in growing religions – along with the other things I mentioned (although charisma doesn’t seem to be present here, which is likely why we don’t see mass conversions on this blog).

    Your counter makes it clear you missed what I wrote – I wonder if when you research things you miss the main points of what you read just like you have here – so your “research” really doesn’t really mean a whole lot. But I guess you have conceded that the 500 really isn’t very convincing so I think you are right it is better to move on.

    You seem to like to claim over and over again that we weren’t Christians before as if somehow this bolsters your viewpoint, and we’ve already told you that this calls into question everyone’s salvation. Since you keep bringing it up, I think a good topic would be for you to explain to us exactly how someone could be sure that they were a True Christian.

    @Nate – since it is your blog, if you think this last thing I mentioned is too off topic please put the kibosh on it.

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  148. archaeopteryx1

    He also seems to imply that everyone in the country lived in Jerusalem, but Israel is a big country, in terms of its overall population at the time. One of the primary reasons that Yeshua (his real name), if he ever existed, was reputed to have spent his entire ministry in the area of Galilee, was because the Sanhedren – the Jewish religious authority, the body of priests who declared him blasphemous – had no authority outside of Jerusalem. If indeed he appeared to 500, as alleged, at Mt. Tabor, that mountain is located in Lower Galilee, Israel, at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley, 11 miles (18 km) west of the Sea of Galilee – again, well out of reach of the Sanhedren – why would he expose his followers to them and risk their persecution as well?

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  149. “You’re misreading things, Mike. I didn’t suggest moving on because you’re some master debater who has blown all our points out of the water. I suggested it because this has become so tedious.”

    Nate please read better. You misrepresenting what I write is tedious as well. I never even implied. that you suggested moving on because I was a master debater. read the quote again. Quite the contrary I said others are hanging on because I pointed out somethings they did not know. this is the second time in this thread you have quoted me then said

    “What William said (as well as several others) is right: the 500 are not specified. I believe Ruth provided several quotes from scholars who think they were most likely centered around Galilee, not Jerusalem.”

    You and they are wrong and obviously wrong because there is no passage in all of the Bible that JUST mentions the 500. You are twisting it…..some would say even quote mining it. You can turn right to passage and see that it mentions names, designates the 12 and the 500. ALL of your links to apologists go well beyond the 500 but you ignore it . The point is hopeless and weak because you ignore the rest of the text and hang on to the 500 as if thirteen designated and identifiable witnesses is not enough. I’ve asked what the magic number is 14? 41? Thats why i want to move on. You have no point once there is in the text identifiers of some of the witnesses. Its a totally failed point.

    ” But no skeptic starts with that assumption, which is why we’re not going to get anywhere in this discussion.”

    I don’t know what goal you have gotten in your head that I am after but I’ve gotten EXACTLY where I wanted to go Nate and if I have gotten nowhere neither have you. If I gambled I’d bet a good sum that the blogger you are supposedly responding to does not claim that a skeptic should start out with the assumption either but thats the beauty of responding to something that no one knows what you are responding to. You can take any point in isolation and divide it from its context.

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  150. “You are a Dickhead. I honestly think that’s the most relevant comment you deserve.”

    Or the best you could come up with.

    *Smile*…No, Mike. Rubbish is rubbish. I don’t see the necessity of dressing it with unnecessary adjectives.

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  151. “Mike – perfect response – exactly the one that I was expecting, and yes your response and it’s quality is quite apropos for what we are talking about – rhetoric”

    and with that Howie launches into an entire post of rhetoric.

    Apropos for an atheist.

    and no one can logically complain at that retort because this thread is full of retorts against believers

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  152. william

    “You and they are wrong and obviously wrong because there is no passage in all of the Bible that JUST mentions the 500. You are twisting it…..some would say even quote mining it. You can turn right to passage and see that it mentions names, designates the 12 and the 500. ALL of your links to apologists go well beyond the 500 but you ignore it . The point is hopeless and weak because you ignore the rest of the text and hang on to the 500 as if thirteen designated and identifiable witnesses is not enough. I’ve asked what the magic number is 14? 41? Thats why i want to move on. You have no point once there is in the text identifiers of some of the witnesses. Its a totally failed point.”

    twinsting nothing at all. The other names paul mentions, fine. we;re all talking about the 500 nameless individuals the paul speaks of after the few other names. agian, it’f fine if he mentions any number, it just doesnt serve as compelling evidence.

    and I missed the point you made that let everyone know something they didnt know before.

    but for a perfect god, who can do anything, including speak directly in our ears, to limit us with evidence like paul’s 500… well he can do that if he pleases. I just dont buy it and perhaps I’ll burn for not being convinced.

    so, can we now move on? I’m not even really sure what we’re arguing about. paul says jesus appeared to 500 people. We all agree that’s what 1 Cor 15:6 says.

    let’s move on.

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  153. william

    Mike, you cant even begin fathom my position?

    I can get disagreeing with it, i guess, but you act as if it makes zero sense. I know that it does make sense, which is why i am confused.

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  154. “Extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence”

    Do they? or only some extraordinary claims? I see atheist such as yourself make this argument all the time but then you duck out of it when convenient and even argue against the premise as it suits.

    Is it extraordinary that the first living cell organized it self out of inanimate material. Yes in fact its so extraordinary that no one in the better part of a century studying it has figured out yet how it could have happened. Does any atheist accept the claim from theists that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”? Nope they all accept that abiogenesis happened and demand that theist do to.

    Is it extraordinary that life evolved unguided and came up with all kinds of animals and life forms that in turn just happened to evolve instincts (unlearned behaviour) that allows them to use the features they have? So extraordinary I have never seen any good explanation for it but atheists insist that that must be accepted without any physical evidence ( the evolution of instinct is not preserved in the fossil record).

    Several people who make that claim of extraordinary evidence swallow Multiple universes, everything coming out of nothing and on and on. It seems to be only applied universally to Religion as a gambit.

    But when and where was ordinary even shown to have been set? Please point me to the papers confirming this illustrious set point. Claiming its what we experience now might SEEM to be appropriate but when looked at logically would be false to the history of the universe or what preceded it. plus whose experience makes this determination. My father saw a ghost. He is an honest rational man who no piece of evidence suggest would lie (and he and his friend have maintained it for years. He has never been a drunk and did not live in a time or place where he access to drugs. I know him and believe him. To me (not you because you know nothing of him) this is evidence but one thing is sure – his experience changes what he would consider “ordinary” so who get to set this base point of ordinary?

    Which is why I asked for a definition of supernatural. Its a good foundational question.

    And less anyone barf like the Arks and arch who I pretty much skip over when reading comments . I do not claim that miracles should just be accepted because someone says they happened but with good evidence not some undefined every changing “extraordinary claim” proof which is never pinned downed to any particular standard. Good evidence not no evidence.

    “The claims of miracles were common, not only by Jesus, but by other “deities” as well. We reject the notion of any other deities at this point”

    Whose the “we”. Is there a bit of delusion at play You represent the minority. The world is still overwhelming occupied by theists. You’ve got a LONG way to go and its dubious you will ever reach the point of being representative for the world’s population

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  155. This might seem a little elementary but from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

    su·per·nat·u·ral
    adjective

    : unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature : of, relating to, or seeming to come from magic, a god, etc.

    Full Definition of SUPERNATURAL

    1: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil
    2 a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature
    b : attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)

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  156. “I said Stephen when, in fact, it was Matthias. I misspoke. I should have referenced the passage before speaking. It’s been a little while since I read it. Stephen was, in fact, one of the first deacons. ”

    Good for you. Finally read up on it. Your excuse might fly among the fellow atheists here but its just good form to actually have all the facts straight when you are trying to trash a religion, That you did not know that or that the twelve was perfectly legit to say since Matthias was an eyewitness also leads to a logical conclusion you don’t know what you are talking about when floating your alleged contradictions. You may think thats harsh but if you decide to swim into the waters of claiming what someone else believes is nonsense and expose your own ignorance then you should be prepared as an adult to take your lumps.

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  157. Nope they all accept that abiogenesis happened and demand that theist do to.

    I’m not demanding that theists accept anything. I do think a natural explanation will sooner or later be found, but then that will only move things back another step in the process and theists will insist that God was the cause of the preceding step. Whatever. I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon. However, just because science hasn’t explained a particular hypothesis doesn’t mean that it wont. In turn, it also doesn’t mean that science will discover that a particular hypothesis is wrong and change course. That doesn’t happen with [some] theists who maintain that science is bogus and wrong and that it explains nothing that it actually does explain. If it were true that goddidit then the search would be over and there would be not need to continue to investigate.

    Whose the “we”.

    Well, perhaps you’re right that I’m assuming something I shouldn’t be. I certainly didn’t mean to imply the “we” was the whole of the earth’s populace. I was using “we” as the people in this discussion. Are there any people in this discussion who believe any deities other than Yahweh/Jesus/Holy Spirit exist? Are you saying you believe that other deities exist?

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  158. “: unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature :”

    I would go with that and have in the past.which is why the bias against the supernatural is illogical. the above definition applies to the entire universe.

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  159. william

    mike, what’s your point with extraordinary claims?

    if you;re saying that bold claims even in theoretical science need extraordinary evidences, and even in religion then okay – i’m with you there.

    but if you’re suggesting that it’s okay for the bible to make bold and basely claims because other people do it to, then i think that’s a weak argument.

    i;d just like to make the point that atheism isnt a religion, in that there are no set tenets or beliefs – it’s an absence of belief in deity. So while one atheist may hold to one position – that doesnt mean that they all do.

    can you clarify the point you were making in this regard?

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  160. archaeopteryx1

    “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance, that gets smaller and smaller as time goes on.”
    — Neil Degrasse Tyson —

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  161. Good for you. Finally read up on it. Your excuse might fly among the fellow atheists here but its just good form to actually have all the facts straight when you are trying to trash a religion, That you did not know that or that the twelve was perfectly legit to say since Matthias was an eyewitness also leads to a logical conclusion you don’t know what you are talking about when floating your alleged contradictions. You may think thats harsh but if you decide to swim into the waters of claiming what someone else believes is nonsense and expose your own ignorance then you should be prepared as an adult to take your lumps.

    Finally?

    No, I did know that. I misspoke. But I also said in my mea culpa that I should have referenced the passage instead of going from memory of things I hadn’t read in a while. Mistakes happen. That does not Biblical illiteracy make. Think of me what you will.

    I wasn’t floating alleged contradictions. You have a gigantic chip on your shoulder. I wasn’t even alleging that saying “twelve” when Judas had hung himself was a contradiction.

    I’m sorry that I have obviously offended you because I don’t believe the same things you believe and have the audacity to say so. And rather than just accept my correction you feel you need to rub my nose in it like a puppy on a pee stain?

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  162. ” However, just because science hasn’t explained a particular hypothesis doesn’t mean that it wont.”

    Thanks you proved my point like I thought you might. You threw the extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof right out the window just as i thought you would. Totally bogus. Now for abiogenesis its “later we will find the evidence”

    “If it were true that goddidit then the search would be over and there would be not need to continue to investigate. ‘

    Another absolutely rubbish Atheist rhetorical claim destroyed by the fact that every single branch of science was founded by a theist. History rebuts you to the ground, They continued to investigate while being theists

    “Well, perhaps you’re right that I’m assuming something I shouldn’t be. I certainly didn’t mean to imply the “we” was the whole of the earth’s populace. I was using “we” as the people in this discussion. ”

    SO you were just reminding me I was on an atheist blog with what ? ten other atheists? Cool . what was your point on that again?

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  163. “but if you’re suggesting that it’s okay for the bible to make bold and basely claims because other people do it to, then i think that’s a weak argument.”

    William its getting to the point where you are sounding like ARkie and Archie. Just totally silly observations in light of the fact I have said good evidence is required. You are boring me now and I am reading less and less of you. “where did I ever make the claim that no evidence is required because other people do it. You are reading like a child that had his toys taken from him trying to find something to accuse of that was never said.

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  164. Look, Mike, I’d like to converse in a constructive manner here. You might be swapping barbs with folks here “all in good fun”, but it’s getting pretty tiresome. You twist what people say or either completely misunderstand it. If someone makes a misstep you come out swinging, but when you’re shown to have made your own you’d rather go down with the ship than admit it.

    While “… every single branch of science was founded by a theist.” that doesn’t hold true today because the very research and findings led them to other conclusions. When “every single branch of science was founded by a theist” these scientists were theists because that was the best explanation at that time. With each new finding, it seems, it backs a deity farther down the chain of events.

    I never once said science would prove abiogenesis. I don’t know enough about abiogenesis to make that claim. What I said was:

    However, just because science hasn’t explained a particular hypothesis doesn’t mean that it wont. In turn, it also doesn’t mean that science will discover that a particular hypothesis is wrong and change course.

    If you’re going to quote me please quote me correctly. Science could disprove abiogenesis. That’s what I said.

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  165. SO you were just reminding me I was on an atheist blog with what ? ten other atheists? Cool . what was your point on that again?

    No, I’m also on a blog with an apparent theist. Not only a theist, but a Christian theist. Am I wrong about that? What God or gods do you believe in?

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  166. “twinsting nothing at all. The other names paul mentions, fine. we;re all talking about the 500 nameless individuals the paul speaks of after the few other names. ”

    Sigh twisting everything. No apologist uses the 500 in isolation. every single link that Nate provided mentions far more than the 500. he just pretended as if it didn’t. So who cares what you are talking about? Argue all day over your strawman. You still lose by doing nothing else but quote mining. Like you said before you don’t care about ettiquete and you sure as a blue sky on a clear day don’t care about what the actual point of the blogger was or any apologist since you are quite willing to slice the 500 our of all context in the NT or in any of links Nate provides

    Total fail. Officially bored. theres you and Nate quote mining and begging against the passage itself that only the 500 matter to your argument and then theres Ruth barfing extraordinary claims require extraodinary evidence but ooops not for abiogenesis we can have delayed evidence for that and swallow it whole. so essentially a evidence rain check? lol

    LOL …You should all take a bow. Yep you certainly have proven you are the group that goes anywhere the evidence leads (as long as you figure it leads where you want it to go and slice out the evidence when it deviates from your own dogma).

    .

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  167. william

    “Another absolutely rubbish Atheist rhetorical claim destroyed by the fact that every single branch of science was founded by a theist.”

    if this is a good point, it’s also worth noting that most of these theist scientists changed their view on religion while working their science. additionally, the father of biology, was no christian, so should we subscribe to greek mythology?

    It’s cool to say, i guess, but doesnt really lend support to anything, and is probably better left unsaid.

    And I dont worry about scientific theory. It’s unlike the claims of religion in that over time science is self correcting. They find a better fit and adjust or find themselves wrong and adjust or find themselves right and move forward. I try not to take a firm hold an anything until it’s solidified.

    with religious claims, there’s not self correction – it’s all dismissed or ushered in with “god can do anything.” well that’s neat and all, but then you cant dismiss any religion outside of your own without those believers saying, “well, god(s) made it known to those who want to see the truth” and walk away feeling justified somehow as if that statements solves it.

    then when they’re called on it, say “well science doesnt know everything but you follow that,” as if it’s at all the same.

    I dont care if you believe in science or any of the prevailing theories – I dont know that i do. we dont have to and our eternal souls dont depend on it.

    you can say they’re the same, but they’re just not. making ignorant claims just makes you look ignorant – again, it fails to make me questions my own position – just yours.

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  168. “While “… every single branch of science was founded by a theist.” that doesn’t hold true today because the very research and findings led them to other conclusions. ”

    Try to move the goal posts all you want . we both know what you wrote

    ““If it were true that goddidit then the search would be over and there would be not need to continue to investigate.”

    The God did it people went on continuing to investigate so your point on that is dead. Plus if you think that every scientist is now an atheist (“to other conclusions”) you have been reading too many slanted polls. there are still thousands of Christian, Hindu , Moslem practicing scientists. Get a grip.

    “With each new finding, it seems, it backs a deity farther down the chain of events.”

    And where was the deity before that allegedly was pushed down the alleged chain of events? You cant be talking about a biblical God right? Because the biblical God creates by Law. So you have some explanation for the laws of nature? Wow a new finding that explains that? Do tell. shoot. Either that or your claim (another rhetoric device from atheists) fails again.

    “If you’re going to quote me please quote me correctly.”

    I did. Can’t read your own post?

    “. I do think a natural explanation will sooner or later be found, but then that will only move things back another step in the process and theists will insist that God was the cause of the preceding step”

    Is that not you declaring your faith without evidence and even projecting ahead what will happen when the non existent proof is found. If I said the proof of the resurrection will be found and you will all know it when Jesus returns (sooner or later as you even said). you would laugh your head s off but that beautiful post above reads EXACTLY as that kind of argument

    down the drain goes the extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence… umm no proof now? ……..we can just take a rain check. Materiaism is good for it. Easy credit.

    “No, I’m also on a blog with an apparent theist. Not only a theist, but a Christian theist. Am I wrong about that? ”

    aaah I get you so the “we” was me. Ok carry on.

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  169. william

    “Total fail. Officially bored.”

    I think you keep missing the issue, mike. If you’re so bored, then why do you keep going on about the 500? I didnt even thing you were saying that paul’s 500 proved anything.

    I really think we all agree paul’s 500 doesnt prove the resurrection, correct? or is that your position?

    I dont know how to state it any simpler. Paul’s 500 doesnt prove the resurrection, period. that’s it. that;s the only point being made about. it;s an objection to anyone lending paul’s 500 as proof for anything other than 1 Cor 15:6 has the number 500 in it.

    so unless you’re claiming that the 500 proves the resurrection or is even good evidence for the resurrection, then we dont have anything to argue over.

    this is far more tedious and exhausting than boring.

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  170. Mike, Nate has been a gracious host of this site. I have been following him for over a year. I have YET to see Nate call anyone a derogatory name. I have YET to see him dismiss other’s opinions .

