GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
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14-10-2014, 03:38 PM
GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
Welcome Tsukho. If you accept, we can enter a discussion on any subject you wish. Rules are you must cite your references, and substantiate your posits. "I feel god exists" isn't an argument, it is a feeling.

Shall we begin? If I may, I have a simple question...what is the basis of your faith.

My background I am an ex-christian, son of a minister (southern baptist), my parents divorced when I was about 10yo, and my mother became a Pentecostal minister, and my dad converted to Mormonism. I have a degree from saint leo university in religious studies, and specialize in Christianity. Over to you...

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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15-10-2014, 01:34 PM (This post was last modified: 15-10-2014 01:50 PM by Tsukho.)
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
GWOG,

Thanks for the invitation for civil discussion. It was getting a bit busy in the other forum. Human nature is to want to jump in say your piece. I've certainly done that myself aplenty.

I too am a son of a baptist minister and the twin of another, but I have no where near your religious degrees. I majored in journalism and I'm a trainer and technical writer by trade.

As to the basis of my belief. Does that mean what do I base my beliefs on or does it mean why do I choose to believe?

The answer to the first question is the Bible. I suspect for a common atheist (not you), the term Christianity seems singular, but the number of groups that claim to be called Christian is immense. You're probably aware of that old phrase, "Sitting in a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you car." There are so many religious groups and quasi-spiritual people calling themselves Christian that I've come to the point where I almost don't want the label myself. I think the litmus test is the question, what do you base your Christianity on? My answer is the Bible.

The answer to the second question is my relationship with God. I realize this is experiential, a fact that has great relevance to me but which understandably means nothing to the folks in the thinking atheist forum.

Does that answer your question?

Over to you...
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15-10-2014, 04:37 PM
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
(15-10-2014 01:34 PM)Tsukho Wrote:  GWOG,

Thanks for the invitation for civil discussion. It was getting a bit busy in the other forum. Human nature is to want to jump in say your piece. I've certainly done that myself aplenty.

I too am a son of a baptist minister and the twin of another, but I have no where near your religious degrees. I majored in journalism and I'm a trainer and technical writer by trade.

As to the basis of my belief. Does that mean what do I base my beliefs on or does it mean why do I choose to believe?

The answer to the first question is the Bible. I suspect for a common atheist (not you), the term Christianity seems singular, but the number of groups that claim to be called Christian is immense. You're probably aware of that old phrase, "Sitting in a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you car." There are so many religious groups and quasi-spiritual people calling themselves Christian that I've come to the point where I almost don't want the label myself. I think the litmus test is the question, what do you base your Christianity on? My answer is the Bible.

The answer to the second question is my relationship with God. I realize this is experiential, a fact that has great relevance to me but which understandably means nothing to the folks in the thinking atheist forum.

Does that answer your question?

Over to you...

Ah, so glad you chose to reply. Yes, it can get a bit hectic if you enter or start a thread, and then come back a day later and find 10 pages of replies..not that I want you all to myself Unsure but more along the lines of I wanted to offer you a place to make your assertions, and we can exchange ideas. I strive to remain open minded, for a closed mind stops learning.

Yes, you answered my entering question perfectly. We can delve deeply into that as you are ready. A couple of small questions just to narrow the field so to speak...

Do you interpret the bible literally or figuratively? There are many versions of the second view; some creationists wave aside the OT as a parable meant to send a message, and take the NT literally. Some wave aside the OT as a parable, and recognize that the NT is largely filled with parables and allegorical writings, and choose to concentrate on the overall message. "the belief in the transcendental world without worrying about the semantics of the scriptures" if you will. Some of course take it word for word the truth, the will and the way. So if you could give me an idea of where you come from in regards to your personal biblical interpretation, that will help me tremendously. This way I can ask appropriate and relative questions, and set us both up on a foundation of understanding from which to learn from one another.

You are correct when you say that christianity is a wide and diverse belief system. The last time I checked there are more than 35,000 versions of Christianity. What is yours?

Relationship with god. Do you mean a "personal experience" or just "I believe I have a meaningful and loving relationship with my god"?..or both? This is typically called an Argument from Personal Experience - I know god exists because I can feel him. I know it in my heart; he talks to me; I feel his strength and existence flow through every fiber of my being.

