Kathy Part 3

Well, after breaking 2000 comments on the previous thread, I think it’s time to move to a new one. Feel free to continue the conversation here.

Also, I want to make a note about future posts. The tone on this blog for the last month or so has been decidedly different than what it used to be. While that’s definitely made things interesting, I’d like to move back to a tone more in line with the way things used to be. So going forward, I want the comments on all new posts to remain civil. We can all make our points, and I expect to see a wide range of opinions. But I don’t want to get into name-calling and bashing when we can’t all agree on particular issues. Let’s try to stay focused on the points and not get side-tracked with personal stuff. Let’s also keep each comment substantive so we don’t rack up so many comments in such a short period of time that it’s hard for everyone to keep track.

If you don’t feel like you can participate within those guidelines, then feel free to continue posting within this thread (and any future “Kathy” threads, if they’re needed), because I won’t be enforcing any guidelines here. But if you want to comment on any other posts, you’ll need to abide by the rules I just laid out. Otherwise, your comment will be subject to deletion, and after a warning, you might find yourself banned from at least that thread, if not the entire blog.

If there are any questions, let me know.

Thanks

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1,249 thoughts on “Kathy Part 3”

  1. Good move. On atheist blogs I find it is easy to get nice long comment threads if the blog encourage the name-calling sorts. Enforcing civil dialogue will drop your numbers but will be worth it.

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  2. “Its apparent even now that a week is not good enough. take a few weeks guys. maybe just maybe you will get a little better doing research.” – mike

    I’m not sure what you’re asking for, or who you’re asking, I just want to remind you that there are points you haven’t answered after much more than one week.

    and when arguing for a belief in something, typically the one who holds a belief will present the evidence that makes them believe.

    Asking someone to provide evidence that supports why they dont believe in something doesn’t make as much sense – although we’ve supplied evidence as to why we dont believe in the bible’s divine origins…

    that’s why we’ve tried illustrating that point with bigfoot and aliens. belief in those things isnt viewed as a default position – instead most of us require strong supporting evidence – and have historically not been convinced by the photos, video or eye-witness testimony that alien and bigfoot believers believe to be strong evidence if not all out proof.

    Similarly, many of us are not convinced by the claims of the bible or the so called supporting evidence. It doesnt even have photos or video and all the eye-witness are dead, with strong evidence that their testimonies were written long after the alleged events took place.

    I dont believe in krauss’ hypothesis, nor do I care if you believe them, so how could I provide evidence or proof for them? You claim to believe in the bible, and i thought that you have said there was clear evidence for believing it was from god – present this evidence.

    If you believe despite the presence of string evidence, then you shouldnt be surprised that many are not convinced.

    Mocking krauss does not prove the bible, just as mocking the bible does not prove krauss.

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  3. Hi Nate – great post! I love the idea of civil dialogue – I’m not sure I’ll have a lot of time to post much, but when I do I’ll do my best to adhere to the guidelines.

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  4. (I’ll speak generally here, about those of us deconverts who did so on account of research. Feel free to chime in if I (mis)represent you.)

    As I understood it, the point of “Letter to Kathy, Part 2” was to show a few of the questions Nate (and other researched deconverts) have wrestled with–not to deconvert her (or anyone). It was to show that we questioned honestly, in good faith, whether the truth claims that we dearly held as such for so long are indeed true. Our questions–and later, disbelief–did not come from a place of willful, prideful disobedience or belligerence.

    Kathy, if you could accept that about us, then from my perspective, it’d be up to you as to whether you want to examine the evidence with us. But it seems so far you haven’t believed our claims of honest assessment, so we proceeded to discuss some bits of evidence, in an attempt to demonstrate some of our thought processes, toward that initial goal. And… It got out of hand… You dig your heels in, and so did we, and there went the original idea.

    So, Kathy, do you still think we’re *all* willfully, ignorantly, rebelliously blinding ourselves to the “Truth”?

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  5. Yeah, I think you’re right, ratamacue. While we definitely got sidetracked quite a bit, I agree that the initial intent was just to show that we were sincere in our beliefs as Christians, and just as sincere in our exit from Christianity.

    I’d say if Kathy has been convinced of our sincerity, that’s great! And if she hasn’t, then there’s really nothing else that can be said anyway.

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  6. Nate, I’m not sure I understand. You are or are not going to enforce guidelines for “Kathy” posts? The way I read it, the guidelines are for any other postings, but not the ones directed to “Kathy.” Did I misread?

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  7. kc ,

    me: “And you failed to answer my question.. what archaeological evidence “should” we have to prove Paul was preaching in a specific area??”

    you: “Since Paul is credited by many as starting the religion of Christianity, I would think there would be statues, inscriptions , or something. Instead, all you can say is , “Tradition tells us”

    That’s all you have.”

    And this is another popular incorrect assumption by atheists. Pilate, who ordered that Jesus be executed, was a Roman official.. and all we have for him is ONE inscription. And it was Romans were the ones known for their statues and plaques etc.. not Jews.. especially when the religious leadership were trying to kill Christians.. who’s supposed to be erecting these statues etc?? Yet another example of a lack of objectivity.. especially since I’ve already brought up this point.

    Kathy,”The article also references Bart Ehrman. It’s an opinion piece by a non Christian which references the opinions of other non Christians, which makes the article useless to anyone seeking objectivity.”

    Bart Ehrman is STILL a scholar of the bible and yet because he became a non-believer , his scholarly knowledge no longer counts in your opinion. I suppose you discount ALL Jewish scholars and archaeologists because they are Jewish ?”

    His opinion should be considered but with skepticism…. when ONLY one side’s opinions are being referenced, that’s a credibility problem.

    “Kathy, no where does it say you have to believe in Christianity to be a Scholar. Only an indoctrinated person would accept the works of Christian Believing Scholars only.

    Pretty Silly !”

    I didn’t say that… “pretty silly” for sure.

    “The article references a total of 3 scholars on that point… how is that a “general” agreement? (it isn’t).”

    “Kathy, you obviously can’t comprehend what you read. To reference 3 scholars does NOT mean they were the only ones who agreed with his article.”

    But it ALSO doesn’t support in any way that the majority agreed with the belief of “4 Pauls”.
    I challenge that claim.

    “The Bible references a few people who were supposedly healed by Jesus. Do you believe he healed more than the ones mentioned ? Silly Silly Silly”

    “Silly” analogy, kc.

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  8. @ Nate & Ratamacue

    Nate, you said:

    “I’d say if Kathy has been convinced of our sincerity, that’s great! And if she hasn’t, then there’s really nothing else that can be said anyway.”

    I’m convinced that you all are very sincere in wanting to disprove the existence of God.. but I’m also fully convinced that you all lack objectivity when debating this question. I know you don’t agree but I’m basing my opinion on the exchanges I’ve had with you and others.

    My best example would be the question I presented to you asking which religion you believed had the most evidence to support it’s “truth”/Truth. You haven’t followed through with this question. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten honest answers.. only attempts to obfuscate.. maybe not in the beginning, but as the issue progressed for sure.

    Arch is another example.. I’ve presented to him a great example of “evidence”.. that he himself has used to make HIS points.. but when I ask him the same question about which religion has the most evidence.. he disappears.. all of a sudden he has “technical” difficulties. This is my evidence that you all are not apply honest objectivity.

    And William and Ark have been asking me repeatedly lately for my evidence that the Bible is true.. these 3 threads are FULL of my comments addressing this question.. giving the evidence.

    It’s become a game.. and it’s 100% dishonest. There is clearly no real desire of “FINDING TRUTH”… I have no doubt about this. I don’t know how the atheists here expect this to all turn out.. denying truth, pretending you aren’t in a “corner” with your erroneous beliefs, isn’t going to change the truth or how it all turns out.. I don’t understand this mentality.. at all. It’s not rational.

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  9. “And William and Ark have been asking me repeatedly lately for my evidence that the Bible is true.. these 3 threads are FULL of my comments addressing this question.. giving the evidence.” kathy

    kathy, fair enough. I’ve address all the evidence you’ve provided. If there’s nothing else you have to offer, then thank you for your time – i don’t think we have anything else to go over.

    You’re convinced by it and i am not. You think I lack objectivity and I think the same of you. We’re at an impasse, i guess.

    Take care, and thanks for conversing.

    nate, I look forward to your next post.

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  10. William, you said:

    “Kathy, why do any of them have to be true?

    and how do you know that christianity is the only true one?

    It looks like you’re starting off with an assumed position, and them simply declaring that christianity is “true.” If i wrong, could you walks us down you logic for determining that christianity is the one true religion and why there must be one true religion?

    I really just dont see it. This is why we’ve been asking for your evidence – to help us understand where you’re coming from and so that we might weigh this evidence for ourselves. ”

    William, I’ve already “walked you down” my logic for why I believe that the God of the Bible is our Creator.. I’m not going to do it again.. you are playing games.. or you are a product of the 60s.. which I’ve asked you if you are but you never answered me.. it’s one or the other.. mental issues or dishonesty. I don’t know of any other option. I can’t repeat myself over and over.. I’ve got better more important things to do that play games on this blog with people who choose deliberate ignorance. I’m trying to help you all.. I will repeat this: the Bible WARNS us about the trap of pride.. how destructive it can be. All of you are ignoring this warning.. you’re living proof of how valuable God’s teachings are.. and how powerful the trap of sin (pride in this instance) can be.

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  11. “William, I’ve already “walked you down” my logic for why I believe that the God of the Bible is our Creator.. I’m not going to do it again.. you are playing games.. or you are a product of the 60s.. which I’ve asked you if you are but you never answered me.. it’s one or the other.. mental issues or dishonesty.” – kathy

    I wasnt alive in the 60’s and I’ve never done drugs. I can only assure you that I am sincere, so to answer your question, if I am wrong, I’m just mistaken, i guess. In full disclosure, i dont think i’m the one coming off as insane or dishonest, but that’s only my perspective.

    And again, if you’ve already provided all your evidence, then i guess we have nothing else tio talk about. I found it lacking, if not circular, but certainly not logical. That is why I asked for if you had after. After providing what I thought showed the problems in your argument, I thought maybe I had missed something when you kept saying that you had good evidence.

    maybe I’m an idiot, maybe you are, maybe we both are – either way, we have nowhere else to go if neither of us have anything else to show.

    and thanks for the warnings on pride. pride can be a destructive vice and one best avoided. I’ll try to remind myself of its perils and continue to strive for the mastery and perfection of myself.

    Be well, kathy, and may we all seek the truth.

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  12. William,

    “Even so, there are other’s who were martyred for their spiritual beliefs and practices without their own violent acts:

    – many of the witches who were burned by christians long ago.

    – Tibetan monks.

    – Native Americans who wouldn’t convert to Catholicism

    – sikhs (we have a recent example of this in the USA)

    – Muslims (the ones who were actually peaceful)

    a little more info on islam and few examples of some of their martyrs who didn’t blow themselves up:

    FAMOUS MUSLIM MARTYRS
    The first martyr of Islam was a woman named Sumayyah bint Khayyat, who was murdered for her beliefs in Mecca in the early days of Islam. Hamza, a noted warrior of the early community and the uncle of Muhammad, was slain in 625. … The final three of Islam’s Rightly-guided Caliphs, successors to Muhammad, were martyred. Umar, Uthman and Ali were all murdered while serving as caliph. The term caliph means successor, and the first four caliphs were considered successors to the political authority of Muhammad.

    Martyred by WHO? What were the circumstances? I want to know how it compares to the martyrs in the Bible. Again, this is about WEIGHING the evidence. Mormons claim that Joseph Smith was “martyred”.. when in reality, he killed people while trying to get away. He was in jail for breaking laws.. nothing peaceful about his “martyrdom”.

    None of these examples give specifics.. names etc.

    Witches were wrongly killed but what did they die for?? satan? evil? I’m aware of what they claim.. but what evidence supports their claims of their beliefs??

    The circumstances and details matter.

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  13. Hi Nan,

    You’re right: for new posts, I plan to enforce the guidelines I’m talking about. However, these “Kathy” posts have gone on so long and have covered so much ground, I don’t see a way for me to moderate them. Plus, I’m not reading that much of them now, anyway.

    So I figured it made more sense to sort of let these go where they will, but I’d like future discussions to be more on-point and less acerbic.

    Thanks for asking for clarification, and I hope this comment helps!

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  14. That’s fine William.. you can pretend my evidence doesn’t matter; you are in a “corner”.. not many options left, so I understand.. but I’ve proven that the evidence does matter… that the evidence for Christianity FAR outweighs any other religion or scientific explanation.

    It’s just like a jury trial William.. evidence exists and honest determinations can be made. No jury member would get away with stating that there is no evidence so I’m not going to give a verdict. But that’s exactly what you are trying to do. I’d love to hear a juror state “santa claus did it!.. no difference in evidence!”

    ” I found it lacking, if not circular, but certainly not logical.”

    Archaeological evidence isn’t “logical”?

    Accurate historical documentation isn’t “logical”?

    It isn’t “logical” to believe that people who gave their lives peacefully to
    testify to the truth of the Bible is valid evidence?

    It isn’t “logical” to view fulfilled prophecies as valid evidence?

    The ability to discern evidence is also a critical component in finding truth.. along with
    honest objectivity. Reason and logic say that all of these things are valid evidence
    for the Truth of the Bible. It’s why we have so many Christians today.. and why we
    still have martyrs today… TRUE martyrs.

    You / atheists lack objectivity and also discernment skills it seems.

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  15. “but I’ve proven that the evidence does matter… that the evidence for Christianity FAR outweighs any other religion or scientific explanation.” – kathy

    I am sorry, but i just havent seen you do this.

    I dont feel like i’m in any corner. I’ve addressed the evidences of yours that I’ve seen – multiple times and have even recited the evidence that i’v seen you mention – i’ve even asked for you to repost the evidence you have in case I missed it – but you havent.

    you are welcome to list your evidence, but if you wont, then we dont have anything to discuss. there’s no corner that i see either.

    you also said,

    “Archaeological evidence isn’t “logical”?” & “Accurate historical documentation isn’t “logical”?” – kathy

    sure it is, but this isnt the end of that story. 1) many other religions and secular books have archaeology and history on their side. homer’s Iliad does. Troy’s been found, does that mean that the greek gods are real? 2) and when there’s archaelolgical evidence that is counter to the bible (which there is) – what then?

    and you said,

    “It isn’t “logical” to believe that people who gave their lives peacefully to
    testify to the truth of the Bible is valid evidence?” – kathy

    why does peaceful matter?

    How is that evidence for anything except their belief in what the truth is? Yes, we agree that they believed it was true – i would hope that no one would willing die for what they thought was a lie, but kathy, martyrs are made of people (and this isnt a charlton heston movie). People make mistakes all the time.

    so while a martyr’s steadfastness and devotion could be argued as admirable, it isnt evidence that they were right.

    also, i think quotes like this one may indicate that you’re the one with objectivity problems. You appear to be coming from it with the assumption it is just true. but why? why is it true? why did the martyrs believe it was true?

    again, simply saying it is true and simply saying that martyrs thought it was true is not the same thing as giving evidence for its truth,

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  16. “It isn’t “logical” to view fulfilled prophecies as valid evidence?” kathy

    sorry, somehow missed this one.

    A fulfilled prophecy would be compelling, but then it goes to how the prophecy was given and how it was “fulfilled.”

    I dont know if you saw it on Friday, but i gave an example of a prophecy in which Alabama was going to suffer an earth quake.

    No year was given. no timeline. Just that an earthquake would hit. let’s say and earthquake eventually hit alabama 1000 years later. Is that a good prophecy in your mind, or would you toss that up to coincidence?

    Now let’s say that a prophecy was given that alabama would suffer an earthquake, and that it would be destroyed, swalled by the sea, and never rebuilt. Then, 750 years later, an earthquake hit alabama. a big one, but not quite big enough to completely destroy alabama, and plus, alabama was soon rebuilt – although some properties were abandoned and Gulf Shores coast line changed some.

    this is actually how the biblical prophecies we’ve been shown look to me. The declaration of a looming event that could easily be explained or even expected given a long enough timeline, with many of the details being unfulfilled or “nonliteral” with no real indication of when this should happen…. I just dont find that convincing.

    many other religions have similar prophecies and fulfillments…

    Now, if someone prophesied that an 7.5 mag earth quake would hit alabama in January of 2025 that would be pretty amazing if that happened. Honestly though, i may even be reluctant to call that a good prophecy, as it may have been the result of good geology, etc – but the more literal details given, the more believable a prophecy gets as being a real prophecy.

    are there any like that in the bible?

    I’ve seen Nostradamus prophecies that are just as clear and just as fulfilled as those in the bible.

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  17. William,

    ““but I’ve proven that the evidence does matter… that the evidence for Christianity FAR outweighs any other religion or scientific explanation.” – kathy

    I am sorry, but i just havent seen you do this. ”

    That’s because you don’t WANT to see it. Again, to claim that the evidence for Christianity is the same as for santa claus PROVES this.

    “I dont feel like i’m in any corner. I’ve addressed the evidences of yours that I’ve seen – multiple times and have even recited the evidence that i’v seen you mention – i’ve even asked for you to repost the evidence you have in case I missed it – but you havent.”

    Where have you addressed the evidence you’ve “seen”.. that you have also repeatedly claimed I haven’t provided.. (very puzzling)..

    And I’ve already explained that I won’t repost the detailed evidence that has been posted in the last 2 posts.. not only by me but Mike as well.

    For you to claim no evidence has been presented seems like a tactic of desperation.

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  18. William, cont..

    “sure it is, but this isnt the end of that story. 1) many other religions and secular books have archaeology and history on their side. homer’s Iliad does. Troy’s been found, does that mean that the greek gods are real? 2) and when there’s archaelolgical evidence that is counter to the bible (which there is) – what then?”

    William.. here’s a direct question.. meaning I’d ESPECIALLY like an answer.. do you understand what “weighing evidence” means?

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  19. I was hoping Mike would help us bring another 17 new members on board, but he and Ms “Compelling Evidence” appear to be conspicuous in their absence.

    I’ll kick things off –
    Kathy, you’ve continued to maintain that the death of martyrs has been compelling evidence that the Bible is true. I’ve asked which martyrs, under what circumstances did they die, and what historical evidence do you have for this, yet you’ve not given me squat, which makes me wonder why YOU believe the Bible is true, because it clearly wasn’t the martyrs, since you seem to have no evidence for them.

    Let me do part of your job for you – Peter was said to have been martyred in CE 64. Please show me evidence of his martyrdom, other that of Tertullian, writing at the end of the second century (150-199 CE), or Origen, in the early part of the third (200-250 CE), literally a hundred to a hundred and fifty years after the alleged event, who were clearly relying on hearsay information, many generations old.

    So I’ll neeed your evidence for the martyrdom of St. Pete, followed by that of the other martyrs that convince you that the Bible is true, including your evidence for their martyrdom.

    Still tapping my toe, Kathy —

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  20. “That’s because you don’t WANT to see it. Again, to claim that the evidence for Christianity is the same as for santa claus PROVES this.” – kathy

    you’re the first one who i saw mention santa. you were talking about christian martyrs and i mention muslim martyrs, and then you said people who claim they’re elves and die for santa arent believable. we dont have to discuss santa, but I thought you were the first to mention him.

    “Where have you addressed the evidence you’ve “seen”.. that you have also repeatedly claimed I haven’t provided.. (very puzzling)..:” – kathy

    numerous time I’ve address martyrdom, prophecies in the bible, history and archaeology. numerous times I’ve listed these telling you that this is what i’ve seen you provide as “evidence.” what have I missed?

    “And I’ve already explained that I won’t repost the detailed evidence that has been posted in the last 2 posts.. not only by me but Mike as well.” – kathy

    well that’s your call. I’ve posted my stuff to both of you dozens of times and on one occasion, after mentioning that to you, you asked that i repost it again becuase going back through all the other comments was too much i obliged without complaint.

    “William.. here’s a direct question.. meaning I’d ESPECIALLY like an answer.. do you understand what “weighing evidence” means?” – kathy

    yes, i believe i do. Do you?

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  21. @Kathy

    And William and Ark have been asking me repeatedly lately for my evidence that the Bible is true.. these 3 threads are FULL of my comments addressing this question.. giving the evidence.

    I apologise if I appear to be repeating myself and /or have missed this evidence you claim you have addressed.

    The previous post was huge and to wade through all those comments is just too much for me.
    So, just for my benefit.
    Will you PLEASE either: provide details of the evidence you claim proves your religion or: provide a link/s that do.

    Thank you.

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  22. but I’m also fully convinced that you all lack objectivity when debating this question” – objectivity, for you it would seem, Kathy, consists only of those opinions that agree with yours.

    I can’t repeat myself over and over..” – how often have you repeated yourself providing me with the names of Christian martyrs, their martyrdom circumstances, and the evidence for your conclusions? See, by definition, repetition involves saying something more than once, and I can’t even get a first time out of you.

    “Arch is another example.. I’ve presented to him a great example of “evidence”.. that he himself has used to make HIS points.. but when I ask him the same question about which religion has the most evidence.. he disappears.. all of a sudden he has “technical” difficulties.”

    Yeah, but I got that fixed, Kathy, just so I could hurry back to you – is that why you haven’t gotten back to me with that martyr list – “technical” difficulties“?

    It isn’t “logical” to believe that people who gave their lives peacefully to testify to the truth of the Bible is valid evidence?” – which ones would those be, Kathy? I’d ESPECIALLY like an answer..

    “William.. here’s a direct question.. meaning I’d ESPECIALLY like an answer.. do you understand what “weighing evidence” means?”

    Don’t you think you should first learn what “evidence” means, before advancing to anything more advanced like “weighing evidence“? So far, your idea of evidence has been sorely lacking.

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  23. Couple of things to consider when discussing “weighing evidence” —

    Evidence may be given full weight, partial weight, more or less weight than other evidence, or no weight at all. Evidence is weighed against other evidence to determine which evidence is more reliable.

    Or the “weight of evidence” —

    Measure of credible proof on one side of a dispute as compared with the credible proof on the other,

    And “credible evidence” —

    admitted testimony, believable proof, believable testimony, confirmed proof, convincing proof, corroborated proof, credible documents, credible exhibits, credible proof, creditworthy proof, dependable proof, documented proof, honest proof, indisputable proof, indubitable proof, irrefutable proof, legitimate proof, legitimate proof of facts, proof worthy of belief, proof worthy of credence, tested testimony, testimony which is above reproach, trustworthy proof, truthful proof, truthful testimony, validated proof, verified proof

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  24. I think I may have mentioned something like this before, but here it is again, just in case:

    Evidence given by someone who testifies from personal observation is of greater weight than evidence offered by someone who is testifying from general knowledge alone.

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  25. Wow! I just caught this, Kathy, in one of your comments:
    It’s just like a jury trial William.. evidence exists and honest determinations can be made. No jury member would get away with stating that there is no evidence so I’m not going to give a verdict.

    Some time back, I told you that no court in the land would allow testimony to be presented from anonymous witnesses, like the Gospel writers, whose credentials can never be checked, all of whom wrote so long after the alleged death of the alleged Yeshua, that their testimony could ONLY be based on hearsay.

    You quickly responded that this was NOT a courtroom situation, yet here you are, using a courtroom scenario to once again fail to make your point – “No jury member would get away with stating that there is no evidence so I’m not going to give a verdict.” – no jury member would need to do that, as no judge would allow them to hear testimony that didn’t qualify as evidence. In other words, all of your Gospel writers would be disqualified as witnesses, and when the Gospels are dismissed, what do you have left?

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  26. There are so many things that could be said… I’ll try to prioritize.

    Kathy said (July 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm),

    I’m convinced that you all are very sincere in wanting to disprove the existence of God.. but I’m also fully convinced that you all lack objectivity when debating this question. I know you don’t agree but I’m basing my opinion on the exchanges I’ve had with you and others.

    Not quite. (I’ll just speak for myself now.)

    I was not sincere in “wanting to disprove the existence of God”. I believe I am sincere in wanting to know what the truth is regarding the truth claims of Christianity; and my method of determing that was by approaching its claims critically, with a measured skepticism. I presupposed neither God’s existence, nor his non-existence. I think I even gave a sizable “benefit of the doubt” to it in the process. My evaluation of the evidence is that it does not withstand scrutiny, and thus there is good reason to disbelieve (1) that Yahweh is the Creator of the universe, (2) that Jesus is his son, and (3) that the Bible is his message to us.

    However, I most certainly have not disproven the existence of every possible god. Speaking of which: do you understand the difference between hard and soft atheism?

    My best example would be the question I presented to you asking which religion you believed had the most evidence to support it’s “truth”/Truth. You haven’t followed through with this question. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten honest answers.. only attempts to obfuscate.. maybe not in the beginning, but as the issue progressed for sure.

    This has been turned back on you by asking why any of them must be true. This is not obfuscation; it is pointing to a fundamental flaw in your question. You seem to dodge the possibility that none of them are true. I think you have nothing more than assumption here, based on…intuition…or the notion that we’re different, so we must be created…or your desire to believe…or something. (Clarify if you want.)

    With that said, I’ll take a stab at answering:

    I’m not qualified to answer this, as I’ve not studied other religions extensively. However, I am aware that most make mutually-contradictory claims, therefore only one at most can be true; and perhaps none are.

    If none of the “revealed” religions are true, then this question is like asking which is the shiniest turd.

    The burden of proof remains on the theist.

    Arch is another example.. I’ve presented to him a great example of “evidence”.. that he himself has used to make HIS points.. but when I ask him the same question about which religion has the most evidence.. he disappears.. all of a sudden he has “technical” difficulties. This is my evidence that you all are not apply honest objectivity.

    He’s back, and addressed you about this.

    And William and Ark have been asking me repeatedly lately for my evidence that the Bible is true.. these 3 threads are FULL of my comments addressing this question.. giving the evidence.

    Lots of claims, with little evidence. IME, the little evidence you have provided has been questionable, or poorly-supported, and often with circular logic.

    It’s become a game.. and it’s 100% dishonest. There is clearly no real desire of “FINDING TRUTH”… I have no doubt about this. I don’t know how the atheists here expect this to all turn out.. denying truth, pretending you aren’t in a “corner” with your erroneous beliefs, isn’t going to change the truth or how it all turns out.. I don’t understand this mentality.. at all. It’s not rational.

    I could turn this around, too, but I’d rather get down to brass tacks. (Before I do, though, let me say: I don’t think you are being purposely dishonest.)

    …Kathy, I’m wondering why do you believe that the Bible is God’s message to us? It would help if you’d sum it up, and number your points. I’m thinking you’re appealing to (1) martyrs, (2) fulfilled prophecy, (3) archeology. Is that correct? What am I missing?

    As to (1) martyrs: they only work as evidence of your claim (in particular of the resurrection of Jesus) if they meet several specific criteria. I will repost my prior comment on this (from July 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm from “part 2”), which includes links to a few articles that explain these criteria better than I would. I hope you’ll read them.

    I will delay dicussion of (2) and (3) for now.

    I am busy with work and evening activities, so I may not get back to this for a few days…

    Like

  27. @Kathy,

    [This is a repost of my July 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm comment.]

    You said,

    Again, most historians agree that the disciples [1] were real people [2] who were martyred. You are trying hard to make it seem that this isn’t the case, but sorry, it is.

    I say: Citation(s) needed. In particular, I not been presented with sufficient evidence to believe your claim 2. (Moreover, I think there is more required to consider it as evidence for your case–as described in the first article linked below.)

    You also said,

    [T]he objective historians believe the disciples were martyred[…] and there’s no evidence that disproves their martyrdom. I’ll find the historical evidence that’s out there and post it[…]

    Emphasis mine (if it shows–the sentence beginning with “I’ll find”, if not).

    So please do post the evidence to support your claim.

    I’m not an expert, but I’ve done some reading on this, and though it’s possible I could be mistaken, I’m not just arguing from ignorance. So to save time in the back-and-forth, here are some articles on the matter that I find persuasive:

    “Die for a Lie” won’t Fly

    (Please try to get past the blog title of that first link. I’m interested in discussing points, reason, and evidence–not a hand-waving dismissal on account of “liberal atheist propaganda”. If that’s truly all it is, you ought to be able to dismantle it on the merits, on its own turf.

    For the record, I am skeptical of his “simple math”, so please let’s not get hung up there.)

    Who Would Die for a Lie? (1 of 2)

    Who Would Die for a Lie? (2 of 2)

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  28. Kathy,

    You also said,

    It’s just like a jury trial William.. evidence exists and honest determinations can be made. No jury member would get away with stating that there is no evidence so I’m not going to give a verdict.

    I think your analogy is broken.

    In a criminal trial, the choices are not “guilty” or “innocent”; they are “guilty” or “not guilty”–where “not guilty” differs from “innocent”. “Not guilty” means that the prosecution has not met their burden of proof for a guilty verdict; the defendant may or may not actually be “innocent”.

    Likewise, we’re saying (at least) that the weak evidence you’ve presented has not met the burden of proof to show Yahweh “guilty” of existing, and of communicating truth to us in the Bible.

    In my own research, in an effort to weigh the evidence fairly, and to give the Bible the benefit of certain doubts, I tried to take more of the approach of a civil trial–which has a lower burden of proof–where I was just looking to see which way the “preponderance of evidence” leans. My verdict was the same (disbelief), though my reasons are not outlined here.

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  29. Ratamacue, those are excellent points, and I appreciate how reasonably you’ve laid them out.

    And Ark, thanks for the comment. I’m ready to move on too 🙂

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  30. Come on, Kathy – SURELY by now, Mike had had time to email you what to think!

    “Peter allegedly died in CE 64. Please show me accounts of his martyrdom, other that of Tertullian, writing at the end of the second century (150-199 CE), or Origen, in the early part of the third, literally a hundred to a hundred and fifty years after the alleged event.”

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  31. Ratamacue0, RE: “I will repost my prior comment on this (from July 26, 2014 at 7:43 pm from “part 2″), which includes links to a few articles that explain these criteria better than I would. I hope you’ll read them.
    Highly unlikely —

    Like

  32. Arch said:

    “Still tapping my toe, Kathy –”

    Well, you’re gonna have to keep tapping until you answer MY question from the last thread..

    Which religion has the best/ most compelling evidence to support it’s “truth/Truth?

    You can no longer give the excuse that you don’t think there is evidence because you don’t believe any are true. You’ve shown that YOU use the very same kind of evidence when arguing YOUR point for the Bible not being true… so.. give your toe a rest and yourself some peace.. and answer my question.. honestly.

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  33. William,

    ““That’s because you don’t WANT to see it. Again, to claim that the evidence for Christianity is the same as for santa claus PROVES this.” – kathy

    “you’re the first one who i saw mention santa. you were talking about christian martyrs and i mention muslim martyrs, and then you said people who claim they’re elves and die for santa arent believable. we dont have to discuss santa, but I thought you were the first to mention him.”

    “William.. here’s a direct question.. meaning I’d ESPECIALLY like an answer.. do you understand what “weighing evidence” means?” – kathy

    yes, i believe i do. Do you?”

    So, just to be clear.. when you “weigh” the evidence for God being real and santa being real, you feel that both weigh the same… correct?

    And if you claim there is no evidence for either.. please answer this.. would you let Casey Anthony watch your children? There’s no empirical proof that she harmed her daughter.. so, all that other evidence, according to you, is meaningless.. it’s not even “evidence”.

    Case closed.

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  34. Ratamacue, I’m getting overwhelmed, I just don’t have enough time to take on everyone’s arguments.. but if you can select a couple that you want answered the most, I’ll try to answer those.

    Like

  35. “You can no longer give the excuse that you don’t think there is evidence because you don’t believe any are true. You’ve shown that YOU use the very same kind of evidence when arguing YOUR point for the Bible not being true… “

    Sorry, Kathy – not understanding a word of that, could you give me an example of what you’re talking about? What kind of evidence is it that you think I’m using?

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  36. Kathy, RE: “And if you claim there is no evidence for either.. please answer this.. would you let Casey Anthony watch your children” – yes, I would. Now where does your argument go?

    But as Ratamacue0 so aptly illustrated, a verdict of “not guilty” does not mean the individual is innocent, only that the government entity has not sufficiently proven it’s case. What you’ve chosen as evidence simply isn’t as “compelling” as you seem to think it is.

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  37. “So, just to be clear.. when you “weigh” the evidence for God being real and santa being real, you feel that both weigh the same… correct?” – kathy

    Let me start off by reminding you, that you brought up sanat clause. Do you think it’s objectively weighing the evidence to compare a person who believes themselves to be an elf dying for santa is the same as someone dying for their religion? This is the context ion which you used the comparison, so I think it’s a but unfair to now put this question to me…

    nevertheless, i think it is good question, so no, I wouldn’t say this is correct. and you’re right, there are differences. I will say, that i do believe that the bible’s divine origin is just as much a fable as santa clause, but I view the possibility of a god or gods to be separate from the bible. I dont know that i believe it a god, but I dont firmly dispute a god’s existence either – I’m just not convinced there is one.

    “And if you claim there is no evidence for either.. please answer this.. would you let Casey Anthony watch your children? There’s no empirical proof that she harmed her daughter.. so, all that other evidence, according to you, is meaningless.. it’s not even “evidence”.” – kathy

    Case Anthony? no way i’d let my kids hang out with her or with michael jackson, but while neither have been proven to be actual child harmers, they are undoubtedly real people. It is also without doubt that people do harm children. because I know that potential harm is indeed a real think and that people who harm children are indeed very real, I feel that the risk outweighs whatever uncertainly of guilt the courts may have had.