    I have also seen people like you come and go. I refer to them as Christianazis . They swoop in , dismiss everyone’s opinions who aren’t like theirs, tell everyone how stupid they are and that they were never really christians in the first place. And then they leave, never to be heard from again.

    Your goal was never to have a civil, open and honest debate. Yes, this is my personal opinion. But it is also based on the dozens of “Mikes” who have visited this site in the past.

    There is nothing further to be gained here.

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  171. Mike, you wrote:

    “Argue all day over your strawman. You still lose by doing nothing else but quote mining”

    But Mike, perhaps its not about “winning or “losing”.

    I mean, Is this discussion a debating game? Is this a “us” versus. “them” thing?

    What if… the closer we all come to understanding what is real and true, the better off we all will be. What do these exchanges between people mean to you?

    What if these discussions are geared toward benefiting people, and helped readers and participants understand different points and considerations,

    Perhaps its not about beating other people?

    being critical of individuals is the very thing I am keen to avoid on the internet, there is already too much of it, particularly when most of us only know each other through these words we type.

    Lets not assume we know how another person thinks beyond what they type. But I am just as guilty of jumping to assumptions.

    I don’t know, these are just some thoughts I have.

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  172. william

    it’s a shame too, proverbs 15:1 and gal 6:1 are both good passages to live by. you’d think a christian would especially think so.

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  173. William its official. I am bored with you now so I may not read much of you anymore. I did see the last paragraph of your last post and it pretty much told me you have no good point to make but hand waving. So please if you think have shown my ignorance what ever makes you feel good. Continue to believe apologists or any blogger nate refers to without linking to uses 1 corinthians 15 just for the 500 reference.

    it will make you feel safe, warm and cuddly at night. its all good.

    bye.

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  174. aaah I get you so the “we” was me. Ok carry on.

    Are you arguing over the definition of “we”? I told you what I meant by that, but for some reason that isn’t enough for you.

    Extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence. Abiogenesis is no different. There would/will have to be an enormous amount of evidence – verifiable, testable, evidence – for it to be claimed as fact. I never claimed any differently and even stated it could be proven false.

    You may exaggerate my statements all you like, but I know what I said.

    Do you believe that science will continue to discover things that we don’t currently know? About anything?

    I’m well aware that not all scientists are atheists. I did not make that claim, though I can see where it came across that way. Again, an exaggeration on your part. Apparently you can only deal in the grandiose?

    At any rate, Nate, this is an excellent post and could have been the jumping off point for some very interesting, very constructive discussion. I’m sorry if I’ve been a hindrance rather than a help.

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  175. william

    mike, it’s official, you;re dodging again – which is most of what you do. I keep trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    because i care, and although i dont believe it’s from god anymore, I do relish many of the teachings of christ, so I want to reiterate that you’re still missing the point – or maybe I am.

    No one has said that 1 cor 15 only says there were 500 witnesses – we’re only saying that the 500 add nothing to validate paul’s claim.

    is that what you’re saying? that the 500 validate (even in part) paul’s claim?

    it’s a simple question, but if you dont want to answer it…

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  176. william

    mike, you should probably try to live by that book you’re trying so hard to defend. just friendly advise. It may actually help you win more of those debates you’re so concerned with.

    and then you wont have to just arbitrarily run around shouting “i’ve won! I’ve smashed it! I’ve blown that out of the water!” hoping someone, anyone hears you or cares.

    i’ll give you some points if it makes you feel better. how’s 500 sound?

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  177. “it’s a shame too, proverbs 15:1 and gal 6:1 are both good passages to live by. you’d think a christian would especially think so.”

    If you think you can appeal to Christian virtues while at the same time claiming as Nate does that morality is achievable without the theism you have shot yourself in the foot again. As for Galatians 6:1 it applies to someone who wishes to be restored not someone apostasizing or encouraging others to. IF you wish to appeal to scripture then show me where any christian is commanded to only have soft gentle answers and not point out glaring weaknesses in your points.

    Its a common atheist claim that no matter how much vitriol and fraudulent claims they pour that Christians must always give a soft answer. When the wrath is already apparent there is no such command. Jesus had some very stern things to say to people and so did apostles. Now if you catch me cursing as you did by calling me an asshole then you might have a point.

    If I call a spade a spade you have nothing.

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  178. The teachings of Jesus are direct in places, but it seems like your assuming certain things about people that you could not possible know, like the research they have done, there intentions…

    unless you have some insiders knowledge?

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  179. “Extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence. Abiogenesis is no different. There would/will have to be an enormous amount of evidence – verifiable, testable, evidence – for it to be claimed as fact. I never claimed any differently and even stated it could be proven false. ”

    Ruth you can back pedal all you want you have already expressed your belief in absence of the facts that abiogenesis is right and will be proven to be such even going as far as to project what theists will do when they evidence is found. Your position is no big difference to any of the other atheist that accept without evidence that evidence will be found. That you won’t admit that many popluarizers of atheism accept abiogenesis as a fact just awaiting the evidence doesn’t change its a fact.

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  180. william

    “Its a common atheist claim that no matter how much vitriol and fraudulent claims they pour that Christians must always give a soft answer.”

    funny, it’s also a common christian claim.

    and there you are complaining about vitriol, when you’ve spewed more than your fair share. I dont care that you dont believe i was ever a christian, because I dont think you’re one now.

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  181. william

    “As for Galatians 6:1 it applies to someone who wishes to be restored not someone apostasizing or encouraging others to.”

    you’re adding to the words, sir. It simply says restore such a one in meekness considering yourself. But if you feel justified in being a prick to people by this verse, then okay.

    i always took it as a passage on compassion and humility – but you;re probably right. jesus is fine with you being a jerk. And why wouldnt he be? you’re only talking to non-believers. I dont see hwo that helps in winning souls, but i suppose god and mike move in mysterious ways.

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  182. ahhh, typos galore in that last post 🙂

    and lumping everyone into one camp as “these atheists” is probably not a fair representation. lots of different people here, and I do not think they are collectively trying to destroy Christendom, I don’t think :/

    and I wouldn’t appreciate it is someone said to me, “all you Christians claim, or its a common Christian claim that…” ect. ect.

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  183. Mike, one last question,

    It seems like last time you were on this blog you debated, got offended ( and bored?) and left.

    This seems to be be what is unfolding here again. I actually enjoy reading some of your thoughts, when your not claiming atheists of this or that…

    all the best.

    Like

  184. “Mike there is a difference between pointing out what you see as fallacy and being rude”

    Portal I find your comments rude. Where do you wish to go from there? Nowhere because you know perfectly well I have neither cursed nor name called. I have stated what I see as you and others have said of me. I have based all my assessments based on what you have written just as you are doing.

    “I mean, Is this discussion a debating game? Is this a “us” versus. “them” thing?

    What if… the closer we all come to understanding what is real and true, the better off we all will be. What do these exchanges between people mean to you?”

    Portal exactly what total and absolute nonsense are you trying to float here? Practically every post of Nate’s is critical of Christians and their reasoning and certainly in EVERY SINGLE COMMENT SECTION there is an us the escapees from the evil clutches of Christianity against them those who are still ensnared and too gullible and foolish to see.

    If you think this blog and your collective comments are somehow some meeting ground for unbiased and non attacking dialogue that is just testament to your rather deep delusion. You have Christians coming and going and as far as I can see no active Christian on this blog for a simple rather obvious reason. No matter How nate tries to spin it (and has fooled a few ). He and you all are totally hostile to Christianity not seeking a real exchange.

    Pretty obvious and funny that you can’t see that but are trying to spin this as some place of unbiased exchange.

    WOW! thats some DEEP delusions there. I must admit I didn’t realize it ran THAT Deep.

    So I bid thee farewell. If you and others can actually believe that nonsense about yourselves there is no point discussing anything thats actually real.

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  185. @Ruth,

    At this point this post has devolved so I might as well just share with you my own feelings on all this which don’t amount to anything but useless conversation.

    At any rate, Nate, this is an excellent post and could have been the jumping off point for some very interesting, very constructive discussion. I’m sorry if I’ve been a hindrance rather than a help.

    I agree with you here on your first sentence. Considering the circumstances I think you’ve done well, have had some very good points and have not been a hindrance. I don’t see how we can have a constructive discussion with Mike’s personality. As KC and Ryan (and Ryan is a Christian) have both said, Nate is one of the most gracious bloggers and I’ve also seen him have some very constructive discussions with people like Unklee, Josh, and other Christians. And Unklee can certainly be very strong in his opinions for Christianity, so it’s not about strong opinions.

    My wife and I have just decided we will buy a puppy later this summer – a few days ago she told me about the fact that to train it we will have to put it’s nose in it’s pee – I felt horrible. Your analogy before to that hit home for me because what Mike did to you conjured up similar feelings when I read it. But I’m sure Mike thinks doing that kind of thing to humans is justified though because of what he thinks is at stake – but shouldn’t people come to believe what he does because it’s convincing rather than because they have had their noses rubbed in their pee?

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  186. Mark, Nice…

    I’m not hostile to Christianity 🙂 If I am then you seem to know more about me than I do.

    I have a hard time understanding you based on some of the things you have written.

    If I am deluded then I would like to be pointed to the truth. I really can’t understand why you seem to get so offended?

    I can’t work out when you call people deluded if arguing to you is just for kicks… or your trying to get a rise out of someone maybe?

    I honestly don’t know hey 🙂

    But if you honestly think these things about people you have never met and only briefly exchanged words with then you are either incredibly insightful or very quick to determine who is deluded…

    have a nice day man

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  187. william

    “He and you all are totally hostile to Christianity not seeking a real exchange.”

    mike, let’s be perfectly honest here, nate isnt the one who’s hostile. It’s you. and when people get hostile toward you, dont convince yourself it’s because you’re being persecuted like a christian, it’s simply because you’re just a jerk. You’re no more a Christian than i am. I’m just more honest.

    and dont be a Saul, excusing your sins because others made you do it. it’s childish and weak.

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  188. Pingback: Mid-Week News on Religion and Freethought, pt. 2 | Evangelically Atheist

  189. At this point this post has devolved..</i.

    It did so at a rapid rate.

    Thanks, Howie. I really didn't apologize to Nate to get sympathy. It just seemed as if I was contributing to the downhill slide. Mike made it perfectly clear in a reply he made that he wasn't here for constructive conversation. Quite the contrary. He absolutely intends to be deconstructive. Forcefully so.

    It's just not typically my nature to gloat when someone else makes a mistake, especially when they own up to it. I don't get that. But hen Mike also made it perfectly clear that since I am an unbeliever, particularly a former believer, he is well within his rights to do so. I'm beginning, since this isn't the first time I've run up against this type of thinking, to believe it must be in the official apologist handbook. "Bomb them with insults, veiled threats, and rudeness." Maybe since the love bombs didn't take? *shrug*

    Good luck with that puppy. When we adopted, fortunately, we got a dog that had already been housebroken. 🙂

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  190. I know the feeling – it’s easy to forget to close the html (or even to just forget the ‘/’ character which I forget sometimes).

    Thanks for the good wishes on the puppy – I’ve never owned anything more than fish so this will be a real experience. My wife is doing tons of legwork on research so we may at least have some small shot at it working out ok.

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  191. I really have no idea why everyone has allowed someone like Mike Anthony ‘sucker punch’ them into playing his game.
    Nate’s subtle assessment was eloquent and the perfect epithet for him. Notably that he is a master debater.

    Yes, indeed he is. And if it makes him go blind perhaps his god will restore his sight?

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  192. william

    ark, once again, is the voice of reason. I’m glad you’re here. I realize that this may sound sarcastic, but i am being serious.

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  193. I’ve been following this discussion since the beginning, and I wish I had the time and energy to go back over every post and point out the hostility expressed by Mike Anthony. Even though he thinks the people visiting this blog are the culprits, I think most casual visitors would think the opposite.

    Not only does he make outright claims about people he doesn’t even know (“You all are totally hostile to Christianity”), but he also makes innumerable assumptions about their beliefs (“you atheists”). Further, in one of his latest postings, he claims they are operating under “rather deep delusions.”

    While it’s obvious he enjoys debating his beliefs (otherwise why would he stick around so long), it’s unfortunate he doesn’t see that his comments come across as often ill-mannered and condescending.

    I’m sure he’ll assail me next for what I have just written as it seems totally necessary for him to defend himself by rebutting others. No matter. I stand by my comments.

    In the meantime, I do hope this discussion can get back on track. Nate has always been open to both believers and non-believers offering their insights — and when this is done in an calm and reasoned manner, everyone benefits.

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  194. @portal001:

    Ryan, I hope I didn’t speak wrong about you in my other comment – given some of your comments a few months ago it seemed you were saying you were a Christian. Would you still say that?

    You said:

    lots of different people here, and I do not think they are collectively trying to destroy Christendom, I don’t think

    I’m glad you said this because I am not one of those trying to destroy Christendom. I think in some of the conversations you and I had on my blog a while back (do you remember those?) I encouraged you to do research from all different viewpoints to get a better understanding of what is true. That is my main goal out here. I want to share my own beliefs about what I think is correct and I have several times admitted that I could be wrong about those things. I gave the same kind of no pressure encouragement to find what is true to Ratamacue on his blog a few months ago. If Christianity is true then I definitely want to know that – and the same goes for other religions (and I’m in no way saying I don’t have biases). I see no problem with Christians like you, Unklee, Captain Catholic, and Josh. From my perspective you guys make this a better world to live in. I’ve said before, I sometimes attend Unitarian Universalist services where many people believe in a Christian God (more liberal version of course), and I don’t see any need to destroy that – kindness is their main goal and I think the world is actually better with those congregations. My only caveats are that this hell belief and some beliefs in more fundamentalist/cultish religions (whether it be not going to doctors, or justifying genocide or slavery which Mike came a little close to 2 posts ago) are things that look to me like they make our world a worse place, and those things I do think the world will be better without.

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  195. Hey Nate, call me weird, but maybe I’ll be the only Christian to actually like this post.

    I agree with the point about the 500. Chalking this part of the pre-Pauline creed up to fabrication is one way to suggest that the resurrection was actually a series of complex audiovisual hallucinations maybe topped off with some charisma. Although, if these hallucinations were sufficiently similar and independent (i.e. Peter and Paul), this would be very improbable and start to approach impossible with our understanding of reality. . .

    A few things I would criticize are: 1) There are extrabiblical sources for Jesus. In fact, I think I heard there are as many sources, biblical and extrabiblical combined, attesting the crucifixion as there are for the existence of Roman emperor, Tiberius. And, Paul offhandedly mentions that he met with James, Jesus’ biological brother, in Galatians. Clues like this point make virtually all serious scholars believe in Jesus’ existence as a historical figure. A historical Jesus existed with historical certainty for the type of evidence produced in the first century. Agnostic/atheist, Bart Ehrman, even wrote a whole book on the subject because he saw the Jesus “mythers” as a sub-academic internet phenomenon which frankly appears to be wishful in their anti-Christian sentiment.

    And, 2) I would word your archaeological statement like this: “We have not discovered any specific evidence for the exodus” rather than an overreaching “There is no evidence for the exodus.” I know this seems kind of petty (and I can feel the heat that will come already for saying this). But, wording is important because it clarifies our state of knowledge which cannot conclusively rule out the historicity of this event. And, I have not heard of or seen any evidence that archaeology contradicts the conquest narrative, certainly not any argument that reaches any persuasive level, and I have literally begged people for this evidence. What it comes down to is making a claim like this requires a high burden of proof, it should not be accepted on academic dogma.
    -B

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  196. @anaivethinker

    Thanks for chiming in — I always appreciate your perspective.

    You make a great point about the historical Jesus, and I agree. I tend to think he was a real person, though I’m not by any means an expert. My only real point was that even our extra-biblical sources are only repeating things that the gospels also record. In other words, they’re simply echoing what Jesus’ followers were saying at the time and don’t seem to have any independent sources for their information. While this is good evidence that Christians lived at these times, it still doesn’t seem to confirm much about their beliefs. At least to me…

    And, 2) I would word your archaeological statement like this: “We have not discovered any specific evidence for the exodus” rather than an overreaching “There is no evidence for the exodus.” I know this seems kind of petty (and I can feel the heat that will come already for saying this). But, wording is important because it clarifies our state of knowledge which cannot conclusively rule out the historicity of this event.

    That’s a fair point.

    I have not heard of or seen any evidence that archaeology contradicts the conquest narrative

    kcchief’s link seems to list several of the things I was going to mention. As I understand it, the current archaeological consensus is that many of the sites talked about in Joshua’s conquest do not show signs of destruction at the time the conquest was supposed to take place. Some of the cities seem to have been long abandoned, for instance. I’ll dig into this a bit more and see if I run across anything else significant.

    Thanks again 🙂

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  197. @ Naivethinker.

    There are extrabiblical sources for Jesus.

    Lol….Josephus? Tacitus?
    You need to study a bit more history, Brandon and be a tad more circumspect.

    And, Paul offhandedly mentions that he met with James, Jesus’ biological brother, in Galatians.

    Really? You’ve been reading too much apologetic’s again, Brandon, you naughty boy, to be making such sweeping categorical statements as Jesus biological brother, and you are revealing your insufferable indoctrination once again.

    “There is no evidence for the exodus.”

    This is the correct phrasing. There is NO evidence, and there is no way anyone with any sense will kow tow to a little snot nose halfwit like you over every recognised archaeologists, historian, Egyptologist and practically every Rabbi.

    This is recognised as accepted as fact and you are simply behaving like an arse by even suggesting it may have happened.

    And for your comment you receive the 2nd Dickhead of the day award. Congratulations!

    Like

  198. william

    aw, ark, this dude was being cool. Let’s not “mike anthony” the guy, but engage him in polite discussion as long as he is up for it.

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  199. “Hey Nate, call me weird, but maybe I’ll be the only Christian to actually like this post.