We can press into that as well, although I am not fluent in psychology so I can not address with any degree of accuracy what you feel, or why you feel, or why you think you feel whatever it is you feel. Unsure But I am fully willing to talk about it. Yes

For me, after a great personal loss, I went on a journey to learn, to solidify my declining faith. As I studied the bible, took religious courses, studied religions closely, traced each book of the bible back to who/whom wrote it...the more I learned the less I believed. For example, the OT was not written by Moses, in fact he never existed, so taking apart the OT is child's play scientifically and historically. When it comes to the NT, I can lay out for you the fact that not a single person, biblical or otherwise, who wrote of Jesus actually knew him...it was all written based on hearsay passed down...."christian oral tradition" as the saying goes. But we can get as deep into the bible as you wish, it is my specialty.

Thanks for accepting my offer, take your time, settle in, no need to rush answers, I am busy as well. I am a full time college student working on my Masters, active duty Navy officer, have a wife and 4 kids and I workout 7 days a week, so I got a lot on my plate, as I am sure you do as well. Looking forward to your responses.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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16-10-2014, 06:45 AM (This post was last modified: 16-10-2014 08:19 AM by Tsukho.)
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
Hi GWG,

Thanks for your kind words and I appreciate your time. You sound busy.

I'm glad to talk to you. I should let you up front that I'm not looking for a place make assertions, as if I have a goal of converting you or a need to be heard. I'm not much older than you, just a couple of years, but I've reached a stage in my life where I'm comfortable in my skin. I know who I am, my foibles and my strengths. However, I do get an itch to scratch sometimes. My wife calls it "stirring the pot." I enjoy talking about things that have meaning. I enjoy contemplating on how things used to be, how they are now, and what things might be like in the future. I'm not into what celebrity said what when she was wearing whatever.

I'm sorry for the loss you endured. I haven't lost anyone very close, with the exception of a pastor. It was a difficult situation following a long, difficult period. He led an abusive church we attended for about a decade. It marked our departure from the group. We call it "The Cult" now and wonder how we ever stayed so long and did the things we did. However, I don't think I could classify the group exactly as a cult. It was more of an abusive, cultish home church. It shook us deeply and we dropped out of organized church for over a year.

To answer your questions, I interpret the Bible literally, with the exception of parts I believe are prophetic, such as the book of Revelation.

Concerning the relationship, I consider this similar to any relationship for the most part. I do "feel" many things, such as strength, love, appreciation, etc. But this is no different from my relationships with family or friends. I feel those same things with them. In addition, there is communication. I convey my thoughts to him and he conveys his thoughts to me. Since it's common for people to "talk to God," I assume your concerns would be more specific to God talking back, so I'll address that now. He has communicated back with me in a number of ways, including the following:
- A sense of knowing information or feeling that I don't ascribe to myself, which sometimes is at odds to what I personally think or want. This sometimes occurs in conjunction with reading the Bible, speaking with someone or some other action.
- An inaudible voice I hear speaking specific words internal to me that is loud enough and distinct enough from my own thoughts to be attributed to him.
- An audible voice similar to a person speaking out loud near me.

I hope that helps explains things a little better.

GWG, I've been considering the concept of this conversation as a debate and I have some reservations. I'm not opposed to conversation at all. I enjoyed the Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate, but I don't see much fruit in them. I don't think they result in any change that can't happen just as easily in a simple conversation. Here's why.
- You have established reasons as to why you believe the Bible is false based on the writings of people who have researched historical data and come to a conclusion. From my cursory study of the topic I believe there are other historians that have come to different conclusions. Our debate would then revolve around arguing the different points made by other people.
- My experience to date has pointed me to the Bible as a reliable source to explain all kinds of things, such as origin, human nature, history and how the world works in general. Because you believe the Bible to be false and a made-up book, it's unlikely you'll accept anything from it as an explanation. On the other hand, I'm not a genius but I read up on lots of topics that interest me and I generally refrain from skipping materials that make make me uncomfortable or that go against my established beliefs. I get the gist of most non-theist arguments.
- When we come to an impasse, I'm likely to claim that is something I can't explain using Christianity or that God hasn't revealed yet, which you will see as failure of argument. On the other hand you'll also concede that many scientific explanations are not complete as well, and you're waiting on science to catch up and provide an explanation. There are holes in the theory of evolution as an explanation for origin, for instance, but you believe the preponderance of data points to it as the likeliest explanation. When I look at the preponderance of information, both scientific and experiential, I lean towards God as the explanation.

However, if you're game, I don't know any other atheists to whom I can talk, and I'd like to continue our conversation, just not adversarial as if we're trying to score points off each other.

How do you feel about that?
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16-10-2014, 04:59 PM (This post was last modified: 17-10-2014 05:38 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
(16-10-2014 06:45 AM)Tsukho Wrote:  Hi GWG,

Thanks for your kind words and I appreciate your time. You sound busy.