    But god hasnt been shown to be real. Hell, heaven – neither shown to be real. Where;s the evidece for those? and if there’s evidence for god, how does that single out the god of the bible? The evidences you have shown can be said of many religions – should we serve them all just in case?

    and again, if I have missed any of the good evidences that you have, please list them again, and I do my bets to review them honestly before i comment on them.

    But i have already spoke in length regarding peace vs violence, martyrs, prophecies and archaeology and history so there’s no point in going back to those unless unless you can address those points or provide something new.

    If there were only 100 religions in the world, you would say that you didnt believe in 99 of them. I just add 1 more to my list than you do. so again, you say that there is clear evidence for god, what is it?

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  38. I dont hide my kids from magic, because i dont think it’s real. i dont make my kids were aluminum foil hats just in case aliens or the government are trying to read their thoughts or control their minds. They arent made to keep garlic in their pockets in case vampires are real. There’s lots of things that people believe or used to believe that we all think are silly.

    We dont act on “just in case” on those things, and we dont demand that they are proven to be false before we believe or not believe. On these types of things, we instead demand proof that they are real – otherwise, we dont give them another thought.

    For me, the same is true of religion.

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  39. “Ratamacue, I’m getting overwhelmed, I just don’t have enough time to take on everyone’s argument”

    Why bother? After the last thread (which I see now is locked) why would you want to? we were treated with an astonishing example of Intellectual dishonesty there that should tell you EXACTLy what these people are about and why they are just totally wasting your time. Arch mocked and fumed at you offering MT Precipice claiming it was 18 miles away when it was never 18 miles away and when shown the evidence on a map of his blunder he continued to claim the mountain was where the mountain showed it was most definitely not . Hows that for “don’t confuse me with the facts”

    That was followed by Ark claiming there was no evidence for a first century Nazareth being shown two finds – one peer reviewed saying otherwise. His counter? It wasn’t THAT evidence he was looking for

    Lol….

    the only people that should believe these are honest people are members of their own small group. Even Nate and Rata are trying to bend the truth. Nate was very clear in a comment before he posted his first “letter to Kathy” that it was his intent to improve your life by separating you from your faith but now its – oh we were just trying to show you how we were being reasonable thats all. Just lies they have convinced themselves of

    My suggestion? Life is too short. leave them to themselves. If you wish to know more about atheist there are FAAAAAAR better sites to learn from.

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  40. “Why bother?” – mike

    then dont. This is a blog for open exchange. If you dont see the point, why bother?

    “After the last thread (which I see now is locked) why would you want to?” – mike

    yes, it is locked. Just as nate’s last comment on that thread indicated as he offered this thread to continue the discussion due to the overwhelming number of comments.

    maybe what you perceive as intellectual dishonesty on your opponents part is really just intellectual laziness on yours? By reading the comments before you post your own may help quell these misunderstandings.

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  41. “My suggestion? Life is too short. leave them to themselves. If you wish to know more about atheist there are FAAAAAAR better sites to learn from.” – mike

    would you list them for us please? And by better do you mean they are more convincing to you or that they are easier to refute?

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  42. kathy can believe what nate or others are saying or she can disbelieve it – just as can either believe what you and kathy offer or not.

    It’s not a big deal.

    Go or stay. Comment or dont. It’s all up to you, but saying that people are lying because you have no other point is a bit childish – something we’ve all fallen into. Nate has attempted again, here on the thread, to get everyone to be more respectful in their interactions with others.

    If your point now is that you think you and kathy should leave the discussion, then good day to you – thanks for stopping by.

    If your point was to incite or to chide, then good day to you and thanks for stopping by.

    if you’d like to engage in a meaningful discussion on biblical related topics, then we have been asked to do so courteously. the discourtesy wasn’t only yours, but many of us participated in that, we just need to move past it now and stick to the points.

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  43. Worth considering…..

    * No ancient historians or geographers mention Nazareth before the beginning of the fourth century
    * Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, nor in the Apocrypha and it does not appear in any early rabbinic literature.
    * Nazareth was not included in the list of settlements of the tribes of Zebulun (Joshua 19:10-16) which mentions twelve towns and six villages
    * Nazareth is not included among the 45 cities of Galilee that were mentioned by Josephus (37AD-100AD).
    * Nazareth is also missing from the 63 towns of Galilee mentioned in the Talmud.

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  44. “However, I most certainly have not disproven the existence of every possible god. ” Rata

    🙂 Rata you haven’t disproven ANY god. Merely presenting what you think as proof isn’t proof. Heres the bottom line. Its no secret what you think the evidence against the Bible is – as if we have to believe you were sincere or take your word for it. Much of it has been presented on this blog. Its that we don’t see you making the case because as I have demonstrated a multiplicity of times you don’t collectively do good research and you usually have rather HUGE blunders in your thinking.

    “The burden of proof remains on the theist.”

    Well ….

    A) as an atheistic truism that isn’t supported by sound logic but is more of a beg than anything else – since a burden represents a priori.

    B) You claim to have been Christians so why would there be a burden against theism in your minds as Christians? ooops?

    I think this illustrates the bias to which Kathy refers. If anything the question of theism should be totally neutral. After all how do you find truth if you set up a previous burden against a position? You mentioned being skeptical but Truth is

    I don’t think I have EVER met a skeptic

    1. a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.

    and you lot certainly don’t qualify. What I see being called skeptical is being distrustful of one side So you might as well say theists are skeptical ….of the other side.

    The evidence is OVERWHELMING on that being your case. you accept consensus almost never citing primary evidence, you have among you people who espouse everything out of noting sans evidence or any means of testability and as we have seen very recently when the raw facts contradict you (like where a mountain is) you just act like they haven’t.

    This reminds me of something I read Nate say. His statement illustrating the way in which you delude yourselves. He stated that losing faith is involuntary – that no one does so purposefully. In saying it nate reveals he does not understand belief and adherence – Faith is NEVER lost it is simply placed voluntarily on something else. We simply choose something else to believe in more. The canard that atheism is just not having a belief in God is that I have never met an atheist that wasn’t a believer in materialism. None of you have just the absence of believing in God. You ALL have a belief in the material even in areas (as my discussions with Ruth so aptly prove – with Arch adherence to the white fairy of everything coming out of nothing as the cherry on top) where you have no evidence whatsoever.

    Finally your links with their argument against martyrs is a strawman. The argument is not limited to the apostles or disciples but to the entire early church – a bunch of people leaving one religion for another that caused great difficulty for them. Further I think you all conflate evidence with proof. I don’t think Kathy’s argument is that martyrs prove Christianity is true by itself but that its an evidence with other things (since she also included prophecy).

    Her desire to have you cite the religion with the most backing is not as preposterous as you claim. I suspect she took it as a test of your objectivity. Your major focus IS against christianity so seeing you unable to give any credit due just shows how unbalanced you are on the issue.

    as for evidence – Kathy has referred to prophecy, as have I citing five particular ones, and the only answers received are of these varieties

    1) claiming other religions have prophecy (as if the claim by certain parties to a proposition makes all other claims to similar propositions vanish without reference to merit)

    2) all prophecies have not been fulfilled so none have

    3) fences are the same as walls

    4) prophecies are self fulfilled even though the “selves’ were not in control – simply really really really wanting them to come to pass suffices.

    Why would I bother to go on (didn’t even get to the good stuff prophecy wise). Under your own delusion that you are going to hear anything out? You really believe anyone on this blog STILL believes that garbage besides those tying to present that garbage?

    That you think you are all so objective is testament to human self delusion and the appeal of the internet to create micro groups for self affirmations of that delusion but its not for your lack of trying to explain why we can;t take you seriously

    its that the proof of your own words and arguments betray you being worthy of being taken seriously on the claim Put it this way – Objectivity and you is just as laughable to us as you will claim the association is with us.

    We’ve seen too much. You’ve revealed duplicity too often. no amount of explaining or trying to claim otherwise changes anything. The “we are as honest and objective as can be” claim is demonstrably -a lie.

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  45. “Worth considering…..”

    Check your list. You missed two archaeological studies including one peer reviewed that says it was occupied in the first century.

    You know the same two you couldn’t deal with from the last thread. Same ones 🙂

    Never let a peer reviewed piece of evidence get in the way of your dogma eh Ark?

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  46. Question Ark,

    * No ancient historians or geographers mention Nazareth before the beginning of the fourth century
    * Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, nor in the Apocrypha and it does not appear in any early rabbinic literature.
    * Nazareth was not included in the list of settlements of the tribes of Zebulun (Joshua 19:10-16) which mentions twelve towns and six villages
    * Nazareth is not included among the 45 cities of Galilee that were mentioned by Josephus (37AD-100AD).
    * Nazareth is also missing from the 63 towns of Galilee mentioned in the Talmud.

    Is it your contention/opinion, then, that the recipients of the gospel of Matthew understood the reference to Jesus coming from Nazareth in a different way? Like possibly that he was a Nazarite, which is something completely different? Or are you of the opinion Jesus just didn’t exist?

    Is it possible that the *ahem* original documents might have said something a little different that got translated erroneously? I suppose so since we don’t have the original documents to compare it to.

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  47. @Ark,

    I guess I’m just thinking that the first century recipients of that gospel (at least some of them) would have known if Nazareth existed or not?

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  48. ““William.. here’s a direct question.. meaning I’d ESPECIALLY like an answer.. do you understand what “weighing evidence” means?” – kathy

    yes, i believe i do. Do you?”

    So, just to be clear.. when you “weigh” the evidence for God being real and santa being real, you feel that both weigh the same… correct?”

    Hats off to you kathy. After his whole using mentally handicapped little girls as insults and claiming its no big deal i don’t even know why you bother with William. I’ve never seen him make a good point so I just skip over his posts as best as I can. Mind you true enough he is not likely to get into trouble like Arch insisting a mountain is somewhere its not but thats only because he just about never refers to or links to any evidence.

    of course they are all at that point so save the time (and mine checking up on you 🙂 – and let them go back to what they really want out of this blog – self affirmation

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  49. I’m still waiting for the apologists to produce this physically resurrected Jesus they keep talking about. I’m also waiting for them to openly demonstrate the true believer’s power to cure sick people via prayer. Strange how they keep ignoring those requests. 😉

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  50. On a brighter note…

    Nick’s alexa rating now stands at 17,896,138—that’s up 1,300,943 from a month ago, and 2.2 million from three months ago. Congrats on your rising popularity in the atheist nexis. :mrgreen:

    Like

  51. “Is it your contention/opinion, then, that the recipients of the gospel of Matthew understood the reference to Jesus coming from Nazareth in a different way? Like possibly that he was a Nazarite, which is something completely different? ”

    Most bible scholars see it as a reference to Isaiah 11 and the Etymological origins of the word nazareth which you can miss if you just read English

    http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/matthew-2-23.html

    Ark’s previous barf of my beliefs of Matthew’s mention of it was just a hand wave. We never got into that but the actual existence of the city in the first century attested by at least two recent finds.

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  52. “Congrats on your rising popularity in the atheist nexis”

    LOl I have a site I have done no promotion on built six months ago that now sits at

    1,185,321

    when you guys move up 16 million spots call me and we can do lunch. 🙂 🙂

    P.S. since the average page views is two pages you should all pay Kathy and I. they aren’t reading much besides threads we are in

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  53. @Mike,

    I was just reading that here:

    http://www.crivoice.org/branch.html

    Because the verse in Matthew – as it’s read in English – could still be problematic because there’s no OT prediction of the Messiah coming from Nazareth. And while I accept this as a plausible explanation of the verse I still have some question about it:

    In Hebrew, the word “branch” is netzer, actually only three consonantal letters: NZR. Note that the town NaZaReth contains the same three primary letters (plus an ending often attached to nouns). In the Aramaic form of Nazareth, (Aramaic was the common language spoken by most Israelites after the exile; some have suggested that the entire book of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic rather than Greek), it comes very close in sound to the Hebrew word for “branch.”

    Like why would Matthew write something that sounds like the Hebrew word for branch if he was writing in Greek to a Greek-speaking audience who possibly, maybe even likely didn’t speak Ancient Hebrew? Who were likely using the Greek translation of the Septuagent?

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  54. Further, Bratcher goes on to say:

    What all of this suggests is that it is very unlikely that Isaiah in 700 BC, or Jeremiah in 600 BC, or Zechariah in 520 BC had in mind the city of Nazareth as they talked about the Branch. They were not predicting anything about the city of Nazareth.

    *Emphasis mine

    It doesn’t seem a certain interpretation. The words “suggests that it is very unlikely” don’t make this a certain interpretation. I’m not suggesting that it’s a wrong interpretation; just that it’s possible that it is.

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  55. Even if you don’t believe there is a Creator in this universe, I think you have to admit, this world is amazing

    Here’s to civil conversing 🙂

    night!

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  56. Kathy, didn’t I tell you Mike would be along shortly, to tell you what to think?

    Mikey, I gave you the GPS coordinates for Mt. Precipice and for Nazareth – these coordinates are used by airlines and oceanliners the world over, to establish global positioning. I have no evidence that your finding is any more accurate than my own. Even taking your distance as being correct, for which, again, I have no evidence, what angry mob is going to walk a man 45 minutes down a dusty road, just to throw him off a cliff – the line was bogus, Luke should never have written it, but he did, you’re stuck with it, and you’re trying to make it fit the facts – sorry Drucilla, the shoe don’t fit your fat foot.

    Oh, and in those days, Nazareth, if it existed, never had more than 200 inhabitants, and that number could be fit into the average apartment complex, and here you are, trying to say that the cliff could be even closer, depending upon where they began, whether in beautiful downtown Nazareth, or in the suburbs of a population-200 hamlet.

    As for Ark’s claim that Nazareth didn’t exist during the time that Yeshua allegedly lived, there are others who think that as well – Frank Zindler, for example, who wrote, Where Jesus Never Walked.

    In the Strong’s Interpretation of Mat 26:71 the writer uses Ναζωραῖος which is Greek for “Nazarite”. Nazirite is a ancient Jewish vow not a city.

    But you’re the great biblical expert Mikey, so draw upon your vast Google expertise and answer a question for me if you will – Matthew 2:23 relates: “And he (Jesus) came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets.” Matt was really big on trying to prove that old Yesh was the prophesied Messiah, no matter HOW far he had to stretch the truth!

    Which prophets were those, Mikey? Can you show me the scripture from the OT that speaks of the Messiah living in or coming from Nazareth? Can you find Nazareth mentioned ANYwhere in the OT? If so, Book, Chapter and verse, please – thank you —
    (Practicing for Nate’s new guidelines, gotta get in shape – as of now, I’m up to 25 pleases” and “thank you‘s per day and I’m working my way up to 50! Cutting WAY back on the FU’s and still trying to get that middle finger under control!)

    Sing it with me, Mikey – you know the tune: ♫The Earth Is Flat, This Much I Know / For the Bible Tells Me So –♪

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  57. “The burden of proof remains on the theist.”
    A) as an atheistic truism that isn’t supported by sound logic but is more of a beg than anything else – since a burden represents a priori.
    B) You claim to have been Christians so why would there be a burden against theism in your minds as Christians? ” – mike

    A) I am not too sure what you’re saying here, but Christians state that they have the truth and their book of miraculous events and stories of the divine are absolute truth. What is illogical about asking someone of this position to list why they believe and why others should believe that this book, of all the countless books in the world, is the only book with divinely guided truth?

    B) I was once a Christian. I was baptized at the age of 10 for the remission of my sins after confessing that I believed Jesus was the son of god. I prayed, I studied, and I worshipped for many years following – a true believer, unwavering until I became disenchanted with my particular denomination or those in it. They made claims about following the bible strictly, but I soon found that they were not consistent. I was disappointed with their responses when I tried speaking with them on those issues.
    My particular denomination was the type that thought all others were wrong, that they didn’t follow the bible correctly and they routinely taught classes and preached sermons making those points. I think maybe my dissatisfaction and distrust with my particular denomination paved the way for me to question the bible when I was asked to by someone who actually showed me problems that I couldn’t answer or explain. I didn’t turn non-believer right away, but after more study and research on those issues and after finding more, I realized that I had never come to the issue of the bible unbiased or objectively.
    I was raised in family and around people that all believed in god and the bible. I was indoctrinated from a young age that god was real and that the bible was his perfect word, and that fools didn’t believe in god, but wise people did. Elfish people rejected god and the bible, but righteous and honest people accepted both… It wasn’t until I was much older that I finally realized I was living the “emperor’s new clothes…”
    I started out with a belief in the bible. And when I spoke to others about the bible, in my mind it was true even if I didn’t understand things like Matthew 24 reading like the end was supposed to come in the 1st century… yet, when I spoke about other religions, I’d dismiss them right away without reading their books, without really trying to see if something I heard regarding it was taken out of context or not… I never gave them an equal chance with the bible. The bible was right, and they were wrong. That was behaving with bias.

    Now, I take the bible like all books, it makes very bold claims about angels, god, demons, healings, flying things, supernatural events, and people raising from the dead. I don’t believe other books or people when they make these claims, do you? And when I see things that certainly look like contradictions in the bible or in any book, I don’t assume there must be a way that they’re really not a contradiction – again, if we can do that, I think any contradiction can be “resolved” unless the stories we’re given account for every half second of time and every minute detail, but I think isn’t realistic or consistent with how we deal with anything else.

    “I think this illustrates the bias to which Kathy refers. If anything the question of theism should be totally neutral. After all how do you find truth if you set up a previous burden against a position? You mentioned being skeptical but Truth is
    I don’t think I have EVER met a skeptic
    1. a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.
    and you lot certainly don’t qualify. What I see being called skeptical is being distrustful of one side So you might as well say theists are skeptical ….of the other side.” – mike

    I wouldn’t say I’m a skeptical person. although I am skeptical of claims that appear to be contrary to the natural events and orders that we all witness, feel, and otherwise experience.

    So if someone told me that they saw a deer in the woods with one antler broken off, I wouldn’t be skeptical of that even though I’ve never seen it. I know that deer are real and can imagine how an antler could be broken.

    But if someone told me they saw a sasquatch in the woods, I would be skeptical of that claim, because I’ve never seen one nor have I seen any convincing evidence that bigfoot exists. I would need to see more than a hair or a foot-mold to be convinced – hairs could come from anywhere and foot-molds can be faked. The claim is so huge and so outside anything I know or have experienced, it would require a lot of strong evidence if not all out indisputable proof.

    So when a book, written by men who claim that an invisible god told them to write their book, which was verified by miracles that were claimed to have taken place thousands of years ago by the same authors, but also that these miracles don’t happen anymore, in a world with many, may religions, with many or all of the same claims, which are all so outside anything I have ever experienced, and in a time when many of the things once thought to be supernatural are now known to be quite natural, then I do not view that as “neutral” nor do I view it as biased to reject one along with all the others when no exceptional evidence has been provided.

    But this is just my perspective. I think it makes sense, but maybe it does not. It is something I think about often.

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  58. “Because the verse in Matthew – as it’s read in English – could still be problematic because there’s no OT prediction of the Messiah coming from Nazareth.”

    Not sure I am understanding you. Matthew doesn’t say theres a prophecy he would come from Nazareth but what he would be called. If being born there ended up with people calling him close to that name then it would help that being the name (the branch) they called him

    “Like why would Matthew write something that sounds like the Hebrew word for branch if he was writing in Greek to a Greek-speaking audience who possibly, maybe even likely didn’t speak Ancient Hebrew? ”

    If he were referring to a hebrew word he’d still have to be faithful to use the Greek usage equivalent plus there are those that believe Gospels were written in Hebrew originally too. It pretty clear of all the gospels Matthew is the most written for jews ad as the dead sea scrolls attest Hebrew was very much still in use (as well as greek and aramaic)

    Still…good questions

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  59. LOl I have a site I have done no promotion on built six months ago that now sits at 1,185,321

    Another assertion unaccompanied by evidence.

    “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens

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  60. “LOl I have a site I have done no promotion on built six months ago that now sits at

    1,185,321

    when you guys move up 16 million spots call me and we can do lunch. 🙂 🙂

    P.S. since the average page views is two pages you should all pay Kathy and I. they aren’t reading much besides threads we are in”

    happy for your popularity. Popularity was something that always seems fickle and petty to me, but i’m sure there is some value there.

    What was the bible said, “narrow is the way and few there be that find it…”

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  61. “Mikey, I gave you the GPS coordinates for Mt. Precipice and for Nazareth – these coordinates are used by airlines and oceanliners the world over, to establish global positioning. I have no evidence that your finding is any more accurate than my own. ”

    Oh give me a break. its right there in a google map search (and if you need some assistance online you can see where the co-ordinates are as well). You are embarrassing yourself again with that denial of the obvious in another thread? You really think thats better than just admitting you were wrong? Just because its me that pointed it out and you don;t want to lose face?

    Sheeesh…what a totally dishonest soul.

    “Even taking your distance as being correct, for which, again, I have no evidence, what angry mob is going to walk a man 45 minutes down a dusty road,”

    More lies. My numbers are not 45 minutes. That was Rata measuring from within the present city. The text said they were already outside of it.

    I can’t even bother reading the rest of your post. its apparently all nonsense to hand wave from being wrong about the location of the “mount”.

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  62. I know I said night!

    But I can’t sleep, so I decided to ask a question instead

    William,

    Although some people may view that beliefs can move on a spectrum, there are certain core beliefs that don’t follow this, in the sense that you either believe them or you don’t.

    For example, I believe in Jesus, but I don’t understand all of the symbols regarding the book of Revelation, so am remain reserved on certain things.

    I just wanted to ask, how did people at your church treat you after you left the church?

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  63. Portal,

    let me say that when i was a believer I didnt think i understood everything either – revelation is a good example.

    even now, I dont understand everything about my phone, but i can assure you, I dont stop believing my phone is real.

    same with physics, math, etc… – quite a long list.

    so, finding something difficult to understand isnt my criteria for abandoning belief.

    Again, somethings seem to easier to believe than other. I dont believe that Muhammad road a flying horse and wouldnt – regardless of who told me about it.

    But to your question, the people of my church seem to be very similar to the ones that were in nate’s church – they shun disbelievers and while they routinely say that they welcome questions and discussion, what the evidently mean is that they will tel what you should believe and if you dont, they know you’re a dishonest or prideful sinner who has decide to serve te devil instead of god.

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  64. and somethings are easier to dismiss than others. Strange symbolism didnt do it for me, what did were things that look more like 2+2=18 – things that i can understand, but dont understand how or why the bible portrayed them wrong if it was perfect and all knowing…

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  65. TB still hasn’t explained why a small hamlet of people intimately familiar with the circumstances of Jesus’ birth and promised messiah-ship would become outraged by his teachings.

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  66. If he were referring to a hebrew word he’d still have to be faithful to use the Greek usage equivalent plus there are those that believe Gospels were written in Hebrew originally too. It pretty clear of all the gospels Matthew is the most written for jews ad as the dead sea scrolls attest Hebrew was very much still in use (as well as greek and aramaic)

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. Are you saying that the author used the Greek word that sounded like the Hebrew word for branch? Why would he do that if he’s trying to make a parallel to Jesus being a “branch, shoot of Jesse”. If these are Greek-speaking people who might not have known Hebrew wouldn’t it make more sense to use the Greek word for branch? Not the Greek word that sounded like the Hebrew word? I understand that some people believe that Matthew was written in Hebrew. What evidence is there of that aside from it most likely being written for Jews? Greek was the most widely used language, even among the Jews, at the time right? And there were Jews who had lost there primary language by that point? And it seems that more scholars believe this was written to a primarily Greek-speaking sector?

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  67. Ron, RE: “I’m also waiting for them to openly demonstrate the true believer’s power to cure sick people via prayer.” – I’m still waiting to hear Mike tell us that he has cured that poor little girl he keeps using to prop himself up.

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  68. “LOl I have a site I have done no promotion on built six months ago that now sits at 1,185,321

    Another assertion unaccompanied by evidence.”

    Anther Fact I know that you don’t.

    If you really think its that hard to have a site ranked 1.1 millionth all I need do is laugh.

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  69. prideful sinner who

    My understanding is that Christianity teaches that we are all prideful sinners. There is no difference between a pastor, and the man down the street in that regard except what they receive.

    People only become saints through receiving what Christ has done for every one of us. If we didn’t need saving, we wouldn’t need a Saviour. And I understand this Saving us is not necessarily because we are murderers or robbers, but because we all at certain times share innate desires to chose our own selfish ambitions and pleasures to the detriment of others.

    Jesus teaches us to love others, and then gives us the capacity to do so by modelling this through His own sacrifice for all of us. He followed through with what He taught. And through this He gave us the opportunity to be washed clean and given grace and mercy, as He teaches us to give grace to others. That’s my understanding anyway.

    William, thanks for taking the time to consider my question

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  70. So my understanding is that its the power of God that empowers, its not that we are to earn our way to God. Its that God transforms us through receiving His sacrifice.

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  71. I can’t even bother reading the rest of your post.” – You’re lying again, Mike, you read it all, but don’t have a response for the rest, so it’s easier to deny reading it. Nice save, but, as usual, fooling no one. Oh, and I really don’t post for your benefit, it’s largely for others to see you for what you are, and they do.

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  72. ““I can’t even bother reading the rest of your post.” – You’re lying again, Mike, you read it all, but don’t have a response for the rest, so it’s easier to deny reading it. Nice save, but, as usual, fooling no one. ”

    actually Didn’t . Might later when I have time. Keep you posts shorter and I might bother with them until then. Sorry any person that can’t admit a “mount” is where it is is just too dishonest to prioritize higher.

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  73. Ron, RE: “TB still hasn’t explained why a small hamlet of people intimately familiar with the circumstances of Jesus’ birth and promised messiah-ship would become outraged by his teachings.” – the answer’s simple, little Mary wasn’t the first girl to get knocked up and blame it on a god. The people of that small hamlet, if it existed in the alleged Yeshua’s time, quite likely WERE “intimately familiar with the circumstances of Jesus’ birth,” circumstances that had nothing to do with a messiah-ship, more like rolling around in a haystack with some village lad, then old Joseph coming along and saying, “Well, she’s damaged goods, but I’ll do you a favor and take her off your hands –“

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  74. Ruth, theere was only about a 3% literacy rate in the whole country. The elite of Jerusalem were taken to Babylon, and returned speaking Aramaic. Any Hebrew-speakers remaining, were largely NOT among the elite and consequently, on odds alone, were likely illiterate, therefore pseudo-Matthew would have had no reason to have written for an audience that couldn’t read his words. The better-educated would have certainly been familiar with Aramaic, and a large percentage of those, with Greek.

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  75. @ Arch,

    I guess that’s what I was asking. If these were Greek-speaking people, using a Greek Septuagint, the Hebrew word for branch might not have had much meaning. It would have made more sense to have used the Greek word for branch if that’s what Matthew/pseudo-Matthew was going for, since the Greek word would have also been used in the Septuagint text that it was supposedly referencing.

    I’m just thinking this through, really; not making an argument.

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  76. Check your list. You missed two archaeological studies including one peer reviewed that says it was occupied in the first century.

    Two….? good grief.

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  77. Ruth, RE: “@ Arch,

    I guess that’s what I was asking.

    I sent Neuro a URL for you to consider, as I didn’t want to clog up Nate’s page. Check with her.

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  78. Ark, RE: “Check your list. You missed two archaeological studies including one peer reviewed that says it was occupied in the first century.” – here’s something for you to ask Mikey, considering that he CLAIMS not to be reading my comments – how many sources swear that Nazareth was in place when the prophets lived, the ones that pseudo-Matthew says prophesied that Yeshua would live in Nazareth. UNLESS, of course, Mikey asserts that not only did the prophets prophecy that Yeshua would LIVE in Nazareth, they were also predicting that Nazareth, not in existence then, WOULD have, by the time old Yesh was a young’un.

    And ask him where, in the OT, he finds Nazareth mentioned —

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  79. @ Arch,

    Thanks! You’re more than welcome to mosey over and drop the link in the latest post on my blog if you want as well, but I’ll definitely check with Neuro.

    …here’s something for you to ask Mikey, considering that he CLAIMS not to be reading my comments – how many sources swear that Nazareth was in place when the prophets lived, the ones that pseudo-Matthew says prophesied that Yeshua would live in Nazareth. UNLESS, of course, Mikey asserts that not only did the prophets prophecy that Yeshua would LIVE in Nazareth, they were also predicting that Nazareth, not in existence then, WOULD have, by the time old Yesh was a young’un.

    I don’t think Mike is asserting that any prophets prophesied(say that three times fast) that Yeshua would live in a place called Nazareth. If you follow the link he gave, I think he’s asserting that they prophesied that Yeshua would be called NZR(the Hebrew word for branch(shoot of Jesse). And that Nazareth sounds in the Greek close to the pronunciation of the Hebrew word NZR(netzer). That’s why I’m asking why Matthew would use a Greek word that sounds like a Hebrew word when the audience might not even recognize the significance of the Hebrew word. And I’m having trouble understanding why, just because the Greek word might sound like the Hebrew word, it would have anything at all to do with the prophecy of Yeshua being a branch when Nazareth doesn’t mean branch(at least I couldn’t find that it does).

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  80. From everybody’s favorite resource:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazarene_%28title%29

    It is possible that the name of the town of Nazareth was derived from NZR.

    I have another question regarding whether or not Nazareth existed in the 1st century:

    Matthew was written (ostensibly) sometime between 70 and 110 A.D. If the town didn’t exist during the 1st century how did the writer reference it?

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  81. Let me make a correction in something I said:

    And that Nazareth sounds in the Greek close to the pronunciation of the Hebrew word NZR(netzer). That’s why I’m asking why Matthew would use a Greek word that sounds like a Hebrew word when the audience might not even recognize the significance of the Hebrew word.

    Having thought through this a bit I realize that Nazareth isn’t a Greek word. It’s the name of a town. But I still don’t know what significance that might have held for people who most likely didn’t widely employ or even know Hebrew. Especially if these people used the Greek Septuagint which used the Greek word for branch that sounds nothing like the Hebrew word.

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  82. For me, this nazareth discussion is fascinating, but when i was a christian, it would not have been one of the points that made me sit back think about the credibility of the bible.

    and taking a tangent, I dont quite understand mike’s or kathy’s position that we’re the ones who are biased when it’s typically the religious people who who search for any and all possible (and i use that term loosely, because their god is capable of the impossible, thereby making anything possible for their god only) resolutions when it comes to their religion, but then dismiss all other religions or all other philosophies without much of a thought – never considering that that religion’s followers may search for any and all possible resolutions for their own religion, while dismissing others (including christianity) without any real thought.

    Of course, now that I’m beyond that struggle, I see more and more of these little things as being quite obvious and abundant – I just dont think that mike or kathy will, especially if they still maintain that they are the unbiased or objective ones.

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  83. Is it your contention/opinion, then, that the recipients of the gospel of Matthew understood the reference to Jesus coming from Nazareth in a different way? Like possibly that he was a Nazarite, which is something completely different? Or are you of the opinion Jesus just didn’t exist?

    Is it possible that the *ahem* original documents might have said something a little different that got translated erroneously? I suppose so since we don’t have the original documents to compare it to.

    The arguments for and against there being a first century Nazareth have raged for ages.
    What can be said is this:
    What paltry archaeological finds have been recovered nothing leads to suggest there was a City, Town or even village at the time of the biblical character of ”Jesus of Nazareth”

    No, I do not think the character, Jesus of Nazareth existed, this being a narrative construct.
    Though there may well have been an itinerant escatological preacher running around Galilee during this time?
    I have little interest in the gospels as historical documents and Luke’s description of the City of Nazareth is about as erroneous as one will find; not least his mention of a synagogue!
    Also, the closest ”çliff” is around 2.5 kilometers distant and who would drag a blasphemer such a distance when all they had to do was stone him?

    It makes no sense.

    Furthermore, if my kid was being assaulted by an angry mob ”Multitude” I would be there defending him.
    Furthermore, if this place existed then it was so small the number of inhabitants would not likely have exceeded a couple of hundred people and a fair number of these would have been family – brothers sisters, cousins , aunts uncles etc. And where were they during the life-threatening situation?

    All of this relies upon a supposition that the bible is correct and we are expected – almost without question – to fit the evidence to match the tale…simply trim a bit here, trim a bit there, ignore this and ignore that.

    Well, proper history and not theological history as governed by theologians and those with a heavy vested ( and often financial) interest, does not work this way and neither do proper historians.

    The Nazareth Village project is a case in point and is worth multi-millions of dollars in tourist revenue.

    If the Bible get’s the archaeology wrong, ( it does) the geography wrong,( it does) and the simple basic description wrong, ( most definitely) then how the hell are you supposed to trust anything it says in this or any other issue?

    Example: When ‘Jesus’ cast a demon into that herd of swine, without a second thought about animal welfare or financial recompense for the farmer, which then subsequently committed Porcine-Suicide by jumping of a cliff, do you now how far those pigs would have had to run?

    Go check…they would have had to be damned fit pigs!

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  84. Ark, surely the demons who took control of the pigs gave the swine super-pig abilities. If you cannot disprove the super-demon-swine, then it must be true so they clearly could have easily run twice as far as they did.