    I agree with the point about the 500. ”

    this Christian would not have minded it if it were a bit more forthcoming. It reads as if the mystery blogger or apologists used the 500 by itself and leaves out entirely that almost no apologist uses the 500 that way and it entirely ignores the surrounding context identifying 13 people rather than none. The very links nate provided show no such argument either limited to the 500 either . Its somewhat of a strawman.

    ““There is no evidence for the exodus.” I know this seems kind of petty (and I can feel the heat that will come already for saying this).”

    actually its not petty at all. unbeknownst to many, archaeology is ever changing and even the chronology that is presently being used has issues being pieced together from inscriptions. An excellent book on this is located here

    http://www.amazon.com/Centuries-Of-Darkness-Peter-James/dp/0813519500

    Which indicates we may well be off by hundreds of years in our dating. Jericho has swung back and forth as supporting and not supporting the Bible account depending on those chronologies. Skeptics have a looooooong history of making such claims based on present archaeology only to have to withdraw them. Hittites were claimed to be fictional, daniel was accused of making up characters that oops were later found to be real on and on – even Some very recently being debunked. In the 1990s you would have heard the kingdom of David was entirely mythical but oops then there was this

    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/the-tel-dan-inscription-the-first-historical-evidence-of-the-king-david-bible-story/

    SO now it has shifted to “it wasn’t big enough”

    Mind you I wouldn’t say you base your idea of inspiration of the Bible solely on Archaeological agreement either but then again I don’t know anyone that does. it just does have a pretty good record over time of proving alleged myths of places and people made by skeptics as wrong.

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  200. “This is the correct phrasing. There is NO evidence, and there is no way anyone with any sense will kow tow to a little snot nose halfwit like you over every recognised archaeologists, historian, Egyptologist and practically every Rabbi.”

    ROFL…give this man a beer.

    Down the toilet goes the narrative that all the merry band does is respond in kind. You just have to disagree with them as I have in a few threads and they go off.

    Yep umm THE place for unbiased exchange of ideas 🙂 🙂

    Wrong again too, Not every egyptologist does. Once in awhile you guys should do some research beyond wikipedia.

    though I haven’t been reading ARK I am glad I saw that – Hilarious. Ark just debunked all of you.

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  201. william

    archaeology just hasn’t found any evidence yet… science just hasnt proven it yet…

    I’m down with both of those. seems reasonable, but until something is verified soundly, it’s in the air. And if the dates for Jericho are constantly going back and forth, it’s not just the skeptics have to withdrawal their claims.

    This is interesting stuff though. When I was a believer, the absence of evidence didnt bother me, the presence of conflicting evidence I dismissed for various reasons, although I typically hung to what supporting evidence there was.

    now that method seems unfair to me.

    how do you see all in total, mike – or any believer? honestly. Does evidence matter or is it just what the bible says only?

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  202. Ark, I gotta agree with William here. These OT issues are so far in the past it’s hard to consider any of them a slam dunk for either side. I think it’s suspect that there’s (so far) no evidence for the Exodus, considering how many people supposedly made the trek, but I would be uncomfortable claiming that it proves the Exodus couldn’t have happened.

    And Brandon’s a good guy… let’s not bust his chops. 🙂

    Mike, which characters in Daniel were you referring to?

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  203. william

    “In the 1990s you would have heard the kingdom of David was entirely mythical but oops then there was this…”

    I at least feel like these are solid points. what gives me pause to accept them as evidence for the divine are similar things like King Arthur, the city of Troy, etc. all once thought to be fables, but later found to be true – or at least based on truth – yet these do not make us think Homer was a prophet.

    but yes, the bible seems to have at least some historical credibility, like many books, and also seems to have some historic problems, like other books as well.

    it is a good point, but why should the bible be exalted above others?

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  204. archaeopteryx1

    And less anyone barf like the Arks and arch who I pretty much skip over when reading comments.</em"
    At least we now know who he's most afraid of.

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  205. archaeopteryx1

    And Brandon’s a good guy… let’s not bust his chops. 🙂
    Believe that if you like, Nate, but I’ve gotten to know him rather well, both on Neuro’s and his own blog, and I find him to be a smarmy sleezebag.

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  206. archaeopteryx1

    Holy crap! Has he been at this all day? And in the process, has he said ANYthing of substance? I thought not —

    Why is anyone wasting their time with him?

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  207. @Arch – I’ve had several discussions with Brandon spread out at different places and although we’ve disagreed with each other a lot he has never once thrown an insult my way (and if any were underhanded I don’t care because they went right past me). I’ve been able to have conversations that I thought were useful. So at least right now I don’t really care if he has ulterior motives or not – I don’t see a reason to bust his chops either.

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  208. archaeopteryx1

    engage him in polite discussion as long as he is up for it.
    You don’t know him, William – I can just here his mind going, “Welcome to my parlor….”
    Talk to Neuronotes for a full diagnosis.

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  209. archaeopteryx1

    he has never once thrown an insult my way
    No, and he won’t either – he firmly believes that a spoonful of saccharin helps the medicine go down.

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  210. @anaivethinker: Hey Brandon. I also believe that Jesus was very likely a historical figure. There’s a few reasons I have for that although I’ll admit it’s mostly a gut feel because as a layperson I’m not a fan of going against scholarly consensus (especially when it may be 99+%). I’ll also say that I don’t agree that mythicism is only a sub-academic internet phenomenon, and I have reasons for that, but it isn’t a point worth arguing to me because of my previous sentence. Even though Carrier is coming out with his book this month or next my gut feel is that it won’t convince many scholars. I could obviously be wrong, but that’s my guess. I do think however that there is not enough scholarly consensus about Jesus to really know a whole lot of important things that we would want to know – opinions seem to span the map on what he said and did. Do we really know how much embellishment there was in the gospels? I don’t see how that’s something we could have certain opinions on outside of a faith statement.

    I’d like to know more about the archeology stuff, but haven’t researched it enough. Actually some interesting questions arise from that. If I stuck with consensus as I did in the last paragraph then I should say I believe it’s very likely the exodus did not happen. This as in the last paragraph could be corrected with new information or better analysis as well. But actually in this case I’m not sure we have a % consensus number, which is why I would claim agnosticism due to ignorance. But this actually brings up another question – should those who have made an oath to their church or whatever organization that commits to inerrancy even be considered in a calculation of consensus? I don’t believe so, and while you could say there are analogous atheists, I would say that I would be doubtful any are making oaths that say that they must believe the exodus never happened, and if they are then they should be taken out of the polling as well. More crap to make all this stuff even more elusive for us.

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  211. @kcchief1, thanks for the link. I read the abstract and briefly scanned it, and I had already known about all these findings. So, the problem is the assumptions behind the alleged contradictions. Many of them depend on specific biblical chronologies and many of them depend on archeological “surveys” which amounts to digging up Tells to the ground level. What about the millions of square kilometers surrounding the Tells? In order to confidently claim a contradiction, you have to meet a very high burden of proof. Also, there could be some literary devices employed as in the Gospels such as time telescoping. Again, the point is that there is an extraordinary burden of proof to show an absolute contradiction just as there is for proving, say, a miracle.

    @Nate, thanks for your response. I would agree with you that the extrabiblical sources could have all depended on echoing. And, this kind of problem is not unique to Jesus, it remains a difficult historical problem!

    @Howie, I agree with you that it’s hard to know much about Jesus, if anything. Most people will say the most secure data point we have is Jesus’ crucifixion. From there it will depend on methodology, so one can “construct” whatever Jesus one desires. And, I say “construct” as opposed to “reconstruct” because I think history is lost and we can never actually reconstruct what happened. There seems to be scholars who are on board with finding reasonable approaches to historicity, then we get points like Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist being another very likely true data point. Then there seems to be scholars who just don’t care about academic trends, they erase the drawing board and approach it from another angle such as NT Wright. Also, there has been a recent scholarly breakthrough in the Gospels by Richard Bauckham arguing that there is internal evidence that the Gospels are based on eyewitness tradition rather than oral tradition. This would make it much more likely that they are not embellished. But, again one would have to be convinced by these arguments and methodologies. I guess the faith statement would have to be faith in methodologies. 🙂

    I agree with you on oaths! I guess I could give you my 10 cent spiel on OT and archaeology. My main problem is use of invalidated arguments from silence. Medical labs go through extensive validation processes to be certified to “rule out” certain diseases (which is a validated argument from silence), but in archaeology they only dig up a small percentage of Tels and do not scratch the millions of square kilometers of surrounding land (which may be the better place to look for evidence of nomadic tent-dwelling peoples), then they say their overturning a few grains of earth is sufficient to prove that Israel was not there. And, Egypt has no known ancient records of Israelite slaves, but one needs to prove that Egypt would have both made and kept these records, that the records would have survived over time, in order to claim that Israelite slaves did not exist.

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  212. Ron

    IF you wish to appeal to scripture then show me where any christian is commanded to only have soft gentle answers and not point out glaring weaknesses in your points.” ~Mike Anthony

    1 Peter 3:15

    “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

    Like

  213. @anaivethinker: I understand what you are saying about the argument from silence, and I’m not enough of a scholar to measure whether or not the argument from silence is validated enough in this case to give us a correct measure. However, I don’t see how the bar here for belief should be the bar set in medical labs. The bar should be the exact same bar that is used for all other arguments from silence on historical claims of that timeframe. I’d have to be a scholar or read well enough of the scholars to say whether or not this case meets that bar, and I’m not, but I’m just offering my thoughts on what the process should be for us to make an assessment. I think what you may be saying which I agree is that the certainty level we can have of these kind of historical claims of that time are of a lower level than medical lab claims. That’s just the nature of the beast, but it doesn’t mean people studying the issue shouldn’t put some level of likelihood on the claim relative to other similar claims. If a very large percentage of scholars are in agreement, which some have claimed for this, then perhaps this bar has properly been met. Would you say that expressing skepticism about the veracity of the exodus story is warranted, or would you even say that is wrong? Complete certainty can’t be claimed for any of these things (even medical labs have mistakes that fall through).

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  214. @Howie: I’m also not a scholar on this issue, right there with you! 🙂 But, my little digging into the issue has unearthed some problems. For example, (and I am pulling this from memory) the Israelites were supposed to have camped at Kadesh-Barnea for a year before the Conquest. At Kadesh-Barnea is a Tel (a mound of dirt with archaeological remains of fortresses, cities, and so on) that has been dug to ground level and showed no evidence of occupation at any plausible time frames before the alleged Conquest. In fact, the site seems to have been first occupied in monarchical times. So, I’ve heard people claim there is no evidence of Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea. But, what they’ve failed to consider is that Israelites probably lived in tents, not making a fortress here, and might have left little behind in terms of what would be expected to survive and whatever the ancient site called Kadesh-Barnea may be near this modern area, but not specifically excavated as of yet. There must be tens, perhaps hundreds of square kilometers of places to dig. My point here, is that in order to confidently say, “The ancient Israelites did not come through here” you need to cover more territory than merely one Tel. That’s why it is an invalidated argument from silence.

    As for the scholars, I respect them and don’t think they are being disingenuous. There have been believer converted skeptic looking at this data such as William G Dever. Unfortunately, I just do not think that consensus has that tight of a relationship to sound methodology. There are all kinds of academic and social pressures that can modify where the bar is and who will just go with the flow, the dogma of the day. This is certainly not limited to archaeology as I have seen in my science career an example of an experiment that was given a biased interpretation that became dogmatic. There are literally science grants awarded based on this dogma! The good thing about science including archaeology is that eventually I think it will self correct, but we may have to wait for a new generation that does not have a reputation or funding at stake.

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  215. <>.

    So, you have never read Josephus? Not even the arabic translation? Or Tacitus?

    But please tell me – How could 1 poor carpenter and his 12 student change the world and put their mark on it? And this carpenter was active only 3,5 years? And every one of his students, except one, was executed?

    That is a true miracle.

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  216. And aside from Christian writings, we have no sources about Jesus anyway, so how could they disprove either his existence or his miracles?

    So, you have never read Josephus? Not even the arabic translation? Or Tacitus?

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  217. @Mike Anthony.

    Not every egyptologist does. Once in awhile you guys should do some research beyond wikipedia.

    Really? So you can find a recognised Egyptologist that actually believes the Exodus took place as per biblical specs?
    Let’s see what you got, hotshot. I am bursting with excitement!

    @Nate.
    Brandon is an infantile convert of the worst kind – as Arch said , a sleazebag. If you don’t believe me, you can trust Arch.

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  218. Oh, and Mike? If you haven’t got anyone besides that evangelical sunbeam-for-Jesus , Kenneth Kitchen , don’t waste anyone’s time bothering to reply.

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  219. ““But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect“

    NIce try Ron but did you even bother to read the part you didn’t bold? nope just quote mining the BIble as you guys always do. This blog and its commenters are not asking anything they are claiming day after day week after week that that the reasons are bogus, that christians are deluded and that our brothers in Christ are liars while trying to convince others to give up their faith under the assumption that you were Christians and you saw the light. When there have been reasonable answers given to many of your claims all the times I have seen the point has never been conceded the goal posts were just moved my favorite one being something to the effect of “well didn’t know that but I still say” and “that might be the case but it should be clearer to me so its still an issue”. What you should realize is that people read a blog a bit before responding. I read Many of nate’s articles and your comments before every responding. You already had indicated you were really looking for no answers before I ever responded to anything.

    Now if you were not enemies of the cross (totally different from just not believing)and really asking then yes I would deal differently with you but you are and are just kidding yourselves. SO do I curse you and call you assholes and Dickheads like your comrades do to believers? No I tell you when you are fooling yourselves, where you have not done the research, When you are being hypocritical and intellectually dishonest. 9 times out of 10 you call telling you the truth rude.

    Incidentally gentle in that verse by the NIV is dubious. the word there should be meekness a very misunderstood word in the 21st century

    Meanwhile you missed a few passages

    Acts 8:21-23 (KJV)
    21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
    22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
    23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

    Matthew 23:13 (KJV)
    13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

    None of which you would consider gentle and you would no doubt label rude for just telling the truth. So tell me if you are such seekers of the truth and looking for the reasons of the hope then why two days after claiming there was no answer to the resurrection contradiction and receiving one has no one touched on it or followed up one way or the other?

    Simple. Its not your real priority. You hang on to even Nate’s most sketchy posts because you are not really looking to find the truth but swear you already have it. I’ve read you guys enough to tell you what is obvious to anyone who has. You come to this blog for confirmation of your bias not to ask for any answer of the hope.

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  220. “Really? So you can find a recognised Egyptologist that actually believes the Exodus took place as per biblical specs?
    Let’s see what you got, hotshot. I am bursting with excitement!”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Chronology_%28Rohl%29

    THE END. 🙂

    “Oh, and Mike? If you haven’t got anyone besides that evangelical sunbeam-for-Jesus , Kenneth Kitchen , don’t waste anyone’s time bothering to reply.”

    Ah moving the goal posts in anticipation of being proven wrong eh? Now its not recognized egyptologist but a non christian egyptologist.

    But umm isn’t that circular? If an egyptologist found good reason to believe the Bible then he would tend to more likely be Christian.

    oh never mind that that just spoils the rhetoric. Carry on but anyway nope still wrong not Ken.

    P.S. this blog doesn’t have an ignore function so yes occassionally I do read something you write.

    Like

  221. “But please tell me – How could 1 poor carpenter and his 12 student change the world and put their mark on it? And this carpenter was active only 3,5 years? And every one of his students, except one, was executed?

    That is a true miracle.”

    Shek,

    Most skeptics come up with fanciful tales of how tens of thousands of people were deluded some even going to the extreme of claiming mass hallucinations to a degree and detail nowhere else known. that something significant happened around that time is so clear that only the most desperate skeptic holds to no historical Jesus.

    So what do we have according to the skeptics? well the world’s most successful hoax that has people the world over looking to a Jewish man just as Isaiah 11 prophecies who just happens to have lived in the time period specified by Daniel 9 vision prophecying his arrival.

    Really great “coincidental” timing eh?.

    Like

  222. “New Chronology is an alternative Chronology of the ancient Near East developed by English Egyptologist David Rohl and other researchers[1][2] beginning with A Test of Time: The Bible – from Myth to History in 1995. It contradicts mainstream Egyptology by proposing a major revision of the conventional chronology of ancient Egypt, in particular by redating Egyptian kings of the 19th through 25th Dynasties, lowering conventional dates up to 350 years.”

    Mike, is this what you meant by “Moving the Goal Posts” ???

    Like

  223. @Mike.
    RFLMAO Rohl Are you chuffing serious?

    Oh, dear oh dear and this after you berate those on this blog for using Wiki.
    That’s it…you are officially a plonker.
    Mike, you are truly piddling in the wind my friend. Even Albright had more credibility than you.
    You need to take your underpants off of your head and ask your pharmacist for your new prescription.

    Like

  224. william

    “So what do we have according to the skeptics? well the world’s most successful hoax that has people the world over looking to a Jewish man just as Isaiah 11 prophecies who just happens to have lived in the time period specified by Daniel 9 vision prophesying his arrival.

    Really great “coincidental” timing eh?”

    Mike/Shek,

    a wonderful miracle indeed. The longevity of this religion, coupled with its unlikely beginnings can only mean god’s hand was behind it. That’s one reason we can all be sure that Muhammad is god’s prophet… and Buddha should be revered – or any of the religions that predate christianity or judaism.

    of course, christianity could have been just one of many religions until Constantine converted and flew the cross as he battled to secure his empire, and made the official religion of rome after victory. Constantine, the one who basically started the catholic church, the church that most “christian” today broke away from years ago. the same catholic church that canonized scripture, picking and choosing what to accept and what to discard.

    Wondrous miracle, or complicated and interesting fluke?

    maybe we can all decide on our own without calling other opinions stupid or malicious.

    Like

  225. william

    ““engage him in polite discussion as long as he is up for it.”
    You don’t know him, William – I can just here his mind going, “Welcome to my parlor….”
    Talk to Neuronotes for a full diagnosis.”

