A comic you can believe in

The question now – should I duck for cover? Wouldn’t want to go saying anything that the people binarily opposed to me from a philosophical standpoint may find offensive now would I…

From here.

65 Comments A comic you can believe in

  1. AndrewF

    >>30-60 years is still within the life time of witnesses, and scholars have shown that it is insufficient time for any legendary tendancies to wipe out the historical core.

    >Unless of course it was all made up whole cloth.

    And seeing as this goes against the overwhelmingly accepted scholastic oppinion, it remains for you to show that this is case. As far as I can see it is nothing by wishful thinking.

    >You do know that the story of Jesus is completely unoriginal right? That every plot point can be found in earlier myths and legends?

    Ah, the old copycat theory..
    I’m afraid you can’t just yell ‘copycat’ but have to show where actually points of borrowing have taken place.
    To give you a head start, here is a list of ciriteria for establishing borrowing which Glen Miller has taken from Walter Burkert, Charles Pengrase, M. L. West http://www.christian-thinktank.com/copycat.html (I wanted to post the list, but seems it was too long or something for wordpress.. so I’ll just have to leave you to check the link.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that perhaps you’re referring to Osirus or Horus, in which case, most of the comparison are actually spurious. See here: http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/osy.html or perhaps Mithra? see here: http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/mithra.html But perhaps you have others in mind?

  2. AndrewF

    >>30-60 years is still within the life time of witnesses, and scholars have shown that it is insufficient time for any legendary tendancies to wipe out the historical core.

    >Unless of course it was all made up whole cloth.

    And seeing as this goes against the overwhelmingly accepted scholastic oppinion, it remains for you to show that this is case. As far as I can see it is nothing by wishful thinking.

    >You do know that the story of Jesus is completely unoriginal right? That every plot point can be found in earlier myths and legends?

    Ah, the old copycat theory..
    I’m afraid you can’t just yell ‘copycat’ but have to show where actually points of borrowing have taken place.
    To give you a head start, here is a list of ciriteria for establishing borrowing which Glen Miller has taken from Walter Burkert, Charles Pengrase, M. L. West http://www.christian-thinktank.com/copycat.html (I wanted to post the list, but seems it was too long or something for wordpress.. so I’ll just have to leave you to check the link.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that perhaps you’re referring to Osirus or Horus, in which case, most of the comparison are actually spurious. See here: http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/osy.html or perhaps Mithra? see here: http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/mithra.html But perhaps you have others in mind?

  3. AndrewF

    >Yes, yes, most theist scholars who like yourself want it to be true they all use the Bible as their source and they all say the same thing “The Bible says it’s true so it must be true!”.

    You obviously didn’t read the link I posted to Habermas’ research. Here is it again: http://www.garyhabermas.com/articles/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005/J_Study_Historical_Jesus_3-2_2005.htm
    If you read it you’ll note that his literature review was of the publications of scholars of all persuasions, not just those who accept the resurrection. In other words, the ‘minimal facts’ are still accepted by far the majority of scholars, including those who reject the resurrection.

    >> (1) Jesus died due to crucifixion and

    >And the proof of this is? The Bible. Anything else?

    This off-hand dismissal of the historical sources is simply laughable. The fact is the crucifiixon is independatly and multiply attested, and from a very early date, not only by the canonical sources but by Jewish ones as well. And moreover, this fact is accepted by virtually all critical scholars. So you’ll have to do a lot better than that!

    >> Although not as widely accepted, many scholars acknowledge several weighty arguments which indicate that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered to be empty just a few days later.

    >And the proof of this is what? And let’s say they found an empty tomb that is only proof of an empty tomb.

    Well firstly you’ll note that I’m not saying it’s ‘proof’ of anything. But, an empty tomb does require and explanation. And any explanation for the empty tomb has to account for the appearances and the unlikely existence of the church.

    >> the disciples had real experiences which they thought were literal appearances of the risen Jesus.