I'm glad to talk to you. I should let you up front that I'm not looking for a place make assertions, as if I have a goal of converting you or a need to be heard. I'm not much older than you, just a couple of years, but I've reached a stage in my life where I'm comfortable in my skin. I know who I am, my foibles and my strengths. However, I do get an itch to scratch sometimes. My wife calls it "stirring the pot." I enjoy talking about things that have meaning. I enjoy contemplating on how things used to be, how they are now, and what things might be like in the future. I'm not into what celebrity said what when she was wearing whatever.

I'm sorry for the loss you endured. I haven't lost anyone very close, with the exception of a pastor. It was a difficult situation following a long, difficult period. He led an abusive church we attended for about a decade. It marked our departure from the group. We call it "The Cult" now and wonder how we ever stayed so long and did the things we did. However, I don't think I could classify the group exactly as a cult. It was more of an abusive, cultish home church. It shook us deeply and we dropped out of organized church for over a year.

To answer your questions, I interpret the Bible literally, with the exception of parts I believe are prophetic, such as the book of Revelation.

Concerning the relationship, I consider this similar to any relationship for the most part. I do "feel" many things, such as strength, love, appreciation, etc. But this is no different from my relationships with family or friends. I feel those same things with them. In addition, there is communication. I convey my thoughts to him and he conveys his thoughts to me. Since it's common for people to "talk to God," I assume your concerns would be more specific to God talking back, so I'll address that now. He has communicated back with me in a number of ways, including the following:
- A sense of knowing information or feeling that I don't ascribe to myself, which sometimes is at odds to what I personally think or want. This sometimes occurs in conjunction with reading the Bible, speaking with someone or some other action.
- An inaudible voice I hear speaking specific words internal to me that is loud enough and distinct enough from my own thoughts to be attributed to him.
- An audible voice similar to a person speaking out loud near me.

I hope that helps explains things a little better.

GWG, I've been considering the concept of this conversation as a debate and I have some reservations. I'm not opposed to conversation at all. I enjoyed the Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate, but I don't see much fruit in them. I don't think they result in any change that can't happen just as easily in a simple conversation. Here's why.
- You have established reasons as to why you believe the Bible is false based on the writings of people who have researched historical data and come to a conclusion. From my cursory study of the topic I believe there are other historians that have come to different conclusions. Our debate would then revolve around arguing the different points made by other people.
- My experience to date has pointed me to the Bible as a reliable source to explain all kinds of things, such as origin, human nature, history and how the world works in general. Because you believe the Bible to be false and a made-up book, it's unlikely you'll accept anything from it as an explanation. On the other hand, I'm not a genius but I read up on lots of topics that interest me and I generally refrain from skipping materials that make make me uncomfortable or that go against my established beliefs. I get the gist of most non-theist arguments.
- When we come to an impasse, I'm likely to claim that is something I can't explain using Christianity or that God hasn't revealed yet, which you will see as failure of argument. On the other hand you'll also concede that many scientific explanations are not complete as well, and you're waiting on science to catch up and provide an explanation. There are holes in the theory of evolution as an explanation for origin, for instance, but you believe the preponderance of data points to it as the likeliest explanation. When I look at the preponderance of information, both scientific and experiential, I lean towards God as the explanation.

However, if you're game, I don't know any other atheists to whom I can talk, and I'd like to continue our conversation, just not adversarial as if we're trying to score points off each other.

How do you feel about that?

I am good with continuing our conversation. I enjoy learning different perspectives as the study of mythology fascinates me. You are correct that in the end most debates end with GODDIDIT from the creationists, and "we don't know the answer yet" from the evolutionist.

I think it wise if we stay away from the "I hear voices and think it is god" area. Lets agree that you interpret a personal experience that you have or have had as an actual contact with the god of your belief. I will concede you think that is true, and lets move on to safer areas.

Since you are a literalist, I doubt I will be able to get past the barriers you have potentially constructed around yourself to protect your view. I say that because to posit that the world for example is 6,000 years old requires one to ignore the plethora of empirical evidence that solidly refutes that posit. The same goes for the bible, I specialize in the dismantlement of the bible as it is the area I have studied the most. At work I have a peer who is a fundamental literal christian, and we have had many interesting conversations. I asked him what would happen if he found out that for example, the authors of the synoptic gospels were not who he thinks they are, and in fact no one who wrote of jesus knew him...he said if he learned that, he would lose his faith because he believes the bible is word for word factual....so I stopped the conversations in regards to the bible out of respect for him and our relationship. Plus, it is technically illegal to discuss religion at my work.