    That’s one of the problems, the religious dont need evidence, because god can do what he wants and he doesnt have to leave evidence nor does he have to use physical laws to do his work.

    However, god can leave evidence if he chooses to and he can use physical laws if he wants to.

    we can know that muslims are evil because they kill people and since we know that god quit telling people to kill people in the OT, the muslims must be wrong for doing it today.

    Jesus said a seed must die before it can grow, but “die” doesnt mean “die” just “not moving around” and since seeds dont move, jesus was right to say they “die.”

    and NYC was destroyed on 9/11 and wil not be rebuilt. I believe nostradomus predicted this: http://beforeitsnews.com/prophecy/2012/05/did-nostradamus-predict-the-911-attacks-2095955.html

    Really, if this is what we’re doing, it makes discussions difficult.

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  85. @William.
    And here you have aptly demonstrated the point of fitting the ‘evidence’ to the story.

    I have always maintained that before a Christian makes any claims, they must first demonstrate the veracity of the divinity claim of Yeshua.
    After all, this is the bedrock of their belief upon which everything they claim rests.

    Until they are are prepared to do this, they are simply piddling in the wind.

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  86. Ratamacue,

    “Thanks, Kathy.

    In priority order, I’d say (1) my martyrs comment, and (2) the numbered summary of your reasons for believing (4th to last paragraph here).”

    “I say: Citation(s) needed. In particular, I not been presented with sufficient evidence to believe your claim 2. (Moreover, I think there is more required to consider it as evidence for your case–as described in the first article linked below.)”

    Yes, I still intend to do this.. for myself as well as for you and other readers here..
    I’ll do this ASAP.

    In reference to your “die for a lie” article..

    It’s also very long, time consuming.. I’ve read some of it.. which gives me a good
    idea of the whole..

    1st point:

    The argument that the Gospel testimonies were written later.. not as “daily news”.. and the author argues that that gives “opportunity” for tampering etc.

    This is true.. the opportunity is there.. same as it is for most ANY historical documentation we have.. whether written immediately after the event or decades later. This is speculation.. it’s supposition.. it’s not a valid argument for what is actually the case (either way). So, at that point, what is needed is evidence of contradiction etc.. and ESPECIALLY key is, MOTIVE.. motive for the implied deceptions/ lies of the Bible. Again, I didn’t read the whole article, but is this addressed? Has a motive been speculated along with all the other speculation? I often find this to be absent when atheists make their accusations. I’m aware of some of the individual motives that are supposed.. but ultimately, the unavoidable contention is that it’s one big lie.

    The article goes on to give very weak arguments like..

    “In fact, to some extent, these unknowns hurt this claim. Paul, writing first about them, claims Christ appeared to more than five hundred at the same time. (1 Cor. 15:6) Matthew admits that some actually saw this resurrected person but doubted. (Mt. 28:17) Doubted about whether it was he, whether he had died, or whether it was a vision or not is unclear. The author of Acts, writing last, concedes within a few months of this appearance, there were only 120. (Acts 1:15)

    Simple math tells us 500 seeing –120 believers = 380 believers that doubted! In other words, on this argument, 3 out of 4 believers would not die for the lie—they did not believe in a physical resurrection!”

    1 Cor. 15:6 and Acts 1:15 don’t support the accusation that 500 became 120.

    and here…:

    “Or another. Tacitus recounts Nero blaming Christians for the burning of Rome (64 C.E.) and then persecuting them. Whether the Christians recanted, or did not would not make a whit of difference. They were being the “fall-guy” for the blame of a crime. Traditionally Peter was killed during this persecution. How would that provide him an opportunity to absolve himself, and avoid dying for a lie?”

    All of these examples, including this one show lack of objectivity. It completely ignores that these people chose to follow Christ… in a place where it was dangerous to be a Christian. They didn’t hide their faith.. they spoke out.. knowing it was dangerous to do so. These are silly arguments.. they address isolated incidents.. not the norm of Christian martyrdom… it ignores all the martyrs who DID REFUSE to recant.. and who were killed because of that.. none of these arguments addresses those people.. why is that? Because of bias.

    This is another failed attempt by atheists to discredit some of the most powerful testimony for the Truth of Christianity. And I’m sorry but I find it detestable for anyone to do this, there is nothing wrong with questioning.. but when it turns out that there really is nothing to actually support taking away what they did, it’s inexcusable to continue to try to discredit what they did…. again, it’s the ultimate testimony. Yes, there are people who give the ultimate testimony for ridiculous things.. they are not the same as those who died for Christ… the specifics, especially the REASONS, are fundamentally different.. and people who are without bias, who apply objectivity will acknowledge this.

    This is as far as I got with this article.. the lack of objectivity tells me I don’t need to read the rest.. again, if you want to pick out a couple of the best points.. particularly/ PREFERABLY those that show objectivity.. I’ll check those out.

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  87. This is a conversation that’s simply never going to end. It all comes down to a difference in perspective.

    Those of us who aren’t Christians are viewing Christianity as something that could either be true or false, though probably false since it talks about things which require miraculous or divine intervention. Nevertheless, if the evidence is strong enough, it could be demonstrated that its claims are true.

    For hardcore believers, however, Christianity is true by default. To even consider that it might be false, Christianity must first be disproven to them. This is a pretty high barrier to cross, and I think it’s why we all have such trouble understanding one another.

    That’s why when we look at something like the prophecy of Tyre, I see it as clearly being unfulfilled. Mike and Kathy disagree. But the reason we see this differently is that I don’t think God would give even seeming discrepancies in his word, whereas Mike and Kathy will give it much more benefit of the doubt than I will. Each person has to make up his or her own mind as to which approach is best.

    John Loftus coined the phrase “outsider test for faith,” which is the idea that if people want to know if their beliefs are true, they should try to approach their religion as though coming across it for the first time. Instead of giving it the benefit of the doubt (which is very natural), they should try to approach it skeptically to see if they still find it persuasive. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I think the approach has a lot of merit.

    Anyway, I think it’s this difference in perspective that has us all looking at the same evidence with one side saying “nuh-uh” and the other saying “uh-huh.” After 3800+ comments, if we haven’t gotten past that point, we’re not going to. So the one thing I can agree with Mike on is this: can’t we all just shut up and move along now? 🙂

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  88. Nate,

    I definitely agree. I don’t think it’s going to suddenly become a productive conversation if all either side can manage to do is claim bias if the other doesn’t agree with their conclusions.

    Shutting up and moving on. 🙂

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  89. Thanks Ruth

    BUT please don’t think you have to shut up and move on! Everyone’s still welcome to comment — I was just sharing how I see it.

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  90. Maybe you do a post that requires a specific response from the believers?
    How about a concise post concerning the divinity claims of Yeshua?

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  91. “For hardcore believers, however, Christianity is true by default. To even consider that it might be false, Christianity must first be disproven to them. ”

    Sorry Nate your strawmen mischaracterizations hold no weight. I would not be a Christian if there were no evidence. SO the lie that that is my or our position is just that – a lie

    “That’s why when we look at something like the prophecy of Tyre, I see it as clearly being unfulfilled. ”

    and we see a mainland Tyre that has been scraped into the sea and one that never will be rebuilt precisely as prophecied. You ignore that in favor of your “all” anything called “tyre” eisigesis. The fact that you see it the way you see it does not mean that we hold to no evidence and merely claim that Christianity must be disproven first. You make positive claims about contradictions that don’t hold up to scrutiny so that may be confusing you. Yes those have to have proof for them because they are positive claims about contradictions

    “But the reason we see this differently is that I don’t think God would give even seeming discrepancies in his word, whereas Mike and Kathy will give it much more benefit of the doubt than I will.”

    Pure Silliness. “Seeming” is a matter of subjective analysis. Claiming that a text must pass some test based on a subjective evaluation of what anyone supposed it “seems” is ludicrous. Its not us giving the benefit of the doubt it you imposing your own illogical belief system that everything must be easy and require no study because God is involved.

    “John Loftus coined the phrase “outsider test for faith,” which is the idea that if people want to know if their beliefs are true, they should try to approach their religion as though coming across it for the first time.”

    and People do this all the time. its why the majority claim that they believe in God even after decades of being taught materialism in schools.Its why people come from other religions and backgrounds and accept Christ. You are actually on the side of those that oppose this approach because if most people looked around them and saw the world they would see design naturally and not claim as atheist leaders that its real “designoids” that just looks designed.

    Your caricature that everyone was as you are from a family that was Christian and therefore none of us have in fact come looking from the outside to begin with continues to be wrong generally and wrong in regard to me as my parents were the last to come to Christ – because I encountered Christ first – from the outside.

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  92. Whatever, Mike. I have no interest in debating any of this with you. None of what I said was intended to be derogatory, so I’m sorry if it came across that way.

    We disagree — so what?

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  93. Again, I didn’t read the whole article..” – how very objective of you, Kathy. ADD, much?

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  94. @Mike

    I would not be a Christian if there were no evidence

    Right…..so maybe you would like to offer verifiable evidence of Yeshua’s divinity?

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  95. “I would not be a Christian if there were no evidence. ” mike

    okay, do you have evidence that other religions do not?

    how do vague biblical prophecies and lackluster fulfillment of the bible beat those of other religions or non-religions?

    how do christian martyrs work as evidence for the bible, while other martyrs dont serve as good evidence for their religions?

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  96. ““Seeming” is a matter of subjective analysis (cap’n obvious?). Claiming that a text must pass some test based on a subjective evaluation of what anyone supposed it “seems” is ludicrous. ” – mike

    -or, it’s how things work in reality. We could all go around saying, “this is what it says and this is what it means…” but that would be ignoring everyone’s potential for mistake or shortsightedness, or simply other’s differing points of view.

    it’s ludicrous to say personal perception is ludicrous.

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  97. nate, since this series has split into some different topics, you could do a new posts devoted to single topics, one for like martyrs, or another for nazareth, or some other prophecy (mike could even choose)…

    anyhow, just a suggestion.

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  98. “Whatever, Mike. I have no interest in debating any of this with you. None of what I said was intended to be derogatory, so I’m sorry if it came across that way.”

    Whatever here as well Nate. Your disingenuous Christians don’t look at things objectively and don’t look at evidence but its not intended to be derogatory has been seen through looooooong ago

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  99. Does anyone know what mike is talking about?

    Mike, if you list your evidnece, we’re happy to discuss it, but so far you havent given much except krauss reviews, select parts n pieces of Ezekiel “prophecies,” and …

    I cant really think of anything else…

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  100. I know I said I was going to shut up, but I just wanted to add that I think that it’s possible to be critical of a position without being derogatory. Not that everybody has done that, mind you. Just that it is possible.

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  101. but seriously, mike used Ezekiel 37 earlier as good example of fulfilled prophecy, but to me, he took one verse about Israel being brought back to the land after captivity.

    There was no timeline.

    There were other parts to the prophecy that weren’t fulfilled and mike evidently refuses (or he has thus far) to discuss the rest of Ezekiel 37 in its entirety.

    If that’s the extent of his good evidence, then I’m not sure what there is to talk about.

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  102. “Right…..so maybe you would like to offer verifiable evidence of Yeshua’s divinity?”

    And why would we start there? because in your ignorance you claim its the first rung? It isn’t. before that would be the Messiahship of Christ and before that (since its a prophetic concept) the whole area of prophecy. So far I have presented five prophecies two of which have been ignored entirely, One in which the only answer from your side was that a fence could pass for a wall (a laugher from Nate), another that because everything had not come to pass nothing had and the by now old ‘it happened because the people wanted it really really really badly even though they could NOT have made it happen.

    Now if you can improve on those pathetic attempts at hand waving then be my guest. Thats if you have any time or effort left as it must be awfully tiring trying the move that mountain about what?/ 15+ miles further to help out your comrade Arch.?

    Do be spiffy about it though because the only thing That even has me check in with your tired intellectually dishonest crew anymore is Kathy. If she ‘s gone then I’d be too.

    two for one special how can you resist? 🙂 This time next week you could be back to only rubber stamping

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  103. “I just wanted to add that I think that it’s possible to be critical of a position without being derogatory. Not that everybody has done that, mind you. Just that it is possible.”

    Certainly it is. Nate’s post was not an example of it though

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  104. As I’ve written before, I did not become a Christian until I was in my early 20’s. My parents were not religious so I had no “indoctrination.” I was adult, married, and with a child before I “found Christ.”

    From that point on, I accepted anything and everything the church told me (after all, I was a complete newcomer to Christianity). I read my bible regularly and never questioned the discrepancies. I just overlooked the things that didn’t quite make sense because, after all, this was God’s word! And God was, well, God.

    I know it’s difficult for you, Mike (and Kathy), to understand how or why anyone would or could become a non-believer. It’s all very cut and dried for the two of you … and at one time, it was for me as well. But things change and for a myriad of reasons, people walk away from the faith. (Suggest you visit ExChristian.net for a sampling.)

    Each of us is an individual and as such, we are accountable for our own personal decisions and actions. If we choose to accept the Christian story and it is true, we are the winners. If we reject it and it turns out to be true, then most certainly we are the losers.

    But if it is not true, then in the end, neither side has lost anything.

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  105. I’m not convinced that there are no walls in israel, but even if there werent, the lacking of walls was not the extent of that prophecy – so if we’re gonna talk prophecies, it may be more honest to address the entirety of said prophecy.

    and the fence (which at least 8 miles of is a huge wall) does what a city wall would have done – keep intruders out. And israel is adding to it all the time. And if you’ll argue over the definition of a “city” and of “build” but you’re going to hold strict in regard to “wall” and not allow “fence?”

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  106. “Certainly it is. Nate’s post was not an example of it though” – mike

    nor was yours

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  107. Nope. Irrespective of what you claim the New Testament is supposed to be, your faith is based solely on the divinity of Yeshua.
    He is your god.
    Without divinity, he is just a regular itinerant, smelly prophet.

    The rest is just smoke and mirrors, and if you cannot/will not demonstrate this claim of divinity then all you have is faith and you are simply piddling in the wind.

    If you do not have the integrity to present verifiable evidence for your claim then there is no reason whatsoever why anyone should take anything you say seriously at all.

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  108. Just in case anyone (lurkers) still does not know and since in scrolling through I saw my name in two of his posts – I stopped reading and responding to William days ago in large part because in addition to having nothing substantive to say he took to claiming that using handicapped little girls as insult material was no big deal for him to do.

    So generally …beneath me and why you won’t be seeing me respond to him. In case anyone was wondering

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  109. @Nan
    As I’ve written before, I did not become a Christian until I was in my early 20’s. My parents were not religious so I had no “indoctrination.” I was adult, married, and with a child before I “found Christ”

    May I ask what caused you to become a Christian; the motivation or circumstances behind this decision?

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  110. “Nope. Irrespective of what you claim the New Testament is supposed to be, your faith is based solely on the divinity of Yeshua.”

    Nope,,,,that claim is just you being you 🙂 -Displaying your VAST ignorance again…..He’s called Jesus Christ because his number one claim is being the Christos “anointed one” the Moshiach/Messiah Claiming Christianity is based solely on his divinity is actually quite comical on your part.

    Besides which – To use the proverb – it will be a cold day in hell when an atheists gets to define what Christianity is. Theres no ice cubes there today.

    Sorry premise rejected due to inadequate credentials.

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  111. So, one has to be a christian to define Christianity? Well, we have known this all along, and this is what the problem is.
    I have no desire to define Christianity. The definition is provided in the Nicene Creed.
    I am asking you to demonstrate the veracity of this claim.

    Now, bearing in mind that yours is a proselytizing religion, what do you tell the non-believer to convince them of your argument?

    If you cannot do this then why should anyone believe what you say?
    Based on your performance on this blog alone, I would venture that everyone here would lay down any amount that you are unable to demonstrate a single claim regards the divinity of the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth.

    And I reiterate, until you at least make the attempt, you are piddling in the wind.

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  112. Mike, you said:

    ““For hardcore believers, however, Christianity is true by default. To even consider that it might be false, Christianity must first be disproven to them. ”

    Sorry Nate your strawmen mischaracterizations hold no weight. I would not be a Christian if there were no evidence. SO the lie that that is my or our position is just that – a lie

    “That’s why when we look at something like the prophecy of Tyre, I see it as clearly being unfulfilled. ”

    and we see a mainland Tyre that has been scraped into the sea and one that never will be rebuilt precisely as prophecied. You ignore that in favor of your “all” anything called “tyre” eisigesis. The fact that you see it the way you see it does not mean that we hold to no evidence and merely claim that Christianity must be disproven first. You make positive claims about contradictions that don’t hold up to scrutiny so that may be confusing you. Yes those have to have proof for them because they are positive claims about contradictions

    “But the reason we see this differently is that I don’t think God would give even seeming discrepancies in his word, whereas Mike and Kathy will give it much more benefit of the doubt than I will.”

    Pure Silliness. “Seeming” is a matter of subjective analysis. Claiming that a text must pass some test based on a subjective evaluation of what anyone supposed it “seems” is ludicrous. Its not us giving the benefit of the doubt it you imposing your own illogical belief system that everything must be easy and require no study because God is involved.

    “John Loftus coined the phrase “outsider test for faith,” which is the idea that if people want to know if their beliefs are true, they should try to approach their religion as though coming across it for the first time.”

    and People do this all the time. its why the majority claim that they believe in God even after decades of being taught materialism in schools.Its why people come from other religions and backgrounds and accept Christ. You are actually on the side of those that oppose this approach because if most people looked around them and saw the world they would see design naturally and not claim as atheist leaders that its real “designoids” that just looks designed.

    Your caricature that everyone was as you are from a family that was Christian and therefore none of us have in fact come looking from the outside to begin with continues to be wrong generally and wrong in regard to me as my parents were the last to come to Christ – because I encountered Christ first – from the outside.”

    I concur 100%. There is a serious lack of objectivity with all the atheists here, including/ especially the author of the blog.. which is titled “FINDING TRUTH”..

    Question, Nate.. HOW do you find truth by “moving on”?? Answer: you don’t.

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  113. “Now, bearing in mind that yours is a proselytizing religion, what do you tell the non-believer to convince them of your argument?

    If you cannot do this then why should anyone believe what you say?

    I’ve told you i go to prophecy and quite a few of them agree its compelling. You don’t get a vote in what I tell honest truth seeking unbelievers because I don’t define you as one of them.

    You are the one piddling in the wind if you think you speak for all unbelievers similar as you are piddling in the wind when you claim your tourism conspiracy makes peer reviewed finds all go away.

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  114. Arch said:

    “Kathy, RE: “And if you claim there is no evidence for either.. please answer this.. would you let Casey Anthony watch your children” – yes, I would. Now where does your argument go?”

    There is no more argument.. it’s pretty obvious that you are incapable evaluating information/ evidence. ps. I hope you don’t have any kids, Arch..seriously!

    pss.. I’ll find and post our exchange from post 2 so you won’t be confused about my other question/ point.

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  115. “I concur 100%. There is a serious lack of objectivity with all the atheists here, including/ especially the author of the blog.. which is titled “FINDING TRUTH”..

    Question, Nate.. HOW do you find truth by “moving on”?? Answer: you don’t.”

    Kathy Nate is on record claiming he has already found the truth and though opened minded will NEVER be changing his mind. In a wonderful example of mental pretzel thinking he states it exactly like that in his “Never Going Back” post . Haven’t you read it?

    Its a classic in terms of trying to have your cake and eat it. He is both close minded and open minded at the same time. lol

    He conflates the Bible being a closed document with his knowledge of it being complete to get to his conclusion that he can do both but its absolutely awful reasoning skills on display and why if you ever thought this was a two way open discussion it was never ever going to be. The threads to you have all been about proselytizing you to atheism

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  116. I’ve told you i go to prophecy and quite a few of them agree its compelling. You don’t get a vote in what I tell honest truth seeking unbelievers because I don’t define you as one of them.

    Quite a few of who/ what agree it is compelling?

    Prophecy is simply interpretation. You still have to demonstrate the veracity of this claim as it relates to the claimed divinity of the biblical character of Jesus of Nazareth.

    So far you have not provided a single scrap of verifiable evidence to support this divinity claim.
    Now, once again would you please like to offer a single piece of verifiable evidence to back the claim of divinity for the character, Jesus of Nazareth.
    Just one…

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  117. “Prophecy is simply interpretation. ”

    You could say of anything that its interpretation. Try saying something substantive for a change. Jesus Christ is a prophetic based name and Christianity is a prophecy based claim. So you either deal with that, get cracking on the prophecy examples I have given or piddle in the wind some more. What you won’t be doing is tying to redefine what Christianity is “solely”dependent on. Hand wavers have no such credentials.

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  118. “What Husband that loves his wife would believe her to be a liar on the basis of translations of what she said rather than digging into the language themselves?”

    The caveat here is “loves his wife” . Love is blind, I think we’ve all heard this. How many times have you heard someone in a committed relationship say, “I didn’t see it coming” ? That’s because their reasoning was blinded by their love. There may have been all sorts of little signs things weren’t right in the love nest but love overshadowed reasoning and kept one from seeing it.

    “What person leaving the God they said they loved would not know all the answers given and yet over and over and over in debates you have been told things by me you OBVIOUSLY didn’t know and that were sitting right there for anyone who studied. Whether you accepted them or not is one thing but not even the point. The fact that you didn’t even know some of the key ones in almost every debate I have had on here is the main issue. it shows where your feet never tread”

    YOU are committed to these things you see as truth . Because of your commitment , there’s no way you are ever going to question them.

    “to quote Nate. I’ve seen too much . You’ve demonstrated so much you didn’t know that would be known by someone digging deep for the truth with a genuine commitment to God that – like it or not be offended or not I know its all a fraud even if its one you believe of yourselves”

    You are digging deeper only to reinforce what you already believe. There’s no objectivity here.

    “and to round it all off a few of you have ended up saying things that betray that you don’t even understand basic Christian teaching”

    Not true, but many here may not understand the extreme fundamental Christian teaching you have undergone.

    There is a very fine line between you , Kathy, and a fundamental extremist of any religion.

    Fundamental extremists make it virtually impossible for anyone to adhere to the extreme teachings of their religion. Inclusive is NOT a word in your vocabulary.

    You are as divisive as your holy book has made your god to be. You will never win the hearts of the world as a result.

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  119. the only thing That even has me check in with your tired intellectually dishonest crew anymore is Kathy. If she ‘s gone then I’d be too.” – I can see that, without you telling her what to think, she might actually allow some facts to seep in, and you can’t have that, now can you?

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  120. The prophecy examples you have given only mean anything if one wants to believe, which only demonstrates how credulous you, being prepared to accept this nonsense when you would dismiss any such claim were it in any other field, especially history or science – as I said, interpretation, no different from any other such claim.

    I don’t have to deal with anything, you silly man; you do, for it is your belief and once more, you have not offered a single piece of verifiable evidence for you divinity claims. Not one.

    Thus you can have you little foot stamping moment, it will not alter anything.
    You have nothing,my, man absolutely nothing, and all you are doing is confirming the belief of just how silly you, how effective is indoctrination and how completely unsubstantial your nonsense claims are.

    So, if you really want to be taken seriously, or have even a tiny measure of integrity, then offer some verifiable evidence for your divinity claim for the character, Jesus of Nazareth.
    Or, admit , that what you believe in is based on faith. Either or, I don’t mind.

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  121. @Ark, RE: “then there is no reason whatsoever why anyone should take anything you say seriously at all.” – I never did.

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  122. RE: “using handicapped little girls as insult material” – still milking that little girl for all she’s worth, right?

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  123. Ark,

    The motivation behind me becoming a Christian? In a word, FEAR.

    For some long-forgotten reason, I got interested in reading Revelations. What a story! In any event, I guess it was the predicted sores, rivers of blood, blistering sun, earthquakes, fiery hailstones, etc., etc. that really got to me. Scary sh__!

    Over a period of several months, I gathered as much information as I could about this gruesome book. Interestingly, most of the information I found was written by 7th Day Adventists (this was before the internet). Plus, my then-husband and I often got together with another couple (she was a Nazarene) and we had some long discussion about all the stuff that was supposed to happen in the end-times (including the dreaded anti-Christ).

    Finally, my Christian mother-in-law (although she didn’t attend church) stepped in and directed me to a Pentecostal preacher that she knew. She assured me he would have the answers.

    So, I met with him and his wife and, as they say, the rest is history.

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  124. I hope you don’t have any kids, Arch..seriously!” – ah, but I do, Kathy, they’re all capable of pinning Casey Anthony to the mat, why wouldn’t I let her watch them? She can watch me too, for that matter —

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  125. Besides, you mindless little sheep, if Anthony DID kill her daughter, she did it because she felt her daughter was interfering with her enjoyment of life, and as wrong as that may be, it doesn’t mean that she runs around killing children indiscriminately – just one more example of your definition of objectivity.

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  126. Rofl….. at These two

    KK barfs “You are as divisive as your holy book has made your god to be. You will never win the hearts of the world as a result.”

    Christianity already did and he’s in denial that they ever will

    Arch – “Besides, you mindless little sheep, if Anthony DID kill her daughter, she did it because she felt her daughter was interfering with her enjoyment of life, and as wrong as that may be, it doesn’t mean that she runs around killing children indiscriminately – just one more example of your definition of objectivity.”

    On what planet must this poor soul live on to think he just made a good point.

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  127. “KK barfs “You are as divisive as your holy book has made your god to be. You will never win the hearts of the world as a result.”

    “Christianity already did and he’s in denial that they ever will”

    Current World Population = 7,250,244,000

    Current Population claiming to be Christian = 2,200,000,000

    REAL Christian Population according to Mike & Kathy = 2

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  128. Christianity already did and he’s in denial that they ever will” – how many members is Christianity losing every year? The numbers keep rising, which is why your kind want to try and squeeze Creationism into schools – to win new converts when they’re most vulnerable.

    200 years from now, people will recall Christianity as a vague memory, as just another fable to be dismissed with all the other gods that Man has created, and all of the prophecies you now claim, will have been totally forgotten.

    You, on the other hand, will be wormfood, and certainly not resurrected.

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  129. “Current Population claiming to be Christian = 2,200,000,000”

    The amusing thing about that is he thinks he’d just made a point that Christianity ONLY has worldwide over 2 Billion adherents….lol

    “The caveat here is “loves his wife” . Love is blind, I think we’ve all heard this.”

    News Flash!! you heard it here first. If you love your wife it means theres something mentally wrong with you

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  130. “200 years from now, people will recall Christianity as a vague memory, as just another fable to be dismissed with all the other gods that Man has created, and all of the prophecies you now claim, will have been totally forgotten.”

    Poor Arch the only person longing for the good old days that needs to try a prophecy to make it happen.

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  131. “News Flash!! you heard it here first. If you love your wife it means theres something mentally wrong with you”

    The only thing mentally wrong Mike is your ability to twist someone’s comment into something it isn’t. But you come by it honestly. It’s a tradition that has gone on for over 2,000 years and counting.

    You continue to reinforce what everyone here has thought about you from the beginning.

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  132. “200 years from now, people will recall Christianity as a vague memory, as just another fable to be dismissed with all the other gods that Man has created, and all of the prophecies you now claim, will have been totally forgotten.”

    It’s already dying out in Europe, and that’s just the beginning. Your time has past, you just don’t have the sense to fade away.

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  133. “Just in case anyone (lurkers) still does not know and since in scrolling through I saw my name in two of his posts – I stopped reading and responding to William days ago in large part because in addition to having nothing substantive to say he took to claiming that using handicapped little girls as insult material was no big deal for him to do.”

    Can I be the 2nd person here that you will ignore ?

    Anyone else want to be ignored by Mike ? Crickets would sound nice for a change…………..

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  134. KC – I love Mike’s wife too, does that mean there’s something wrong with me? I mean, other than the obvious —

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  135. …he took to claiming that using handicapped little girls as insult material was no big deal for him to do… – I have asked Mike repeatedly why he doesn’t use his faith, as prescribed in the NT, to lay hands on this child and heal her – I can only assume that his faith is not strong enough. Or, possibly, that it’s all BS, but no, that’s not possible, is it Mike? Is she healed yet? Why not?

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  136. “You continue to reinforce what everyone here has thought about you from the beginning.”

    Oh vey and you continue to think a reference to your majority of what? 7 or 8 people? makes some point for you that your logic can’t make for itself. I should care?? Funny stuff after trying to make a point about 2 Billion as a low number

    “Can I be the 2nd person here that you will ignore ? ”

    heres a thought. Don’t respond to me or mention my name constantly like you are in love and you wouldn’t have to request to be ignored? never occurred to you?

    granted not even a quarter as intelligent as you claim for yourselves but still….

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  137. ” I have asked Mike repeatedly why he doesn’t use his faith, as prescribed in the NT, to lay hands on this child and heal her”

    and I have answered she doesn’t need it. SHe’s a happy fulfilled little girl. Plus great news to report!!! Doctors are certain that if you put her in front of a map she would be able to identify the location of a mountain near Nazareth and not get it 18 miles off

    We are thinking we may in fact have to redefine mental illness because there are people on blogs who are not able to operate at that level. 🙂 🙂

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  138. “Don’t respond to me or mention my name constantly like you are in love ”

    I thought it was humorous when you accused the women here of being after you. I started to get concerned when you made similar comments to Arch. And now ?

    You are a sick puppy indeed. My last comment here in Zoo Loo Land

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  139. SHe’s a happy fulfilled little girl.” – so you can finally quit milking her for pathos, right?

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  140. “KC – I love Mike’s wife too”

    You should. Conservatives tend to have far better looking women as wives. Not the women’s fault either. Not much good or handsome liberal men. So their choices are to cringe and settle or choose their own sex – which is why liberal women are far more likely to seek partners of their own sex.

    🙂 🙂

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  141. Conservatives tend to have far better looking women as wives – Wives? I can’t say for sure, but mistresses, including the wives of Conservatives, oh yeah – you feed ’em, I – well, I’m sure even you get the idea –!

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  142. Mike said.. (about Arch)..

    “On what planet must this poor soul live on to think he just made a good point.”

    I don’t even know if it can be called a “point”.

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  143. Kathy, your idea of “objectivity” is anyhing that agrees with your philosophy, and anything that doesn’t, is “Liberal” propaganda. I feel sorry for you, that you are unable to escape the indoctrination to which you’ve been subjected.

    Early on, I diagnosed your prejudice, and in the first segment, said, “You wouldn’t know a fact if it slapped you in the face!” I was criticized by some of our members for my candidness, but I suspect that those same members now see that I knew what I was talking about, despite the fact that I might not have phrased it as delicately as a William or a Howie.

    I may not be known for my delicacy, but my honesty, despite what Mr. Pretzel might say, is beyond reproach.

    You live your life with your head in the sand, and it does no good to give you evidence that contradicts your beliefs, because you will ignore it, regardless of how valid it may be. My only hope for you, is that you don’t indoctrinate your daughter the way you’ve been indoctrinated. Oh, I know you’ll try, but funny thing, kids have minds of their own, and just because you were gullible, doesn’t necessarily mean that she will be. I frankly hope that all of this comes back to bite you in the Astor Bar.

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  144. William,

    “Let me start off by reminding you, that you brought up sanat clause. Do you think it’s objectively weighing the evidence to compare a person who believes themselves to be an elf dying for santa is the same as someone dying for their religion? This is the context ion which you used the comparison, so I think it’s a but unfair to now put this question to me…”

    It’s irrelevant who brought up santa.. what is relevant to THIS point is that YOU made a claim that the evidence for both being real was the same.

    I brought up santa because I was pointing out your inability to discern the value, aka WEIGHT, of evidence.

    You repeatedly tried to claim that I haven’t put forth any evidence.. and you were factually wrong. You kept claiming that the evidence for all the different religions is the same.. another factually incorrect claim.

    “nevertheless, i think it is good question, so no, I wouldn’t say this is correct. and you’re right, there are differences. I will say, that i do believe that the bible’s divine origin is just as much a fable as santa clause, but I view the possibility of a god or gods to be separate from the bible.”

    It took a lot of persistence, but… good.. I think we might be getting somewhere. So, since you acknowledge that there are differences, there’s no reason to not answer my question.. which religion has the most evidence to support it’s “truth/Truth?

    I never said you or Nate or anyone had to agree that the religion was true.. only which one has the most compelling evidence.

    But, I’m not sure how you can still believe that Christianity is “just as much a fable as santa clause”.. when no one died for santa claus but people did die, and STILL DO give their lives for Jesus. I don’t see how you can value this evidence as the same as the zero evidence we actually have for santa.. this is just more evidence of bias/ lack of objectivity. There’s no other way to see it. Not to mention the Bible, the witnesses, prophecies, archaeological evidence.. we have none of that for santa claus. If you disagree.. please list the more compelling evidence for santa claus.. or even the evidence that puts them on the same level.

    “I dont know that i believe it a god, but I dont firmly dispute a god’s existence either – I’m just not convinced there is one.”

    So, it makes sense to you that if we are created beings, that our Creator just abandoned us? It’s certainly a possibility but it seems unlikely when observing all the attention required in creating us/ existence. So, that would take us back to my question about which religion has the most compelling evidence for it’s truth.. which religion (or faith for Christianity) is our Creator revealing Himself to us through? And my belief is that Christianity is the most reasonable, likely answer. It gives us all the necessary answers; meaning & purpose.. the only unanswered question is 1st cause. And Christianity has the most compelling evidence.