    LOL, Arch. very well. If you two have a history, i wont get in your way. he and i dont have one yet, so i’ll remain polite as long as he does.

    Like

  226. archaeopteryx1

    @Shek1na
    In Bart Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist?, Ehrman (pp, 59-60) provides a translation of the TF from “the best manuscript of Josephus”:

    “At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one should call him a man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin. He was the messiah. And when Pilate, because of an accusation made by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him previously did not cease to do so. For he appeared to them on the third day, living again, just as the divine prophets had spoken of these and countless other wondrous things about him. And up until this very day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not died out.” (Antiquities 18.3.3)

    If that passage in its entirety doesn’t sound like a breathless Christian advertisement, I don’t know what does! In any event, since historicizers – believers and evemerists alike – become so hung up on this passage, arguing that it proves Jesus’s existence, we need to address this issue continually.

    After citing the passage, Ehrman (p. 60) says:

    “The problems with this passage should be obvious to anyone with even a casual knowledge of Josephus…. He was thoroughly and ineluctably Jewish and certainly never converted to be a follower of Jesus. But this passage contains comments that only a Christian would make: that Jesus was more than a man, that he was the messiah, and that he arose from the dead in fulfillment of the scriptures. In the judgment of most scholars, there is simply no way Josephus the Jew would or could have written such things. So how did these comments get into his writings?”

    Ehrman goes on to explain, “When Christian scribes copied the text, they added a few words here and there to make sure that the reader would get the point. This is that Jesus, the superhuman messiah raised from the dead as the scriptures predicted.

    Bullsh*t is bullsh*t, whether it’s in Arabic, English, or Greek.

    Like

  227. archaeopteryx1

    I would have preferred to have included an image of the turbaned Josephus in that last comment, but WordPress the Wonderful doesn’t allow me to do that.

    Like

  228. william

    and with josephus, even if those were his unmolested words, so what? he never met or saw jesus himself. Jesus was dead when josephus was around, so anything that josephus would have thought was mere hearsay.

    i’m just not sure josephus means anything credible any way you look at it.

    again, for the believer, it doesnt mean anything either, because the believer already believes in jesus, so if josephus said that jesus was a fake, would the believer cease to believe? no, they’d just toss josephus aside because “he didnt have a good and honest heart” and besides, he didnt live during that time anyways.

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  229. archaeopteryx1

    RE: “Brandon is an infantile convert of the worst kind – as Arch said , a sleazebag. If you don’t believe me, you can trust Arch.
    And if the Arkster has something good to say about me, you have to KNOW it must be true!

    Brandon came on Violetwisp’s site like gangbusters, but one by one, his responders tired of his smarmy attitude, his basing his belief on “feelings,” and fell away from responding to him. He finally got the message and crying, “Why do you hate me?” decided to take his polemic elsewhere, and after being banned from Neuro’s site, slunk home to his own, where he has been holding forth with only William and Howie as playmates, but now, it would seem, he’s found a new playground.

    He appears to have had instruction in the art of smarm – the last time I mentioned this, he quit for a while (and likely will again, now), to prove me wrong, but soon returned to the formula, as it is firmly ensconced in his repertoire – he begins his comment by complimenting his opponent’s comment (designed to lower his opponent’s guard and ingratiate himself), before adding the word, BUT —

    Even his avatar is calculated – the down-shot makes him appear smaller, and the glasses appear to enlarge his eyes. We humans are hardwired – a species-survival necessity – to experience a subconscious urge to feel protective of, or at least disarmed by, small, wide-eyed children. The beard, of course, is in emulation of his hero, the zombie. Should I have capitalized “zombie”?

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  230. The ”funny” thing with Josephus is his dad would have been around when the god-man Yeshua was dazzling the crowds in Galilee and environs – lived up the road apparently – and yet, not a peep to his kid. And grown up Josephus mentions nothing that his dad might have heard, alluded to or seen?
    If one is prepare to look at the whole picture and include a soupcon of common sense, all JC references by Josephus smack of Christian interpolation.

    Look at this way. Where and when did you learn about Santa Claus? From your folks as a kid or from a bunch of strangers once you were all grown up?

    Like

  231. Ron

    Mike: “IF you wish to appeal to scripture then show me where any christian is commanded to only have soft gentle answers and not point out glaring weaknesses in your points.” ~Mike Anthony

    Ron: Sure, here’s a verse.

    Mike: Well, you got me there—but rather than concede you’ve answered my question and humble myself, I’ll generate a long list of excuses for why that verse doesn’t apply to me.

    BTW, meek and gentle are synonyms.

    praÿtēs (Strong’s G4240) mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness

    Like

  232. he begins his comment by complimenting his opponent’s comment (designed to lower his opponent’s guard and ingratiate himself), before adding the word, BUT –

    Lol…Howie knows all about this tactic after his recent ”gentlemanly” discussion with unklee over at his spot over the ”revelation” that the ‘scientific consensus’ states that universe was ‘created’

    😉

    Like

  233. archaeopteryx1

    RE your Wikipedia link – interesting read, Mike, but some of us actually have attention spans that allow us to continue past the first paragraph:

    “The New Chronology, one of several proposed radical revisions of the conventional chronology, has not been accepted in academic Egyptology, where the conventional chronology or small variations of it remain standard.[3] Professor Amélie Kuhrt, head of Ancient Near Eastern History at University College, London, in one of the standard reference works of the discipline, notes that ‘Many scholars feel sympathetic to the critique of weaknesses in the existing chronological framework[…], but most archaeologists and ancient historians are not at present convinced that the radical redatings proposed stand up to close examination.'[4]”

    Deciding what is “true,” then altering the facts to prove it – how typical —

    Like

  234. “Oh, dear oh dear and this after you berate those on this blog for using Wik”

    Yawn……. I gave you a wiki link because its what you guys use most of the time. Its far from all I have I already had referred you to an entire book on the subject. You asked for an egyptologist. He’s one. live with it. Have a cow. It doesn’t matter.

    The End.

    This is why I don;t read much of you Ark. Your points are so ligtweight and laden with foaming at the mouth and spittle. Its not grown up dialogue and a I announced the very first day I ever posted here I don’t debate with kids online

    So much for Ron’s Lie that anyone here is asking for the hope . You and Arch done killed that argument and buried it

    Like

  235. “a wonderful miracle indeed. The longevity of this religion, coupled with its unlikely beginnings can only mean god’s hand was behind it. That’s one reason we can all be sure that Muhammad is god’s prophet… ”

    You quoted me referring to Isiaiah 11 and Daniel 9 and that is your retort. Let me guess. You have no idea what I am talking about there either. Your research was so deep William but all Christians should believe you were one of us because you say so.

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  236. Yawn……. I gave you a wiki link because its what you guys use most of the time. Its far from all I have I already had referred you to an entire book on the subject. You asked for an egyptologist. He’s one. live with it. Have a cow. It doesn’t matter.

    Lol…are the big boys being mean to you, Mike? Diddums…there, there.
    Why not go and play in that big sandpit, the Sinai , on your own. Maybe you’ll find evidence of Moses?

    Like

  237. Okay Mike, I’ll bite. What are you talking about in regard to Isaiah 11 and Daniel 9?

    Isaiah 11 is a prophecy that one day a descendant of David will bring back and reunite all the Israelites that were scattered abroad. Daniel 9 is a prayer Daniel offers about how disobedient they’ve all been and how he would like for God to restore Jerusalem. What strikes you as so miraculous about these passages?

    Like

  238. archaeopteryx1

    Your points are so ligtweight and laden with foaming at the mouth and spittle,” said Mike, foam and spittle dribbling off his chin.

    RE: “So much for Ron’s Lie that anyone here is asking for the hope . You and Arch done killed that argument and buried it.
    How would he know? He admitted he doesn’t even read my comments, so it must have been Ark – Ark did it. Shame, bad Ark, SHAME!

    Like

  239. “Mike: Well, you got me there—but rather than concede you’ve answered my question and humble myself, I’ll generate a long list of excuses for why that verse doesn’t apply to me.”

    Ron I know you are given to great feats of fantasy but you got no one. You bolded the last part of a verse without reading the first part. Classic and obvious quote mining. Even now you are demonstrating that you have no interest in having any answer for the hope but are arguing with me as to why you should get a gentle answer when you don’t even meet the conditions for that verse to apply. Now all you are doing is begging that me pointing out the first part of the verse is giving you a long list of excuses. As nate would say that will get you nowhere. Its just rhetoric because the first part disqualifies your point.

    and umm still no response on my counter to the ressurrection contradiction after days because as You, william, the sons of steam and spittle (arch and ARk) PROVE you have next to no interest in asking for the hope . As i have said before on other issues….

    The end.

    I hung around because I saw a Christian posting (and your collectrive vicious attacks on him continuing – with litlle outrage from you – despite no sign of any of the things you impute to me revealing its all just a con job to yourselves was for a time interesting). If he is gone I will allow you to go back to your rubberstamping not looking for any answer community activities

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  240. Okay Mike, I’ll bite. What are you talking about in regard to Isaiah 11 and Daniel 9?

    Bad Nathan! Do Not feed the Troll…now go to your room. 😉

    Like

  241. How would he know? He admitted he doesn’t even read my comments, so it must have been Ark – Ark did it. Shame, bad Ark, SHAME!

    Hey, don’t blame me you decrepit old fossil. Just ‘cos Brandon got you all riled up.
    It’s all Mike’s fault. He’s being mean and Nate wont tell him off.

    Like

  242. archaeopteryx1

    Maybe you’ll find evidence of Moses?
    Or plant it.

    Word of caution there Mike (I started to say, “word to the wise,” until it hit me who I was addressing), don’t buy your artifacts at Walmart, everything there says, “Made in China,” and that’s gotta raise eyebrows, even among your Christian archaeologists —

    Like

  243. Hi Howie

    Hope you are going well 🙂

    I do remember that particular conversation we had a while ago on your blog. I revisited the thread to jog my memory.

    To answer your question, yes, I still am a Christian 🙂

    Although I have found certain things in the Bible confronting.

    The teachings on hell, torment, judgement do raise questions in my mind

    I do think I read fairly widely to understand different perspectives, I’ve just started reading The Moral Landscape, by Sam Harris.

    It strikes me as strange that other Christians I know, don’t seem to find these things so confronting as I have. These things don’t seem to bother them as much. Perhaps they are just more well adjusted. Or maybe they just don’t express these things as openly. Or maybe they are more willing to receive Gods peace on these things. I think receiving peace can be a hard thing to do.

    The Bible also teaches that we should not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 )

    This is something that I have not done nearly enough, I think that if I did give my anxiety over to God more, I may have more peace of mind.

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  244. This is something that I have not done nearly enough, I think that if I did give my anxiety over to God more, I may have more peace of mind.

    Sadly, Ryan it is the belief in god that actually causes this anxiety. Ask any deconvertee.

    Like

  245. archaeopteryx1

    Nate, totally off-topic, but we’ve waited a long time for your next entry – I understand, busy – and while we’re grateful to get it, could you next time go back to stacking comments? This is not only REALLY confusing, with regard to who is addressing whom, a pain in the a – neck to have to include a quotation in each comment, and extremely difficult to go back and find someone’s comment.

    But other than that, good job!

    Like

  246. archaeopteryx1

    Or possibly, portal001, they simply prefer confirmation bias to cognitive dissonance – too much of that can make the head explode.

    DaVinci was reputed to have said, when asked how he managed to carve his famous “Moses” out of a solid block of marble, that he simply cut away everything that wasn’t Moses. Some Christians tend to cut away any information that isn’t Christian. Be glad that you have a more open mind.

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  247. william

    “You quoted me referring to Isiaiah 11 and Daniel 9 and that is your retort. Let me guess. You have no idea what I am talking about there either. Your research was so deep William but all Christians should believe you were one of us because you say so.” – mike

    my retort was to you and shek’s position that a meager carpenter and 11 fishermen could have such a huge impact on the world. you alluded to passages containing vague “prophecies,” that were no more clear than those of Nostradamus, as if that solidified your point.

    most christains are pew warmers mike, so my research, as puny as it may have been, was volumes more than your typical christian. If you dont believe i was a christian, that’s fine, most self proclaimed christains dont live by the book they claim to hold so dear, and you’re a testament to that. so your opinion of me is much like the posts you make – of very little value.

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  248. william

    “and umm still no response on my counter to the ressurrection contradiction after days because as You, william, the sons of steam and spittle (arch and ARk) PROVE you have next to no interest in asking for the hope .”

    dont worry, i’ll get to it – verse by verse. patience is a virtue mike, i realize you have no concern for being virtuous, but at least try and pretend to be a christain.

    there’s plenty of my questions you havent answered, so if you’re really concerned with questions and points getting answered, you’re farther behind than i am. Mathew 7:5 applies to you too.

    Like

  249. Ron

    Mike: “…and umm still no response on my counter to the ressurrection contradiction”

    I did. I’m still waiting for a response to my post on June 10, 2014 at 11:38 am. Here it is again:

    “You mean unlike the hearsay based on Paul and the four pseudonymous gospels? Because the gospels make it crystal clear that none of these so-called witnesses actually witnessed the actual resurrection itself. So unless you yourself were physically present to witness that event you’re entire body of evidence consists of little more than a hierarchy of uncorroborated claims found within pages of some ancient parchments.”

    And to move the argument forward:

    You claim there was a resurrected Messiah. Great. The most convincing evidence for a resurrected messiah would be the resurrected man himself. So let’s see him. Let us too examine the his hands and put our hands in his side (as Thomas is alleged to have done).

    When can you arrange the meeting?

    Like

  250. archaeopteryx1

    much like the posts you make – of very little value” – or as I mentioned earlier, “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Like

  251. “much like the posts you make – of very little value” – or as I mentioned earlier, “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.“

    I don’t think Mike is an idiot, he just has strong beliefs that he feels gives him permission to be “severe” to people who do not agree with him

    Like

  252. If I was as “severe” as you are Mike say while I am at work, about things I feel strongly about, I might find myself out of a job, since those I work with might find this severity as to them being just rude and disrespectful.

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  253. archaeopteryx1

    I thought you knew, Ron – he conveniently floated up into the sky, but 500 witnesses, whose names I neglected to get, saw him do it, so that should be proof enough for you.

    I’ve always thought he was beamed up, much as he was beamed in and out of that locked room. I’ll check with Scotty in engineering and get back to you —

    Scotty was quite the practical joker – I remember Kirk once saying, “Very funny, Scotty – now beam down my clothes!”

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  254. @Portal001: Thanks for the reply Ryan! Always good to hear from you and I’ve been doing well. I’m glad I didn’t misspeak about your beliefs. Doubt is actually an important part of life – anytime I start saying I don’t have doubts about my own worldview then I know I’ve gone over the cliff! 😉

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  255. archaeopteryx1

    What I’m NOT clear on, I’ll readily admit, is that if he could miraculously materialize in a locked room (John 20:19), why was it necessary for the stone to be rolled away for him to get out of the tomb? How much more “miraculous” would it have been if the stone were still in place, and he were gone?

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  256. Ron

    @ archaeoteryx1

    Paul claims there were 500 witnesses, but Acts 1:15 informs us there were only 120 believers at that time. Looks like the “visionary” Paul might have padded his numbers a bit. Then again, by his own words, he’s a duplicitous changeling:

    “I act like a Jew to the Jews, so I can recruit Jews. I act like I’m under the Law to those under the Law, so I can recruit those who are under the Law (though I myself am not under the Law).” 1 Corinthians 9:20 CEB

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  257. @Ron.
    To qualify. Under no circumstances was the previous post meant to disparage your comment.

    I referenced Acts in this manner to show the spurious nature of biblical text in general.

    No offence meant, Ron.

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  258. archaeopteryx1

    Paul was out to bolster his Google ratings, when it came to church establishment, and he saw less law-committed non-Jews as being his best base for recruitment. Don’t look forward to circumcision? Jonesing for a pork chop? Noi problem, come on down!

    And I wouldn’t look to “The Acts” as being any more honest. In this, which I posted earlier, but which he, with whom you and I are in disagreement as to whether or not he’s an idiot, disregarded it, so I’ll post it again, in case you missed it:

    The Seminar on the Acts of the Apostles began deliberations in 2001 (and concluded its work at the spring Westar meeting in 2011), with the task of going through the canonical Acts of the Apostles from beginning to end and evaluating it for historical accuracy.

    Today we are convinced that Acts is a work of imaginative religious literature exhibiting the characteristics of other such literature of its day. When critically examined, it is unable to support the high level of trust that Christian interpreters have traditionally placed in the accuracy of its story.
    Findings

    Dennis Smith, the seminar chair, compiled a list of the top ten accomplishment of the Acts Seminar:
    1. The use of Acts as a source for history has long needed critical reassessment.
    2. Acts was written in the early decades of the second century.
    3. The author of Acts used the letters of Paul as sources.
    4. Except for the letters of Paul, no other historically reliable source can be identified for Acts.
    5. Acts can no longer be considered an independent source for the life and mission of Paul.
    6. Contrary to Acts 1-7, Jerusalem was not the birthplace of Christianity.
    7. Acts constructs its story on the model of epic and related literature.
    8. The author of Acts created names for characters as storytelling devices.
    9. Acts constructs its story to fit ideological goals.
    10. Acts is a primary historical source for second century Christianity.”

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  259. “Isaiah 11 is a prophecy that one day a descendant of David will bring back and reunite all the Israelites that were scattered abroad. Daniel 9 is a prayer Daniel offers about how disobedient they’ve all been and how he would like for God to restore Jerusalem.”

    Nate Daniel 9 is far more than a Prayer its a time prediction of the coming on a messiah that nails the time of Christ (and certainly would not be a postdiction since its in a Jewish book and they don’t automatically promote Christianity) . My goodness have you even read it? Its one of two things. You either left that off or you do not know about Daniel 9 either. Isaiah 11 is primarily about the Messiah. So you mischaracterized both

    Look we all have to make decisions about the time we spend online and this would open up another debate and I am still awaiting an answer on my resurrection response which your guys swore up and down could not be reconciled .