    >I know people who had literal appearances of UFOs. They too never have any proof.

    That’s great. But these appearances are significantly numerous and at different times, and once again, need explaining.

    >> the disciples were transformed from timid and troubled doubters afraid to identify themselves with Jesus to bold preachers of his death and resurrection who were more than willing to die for their faith in him.

    >Muslims, Jews and Branch Davidians are ready to die for their faith, so what does that prove?

    It doesn’t ‘prove’ anything. But the important distinction between the disciples and the people you mention here is that those you mention might die for something they hope to be true. The disciples died for something they said they had experienced. Now if you claim that they just fabricated it all (as you did above) then they certainly wouldn’t die for something they knew wasn’t true.

    >> was especially proclaimed in Jerusalem, the same city where Jesus had recently died and had been buried.

    >And yet not one piece of evidence of this survives.

    What do you expect – the city was destroyed! There’s also no archeological evidence for Hannibal either – do you doubt his existence too? But that’s actually not true that we have no evidence.. we have an abundance of manuscript evidence. What we don’t have is an extant or reference to contradictory accounts (except for the claim from the Jews that the disciples stole the body) from that time. Quite simply, the ‘jerusalem effect’ meant that this claim could easily be refuted – just produce the dead body of Jesus and the game was up, no one would have believed it.

    >>As a direct result of this preaching,

    >And now you seem to be saying that because a bunch of people believed it to be true it must be true.

    No, I am not saying that at all. It might help if you also quote what the direct result of the preaching was:
    >>As a direct result of this preaching, (9) the church was born, (10) featuring Sunday as the special day of worship.

    These are important pieces of evidence, because of N.T. Wright has argued extensively, the message was incredibly unlikely in that historical context, and one must explain why anyone believed it at all. One needs to explain why they would change their deeply held religious observances, and any explanation must also makes sense of the other facts such as the empty tomb and the appearances.
    The only explanation that actually accounts for how the church even got started against such odds is that what they claimed as the reason actually happened.

    >> the great majority of critical scholars who study this subject agree that these are the minimal historical facts surrounding this event.

    >That’s nice, there still isn’t any historical data that supports it. All these men are working from the same, solitary, undependable source; The Bible. Do you have anything outside the Bible?

    There’s plenty of data, but you simply dismiss it because you happen not to like it. I’ve already explained the fallacy of thinking the bible one source, and I’ve already pointed out the non-canonical sources. And I’ve also already pointed out that these scholars do not all accept the resurrection, but still accept these historical facts. What remains is for these facts to be explained, and so we rely on the argument to best explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_method#Argument_to_the_best_explanation which has been summed up as:

    “if the scope and strength of an explanation are very great, so that it explains a large number and variety of facts, many more than any competing explanation, then it is likely to be true.”

    >> I know of no reputable historian who denies the existence of Jesus

    >No? Look harder.

    How about you tell me? You’re the one who says they exist.

  4. AndrewF

    >This of course is another negative-denying thing, it’s hard to say someone never existed.

    It’s especially hard when that person is so well attested!
    You’re the one who’s going against the tide of scholarship, so back it up.. it’s up to you to show that Jesus didn’t exist.

    >But if we look at Jesus, all the stuff that he was supposed to do it’s logical to think that he would leave a rather large footprint but he didn’t. No mention of him save for the Bible and the bits about Jesus were writing decades after the fact.

    That’s rather convenient. Dismiss out of hand (with no basis) the sources and then claim that there’s no evidence. Saying that there’s no mention of Jesus except for the bible (which is not actually true anyway) is a bit like saying there’s no evidence of the moonland apart from the NASA footage and a couple of rocks. And ‘decades after the fact’ is still very early in comparison to most other ancient sources I suspect you don’t doubt, and certainly within the time-frame of eye-wtinesses and for the historical core to be very much intact. What is obvious is your prejudice.