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  145. “You live your life with your head in the sand, and it does no good to give you evidence that contradicts your beliefs, because you will ignore it, regardless of how valid it may be. ”

    Arch, you are the one who is ignoring evidence and reality. You STILL haven’t answered my simple question.. you just continue to ignore it, why is that Arch?? This is YOU putting your head in the sand.. not me! This is how we find truth.. when one side is unable to proceed… that’s where the flaw in reasoning is.. and where truth is NOT to be found.

    me: “are you claiming that because the ‘cliff’ is supposedly 18 miles away.. that this is evidence for the Bible not being true?” – no, I’m claiming that that’s evidence for that verse not being true.”

    SOOOOOOOO…. you’ve identified EVIDENCE… for something being TRUE OR NOT TRUE.. ahem…

    NOW.. let’s try this.. AGAIN…

    WHICH RELIGION DO YOU BELIEVE HAS THE BEST EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT’S “TRUTH”??

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  146. people did die, and STILL DO give their lives for Jesus. – And more delusional people prove what?

    So, it makes sense to you that if we are created beings – no one here said we were.

    What created your god?

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  147. You STILL haven’t answered my simple question.. you just continue to ignore it, why is that Arch?” – because it’s an absurd question, or as Ratamacu0) put it so aptly, “Which turd is the shiniest.”

    The honest answer, is None of the Above.

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  148. Mike

    So, not able to show us a single scrap of verifiable evidence for the divinity of your man-god, Jesus of Nazareth, then Mike?

    Like all believers, when faced with the really tough questions refer to default position:
    Ignore request, shift goalposts and if all else fails ask your god for guidance?

    What a fraud.
    A monstrous hypocrite of the first degree.

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  149. “I may not be known for my delicacy, but my honesty, despite what Mr. Pretzel might say, is beyond reproach.

    You live your life with your head in the sand, and it does no good to give you evidence that contradicts your beliefs, because you will ignore it, regardless of how valid it may be.” – Arch

    Goodness …What a howler from the person who still maintains a mountain is where every map tells him it is not.

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  150. “So, not able to show us a single scrap of verifiable evidence for the divinity of your man-god, Jesus of Nazareth, then Mike?”

    You have been given five prophecies. You will mot be allowed to hand wave out of answering them any more than you were allowed to handwave away from the peer review evidence you claimed never existed for Nazareth. You can employ any rhetoric and let the spittle fly. its all for naught . Temper tantrums have no effect on me. Your attempt to redefine what Christianity is solely based on have been defeated. Chop chop on the five prophecies and stop boring me.

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  151. You have been given five prophecies

    RFLMFAO….
    Ah…Mikey, prophecies. What a chump you really are.

    Joseph uttered prophecies to Pharaoh. Should we believe this crap as well?

    Nostradamus also prophesied. Do you take him seriously?

    And what about the biblical ‘prophecies’ that are blatant lies? Take the Virgin Birth for example.
    Really, you are such a poor excuse not only for a christian but as an example of critical thinking.
    However, as an example of an indoctrinated dunderhead, you are a shining star.

    Your attempt to redefine what Christianity is solely based on have been defeated.

    I am not trying to define your religion what a silly man you are. The definition was laid out by the Nicene Creed.
    You are simply unable to provide any verifiable evidence for your man- god claims for the character, Jesus of Nazareth.
    Now, chop chop,Mike, on the evidence and stop boring everybody.

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  152. “Nostradamus also prophesied. Do you take him seriously?”

    So lets analyze the critical thinking of this self alleged intelligent person. Some others have claimed to have made prophecies so that means all prophecies can be rejected on that basis rather than looking at each on the merits. By that wonderful logic some people say they are telling the truth and are lying so all people saying they are telling the truth are in fact lying

    Yawn…..

    “And what about the biblical ‘prophecies’ that are blatant lies? Take the Virgin Birth for example.”

    The virgin Birth is fine and dandy. So is Matthews take on it. My fault that you don;t read the Bible to know that Isiah’s children were given as signs pointing to future events? You can debate me on the virgin birth when you deal with the other five prophecies I gave

    Or was I supposed to miss in all that hand waving that you have ducked again?

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  153. You can debate me on the virgin birth when you deal with the other five prophecies I gave

    What on earth for? I have no desire to debate idiotic nonsense with an idiot who doesnlt understand his own religious book.

    What you fail to understand is this: even if one could state without fear of contradiction that the prophecies were legit you are then faced with the seemingly insurmountable problem of fitting your man-god into this scenario and, as has been repeatedly pointed out to you, there is no evidence to support these claims of divinity.
    And the bible cannot be used to justify the bible. That s just plain silly.

    Now, if you can provide one shred of verifiable evidence for this divinity then your prophecy claims might be worth looking at. Until then, all you have is the erroneous text and faith.

    So, chop chop Mikey, boy, let’s see this evidence?

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  154. “I am not trying to define your religion what a silly man you are. The definition was laid out by the Nicene Creed.”

    Stop lying and get to work. the Nicene Creed does not support your claim that the sole basis of Christianity is the divinity of Jesus. It refers directly to Jesus Christ. Christ is not his last name but his title of being messiah and messiah is a prophetic principle.

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  155. “What you fail to understand is this: even if one could state without fear of contradiction that the prophecies were legit you are then faced with the seemingly insurmountable problem of fitting your man-god into this scenario”

    What you OBVIOUSLY do not understand is that the claim of divinity is DIRECTLY tied to prophecy. How can you debate me on Christianity when you are so utterly clueless on the subject. Just a long list of blunders – number of verses in the originals, no peer reviewed papers of Nazareth in the first century, Christianity is solely based on divinity claims etc etc on and on it goes and still no addressing of the five prophecies given to you.

    MIkes a busy guy this morning. No time to deal with your foolishness. The hissy fits don;t make the papers go away, they don’t change Jesus being the Christ and they don’t answer the five prophecies given to you.

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  156. @Mike
    I know very well what the Nicene Creed states, thank you ever so much and it had to be made law and later enforced by Theodosius so please, stop being churlish by calling everyone a liar.
    We are not Christians.
    I have stated that the divinity claim is the foundation of Christianity. Without this…your man god is just a smelly little Galilean escatological prophet.

    I also know what ”Christ” means.

    Now, let’s dispense with the name calling, hand waving and all the nonsense that has gone before. Let us wipe the slate clean and deal with facts and evidence that pertain to your faith.

    1. You believe that Jesus of Nazareth was divine and also the creator of the universe. All I am asking is for you to offer one single piece of verifiable evidence for the divinity claim. Nothing else.

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  157. Kathy, forgive the length, but I am trying to address everything you went over.

    You said,
    “It’s irrelevant who brought up santa.. what is relevant to THIS point is that YOU made a claim that the evidence for both being real was the same.” – Kathy

    Well then it is relevant since you made the same comparison, but to another religion. I was merely giving you your own argument back to you. But let’s leave santa behind as we both think it provides nothing to the conversation. We’re better off sticking to the bigger issues. I’m sure you agree.

    And you also said,
    “You repeatedly tried to claim that I haven’t put forth any evidence.. and you were factually wrong. You kept claiming that the evidence for all the different religions is the same.. another factually incorrect claim.” – Kathy

    Fine Kathy, but again, what evidence do you have for Christianity that other religions do not have? Yet again, all the evidence that I have seen you cite, can and often is cited for other religions as well. Several times now I have even recited back to you what evidence I’ve seen you provide and I have addressed it all. If I have missed any, please provide what I have missed.

    This too,
    “It took a lot of persistence, but… good.. I think we might be getting somewhere. So, since you acknowledge that there are differences, there’s no reason to not answer my question.. which religion has the most evidence to support its “truth/Truth?” – Kathy
    How many times must I answer? I don’t think any religion has evidence of being truly divine; just as I don’t think any 10 year old has any evidence or meaningful credentials of being a doctor; and just I couldn’t name a type of roach that is the prettiest.

    And again, you are welcome to show the credentials that you think makes Christianity true.

    You said this,
    “But, I’m not sure how you can still believe that Christianity is “just as much a fable as santa clause”.. when no one died for santa claus but people did die, and STILL DO give their lives for Jesus.” – Kathy

    Kathy, we’ve been through this and through this, but you still seem to think that martyrdom only becomes evidence for the truth of the cause if that cause is Christianity. Let me ask you, what about the christians that decided to denounce Christianity and preserve their own lives in order to avoid dying for it? Do you think that is evidence of Christianity’s lack of truth, or would you then admit that an individual’s actions only stand as evidence for their belief and/or devotion to Christianity?

    You also said,
    “So, it makes sense to you that if we are created beings, that our Creator just abandoned us? It’s certainly a possibility but it seems unlikely when observing all the attention required in creating us/ existence. So, that would take us back to my question about which religion has the most compelling evidence for it’s truth.. which religion (or faith for Christianity) is our Creator revealing Himself to us through? And my belief is that Christianity is the most reasonable, likely answer. It gives us all the necessary answers; meaning & purpose.. the only unanswered question is 1st cause. And Christianity has the most compelling evidence.” – Kathy

    So you’re suggesting that a perfect, all powerful, all knowing, loving, merciful, wrathful, and jealous god loved us so much that he made a rule that said most everyone would go to hell unless they believed (regardless of their morality) in jesus? You also suggest that this same god made the rule that he had to kill his own son in order to save everyone, but decided to not speak to each man, decided to not show himself to his beloved creation, and decided to not even write his own book to us, and decided to have Israelites slaughter women and children (and sometimes keep the virgin girls)? This makes sense to you?

    You think it makes sense to say that considering the universe’s complexity and precision, that there must be something that created it. But, when it comes to that creator, do you think he is more or less complex than his creation? If more complex, then why doesn’t he also need a creator? If he does not, then evidently, there is no need for complex or precise things to need creation. But you still think that makes the most sense?

    Look at genesis chapters 1 & 2. Where did birds come from? The two chapters cant even agree on that. But that makes sense to you?

    First, I don’t know that there is a god, or that there would be only one if any. And second, why would he/she/they/it have to be perfect or even care? Maybe we’re so far beneath them that we were created through a sneeze. Or maybe, there is no god. Whatever the case, I am certain that thor is not that god. Quite certain that the Koran is not a good instruction book. Neither do I think that zeus or Ares are true gods. And I am just as certain that the bible is just a product of men; a compellation of men’s claims. So, in summary, I think an unknown god or no god at all have more credentials at being true than any religion I’ve seen so far.

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  158. Lurkers,

    mike (TBLACKMAN) said this:

    “Just in case anyone (lurkers) still does not know and since in scrolling through I saw my name in two of his posts – I stopped reading and responding to William days ago in large part because in addition to having nothing substantive to say he took to claiming that using handicapped little girls as insult material was no big deal for him to do.
    So generally …beneath me and why you won’t be seeing me respond to him. In case anyone was wondering” – mike

    Mike is a pathological liar, something you would have seen had you been lurking long enough. I asked him if he was a mentally handicapped little girl because he says ridiculous things. It was low brow and in poor taste, but it was not mocking the mentally handicapped, but just mocking mike.

    He continually insists that he doesn’t read my comments, but I think that’s because he cant answer them. He’ll quote mine “prophecies” and when I ask him about the rest of the prophecy that hasn’t been fulfilled in the least, we get tangents on Krauss, we see him call names, we see him perpetuate lies, and we see him do a number of things, except address the short comings of the entire prophecies that he mentions.

    You’ll see him mention “jews coming back to Israel” or “no city walls in Israel” but he tries to pretend there’s no more to those prophecies. He can ignore them all he likes, but there is quite a bit more, he just ignores them because they mean the prophecies havent been fulfilled.

    What mike doesn’t seem to realize is that no matter how much he ignores my comments, they’re still here – much like the issues he tries to ignore in the bible. He can refuse to address them all he likes, but that does make the go away – they are still there.

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  159. “I have stated that the divinity claim is the foundation of Christianity”

    lol…..I dont care what you have stated. You are an authority only in your own mind. You have also said its the sole basis of Christianity and that no peer reviewed paper exists for the first century existence of Nazareth – both wrong

    So deal with the five prophecies given to you and stop trying to duck and weave. You are not going to duck evidence offered and then demand more. its non negotiable. deal with them or just continue having a hissy fit. This weekend I may drop in and see if you have addressed the issue or failed again

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  160. “1. You believe that Jesus of Nazareth was divine and also the creator of the universe. All I am asking is for you to offer one single piece of verifiable evidence for the divinity claim. Nothing else.”

    Sheeesh way to go for consistency …in denseness. The verifiable evidence is prophetical in nature which is why that has to be dealt with first. At least try and keep up.

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  161. You are not going to duck evidence offered and then demand more.

    As you haven’t yet offered a single piece of verifiable evidence I have not had to duck at all.
    So, one piece of verifiable evidence for your divinity claim of Jesus of Nazareth, Mike. Just one.

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  162. Kathy asks: Would you let Casey Anthony watch your children?

    No more than I’d leave them unattended with a Catholic priest, or a Baptist minister, or Christian fundamentalists like these folks…

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  163. “So deal with the five prophecies given to you and stop trying to duck and weave.” – mike

    why should anyone else deal with them when you wont? You only select a verse or two out of context and declare “fulfilled!” Why dont you deal with the entirety of your prophecies and for starters can explain how Ezekiel 37 is fulfilled when there is no israeli leader from the line of david, and how christians are out numbered in israel and how there’s a mosque where the temple once stood?

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  164. is there an OT prophecy that the messiah would be deity?

    eventually it will come down to evidence for jesus being divine…

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  165. eventually it will come down to evidence for jesus being divine…

    Precisely, William, and no matter what Mike says, his religion hinges on this belief.
    Without the Resurrection there is no Christianity….ask the character Saul of Tarsus!

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  166. but i dont mind discussing prophecies. Mike is just trying to dodge the problem by saying he wont start where you want to, but he’s not better off in the prophecies.

    He had already began discussing the virigin birth on that thread, but then ditched out so he could back over here to get lost in Krauss and neurology.

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  167. “Precisely, William, and no matter what Mike says, his religion hinges on this belief.
    Without the Resurrection there is no Christianity….ask the character Saul of Tarsus!”

    Oh my….soooooo then….Resurrection is now synonymous with being divine. So the Bible teaches Lazarus was divine too eh?

    You just couldn’t make up this level of ignorance. lol

    See why I will not take the issues out of order? Your silliness will just you have you running all over the place making erroneous claims.

    Still no sign of dealing with the five prophecies already presented. Why am I not surprised?

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  168. well, mike, if you’re not going to read the comments, it seems a little ill conceived to claim that no one is addressing your points.

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  169. Oh my….soooooo then….Resurrection is now synonymous with being divine. So the Bible teaches Lazarus was divine too eh?

    Truly you are the most ignorant screwed in the head prat I have ever come across. Jesus’ resurrection is synonymous with the claims for his divinity, but I don’t recall Lazarus bringing himself back form the dead?
    If you feel you are better qualified to define the resurrection than Saul of Tarsus then be my guess.

    So, once again, evidence for the divinity of Jesus, Mike. Yes, or No? Or are you going to stand there with your you-know-what in your hand all day and mouth off ridiculous garbage?

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  170. “Mike is a pathological liar, something you would have seen had you been lurking long enough. I asked him if he was a mentally handicapped little girl because he says ridiculous things. It was low brow and in poor taste”

    Oh My what a liar. he didn’t task me if if I was A mentally handicapped Girl. He was specifying a particular one that I had “adopted” and then he went on for posts after saying he had apologized claiming it was no really big deal.

    nothing of any substance….oh and apparently he has deluded himself into thinking he offers more compelling points than his other comrades (all of whom I read) as to why he is ignored by me.

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  171. “nothing of any substance….oh and apparently he has deluded himself into thinking he offers more compelling points than his other comrades (all of whom I read) as to why he is ignored by me.” – mike

    also of little substance, your responses. Instead of talking about the biblical points or your errors with your prophecies, you dwell on these things to avoid the points.

    Again, you can say no one is addressing your points, but everyone who reads this thread will realize your points are being addressed and that it’s you who continually dodges.

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  172. “Truly you are the most ignorant screwed in the head prat I have ever come across. Jesus’ resurrection is synonymous with the claims for his divinity, but I don’t recall Lazarus bringing himself back form the dead?”

    Oh my…the blunders just keep coming. It is the clear teaching of the Bible that God rose Jesus from the dead.

    Acts 2:24 (KJV)
    24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

    Acts 2:32 (KJV)
    32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

    Acts 3:15 (KJV)
    15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

    Acts 4:10 (KJV)
    10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

    Romans 4:24 (KJV)
    24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

    Romans 6:4 (KJV)
    4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    1 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)
    14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

    Galatians 1:1 (KJV)
    1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

    Please present all the verses that state that Jesus resurrected himself to prove he was divine.

    Good night…You guys are bad

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  173. I would agree with the mike, the bible is pretty clear that jesus isnt all powerful or all knowing either. The thing is though, the miracles surrounding jesus were supposed to support his claims of his divine nature – I would assume the resurrection could be counted as

    But there’s still a good question, where’s the evidence for his Resurrection?

    and another good question is, if mike (TBlackman) wants to discuss the prophecies, then whys isn’t he?

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  174. William,

    ““It’s irrelevant who brought up santa.. what is relevant to THIS point is that YOU made a claim that the evidence for both being real was the same.” – Kathy

    Well then it is relevant since you made the same comparison, but to another religion. I was merely giving you your own argument back to you. But let’s leave santa behind as we both think it provides nothing to the conversation.”

    You’ve injected confusion into my very valid point.. that most certainly DOES provide clarification (for you) as to the very foundation of what we are debating.

    You tried to claim that martyrdom evidence was the same for all religions.. which is the reason I brought up a fictional scenario of a man, claiming to be an elf, killing himself to testify to the truth of santa claus. This was an attempt to help YOU understand the difference between his “martyrdom” and that of a person who doesn’t claim to be an elf, being martyred for an actual faith that billions have ALSO attested to. This point provided EVERYTHING to the conversation William.. it shows how you are wrong in your assessment of the value of martyrdom and other evidence.. which again, you incorrectly claimed was the same for all religions.

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  175. kathy, which religion that I mentioned has members who believe they are elves… or anything besides faithful disciples?

    it looks like you’re saying your analogy was right because all other religions are made up – just like santa is, but havent havent illustrated that point beyond saying they’re ficticious.

    and guess what, i also think Christianity is not true. So using martyrs doesnt serve as evidence.

    I dont really know what you’re trying to say…

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  176. and kathy, if you’re saying that a christian martyr is different than every other martyr, then please illustrate that difference so i can understand your position.

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  177. William cont..

    ” How many times must I answer? I don’t think any religion has evidence of being truly divine; just as I don’t think any 10 year old has any evidence or meaningful credentials of being a doctor; and just I couldn’t name a type of roach that is the prettiest.”

    Nope, sorry William, this isn’t going to work.. my question doesn’t even ask which religion you think is “divine”. And I just don’t believe you aren’t comprehending my question.

    “And again, you are welcome to show the credentials that you think makes Christianity true.”

    I have. It is YOU who has failed to show how any other religion meets the level of evidence that Christianity has.

    “Kathy, we’ve been through this and through this, but you still seem to think that martyrdom only becomes evidence for the truth of the cause if that cause is Christianity. ”

    Not true. Provide my exact words to back up this claim, William. I acknowledge that the major religions have “evidence”.. it’s right IN my question that you refuse to answer.. I’m asking which has the MOST evidence!

    William, please take the time to understand my points instead of twisting them to fit your narrative. This is dishonest.

    “Let me ask you, what about the christians that decided to denounce Christianity and preserve their own lives in order to avoid dying for it? Do you think that is evidence of Christianity’s lack of truth, or would you then admit that an individual’s actions only stand as evidence for their belief and/or devotion to Christianity?”

    Yes William! That COULD also be evidence against the truth of Christianity! But it’s very weak evidence because it’s the EASY way out.. the complete OPPOSITE of those who don’t recant. Which makes their testimony ….. ready?… WEIGH MORE.. it makes their testimony COMPELLING evidence… someone recanting because they are afraid to die… NOT COMPELLLING evidence.. it’s the EXPECTED reaction for humans. It’s borderline “evidence”. That you refuse to acknowledge these FUNDAMENTAL differences reveals your lack of objectivity, William. And I believe you are a good representation of all the atheists here on this blog.

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  178. “Nope, sorry William, this isn’t going to work.. my question doesn’t even ask which religion you think is “divine”. And I just don’t believe you aren’t comprehending my question.” – mike

    then I’ve misunderstood your question. What credentials for truth are you referring to if not in regard to the divine claims?

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  179. Arch,

    “You STILL haven’t answered my simple question.. you just continue to ignore it, why is that Arch?” – because it’s an absurd question, or as Ratamacu0) put it so aptly, “Which turd is the shiniest.”

    The honest answer, is None of the Above.”

    See, everyone reading!? Arch is no different than William.. deliberate ignorance through and through…

    That’s NOT what I’m asking Arch.

    They ALL have EVIDENCE… which has the MOST…

    kindergarteners can comprehend this stuff.. what is wrong with you liberals??? seriously..

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  180. “William, please take the time to understand my points instead of twisting them to fit your narrative. This is dishonest.” – kathy

    sorry, not meaning to do this – maybe you’re not clearly stating your points? But If I’m not understanding your points, our back and forth is an opportunity to clarify or correct my misunderstanding

    “Yes William! That COULD also be evidence against the truth of Christianity! But it’s very weak evidence because it’s the EASY way out.. the complete OPPOSITE of those who don’t recant. Which makes their testimony ….. ready?… WEIGH MORE.. it makes their testimony COMPELLING evidence… someone recanting because they are afraid to die… NOT COMPELLLING evidence.. it’s the EXPECTED reaction for humans. It’s borderline “evidence”. That you refuse to acknowledge these FUNDAMENTAL differences reveals your lack of objectivity, William. And I believe you are a good representation of all the atheists here on this blog.” – kathy

    kathy, you’re just not making sense. What someone is willing to die for has no bearing on the truth, but only that person’s conviction for what they’re dying for.

    you acknowledge that there are many other martyrs outside of christianity, but you say that they’re martyrdom isnt as compelling in one post, and then state is evidence in another…

    If christianity martyrdom is superior, please explain how?

    If martyrdom is evidence for all religions, then the issue is moot, since you only think one religion is true.

    It’s like saying “that religion has believers, so that’s good evidence for it being true, because who would want to believe a lie?” people sincerely believe all sorts of erroneous things.

    is this the extent of your factual and clear evidence for the truth of christianity? martyrs – something every other religion has?

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  181. “They ALL have EVIDENCE… which has the MOST…”

    evidence for what? I had thought you were asking which had the most evdience for being truly divine, then you just now told that was not what you were asking for….

    most evidence for what then?

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  182. You tried to claim that martyrdom evidence was the same for all religions..” – since all martyrdom is due to delusion, I’d have to mark that as true.

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  183. Really, whether the martyrdom is due to delusion or not is irrelevant.

    The really important point is that martyrdom only shows level of belief, not level of truth or accuracy. But this has been said many times — I doubt it will make a difference now.

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  184. They ALL have EVIDENCE… which has the MOST…” that’s the beginning of your errors, Kathy – no, they don’t.

    Christianity has no evidence for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, Joseph or Moses, and, yet your Yeshua is alleged to have spoken of them as though they existed. The Gospels, that tell of Yeshua’s alleged life and death, were all written by anonymous authors, 40 to 70 years afterward – evidence-wise, your Bible is a book of blank pages.

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  185. “Really, whether the martyrdom is due to delusion or not is irrelevant.”

    This is wrong.. it’s incredibly relevant. There is no more relevant aspect to martyrdom. If it were irrelevant, rational educated people wouldn’t do it, it’d be for nothing.. (according to you).

    “The really important point is that martyrdom only shows level of belief, not level of truth or accuracy. But this has been said many times — I doubt it will make a difference now.”

    Yes, it’s an important part of martyrdom.. it shows the person’s level of belief. But it’s by far not the “only” important part.. the person themselves is an even more important part of the act.. again, their level of education, their standing, their character and their saneness all determine how powerful the testimonial evidence is. For these people, it is also COMPELLING evidence for the Truth of what they are dying for.

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  186. religions claim to be from the divine, so if she’s not asking which has the most credentials for being truly divine, then I really don’t understand her question.

    “true” in what sense, if not divine?

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  187. Kathy, you continue to repeat the same question over and over and over again (the most recent time you “shouted” it): “WHICH RELIGION DO YOU BELIEVE HAS THE BEST EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT’S “TRUTH”??

    And over and over and over again, the people on this blog have answered you. It has simply not been the answer you want. You want everyone to answer that it’s Christianity. But for many of us, the evidence presented by you (and Mike) for Christianity (and all that entails) simply doesn’t hold up. Besides the fact that most of us examined and discounted all this “evidence” long before joining any discussions on Nate’s blog.

    As Arch and others have said, the bible is nothing but a collection of stories. You have chosen to believe they are from a divine source. Most of us disagree. It’s as simple as that.

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  188. kathy, regarding martyrdom, you’re being ridiculous.

    how many martyrs did you know personally, anyways that you could make an educated comment regarding their sanity or education?

    the apostle paul claimed he was sincere in thinking that killing chrsitians was what god wanted… was he right? was paul insane or under-educated – or do you think he was just wrong despite his sincerity or education?

    there are plenty on sane and educated people who dont believe in religion – so they must be right?

    come on, you must see this is ludicrous.

    how could a martyr factually know any better than anyone one else that his cause is the right one? they all have faith and strong devotion, but how does that equal “accurate?” Does god speak from heaven when a martyr dies so that you know that was a good martyr?

    This isnt a difficult concept and I really dint understand why we go round and round with it…

    ask mike what he thinks about your martyrs. I bet he sidesteps you if he answers at all…

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  189. Yes, it’s an important part of martyrdom.. it shows the person’s level of belief. But it’s by far not the “only” important part.. the person themselves is an even more important part of the act.. again, their level of education, their standing, their character and their saneness all determine how powerful the testimonial evidence is. For these people, it is also COMPELLING evidence for the Truth of what they are dying for.

    No, it’s actually not. We don’t have good historical evidence showing that anyone who personally Jesus became a martyr. Maybe some did. But the vast majority of Christian martyrs are people who never knew Jesus. So for them, it doesn’t matter how smart they were, how educated, etc — their martyrdom can only show their level of sincerity, not their level of accuracy. Since they had no firsthand knowledge of Jesus, they were in no better position to testify to the truth of his existence or claims than any of us are. That’s simply a fact.

    Look, evidence from martyrs only shows that people truly believed in Christianity. No one denies that. If you want to talk about whether or not Christianity is actually true, then we need to look to other forms of evidence that can demonstrate why parts of the Christian narrative are true — not just that people believed it.

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  190. Kathy,

    Which comic book hero has the most evidence to support its truth? Batman, Captain America, Superman, Spider-man, Green Lantern, Incredible Hulk, Wolverine or Wonder Woman?

    Which fairy tale character has the most evidence to support its truth? Cinderella, Goldilocks, Hansel & Gretel, Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White or Thumbelina?

    Which cartoon character has the most evidence to support its truth? Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Eric Cartman, Fred Flintstone, Homer Simpson, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Porky Pig, Scooby Doo, SpongeBob SquarePants, Woody Woodpecker or Yogi Bear?

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  191. ” Maybe some did. But the vast majority of Christian martyrs are people who never knew Jesus. So for them, it doesn’t matter how smart they were, how educated, etc — their martyrdom can only show their level of sincerity, not their level of accuracy. Since they had no firsthand knowledge of Jesus, they were in no better position to testify to the truth of his existence or claims than any of us are. That’s simply a fact.”

    First, the disciple’s martyrdom or any Christian martyrdom wasn’t to testify to Jesus’ existence but to testify to His Deity.

    2nd, again, when a smart educated person of good character martyrs themselves if makes a difference. It can very well be compelling evidence for what they are dying for. As much as you need to take away the powerful testimony of martyrdom for Christianity, it can’t be done. Sane rational objective people see how powerful it is.. and again, these people wouldn’t do it if it didn’t produce compelling evidence.

    Bottom line.. it’s evidence for their beliefs.. but based on the person, it can also be evidence of the Truth of what they are dying for. Don’t get confused about the difference between evidence and proof.. as all the atheists here continue to do.. there is no claim that it’s proof.. the claim is that it IS compelling evidence. There’s no argument that can change that fact.

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  192. “Bottom line.. it’s evidence for their beliefs.. but based on the person, it can also be evidence of the Truth of what they are dying for.” – kathy

    then that is also the case for every other religion – thereby making this moot.

    Kathy, if you arent going to share how christian martyrdom is better than any other type, then i still a martyr as a martyr.

    If you’re saying that all other religions are bogus, then you’re saying that their martyrdom isnt very compelling.

    so if it’s not compelling (and we;re not talking about people who think they’re elves) it is also not compelling for your religion.

    you may as well say having believers is compelling evidence… fine but when they all have said compelling evidence, it is not unique and why we say moot.

    is this the apex of your evidence? martyrs?

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  193. “Don’t get confused about the difference between evidence and proof.” – kathy

    you shouldnt be confused about evidence between one’s belief in something and that things actuality.

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  194. The most compelling evidence for this resurrection would be seeing this resurrected man in the flesh—the very thing no Christian apologist will ever produce. And the reason why they can’t do so was already freely admitted by TB himself:

    “In ancient days you were considered dead when you were lifeless. People got buried who were not modern clinically dead all the time.”

    IOW, Jesus was never clinically dead to begin with, so his resurrection was merely an illusion.

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  195. But Ron, doncha’ know? Jesus is up in “heaven,” sitting at the right hand of God. I mean, gosh, do you expect him to leave his “father” just to show us unbelievers that he really exists? How unrealistic of you!

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  196. “And the reason why they can’t do so was already freely admitted by TB himself:

    “In ancient days you were considered dead when you were lifeless. People got buried who were not modern clinically dead all the time.”

    IOW, Jesus was never clinically dead to begin with, so his resurrection was merely an illusion.”

    The sheer wonder of your lying ways is breathtaking in its stupidity. Though your comrades will probably never admit it they know perfectly well I never made any such claims in any words – other or otherwise.

    Take a bow. between you and Arch ‘s claim a mountain is not where a mountain is you have cemented for all time exactly why theists say rightfully athiest have a high amount of bare faced liars among them.

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  197. For these people, it is also COMPELLING evidence for the Truth of what they are dying for.” – for THOSE people, possibly, for anyone else, just an indication of how incredibly gullible they were.

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  198. Ir would be “compelling evidence,” Kathy, only to the degree to which those people believed, and feared burning in hell if they didn’t give their lives, nothing more. You would see that yourself if you were the kind of person who critically examined their own beliefs, but you’re not.

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  199. “Yes, it’s an important part of martyrdom.. it shows the person’s level of belief. But it’s by far not the “only” important part.. the person themselves is an even more important part of the act.. again, their level of education, their standing, their character and their saneness all determine how powerful the testimonial evidence is” Kathy

    Kathy — theres actually another point to that that in fact refutes Nate’s barf. Most Skeptic’s and atheist affirm that Paul pretty much invented Christianity. the problem with this claim as you know is that Paul’s epistles are addressed to churches. So now we have a problem. it might be true that people will die for what they believe in but it is EXCEEDINGLY difficult for them to die for things they know not to be true.

    Nate Claims that they didn’t know jesus personally is actually not the point. At any point Paul (or whoevr they claim) wrote his epistles to churches he would have some explaining to do either because there was in fact no such churches, their history was not as he claimed or their teachings were totally different than what he claimed. the evidence would have been readily available that his story was not true.

    Thats where I believe your Martyr argument has real legs.

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  200. …it might be true that people will die for what they believe in but it is EXCEEDINGLY difficult for them to die for things they know not to be true.” – Nate didn’t say this and neither did anyone else. I can accept that they believed what they died for, or at least believed in eternal punishment if they didn’t forfeit their lives, but believing doesn’t make it true.

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  201. “and another good question is, if mike (TBlackman) wants to discuss the prophecies, then whys isn’t he?” William

    and so he goes back on ignore because yet again he proves he only offers silliness. I have presented five prophecies and have asked for a response but this dishonest soul is now trying to pretend that I have not addressed it just as he tried to pretend using a mentally handicapped little girl was no big deal.

    the only with any remote claim to being half way honest is Ruth when she is not corrupted by your bad company :). That includes Nate who has not seen a pretzel thought he would not like to emulate. Provided its anti God of course.

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  202. “Nate didn’t say this and neither did anyone else.”

    I said nate said they didn’t know Jesus personally. I said nothing else about what he said. Try and keep up. Hows the ,mountain relocation program going? Permits in yet?

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  203. ““Bottom line.. it’s evidence for their beliefs.. but based on the person, it can also be evidence of the Truth of what they are dying for.” – kathy

    then that is also the case for every other religion – thereby making this moot.”

    Yes, it is also the case for every other religion.. that it “CAN” be evidence for their religion’s truth.

    So, sorry, it’s not “moot”. The point is that Christianity has the only real evidence, including the compelling evidence of Christian martyrdom, to support it’s Truth.

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  204. Hows the ,mountain relocation program going?” – funny you should ask, Mikey, the mountain seems to be doing a lot of relocating on its own. Here are three websites, with three different sets of coordinates. Must be somebody out there with a lot of faith, moving that mountain around – more than you have, or you’d heal that little girl.