    You won’t like the rest of this post but it all comes back to my decisions regarding my time

    I don’t know of any person that has studied Bible prophecy that does not know what Daniel 9 is about. Shucks I don’t know any Christian personally who doesn’t know it regardless if they didn’t study. So credibility is everything when opening up the time for a new debate and you claiming to have done all kinds of studies before leaving the faith and having to lie to the church you attended just opens up all kinds of credibility issues.

    How much did you really study? Obviously not much and if you claim to have studied and not even come across Daniel 9 (just about every commentary covers the issue) How can I even consider the claim even remotely credible when Daniel 9 is probably the most well known prophecy of a messiah coming outside or maybe one or two other passage? It proves rather conclusively that what you claim is actually quite false.

    That’s my dillemma. You are certain of your intellectual honesty but I am not and quite honestly I sense you will just duck and dodge on any passage so really whats the point of debating it on your blog? Maybe another? Besides its not like I am hiding any secrets or running from you learning. For goodness sake crack three commentaries at random online and chances are at least two of them get into it.

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  260. Mike: “…and umm still no response on my counter to the ressurrection contradiction”

    I did. ”

    “Paul claims there were 500 witnesses, but Acts 1:15 informs us there were only 120 believers at that time. ”

    Hey Ron

    So you are all full of more straight up and up lies today eh Ron? No one has answered my response on the resurrection account and nah Acts never says that “there were only “120 believers at the time but at one meeting of those who had returned together from olivet.

    Still trying to convince me that you qualify for someone seeking an answer for the hope? because It appears you gave up and decided to prove my point on that even more.

    At least on that you are doing a VERY good job

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  261. “So Mike, how about that meet-up with Jesus? I can book time-off whenever it’s convenient.”

    🙂 No need to get time off laddie. you did say whenever it was convenient So under your own criteria at some point he will be in touch 🙂 🙂

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  262. Ron

    @ Ark and Arch

    I’m aware of the historicity issues. But I prefer to confront apologists with the inconsistencies contained within their “inerrant word of God” because it’s the one source they can’t quickly dismiss as irrelevant.

    Liked by 1 person

  263. william

    Mike,

    regarding the events at the tomb; I had planned on writing a long, verse by verse, outline, comparing the gospel’s differing versions, but have decided not to.

    It would take too long here, as a blog comment. But rereading those 4 accounts, we easily see disparities between how many angel’s, where the angel’s were encountered, what the angel’s said, whether the women told anyone about what they saw or not, who told whom, when the tomb was entered and where jesus was encountered, what jesus said, and whether the disciples were to wait in jersusalem or go to galilee…. then there’s gardeners, and the earthquake, etc…

    Now, we could mesh all 4 accounts together and pretend that settles it, but all you come up with is a 5th different account – which paints a different picture than the previous 4 accounts that we read in the gospels.

    but, maybe the problem is mine. maybe I am just not seeing it. To me, it looks like any “contradiction” could be “reconciled” in the way that you’re suggesting the gospels are reconciled. But if i’m wrong, could you give me an example of a contradiction that cannot be “resolved” the way you are trying to resolve this?

    this is a serious question.

    Like

  264. “Here’s a timeline on the prophecies in Daniel 9 for anyone who might be interested.

    http://www.thesecondcomingofchrist.org/dan09_timelines.htm

    Thats a mess. I get what the author is trying to do but he has Daniel 9 titles but mixes in other chapters under it . Theres no reason for a timeline and pictures. If you searched for that I am sure you came across better articles on the subject. In fact given you all have claimed to have done so much research into the bible you would have come across ton loads of better pages than that.

    Like

  265. In the interest of keeping this post on topic (yeah, right), Nate did say:

    “In the next post, we’ll talk about other reasons that people give: prophecy and internal consistency.”

    Perhaps he intended to open that debate in the next post?

    Like

  266. “regarding the events at the tomb; I had planned on writing a long, verse by verse, outline, comparing the gospel’s differing versions, but have decided not to.”

    I wonder why. You have had posts much longer than it would take to quote my points and respond so I am not buying that. Sorry but thats just a duck and run to rhetoric.

    “But if i’m wrong, could you give me an example of a contradiction that cannot be “resolved” the way you are trying to resolve this?”

    Thats easy. IF matthew 28 actually said the women saw the angels rolling away the stone Like Nate tries to fudge then that would be a contradiction. if verse 4 read

    “Matthew 28:4 (KJV)
    4 And for fear of him the the women did shake, and became as dead men (well um women).”

    rather than

    Matthew 28:4 (KJV)
    4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

    then that would be a contradiction (it says the keepers shook and not the women because at the time of the earthquake the women were not there – or you could beg that the keepers were more scaredy cats than women I suppose 😉 )

    As it is the passage says only that the the angel that did the rolling talked to them not that they saw the stone being rolled away. Nate has the women watching as the angel rolls away the stone, then sitting on the stone and then after the keepers are saying to them “by the way don’t be afraid” after they would have bee shaking as dead women.

    Rather than me trying to squeeze out a contradiction much of Nate’s post on contradiction is him begging that it was one so the claim can be made form both sides

    I still await a real rebuttal. This after all was supposed to be the most incapable to reconcile of contradictions and I am not seeing anything but begging. All I see is the “easter play syndrome” thinking that all the ladies mentioned have to be together at all times. Once we realize that Mary sees the stone rolled away and at some point breaks away there is zero contradiction. its all contrived and begging.

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  267. Oh, I see, when you referenced Daniel 9 you were talking about the 70 weeks prophecy. Honestly, that one’s so all over the place I thought you must have meant something else from Daniel 9. People have interpreted the 70 weeks thing to mean all kinds of things — it’s quite problematic. Instead of simply saying that, you launched into another ad hominem attack. You’d think that if you had the truth on your side you could simply deal in facts.

    As to the resurrection, I agree with you that naming different women in the different accounts is not a true contradiction. But your point about the angel rolling away the stone just doesn’t fly. Here’s the passage:

    After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women…
    – Matt 28:1-5

    1) The women visit the tomb
    2) There was a violent earthquake and the angel rolled away the stone
    3) The guards were afraid and (probably) passed out
    4) The angel spoke to the women

    The indication is that the women were already at the tomb when this happened, but unlike the guards, they were not so terrified that they passed out. That’s why the angel was immediately able to speak to them.

    That’s what the passage indicates. If that’s not what happened, then God didn’t do such a great job of inspiring Matthew in this section, but considering Matthew’s tendency to mishandle OT passages, I don’t guess it’s shocking that he makes this mistake too.

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  268. william

    “I wonder why. You have had posts much longer than it would take to quote my points and respond so I am not buying that. Sorry but that’s just a duck and run to rhetoric.”:

    nothing to duck and run from. it’s obvious when you read them side by side and I listed, although nit in outline, many of the issues that I saw. if you want to avoid my points, that’s your business.

    and your example of a contradiction was a bit vague. Can you list one in detail, or else, we;ll continually go back and forth. For example, I cite the events the tomb as told in the 4 gospels as a contradiction. Since they’re written out, anyone can go and read and reread the text, giving snippet of a story isnt quite the same.

    But okay, because i doubt you’ll do that, would seeing an angel sitting on a rock be different than seeing two angels sitting inside the tomb? would that be a contradiction? read the passages again before responding.

    “This after all was supposed to be the most incapable to reconcile of contradictions and I am not seeing anything but begging.”

    well i dont know if it’s the most incapable, but you are having a hard time with it. where were the angles seen? when did mary run away? did the women speak of the event or didnt they? where did jesus first appear to them? what did the angel(s) say? were they supposed to wait ion jersulam or go to Galilee? was there an earthquake?

    are you really suggesting that if we compiled all the different scenarios together, and made a 5 gospel account, that it would be the clearest picture of the events?

    does someone want to, and have the time, to throw that together and see what it looks like?

    Mike, quit talking about easter plays and just read the passages.

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  269. copy and paste for nate’s outline on the events at the tomb:

    https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/contradictions-part-9-the-resurrection/

    I’ve read it long ago as I have indicated. its a flop because nate insists as he did with Samuel 27 reading in his own conclusions rather than the text speaking for itself. the errors in logic can be traced to a few things

    A) the fallacious reasoning that if one witness specifies a name or names it rules anyone else from being present. (even someone relating this comment thread would select certain people as being apart of it without exclusivity being implied leaving out others)

    B) The aforementioned “easter play syndrome” (common in christmas plays with the wisemen and shepherds etc) where one person named at one point has to always be present at another point in the group and never does anything independently as they do in real life

    C) insisting on his own assumptions in order to get to where he wishes to go

    and D)

    the attitude toward proving contradictions that believes its the person or group accused of lying or contradictions that has the burden of proof and to disprove their lie or contradiction rather than Nate proving the contradiction.

    Perhaps you all as regular readers have culpability on D because as rubber stampers you don’t really require or hold nate to any standards since not having them leads to conclusions you want anyway. Nate can’t be held totally liable because after all as the saying goes

    give the people what they want what they want.

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  270. william

    “Matthew 28:4 (KJV)
    4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

    then that would be a contradiction (it says the keepers shook and not the women because at the time of the earthquake the women were not there – or you could beg that the keepers were more scaredy cats than women I suppose 😉 )” – mike =====>
    ))

    LOL, i dont have to beg, that seems to be what mathew has said. But there are other problems beyond these… can you dismiss them all?

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  271. william

    “I’ve read it long ago as I have indicated. its a flop…”

    yet you avoid answering the problems or explaining where he’s wrong. interesting tactic, but it lacks credibility. nate has shwon where there are problems and explains why they’re problems – as the text reads.

    again, if you’re suggesting that joining all accounts into one master account, creating different version from the previous 4, then I still think any contradiction could be “fixed” between conflicting stories.

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  272. the fallacious reasoning that if one witness specifies a name or names it rules anyone else from being present. — Mike

    If someone is going to believe the bible and the story of the resurrection as it is written, then it is YOU who is making an assumption that others were present.

    Again, if someone believes the bible as it is presented to people of this generation, then to add to or take away from the scripture is forbidden. That includes guessing or assuming what it “really” says.

    Liked by 1 person

  273. william

    “the fallacious reasoning that if one witness specifies a name or names it rules anyone else from being present. — Mike”

    and this is inaccurate anyways, in nate’s article on the topic, he doesnt make an issue out f this anyways. so once again, mike is arguing when there’s nothing to argue about.

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  274. william

    and mike, you’re saying that mathew 28 should have been written in the following order in order to be in chronological order?

    28:2
    28:3
    28:4
    28:1
    28:5…

    is this correct?

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  275. @Nan

    If someone is going to believe the bible and the story of the resurrection as it is written, then it is YOU who is making an assumption that others were present.

    Again, if someone believes the bible as it is presented to people of this generation, then to add to or take away from the scripture is forbidden. That includes guessing or assuming what it “really” says.

    I’ve put each account side by side starting with Mark, then John, then Luke, then Matthew and I’m working through it(I have limited time as well. I just didn’t see the point in trash talking since I’m really not good at that-it’s not fun for me).

    It did seem as though the easy peasy debunk required a lot of “reading into it” to determine what it “really meant”.

    But weren’t these letters/documents written to different audiences at different times? Would they have had all of these documents to cross reference since there was not cohesive NT at the time? Wouldn’t they have been taken at face value?

    The recipients of each one of these wouldn’t have had the luxury of using one against another to say “oh Mary must have broken away and run ahead of the group”.

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  276. You’re right, Ruth. Early Christians must have had very different ideas of what happened, depending on what gospel was in circulation in their area. It would have been interesting to overhear a conversation between an ardent follower of Mark’s gospel (especially with the original ending!) and an ardent follower of John’s…

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  277. archaeopteryx1

    Haven’t you figured it out yet Ruth? Rabid theists like Mikey pick a point which they maintain to be true, then warp and twist whatever evidence – or rather, information – that there may be, until it points to their assertion.

    Like

  278. h, I see, when you referenced Daniel 9 you were talking about the 70 weeks prophecy.”

    Oh so now Daniel has more than a prayer eh? And why don’t we review my referencing?

    ” Jewish man just as Isaiah 11 prophecies who just happens to have lived in the time period specified by Daniel 9 vision prophecying his arrival.”

    WHat else would I have been referring to Nate by “prophecying his arrival”? a little honesty?

    “Honestly, that one’s so all over the place I thought you must have meant something else from Daniel 9”

    Honestly we both know you are just handwaving. if you knew anything about Daniel 9 70 week prophecy me stating “prophecying his arrival”? would have indicated what I was refering to. No one who studied that would not know thats. Thats just not credible

    ” People have interpreted the 70 weeks thing to mean all kinds of things — it’s quite problematic.”

    More handwaving. there is nothing problematic about the basics of that prophecy. People have different start dates but they end in the life of Christ. some have different views about the last week but that doesnt change the anointed one part. SOme anti-missionary jews have tried to claim something else for it but even their tradition indicate its a messianic passage. YOu will get nowhere with that ambiguous claim

    “Instead of simply saying that, you launched into another ad hominem attack.”

    Please go read what an ad hominem is its not an all purpose claim for when one feels insulted or even when was has insulted. I raised my concerns of time getting into another debate with you based on some lacks that are obvious not to make any point about Daniel 9

    “You’d think that if you had the truth on your side you could simply deal in facts.”

    and you would think if you had the facts on daniel 9 you would get to them rather than playing a game pretending not to know before or pretending to now.

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  279. Of course.

    For instance…

    It was wrong of me to suggest that science might prove/disprove abiogenesis(because I never even suggested that it would definitely prove it), but archaeology gets a free pass because “the evidence just hasn’t been found…yet.”

    I say the jury is still out on both, but am accused of having a bias(as if that isn’t the case from the other side).

    None of that went unnoticed. I just don’t generally like to argue about things. I highly doubt anything I say will make much difference to him anyway. Hell, I even posted something that supported his Daniel 9 reference and that was criticized. *shrug*

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  280. “The indication is that the women were already at the tomb when this happened,

    Nope thats NATE’S indication. the passage’s indication is that there was an earthquake the next greek word is gar indicating the reason for the earthquake and setting up a parenthetical explanation as it does in multiple greek passages.

    “but unlike the guards, they were not so terrified that they passed out. That’s why the angel was immediately able to speak to them.”

    this is just nonsensical. You have the women see the angel descending, then rolling away the stone while there is a great earthquake then having rolled away the stone watching the angel then sit on top of it meanwhile all the men being terrified shaking to a near catatonic state but the women not being affected for no reason at all even though the angel does not tell them not to be afraid until all that is over. You must be kidding.

    Nope. that just doesn’t work. Its contrived to make you get where you want to go. The more rational reading that doesn’t have the women somehow miraculously unafraid is that the earthquake is cited as taking place and the Gar “because” as it often did sets up a parenthetical explanation for what happened that caused the eathquake.

    Of course you will no doubt argue until the cows come home that that can’t be the case because if it is your unsolvable contradiction fits in nicely with the other accounts that when they arrive the stone is already rolled away. Heres the thing though. Its perfectly legit use of the word Gar and you arguing for your own use does not prove a contradiction so your proof text nevertheless fizzles. Its just a claim with an alternative viable and more sensible alternative

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  281. william

    yeah, “70 weeks” was totally clear. i mean “weeks” didnt really mean “weeks” and “70”… oh never mind.

    Nostradamus was very clear too.

    and only the unintelligent couldnt see how marvelous the king’s new clothes were…

    it’s funny that you (mike) keep talking about hand waving as if that’s supposed to distract us from that fact you’re waving your hands.

    Like

  282. Mike, I’ve done a post on Daniel 9 — I know what’s in it:
    https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/skeptical-bible-study-daniel-chapter-9/

    But even your statement proves my point:

    there is nothing problematic about the basics of that prophecy. People have different start dates but they end in the life of Christ. some have different views about the last week but that doesnt change the anointed one part. SOme anti-missionary jews have tried to claim something else for it but even their tradition indicate its a messianic passage.

    Why do they all end in Christ, Mike? Because they have to. They selected Christ and worked backward to try to make it fit Daniel’s prophecy. Everyone has problems doing it, which is why there are so many different versions. I truly was surprised that you pulled that one to hang your hat on, since it’s so ambivalent it could be made to say anything.

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  283. william

    “miraculously unafraid”

    LOL – yes, unfeinting women is a miracle when there men passing out. you know, mathew never said the women werent afraid – it just said they didnt “become as deadmen.” and maybe that’s all there is to it, since they were women, they wouldnt become as men…

    it’s funny that you thing the simple reading dictates we take the passages as mathew wrote out of order.

    Like

  284. “yet you avoid answering the problems or explaining where he’s wrong. ”

    Thats it Will. when in doubt just put your head in the sand claim I haven’t and hope it all (or I) go away until you all have the rubberstamp community back to yourself.

    Like

  285. Ron

    “Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course. But we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time. It is therefore at least millions to one that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie. ”
    ~Thomas Paine, Age of Reason

    Like

  286. william

    LOL, you’re still doing it… instead of answering all the issues, you either respond that way or argue about names, which is something no one is using as a point. LOL

    is this your stand up routine?

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  287. “it’s funny that you thing the simple reading dictates we take the passages as mathew wrote out of order.”

    Nope it funny that your simple english reading of a Greek text tries to ignore the parenthetical usage of word in the text and then you beg that your ignoring that fact counts as proof of a contradiction.

    Now THATS hilarious. Can we book you guys for Vegas? 🙂 🙂

    “maybe that’s all there is to it,”

    a maybe as an answer for a sure contradiction argument? Make that two week s at Vegas.

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  288. You have the women see the angel descending, then rolling away the stone while there is a great earthquake then having rolled away the stone watching the angel then sit on top of it meanwhile all the men being terrified shaking to a near catatonic state but the women not being affected for no reason at all even though the angel does not tell them not to be afraid until all that is over.

