Evidence for the bible
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08-01-2012, 05:10 PM
Evidence for the bible
I was debating how trustworthy the bible was and they referred to, obviously, the four gospel writers being valid historical sources. I didn't really know how to debunk it. I was telling them that extreme claims require extreme evidence, but that didn't seem to work.

What IS the evidence to support the bible, if any? Other than the gospel writers, do they have anything else to back up what they're saying?
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08-01-2012, 05:18 PM
RE: Evidence for the bible
(08-01-2012 05:10 PM)GwJ Wrote:  I was debating how trustworthy the bible was and they referred to, obviously, the four gospel writers being valid historical sources. I didn't really know how to debunk it. I was telling them that extreme claims require extreme evidence, but that didn't seem to work.

What IS the evidence to support the bible, if any? Other than the gospel writers, do they have anything else to back up what they're saying?

The Gospels are inconsistent with each other and are contradicted by verifiable non-Biblical sources, so they are not trustworthy as history.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-01-2012, 05:19 PM
RE: Evidence for the bible
Do you know what those sources are and what the contradictions are? It'd be very helpful for me to keep in a bookmark.
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08-01-2012, 05:19 PM
RE: Evidence for the bible
The gospel writers are not valid historical sources. They all lived nearly a century after Jesus's death. None of them could possibly have been eyewitnesses to the events they describe. And as if that weren't enough, they were also incredibly biased writers. They were very deliberately trying to make Jesus's life conform to the Old Testament prophecies. Matthew and Luke both go to pretty big lengths to place the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, because that was the prophesied location for the messiah's birth. However, they offer conflicting details as to how Joseph and Mary ended up there. Most modern historians don't think that a census such as Luke describes even occurred. As if all that weren't enough, in John's gospel, a further contradiction arises when some scribes with whom Jesus is arguing say that Jesus cannot be the messiah because he wasn't born in the City of David, Bethlehem! Clearly Jesus's contemporaries didn't think he was born there.
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08-01-2012, 05:25 PM
RE: Evidence for the bible
I was given this link when I said the same thing about the gospel writers not being eyewitnesses: http://www.denverseminary.edu/craig-blom...-a-gospel/

Does that article make a valid point that debunks our point?
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08-01-2012, 05:26 PM (This post was last modified: 08-01-2012 05:30 PM by Chas.)
RE: Evidence for the bible
(08-01-2012 05:19 PM)GwJ Wrote:  Do you know what those sources are and what the contradictions are? It'd be very helpful for me to keep in a bookmark.

There is so much written on this. I suggest Googling or an Amazon search for books.

There are no original texts for the Gospels in existence; there aren't even any copies of the originals; there are copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of ... the originals. What we read are imperfect translations of imperfect copies of whatever the originals were, so that alone makes them pretty suspect.
(08-01-2012 05:25 PM)GwJ Wrote:  I was given this link when I said the same thing about the gospel writers not being eyewitnesses: http://www.denverseminary.edu/craig-blom...-a-gospel/

Does that article make a valid point that debunks our point?

Maybe they were eye witnesses, maybe not. Regardless, we don't have the originals - see my previous post.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-01-2012, 05:58 PM
RE: Evidence for the bible
Hi Gwj,

Wow...the historically validity of the bible is a massive topic, and the gospels are really contentious from a historical point of view. People spend their entire careers trying to debunk or support it.

It's also been discussed a fair bit on the forum and there are some pretty switched on people around here who I'm sure can help you with specific questions. There's also an entire section called 'Refuting the Bible' that is very good.

In terms of who wrote the gospels, the prevailing view is that it wasn't four chaps called Mattew, Mark, Luke and John. Illiterate fisherment typically didn't write many bestsellers, or would have the knowledge of the political rumblings in Jerusalem. Read more here.

The coverage of the messiah didn't get much press outside of the bible, my top 10 non-bilblical sources are here (along with some interesting discussion from the community)

Finally the blog post from the Denver Seminary isn't really defence for anything. It's one guys thoughts on average ages?! It also has no sources, hasn't been peer reviewed and doesn't really mean anything apart from the thoughts of the chap who wrote it. Whilst he might be some respected Grand Vizier of St Glenda or whatever honorofic the Denver Seminary bestow upon one another, it doesn't make his blog the absolute authority on anything other than his thoughts.

Hope that helps,

S

"Christianity is like a diet where you eat lots of chocolate cake all week, and then on Sunday you mentally scold yourself and "try again" only to repeat the cycle." - Buddy Christ
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09-01-2012, 02:43 AM
RE: Evidence for the bible
If you want to understand a christian view of where scripture came from I recommend The Canon of Scripture by F. F. Bruce. If you want to refute the Bible to christians, you will need to address the evidence he uses. I think you will find that there is better and earlier textual evidence for the Gospels than there is for Socrates, so it's not an easy undertaking. A lot of the accepted refutations date from the 19th century and are obsolete. I also recommend Justin Martyr. He was a second century writer who quoted the 4 gospels (and no others) so thoroughly as to cast no doubt that the gospels were widely accepted within christian circles by the early second century. You can find his writings on the web.

He was part of my dream, of course--but then I was part of his dream, too!
--Alice
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09-01-2012, 03:33 AM
RE: Evidence for the bible
The Gospels are probably the worst "evidence" for Jesus' existence in the Bible.
I would suggest reading both books from C.J Werleman: God Hates You, Hate Him Back AND Jesus Lied, He Was Only Human.

C.J is a former believer and knows his stuff. The second of the two books here, is full of contraditions in the New Testament. Great satirical read!
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09-01-2012, 06:15 AM
RE: Evidence for the bible
If there's anything that makes me facepalm and groan, its when somebody tries to insist that the bible is a historical documentation. At best it is historical fiction,written by unverifiable authors. True, there are historical facts, but they are distorted inorder to fit a mythos.

A great example of this is a vid by a YT user profMTH called When WAS Jesus Born? , where he notes the historical inaccurasy in the Gospel of Luke that gives two different periods for Jesus' birth in itself, and a number of other similar cases with the other Gospels that discuss Jesus' birth. He also has a series called "Jesus was not the Messiah".

I also recommend another user called brettppalmer who also has many good videos, though they are not about the Gospels exlusivly.

Also, it is interesting to note that the Betlehem near Jerusalem that is traditionally cosidered as the birth place of Jesus was actually not there at his time. Or rather, it was not inhabited. There seems to be however another Betlehem in Galilee:

http://www.archaeology.org/0511/abstracts/jesus.html

I remember seeing a better article or a vid about this but I can't find it at the moment. I'll look into it later today and see if I can find it....

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