    Mt. Precipice: 32°40′58″N 35°17′55″E (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Precipice)

    Coordinates: 32.681791° N, 35.298085° E (http://www.sacred-destinations.com/israel/mount-precipice)

    +32° 40′ 50”, +35° 17′ 55 (http://israelashscattering.com/locations/item/16)

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  205. Martyrdom is no evidence for truth of anything, Kathy – only for conviction. If I leap off a building because I’m convinced I’m Superman, that doesn’t make it true.

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  206. “Martyrdom is no evidence for truth of anything, Kathy – only for conviction. If I leap off a building because I’m convinced I’m Superman, that doesn’t make it true.”

    And someone dying for their faith doesn’t make it true either.. but for Christianity, it’s compelling evidence…. for Superman? by you? not so much…

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  207. And someone dying for their faith doesn’t make it true either.. but for Christianity, it’s compelling evidence….” – only for the degree of their superstition and gullibility.

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  208. ” the mountain seems to be doing a lot of relocating on its own. ………..+32° 40′ 50”, +35° 17′ 55 (http://israelashscattering.com/locations/item/16)”

    🙂 Really? Moved 16 miles eh? now if only your link said it was 18 miles away from Nazareth like you claimed not –

    “Mount Precipice (or Mount Kedumim) is a mountain JUST OUTSIDE of Nazareth in northern Israel,”

    https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&hs=EwL&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=sb&q=distance+of+nazareth+to+mount+precipice&oq=distance+of+nazareth+to+mount+precipice&gs_l=serp.3…1423162.1464149.0.1465565.39.39.0.0.0.0.332.4146.21j15j1j1.38.0.chm_pq_qw%2Chmrde%3D0%2Chmffs%3D3%2Chmffl%3D3%2Chmffmp%3D0-6%2Chmffot%3Dtrue%2Chmnts%3D3000%2Chmqwl%3D4…0…1.1.49.serp..9.30.3385.VfLJvb_Zma0

    and thats measured from within Nazareth not outside of it

    so dishonest. Defies Sam Harris and nate’s assertion that you don’t need God to be moral.

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  209. ““And someone dying for their faith doesn’t make it true either.. but for Christianity, it’s compelling evidence….” – only for the degree of their superstition and gullibility.”

    Said the person who lacks objectivity.

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  210. Kathy, let’s face it: you possess neither objectivity, nor compelling evidence in favor of your position. Your entire argument is a heaping platter of bald assertions smothered in special pleading with a side-order of ad hominems.

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  211. @Kathy, (re – July 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm and following…

    My time to engage here is limited, so I’ll try to keep prioritizing. Perhaps it’s best that I not try to give a full response on every point…

    About motive of the founders of Christianity, in many or perhaps most cases I don’t see a need to impute deceptive intent to them, when it seems that them just being mistaken will do just fine. People in general are often mistaken about their perceptions. Some are even mentally ill, and predisposed to e.g. hallucination.

    In any case, it seems to me that the myriad of conflicting and untrue claims made by many people over centuries–whether various religious claims from mutually-contradictory religions; or alien abductions; or bigfoot sightings–give reason enough to treat all extraordinary claims with skepticism, without burdening myself by explaining every one.

    Thus I disagree with your statement, “the unavoidable contention is that it’s one big lie.”

    About the “‘Die for a Lie’ Won’t Fly” article:

    “1 Cor. 15:6 and Acts 1:15 don’t support the accusation that 500 became 120.”

    Remember I asked you not to get hung up on his “simple math” claim (this one), as I’m skeptical of that one myself, and I don’t think it’s key to his argument.

    Trying to stick to brass tacks…do you agree with my following premises?

    1. The apostle Paul himself stated that if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, then the Christian faith is basically wrong. (I Cor. 15:12-19.)

    2. It is reasonable to investigate the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus as a proxy to investigating the truth of Christianity as a whole.

    3. One of the alleged points of evidence offered in support of the claim of Jesus’ resurrection is that of martyrs–people who believed in this claim so fervently that they gave their lives to support it.

    4. As the article states,

    The claim [that martyrs are testimony supporting Jesus’ resurrection] is composed of five elements. It requires:

    4.1) A group of individuals;
    4.2) Specifically named;
    4.3) Who saw a physically resurrected Jesus;
    4.4) Willingly dying for this belief; (key issue)
    4.5) And not for any other reason.

    If those elements are not all present, then the alleged martyr(s) are not evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.

    5. The martyrdom of any Christian who was not an eye-witness to Jesus’ resurrection is not evidence of his resurrection, nor of the truth of Christianity as a whole. Such a martyr testifies to his belief that it is so, but not that it actually is true.

    ———-

    If you agree with all of the above, then please provide primary sources describing the elements in premise 4 above. If not, then which parts do you disagree with? (Using the numbering will help.)

    …Again, I may not respond promptly.

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  212. Ron (re: July 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm),

    Which comic book hero has the most evidence to support its truth? Batman, Captain America, Superman, Spider-man, Green Lantern, Incredible Hulk, Wolverine or Wonder Woman?

    Definitely Spider-Man, because it’s set in New York, and that’s a real place. And it refers to real buildings there (I think) and events that really happened (right?), so it must all be true. 😛

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  213. One more thing, Kathy (re: July 30, 2014 at 7:55 pm),

    “Martyrdom is no evidence for truth of anything, Kathy – only for conviction. If I leap off a building because I’m convinced I’m Superman, that doesn’t make it true.”

    And someone dying for their faith doesn’t make it true either.. but for Christianity, it’s compelling evidence…. for Superman? by you? not so much…

    (Emphasis mine.)

    This seems like a straight-up admission that you’re engaging in special pleading on the martyrs claim. Am I missing something?

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  214. Gah, WordPress… The emphasis was supposed to be on, “And someone dying for their faith doesn’t make it true either.. but for Christianity, it’s compelling evidence….”

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  215. William, this is a while back but you wrote

    “2+2=18 – things that i can understand”

    I assume this was a typo, because I don’t understand 🙂

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  216. “No amount of hand waving or denial can erase what you wrote, TB. The words appearing in quotes were posted by you on July 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm—a fact that can be easily verified by following the link provided.”

    and no amount of your bared faced lying and your TOTAL lack of of even BASIC integrity will change the fact that I never said jesus never clinically died. What can I say? you meet all kinds of low life on the internet and you are one of them

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  217. :The claim [that martyrs are testimony supporting Jesus’ resurrection] is composed of five elements. It requires:

    4.1) A group of individuals;
    4.2) Specifically named;
    4.3) Who saw a physically resurrected Jesus;
    4.4) Willingly dying for this belief; (key issue)
    4.5) And not for any other reason.

    If those elements are not all present, then the alleged martyr(s) are not evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.”

    Number 2 is utter nonsense when applied to an ancient text since in a thousand years or two the identity of those specifically named will not be immediately verifiable. Under that guise you could deny any eye witness testimony to Julius Caesar, Shakespeare, Josephus etc etc. Furthermore you CA have collective eye witness testimony without named names. 200 years from now named names will not matter squat towards 9/11 having happened even if all video tape or author lines in papers was destroyed.

    Likewise number four also is dog food since it begs the possible input of motivation that no one can psychoanalyze (Nuero’s desperate illogical begging not withstanding). thousands of years after the fact.

    Your requirements being garbage your results are suspect and circular

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  218. “Definitely Spider-Man, because it’s set in New York, and that’s a real place. And it refers to real buildings there (I think) and events that really happened (right?), so it must all be true. :razz”

    Yes and had anyone gone to New York at any time after the events were said to have happened people would be have been able to verify the past presence of one Peter Parker.

    The good thing about you guys is that your integrity is so easily rendered non-existent since you claim to go with scholarly consensus but then claim Jesus is like a comic book character and not a historical figure which does not agree with said scholarly consensus.

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  219. Rata, you said:

    “About motive of the founders of Christianity, in many or perhaps most cases I don’t see a need to impute deceptive intent to them, when it seems that them just being mistaken will do just fine.”

    Then I don’t understand the “Die for a lie” narrative.

    Further, the Bible is full of claims.. of God’s words and laws and countless events etc.. “mental illness & hallucinations etc couldn’t explain all of it away.. too many events and too many people involved. It’s an extremely unrealistic assertion. Jesus’ very words make Him a liar or those who wrote them a liar.. there’s no other rational option.

    About the “‘Die for a Lie’ Won’t Fly” article:

    “1 Cor. 15:6 and Acts 1:15 don’t support the accusation that 500 became 120.”

    Remember I asked you not to get hung up on his “simple math” claim (this one), as I’m skeptical of that one myself, and I don’t think it’s key to his argument.”

    I’m not referring to the math.. I’m referring to the idea that the group of people mentioned in Acts is supposedly those left of the 500 Jesus appeared to. In 1 Cor, Paul says that Jesus appeared to 500 “brothers and sisters”…. and since that appearance hundreds of them STOPPED being believers?.. this doesn’t make any sense.. and nothing in those verses supports this assumption made that the believers decreased since Jesus’ appearance.

    “5. The martyrdom of any Christian who was not an eye-witness to Jesus’ resurrection is not evidence of his resurrection, nor of the truth of Christianity as a whole. Such a martyr testifies to his belief that it is so, but not that it actually is true.”

    It’s correct that those who didn’t see Jesus resurrection can give eyewitness testimony evidence of His resurrection but it is not correct that people, whether they’ve seen Jesus or not, cannot provided evidential testimony of His existence. Their conviction is evidence.. however powerful it may be.. it’s STILL evidence. And with Christianity, given all circumstances and specifics involved, martyrdom is very powerful evidence. Again, you might not be clear on the definition of evidence.. there are different kinds of evidence and while evidence is not proof.. it can be powerful and corroborative TOWARDS the Truth of the Bible and God’s existence.

    “…Kathy, I’m wondering why do you believe that the Bible is God’s message to us? It would help if you’d sum it up, and number your points. I’m thinking you’re appealing to (1) martyrs, (2) fulfilled prophecy, (3) archeology. Is that correct? What am I missing?

    I’ve laid this all out before but I’ll do it again..

    Yes, the martyrdom of MANY people starting with the first believers who knew Jesus is a major reason I believe the Truth of the Bible. The many fulfilled prophecies, like/ especially the Tyre prophecy and Israel’s “comeback”.. both hugely against the odds of coming true.. the archaeological evidence that supports the details/ historical documentation in the Bible.. the LACK of archaeological evidence disproving the details/ historical documentation in the Bible. Multiple witnesses/ books over hundreds of years, all in doctrinal agreement.

    It makes no sense that we are anything OTHER than CREATED beings.. with a Creator. And
    it makes no sense that our Creator would make such a great effort to bring forth our existence and not reveal Himself to us.

    Christianity has the most compelling evidence by far to support it’s truth.

    Christianity provides us with a REASON for our existence.. and it’s the most rational
    reason.. nothing else makes nearly as much sense.

    I ask again.. maybe YOU can answer this.. since no one else is able to… if you disagree with my last two assertions.. please name the religion that you believe has MORE compelling evidence and gives a better explanation for our existence.

    Or, give an argument for why our Creator wouldn’t want us to know Him.

    Or, give a better explanation of our existence that doesn’t include a creator..

    I know of NOTHING that gives us a more rational explanation that the Bible.

    Arch said: “Martyrdom is no evidence for truth of anything, Kathy – only for conviction. If I leap off a building because I’m convinced I’m Superman, that doesn’t make it true.”

    me: And someone dying for their faith doesn’t make it true either.. but for Christianity, it’s compelling evidence…. for Superman? by you? not so much…

    (Emphasis mine.)

    you: This seems like a straight-up admission that you’re engaging in special pleading on the martyrs claim. Am I missing something?”

    I don’t understand the “special pleading” claim. I admit I read Arch’s comment too fast and made an incorrect assumption that he was “dying for the “truth” of Superman.. not that he was stating he thought he was superman..

    .. but either way, I’m not claiming that someone’s conviction is “proof” of anything.. I’m claiming it is EVIDENCE that CAN corroborate the Truth. If a person believes they are superman and jumps off a building, their belief holds very little weight/ valuable evidence towards the truth of them being superman.. for the obvious reasons. The Truth of Christianity isn’t in the same category as the “truth” of Arch being superman.. it’s a silly comparison.’

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  220. Their conviction is evidence.. however powerful it may be.. it’s STILL evidence.” – once again, evidence only of their conviction, not that any given event happened.

    the archaeological evidence that supports the details/ historical documentation in the Bible..” – I’ve given you a number of prominent archaeologists who maintain that there is no evidence that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, or Moses ever existed, and we know the four who told Yeshua’s story, never met him. What’s left that makes any difference?

    It makes no sense that we are anything OTHER than CREATED beings.. with a Creator.” – It makes every sense that we evolved naturally on this planet and NO sense that there’s a magic spirit out there somewhere manipulating events.

    please name the religion that you believe has MORE compelling evidence and gives a better explanation for our existence.” – why does it have to be a religion, why not a philosophy or a science?

    Or, give an argument for why our Creator wouldn’t want us to know Him.” – can’t do that, my creators, my mamma and my daddy, both wanted me to know them.

    Or, give a better explanation of our existence that doesn’t include a creator..” – abiogenesis.

    I know of NOTHING that gives us a more rational explanation that the Bible.” – sadly, I believe that – you need to expand your horizons.

    The Truth of Christianity isn’t in the same category as the ‘truth’ of Arch being superman.. it’s a silly comparison.” – Again, you’re right – I DO have a better chance of being Superman, than Christianity has of being true!

    Tell us Mike, is Kathy the girl you were talking about?

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  221. Portal,

    “2+2=18 – things that i can understand”

    I assume this was a typo, because I don’t understand ‘

    this is sort of the point, i guess. It doesnt make sense to you because you know what 2 + 2 is, it is 4, so if something said that 2 + 2 was 18, you know it’s incorrect – you dont second guess yourself and assume that 18 is correct “somehow” and accept it on the basis that “who ever wrote that is smarter than me and I’m just incapable of fully comprehending their point…”

    To me, there are things in the that I never understood that never made me question the bible’s accuracy or truth – like Revelation that you mentioned. A lot of difficult imagery…

    But when the bible says that a seed must die before it will grow, or when it gives 2 conflicting genealogies for the same guys, or many of the other things – well, those can be checked, verified and understood like a math problem, and when the math doesnt check out, you can be certain, it just doesnt check out…

    does that make sense?

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  222. Kathy,

    you said,

    “then that is also the case for every other religion – thereby making this moot.”

    Yes, it is also the case for every other religion.. that it “CAN” be evidence for their religion’s truth.

    So, sorry, it’s not “moot”. The point is that Christianity has the only real evidence, including the compelling evidence of Christian martyrdom, to support it’s Truth.” – kathy

    so if you’re saying that martyrdom is compelling evidence, at least you’re agreeing that it is compelling evidence for every religion, but then you back track on that and say that christianity has the only real evidence…

    I’d like to get out of this circle and get you to show how christianity has the only real evidence. If we all agree that every religion has martyrs, and if you want to continue to say that that is somehow evidence for their truth, then martyrdom is counted as evidence for each religion….

    1) Now, if you’re saying the christian martyrs are different in a more compelling way, you should explain that and provide evidence for it.

    2) If you’re saying that christinaity has other, and better, evidence that the other religions do not, then please provide that.

    Can you do this?

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  223. William,

    I really wish this stuff was as simple as math, but it doesn’t seem that way to me. What we have are writings that can be interpreted in many different ways. Writings like the bible, or any holy scripture for that matter, are not math problems, and that is why these discussions are endless. Metaphor and many other interpretive techniques can be employed whenever things become too sticky, and for all we know the writers may have wanted to be metaphorical when they wrote.

    Now where I would agree with you is that there are times where the interpretations get to be so much of a stretch that they just feel like they’ve gone too far – stretches that would not be accepted by historians in regular historical documents which were not meant to be religiously persuasive. But even then I believe subjectivity is still involved unlike in math problems.

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  224. It was not His time to die and He supernaurally escaped

    I’d like to have seen that. But the plaque says he jumped off!

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  225. Howie, I guess I agree with you. My analogy may have been too simplistic to accurately reflect the reality of it – at least all of it.

    But when we see a contradiction in the genealogies, for example, believers will say that Luke really meant through Mary, not joseph – despite what the passage says.

    So, why couldn’t we do that with 2+2=18? maybe there’s numbers or variables there that we cannot see? We just dont have a view if the entire equation, but we can be sure the answer is 18 – because, hey, 2+2 is such an obvious error that it would have been caught, therefore we can be sure 18 is the right answer…

    some of the “explanations” that are given to resolve many of the issues in the bible seem just a ludicrous – and I really think that the “emperor’s new clothes affect” is what keeps them going – not reason.

    It may not be the most perfect analogy, but still feel like it’s valid to a degree, even though i can understand your contentions with it.

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  226. Haha! TB’s own words betray him. Here they are once again for everyone’s reading enjoyment:

    “In ancient days you were considered dead when you were lifeless. People got buried who were not modern clinically dead all the time.”

    All you have to do to prove your Jesus fellow rose from the dead is to produce him in the flesh. You can’t, and you KNOW that you can’t. And your inability to heal the sick through prayer presents further evidence that your claims are baseless. Case Closed. The END!

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  227. “If somewhere within the Bible, I were to find a passage that said 2 + 2 = 5, I wouldn’t question what I’m reading in the Bible. I would believe it, accept it as true, and then do my best to work it out and understand it.” ~Pastor Peter LaRuffa

    Hear him utter these words at the very beginning of this video:

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  228. Yeah William, I don’t think we disagree all that much. I think it’s only a matter of degree. I think the problem I see with bible interpretations is that we are dealing with language rather than numbers, and even if numbers are mentioned they are not used as equations trying to solve a math problem.

    Interestingly enough though, which would actually cause me to lean a little more toward your viewpoint, is that in “Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties”, Gleason Archer concedes that there are some actual discrepancies in numbers between passages of Kings versus Chronicles (which have parallel passages talking about the same things). His doesn’t quite concede errancy though, but claims that these are issues due to copyist errors and that the originals have the correct numbers. This to me goes too far. One thing I try to do when I take on a belief is try and figure out if I could sell it to someone else with a straight face, and claiming the bible to be inerrant when the books we actually have are admittedly in error just doesn’t fly. When I was a Christian I declared holy scriptures of other religions as false by showing errors in them and never gave any benefit of the doubt that those originals were inerrant. Of course a viewpoint of others is to concede that the bible is errant but that in it’s spiritual statements it is correct, but then to me I don’t see a reason to hold it’s words as higher than the words of other religious texts.

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  229. Arch said:

    ““Their conviction is evidence.. however powerful it may be.. it’s STILL evidence.” – once again, evidence only of their conviction, not that any given event happened.”

    It’s compelling evidence towards the Truth of the Bible/ God’s existence.

    ““the archaeological evidence that supports the details/ historical documentation in the Bible..” – I’ve given you a number of prominent archaeologists who maintain that there is no evidence that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, or Moses ever existed, and we know the four who told Yeshua’s story, never met him. What’s left that makes any difference?”

    Lack of evidence isn’t proof of anything except lack of evidence. And it’s not true that all the Gospel authors didn’t know Jesus, but even if it were true, this also means NOTHING.

    ““It makes no sense that we are anything OTHER than CREATED beings.. with a Creator.” – It makes every sense that we evolved naturally on this planet and NO sense that there’s a magic spirit out there somewhere manipulating events.”

    It is pure ignorance by you to try and pass off “– It makes every sense that we evolved naturally on this planet ..” as an answer to our origins.. because it doesn’t answer that question in any way. It argues AGAINST the logic of our existence.

    ““I know of NOTHING that gives us a more rational explanation that the Bible.” – sadly, I believe that – you need to expand your horizons.”

    SADLY.. you are blind to your own hypocrisy and ignorance, Arch.

    You’ve FAILED over and over to provide a better explanation.

    “The Truth of Christianity isn’t in the same category as the ‘truth’ of Arch being superman.. it’s a silly comparison.” – Again, you’re right – I DO have a better chance of being Superman, than Christianity has of being true!”

    Said the man with the childlike mind who has no discernment or reasoning skills.. and probably never will.

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  230. William, you said:

    “so if you’re saying that martyrdom is compelling evidence, at least you’re agreeing that it is compelling evidence for every religion, but then you back track on that and say that christianity has the only real evidence…”

    Do you understand the word “CAN”? As in “CAN be compelling evidence (in other religions)… that’s NOT an acknowledgment that all other martyrdom IS the same. Can’t keep wasting my time explaining this basic stuff to you William..

    “1) Now, if you’re saying the christian martyrs are different in a more compelling way, you should explain that and provide evidence for it.

    2) If you’re saying that christinaity has other, and better, evidence that the other religions do not, then please provide that.

    Can you do this?”

    I did do this. You’re using desperation tactics.. because you were unable to debate my actual points long ago. Until this changes, I’m not going to bother responding to any more of your comments.

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  231. We’ve gone to the trouble of defining the rest of the words so let’s define compelling:

    com·pel·ling
    adjective \kəm-ˈpe-liŋ\

    : very interesting : able to capture and hold your attention

    : capable of causing someone to believe or agree

    : strong and forceful : causing you to feel that you must do something

    Martyrdom isn’t compelling evidence to me. It’s evidence that the people believed something strongly enough to die for it, but it doesn’t compel me to share their beliefs regardless of how smart, educated, dedicated, devoted, etc. they might have been.

    Martyrdom is obviously compelling evidence to you, Kathy. But what is compelling to one might not be to another. Compelling is subjective.

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  232. Lack of evidence isn’t proof of anything except lack of evidence. – extraordinary assertions require extraordinary evidence, not lack of evidence – you’ve proven nothing, except that you are as gullible as those you claim martyred themselves for a fairy tale.

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  233. “Martyrdom isn’t compelling evidence to me. It’s evidence that the people believed something strongly enough to die for it, but it doesn’t compel me to share their beliefs regardless of how smart, educated, dedicated, devoted, etc. they might have been.”

    To claim that MANY respected, intelligent, educated people who have given their lives over
    the last 2000 years to testify to the Truth of the Bible doesn’t compel you to consider that Truth as a real possibility is disingenuous in my opinion. If it weren’t Christianity and instead some other subject that people were dying for, given the same specifics, I believe you would acknowledge that it would compel you to consider it’s truth. I don’t believe that anyone isn’t compelled when all the factors that Christianity has are involved in martyrdom. It’s bias that is preventing you from admitting this.

    It’s just not reasonable to claim that a rational intelligent person giving their very life doesn’t compel you to believe in what they’re dying for. There is no other more powerful testimony a person can give.

    I know you don’t agree, but I just don’t believe you are applying objectivity. What you are claiming isn’t a natural/ rational response.

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  234. To claim that MANY respected, intelligent, educated people who have given their lives over
    the last 2000 years to testify to the Truth of the Bible doesn’t compel you to consider that Truth as a real possibility is disingenuous in my opinion.

    I didn’t say that it didn’t compel me to consider it. I have. I just don’t find it compelling for the truth of the Bible or God. I find it compelling for the truth of their beliefs and devotion to it. I’m giving you a perfectly rational response. I’ve dug into the evidence for the martyrdom of the apostles. I don’t find it compelling. It’s sparse, and some of it contradictory. It doesn’t convince me. Beyond that, since the martyrs that followed didn’t have first hand knowledge of Jesus or the resurrection I don’t find their martyrdom for it particularly compelling evidence of it’s truth. I find it compelling evidence of their belief that it was true.

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  235. ““Lack of evidence isn’t proof of anything except lack of evidence. – extraordinary assertions require extraordinary evidence, not lack of evidence – you’ve proven nothing, except that you are as gullible as those you claim martyred themselves for a fairy tale.”

    You’re the gullible one, Arch. You are an indoctrinated liberal. You think evolution is the answer to our existence.. extremely narrow, inside the box, thinking. Just how those delusional destructive “progressives” pushing their agenda in the media want you to think.

    And there IS extraordinary evidence of God’s existence.. again, nothing else compares.. which you clearly agree by your LACK of evidence to the contrary.. you just don’t have the integrity to admit it.

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  236. It’s just not reasonable to claim that a rational intelligent person giving their very life doesn’t compel you to believe in what they’re dying for. There is no other more powerful testimony a person can give.

    Actually history is replete with ”rational intelligent people” dying for their beliefs.
    In context, one only has to look at any war situation where many people have been prepared to die.
    In religious context it is usually the promise of eternal life. This is simply an example of the power of indoctrination.

    Maybe we ought to ask Nate or Ruth, whom I consider to be intelligent rational people, as former believers if would they have been prepared to die when they were believers?

    A real test would be whether a person such as you, Kathy, or Mike , would be prepared to die before denying Jesus of Nazareth?

    Well…..would you? Would you be prepared to die if someone held a gun to your head and threatened to end your life unless you denied Jesus of Nazareth?
    How about if they held a gun to the head of one of your children?

    So, would you?

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  237. “Further, as I believe has been pointed out here repeatedly, “…MANY respected, intelligent, educated people” would only be Argumentum ad populum:

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

    Ruth, you’re just showing, again, a lack of understanding ….

    My point was that MANY respected, intelligent people martyred themselves..
    this isn’t an “ad populum” argument.. I fully realize that more people didn’t martyr themselves
    than did. The point is that it wasn’t just one or two who martyred themselves.. it was many, rational people.

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  238. Maybe we ought to ask Nate or Ruth, whom I consider to be intelligent rational people, as former believers if would they have been prepared to die when they were believers?

    I’ve already attested to the fact that I would have been willing to die for my belief. There was a time when I wished for the opportunity, even, to prove my devotion. Since it has been concluded that I was never a real Christian I’m quite glad I didn’t get that opportunity because I would have surely gone to hell. I consider myself to be a sane, intelligent, (mostly) rational person. According to the train of thought that I was not a TrueBeliever, I would have been quite willing to die for a lie – even though it would have been my belief in the resurrection.

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  239. I fully realize that more people didn’t martyr themselves
    than did. The point is that it wasn’t just one or two who martyred themselves.. it was many, rational people.

    And, as I pointed out, martyrdom is not evidence that belief is true, only that one is devoted to their beliefs. This is why we’ve pointed out the martyrs of other religions. Not because we think it lends credibility to the truth of their belief, but it does lend credibility to their devotion to the belief itself.

    My point about the Argumentum ad populum is an appeal to the popular belief that the apostles were martyred and the popular belief/talking point that martyrs are evidence of the truth of Christianity. That’s what most Christians believe.

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  240. Ark,

    “Actually history is replete with ”rational intelligent people” dying for their beliefs.
    In context, one only has to look at any war situation where many people have been prepared to die.”

    This is true.. but it doesn’t negate my point at all.. it only bolsters it. There are lots of rational people who will die for a worthy cause.. and those dying for Christianity are no different.

    And I don’t know what I would do if I was in the same position as Miriam or the father who was killed by the Boko Haram soldiers in front of his children and then they killed the son.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/nigerian-christian-teen-whose-father-brother-were-killed-by-boko-haram-stands-with-abducted-girls-119671/

    Of course I’ve thought about it.. which is why it is such COMPELLING evidence.. and I don’t believe anyone who tries to claim otherwise.

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  241. I’m breaking in to the regularly scheduled programming to let you all know that Mike Anthony aka TBlacksman has been banned from the blog. It appeared to me that he was not honoring my request to keep things civil on other parts of the blog, and after repeated warnings, I finally blacklisted him.

    Seeing as he won’t be here to defend himself any longer, I’d ask that everyone refrain from making any further derogatory comments about him or his positions. If you’d like to discuss some of his points that dealt with things of substance, feel free — just please leave off any personal commentary.

    Thanks — and if anyone has any questions, please let me know. I don’t follow this thread all that closely, so if you need to reach me, you can try out the new contact page.

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled diatribe, already in progress. 🙂

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  242. Of course I’ve thought about it.. which is why it is such COMPELLING evidence.. and I don’t believe anyone who tries to claim otherwise.

    It’s compelling evidence because you’ve thought hard about it? Is that objective?

    This is why I said that the nature of compelling is subjective.

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  243. “My point about the Argumentum ad populum is an appeal to the popular belief that the apostles were martyred and the popular belief/talking point that martyrs are evidence of the truth of Christianity. That’s what most Christians believe.”

    But that had nothing to do with my argument. You just accused me of using the ad populum argument of the martyrs.. and now you’re trying to pretend that’s not what you were doing.. this is the typical dishonest stuff that every atheist on this blog is guilty of.

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  244. It’s just not reasonable to claim that a rational intelligent person giving their very life doesn’t compel you to believe in what they’re dying for. There is no other more powerful testimony a person can give.” – you have no idea of the rationality, nor of the intelligence of those of whom you speak, but the fact that they were willing to give their lives for a fairy tale, tells me they couldn’t have been very rational OR intelligent.

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  245. find it compelling evidence of their belief that it was true.” – this is what I’ve been saying, Ruth – she just can’t get it into here head that there could POSSIBLY be a valid viewpoint other than hers! She follows blindly, without thought, and can’t imagine anyone else doing otherwise.

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  246. “It’s compelling evidence because you’ve thought hard about it? Is that objective?

    This is why I said that the nature of compelling is subjective.”

    And now you’re showing that you don’t understand the word “objective”..

    Thinking about something isn’t proof of lack of objectivity. It’s HOW you PROCESS your thoughts that determines the presence of objectivity.

    Yes, “compelling” is a subjective word. It’s subject to objectivity or lack of objectivity. And with the atheists here, it’s pretty clear you all don’t apply objectivity to subjective issues. This is the WHOLE CRUX of the debate of objectivity! It can only exist WITH subjective issues.

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  247. And there IS extraordinary evidence of God’s existence.. again, nothing else compares..” – as I’ve said many times since you came on board, evidence, please —

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  248. You just accused me of using the ad populum argument of the martyrs.. and now you’re trying to pretend that’s not what you were doing.. this is the typical dishonest stuff that every atheist on this blog is guilty of.

    Kathy, I wasn’t trying to pretend anything. I stand by what I’ve said here. Your argument, as I understand it is, that this many smart people couldn’t have gotten it wrong enough to die for it. I could be wrong about that, and if I am, please explain to me how their belief and subsequent martyrdom has any bearing on it’s truth.

    You and I don’t agree about how compelling this evidence is, not because I’m not applying objectivity, but because just how compelling something is to a person by it’s very nature is subjective. You’ve presented it as evidence. I’m not saying that it isn’t evidence. I’m saying that I’ve investigated the claims of martyrdom of the apostles and found it…lacking. And that subsequent martyrs are not compelling to me for the same reason that martyrs of other religions are not. Rational, sane, intelligent people believe things that are not rational. There is nothing rational about the resurrection. I’m not calling people who believe it irrational. I know a lot of people and have very good friends who are very intelligent, educated, and rational who believe this. That doesn’t make that particular belief rational.

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  249. The point is that it wasn’t just one or two who martyred themselves.. it was many, rational people.” – you DO realize you’re presenting an oxymoron – if they martyred themselves, they couldn’t have been rational; if they’d been rational, they’d never have martyred themselves.

    Oh, and I’m still waiting on that list of martyrs, how they died, and your evidential source —

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  250. And with the atheists here, it’s pretty clear you all don’t apply objectivity to subjective issues. This is the WHOLE CRUX of the debate of objectivity! It can only exist WITH subjective issues.

    this is the typical dishonest stuff that every atheist on this blog is guilty of.

    Ruth, you’re just showing, again, a lack of understanding ….

    Kathy,

    I’m not sure what I did to you, or why you feel the need to belittle people when you’re talking to them. Just because you find something compelling does not mean other people do. And if someone has researched a particular issue and has come away with a different understanding than you does not mean that they are not applying objectivity. It means they’ve come away with a different understanding.

    If you want to discuss this further with me, you may point out what you believe, and why you believe it, but you don’t have to put me down while you do it.

    Yes, I did bring up the Argumentum ad populum. Please don’t think that you are above fallacious arguments.

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  251. RE Mike – he’ll be back, under another name, but like the man said, “by their works shall ye know them –“

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  252. I’m not trying to belittle you Ruth, I’m just pointing out what I feel is dishonesty. I don’t know what else it could be.

    “And with the atheists here, it’s pretty clear you all don’t apply objectivity to subjective issues. This is the WHOLE CRUX of the debate of objectivity! It can only exist WITH subjective issues.”

    This is “belittling” Ruth? If so, I’m sorry but I see it as constructive criticism.. no progress can be made without pointing out the problems that are hindering progress.

    And again, I have to point out.. which you will see as “belittling” .. that liberals OFTEN “feel” this way.. that constructive criticism is “mean”.. and it’s much more important to be “nice” than to make progress that ultimately saves lives. Yes, that was sarcasm.. I’m sorry but it comes from having to make these kinds of points over and over and over. Those who think in a liberal mindset ARE the problem. These are CHOICES.. you all don’t have to force this kind of ignorance onto society.. but you do.. no matter how much effort is made by me and Mike and others to try and correct this destructive thinking. And now look.. Mike is gone (but not for good I hope).. because of this liberal mindset. Leaving society that less likely to recover/ survive the “progressive” agenda that is destroying everything.. but at least we are all “nice”!

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  253. I’m not trying to belittle you Ruth, I’m just pointing out what I feel is dishonesty. I don’t know what else it could be.

    Seeing things differently does not imply nor necessitate dishonesty. So, yes, basically calling me a liar is belittling and it’s unnecessary.