    According to Matthew, the guards would not have believed Jesus was really the son of God; however, the women did. Perhaps that explains why they wouldn’t have been as shocked/terrified as the guards were when an angel showed up.

    Either way, the flow of the passage makes it seem as though they were already at the tomb — there’s not even a paragraph break between the angel’s appearance and his statement to the women. Actually, the wording of the passage makes it quite clear, so I’ll just post it again:

    Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

    Look, I know you can’t own up to this looking like a contradiction, and I don’t really expect you to. You can argue that maybe the women weren’t there yet… that’s fine. But it’s supposition on your part. You can say that you give it the benefit of the doubt because of so many other reasons you have to believe it’s true. I could understand that position. And I don’t think this is the biggest contradiction anyway. But to act as though our contention with this passage is just crazy is unreasonable and hints at being dishonest.

    It would be great if you could shed the bluster and just discuss this rationally. We don’t have to agree — I talk with many people on this blog and others with whom I don’t agree, but our conversations don’t devolve into shouting matches. I know that well-meaning, honest people can come down on different sides of these issues, even when they’re giving it their best effort. I’m willing to have that kind of conversation with you too, and the handful of times a decent person has shown through your surly exterior, I’ve enjoyed it. I just wish you’d let him out a little more often.

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  289. william

    Nope it funny that your simple english reading of a Greek text tries to ignore the parenthetical usage of word in the text and then you beg that your ignoring that fact counts as proof of a contradiction.

    Now THATS hilarious. Can we book you guys for Vegas? 🙂 🙂

    HAHHA, that is hilarious – because neither you nor i are greek language scholars, and the “simple english reading” that i am doing is provided by greek language scholars.

    you’re waving those hands awfully hard.

    besides, there are much more problems than when the stone was rolled away… problems you keep dodging.

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  290. “LOL, you’re still doing it… instead of answering all the issues, you either respond that way or argue about names, which is something no one is using as a point. LOL”

    Where??? Nate has no more points. If you claim otherwise present them because if Matt 28 doesn’t hold as proof for nate ( and it surely doesn’t) nothing will. go ahead knock me out with another point.

    The NY dares you. it double dares you. lol

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  291. william

    “Where??? Nate has no more points.”

    sure he does – you read his blog on it here: https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/contradictions-part-9-the-resurrection/

    and I’ve mentioned several of them. I’ll list a few more here:

    1) were they told to go to galillee or wait in jersulam?
    2) how many angels were there and where were they encountered
    3) where and when was jesus encountered?
    4) did the women tell anyone what they saw or not?

    there’s a few… again…

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  292. william

    “Speak for yourself. I am trained in Greek. Seminary boy here. :)”

    sorry If i’m skeptical. besides being trained in something isnt the same being an expert in that thing.

    But regardless, the translators of the bible were scholars.

    But please tell us either what the correct transliteration should have been or direct us to a more accurate rendering?

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  293. william

    ” If you claim otherwise present them because if Matt 28 doesn’t hold as proof for nate ( and it surely doesn’t) nothing will. go ahead knock me out with another point.”

    is this your argument, that mathew 28 “said it” so it must be true… despite what the other gospels say… because god is real and the bible is real… therefore we can know that matthew 28 is right, because it’s written?

    and as far as knocking you out, i didnt realize you were putting up real enough resistance to even call this a struggle.

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  294. “According to Matthew, the guards would not have believed Jesus was really the son of God; however, the women did. Perhaps that explains why they wouldn’t have been as shocked/terrified as the guards were when an angel showed up.”

    Weak beyond words. An earthquake and a shining angel would surprise anyone. Theres nothing it the the text anywhere where the belief Jesus was the son of god had anything to do with having fear or no fear at the unexplained events. The very fact that after all of that had already happened (in both our readings) the angel tells them not to fear indicates the woman would not be above being afraid because the believed Jesus was the son of God. You have no point

    “Look, I know you can’t own up to this looking like a contradiction, and I don’t really expect you to. ”

    Nate stick to the point. You are getting desperate. I can just as easily claim and with overwhelming evidence that you cannot own up to your errors or false claims of proof or a contradiction. You simply move the goal post every time theres something you didn’t know , made an error on or did not research to your favorite fall back “it should be more clear” therefore my point still stands. So go ahead and show me from the greek text where I have twisted the use of the word gar as used at times to begin parenthetical clause. YOu wo;t succeed but it will at least be on point.

    “But to act as though our contention with this passage is just crazy is unreasonable and hints at being dishonest.”

    Look You a really are not in a position to tell me about honesty so do what you claim you want with the discussion and deal with the content of my posts because you are back to fabricating – I never said anyone was crazy. In this thread it was stated.that the accounts were impossible to consolidate and its just false. get angry and handwave, ban me all you want because your contradiction has been blown up by someone who knows the parenthetical use of a word in the greek text. It will not change you have not proven a contradiction

    “It would be great if you could shed the bluster and just discuss this rationally.”

    It would be great if your last post actually demonstrated you wish to hold yourself to that standard Nate because it was mostly about me and not the subject.

    “And I don’t think this is the biggest contradiction anyway.”

    Sorry Nate but from what I have read this might be your best shot

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  295. william

    “Weak beyond words. An earthquake and a shining angel would surprise anyone. Theres nothing it the the text anywhere where the belief Jesus was the son of god had anything to do with having fear or no fear at the unexplained events. The very fact that after all of that had already happened (in both our readings) the angel tells them not to fear indicates the woman would not be above being afraid because the believed Jesus was the son of God. You have no point”

    hey, mathew wrote it. take it up with him. we cant figure it out either.

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  296. Mike, why would the angel need to tell the women to be unafraid if all the gospel accounts are true? After all, in at least one account, the angels are called men. That he has to tell them this is further indication that they were there when he rolled away the stone.

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  297. william

    mike, still dodging. But that and being rude is most of what you do.

    the problems are still there. ignore them all you like, they wont go away.

    Greek scholar? provide the translation we should be reading from. maybe that’s the issue.

    but you wont. you’ll call someone dishonest.

    then you’ll write something like, “THE END”

    and then complain about atheists being mean to you

    and then talking goal posts

    etc

    etc

    etc

    but wont address the issues as they’re presented. This serves as my prophecy.

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  298. 1) were they told to go to galillee or wait in jersulam?
    2) how many angels were there and where were they encountered
    3) where and when was jesus encountered?
    4) did the women tell anyone what they saw or not?”

    Like I said William they fare no better and for the very same reasons plus few other weaknesses

    You want them broke down? fine then i must go but I don’t have the time to reiterate the same problem for each one.

    “1) were they told to go to galillee or wait in jersulam?

    there no point there at all. The angel tells them to go to Galiliee and they eventually go but not before having to be convinced to obey because they doubted. Nate then goes into this whole spiel about having to stay in the city only he leaves out that Acts is written By Luke ( your claims against that are an entirely different matter that you cannot beg for here to prove a contradiction) That makes it quite clear that this command is for after the ascension because they go out of the city to Olivet

    “how many angels were there and where were they encountered”

    same old Easter play syndrome.

    “where and when was jesus encountered?”

    same old Easter play syndrome

    did the women tell anyone what they saw or not?

    my reading as I recall is that they told no one until they got to who they wanted or needed to tell. People do it all the time – tell no one until they tell someone. big whoop.

    Like I said without Matthew 28 to try and force to say one thing you all don’t have a lot left of any substance and the point on the greek usage of gar I noticed stands unrebutted (because its perfectly true its used that way)

    “sorry If i’m skeptical”

    No need to apologize. Its not like a skeptic who doesn’t know Greek being skeptical about me knowing it means a hill of beans.

    “But please tell us either what the correct transliteration should have been or direct us to a more accurate rendering?”

    Sigh…off on some strawman again because of your lack of understanding Theres nothing wrong with the english translation. For in the English language is used parenthetically as well. Pointing out that gar is used often times as for is used that way only underlines it as a legitimate way to read the text and the “for’ in English too.

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  299. ‘Mike, why would the angel need to tell the women to be unafraid if all the gospel accounts are true? After all, in at least one account, the angels are called men. That he has to tell them this is further indication that they were there when he rolled away the stone.”

    Sorry nate. that won’t work. Even in your reading he tells them that after he s descended, rolled away the stone and is sitting on the stone. The scary part is pretty much all over with. So its proves that he was not telling them that to alay their fears at everything else because that would have been too late. A look at the text explains exactly what he means

    Matthew 28:5 (KJV)
    5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: FOR I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
    6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

    there we have the because gar word again. indicating they ought not to be afraid because I know you seek jesus …he is risen.

    SO the fear he was alaying had to do with Jesus not being there and him arising would be the reason to not be afraid.

    Finally all the gospels relate fear in the women at some point and neither mark Nor Luke mention it in regard to any stone being rolled away by an Angel with an earthquake so the idea that that was the fear he was addressing does not hold water

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  300. Mike — why won’t you answer William’s questions? They are quite simple and well spelled out.

    How many angels were there and where were they encountered?
    Where and when was Jesus encountered?

    These questions have nothing to do with the “Easter play syndrome.” They are straightforward questions that beg an answer.

    Let me answer the question for you about who the women told — in Matthew, they ran to tell “his disciples;” in Mark, they “said nothing to anyone;” and in Luke, they told “the eleven and … all the rest.”

    No matter how you look at it, there are only THREE things that the resurrection gospels agree on: Mary Magdalene visited the tomb, it was the first day of the week, and the tomb was empty. They do not agree on the precise time the women visited the tomb; the number and identity of the women; the purpose of their visit; the appearance of the messenger(s) – angelic or human; what the women were told; the women’s response.

    From a rational perspective, all we know is Jesus died.

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  301. “there’s not even a paragraph break between the angel’s appearance and his statement to the women.”

    Nate I just saw this and I have to admit since you claimed to have done so much study I have thought that you were just being deceptive a good deal of the time but I’ll have to pull back a little and just not think you really did a lot of research like you claim.
    .
    Nate Biblical greek and Hebrew do not use paragraph breaks to change subject. they are usually a page of text. NO chapter division and no verse divisions. If you don’t believe me you can google NT greek manuscripts

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  302. “These questions have nothing to do with the “Easter play syndrome.” They are straightforward questions that beg an answer.”

    I’ve spent a good deal of my day answering people on this blog and its just insanely intellectually dishonest (yeah now nate can say I called someone crazy) of you to claim I am dodging anyone. It has EVERYTHING to do with the Easter play syndrome. If one person says they saw one but another say they saw one in no court would it be concluded that automatically they were not telling the truth. You can have two angels and one group only see one or you can one angel and another can join him.

    So beg your answer but don’t try to do what I said you guys would and thats go from you proving a contradiction to me having to prove there is not one. You want to say theres a contradiction then you prove it. You are the ones that made the claim

    “Let me answer the question for you about who the women told — in Matthew, they ran to tell “his disciples;” in Mark, they “said nothing to anyone;” and in Luke, they told “the eleven and … all the rest.””

    the extent to which you can accuse me of being impolite is when I just get exasperated at your desperate foolishness to try and make a failed point stick. If the passage that says they said nothing meant to say EVER then great swami tell the class how it is the writer who told you they said nothing about what happened was telling the story of what happened?

    VAST silliness. It simple means at a particular time they told no one and when they found who they wanted to tell they did

    ” They do not agree on the precise time the women visited the tomb;”

    You must have a great point there . Maybe their watches were broken….oh wait. oh thats right lithium battery shortage. Go figure .

    “Matt: At dawn.
    Mark: Just after sunrise.
    Luke: Very early in the morning.
    John: Early, while it was still dark.”

    Petty nonsense and Drivel. So now each Gospel writer must be referring to the same arrival/departure time within the less than 20 minutes it takes to go from dark to dawn

    “the number and identity of the women;’

    Yes cause if you say later today that you and Nate were debating Mike and William said that he had debated Mike and anaive thinker then theres a contradiction if The sons of smoke and spittle said they were debating with Mike. Copy and past time…

    Petty nonsense

    “the purpose of their visit;”

    What? Someone said they were going to Disney World? Chapter and verse

    “angelic or human; ‘

    God forbid if someone described an angel with two feet two arms and a head as a man. eh? We’ve finally got our best example of a Biblical contradiction people!!

    Nan………. Try again please. NO don’t bother I am getting bored again. Got to take a break. I think I am going to check out some other blogs over this weekend. this can’t be the best skeptics have to offer

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  303. Mike —

    You can have two angels and one group only see one or you can one angel and another can join him.

    God forbid if someone described an angel with two feet two arms and a head as a man.

    Taken individually, each resurrection narrative is very clear about who saw what. To me, you are making up possible scenarios of what “might” be the case rather than accepting what the bible clearly states. If you are not one of those who feel the bible is inerrant, then your interpretations might fly. But this is not the way you have presented yourself through your comments.

    BTW, just out of curiosity, what is the “Easter play syndrome?” I tried to find the phrase on Google but was unsuccessful. I thought it had something to do with the plays that churches put on at Easter (even though I couldn’t see the connection that you seemed to be making.) If you get around to visiting Nate’s blog again, I’d really appreciate it if you’d provide your definition.

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  304. archaeopteryx1

    Nothing anyone says will make any difference to him Ruth, he’s on an ego trip, out to prove he can discount all atheist’s claims, and failing miserably to accomplish anything. At least Brandon has the good grace to PRETEND humility.

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  305. archaeopteryx1

    He’s trying to say, Nan – if one can see beyond his ranting literary style – that in a play, the director has his actors move as a group, but in real life, they don’t do that – they sometimes split off, going in different directions – ergo, Mary might have seen things that the others didn’t, making both scenarios true – but the only thing he’s really splitting, is hairs.

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  306. Thanks, Arch … although I still have problems seeing how it all relates … ?? As you said, his literary style leaves much to be desired.

    Maybe (fingers crossed), he’s gone for good and Nate’s blog posting can get back on track.

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  307. Ooops I missed nate on Daniel 9 Before

    “Mike, I’ve done a post on Daniel 9 — I know what’s in it:
    https://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/skeptical-bible-study-daniel-chapter-9/

    Great so we have eliminated one possibility and can confirm that you were just playing possum. Clearly a reference to when Messiah would come in Daniel 9 is obvious to someone who knows whats in Daniel 9 so you were just playing games. Thanks for the admission

    “Why do they all end in Christ, Mike? Because they have to. ”

    Nate you can float that utter nonsense to your rubber stampers and it will work – not me. The starting dates have to be a time of a verifiable command that results in jerusalem being rebuilt not as you fabricate any day that fits to ending in Christ. That gives EXTREMELY Limited choices and statistically makes it HIGHLY unlikely that by chance any of them would work. Frankly you are pretty much lying now to say you can do anything with that passage since if you did any research (always a dubious contention with you) there are only around three that could even marginally work as actual commands to restore and build jerusalem and only ONE that actually was a command that actually did result in its being restored. In your article you beg it has to be Cyrus decree to FUDGE it your way but the problem is the passage then goes on to say it will be rebuilt walls and all as a result of this command but that doesn’t happen until Nehemiah’s decree. Undeniable the command given to Nehemiah is what gets the walls built and jerusalem restored as Daniel 9 calls for. No other command actually does this.Jerusalem is in waste regardless of Cyrus. So for an effective decree that actually results in the rebuilding and not ruins of jerusalem and its walls Nehemiah is a better start point but oh no! that ends with Christ so dishonestly you call it fudging

    ” Everyone has problems doing it, which is why there are so many different versions. I truly was surprised that you pulled that one to hang your hat on, since it’s so ambivalent it could be made to say anything.”

    Hand waving. NO one has had any great problems doing it. You are begging bread and your surprise is no evidence of anything not with you just expressing surprise I would hold my position on Matt 28 when there is no paragraph spacing when oops in fact no such paragraph for separate subjects even exist in greek manuscripts. YOU do far too much pretending you know what you are talking about Nate. that part is still dishonest.

    The rest of your Daniel Article is pretty weak. Your fudge factor 2 still leads to the time of Christ And your fudge factors 3 and 4 rest upon your rejection of the 360 day year which is corroborated by the fact that Babylon where Daniel was written (I’m not concerned with your forgery claim) and Jews were in exile at the time (not in Israel) used a 360 day year in one of its calendars, The book of Enoch uses it, Revelations uses it and in fact even this day we still use it in financial markets. Your favored resource admitting –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/360-day_calendar

    All Confirming its no invention but an actual calendar available to Daniel

    Finally your last beg is that there are no decrees given to Nehemiah but of course as usual you never really do any research into original languages. the hebrew word simple means command as in esther 1:12 relating to any written or spoken command. In this case it would have to be of such authority that it would get Jersualem toward being rebuilt. Nehemiah secured such a “Dabar” from the king to return and build jerusalem even allowing for supplies as well to do so. Of course you do try to beg that its not a command but just letters to convey across the territory but Nehemiah rebuts you

    Nehemiah 2:5-6 (KJV)
    5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.
    6 And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

    Its clear the request was to be sent to rebuild it and its clear the King granted the request and ordered it so even commanding that the very supplies to build it be granted to Nehemiah. desperate begin the supplies were provided the request was honored but no authorizations was given by the king is nothing but special pleading.

    So do I have a problem hanging my hat on it? (and a great many other prophecies) Not not in the least Nate. As usual you just don’t do good research thats why you are always surprised.

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  308. “Maybe (fingers crossed), he’s gone for good and Nate’s blog posting can get back on track”

    not to fear my young atheist. You can get back to your rubber stamping activities now.

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  309. There you go again — making assumptions. Sorry to disappoint but I’m not an atheist. And I don’t think you’ll find anything in my comments that indicates that I am. Try again.

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  310. “There you go again — making assumptions. Sorry to disappoint but I’m not an atheist. ”

    nan I don’t care what you claim for yourself, what semantic game you wish to play or what hair you split. You take the atheist position and get called as being one thats on you because its where you made your stand no matter what nomenclature you use. I’ve read several posts and comments from you and I don’t see you ever backing up a theist position but always an atheist one.