    >Furthermore those writings contradict each other in more than a few places. Of course the Bible is rife with such contradictions.

    For this argument to have any value you would need to show where an actualy contradiction occurs in relation to core historical narrative (i.e. with one of the 12 minimal facts).

    >Ah. So then I will change it to “You can’t know everything therefore everything might be true therefore stuff I want to believe is true!”

    I didn’t say that either. I am saying that we don’t know that the universe is causally closed, so we must accept that it might not be. That’s it.

    >Yeah, you implied it but whatever. And so what? You can’t escape the fact that Columbine was based on gunpowder theory. So what’s your point? That because knowledge can be used for evil we should stop thinking? That certainly would lead to a growth in religion.

    My point is that science can be used for good or bad just as much a religious view. The problem is not religion, but people! I did not say we should stop thinking. I think you need to stop tilting at windmills.

    >The slaughter in the name of your religion at that time and place is well recorded.

    Of course, but that doesn’t mean they were actually following Christ.

    >Are you seriously suggesting, that for the last 2,000 years there have been no Christians in Europe? Really?

    No, and I don’t know how you came to think that I was suggesting any such thing?! Windmills again.

    >NO COMMENT. That’s not an argument for or against anything. Do you really not understand that?

    Yes, I understood you the first time, no need to shout. I agree with you that evolution makes no comment. But Dawkins doesn’t agree.

    >No… no he doesn’t.

    yes, yes he does. It’s all there in Chapter 4 of TGD.
    And you acknowledge that when you write:

    >I will expand Dawkin’s argument in term of intelligent design by pointing out that our design? The way our bodies are built? Not intelligent, not in the slightest.

    >>The earliest written reference we have comes from Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth, an

    >Aaaaand a flag on the play, that’s the Bible. Sorry but you can’t say “The stuff in the Bible is true because the other stuff in the Bible says it’s true.

    Well.. a flag on your fallacious objection to biblical sources. And I’m not saying ““The stuff in the Bible is true because the other stuff in the Bible says it’s true.” I’m saying we have a very early reference to the death and burial of Jesus. I don’t see what grounds you have to object to that. And anyway, if the documents in the bible are written by different authors, then your objection holds about as much credence as objecting to citing two different articles in a journal that agree with eachother. “Dr Johnson supports thie findings that Dr Smith comes too and… “objection, same journal, doesn’t count”” – that’s absurd.

    >C’mon, the son of god comes down to Earth, challenges the establishment, dies and comes back to life? There has got to be all kinds of things written about that, it would have inspired everything from artwork to massive shifts in religious demographics that would have echoed across the Empire.

    Funny you should mention that…

    >The Romans were historians, they wrote everything down but apparently your Jesus wasn’t impressive enough for anyone to notice until some 30 years later. It took another 250 years for Christianity to make its way to the mainstream and two bloody civil wars to put it on top.

    The Roman historians would not have been interested in an executed criminal. They were interested in Emporers and rulers. When you say it wasn’t notice until 30 years later, what do you refer to specifically?.
    One must ask how such a belief even made it into the mainstream, indeed, how it even got off the ground in the first place.

    >All of that leads to me to think that Jesus was about as real as King Arthur and Robin Hood.

    All of what? You haven’t shown anything that throws any doubt on the attestation of Jesus’ existence. All we’ve seen is you saying “I don’t like the bible, so I won’t accept any of the documents within it as a legitimate source”. All we’ve seen is your massive prejudice obscuring proper methodology.

    >>I think Nathan has addressed other points, so I won’t go over them.

    >I’d rather hear it from you if it’s all the same, thanks.

    If it’s all the same, then just read what he wrote and pretend that I wrote it. It doesn’t change the content.

    1. Nathan

      I doubt Salvage didn’t read anything written here – he is the kind of guy who needs all the ammo he can get.

      Comments with more than one link are held for moderation.