    Do you know that it is possible to get your points across without this? This is not constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is when you show, through your points – not your name calling, where errors are. I don’t think you’ve done that so you resort to “liberal/atheist agenda” rhetoric and calling people dishonest who are expressing their ideas and opinions. This is what is belittling. What you call constructive criticism is certainly not. I don’t take issue with the fact that we disagree or we don’t see things the same way. I don’t take issue with the fact that I might be wrong. But acting like you’re somehow smarter, or more objective, or better because you have a different perspective doesn’t do you any favors.

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  254. and it’s much more important to be “nice” than to make progress that ultimately saves lives.

    How many lives have you saved by calling someone dishonest? How many lives have you saved because you said the phrase Liberal Mindset? Let me know when you get a number. Yes, that was sarcasm.

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  255. And just for added measure:

    constructive criticism
    Part of Speech: n
    Definition: criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions

    Constructive criticism is meant to build, not tear down. Look up the word constructive. What you are doing is simply criticism. Destructive criticism, at that.

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  256. And there IS extraordinary evidence of God’s existence.. again, nothing else compares.. which you clearly agree by your LACK of evidence to the contrary.. you just don’t have the integrity to admit it. — Kathy

    The ONLY evidence that can possibly be attributed to God’s existence is the bible. If someone does not believe the bible, then it stands to reason they do not believe in the existence of God.

    A person who does not believe in God is not required to produce any evidence of their non-belief. It has nothing to do with integrity and to say it does is very close to an insult.

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  257. …it’s not true that all the Gospel authors didn’t know Jesus, but even if it were true, this also means NOTHING.” – Yes, it is true, do some research outside the box/Bible. And if it were, then it means that pseudo-Mark, pseudo-Matthew, pseudo-Luke and pseudo-John had no first-hand knowledge of what they were talking about. YOU’RE the one who brought up the courtroom scenario – how would a judge feel about a witness who didn’t see anything?

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  258. Without the gospels, Kathy – without the fabricated gospels, you have nothing – no virgin birth, no water into wine, no walking on water, no crucifiction, no resurrection, nothing.

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  259. “Without the gospels, Kathy – without the fabricated gospels, you have nothing – no virgin birth, no water into wine, no walking on water, no crucifiction, no resurrection, nothing.”

    So, what are you claiming then? That is was all a lie? What’s the motive? And how did all these people come to an agreement to lie? I guarantee you what ever you come up with will be 100% unreasonable.

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  260. And how did all these people come to an agreement to lie?” – they didn’t, Kathy – pseudo-Mark wrote his gospel, as I’ve already told you, around 45 years after Yeshua allegedly lived, based on word-of-mouth folk tales; pseudo-Matthew copied Mark ten years later, almost word for word (read them side by side sometime!), and pseudo-Luke copied both pseudo-Mark and pseudo-Matthew ten or so years after that, while adding some fabrication of his own. Pseudo-John, on the other hand, writing ten of fifteen years after pseudo-Luke, tells a much different story, as far as many of the details are concerned – one example is that the 4 met Yesh at the Jordan River, as opposed to the Sea of Galilee, “fishers-of-men” story. They didn’t tell lies, Kathy, so much as they told stories they felt the people needed to hear, in order to live good, honest, moral lives. Reverend Weems created the story of little George Washington chopping down his father’s cherry tree, as a way of teaching his young Sunday school class the value of always being truthful – he made up a lie, to teach the truth.

    Read sources that don’t necessarily say what you want to hear, Kathy – that’s what REAL objectivity is.

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  261. Sorry Arch, that’s a ridiculous theory. You are trying to claim that they lied to encourage people to live “good” lives.. 100% unreasonable just as predicted. Here’s what you and all the atheists LOVE to ignore.. ( hence the “ignorance is BLISS” saying.. clearly it was about liberals).. Christians were being PERSECUTED while Jesus was alive and it only got WORSE as time went on.. this is when false religions die out.. when they disappear forever just as all those false ancient gods did.. but in spite of persecution and massacres of Christians for following Jesus, the faith GREW! It grew to become the largest religion in the world.. 2000 years later! All historians, whether believers or not, acknowledge this FACT. They acknowledge that this means something EXTRAORDINARY had to happen to cause people to risk and give their lives as so many Christians did and STILL do.

    You/ atheists have NO explanation for this. You can’t deny the documented persecution of peaceful Christians and that in spite of that Christianity GREW. People making up stories is NOT a reasonable assertion… it’s utter desperation and deliberate ignorance. People aren’t going to sacrifice themselves in these large numbers for a lie.. something that they surely asked themselves just as anyone does.. if it is really true or not.. ESPECIALLY if their lives are on the line. Your claim makes an incredibly ignorant assumption that they don’t even bother to ask and give serious scrutiny… or that all these people were just simple stupid.. another unreasonable explanation.. you have nothing to show that these people weren’t intelligent rational people… and a lot smarter than any liberal today.

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  262. In response to Mike’s points:

    “4.2) Specifically named”…

    Number 2 is utter nonsense when applied to an ancient text since in a thousand years or two the identity of those specifically named will not be immediately verifiable. Under that guise you could deny any eye witness testimony to Julius Caesar, Shakespeare, Josephus etc etc. Furthermore you CA have collective eye witness testimony without named names. 200 years from now named names will not matter squat towards 9/11 having happened even if all video tape or author lines in papers was destroyed.

    I don’t think either situation is equivalent. I’m not aware of any miracle claims surrounding Caesar, Shakespeare, Josephus, or 9/11; and I’d be skeptical of any such claims by or about them, too–as we would rightly be about present-day miracle claims.

    Moreover, as Mike said, we have video evidence of the tragedy of 9/11. And if by some “miracle”, all such evidence were destroyed–with no evidence of such a miracle disappearance–then in 200 or 2000 years, I’d say people living then would have appropriate reason to suspect even that non-miraculous story.

    “4.4) Willingly dying for this belief; (key issue)”

    Likewise number four also is dog food since it begs the possible input of motivation that no one can psychoanalyze (Nuero’s desperate illogical begging not withstanding). thousands of years after the fact.

    I think willingness can be judged just fine by a description of the circumstances surrounding the alleged martyrdom.

    For instance, suppose the apostle Peter claimed to have witnessed a resurrected Jesus in the flesh. Some secret agent of the devil approaches Peter and asks him if he believes that Jesus is God’s son, and that God raised him from the dead. Peter answers in the affirmative. The agent then takes a knife out of his tunic and stabs Peter to death. Peter didn’t see it coming; if he had, he might’ve changed his tune–we just don’t know.

    Contrast with Peter (hypothetically) knowing that his life is in danger because of his proclamation, and still making it–then–if the alleged event meets all the other criteria–this may become the sort of powerful testimony that Christians claim it is.

    Let me be fair and point out that since Mike’s now banned, I get the last word by default. Perhaps he’d have more to say on the matter if he were still here.

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  263. Kathy,

    A couple of quick points in reply to your July 31, 2014 at 1:15 am comment:

    “…I don’t see a need to impute deceptive intent…”

    Then I don’t understand the “Die for a lie” narrative.

    I think Christians are known to refer to martyrs as evidence with the rhetorical question “who would die for a lie?” Plus, it makes a catchy title (…”Won’t Fly”). But in this context, I think we can consider it as meaning “untruth”, regardless of the presence/absence of intent to deceive.

    I’m not referring to the math..

    Which part of “don’t get hung up on” don’t you understand? I anticipated your objection to his reading of the text, and I’m saying I find your objection plausible, but I added “I don’t think it’s key to his argument.”

    …That’s all I have time for today. More to come, I think.

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  264. “I think Christians are known to refer to martyrs as evidence with the rhetorical question “who would die for a lie?” Plus, it makes a catchy title (…”Won’t Fly”). But in this context, I think we can consider it as meaning “untruth”, regardless of the presence/absence of intent to deceive.”

    You didn’t address the point about it being impossible to dismiss the entire Bible as writings by people who are “mistaken”,.. pick any page out of the Book and read it.. sorry, it “doesn’t fly”.. ALL of the authors are either LYING or they are not. You are only fooling yourselves with the explanations of them being “mistaken” or “mentally ill”. It’s extremely weak.

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  265. “I’m not referring to the math..

    Which part of “don’t get hung up on” don’t you understand? I anticipated your objection to his reading of the text, and I’m saying I find your objection plausible, but I added “I don’t think it’s key to his argument.”

    lol… why didn’t you include “… on the math”? Again, I didn’t get “hung up” on the math.. I got “hung up” on the claim that Jesus followers decreased.. based on nothing but a selective context that isn’t reasonable.

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  266. Christians were being PERSECUTED while Jesus was alive” – REALLY? Who would those have been? How many Christians were there when Yeshua was allegedly alive?

    in spite of persecution and massacres of Christians for following Jesus, the faith GREW!” – That’s right, Kathy, for a number of reasons:
    • First of all, unlike most other religions, Christianity is a proselytizing religion, it’s the obligation of Christians to drag others into their fantasy.
    • It has an extreme reward/punishment system – eternal paradise for those who accept it, and eternal punishment for those who don’t – it takes a great deal of courage to risk rejecting such a belief system.
    • The adoption of Christianity by Roman Emperor Constantine guaranteed Christianity’s future, and had nothing to do with its veracity.

    People aren’t going to sacrifice themselves in these large numbers for a lie..” – how many young Americans died looking for Bush’s fabricated “Weapons of Mass Destruction”? Just like our young Americans, as well as English and Australians, they didn’t know it wasn’t true.

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  267. Perhaps he’d have more to say on the matter if he were still here.” – Oh, I think you could count on it —

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  268. ALL of the authors are either LYING or they are not.‘ – Why, Kathy? Why does it have to be “either/or”?

    First of all, those who wrote Genesis, for the most part, wrote on the basis of folk tales that had been around for at least a thousand years, and like most folk tales, they grew and grew with the passage of time – check out those that are strictly American and that have only been around a hundred or so years: Paul Bunyon, Pecos Bill, John Henry, etc. They never even questioned the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel and Moses – after all, they had no way of checking their veracity – they just wrote them down as if they were true, with no actual intention of lying. I’ve already told you of Reverend Weems, who fabricated the story of little George W – Washington, that is – and the cherry tree, but that story was still in textbooks when I was a kid – were the publishers lying? Of course not, they were just reporting what they had been told, without making a great deal of effort to examine the truth of it.

    St. Nicholas was a kindly old Eastern European priest – just look at how his legend has grown over a few hundred years, from being a priest who, through happenstance of birth, inherited a great deal of money and gave it away, helping people, to being a little fat man in a red suit who flies through the night sky each Xmas Eve, delivering toys to children. This is a great example of how folk tales grow.

    The Priestly Source, writing Gen 1 in captivity in Babylon in the 6th century BCE, rewrote the creation story, feeling that the Yahwist Source, in writing Gen 2 in 950 BCE, 300 years earlier, had described a god who was too human, and felt that god should be more ethereal, and not pop down to Earth for walks “in the cool of the day,” play hide-and-seek with Adam and Eve, or sew clothes for them on the Celestial Singer, as in Gen 2 and 3, so they wrote of a god who remained in his heaven, as a king might, and sent servants to carry out the menial tasks.

    Research The Documentary Hypothesis, Kathy – you just might learn something. Try being objective – who knows, you might like it. (HINT: truly objective people don’t divide the world into “liberals” and those who think correctly.)

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  269. RE your like to “Christian.com,” Kathy:
    The New Testament tells of the fate of only two of the apostles: Judas, who betrayed Jesus and then went out and hanged himself, and James the son of Zebedee, who was executed by Herod about 44 AD (Acts 12:2).” (emphasis, mine) – or maybe Judas threw himself off a cliff and popped his stomach open, depending on whom you believe —

    Maybe you overlooked this part, Kathy:
    Reports and legends abound and they are not always reliable, but it is safe to say that the apostles went far and wide as heralds of the message of the risen Christ. An early legend says they cast lots and divided up the world to determine who would go where, so all could hear about Jesus.” (emphasis,mine)

    Andrew:in Greece, where he is said to have been crucified.” – Said? Who said this? Fail.

    “Doubting” THOMAS:They claim that he died there when pierced through with the spears of four soldiers.</em" – who claims it? Fail.

    MATTHEW:Some of the oldest reports say he was not martyred, while others say he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.” Fail.

    BARTHOLOMEW:There are various accounts of how he met his death as a martyr for the gospel.” – Hmmmmm — Fail.

    PHILIP:in Asia Minor, where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul had Philip arrested and cruelly put to death.” Are there records of this, or is this just another legend?

    Polycarp, who was only converted in the year 80, enjoyed his conversation for some time, consequently St. Philip must have lived to a very advanced age.</em"

    "No information is given in the New Testament about when Philip was born or died. Eusebius records that Polycrates, 2nd century Bishop of Ephesus, wrote that Philip was almost crucified in Phrygia and later buried in Hieropolis. Tradition has it that his death was around 54 CE.

    He died of natural causes according to one tradition but, according to another, of crucifixion, accounting for his other medieval symbol of a tall cross.

    JAMES the son of Alpheus: “…is one of at least three James referred to in the New Testament. There is some confusion as to which is which, but this James is reckoned to have ministered in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reported that he was stoned and then clubbed to death.

    Before you take the word of a man like Josephus, you need to look into what kind of man he was. He was a traitor to his own people. He fought the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War of 66–73, when he was drafted as a commander of the Galilean forces. According to Josephus, he was trapped in a cave with forty of his companions in July 67. The Romans asked the group to surrender, but they refused. Josephus suggested a method of collective suicide: they drew lots and killed each other, one by one, counting to every third person – Josephus fixed the lots so that his name would come out last – the sole survivor of this process was Josephus (IMAGINE THAT!), who surrendered to the Roman forces and became a prisoner.

    Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianic prophecies that initiated the First Roman-Jewish War made reference to Vespasian becoming Emperor of Rome. In response Vespasian decided to keep Josephus as a hostage and interpreter. After Vespasian did become Emperor in 69, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor’s family name of Flavius.

    Vespasian arranged for the widower Josephus to marry a captured Jewish woman, who ultimately left him. About 71, Josephus married an Alexandrian Jewish woman as his third wife, whom he later divorced. Around 75, he married as his fourth wife, a Greek Jewish woman from Crete.

    Author Joseph Raymond calls Josephus “the Jewish Benedict Arnold” for betraying his own troops at Jotapata.

    The Jewish Virtual library relates: “So long as we retain some skepticism, his writings provide the greatest insight into what happened to the Jewish people during that five hundred year period.” (emphasis, mine)

    Josephus had no first-hand knowledge of any of this, only the second-, third-, and likely many other-hand knowledge of any of the events about which he wrote.

    You didn’t bother to write anything, Kathy, only to leave a link which I needed to read, despite the fact that you refuse to read any links we leave. Still, I’ve done this, and could have looked into the other apostles as well, but just with these, I’ve done far more work responding to you, than you have in any of your responses to me, so I’m not writing any more for you to not read and never consider. I asked you for sources, and you gave me a Christian website – had I given you a link to an atheist website, you’d have screamed, “LIBERAL!” at the top of your fingertips, yet I, unlike you, can maintain an objective, open mind. I took what your site had to say, and added to it independent research I did.

    It’s all BS, Kathy – you’ll never believe that, and I’ll never believe anything else.

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  270. @Kathy

    “You didn’t address the point about it being impossible to dismiss the entire Bible as writings by people who are “mistaken”,.. pick any page out of the Book and read it.. sorry, it “doesn’t fly”.. ALL of the authors are either LYING or they are not. You are only fooling yourselves with the explanations of them being “mistaken” or “mentally ill”. It’s extremely weak.” – kathy

    This has been addressed a few time before, but you may have missed it. Saying that the bible is either true or it’s a bunch of lies isnt entirely accurate. The accurate way to put it is, it’s either 100% truth, or it isnt.

    Homer’s Iliad has some truth in it that is supported by archaeology, but no one (that i know of) claims that it is 100% accurate since it has some accuracy. Nor do thy say it is 100% false, since there are some false things in it.

    My personal opinion is that the authors thought that what they were writing were mostly true, that they were making sense of everything that happened and trying to co-mingle it with what they thought was supposed to happen.

    We’ve seen this happen. Preacher or commentary authors, they’ll make an absolute assertion that “the bible says this or that…” but when looking in the bible, it’s not there. They fully believe that what they said was right, but because it’s not written in the bible, they need to help everyone understand the bible the right way – their way.

    And we all know that the bible was heavily edited. There were other books that were in use prior to the catholics canonizing scripture, but were tossed aside when they canonized it.

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  271. Kathy,

    “Christians were being PERSECUTED while Jesus was alive and it only got WORSE as time went on.. this is when false religions die out.. when they disappear forever just as all those false ancient gods did.. but in spite of persecution and massacres of Christians for following Jesus, the faith GREW! It grew to become the largest religion in the world.. 2000 years later! All historians, whether believers or not, acknowledge this FACT. They acknowledge that this means something EXTRAORDINARY had to happen to cause people to risk and give their lives as so many Christians did and STILL do.” – kathy

    There is a debate as to whether Islam is bigger or whether Christianity is bigger. Same for which is growing faster.

    But what difference does that make? Why would it be about the numbers, especially when the NT says that few will find it?

    Also, most christians havent seen jesus – so maybe the first few knew something we didnt, but everyone after was going on hearsay – not eyewitness, first hand knowledge.

    And were the christians persecuted when christ was alive?

    and age of religion doesnt really have any bearing on it’s truth either, since there are older religions still being practiced that you acknowledge as being non-truth.

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  272. “Do you understand the word “CAN”? As in “CAN be compelling evidence (in other religions)… that’s NOT an acknowledgment that all other martyrdom IS the same. Can’t keep wasting my time explaining this basic stuff to you William..” – Kathy
    I’m not trying to waste anyone’s time, and if you’re tired of wasting it, you should show where Christian martyrdom is superior to the others.

    “I did do this. You’re using desperation tactics.. because you were unable to debate my actual points long ago. Until this changes, I’m not going to bother responding to any more of your comments.” – Kathy

    Again, I believe I have responded to your points many times over. And yet again, if I missed your better points, then please list them – I’m not entirely sure how asking for your points is “desperation” on my part – but call it what you will, I can’t address something I haven’t seen.

    From my perspective, you keep going around in this circle to avoid addressing my points.
    We can leave the circle, and avoid having to say the other is dodging or avoiding this or that, this way:

    1) You say Christian martyrdom is better/superior/more convincing than other martyrs. Explain how.

    2) You asked which religion was true, and made it clear that you were asking which was truly divine – in what way are you asking whether a religion is true, if not true in their claims of being divine?

    3) Evidence other than martyrs, the age of the bible, and the bible itself – do you have any? Specific prophecies (the ones we’ve seen mike list apparently weren’t written to convince the nonbeliever, are there any that were?), archaeology (but again, if we accept the “for” evidence, then we must also consider the “against” evidence). Or anything else that you may think helps.

    We’ll call these 3 questions the “Mid 3.”

    When listing your evidence, could you number them, or name them? This would help ensure they all get address and make it less likely that they get overlooked by myself or anyone else. Does that sound reasonable?

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  273. Arch said:

    “Before you take the word of a man like Josephus, you need to look into what kind of man he was. He was a traitor to his own people. He fought the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War of 66–73, when he was drafted as a commander of the Galilean forces. According to Josephus, he was trapped in a cave with forty of his companions in July 67. The Romans asked the group to surrender, but they refused. Josephus suggested a method of collective suicide: they drew lots and killed each other, one by one, counting to every third person – Josephus fixed the lots so that his name would come out last – the sole survivor of this process was Josephus (IMAGINE THAT!), who surrendered to the Roman forces and became a prisoner.”

    And this “story” you readily accept as truth… (IMAGINE THAT!)

    Sorry Arch, you are the one who doesn’t understand what true objectivity is.

    “Maybe you overlooked this part, Kathy:
    “Reports and legends abound and they are not always reliable, but it is safe to say that the apostles went far and wide as heralds of the message of the risen Christ. An early legend says they cast lots and divided up the world to determine who would go where, so all could hear about Jesus.” (emphasis,mine)”

    I overlooked nothing Arch.. I just applied OBJECTIVITY. Just because it’s not “documented” in writing, this does NOT mean it can’t be true.

    IF you apply objectivity, you might ask MORE questions.. you MIGHT look at the WHOLE picture.. you MIGHT think it COULD be the way it happened! Instead, you look for EXCUSES to claim it’s all lies.

    Here are the FACTS Arch.. Christianity is the largest religion today.. despite the FACTUAL DOCUMENTED UNDISPUTED PERSECUTION of Christians. Before Jesus died on the cross, His disciples were scared FOR THEIR LIVES… and the persecution got WORSE after Jesus was killed. People DON’T continue to preach something when their lives are being threatened if it’s not true. And I’ll pre-emptively state here that.. not ALL those people had “mental illness” or had “halucinations” or whatever dumb excuse you all want to claim.. there were too many people… it wasn’t one or two. And they weren’t just trying to “drag others into their fantasy”.. they were RISKING THEIR LIVES.. and LOSING THEIR LIVES.. they were trying to recruit “members” into their “club”.. OBJECTIVITY would TELL you this.. but you are DEAF to objectivity as are all liberals. (and my objectivity is fully INTACT when I generalize liberals.. because I can and have PROVEN that my accusations are TRUE of the MAJORITY.

    I haven’t read all of your comments, I just scanned them.. I KNOW what a waste of time liberals are.. I’m tired of liberal ignorance robbing me of my time.

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  274. Bottom line Arch..

    There’s NO DISPUTING that people spread the Gospel after Jesus execution WHILE their lives were being threatened. There’s NO DISPUTING that Christians were being killed.

    And here’s the challenge for you/ liberals.. COMMON SENSE tells us that Jesus disciples were leading the way in spreading the Gospel.. and COMMON SENSE would further tell us that they most likely WERE KILLED for doing so. Your / atheist’s DESPERATE need to dispute what was MOST LIKELY the TRUTH.. is just further proof of YOUR LACK OF OBJECTIVITY.

    All of you have incredible BIAS. And it’s sad. I feel sorry for all of you.

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  275. “People DON’T continue to preach something when their lives are being threatened if it’s not true” – kahy

    I know you didn’t mean to imply this, but this is saying that all religions are true.

    and you said this,

    “.. but you are DEAF to objectivity as are all liberals.” – kathy

    and this,

    “I haven’t read all of your comments, I just scanned them.. I KNOW what a waste of time liberals are.. I’m tired of liberal ignorance robbing me of my time.” – kathy

    then quit wasting time and put of actual evidence, or if preachers and martyrs are the extent of your evidence, then I suppose there really is nothing else to discuss.

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  276. “And here’s the challenge for you/ liberals.. COMMON SENSE tells us that Jesus disciples were leading the way in spreading the Gospel.. and COMMON SENSE would further tell us that they most likely WERE KILLED for doing so. Your / atheist’s DESPERATE need to dispute what was MOST LIKELY the TRUTH.. is just further proof of YOUR LACK OF OBJECTIVITY.” – kathy

    it’s also widely accepted that the majority of Christians in the time were poor. This isnt the poor like we have them today, where they have one car, a regular cell phone instead of a smart phone… these people were struggling daily to eat and live. they were widely under-educated if not illiterate – with virtually no way to move up in the economic ladder.

    I have no doubt that they believed wholeheartedly, but what else did they have to live for? With jesus they had mansions promised to them and eternal life and joy – a stark contrast to the horrible lives on earth.

    Look at the rich young ruler. he was eager to serve until it cost him his wealth. The majority of christians didnt have wealth. what did they have to lose? In their minds, dying was a great reward and an end to their suffering.

    I’m not sure you’re qualified to lecture anyone regarding objectivity or common sense, but let’s say you’re right. let’s say common sense and objectivity both dictate that martyrs and bunches of disciples couldn’t be wrong…

    …is it the quantity of members that indicates whether a religion is the right one or not, or the quantity of martyrs?

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  277. William..

    The only comment that is worth responding to.. (but not for any credit on your part)..

    “There is a debate as to whether Islam is bigger or whether Christianity is bigger. Same for which is growing faster.”

    Here’s some objectivity for you..

    Islam KILLS people if they don’t become Muslims.. or if they leave Islam.

    Christianity does not.

    To honest, rational people.. they will DISCERN this KEY difference between the two.

    To dishonest un objective people, they won’t think this is pertinent.. as you just illustrated.

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  278. kathy, one thing you keep ignoring is that not all muslims kill people. how many do you know. Have you ever been to the middle east? Did you realize that muslims serve in the US military?

    Did you know that some sects of christianity killed people for leaving or for being non-christian? You might say that they were not true christians and muslims will do the same, and cite the koran passages that say that suicide is wrong.

    you’re literally making things up as you go, and typing “lack objectivity” or “liberals” to each statement as if that makes up for all the lacking substance – it doesnt.

    But after all of these comments and numerous attempts to get you deliver more evidence, I guess you’re basically saying the extent of your beliefs fall on the shoulders of martyrs and lots of other christians.

    That doesnt sway me, but i can see that it does you. Thanks for sharing.

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  279. Islam KILLS people if they don’t become Muslims.. or if they leave Islam.

    Christianity does not.

    Sure, it just sends them to Hell. And don’t forget about the OT’s commands to kill heretics… there’s really no difference.

    And you should really research the martyr issue a bit more. Christians weren’t persecuted to the extent that you’ve been led to believe. Were some persecuted? Certainly. But most of that didn’t occur until centuries after Jesus’ death, and even then it wasn’t something that went on for years and years. Consider this:

    The first documentable Empire-wide persecution took place under Maximinus Thrax, though only the clergy were sought out. It was not until Decius during the mid-century that a persecution of Christian laity across the Empire took place. Christian sources aver that a decree was issued requiring public sacrifice, a formality equivalent to a testimonial of allegiance to the Emperor and the established order. Decius [reigned from 249 – 251 CE] authorized roving commissions visiting the cities and villages to supervise the execution of the sacrifices and to deliver written certificates to all citizens who performed them. Christians were often given opportunities to avoid further punishment by publicly offering sacrifices or burning incense to Roman gods, and were accused by the Romans of impiety when they refused. Refusal was punished by arrest, imprisonment, torture, and executions. Christians fled to safe havens in the countryside and some purchased their certificates, called libelli. Several councils held at Carthage debated the extent to which the community should accept these lapsed Christians.

    You can read more here and here.

    The biggest event of Christian persecution occurred during the reigns of Diocletian and Galerius. The dates of that persecutions were around 303 CE to 313 CE.

    But the main point to gather from this is that the vast majority of Christian martyrs lived long, long after Jesus did. There’s no way they could know that their beliefs were true. And aside from those handful of instances, they were mostly left alone. I don’t want to minimize what happened to those people. But to hang onto it as a cornerstone of one’s faith is irrational. It just doesn’t point to accuracy, only conviction.

    Again, you really should do some heavy research into this if it’s such an important point to you. But like others have said, I doubt the example of martyrs was what really brought you to Christianity. Why don’t you share your personal reasons behind why you believe. Maybe it comes down to personal experiences where you’ve felt God in your life? I know that’s a big one for many people…

    Either way, the martyr argument isn’t convincing anyone here, so why don’t we move on to something that relates more deeply to why you believe?

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  280. and kathy,

    “Islam KILLS people if they don’t become Muslims.. or if they leave Islam.

    Christianity does not.

    To honest, rational people.. they will DISCERN this KEY difference between the two.

    To dishonest un objective people, they won’t think this is pertinent.. as you just illustrated.” – kathy

    what difference does that difference make? If peace and not killing are true signs of God, and if killing and non-peace are true signs of not-god, then how do you reconcile the OT?

    perhaps Buddhism has the most credentials after all.

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  281. Oh dear Jesus! I’ve been reading these posts since yesterday and I just had to speak now, and thank Kathy!

    Kathy, you saved my soul. I was a sinner and a mocker of religion. But reading your eloquent insights, I now see the extent of the evil liberal agenda in our schools and in our government and within the poisoned hearts of your adversaries here, who seek to devour your soul!

    People actually died for Jesus! Why cant these here understand the gravity of someone actually dying for blessed Jesus?

    When I first read your points, Kathy, on the martyrs, it pierced my very heart and I wept. Then I fell on my knees and pledged my life to Jesus! So thank you!

    Jesus first died for us, and now others have died for him! Praise God!

    Christianity is right and helps people go to Heaven!

    Islam blows people up!

    Case Closed!

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  282. “Islam KILLS people if they don’t become Muslims.. or if they leave Islam.

    Christianity does not.”

    “Sure, it just sends them to Hell. And don’t forget about the OT’s commands to kill heretics… there’s really no difference.” -Nate

    Sorry Nate, there are MAJOR differences. People have a CHOICE with Christianity.. Islam gives NO CHOICE.

    And bringing up the OT is also a very weak argument.. it had nothing to do with Christianity.. it was about those specific people thousands of years EARLIER.

    More great examples of lack of objectivity.

    “And you should really research the martyr issue a bit more. Christians weren’t persecuted to the extent that you’ve been led to believe. Were some persecuted? Certainly. But most of that didn’t occur until centuries after Jesus’ death, and even then it wasn’t something that went on for years and years.”

    And nope.. sorry again, Nate..

    Nothing you stated takes away anything in this/my comment:

    “There’s NO DISPUTING that people spread the Gospel after Jesus execution WHILE their lives were being threatened. There’s NO DISPUTING that Christians were being killed.

    And here’s the challenge for you/ liberals.. COMMON SENSE tells us that Jesus disciples were leading the way in spreading the Gospel.. and COMMON SENSE would further tell us that they most likely WERE KILLED for doing so. Your / atheist’s DESPERATE need to dispute what was MOST LIKELY the TRUTH.. is just further proof of YOUR LACK OF OBJECTIVITY.”

    All you did was IGNORE this and try to sway the debate towards the numbers of martyrs.. with the narrative.. “.. it really wasn’t that many”.. or most were much later or some other point that attempts to DIMINISH the very thing that not only kept Christianity alive but made it the most followed faith.

    No matter how much you try to dismiss martyrdom, it’s the very thing that spread Christianity. It is KEY to Christianity’s survival. Without it, we wouldn’t be debating it today because it wouldn’t exist.

    So, of course you need to diminish it and attack it. It’s a dishonest tactic. Any honest person would acknowledge the critical role of Christian martyrdom.

    And for the record.. I don’t trust Wikipedia. Liberal bias is always present.

    “Again, you really should do some heavy research into this if it’s such an important point to you. But like others have said, I doubt the example of martyrs was what really brought you to Christianity. Why don’t you share your personal reasons behind why you believe.”

    You’ve given me the “arguments”, and they are extremely weak… I don’t need to do any “heavy” research.. again, common sense tells us that Christian martyrdom happened and was key in spreading the Truth of the Gospels.

    And, thanks, but I’ll stick with the compelling evidence… your attempt to redirect me to my personal testimony is only bolstering my claims of your dishonesty Nate. You’ve all heard the personal testimonies.. and that’s a lot easier for you all to argue.. ” I felt the same way.. “.

    Again, Nate.. your “FINDING TRUTH” claim is nothing but a “GIANT LIE”.. in my opinion, based on the exchanges I’ve had with you on this blog.

    You’ve STILL failed to give a simple answer to my question of which religion has the most evidence to support it’s “truth”/Truth. You don’t find anything, much less, “TRUTH”.. by IGNORING the unsettled issues/ points.

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  283. I haven’t read all of your comments, I just scanned them.. I KNOW what a waste of time liberals are..” – Now THERE’s the kind of Christian objectivity we’ve come to expect from you, Kathy!

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  284. Sorry Nate, there are MAJOR differences. People have a CHOICE with Christianity.. Islam gives NO CHOICE.

    Don’t just say they’re different. Explain how. How do people have a choice with Christianity when it threatens eternity, but they don’t have a choice with Islam which threatens their physical lives?

    And bringing up the OT is also a very weak argument.. it had nothing to do with Christianity.. it was about those specific people thousands of years EARLIER.

    Oh, did the Jews serve a different god? I was under the impression that it was the same one advocated by Christians…

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  285. And for the record.. I don’t trust Wikipedia. Liberal bias is always present. — Kathy

    So, Kathy, just for the record, what type of research/information do you trust?

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  286. I can answer that, Nan – Christian websites, where everyone believes the same fairy tale.

    Kathy, why don’t you just stick your head back in the sand, where you’re most comfortable. You’re not convincing anyone here of ANYthing – you’re simply too bigoted and close-minded for any of us to consider anything you have to say.

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  287. I noticed last night, when Mike left us, that membership dropped from 295 to 294, and it now stands at 293, with Kathy not reporting in. Can we suspect that possibly Kathy has left us as well?

    I’ll leave this for her, just in case:

    Kathy, you asked how Christianity could have spread the way it did if it weren’t true, and that IS a good question, but watching you over these weeks, I think I’ve figured it out. A couple of dozen people ran around the Levant, refusing to listen to anyone who didn’t agree with them. They passed around fairy tales of magic and hear-say information to gullible, superstitious, illiterate people as COMPELLING EVIDENCE. And they promised those people eternal life that after they died, they would never realize, along with the promise of paradise and the threat of hell. And Bingo, instant convert!

    You have taught us well – thank you, and don’t let the sand get in your ears, it tickles.