    Now do you wish to go back to rubber stamping like I said you could or continue arguing with me?

    “Try again.”

    You want me too? I hadn’t even left yet
    (was just reading something before I did) and you miss me already? Thanks man

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  311. archaeopteryx1

    I hadn’t even left yet (was just reading something before I did) and you miss me already?
    Absolutely, to the same degree and extent that I miss bat barf.

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  312. In response to Mike’s comment on Daniel 9, the article I wrote about it is here if anyone wants to read it. There’s a lot to Daniel 9, so I won’t bother going over all of it again here in a comment. The only additional point I’ll add is that even though the Persian calendar used 360-day years, they added an extra 30 day month every 6 years, so it still washes out to the same way that we count years today. For anyone not very versed in the different ways to read Daniel 9 that point may not make much sense, but Mike should know what I’m talking about.

    The point is, Daniel 9, even if you allow for the particular decree that Mike is arguing for, has lots of issues. Trying to make it fit Christ is no easy task. But again, if we’re going to discuss this particular issue much more, it might be best to continue it on that thread.

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  313. ” The only additional point I’ll add is that even though the Persian calendar used 360-day years, they added an extra 30 day month every 6 years, so it still washes out to the same way that we count years today.”

    Why you are gone to the Persians I have no idea Nate but no the Babylonians used a 360 day that did not always use intercalary days or months. intercalary year are only necessary for agriculture and season reasons. Many countries used more than one calendar

    “The point is, Daniel 9, even if you allow for the particular decree that Mike is arguing for, has lots of issues. Trying to make it fit Christ is no easy task.”

    Total, absolute and desperate nonsense. If you start with the decree that actually restored Jerusalem and you use the 360 day calendar there is absolutely no issue. You end up within the life time of Christ simply and easily.

    Further there is some good teaching out there regarding how the the same 360 day year pinpoints other dates from straightforward Biblical calculations and the 70 years Daniel says is to be cut out. The statistical odds against it being by chance are pretty high.

    Do some good research for a change Nate.

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  314. “Absolutely, to the same degree and extent that I miss bat barf.’

    Not to fear Arch. I have confidence in your ability to create more in the morning so you won’t be missing it for long.

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  315. “You must be referring to when I go to the bathroom in the morning, to take a Mike.”

    What ever you call your bat barfs is of no concern to me arch 🙂

    “What are you gaining from this Mike?”

    What are you getting from asking me Port. I’ve just scanned though and cannot find a single post where you make any good point. its almost all about me and you will not be heard on that subject for the simple reason that no objective person would find any poster more offensive and rude than your beloved arch comrades especially to Naivethinker. None of you are going on and on about them because they are supportive of you ideologies.

    So why should I be informed by hypocrisy?

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  316. you got me Mike, darn the deconstruction of my conniving ways! 🙂

    You are right, I have been hypocritical at times, and I haven’t really jumped into this thread too much to say something substantial.

    I have been mainly asking you questions because I don’t really feel I have too much to add to the conversation at this point.

    It could be also that I may not be as well informed or educated on these things as you, and that’s ok 🙂 I can accept that.

    I’m asking you these things because I would like to understand what you have to say, rather than filling in the blanks.

    I’m trying to work out if you are setting out to be reactive, or that is just comes naturally in the way you communicate. Or maybe I’m the one who is wrong…An alternative would be to ignore you, which I don’t think is fair or respectful, for I don’t think you deserve to be ignored.

    But I was the one who asked first, so I suppose I could have never asked…fair enough

    I do find you really rude though Mark, it could be just me, but what you keep referring to as “rubber stamping” could just be that people don’t like being talked down to and treated like crap. And I don’t think you appreciate it either.

    If your right, and people here are affirming each others views in a vacuum of groundless opinion and rubber stamping… then its good that you are bringing different contribution the the vacuum 🙂 .

    But talking down to people, and getting involved in throwing insults around with other people detracts from that. Even if other people are doing it, does that mean you should too?

    And I’m just as guilty of many things. I am not perfect.

    Have a good night,

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  317. By the way Arch and Ark have had exchanges on this as well.

    I disagree with them as well at times in regards to how they have treated other people in a conversation. You might even come across this in your travels to different threads.

    Its not a nice feeling if you feel you are being ganged up on by a group of people that seem to support each other or know each other to an extent.

    I get that, and a person coming into such a thread or conversatiuon to be then payed out, or eventually being the a butt of a joke at their expense is never a nice thing. No matter who does it.

    Hope that gives you a better view of what I mean. Its not a “lets gang up on Mike thing” at least its not that to me. I have already had these conversations with both Ark and Arch. I have shared my thoughts, and what they have then done after is up to them, just like it is up to you 🙂

    Thanks

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  318. and I didn’t mean that last bit to be condescending, after all I really don’t know anything about you Mark,

    For all I know your responses might be valid in these circumstances, but in my opinion if someone tries to embarrass or belittle someone at another expense, then that does not help in encouraging understanding. matter who posts it. Whether it be theist, atheist or deist. Like I said, I don’t know your intentions. these are just my thoughts.

    and I’ll try to keep myself in cheque 🙂

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  319. I can see that. I’m not sure what you guys want from Brandon, though. I realize he did come to atheist forums and I also realize that, whether he sees it that way or not, he seems to be proselytizing. Though I’m not sure how he’d go about giving an alternative opinion without it sounding that way?

    I’ve been kinda hard on the guy myself, but he’s a pleasure to talk to compared to this guy. He says he’s a seminary boy. William questioned that, but I don’t really. He’s going by The Book. I’d be interested to know what flavor of Christianity he holds to. It’s seems apparent it’s a fundamentalist one. IFB maybe?

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  320. Though I’m not sure how he’d go about giving an alternative opinion without it sounding that way?

    Exactly Ruth – I for one want alternative opinions so I can be challenged in my own thinking which is a big reason I hang out on Nate’s blog way more than any other blog. Nate tries his best to create an environment where people can come and give alternative views, and I’ve already given several names of people who have done that, and some even very strongly (like Unklee). Captain Catholic can also be very strongly opinionated and we have all had some really good conversations with him as well. I could name others. Nate’s discussions with those people have always maintained a good level of respect and calmness to them while sometimes disagreeing quite strongly.

    And as you say, Brandon is a pleasure to talk with no matter how “smarmy” he may sometimes come across. I have viewed every conversation I’ve had with Brandon as productive in the sense that they have never devolved into silly name calling, insults or character judgments, and we strongly disagree many times. In fact Rautakyy has been having a calm and intelligent conversation on Brandon’s blog in the past week (which I unfortunately haven’t had the time to read completely through because it’s very, very long).

    As I’ve said, unfortunately I don’t see how discussions with Mike can be productive. His game is very obvious to me – to try and show that the atheists here are all dishonest and that none of them are really interested in truly understanding what is real, and I personally think it is very clear that he twists things we say to help bolster that. If you look for Nate’s post on the Tyre prophecy you can see where he exhibited the same behaviors.

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  321. I completely agree with you, Howie. I don’t mind – at all – being challenged in my thinking. I just don’t see how it’s productive to belittle people or to twist what they’ve really said. Misunderstandings take place, but it’s pretty apparent that Mike is deliberately misrepresenting what people say in an effort to make them appear dishonest, which (ironically) is dishonest itself. It’s also not a good tactic to accuse people of being biased when it’s obvious that the accuser is biased. Is it biased when you’ve researched and followed the evidence where it led? We all use our best judgements to come to conclusions. If it’s biased to [seem] as though one’s mind is already made up and won’t consider any new information, then pot meet kettle.

    I’ve been following that conversation at Brandon’s. It’s been very nice to watch the two of them present their views without name-calling and bashing.

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  322. writing multiple posts is a bad habit of mine. would have been better just to have fit them all into one. They were a bit sugar coated. I agree though that the more different perspectives and people coming from different beliefs, the better the discussions, providing there is as shared respect dignity given to everyone…even that might sound a bit cheesy… but I think its necessary for decent conversation. Not to say humour shouldn’t be involved though.

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  323. @Nate & Ruth — I appreciate your comments. I’ve been following the “progress” of this post from day 1, and wanted to get involved here, but I know my weakness when dealing with people like Mike and would be tempted to get sarcastic with him because of the button-pushing tactics he uses. He has a troll personality, and nothing productive can come from that. Arch and Ark may not have had the best bedside manners but they call it as they see it. He doesn’t appear to be here to engage in civil discourse. He appears to be here to derail a potentially educational post. I’ve wanted to bring another perspective to this discussion, but have hesitated because of the predictable fallout from Mike, and just didn’t think it was worth my time and energy to invest in this discussion. Nate is incredibly patience and has my utmost respect.

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  324. I agree though that the more different perspectives and people coming from different beliefs, the better the discussions, providing there is as shared respect dignity given to everyone…even that might sound a bit cheesy… but I think its necessary for decent conversation. Not to say humour shouldn’t be involved though.

    Different perspectives bring color and flavor to a conversation that otherwise wouldn’t be present. I get it that that’s all some people might want, but that’s not true of every one. It’s another gross exaggeration that paints everyone with a broad brush.

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  325. I think the last few comments from portal, Howie, and Ruth have been spot on. I really hate all the name calling. I think it does nothing but bring down the value of this blog.

    I don’t want to ban people. I just wish we could all remain polite and stay on topic. One thing Mike is right about its that Brandon want treated fairly when he showed up here. The interactions I’ve had with him have always been positive. Even if his polite demeanor is just a ploy, so what? I’m sure people could claim the same about me. It’s far nicer to have a polite conversation than a name calling contest.

    When we give into our baser natures and treat people rudely, it only reflects badly on us. And most observers are smart enough to see when certain people are being jerks without us finding colorful ways to point it out.

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  326. “It’s another gross exaggeration that paints everyone with a broad brush.”

    Ruth, sorry, didn’t understand that. What is a gross exaggeration?

    just wanted to add too, I think what’s more important than colour and flavour is whether a point is correct, or a belief is true.

    I really enjoy reading and participating in diverse conversations, both online and off, but if the various opinions begin to confuse a broader understanding of peoples positions then that’s when things can become problematic.

    But if everyone treats the other with dignity, then the opinions and values of people can be discussed and considered as they stand. In a perfect world…

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  327. “It’s another gross exaggeration that paints everyone with a broad brush.”

    Ruth, sorry, didn’t understand that. What is a gross exaggeration?

    Sorry, I had a type-erase-retype moment. lol

    It’s a gross exaggeration that all everyone on this blog wants is rubber-stamping and back-slapping, or that every atheist is this or that – or that every Christian is, for that matter. There are a few, like you, Howie, and Ratamacue who have pleaded for civility so that both sides of this could be fleshed out.

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  328. …just wanted to add too, I think what’s more important than colour and flavour is whether a point is correct, or a belief is true.

    I agree with you, BUT, since both sides of this seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum they can’t both be correct or true. We need that color and flavor [with supporting evidence, of course] to make judgements. I didn’t mean just conjecture and opinion.

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  329. archaeopteryx1

    My guess is, bragging rights – he will go on other sites, boasting about how he whipped our asses with his irrefutable logic – the man truly is a legend in his own mind – but all he actually accomplished here was to leave a slime trail of foam and spittle, and of course, vitriol.

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  330. Mike, why are you arguing for the Babylonian calendar when Daniel was living under Persian rule? And even if you stick with the Babylonian, they also added a month every so often to keep the calendar aligned with the seasons. Instead of having it every 6 years by default, as the Persians did, they added it by decree as needed.

    Either way, all of these cultures understood a year to be 4 seasons, just as we do. Any culture that went to a straight 360-day calendar would eventually have their “January” coming at the wrong time of year. So even though different cultures had different ways of doing it, all of them figured out a way to balance their calendar so that the various months stayed align with the various seasons. In other words, they all had ways to average out to a 365-day year.

    I’m not trying to say that you’re necessarily wrong (even though I do think that, of course), I’m just trying to make the point that if you’re looking for solid evidence of an actual prophecy, Daniel 9 is probably not the best one to use. It’s filled with language that can be interpreted different ways, and you even have to use a non-standard definition of a year to make things work out the way you want. If there’s a clearer prophecy, you’d be better off using it — in my opinion.

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  331. His game is very obvious to me – to try and show that the atheists here are all dishonest and that none of them are really interested in truly understanding what is real,….

    Sadly, nice guys so often get sand kicked in their face.

    Mike just stands there and does it openly and then knocks down the sand castle, and piddles on it.
    With people such as Brandon and unklee their methods are covert and a lot more insidious.
    If you doubt this, simply go back to earlier posts, on their own blogs or other people’s where they have commented. The derogatory tactics are the same
    Their objective is not to interact with the intention of understanding or a view to changing their perspective or even remotely considering a rethink of their religion.
    Their approach is smarmy, couched in condescending language, long-winded and usually meaningless posts that veer off on all sorts of tangents so one is chasing aftger every meaningless statement.
    Re-read Brandon’s comment regarding the Exodus and try to see what he is actually saying, for if you acknowledge that his POV may have merit then he has to explain all the supernatural elements of the ridiculous story as well, and he will not because this means fighting the battle on YOUR terms: one that does not include the supernatural.
    So for these people, it is far easier to come across as reasonable while still trashing every scientific and secular scholarly approach, and then go on to subtly ( or not so) accuse you of ‘misunderstanding’ the religious texts of such things as OT prophecy, Resurrection etc ad nauseum.
    And all the time, while you are believing they are behaving in a reasonable manner, they are insinuating that you could not possibly have been a proper Christian.

    Christians like this are disingenuous dickheads, plain and simple. They need a swift kick up the arse or a clip round the ear.

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  332. Ark, you may be right about that. But I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. If guys like Brandon and unkleE are respectful toward me, I’ll try my best to be respectful toward them. I don’t mind if we can’t come to an agreement on some of these things. Honest people sometimes come to different conclusions.

    So if a Christian visits this blog and remains respectful, I’d like for everyone else to treat them respectfully as well, even if you think they may have ulterior motives. Why can’t we just address their points without calling their character into question?

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  333. archaeopteryx1

    @Portal – wow, you’re a genuinely nice guy, he’ll eat you alive, or walk all over you, his option. If you’ve noticed – and I realize it’s a long thread – in the very beginning, I presented evidence, which he ignored, rather than refute (it’s easier), then later, he acknowledged the fact that he was ignoring what I had to say. Only then, did the insults begin, as I began to see that other than foam, spittle and vitriol, he had nothing substantial to offer. I don’t attack people indiscriminately.

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  334. yeah, but would it have been so bad to just point out that he was dodging and avoid the insults? I’m afraid that to objective bystanders, it just gets hard for people to tell the difference between guys like Mike and all the rest of us if we engage in the same tactics. I’ll admit, the immediate payoff you get from zingers is pretty great — I just worry that it does more harm than good in the long run.

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  335. Arch,

    I’m a fairly accommodating person I’ve realised, which isn’t always a good thing :/ I understand you guys didn’t see eye to eye. I personally don’t think taking shots makes a pe4rson more wiling to change to how you would rather them behave,

    but I appreciate you don’t attack indiscriminately 🙂

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  336. And Arch, I mean at the end of the day, he can say what he wants, as long as he doesn’t insult my mum (which he doesn’t know) and which I don’t think he would say something like that anyway.

    If someone is being ripped into, I like to think I would call it out. On a blog I feel comfortable on anyway. Although I haven’t always called it out, so yeah I dunno

    At the end of the day I realise these are only words, if someone calls me or you something on the internet, unless they know me or you personally or have talked to me or you for some time, there really is no reason to attach anything else to it 🙂 but its still not a nice feeling initially I find.

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  337. @Nate

    So if a Christian visits this blog and remains respectful, I’d like for everyone else to treat them respectfully as well, even if you think they may have ulterior motives. Why can’t we just address their points without calling their character into question?

    Fair enough, Nate, I respect you too much to argue the point.

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  338. Regarding the 500+ that supposedly witness the resurrection. It’s possible that Paul embellished, or it’s possible that these people actually thought they saw the resurrection when one or several planted the suggestion. It only takes one person (the power of suggestion) to start mass hysteria. Case in point:

    “Between April 1968 and May 1971 hundreds of thousands of people reported seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary over a Coptic Orthodox church in Zeitoun, near Cairo, Egypt. When photographed, these phenomena appeared as irregular blobs of light.

    The characteristics of these luminous phenomena strongly suggested the existence of tectonic strain within the area. According to the hypothesis of tectonic strain, anomalous luminous phenomena are generated by brief, local changes in strain that precede earthquakes within the region. More detailed descriptions of the phenomena, such as visions, often occurred as ‘flashes’; their details usually reflected the religious background.

    Psychological factors determine more elaborate details of the experiences because there are both direct stimulations of the observers brain as well as indirect contributions from reinforcement history.” (Derr, John S. & Michael A. Persinger ‘Geophysical Variables and Behavior: LIV. Zeitoun (Egypt) Apparitions of the Virgin Mary as Tectonic Strain-induced Luminosities. Perceptual and Motor Skills 1989, 68, 123-128]

    and

    Eyewitness reports and security cameras captured a large number of light flashes during the 2007 Pisco, Peru M 8.0 earthquake. Together with seismic records obtained on a local university campus, the automatic security camera records allow for an exact timing and location of light flashes that illuminated a large portion of the night sky. The light flashes identified as earthquake lights coincided with the passage of the seismic waves.”

    http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/geophysics/science-earthquake-lights-01662.html

    That area (the hub of 3 major religions) is one of the most seismically active regions in the world.

    Like

  339. Thanks, Ark. 🙂 That means a lot to me.

    I have a lot of respect for you and Arch, too. And William — he likes to dish it out as well sometimes. But yeah, if we could dial it back a bit, I think that would be great. I should have the next post up soon (hopefully today), so that will be a good trial run. 🙂

    Btw, I know some of you have mentioned adding nesting comments here, and I’ve thought about it. However, if I do it, it’s going to mangle past comment threads — some will show nested, but others won’t. So it might be really confusing for later readers to piece together. So right now, I’m tempted to keep things as they are — sort of like a traditional message board.