    2. Nathan

      How much Roman history makes the Romans look bad?

      Until Constantine the Romans hated Christians – it’s unlikely that their history books would make a big deal about a man claiming to be God when that was Caesar’s position in the empire. I’d suggest that would add fuel to the fire.

      I’m shutting this thread down today – I’m sick of getting longwinded comments from Salvage that are just ignoring everything we say. Closing arguments please. And try to limit them to 500 words a pop.

      1. Nathan

        I found a bunch of Andrew’s comments in my spam box. Sorry for any duplicate posting.

        I’ll leave them posted though.

  5. salvage

    Nope, none of those men were contemporaries of Jesus, none of them wrote anything about any resurrection, they are sources for the rise of Christianity, proof that there were Christians during their respective times and those Christians had impact on history.

    That’s why we know about them but they most certainly do not confirm any resurrection or empty tomb or anything like that they, didn’t witness Christ or his odd comeback. They record that there are people who BELIEVE that Jesus did that stuff and nothing more.

    >Josephus (which I’m guessing you’ll dismiss, at least the first of his references – even though it has the consensus of scholastic acceptance),

    Because they’ve been shown to be forgeries

    >Of course, this is all on top of the NT references which clearly establish his historicity. No serious scholar doubts it, and so the burden of proof would lie with the one who would deny it.

    It does not, the NT gets a great deal wrong, it contradicts itself, if that is the best your god can do then I have to say he isn’t much of a god.

    >The Bible is not a source and certainly isn’t dependable.
    >I’m afraid the documents contained with what we call ‘The Bible’ most certainly are sources, and the majority of scholars, even the critical ones who reject the resurrection, like Bart Ehrman, accept that a reliable historical narrative can be found within.

    Sure, it got some things right, those things we know are right are supported BY OTHER SOURCES.

    >Basically what you are saying is that the Bible says Jesus was resurrected and that proves that he was resurrected.

    > dozen facts that are considered to be historical by far and away the majority of scholars of all

    Such as? So far the only fact you’ve shown is that there were Christians in the Roman Empire between 60-160 AD, a fact I don’t dispute. What I do dispute is that there was a Jesus and that he performed a few magic tricks (walking on water, the point of that was what?) then died then came back to life and vanished to leave behind even more chaos.

    >The bible isn’t one source, and yes, people wrote about it for several centuries.

    Yes, yes it is.

    > There is graffiti mocking Christians actually – a picture of a donkey on a cross with the caption about ‘Alexander (I think the name was) worships his god’

    Yes, once again, you are getting confused between the existence of Christians and the existence of Christ and the veracity of his resurrection.

    I know there were Christians back then, I know they were a persecuted minority, please stop telling me what I know and show me equal proof for Christ himself.

    >I suspect if we did have diaries that you would dismiss them as out of hand as you do with the gospels and epistles.

    No, no I wouldn’t because that would be independent proof.

    >Also, you forget that this was an oral culture.

    No it was not, the Romans wrote everything down, that’s how we know so much about them and the cultures they encountered and consumed.

    >And why would the Roman officials write about a ‘nobody’ like Jesus?

    Jesus wasn’t a nobody, he had crowds following him and he brought back the dead and healed the sick, you don’t think that would get the notice of the powers that be?

    Considering how superstitious the Romans were if Jesus were real he would have been investigated.

    >(as it happens, they did mention him, as I’ve referred to earlier).

    Nope, nothing from the 0 BC, just stuff after.

    >At any rate, you can’t simply dismiss historical documents because you don’t like something they say in them.

    I’m not, I’m dismissing the lack of historical documents.

    >As I said, the Bible is not one source, but a collection of sources. It is not one book, but a compelation of a number of documents of various genres.

    Ah yes, like your god the Bible can be whatever you need it to be to support your point but nothing in it is considered accurate unless there is outside support. In the case of Jesus there is none to be found.