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  288. Kathy, sidebar…

    It saddens me that you take such a hard-nosed, adversarial stance against all non-believers–that you impute such nasty motives to us, that you accuse us of being “dishonest un objective people” and “DEAF to objectivity as are all liberals”. The accusations are generally annoying, sometimes offensive, and sometimes laughable. But I think I get it.

    It’s very hardline Romans 1:18ff.

    If your many claims about God and the Bible are true, and:
    – if we’re not suppressing the truth, but rather we’re honestly seeking it;
    – if “what can be known about God is [not] plain to [us]”;
    – if we’re not “futile in our thinking”, and our hearts are neither foolish nor darkened;
    then we would(!) have an excuse for not believing.

    And if we have a valid excuse for not believing, and yet God still sends us to hell to be tortured forever–eternally writhing in anguish, gnashing our teeth–then he is not just. And if he is not just, then…well, something’s gotta give. (At least some part of your method of interpreting the Bible, if not the propositions of his very existence, or of the Bible being his message to us.)

    You’ve been told that there are “forces at work” and “powers of the air” that work against you and God and his purposes, so be on guard…doubt is dangerous…whoever is not for us is against us… It’s very insular thinking. It tends to keep people from questioning the veracity of the truth claims–and even when (theological) questions come up, often times the information questioners receive is controlled. Believers are often warned about even consulting “secular” or “liberal” sources of information.

    The Christian metastory provides quite a bit of hope and feeling of purpose for believers. That, and the promise of an eternal, blissful (after)life are pretty compelling propositions for many people. It’s easy to want that to be true.

    So while I wish you would soften that hardline stance, I think I see many reasons why you haven’t yet.

    Now what if–hypothetically, say–you actually came to acknowledge that we make a good point or two, or that some of your arguments are not as compelling as you had thought. Then what?

    How good a point was it? Would a more liberal interpretation of some Bible passage resolve the issue to your satisfaction? Or does some flavor of progressive Christianity make more sense than you thought? Or…do you start pulling the thread, and perhaps even eventually destroy the sweater of your faith? Do you poke and prod and eventually the house of cards falls?

    Deconversion is hard. I thought I had the answers to these big existential questions of life. I thought I would live on after death with loved ones in a blissful afterlife, without the suffering and pain and shortcomings of this life. Truth be told, I’m still not over the loss of this hope and (apparent) purpose. I’m still wrestling with the “now what?”, and “how now shall I live?”.

    What if it all came apart for you, like it did for us–would you be OK?

    So on the one hand, I’d like to convince you that I examined the evidence honestly, with an open mind, as objectively as I could–and that that’s how I reached the conclusion I did, and that’s why I don’t believe anymore. I think it would be good for your own mental health if you softened that hardline stance, and others might appreciate it, too. And it seems there’s no other way to go about that than by examining the evidence itself with you.

    On the other hand, I worry what would happen to a dyed-in-the-wool true believer like you if you actually lost that belief. This raises the question of whether we should even continue this ongoing conversation at all.

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  289. “Sorry Nate, there are MAJOR differences. People have a CHOICE with Christianity.. Islam gives NO CHOICE.

    Don’t just say they’re different. Explain how. How do people have a choice with Christianity when it threatens eternity, but they don’t have a choice with Islam which threatens their physical lives?”

    Are YOU or any atheist here following Christianity Nate? You keep referring to the threat of eternal punishment but you clearly don’t believe it’s real because you dismiss the God of the Bible. So, you are clearly choosing not to follow God. He gave you the free will to make that choice. This is vastly different than Islam where you don’t get to choose to follow “allah” or not. You have no free will.

    I understand your point, but it’s another weak one.. even though, ultimately we don’t get to choose our fate.. it’s still different from Islam.

    You and all atheists resent the “threat” of eternal punishment for rejecting God.. you don’t think it’s “fair”. Well, no one ever said life was fair. And while you and others believe it’s unfair, your Creator, who is infinitely more wise than all of us.. wouldn’t treat us unjustly.. even if you can’t see that.. all the liberal minded see is the “threat”. It’s a common liberal thought process.. liberals easily feel “bullied” and intimidated by those who they feel have an advantage over them. Righteousness and Truth don’t rank as high on the list of what’s important.. it’s all about them and their “feelings”.. they don’t like people to threaten their security, and a large part of their “security” is the preservation of their pride and ego.

    A good example is what’s going on with Israel and Gaza.. another perfect example of how the great majority of liberals side with the Palestinians and conservatives side with Israel. Israel is the “righteous” side in this conflict.. it’s the Palestinian leaders/ Hamas who are killing their own people in cold blood just so they can keep the world opinion on their side.. they force their own people to stay in places they know Israel is going to bomb just so they can make Israel look like the bad guys. And it’s the liberal minded who fall for it, but really, it’s just an excuse.. they see Israel as the “bullies”.. because they have the military advantage, they have the control. Again, it doesn’t matter that the Palestinians are in the wrong. It’s a bully complex that those with the liberal mindset have.. they resent their own country (the US).. feeling that we are the “bully” of the world.. and this delusional mindset extends to the One who controls our ultimate fate. Instead of seeing how America has helped the world.. and instead of seeing how much God has done for them, all liberals can see is the “threat” to their pride and ego and their ability to control their fate.

    But it’s all so puzzling because resenting God’s authority and control over our destiny won’t change it one bit.. He’s still in control of your fate.

    And bringing up the OT is also a very weak argument.. it had nothing to do with Christianity.. it was about those specific people thousands of years EARLIER.

    Oh, did the Jews serve a different god? I was under the impression that it was the same one advocated by Christians…

    Same God.. DIFFERENT situation/ time. Did Jesus command us to kill those who wouldn’t follow Him? Nope.

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  290. “This is vastly different than Islam where you don’t get to choose to follow “allah” or not. You have no free will.”

    “I understand your point, but it’s another weak one.. even though, ultimately we don’t get to choose our fate.. it’s still different from Islam.”

    Kathy , look at your 2 comments above and explain how the END GAME is different ?

    ” It’s a common liberal thought process.. liberals easily feel “bullied” and intimidated by those who they feel have an advantage over them.” Don’t hurt your hand slapping yourself on the back, Kathy. While I feel You & Mike have definitely bullied people here, I don’t think anyone feels threatened by any advantage you feel you have over them. 🙂

    “your Creator, who is infinitely more wise than all of us.. wouldn’t treat us unjustly.” How does the crime fit the time Kathy ? Sin = Eternal punishment ?

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  291. “Did Jesus command us to kill those who wouldn’t follow Him? Nope.”

    No he didn’t have to. If they didn’t follow him their punishment was eternal damnation after their death. Yet in much of the OT , there was no eternal punishment after their death. Therefore they were killed for their sins.

    All Christianity changed was you were allowed to be the biggest sinner here on earth , but after you died you got an eternal punishment.

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  292. …the very thing that not only kept Christianity alive but made it the most followed faith.

    No matter how much you try to dismiss martyrdom, it’s the very thing that spread Christianity. It is KEY to Christianity’s survival. Without it, we wouldn’t be debating it today because it wouldn’t exist.

    Can you give some primary evidence of your claim that without martyrdom Christianity wouldn’t exist? Martyrdom didn’t spread Christianity. Preaching did.

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  293. I don’t need to do any “heavy” research.. again, common sense tells us that Christian martyrdom happened and was key in spreading the Truth of the Gospels.

    You don’t need to do heavy research into the claims you put forth? How objective of you. So…those of us who have deconverted should have done heavier research slanted in favor of our presupposition of the truth of Christianity, but believers need not do any heavy research into the claims of their chosen religion.

    I’d say that those of us who have done some research and weighed the actual evidence with regard to martyrs might be a bit more objective than one who “doesn’t need to”.

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  294. “Did Jesus command us to kill those who wouldn’t follow Him? Nope.”

    Yep, he did…

    “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” ~Jesus (Luke 19:27)

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  295. RE: “I thought I would live on after death with loved ones in a blissful afterlife” – if you read carefully, Ratamacue, there’s nothing in the Bible about meeting loved ones and strolling hand in hand – you’re there to praise god, 24/7, and for no other purpose – walking the straight and narrow onlyu wins you the privilege of doing that for eternity.

    How insecure does a spirit have to be, to need that kind of worship?

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  296. Come to think of it, I have a dog that could listen to me say, “Good Boy!” all day long —

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  297. RE: “I thought I would live on after death with loved ones in a blissful afterlife” – if you read carefully, Ratamacue, there’s nothing in the Bible about meeting loved ones and strolling hand in hand – you’re there to praise god, 24/7, and for no other purpose – walking the straight and narrow onlyu wins you the privilege of doing that for eternity.

    Interesting point. I don’t think the picture is really that clear, though. Of course, as a Christian, I thought that for different reasons than I do now.

    Perhaps I should’ve added that I also worried about the eternal fate of my “unsaved” loved ones.

    Like

  298. KATHY!! SO glad to see you didn’t leave us!

    You know, there’s a Muslim guy named “Mo” who runs a convenience store about four miles from me, who last week, made me the most delicious hamburger I’ve ever eaten, and didn’t even once try to kill me! Following your thinking – and you KNOW I hang on your every word – I was expecting, “Follow Allah or DIE, Infidel!” – instead, I got, “Hope you like your burger!” I was a little disappointed —

    Like

  299. Did Jesus command us to kill those who wouldn’t follow Him? Nope.” – No one knows, Kathy, because the people who reported on what he allegedly said, never met him (if he ever existed), and have no idea what he said, and so, neither do we, or you.

    Like

  300. Oh come on Arch, you know that the answer is that Mo is not a True Muslim™.

    Of course I have a friend at work that I went to lunch with the other day who says he is a True Muslim™, and he drove me to the restaurant and back without a gun to my head either. In fact when I asked him about those Quran verses about killing he said that it’s a myth spread by those who want to make Islam look bad, and that anyone with objectivity would see that those passages are not meant for violence, and that the Quran is a book about peace.

    Like

  301. I also worried about the eternal fate of my ‘unsaved’ loved ones.” – which is yet another thing that caused Christianity to spread, having nothing to do with the truth.

    Like

  302. A little Muslim boy shared a desk with my granddaughter in grade school last year, and didn’t try to kill her either. I can’t help wondering, once all of the “not true Muslims” are weeded out, just how many would be left?

    Like

  303. Kathy, you’re missing the point about Hell.

    It’s not that non-believers like me just “don’t like” the doctrine of Hell. We don’t believe there’s any way to match it up to a God who is supposed to be the embodiment of goodness, love, mercy, and justice. It’s a huge contradiction, which is why there are so many efforts to say “it’s like a prison locked from the inside” or “God is only giving them their wish: separation from him”, etc.

    So Hell is just as much a “gun to your head” as the threat of death is in some Muslim circles.

    The thing about the OT is that you continually point to Islam’s threat of violence as proof that it can’t be a true religion, but that same standard would have discounted Judaism. You’re not being consistent at all.

    Look, I know you feel on the defensive here, so it’s natural for you to hang on and fight against everything we say. But really, if you’re interested in truth, as you claim, why not just step back and actually think about some of the things that have been said in these roughly 4000 comments? Why not take some time to study some of the issues a bit more deeply? There’s no shame in not being aware of this stuff — most Christians aren’t. But when it’s pointed out to you that this information is out there and you still don’t better educate yourself, well… yeah, there is shame in that.

    I mean, what do you have to lose in doing more research?

    Like

  304. Nate – I coujld email you this, but I’d rather ask it here, in case anyone else has any input – I’m watching a video with atheist Frank Zindler, who says that Biblical scholars have determined that the book of Daniel was NOT written in the 6th century BCE, during the Babylonian captivity, but rather in the 2nd century BCE, and is therefore a forgery. Have you anything on that?

    Like

  305. Hi arch,

    Yep, that’s pretty much scholarly consensus — even among many Christian scholars. I actually have a number of articles (did a whole series sometime back) about the issues in Daniel, as they were the first problems in the Bible that I became aware of. I didn’t write most of these articles, but reposted them with permission.

    You can find the first here

    And this post is sort of an index with links to each article.

    Like

  306. “I mean, what do you have to lose in doing more research?”

    Her unshakable faith in God? 🙂

    I submit that in her mind, she risks her god determining that she has doubts, if she even considers any other point of view.

    Like

  307. “You know, there’s a Muslim guy named “Mo” who runs a convenience store about four miles from me, who last week, made me the most delicious hamburger I’ve ever eaten, and didn’t even once try to kill me! Following your thinking – and you KNOW I hang on your every word – I was expecting, “Follow Allah or DIE, Infidel!” – instead, I got, “Hope you like your burger!” I was a little disappointed –” – arch

    that just means the liberal agenda is now entering Islam.

    Like

  308. And not all muslims kill people. Most, in fact, do not. I’m afraid it’s Fox News and the so called “conservatives” that spread this lie which is nothing more than scare tactics. Some muslims are very dangerous, this is true, just like many christians were also very dangerous killers.

    Kathy, you’re taking a small, although admittedly very visible, portion of muslims and using that to define and condemn the whole. This is the antithesis of common sense, objectivity, or fairness.

    And even so, even if you could disprove Islam or science, that is not the same as proving Christianity. You’ll need to provide evidence for your religion if you want to show it superior. Since you cannot seem to understand our points on martyrdom, and since you insist on saying that is evidence, then at least show how christian martyrdom is superior.

    And you’re still asking which religion has more credentials for being true. We’ve answered and answered, and you finally said that you werent asking which had more credentials for being true in it’s divine claims – then in what way are you asking which is more true, if not in their divine claims? If you can clarify this, it may help us understand your question better.

    Like

  309. My guess is that she has autographed pictures of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly hanging on her walls – “Tide comes in, tides go out – you can’t explain that!

    Yeah, Bill – we can —

    Like

  310. kc said:

    ““I understand your point, but it’s another weak one.. even though, ultimately we don’t get to choose our fate.. it’s still different from Islam.”

    Kathy , look at your 2 comments above and explain how the END GAME is different ?”

    Kc, I acknowledged that the “end game” is the same. But that isn’t applicable to the debate. Islam has “almost” as many followers as Christians because if people don’t follow or try to leave Islam, they are killed. It’s much easier to leave Christianity or not choose it.. you get to keep your life! Simple, basic but KEY difference.. that Nate and you and other liberals don’t want to acknowledge because of your bias against Christianity.
    If the “threat” of eternal punishment is the same as the threat with Islam… why have people like Nate and others left Christianity? Not the same.

    ” It’s a common liberal thought process.. liberals easily feel “bullied” and intimidated by those who they feel have an advantage over them.”

    ” Don’t hurt your hand slapping yourself on the back, Kathy. While I feel You & Mike have definitely bullied people here, I don’t think anyone feels threatened by any advantage you feel you have over them. :-)”

    See? I wasn’t even alluding to myself or Mike.. you’ve just proven my point by bringing us up as “not” intimidating you. It’s THE liberal mindset.. trust me.

    “your Creator, who is infinitely more wise than all of us.. wouldn’t treat us unjustly.” How does the crime fit the time Kathy ? Sin = Eternal punishment ? ”

    Turning your back on your Creator who loved you so much that He gave His Son to save you.. that deserves harsh punishment.

    We can’t be with God if we haven’t been redeemed/ absolved of our MANY and often HORRIBLE sins (see above). Yes, I agree, I wish there was a “middle ground” for those who aren’t as bad as murderers etc. But the Bible tells us that all sin is equal in that it is against God who is GOOD and sinless. I admit I don’t fully understand it but my lack of full understanding of this or anything else isn’t enough to convince me that God isn’t real. And I know better than to “demand” answers, I know better than to set “conditions” with God, my Creator. And I know better than to judge Him.

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  311. Ruth,

    “Can you give some primary evidence of your claim that without martyrdom Christianity wouldn’t exist? Martyrdom didn’t spread Christianity. Preaching did.”

    Martyrdom provided the bulk of the compelling evidence that caused people to believe and also
    risk their lives to spread the Gospel.

    Like

  312. Martyrdom provided the bulk of the compelling evidence that caused people to believe and also
    risk their lives to spread the Gospel.

    You repeating it isn’t primary evidence. What is your source for that claim? It’s a claim I’ve never heard before. I’ve heard it is supporting evidence, but never have I heard anyone claim that without it there would be no Christianity.

    Like

  313. Ruth,

    “You don’t need to do heavy research into the claims you put forth? How objective of you. ”

    Fail. Ruth, I’m right HERE.. Nate or you or anyone can EASILY give me the “evidence” that proves my beliefs aren’t correct. Nate can EASILY give me the information I’m “missing” that supposedly tells me that the disciples weren’t martyred. What “heavy research” is he talking about?? Post it HERE.. I’ll read it using the small amount of confidence I have in Nate’s objectivity in providing OBJECTIVE sources/ information.. but, that confidence is dwindling fast based on his and yours and every other atheist’s own words and actions. If you want to call me unobjective for not being willing to read every single thing biased people put before me, even though you’ve PROVEN your bias.. have fun.. it means nothing because of your obvious/ proven lack of objectivity.. so I couldn’t care less.

    “I’d say that those of us who have done some research and weighed the actual evidence with regard to martyrs might be a bit more objective than one who “doesn’t need to”.””

    Post it HERE Ruth.. back up your claims of “evidence”.

    Like

  314. Ron,

    ““But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” ~Jesus (Luke 19:27)”

    That was a STORY Jesus was telling.. about someone else. really??

    Like

  315. Rata,

    “Now what if–hypothetically, say–you actually came to acknowledge that we make a good point or two, or that some of your arguments are not as compelling as you had thought. Then what?”

    And I could say the same to you.. I’d easily wager that my points have been better by far over the atheist points here.. yet, no acknowledgements by you.

    Your entire comment is nothing but baseless judgments. Back up your claims. Debate the actual points. I’m not interested in distorted, biased, unobjective “reasoning”.

    Like

  316. Arch said:

    “You know, there’s a Muslim guy named “Mo” who runs a convenience store about four miles from me, who last week, made me the most delicious hamburger I’ve ever eaten, and didn’t even once try to kill me! Following your thinking – and you KNOW I hang on your every word – I was expecting, “Follow Allah or DIE, Infidel!” – instead, I got, “Hope you like your burger!” I was a little disappointed –”

    I have Muslim neighbors that have been even nicer to me.. they are nice people.. what’s your point?? As usual, your “point” lacks objectivity and discernment.

    Like

  317. ““Did Jesus command us to kill those who wouldn’t follow Him? Nope.” – No one knows, Kathy, because the people who reported on what he allegedly said, never met him (if he ever existed), and have no idea what he said, and so, neither do we, or you.”

    Didn’t you just tell a story about an historian.. some “liar” who did a bunch of horrible things.. I think he lived around the same time in history… can you give your historical evidence that shows it was true? Surely you have it.. and it’s not “heresay” because you put it forth as an actual truth.. I’ll wait..

    Like

  318. “Tide comes in, tides go out – you can’t explain that!”

    Yeah, Bill – we can –

    Good point, arch. Although even if we couldn’t, it’d still be an argument from ignorance.

    Like

  319. Howie,

    ” In fact when I asked him about those Quran verses about killing he said that it’s a myth spread by those who want to make Islam look bad, and that anyone with objectivity would see that those passages are not meant for violence, and that the Quran is a book about peace.”

    Your friend wasn’t telling you the truth. If he’s a “true” Muslim, he knows those verses exist.. it’s not a “myth”. No one needs to make Islam “look bad”.. the actual text does that all by itself. (Jews are “pigs” etc.).

    Like

  320. ““I also worried about the eternal fate of my ‘unsaved’ loved ones.” – which is yet another thing that caused Christianity to spread, having nothing to do with the truth.”

    Has nothing to do with why Christianity survived the persecution in the beginning to become the most followed faith.

    Like

  321. Nate,

    “We don’t believe there’s any way to match it up to a God who is supposed to be the embodiment of goodness, love, mercy, and justice. It’s a huge contradiction,..”

    What you fail to accept/ understand is that God and sin are “HUGE contradictions”.

    What else is God supposed to do with those who hate Him? And who don’t care if they sin against Him?

    “So Hell is just as much a “gun to your head” as the threat of death is in some Muslim circles.”

    No, it’s not “just as much” a gun to your head… it’s vastly different.. Muslims LITERALLY have a gun to their head or a noose around their neck.. ask Miriam.

    “The thing about the OT is that you continually point to Islam’s threat of violence as proof that it can’t be a true religion, but that same standard would have discounted Judaism. You’re not being consistent at all.”

    I’ve never pointed to Islam’s threat of violence alone as proof it’s not true. It is compelling evidence along with a long list of other things.

    And AGAIN, you aren’t acknowledging the factual DIFFERENCE in situations between the OT and the NT. The OT laws were temporary and for that specific group of people. It was a part of God’s plan in revealing Himself and ESTABLISHING Himself to man through the Jewish people.

    “Look, I know you feel on the defensive here, so it’s natural for you to hang on and fight against everything we say. But really, if you’re interested in truth, as you claim, why not just step back and actually think about some of the things that have been said in these roughly 4000 comments? Why not take some time to study some of the issues a bit more deeply? There’s no shame in not being aware of this stuff — most Christians aren’t. But when it’s pointed out to you that this information is out there and you still don’t better educate yourself, well… yeah, there is shame in that.

    I mean, what do you have to lose in doing more research?”

    Nate, why do you keep making these pathetic comments? Who are you conning? ..not me, so I guess it’s Ruth, Arch, William and all the others here.

    I’m not on the “defensive” .. not “hanging on” and “fighting everything we say”..

    I’m CORRECTING everything YOU and others are saying here..

    And, incase you haven’t heard, blogs are one of the BEST ways to do research..

    Post it HERE Nate.. please “enlighten” me with all the “research” you’ve done that supposedly
    proves me wrong. It would take me ALOT longer to find it all myself.. so, contrary to your incorrect assertions of me.. I couldn’t be “researching” much better than being on a blog where everyone has already done the research. But please note.. if you and Arch and others “bombard” me with links etc.. without giving me some kind of assurance that the links are credible/ unbiased, I won’t waste my time reading all of them.. be selective and give some kind of assurance of their objectivity.. that’s my criteria. My time is limited. Anyone applying objectivity will certainly understand my request.

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  322. William..

    “And not all muslims kill people. Most, in fact, do not. I’m afraid it’s Fox News and the so called “conservatives” that spread this lie which is nothing more than scare tactics. ”

    Post the proof William.. I’ve never heard Fox News make this claim. This is another excellent example of LIBERALS spreading their lies and propaganda.

    Like

  323. William cont..

    “Kathy, you’re taking a small, although admittedly very visible, portion of muslims and using that to define and condemn the whole. This is the antithesis of common sense, objectivity, or fairness. ”

    Again, post the proof of this claim.. my words are all here.. so it shouldn’t be a problem.

    I’ve NEVER done this. You are exhibiting typical “REVERSE IGNORANCE”.. aka LIBERAL IGNORANCE.

    Honestly, liberals & common sense and objectivity don’t mix. Making a claim otherwise just further shows how delusional liberals are.

    Like

  324. if people don’t follow or try to leave Islam, they are killed.” – If you really want to know the truth, Kathy – and we know you don’t – go chat with some Muslim friends of mine, who have left Islam and see if they’re dead: http://www.thinkatheist.com/group/egyptianatheists?xg_source=msg_wel_group

    Turning your back on your Creator who loved you so much that He gave His Son to save you..” – learn something about Jewish customs, Kathy – to have your sins forgiven, you sacrificed a perfect lamb to god, so the god you say loved us so much, sacrificed his son TO HIMSELF – something that was totally unnecessary, since he’s the one who made the rule in the first place. All he really had to do, was say, “Hey, Guys, you’re forgiven for being the way I made you!”

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  325. Martyrdom provided the bulk of the compelling evidence that caused people to believe and also risk their lives to spread the Gospel.” – then we’re talking about a religion spread by idiots. “Sam and Joe died for their religion, so I’m gonna join up so I can die too! Where do I sign? Do I get a T-shirt?

    Like

  326. Regarding Matthew:

    According to Heracleon, who is quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Matthew did not die a martyr, but this opinion conflicts with all other ancient testimony. Let us add, however, that the account of his martyrdom in the apocryphal Greek writings entitled “Martyrium S. Matthæi in Ponto” and published by Bonnet, “Acta apostolorum apocrypha” (Leipzig, 1898), is absolutely devoid of historic value. Lipsius holds that this “Martyrium S. Matthæi”, which contains traces of Gnosticism, must have been published in the third century.

    There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew’s martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him, therefore it is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The Roman Martyrology simply says: “S. Matthæi, qui in Æthiopia prædicans martyrium passus est”. (source)

    Andrew:

    Reportedly martyred by crucifixion on an X-shaped cross (“St. Andrew’s cross”). According to legend, he taught a gathered crowd while on the cross and refused their offer to take him down. This information comes from the apocryphal, probably second-century Acts of Andrew. Eusebius dismissed this book as spurious and heretical (source).

    Phillip:

    The second-century tradition concerning him is uncertain, inasmuch as a similar tradition is recorded concerning Philip the Deacon and Evangelist — a phenomenon which must be the result of confusion caused by the existence of the two Philips. In his letter to St. Victor, written about 189-98, bishop Polycrates of Ephesus mentions among the “great lights”, whom the Lord will seek on the “last day”, “Philip, one of the Twelve Apostles, who is buried in Hieropolis with his two daughters, who grew old as virgins”, and a third daughter, who “led a life in the Holy Ghost and rests in Ephesus.” On the other hand, according to the Dialogue of Caius, directed against a Montanist named Proclus, the latter declared that “there were four prophetesses, the daughters of Philip, at Hieropolis in Asia where their and their father’s grave is still situated.” The Acts (21:8-9) does indeed mention four prophetesses, the daughters of the deacon and “Evangelist” Philip, as then living in Caesarea with their father, and Eusebius who gives the above-mentioned excerpts (Church History III.32), refers Proclus’ statement to these latter. The statement of Bishop Polycrates carries in itself more authority, but it is extraordinary that three virgin daughters of the Apostle Philip (two buried in Hieropolis) should be mentioned, and that the deacon Philip should also have four daughters, said to have been buried in Hieropolis. Here also perhaps we must suppose a confusion of the two Philips to have taken place, although it is difficult to decide which of the two, the Apostle or the deacon, was buried in Hieropolis. Many modern historians believe that it was the deacon; it is, however, possible that the Apostle was buried there and that the deacon also lived and worked there and was there buried with three of his daughters and that the latter were afterwards erroneously regarded as the children of the Apostle. The apocryphal “Acts of Philip,” which are, however purely legendary and a tissue of fables, also refer Philip’s death to Hieropolis.(source)

    The Acts of Philip tells a wild tale of how both he and Bartholemew and a compatriot names Mariamme were allegedly martyred. Please not that The Acts of Philip have been labeled in the above description from the Catholic Encyclopedia as “purely legendary and a tissue of fables”. According to this Philip was angry about his persecution and called for a curse on those who did it and “And, behold, suddenly the abyss was opened, and the whole of the place in which the proconsul was sitting was swallowed up, and the whole of the temple, and the viper which they worshipped, and great crowds, and the priests of the viper, about seven thousand men, besides women and children, except where the apostles were: they remained unshaken.

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  327. You repeating it isn’t primary evidence.” – She don’t need no stinkin’ evidence, Ruth – haven’t you figured that out yet? It’s strictly her god’s word, in her ear and out her mouth, with nothing to slow it down.

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  328. Bartholemew:

    According to the third-century bishop Hippolytus, he was crucified in Armenia (source). A different tradition claims he was beheaded in India on the orders of King Astreges, who belonged to a demon-worshipping cult (source). Some traditions add that he was flayed alive before, or instead of, suffering either of these two fates. The New Advent encyclopedia says the manner of his death is “uncertain” (source), and adds that other than his name, “Nothing further is known of him”.

    Like

  329. I currently have a comment in moderation that has several links in it relating to several of the other apostles. I can keep going, and I’ve linked to The Catholic Encyclopedia, which is hardly liberal or biased in favor of atheism.

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  330. Post it HERE Ruth.. back up your claims of ‘evidence’” I posted a great deeal of evidence, Kathy, which you admitted you didn’t bother to read – why would Ruth expect any different treatment from one whose idea of “objectivity” consists only of information she already believes?

    Oh, Ruth – feel free to copy my comment and repost it under your name, maybe she’ll read it then, but don’t count on it.

    Like

  331. Kathy writes (again and again):

    “Back up your claims”
    “Provide the evidence”
    “Post the proof”

    But when she is asked to do the same, what happens?

    Waiting …

    Like

  332. I have Muslim neighbors that have been even nicer to me.. they are nice people.. what’s your point??” – my point – and I’m not surprised you didn’t get it – is that unlike what you said, Muslims don’t try to kill those who don’t believe in Islam – how many of your neighbors have tried to kill you?

    Here’s an idea – drop in on your neighbors and tell them how wrong their religion is, and that they’re all going to hell! I would PAY to watch that!

    Like

  333. Didn’t you just tell a story about an historian.. some ‘liar’ who did a bunch of horrible things.. I think he lived around the same time in history… can you give your historical evidence that shows it was true? Surely you have it.. and it’s not ‘heresay’ because you put it forth as an actual truth.. I’ll wait..” – yes, I did, and I hope you didn’t have to wait as long as I’ve had to, for you to get back to me about things I’ve asked you. That would be unbearable.

    That historian was Josephus, and my historical evidence for it is in his own words, in his book, “The Jewish War, from his “The Works of Flavius Josephus” – you don’t read much, do you Kathy?

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  334. Why are you bothering with this, Ruth, when I posted that extensive list last night which, after considerable work, she admitted she couldn’t be bothered to read?

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  335. “my point – and I’m not surprised you didn’t get it – is that unlike what you said, Muslims don’t try to kill those who don’t believe in Islam – how many of your neighbors have tried to kill you?”

    Again, Arch, prove I made that claim. I never made the claim that all Muslims do this.. I’m not surprised that when I stated that my neighbors are nice to me, that YOU didn’t get that.

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  336. Now, Kathy, may I please have that primary source for your claims about martyrdom?” – Ruth, she finally gave me a link to a Christian website.

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  337. “Now, Kathy, may I please have that primary source for your claims about martyrdom?”

    Ruth, first, I never claimed to have any sources of the martyrdom of Jesus’ disciples. I know there is documented evidence out there from doing some research.

    I had posited a question / point that no one responded to (shocking).. that shows no detailed evidence is really necessary in order to believe Jesus’ disciples were martyred.. just apply common sense.

    We all know that Christians were persecuted and under threat for spreading the Gospel. There’s no real reason to NOT believe that the disciples weren’t killed for doing this since they were the ones who were the most active in spreading the Gospel after Jesus’ death. That’s enough for me.. but if you want to post any evidence that supposedly argues against this belief, go ahead.. I’ll read it.

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  338. Again, Arch, prove I made that claim.” – if you think I’m going to dig back through all of the garbage you’ve written since you began haunting this site, just to prove you wrong, you’re quite mistaken – you’re entirely capable of doing that all on your own —

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  339. “Post the proof William.. I’ve never heard Fox News make this claim. This is another excellent example of LIBERALS spreading their lies and propaganda.”- kathy

    Kathy, post proof Fox News didnt claim this and that you didnt hear them say it.

    See how stupid that sounds? It sounds just as stupid when you’ve asked for proof that the bible wasnt from god.

    “I’ve NEVER done this. You are exhibiting typical “REVERSE IGNORANCE”.. aka LIBERAL IGNORANCE.” – kathy

    Kathy, you’re reverse intelligent. You have said that Muslim martyrs dont count because muslims kill people to become martyrs. You’ve said that chritianity trumps islam because christianity is peace and islam is murder.

    Now, you may not have realized it, but when you toss a religion out due to the actions of a few, you are in fact tossing a religion aside due to the actions of a few. If you cant understand such a simple and basic concept, I doubt that there is anything I could say to you that you’d understand.

    Now, just as many times before, you can show how christian martyrdom is superior to the others.

    BUt honestly, if martyrs and believers is the apex of your “evidence” then do you think there is anything else for us to discuss?

    You think I’m a reverse ignorant liberal, and I think you’re insane and/or stupid, so i’m not sure what else there is to discuss regarding martyrs and believers. I’ve asked the same questions hundreds of times without answer from you, and have literally answered and even re-listed your own questions and answers numerous times.

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  340. Ruth, first, I never claimed to have any sources of the martyrdom of Jesus’ disciples.” – all of that talk of how martyrdom caused the spread of Christianity, and she doesn’t even have any evidence of Yeshua’s own disciples being martyred – now THERE’S someone whose opinion I would trust!

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  341. The problem, William, as I see it, is that at some point in time, someone told Kathy she could debate – I don’t know if it was intended as a joke, or as some kind of revenge for a wrong done, but whatever the reason, she bought it and still can’t see how totally inept she is at it.

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  342. We all know that Christians were persecuted and under threat for spreading the Gospel. There’s no real reason to NOT believe that the disciples weren’t killed for doing this since they were the ones who were the most active in spreading the Gospel after Jesus’ death. That’s enough for me.. but if you want to post any evidence that supposedly argues against this belief, go ahead.. I’ll read it.

    This presumes that one believes there actually were disciples.
    Many don’t.
    Furthermore, as there is no first hand evidence, no verifiable records, and almost all references are vague and have with no supporting evidence whatsoever, why should we not treat these tales as nothing but myth?

    This comment ties in with every other point you have made since you began commenting. Namely, you have not been prepared to back a single claim with any evidence at all.