    Thoughts?

    Like

  340. archaeopteryx1

    @Ruth – RE: “I’m not sure what you guys want from Brandon, though.
    I can’t begin to speculate as to what goes on in the Arkster’s mind, though I suspect it usually involves two monkeys and a yo-yo. My problem with Brandon is not his beliefs – he’s entitled to those, everyone is – it’s his smarmy, saccharine, manipulative, formulaic behavior that makes my skin crawl, much like nails on a chalkboard.

    “I think that’s a WONDERFUL question, Ruth – BUT –“

    Like

  341. some will show nested, but others won’t.

    To clarify, older threads won’t look as they do now, because some people have posted comments through WP readers, rather than just visiting the blog. So some of the comments will nest, but others won’t, and I’m afraid that will be far more confusing than it is now.

    Plus, when nesting, some people get really confused on how to keep nesting the comments when the ‘reply’ button no longer shows on the most recent comment.

    Like

  342. “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the lord came down from heaven…
    … His appearance was like lightening and his clothes were as white as snow.” Matthew 28: 2,3

    From the link I posted previously:

    “Seconds before the 2009 L’Aquila, Italy earthquake struck, pedestrians saw 10-cm high flames of light flickering above the stone-paved Francesco Crispi Avenue in the town’s historical city center.”

    “In 1906, about 100 km northwest of San Francisco, a couple saw streams of light running along the ground two nights preceding that region’s great earthquake.”

    “Earthquake lights, also known as ground lights, take a variety of forms, including spheres of light floating through the air.”

    Like

  343. archaeopteryx1

    @Howie – personally, I like CC (Captain Catholic) and miss conversations with him, as he doesn’t pop in often – he’s open, honest, definitely un-smarmy, and a pleasure. Even the unk-man and I have, in my opinion, reached some degree of mutual respect. But I’ve expressed my opinions of Brandon and Mike, and I stand by those, unwaveringly. I’m not alone, even VW and Neuro, who used to constitute his fan club, have backed away from regular correspondence with Brandon. I also dislike the way, like a predatory animal, he searches out the weak in the herd, and I HAVE read each of Rautakyy’s comments in their entirety, and I’m glad to see that he’s holding his own, though politely.

    Like

  344. @Nate: actually nesting is quite a “religious” topic as well with some people having extremely strong feelings about on both sides. I prefer your current way Nate and I’ve seen a lot of very well run and highly commented blogs use your current method. But, I definitely see pros and cons to both. One thing I do definitely wish was that WordPress had a way to do non-nesting like you do but still have a “reply” button shown on the comments. Instead I always use my e-mail copies to reply, but if you aren’t copied on a thread you don’t get the e-mails.

    Like

  345. I see what you’re saying, and it can be a little grating, but I wonder if he’s like that in other matters – if that’s just his personality? I wonder if anytime he thinks he’s right about something that’s the way he approaches it, y’know, to soften to blow of the perceived correction.

    “Great job, Ruth – BUT – you need to think about drawing blood from another vein. You see, if you draw from this vein it’s going to collapse because this person is dehydrated. If their vein collapses it’s going to cause all sorts of other problems. If it causes all these other problems then we’ll have more problems to medicate.”

    See what I mean?

    Like

  346. Then again, it could just be a formulaic tactic to ingratiate himself to the other conversant, like you said.

    Putting myself in his shoes, if I’m in perceived enemy territory, I might try to do the same thing. Probably not, though.

    Like

  347. archaeopteryx1

    “Oops, I meant to direct my comment @Howie and Ruth.”
    Wouldn’t it be great, if like Ning websites, or even FaceBook for that matter, allowed one to correct comments – but alas 😦 WordPress doesn’t allow for that —

    Like

  348. I wonder if anytime he thinks he’s right about something that’s the way he approaches it, y’know, to soften to blow of the perceived correction.

    This is pretty much how I see it too. Honestly, it sounds a lot like the way I try to converse…

    This is why I advocate giving each other the benefit of the doubt.

    Like

  349. @Arch: I don’t fault you one bit for being irritated (in a chalk screech way) by smarmy attitudes. And Unklee actually does sometimes play the “see I proved it, you are all dishonest” card a bit too much, but when I call him on it he usually backs off that pedal a little bit at least. Either way, I think everyone should personally come to their own conclusions about whether or not they want to engage with someone and I think you’ve gone overboard in trying to drag everyone into your own character assessment of Brandon. Nate’s comment I thought was best – Brandon and Unklee are trying to be as polite as possible so why not try and engage their comments intelligently just like Rautakyy is doing (I’m hoping to take time next week to read ALL of that conversation by the way). And frankly I can see how sometimes my own comments can come across smarmy – in fact you once thought I was purposely doing it to make fun of Unklee when I was not.

    Oh, and I miss Captain Catholic as well – very bright fellow.

    Like

  350. archaeopteryx1

    @Ark – well said! If I might add, RE: “And all the time, while you are believing they are behaving in a reasonable manner, they are insinuating that you could not possibly have been a proper Christian.” – and that you lack the intelligence to see through their ruse.

    Like

  351. archaeopteryx1

    As I said, Portal, you’re a nice guy – unfortunately, there are those out there, who are poised to take advantage of that.

    Like

  352. RE: “And all the time, while you are believing they are behaving in a reasonable manner, they are insinuating that you could not possibly have been a proper Christian.” – and that you lack the intelligence to see through their ruse.

    It is utterly impossible to force people not to make untrue assumptions about others. While that may be what they think, I know the truth about myself. I know what I’ve been through, the research I’ve done, and the study I’ve put into this. I also know that while I may not be the brightest bulb in the box I’m not a moron. So what anyone else thinks of me is really not my business, nor my problem. It’s theirs. If they want to dismiss me because [they think] I wasn’t a proper Christian, or because I’m a woman [some people do that], or because they think I’m unintelligent there’s just not a whole lot I can do about that. Banning them only proves their point, though, that we don’t want other opinions – that we can’t hold up to their scrutiny.

    Like

  353. @NeuroNotes: Hi Victoria!! I’m very glad you decided to comment here (and btw, if Mike replies to you I would say Ruth’s technique is probably best at avoiding engaging with troll-like behaviors).

    As to this comment of yours regarding the visions I think it is a great point, and it in fact relates (although not obviously maybe) to a short thing I wrote in my very first comment of this post: “Another interesting topic related to the resurrection proof texts is that Paul’s experience is listed along with all the other people who had experiences. I’ll leave people to think about what the implications of that might be.”

    The reason why I mentioned that is because it seems all scholars agree that Paul’s experience was a visionary one, not one which engages with a dead corpse walking around. None of Paul’s letters indicate anything of the disciples/apostles/etc. experiences as seeing a dead corpse walking around. In fact this famous I Corinthians passage used by so many apologists which includes the 500 also lists all the other disciples as having experiences right along side Paul’s with no distinction like “oh, my (Paul’s) experience was visionary, but the others saw the actual corpse walking”. I personally see this as a very important point in the whole scheme of things especially when it comes to the minimal facts approach that Licona, Habermas and a lot of others try to use. They use this minimal facts approach because they realize that a lot of scholars have conceded that the gospels contain embellishment and are not as trustworthy as some of Paul’s writings. So they stick to Paul’s passage which scholars agree is a lot more trustworthy. But Paul’s passage doesn’t really get very far though – to me I don’t see how it gets us further than the Marian apparitions which you mentioned.

    Like

  354. archaeopteryx1

    @N℮üґ☼ – “That area (the hub of 3 major religions) is one of the most seismically active regions in the world.”
    In fact, the faultline that created the Great Rift Valley in Africa, runs right along the area of the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee, and a resulting earthquake that threw indigenous bitumen (quite flammable) high into the air where it ignited, was responsible for the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Like

  355. @Nate.

    So right now, I’m tempted to keep things as they are — sort of like a traditional message board.

    Thoughts?

    Take no notice of Arch, he’s just a bloody old fossil and merely needs to remember to put the @ sign and the name of the person in his posts, and maybe copy a bit of relevant text. 😉

    Like

  356. Re: “It is utterly impossible to force people …”

    @Ruth: I entirely agree with everything you’ve written in this comment of yours, and I liked it quite a bit. I know you don’t care at all, but I personally respect you!!

    And yes, banning is not the solution either unless they go way overboard, (e.g. threatening people) – but Mike hasn’t done that.

    Like

  357. This is what it comes down to for me:

    When I was struggling with doubts and trying to come to terms with what I did or did not believe, I read a lot of blogs, articles, and books. I was always turned off by those who used a condescending tone, no matter what position they held. Anyone who pretends that Christians/atheists/deists/etc are stupid are being disingenuous. When I was a Christian, I believed I had good reasons for being one. Now that I’m an atheist, I believe I have good reasons too. If I see someone claim that the other side has no grounds for their position, then I tend to dismiss anything else they say.

    The fact is, none of us knows if there’s a god or not. I’m 99% sure that the god of the Bible is false, but I understand why some people believe in it. And I know that very intelligent, well-meaning people sincerely hold that position. If I spend my time throwing insults at them, I’m sabotaging my own position with any objective readers who are simply after truth. Rather, if I engage with people respectfully, and deal with their points rationally, then my personality is not as likely to get in the way of my points. If I am saying something worthwhile, then hopefully they’ll be able to accept it more readily. And I find it much easier to do this when I give others the same benefit of the doubt that I hope they give me.

    Liked by 1 person

  358. archaeopteryx1

    @Nate – other than, “Kick WordPress to the curb,” which would be my foremost recommendation, I’m not clear on what you’re saying. I’ve been on a great number of WP sites, and Matt’s, and I believe Neuro’s, both have nested comments, and reply buttons that remain useable – Matt’s for sure, and I think Neuro’s as well.

    Like

  359. archaeopteryx1

    @N℮üґ☼ – RE: ““Earthquake lights, also known as ground lights, take a variety of forms, including spheres of light floating through the air.”
    I think yo0u may just have solved a lifelong mystery! Neither of my parents are any longer living, but as a child, BOTH swore that one dark and stormy night, a ball of lightening came in through the window and rolled right up the bed between them. As I grew older and learned more, that statement, which I believed and still do, raised questions in my mind. First, how was I ever born, if they slept that far apart, and second, why were neither of them affected by the electricity?

    If it were light, and not lightning, that would explain everything, except for how I was conceived.

    Like

  360. Maybe so. Used to, it worked like this:

    If you allowed comments to nest 2 levels deep, then once you reached that limit, the reply button would no longer show up, since you couldn’t technically reply into a deeper level. It was easy to keep replying in that particular level though, just by going up and clicking on the reply button for the comment that started that particular level. But this seemed to confuse a lot of people.

    Years ago, I did it for a while here, but it just got too confusing. Maybe they’ve improved it since then, but I’ve done so much content without nesting by this point that I think it would mangle much of the old comment threads.

    As for WordPress, it may have a few quirks, but it’s one of the best CMS engines around. And while I could host my site independently and still use WP (plus tweak it in places), I’m too cheap to do it. 🙂

    Like

  361. Quite interesting, Arch. There’s been some fascinating studies done in Harbon Springs. People come from all over the world and say they have ‘spiritual’ experiences.

    Harbin Hot Springs rests between two ancient volcanos. One of them, northwest of Harbin, is a Pleistocene formation (including Cobb Mountain and Harbin mountain), while the other, directly is a Plieocene. I lived in CA for 10 years, and was living close to a fault line, and yes — I had ‘spiritual’ type experiences.

    Nature is awesome, and we are just scratching the surface regarding how our brains and bodies are affected, but the more and more I research, the more it becomes clear to me that these experiences are not supernatural. Nature messes with our heads, and even man-made infrasound can as well. People have had “ghost” type experiences that are explainable. We can experience a frequency following response where our brain wave entrains to external frequencies. Geomagnetic activity can also interfere with our own brain waves hormones. This can lead to hallucinations.

    ——

    “Data from the 19th century on hallucinations and magnetic disturbances were found to exhibit a direct and statistically significant correlation. The aa magnetic index over the period 1868-89 and concurrent visual hallucinatory activity were found to co-vary. Magnetic influences on the pineal hormone, melatonin, are suggested as a source of variation.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2012623

    Like

  362. archaeopteryx1

    @Howie – (I shouldn’t even have to say, “@Howie,” my comment should appear just under yours) – I use my email copies to reply as well, but my comment ends up on the bottom of the stack, nowhere near the original comment. How does a non-subscribed reader, who doesn’t GET email notifications, even know I’ve responded to their comment, except by reading EVERYthing, which no one has the patience to do, not even Job.

    Like

  363. archaeopteryx1

    I know that’s true, because Job called – he said, “F’get it! Oi, I’d rather coise g-d and die!”

    Like

  364. Yeah Arch – that’s only one of the cons that I am aware of – there are more. I did say there were cons (to both methods). 🙂 If I wasn’t copied on replies (which I always make sure I am) , then searching for my name usually solves this con pretty well though without reading everything, and if the person forgot to put my name skimming through comments usually solves it pretty good too. Yes, I know you don’t like it – I don’t either. there are things I don’t like about nesting as well.

    Like

  365. archaeopteryx1

    @Ruth – I see it as a disarming, ingratiating technique, totally lacking in sincerity. I view his motto as being, “Always be sincere, whether you mean it or not.”

    At least when I say something, no one doubts that I mean it.

    Like

  366. @Arch: Yeah, Job probably did have a Brooklyn accent. 😉

    Oh yeah, you are right though, after a day or so after the conversation ends I never look back at a thread, but if I am NOT copied on reply comments then I will never know someone replied to me, whereas with nesting I’m pretty sure the replies get to the inbox even if I’m not subscribed (correct?). This is a better point than I first realized in my first reply to you. But again, any post I reply I click the subscribe, but I probably miss that sometimes which means there are likely posts I’ve been replied to that I have no clue of whatsoever. That isn’t something that would keep me up late at night worrying about though. 🙂

    Like

  367. archaeopteryx1

    “This is why I advocate giving each other the benefit of the doubt.” – I have scars on my tongue from giving him the benefit of the doubt, at Neuro’s urgent urging, but in time, even she said (paraphrasing here) “Sic ’em!”

    Like

  368. @ Arch,

    At least when I say something, no one doubts that I mean it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I value sincerity. It’s just that I don’t always expect it. I can’t control another person’s behavior. Only my own. If I don’t want value what someone is saying or don’t like their personality, I can always just not talk to them.

    Like

  369. archaeopteryx1

    In fact, I looked up “sycophant” in the dictionary, and found Brandon’s picture beside the definition.

    Like

  370. At least when I say something, no one doubts that I mean it.

    Shoot from the hip.

    Let’s be honest, Yahweh may have been a real two faced hypocritical lying Bar Steward, but when he wanted someone split, pitted,raped, sodomised, burned,enslaved, stoned, or annihilated he didn’t begin his ”request’ with, “Wow! that’s a great point, Moses, and I respect your point of view, but…

    Like

  371. In fact, I looked up “sycophant” in the dictionary, and found Brandon’s picture beside the definition.

    Sorry, Nate, this is just too damn funny. 🙂

    Like

  372. archaeopteryx1

    “I think you’ve gone overboard in trying to drag everyone into your own character assessment of Brandon.” – that’s where you’re mistaken, Howie – I couldn’t possibly care less what anyone else thinks of Brandon, their opinions are entirely their own. I was simply addressing comments made about my OWN opinion of Brandon, and that required repeating what those opinions are.

    Like

  373. archaeopteryx1

    Take no notice of Arch, he’s just a bloody old fossil” – says the Great Stone Face! Go look at http://www.thinkatheist.com – now THERE’S a format! PLUS you get 15 minutes to make corrections!!! Put THAT in your sarcophagus and – do whatever with it people in sarcophaguses do —

    Like

  374. Nate,

    In general, I’m a fan of nested comments. However, non-nested has at least one advantage: it’s easier to follow a conversation in “real time”, i.e. to see what’s new, just by scrolling to (near) the bottom of the page. Otherwise, you have to rely on notifications…

    For your blog, the additional complication of switching as you mentioned is screwing with past threads. If you could find a way to draw “a line in the sand”, to make old threads stay non-nested, and new ones be nested, then it might be worth considering. (That does of course seem like a lot of trouble.) Otherwise, I think staying with non-nested is the better choice for your blog.

    Like

  375. Actually, I’d love to be able to set it post by post, but nesting is a site-wide setting, unfortunately. I think we’ll just have to keep the current format. Sorry for the limitations, Arch!

    But thanks again to everyone for weighing in.

    Like

  376. archaeopteryx1

    “I lived in CA for 10 years, and was living close to a fault line, and yes — I had ‘spiritual’ type experiences.” – so did I (both – Venice Beach), but they usually involved a girl.

    Like

  377. Then again, arch makes a good point, contra my suggestion:

    I use my email copies to reply as well, but my comment ends up on the bottom of the stack, nowhere near the original comment. How does a non-subscribed reader, who doesn’t GET email notifications, even know I’ve responded to their comment, except by reading EVERYthing, which no one has the patience to do, not even Job.

    …IDK.

    Like

  378. OK, so as an “observer” (for the most part), I personally think there’s been more than enough comments about certain individuals. Besides, that’s not the purpose of Nate’s blog. As Ark says, “Time for a new post.”

    Re: nesting — on the blogs that I’ve visited that use it, I’ve noticed the “reply” comments keep getting pushed farther and farther to the right side of the screen and the margin for these comments gets narrower and narrower. For that reason, I prefer the style of Nate’s blog. What I tend to do is leave the page active and then “refresh” when I haven’t been able to follow along with each post. Then I scroll down to the last post I remember reading. Yes, it’s somewhat of a pain, but as Nate says, leaving it “as is” works best for him. And after all, it is his blog. 😉