    >Whichever biblical book you are referring to may very well have got the number wrong.. I don’t know, but none-the-less, it remains utterly irelevant to the historicity of Jesus.

    You are on a jury, you hear conflicting testimony from two men. One of the men has no criminal record and has had many character witnesses testify to his veracity, the other man is a criminal convicted of many things including perjury. Which one are you more likely to believe is telling the truth?

    The source of your claims is extremely relevant.

    > So too, Paul’s epistles and Luke’s gospel, for example, are independant sources which just happen to have been collated into a single volume at a later date.

    What exactly separated Paul and Luke? What made them independent or each other? It’s all the same thing from the same source and the fact that they contradict each other is ample proof that it was all a bunch of mortals not gods.

    >The opposite is in fact true. I’ve already noted that Jesus was written about.

    Not until 30 years after his death. There is no record of his life or ministry anywhere else than that.

    >> That’s great. But these appearances are significantly numerous and at different times, and once again, need explaining.

    They never happened, it was all made up, once again you only have the Bible as a source for these stories.

    Plus, once again, it makes no sense, your god dies comes back to life and then vanishes only appearing to a fraction of a fraction of humanity? Those people get first hand proof of your god the rest of us have to go on faith? And anyone with a brain would see that would lead to war. No, your god is either incompetent or crazy if he is real fortunately for us he isn’t.

    >And yet not one piece of evidence of this survives.

    >What do you expect – the city was destroyed!

    Uh no. The Temple was destroyed because the rebels were using it as a rallying point. That and it was full of tasty gold that the Romans hauled off and spent on a brand new Coliseum. Jerusalem survived, it’s never been “destroyed”, Carthage, now that was destroyed, ground salted, population enslaved. When Rome wrecks you you don’t come back.

    >There’s also no archeological evidence for Hannibal either – do you doubt his existence too?

    No, because there is tons of evidence for Hannibal, if the only place that one could find his name was the Bible I would doubt the whole story. After all a man who can sneak up on the Roman Empire isn’t going to go unnoticed and that’s why there are multiple sources rather than just one self-serving one.

    >>As a direct result of this preaching, (9) the church was born,

    After some 30-250 years. Why so slow? Why did it take a war for Christianity to come on top? Why didn’t the nice version of Christianity spread? It’s been at war ever since the Church started. Was that part of the plan?

    >> featuring Sunday as the special day of worship.

    You keep harping on that point as if it means something, the Jews have Saturday, so what?

    >The only explanation that actually accounts for how the church even got started against such odds is that what they claimed as the reason actually happened.

    Have you ever charted the growth of Scientology with the historical estimated growth of Christianity? Or with Mormonism? The results are fascinating.

    > bit like saying there’s no evidence of the moonland apart from the NASA footage and a couple of rocks.

    Not at all, I can go to any observatory at the right time and see the Lunar Lander for myself. Furthermore the designs for the craft and equipment are all on display for anyone to see. There is no reason to doubt that we traveled to the Moon, it’s all perfectly plausible.

    Jesus? Not even close to plausible, quite fantastic and deeply illogical that story is hence it requires a great deal of proof and you simply do not have that.

    > I didn’t say that either. I am saying that we don’t know that the universe is causally closed, so we must accept that it might not be. That’s it.

    Yes, that all may be true but that doesn’t put an invisible ring in my pocket, a singing giraffe in my living room or a god in your heaven. You are still saying because we don’t know everything everything might be true and that’s just plain wrong.

    >My point is that science can be used for good or bad just as much a religious view. The problem is not religion, but people!

    Correct! And my point, the one you are ignoring is that your god did not take that fact into consideration when he built his church because it led to more and more confusion and bloodshed. I refer you back to my Grade 6 Xbox scenario for a model. So the question you keep ignoring was that all part of the plan?

    >The slaughter in the name of your religion at that time and place is well recorded.

    >Of course, but that doesn’t mean they were actually following Christ.