    And yet, you have vehemently defended your position. Based on what?
    Evidence? No.
    Indoctrination? Yes
    Faith. Yes.

    You would not accept this criteria as a benchmark for any other field – and certainly not if it involved the life of your child or a serious health issue, yet you expect the entire human race to suspend every critical faculty when it comes to your god and your religion, failure to do so and you believe each non-believer will meet a despicable end to earthly life in an eternal Hell.

    And you wonder why you your world view is rejected out of hand, Kathy?

    You truly need to re- examine your life- priorities.

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  343. OK, Kathy, here’s the deal – you want someone to say which religion has the greatest credibility – OK, I’ll do that – Hinduism.

    Now here’s what I want you to do – take this next week, and study Hinduism in all its ramifications, then come back next Saturday, and point by point, show us why Christianity is more credible than Hinduism. But if you DON’T study Hinduism, don’t bother reporting back.

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  344. I finally got Ruth’s earlier comment approved. She tried to post it an hour or two ago, so if you missed it, scroll back up and check it out — it’s really good.

    It starts with “regarding Matthew…”

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  345. it’s funny that kathy doesnt like liberals, and doesnt like muslims, yet the liberal muslims are the safe ones in her mind. well… i thought it was funny.

    I second Arch’s suggestion.

    Like

  346. “Ruth, first, I never claimed to have any sources of the martyrdom of Jesus’ disciples.”

    No, but you did say – a number of times – that you would get it and post it here.

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  347. I can only imagine christian kathy’s discussion with muslim kathy..

    CK: the bible is plainly superior.

    MK: the koran is superior.

    CK: there is factual evidence supporting the the bible, though.

    MK: there is factual evidence supporting the koran.

    CK: christians died for god. you cannot dispute this grand evidence.

    MK: muslims died for god

    CK: but muslims kill people and christians dont.

    MK: those werent true muslims, the god abhors murder and the slaughter of innocents.

    CK: But the koran says to kill, so it’s bad.

    MK: the bible says to kill.

    CK: that was the OT. it was god’d will to kill women and children back then but not now. now we know it’s not god’s will.

    MK: but christians were killing people long after the OT…

    CK: those werent true christians.

    MK: you have a book of lies

    CK: we have martyrs.

    MK: so do we.

    CK: well, we have jesus – nuff said.

    MK: well… when we say one god, we actually mean it…

    CK: well, the bible is superior…

    MK: The koran is superior…

    and the circle is created. I wish that circle they made together would turn into a black hole and put us all out of our misery.

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  348. @ Kathy,

    The reason you don’t have any primary resources is because there aren’t many. The only two I’ve been able to find are for the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicita. And if you read the story of Perpetua I’m not sure she comes across as particularly rational about it. The tradition that you are holding so tightly to concerning the martyrdom of the apostles comes the Church Fathers. Of the Catholic Church. That church that you don’t trust with the original manuscripts of the books of the Bible.

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  349. Now, I want to soften my tone a little here. Kathy, I see your perspective. The apostles as martyrs is compelling evidence to you. It is your insistence that it also be compelling evidence for everyone else or they are dishonest is what I take issue with. Objectively speaking, I don’t see how you can look at that evidence and not see how others might come to a different conclusion about it.

    You’ve been saying that the reason the martyrdom of the apostles is compelling evidence is because of their circumstances and details. You don’t know those. For instance, many of the martyrs in early Christianity were put to death because they refused sacrifice to the Roman Gods. It was a requirement of citizenship as I understand it. Paul even wrote about this that as long as they weren’t worshiping other gods and they knew that God was the one true God that they could eat/do whatever and it meant nothing. But if they were offended by it then they shouldn’t. But this sacrifice was the equivalent of a tax. Had they done it they wouldn’t have been violating any commandments as long as they kept Yahweh their first God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. It was not because they refused to recant their faith in God. And it was not because they were preaching the gospel.

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  350. and maybe it’s worth mentioning, in regard to accepted knowledge, that Aristotle thought that if you were to drop 2 objects of differing weights from the same height, that the heaviest would fall fastest.

    Aristotle was a gifted and brilliant scientist and philosopher. No one disputed him because of his credentials and because it seemed to make sense or common sense…

    His position on falling things stood accepted for around 1500-2000 years until Newton proved him wrong.

    As it turned out, weight didnt affect an object’s speed when falling.

    So just because something is widely accepted, and widely accepted for a long time, doesn’t mean that it’s actually true.

    It;s just that no one tested aristotles claims for a long time. Have we questioned the claims that we were given? have we proven all things?

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  351. I second Arch’s suggestion.” – Then William, I’m beggin’ya – no more responses to Kathy until she complies next Saturday! If she chooses not to explore outside her own religion, then she’s done here.

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  352. That’s pure BS, Ruth – she provided me a link to a Christian website (what else?) that listed the disciples and their alleged deaths – I, of course, went further than that and researched other sources and found, as “Sportin’ Life” said in “Porgy and Bess: “The things that you’re li’ble to read in the Bible, they ain’t necessarily so –“

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  353. …this sacrifice was the equivalent of a tax” – Ruth, love you like a sister, but you’re trying to use logic on someone to whom logic is a stranger.

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  354. Ruth, love you like a sister…

    Aw, Arch, that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. I thought you took me for a weakling.

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  355. ” It’s a common liberal thought process.. liberals easily feel “bullied” and intimidated by those who they feel have an advantage over them.”

    ” Don’t hurt your hand slapping yourself on the back, Kathy. While I feel You & Mike have definitely bullied people here, I don’t think anyone feels threatened by any advantage you feel you have over them. :-)”

    “See? I wasn’t even alluding to myself or Mike.. you’ve just proven my point by bringing us up as “not” intimidating you. It’s THE liberal mindset.. trust me.”

    You are disagreeing with your previous statement, Kathy !

    Your first statement said, ” liberals easily feel “bullied” and intimidated ”

    You current statement says, “you’ve just proven my point by bringing us up as “not” intimidating you. It’s THE liberal mindset.”

    Is your point that liberals feel intimidated or not intimidated ???? 🙂

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  356. Kathy says, ““I understand your point, but it’s another weak one.. even though, ultimately we don’t get to choose our fate.. it’s still different from Islam.”

    KC says, “Kathy , look at your 2 comments above and explain how the END GAME is different ?”

    Kathy says, “Kc, I acknowledged that the “end game” is the same. But that isn’t applicable to the debate.”

    If the “end game” is the same, what difference does it make to be a Muslim or a Christian ????

    Kathy, I believe YOU have answered the question who have repeatedly asked us for the past month.

    YOUR question was, “Which religion has the best/ most compelling evidence to support it’s “truth/Truth?”

    KATHY YOU just said, “”Kc, I acknowledged that the “end game” is the same.”

    That means there is at least a TIE ! Game over !

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  357. I thought you took me for a weakling.” – you’re more apologetic than I am, but that doesn’t mean you’re weak.

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  358. Ruth,

    “My point in providing all those links was to show that I have, indeed, studied this. I have applied objectivity in doing so despite your claims to the contrary. ”

    And what is your conclusion, Ruth? And did you post the evidence that supports that conclusion? Can you elaborate?

    “You’ve been saying that the reason the martyrdom of the apostles is compelling evidence is because of their circumstances and details. You don’t know those. For instance, many of the martyrs in early Christianity were put to death because they refused sacrifice to the Roman Gods.”

    Why did they refuse to sacrifice to the Roman Gods Ruth? Because it was against God’s commandment. They were killed for following their Christian faith. I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. You all are doing a lot of reaching in trying to argue my points.

    What you posted about the disciples.. so? What was your point there?? Please clarify.

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  359. Ruth cont..

    “The tradition that you are holding so tightly to concerning the martyrdom of the apostles comes the Church Fathers. Of the Catholic Church. That church that you don’t trust with the original manuscripts of the books of the Bible.”

    Ruth, I have no reason to not believe what the Christian church accepts based on the word passed down through the Bishops and other sources. You’ve posted no reason here to not believe that Jesus’ disciples weren’t martyred.

    You ignored THIS point I made:

    We all know that Christians were persecuted and under threat for spreading the Gospel. There’s no real reason to NOT believe that the disciples weren’t killed for doing this since they were the ones who were the most active in spreading the Gospel after Jesus’ death. That’s enough for me.. but if you want to post any evidence that supposedly argues against this belief, go ahead.. I’ll read it.

    Which do you think is MORE likely… based on the undisputed history of the persecution of Christians, especially in the beginning, it’s MORE likely that they WERE martyred. There’s no reason to believe otherwise.. especially since we have the stories that tell us this. What do you expect to be different if the stories are true?? Remember.. all we have for Pilate, a Roman ruler, is one engraved stone. Not much survives after 2000 years.

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  360. @Kathy

    Which do you think is MORE likely… based on the undisputed history of the persecution of Christians, especially in the beginning, it’s MORE likely that they WERE martyred.

    Once again, an example of what you are expecting people to accept without evidence to back any such claims.

    I find it ironic that here, you are appealing to what you consider is ”MORE likely” yet will steadfastly reject such a notion when the term MORE likely is applied to whether Yeshua walked on water for instance, or was born of a virgin or suddenly de-materialized and went up to Heaven.
    Or how about the Resurrection of the dead saints at the time of the Crucifixion? Is it MORE likely that this happened or is it ‘MORE likely’ simply fiction? A narartive tool?

    If you wish for us to apply this method of deduction then it is only fair that you apply it to every aspect of your faith/religion.

    So, take the ‘MORE likely’ phrase and then it in sentences that include: Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, The Exodus,Moses and the Red(Reed Sea).Virgin Birth, Resurrection.

    Can you do this, Kathy?

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  361. @Kathy
    It is also worth noting that once Christianity was made the state religion by Theodosius the persecutions really started to take shape, including the persecution of Roman religions.
    And of course the internecine fighting against all sorts of heresies began.

    Christians have a rather unsavory, brutal history Kathy. ( some of it isn’t that hot these days either, to be honest) Perhaps you ought to familiarize yourself with it ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodosius_I#Nicene_Christianity_becomes_the_state_religion

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  362. All the martyrs in the history of the world are not sufficient to establish the correctness of an opinion. Martyrdom, as a rule, establishes the sincerity of the martyr — never the correctness of his thought. Things are true or false in themselves. Truth cannot be affected by opinions; it cannot be changed, established, or affected by martyrdom. An error cannot be believed sincerely enough to make it a truth.

    Robert Ingersoll
    http://www.cynical-c.com/2008/08/08/daily-dose-of-ingersoll-299/

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  363. You’ve posted no reason here to not believe that Jesus’ disciples weren’t martyred.” – I have!

    I don’t think you have time to post, you need to be studying Hinduism —

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  364. Speaking of the Virgin Birth, and Ark was, it just occurred to me that Jesus popped his own mother’s hymen, and that just has ALL KINDS of Oedipal ramifications!

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  365. Martyrdom, as a rule, establishes the sincerity of the martyr — never the correctness of his thought. Things are true or false in themselves. Truth cannot be affected by opinions; it cannot be changed, established, or affected by martyrdom. An error cannot be believed sincerely enough to make it a truth.” that’s what I said, maybe not so eloquently —

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  366. And what is your conclusion, Ruth? And did you post the evidence that supports that conclusion? Can you elaborate?

    Yes, I did post the evidence. Did you even read the post that had the links in it. It gave a summation of each one of the Apostles for which I posted and the source was linked to it. I’m not sure why you asked for that and didn’t even read it.

    I already gave you my conclusion. I’m skeptical that all these apostles were martyred. I have no proof that they were or weren’t and there are certainly conflicting traditions about this. Tradition can most assuredly be exaggerated. If you read the comments I made surely you can understand how a person might come to that conclusion. It would be quite biased of me to just accept tradition because that is what I want to be true.

    The point I was trying to make in all of that is that it is possible to look at this evidence and not be compelled by the martyrdom of the apostles to believe and not be intellectually dishonest. My point was not to convince you that martyrdom didn’t happen or that you shouldn’t be compelled by it. It was to show you why not everyone might be and why your instance that it be compelling evidence to everyone else is…well…just odd given that you clearly haven’t done much research into it.

    It is clear that no matter how much research a person has done, unless they come to the same conclusions you have, you will assume they are the ones who are biased and dishonest. With that I have no further interest in discussing this with you because this doesn’t appear to be much of a discussion anyway. It appears that you intend to made declarations about what is and is not compelling evidence and call anyone who doesn’t a liar. As far as I’m concerned that is a fail on your part.

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  367. Kathy, could I get you to take a short break from your studies of Hinduism, just long enough to tell you a quick story? You can go right back, I wouldn’t want to break your concentration for long. This is a story about a man who may sound familliar to you:

    Even before he was born, it was known that he would be someone special. A supernatural being informed his mother that the child she was to conceive would not be a mere mortal but would be divine. He was born miraculously, and he became an unusually precocious young man. As an adult he left home and went on an itinerant preaching ministry, urging his listeners to live, not for the material things of this world, but for what is spiritual. He gathered a number of disciples around him, who became convinced that his teachings were divinely inspired, in no small part because he himself was divine. He proved it to them by doing many miracles, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. But at the end of his life he roused opposition, and his enemies delivered him over to the Roman authorities for judgment. Still, after he left this world, he returned to meet his followers in order to convince them that he was not really dead but lived on in the heavenly realm. Later some of his followers wrote books about him.

    The man I just described was Apollonius of Tyana, born about 3 BCE.

    By far the most detailed source is the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, a lengthy, novelistic biography written by the sophist Philostratus at the request of empress Julia Domna. She died in 217 CE, and he completed it after her death, probably in the 220s or 230s CE.

    Philostratus describes Apollonius as a wandering teacher of philosophy and miracle worker who was mainly active in Greece and Asia Minor but also traveled to Italy, Spain and North Africa and even to Mesopotamia, India, and Ethiopia.

    Philostratus implies on one occasion that Apollonius had extra-sensory perception (Book VIII, Chapter XXVI). When emperor Domitian was murdered on September 18, 96 AD, Apollonius was said to have witnessed the event in Ephesus “about midday” on the day it happened in Rome, and told those present “Take heart, gentlemen, for the tyrant has been slain this day…”. Both Philostratus and renowned historian Cassius Dio report this incident, probably on the basis of an oral tradition. Both state that the philosopher welcomed the deed as a praiseworthy tyrannicide.

    In particular, Philostratus tells lengthy stories of Apollonius entering the city of Rome in disregard of Emperor Nero’s ban on philosophers, and later on being summoned, as a defendant, to the court of Domitian, where he defied the Emperor in blunt terms. He had allegedly been accused of conspiring against the Emperor, performing human sacrifice, and predicting a plague by means of magic. Philostratus implies that upon his death, Apollonius of Tyana underwent heavenly assumption.

    There are those who believe that Jesus was a fictional character, whose life was based on that of Appalonius of Tyana, after all, he shared many things in common with Yeshua:
    • Birth miraculously announced by a supernatural being
    • Was the son of a god and a mortal woman
    • Religiously precocious as a child
    • Asserted to be a native speaker of Aramaic
    • Associated with wise men or magi
    • Renounced wealth
    • Followed abstinence and asceticism
    • Wore long hair and robe
    • Discussed eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven
    • Was unmarried and childless
    • Was anointed with oil
    • Went to Jerusalem
    • Spoke in metaphors
    • Saw and predicted the future
    • Performed miracles
    • Healed the sick
    • Cast out evil spirits
    • Raised the daughter of a Roman official from the dead
    • Spoke authoritatively to temple priests
    • Converted people to himself
    • Believed to be a “savior” from heaven
    • Worshipped as a god
    • Accused of being a magician
    • Brought before a king, whose righteousness he challenged
    • Condemned by Roman authorities
    • Imprisoned
    • Descended into the underworld
    • Was assumed into heaven
    • Appeared posthumously to a detractor as a brilliant light

    Ok, back to your Hinduism studies – sorry to interrupt —

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  368. She didn’t read mine either, Ruth, because it didn’t say what she wanted to hear, yet she calls herself objective. I spent over two hours reading the site she offered (and later denied offering) and doing outside research (which obviously she had NEVER done!), attempting to verify the claims made by her site. I listed the fates of many of the disciples, but as it approached midnight, decided to call it quits and not finish the list until after I saw her reaction to the ones I DID list, and upon seeing none whatsoever, decided that not going further was a wise choice, as it would never have been read.

    Clearly, someone, at some time, left her the impression that she was good at debating, and because it was what she wanted to hear, she believed them. I suspect it was a cruel joke. The truth is, she has no grasp of even the most basic principles of debate – you listen to your opponent’s evidence, then refute it with what you hope is stronger evidence of your own, rather than scream “LIBERAL LIAR!” while sticking your fingers in your ears and singing “Jesus Loves Me.”

    But she’ll grow up. I hope.

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  369. “She didn’t read mine either, Ruth, because it didn’t say what she wanted to hear, yet she calls herself objective.”

    She kept saying the reason she wasn’t bothering to read what we were giving her was because she didn’t want to waste her time on “liberal atheist propaganda”. Every source I provided was a Christian resource. While it doesn’t disprove that the apostles were martyred, it doesn’t lend credibility to the claims either. So an objective person might conclude we don’t have enough evidence to say what happened. To say that “tradition tells us” is the equivalent of “legend has it” in my mind. I didn’t have any hope of swaying her from her belief that they were martyred, but I did hope that she might be able to see that another might come to a skeptical conclusion on the matter without being dishonest.

    I never said I didn’t believe that any of the apostles were martyred. In fact they might all have been, but they might just have well have died accidental deaths, or of old age in their beds. The evidence we do have just isn’t convincing either way to me.

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  370. ” I didn’t have any hope of swaying her from her belief that they were martyred, but I did hope that she might be able to see that another might come to a skeptical conclusion on the matter without being dishonest.”

    I also hoped that she might see that her case for insisting that the apostles martyrdom be compelling evidence to everyone else might not be as strong as she had once thought it to be.

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  371. In considering the possibility that the Gospel writers, whomever they may have been, either created a fictional Yeshua, or embellished a rather hum-drum, yet tragic life story of an actual Yeshua, with details from the life of Appalonius, one, at some point, must face the question from someone, of Why – why would they do this?

    Does it occur to anyone as a bit strange that – assuming that in his own time, Yeshua was considered by his followers to have been divine, the actual son of a god, that no one wrote about him for 45 years after his alleged death? And does it strike anyone as a bit coincidental, that the first of these biographies appeared shortly after the Roman destruction of the Jewish temple in 72 CE? It had been 600 years since this landmark, this gathering place for all of Israel’s holy, had been torn down by the Babylonians. The destruction of the “Holy” Temple HAD to have been a traumatic event in the lives of the Jews of the time. Possibly the Jesus character was invented to give the people hope. But why not use Appalonius, whose life must have been known by some at the time? Because Appalonius was a Greek, and the Messiah needed to be a Jew, with Appalonius’ characteristics.

    Yeah, I know – it’s a stretch – but something to think about. Most importantly, and not so far-fetched, is the timing of the destruction of the temple and the publication of the Gospel of Mark entirely coincidental? I don’t think so.

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  372. She simply doesn’t want to hear anything that doesn’t agree with her preconceived notions, and that is the very antithesis of objectivity.

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  373. Ark said:

    “@Kathy

    Which do you think is MORE likely… based on the undisputed history of the persecution of Christians, especially in the beginning, it’s MORE likely that they WERE martyred.

    Once again, an example of what you are expecting people to accept without evidence to back any such claims.

    I find it ironic that here, you are appealing to what you consider is ”MORE likely” yet will steadfastly reject such a notion when the term MORE likely is applied to whether Yeshua walked on water for instance, or was born of a virgin or suddenly de-materialized and went up to Heaven.”

    Yes, those things are much less likely.. that’s why they’re called “miracles”. And I “steadfastly” reject the odds argument for these miracles BECAUSE of the other evidence that goes along with it. What evidence do you have that the disciples WEREN’T martyred? I’ve asked this.. this indicates objectivity.. I want to know what evidence there is.. or even a reasonable argument to counter MY very REASONABLE point that they were most likely martyred. I haven’t read all the comments here yet but I’ll bet that no one has supplied any evidence to the contrary.

    In asking me to apply the “most likely” argument to the miracles.. you overlook/ aka ignore the FACT that our very existence isn’t only less likely, it’s IMPOSSIBLE according to the very science atheists choose as their “god”.

    You are trying to claim that I lack fairness and objectivity with my more likely argument when, surprise, it is you and all atheists who ultimately ignore the most UNLIKELY event of all… your existence.

    It is YOU who lacks consistency and reason… not me.

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  374. Ark cont..

    “Once again, an example of what you are expecting people to accept without evidence to back any such claims.”

    There is massive evidence for my beliefs. I’m guessing you meant empirical proof?

    Do you have empirical proof that love exists Ark? Yet you rely on it every day.

    You have no proof for lots of things you choose to believe and insist as truth.. like.. the atheist claim that God doesn’t exist. You have not only no proof of this.. you don’t even have any EVIDENCE!

    Again, more proof that YOU lack objectivity.

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  375. What evidence do you have that the disciples WEREN’T martyred?” – I gave you that for a full half-dozen of them, you ignored it – THIS indicates YOUR objectivity..

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  376. Ark cont..

    “@Kathy
    It is also worth noting that once Christianity was made the state religion by Theodosius the persecutions really started to take shape, including the persecution of Roman religions.”

    Um.. so?? What is your point exactly??

    “Christians have a rather unsavory, brutal history Kathy. ( some of it isn’t that hot these days either, to be honest) Perhaps you ought to familiarize yourself with it ?”

    Again,.. what exactly is your point here??

    If people DON’T follow Christ’s teachings.. then they DON’T represent Christianity.

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  377. I’ve asked for your proof from day 1, that your god exists, I’ve gotten nearly 3 weeks worth of crickets.

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  378. Arch said:

    ““You’ve posted no reason here to not believe that Jesus’ disciples weren’t martyred.” – I have!

    I don’t think you have time to post, you need to be studying Hinduism – ”

    No, you haven’t Arch.

    And as to your homework assignment… have YOU learned all about Hinduism?

    Surely you have since you’ve rejected it.. and also since that would make you a giant
    hypocrite.. so, why don’t you just give me a crash course here.. in your own words please..

    Again, as I’ve already stated, I know ENOUGH about Hinduism to tell me it’s a false religion.. it lacks CREDENTIALS.. it doesn’t come close to having the corroborative evidence that Christianity has.. all we have to do is use our brains Arch.. it can prevent you from wasting a lot of time and effort… try it! 🙂

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  379. Ruth, you said:

    “Yes, I did post the evidence. Did you even read the post that had the links in it. It gave a summation of each one of the Apostles for which I posted and the source was linked to it. I’m not sure why you asked for that and didn’t even read it.”

    Ruth, I asked for an explanation in your words.. not links of which you gave samples that did NOT in any way provide a valid argument that the disciples weren’t martyred.

    After reading your comment I STILL don’t know what exactly is your reasons for not believing the disciples were martyred. Especially when I pointed out AGAIN.. how it’s much more likely and REASONABLE to believe that they were martyred.. given the history of Christianity that is undisputed/ documented.

    I can see how you might question the way some of them died since there are conflicting stores of SOME of them.. but that again, doesn’t prove that they weren’t martyred.. which again is the most likely outcome for all of Jesus’ disciples.. who, if it weren’t for them, Christianity wouldn’t be the largest faith today.. it would have died out like all the others before it.. and after it.. all those that didn’t kill people for not following it, that is..

    “I already gave you my conclusion. I’m skeptical that all these apostles were martyred.”

    Skeptical of HOW they were martyred would be an objective belief.. but I don’t think that is true of them being martyred… you’ve given no evidence to support this.

    ” I have no proof that they were or weren’t and there are certainly conflicting traditions about this. Tradition can most assuredly be exaggerated.”

    Yes it can.. so? Again, how does that prove they weren’t martyred?

    “It would be quite biased of me to just accept tradition because that is what I want to be true.”

    It’s biased to dismiss their martyrdom without evidence to the contrary. You/ we HAVE evidence that they were martyred.. even if SOME of it is conflicting.. this is often the NORM of events that happened so long ago. Again, you’ve given no reason to believe that the disciples WEREN’T martyred.. only how SOME of them were martyred.

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  380. No, you haven’t Arch.” – that’s a bald-faced lie, Kathy, you even mentioned what I had written about Josephus in one of your own comments, but by your words, “some old historian,” it was clear you hadn’t read the comment. I would at least check, if I were you, before you lie.

    why don’t you just give me a crash course here.. in your own words please..” – because I’m not doing your work for you.

    I know ENOUGH about Hinduism to tell me it’s a false religion.. it lacks CREDENTIALS.. it doesn’t come close to having the corroborative evidence that Christianity has.. all we have to do is use our brains” – you know even less about Hinduism than you do Christianity, and you’ve adequately proven that that’s not much – I can’t imagine that someone so underequipped as you clearly are, would advise someone to “use our brains.”

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  381. Arch, re: Apollonius Tyana …

    So, where is this religion today? Where are the followers of this “deity”?

    You seemed to have overlooked this KEY aspect of your point.

    And the dates are very close to Jesus’ life.. it seems clear who copied who. His biography
    was written AFTER the Gospels.

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  382. Ruth, cont..

    “” I didn’t have any hope of swaying her from her belief that they were martyred, but I did hope that she might be able to see that another might come to a skeptical conclusion on the matter without being dishonest.”

    I also hoped that she might see that her case for insisting that the apostles martyrdom be compelling evidence to everyone else might not be as strong as she had once thought it to be.”

    And I hope that YOU might see that you aren’t applying objectivity. My question, I believe, proves that you aren’t. Logic and common sense says that they most likely WERE martyred.. and also that their martyrdom was a powerful component of the spread of the faith of Christianity. “you get what you pay for”… this couldn’t be more true with Christian martyrdom.. it’s the MOST expensive testimony.. and it is the MOST powerful testimony.. again, it’s WHY the faith is so strong today. Not all Christians were martyred.. but thousands if not millions risked their lives for the faith.

    Your and Nate’s attempts to diminish this powerful testimony shows your lack of objectivity.. aka honesty.

    You may genuinely believe your arguments.. but that won’t excuse you.. it just means you are deliberately ignoring the truth on a deeper level.

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  383. Arch,

    ““No, you haven’t Arch.” – that’s a bald-faced lie, Kathy, you even mentioned what I had written about Josephus in one of your own comments, but by your words, “some old historian,” it was clear you hadn’t read the comment. I would at least check, if I were you, before you lie.”

    You call that “evidence”? It’s the SAME thing.. you gave “evidence” of something that was nothing but heresay.. just like what you were questioning!

    ““why don’t you just give me a crash course here.. in your own words please..” – because I’m not doing your work for you.”

    Wow.. good 2nd grade comeback… that I’m sure everyone expected. …very convincing Arch!

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  384. His biography was written AFTER the Gospels.” – but unlike your Yeshua, all of the Gospel writers wrote while Apollonius was still alive! How difficult would it have been to had attributed some of the details of his life, to that of Yeshua (if he ever existed), or indeed, to use the events of Apollonius’ life to create a fictional Jewish character and call him the promised Messiah? After all, the temple had been destroyed again, and the Jews needed a hero.

    Where is his religion now?” – the Greeks, of which Apallonius was one, needed no such Messiah, and Apollonius never professed to be one, nor did he indicate he had any intention of beginning a religion.

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  385. you gave “evidence” of something that was nothing but heresay..” – of COURSE it’s nothing but hearsay, just like your own contention that they were all martyred, except I can recognize hearsay from truth, or in your words, TRUTH, whereas you seem not to be able to do, or you would realize that your four Gospels are nothing but exactly that. Yet you call them, “COMPELLING EVIDENCE!”

    You know what, Kathy – I think it wise that Howie, William, Ruth and I refrain from posting to you until next Saturday, when your Hinduism report is due, in order to give you more time to study – until then —

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  386. Kathy,

    A few high/lowlights here…

    On August 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm, you said (to KC):

    Yes, I agree, I wish there was a “middle ground” for those who aren’t as bad as murderers etc. But the Bible tells us that all sin is equal in that it is against God who is GOOD and sinless. I admit I don’t fully understand it but my lack of full understanding of this or anything else isn’t enough to convince me that God isn’t real.

    This bit was a glimmer of hope among the darkness that is your characterization of us nonbelievers.

    For me, my “lack of full understanding” of how to reconcile the idea of a good God with an infinite punisher for finite crimes wasn’t enough to convince me that Yahweh isn’t real, either — it was just a part — a part — of what got me to ask the question in the first place.

    Now before that, you said,

    Turning your back on your Creator who loved you so much that He gave His Son to save you.. that deserves harsh punishment.

    The harshest conceivable punishment for not believing on bad evidence*. Got it.

    We can’t be with God if we haven’t been redeemed/ absolved of our MANY and often HORRIBLE sins (see above).

    And this redemption is done by bloodshed — first of animals, then later of the “God-man” — because…? God made up a rule for no particular reason? Or some reason that he didn’t bother to explain in his long, contorted message to us?

    (Then came the first part I posted, followed by…)

    And I know better than to “demand” answers, I know better than to set “conditions” with God, my Creator. And I know better than to judge Him.

    It’s a shame that you’ve been beaten so thoroughly into submission by those who claim to speak for the god you think you serve, that you’re readily willing to condemn us in his name, and unwilling to question whether those claims really are from a deity at all.

    Much more to be said…we’ll see if I bother.

    * No, I am not substantiating the claim (that there is only “bad evidence” to believe) in this particular comment. But I think it would be patently obvious to most reasonable observers that Kathy has not presented compelling evidence here.

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  387. Rata..

    “Now before that, you said,

    “Turning your back on your Creator who loved you so much that He gave His Son to save you.. that deserves harsh punishment.”

    The harshest conceivable punishment for not believing on bad evidence*. Got it.”

    It’s enough evidence to give God an honest chance.. without judging Him.

    “Seek and you shall find”.. it’s not all about the evidence. It’s about what you seek, what you desire. I find that atheists don’t desire God.. and therefore, they aren’t going to find Him.

    Even though there’s evidence that our Creator gave the ultimate sacrifice for us, atheists don’t seem to care, they just prefer to believe that God isn’t real.. so they can go on living to please themselves. That’s pretty harsh. Especially since there isn’t any evidence or even a good argument for God’s non existence. If there were, maybe God’s punishment wouldn’t be “fair”.. but that’s not the case. The very science that atheists LOVE to use to argue God doesn’t exist, actually tells us that our existence is illogical. Which really leaves us with only one “rational” answer.. a Creator.

    “And this redemption is done by bloodshed — first of animals, then later of the “God-man” — because…? God made up a rule for no particular reason? Or some reason that he didn’t bother to explain in his long, contorted message to us?”

    Sorry, this is incorrect. The Bible DOES explain this. If you honestly searched for the answers, you’d find them. God didn’t “make up a rule”.. it’s just how it is.. we cannot spend eternity with a HOLY God in a sinful state. Sin requires atonement in order for us to remain in fellowship with God. Sin creates a “debt” that requires payment. That’s just how it is with a Holy God.

    http://www.debtfreeadventure.com/sin-debt-and-the-payment-for-sin/

    “It’s a shame that you’ve been beaten so thoroughly into submission by those who claim to speak for the god you think you serve, that you’re readily willing to condemn us in his name, and unwilling to question whether those claims really are from a deity at all.”

    Sorry, wrong again. No one influenced my beliefs. It’s what makes the MOST SENSE.

    Disagree? FINE.. just give an explanation that makes MORE SENSE. No one has been able to so far.. yet, in spite of that, you all attack Christianity with complete hypocrisy and ignorance.

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  388. I’ve run out of stamina and haven’t read all the comments – so sorry if I’m covering old ground.

    Kathy, I really dont care if martyrdom was key in spreading christianity or not. My personal opinion is that christians were martyred (like those of many religions) but that it was spread by true believers. I suspect the persecution actually ensured that only the very devout stayed devout during those times, but likely swayed the less faithful to leave when it suited survival and I dont blame them.

    But I want to now say, “so what?” Everyone has already pointed that belief in something doesn’t automatically make that something true. It bolsters your faith, which is fine, but it does not seem convincing to me of anything other then the individual’s devotion.

    So

    1) in regard to martyrdom, again, what makes christian martyrdom superior to the martyrs of the other religions?

    2) You’re wanting everyone to say which religion they think has the most credentials for being true, and then added the clarification that you werent referring to “divine truth.” So, if you are not meaning “true in a religion’s claims of divine origin,” in what way do you mean “true?”

    3) do you have any new evidence or points or questions to present?

    It seems pointless to continue if there’s nothing new. To me, our conversations look like this:

    Kathy: christianity has factual evidence.

    ME: what evidence?

    Kathy: Martyrs and believers, prophecies and archaeology.

    Me: yes, but many other religions have the same. (I’ve even given examples for all points)

    Kathy: but the difference is that christianity is true and other religions are lies.

    Me: Can you show evidence of this?

    Kathy: Yes and I have.

    ME: I must have missed it, can you show it again.

    Kathy: Martyrs and believers, prophecies and archaeology.

    Me: yes, but many other religions have the same.

    Kathy: the evidence is the difference.

    Me: what evidence? how do you know Christianity is superior?

    Kathy: christianity has factual evidence.

    me: what evidence?

    Kathy: Martyrs and believers, prophecies and archaeology.

    I feel like we̵