    So who was the Vatican following then? Why did Constantine have a Christian symbol painted on the shields of his troops? Not true Christian would do those things and yet they thought they were Christians doing it all for Christ. But you would tell them no? They were wrong? I think they would disagree.

    And once again, this confusion, part of the plan?

    Anyway, I’m done, I’ve gotten enough material from you, at this point you’re just recycling and I’m now officially bored.

  6. AndrewF

    >I’m shutting this thread down today – I’m sick of getting longwinded comments from Salvage that are just ignoring everything we say.

    Good call.

    I’ve no time to bother with someone who not only argues against the tide of scholarship with no evidence for such, but whose prejudice causes them to reject historical sources out of hand, a priori, sources which even critical scholars (e.g. non-Christians like Ehrman) have no problem finding a reliable historical core in. I note that he has not provided the names of any reputable scholars who reject the historicity of Jesus.

    Salvage seems to have a problem separating the historicity of Jesus existence from the resurrection. He seems to think that if one is to reject the resurrection then they are forced into rejecting the very existence of Jesus, which is absolutely not the case.

    >What exactly separated Paul and Luke? What made them independent or each other? It’s all the same thing from the same source and the fact that they contradict each other is ample proof that it was all a bunch of mortals not gods.

    Paul isn’t Luke, and they didn’t sit down together to write something. They are independent. Now you can’t have your cake and eat it – did they just copy from eachother, or do they contradict eachother? (actually they did neither) And again, please note that at no point have I asserted that it must be true because God wrote it. That two sources agree does not mean they are one source, it only means they agree.

    Even if you compare the synoptic gospels, yes, there is some common source material, like the hypothetical Q sayings, and Luke and Matthew rely on Mark for some material, but they also each have non-markian sources as well. That you fail to recognise that ‘the bible’ is not one book is just incredible. Your argument then is nothing but wishful thinking.

    >You are on a jury, you hear conflicting testimony from two men. One of the men has no criminal record and has had many character witnesses testify to his veracity, the other man is a criminal convicted of many things including perjury. Which one are you more likely to believe is telling the truth?

    Nathan is shutting this down, so there’s no point in asking you to point it out, but where exactly does Paul or Luke or Mark or any other NT author speak of Pi? Once again, that’s like saying because one essay makes a mistake then the whole journal is kaput. It’s absurd. It’s a red herring proposed to keep from dealing with the actual issue at hand.
    Besides which, normal historians are more than happy to find reliable historical core in texts which have errors or even elaboration – they apply certain normal criteria (such as multiple attestation, embarrassment etc.) to find it out, and when such is applied to the NT documents, the 12 minimal facts are found to be likely and so are considered historical facts by the majority of scholars, even non-Christian ones. You’ve ignored this point all the way through, no doubt because it is somewhat devastating to your position.

    Josephus has not shown to be forgery btw. It is a strange phenomenon that this is such a big deal on the internet. Although it is acknowledged that some scribal editing has happened in the first reference, most scholars accept that Joseph said something about Jesus, particularly because of the second reference, which isn’t in question, and that it’s not a wholesale forgery. At any rate, the textual evidence for Jesus existence, his death and burial is simply too great for you to just say it was all made up. That fails to explain any of the manuscripts, and it fails to explain the church and it fails to explain why absolutely no one challenged his existence until now. A much better explanation is that you are prejudiced and don’t want it to be true. I can only guess that is why you’re so ignorant of the actual scholarship on this issue.

    Prof. Dawkins has recently called Young-Earth Creationists ‘history-denyers’. I suggest that in arguing against the tide of scholarship (as they do too), you are a history-denyer, and all for the sake of your own agenda.

  7. AndrewF

    Yeah, sorry about that – I had trouble posting. Next time I’ll just assume you’ll find them and let them through.
    Paroxysm – that made me laugh (in a good way) I’ll pay that.

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