Anyway, i agree that you and I are most likely not going to change our views. I have way too much knowledge now of how the whole story was fabricated, and how science disproves it, you have your personal experience, and faith in the transcendental and an unseen world and that takes a level of commitment that by design makes it challenging to change ones view, even in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary. However, I wish to move forward, at the very least, you may learn something about your faith, and its historical background that you may not have previously known, and if you choose to continue believing in your spirituality, at least you can do so with some exposure to its historicity. I also will most likely learn how to view various information from the perspective of someone who uses different glasses to view the world around them. Knowledge and experience is power, and I never stop learning.

I wish to make a small point, you say I believe the bible is false, and a made up book. Well yes, that is because I can substantiate that with fact, citations and references. I don't bother to use argument from authority, or "well so and so famous guy said.." who cares what so and so said and believes. Lets talk about facts. I have a huge personal library, and the religion area is about half and half atheist/creationist authored. A lot of biblical scholars are by design of the christian persuasion. So I find it particularly powerful when a christian scholar who studies the bible and its authorship freely admits that the gospels were not written by whom people think or even when people think. That has more impact than an atheist researcher saying it. But we can get into that at great depth later if you wish.

I understand that you will apply the god of the gaps argument for things that no one can answer. That is your perspective, and based on your faith, understandable.

So where shall we begin? Do you wish to discuss OT, or NT? Since you believe the bible is factual if I understand you correctly, do you wish to discuss how I posit that moses is someone who never existed and didnt author the OT, or breakdown how the great biblical global flood never happened? I can discuss many things within the bible to great detail. I reference to the flood, as that is always an interesting discussion. I am truly interested to hear your perspective on it. Here I guess I will kick start it if you don't mind..

First, do you believe the earth is 6,000-10,000 years old, and Second do you believe the great biblical global flood covering the entire earth 40 feet above the highest mountain actually happened as per the bible in 2349 BCE?

EDIT: Or do you wish to discuss something else? I am open for anything. I would love to hear your perspective on those two starter questions though. Smile

R/
GWG

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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21-10-2014, 06:13 AM
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
GWG,

I apologize for the delay. I have some work deliverables that are eating up my time. I look forward to replying to this ASAP.

Tsukho.
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21-10-2014, 03:29 PM
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
(21-10-2014 06:13 AM)Tsukho Wrote:  GWG,

I apologize for the delay. I have some work deliverables that are eating up my time. I look forward to replying to this ASAP.

Tsukho.

No worries, it isn't a race, and it isn't that serious, take your time.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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27-10-2014, 02:53 PM (This post was last modified: 27-10-2014 03:30 PM by Tsukho.)
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
GWG,

Thanks for your patience. October has proved to be a busy month. I hope you are well.

As a side-line question, I've been wondering, are you active personnel in the armed forces? I have a great deal of respect for our armed forces as well as for our local police and sherrif services. I worry about you being in harm's way.

As to our ongoing discussion, you mentioned a couple of issues that peaked my interest. One, the Bible is fabricated and two, that a plethora of evidence refutes a young earth. Can you point me in the direction of your research? I've researched materials online myself, but I'd like to see the sites and resources that impacted your belief.

I do believe in a literal translation of the Bible and I hold to a young earth. Of course, I can't prove it. I wasn't there. I think many Christians are challenged by the theory of evolution and carbon dating. However, it seems to me that the Bible account of creation, in cooperation with a world flood, provides adequate explanation for what we observe in nature.

On another topic, you said you are an ex-Christian. I'm curious about that. I know people who used to participate in a church and who no longer do, but I've never had a discussion with someone who labels himself as an ex-Christian. What does that mean? What is your definition of being a Christian?
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27-10-2014, 06:42 PM (This post was last modified: 28-10-2014 02:12 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
(27-10-2014 02:53 PM)Tsukho Wrote:  GWG,

October has proved to be a busy month. I hope you are well.

As a side-line question, I've been wondering, are you active personnel in the armed forces? I have a great deal of respect for our armed forces as well as for our local police and sherrif services. I worry about you being in harm's way.

As to our ongoing discussion, you mentioned a couple of issues that peaked my interest. One, the Bible is fabricated and two, that a plethora of evidence refutes a young earth. Can you point me in the direction of your research? I've researched materials online myself, but I'd like to see the sites and resources that impacted your belief.

I do believe in a literal translation of the Bible and I hold to a young earth. Of course, I can't prove it. I wasn't there. I think many Christians are challenged by the theory of evolution and carbon dating. However, it seems to me that the Bible account of creation, in cooperation with a world flood, provides adequate explanation for what we observe in nature.

On another topic, you said you are an ex-Christian. I'm curious about that. I know people who used to participate in a church and who no longer do, but I've never had a discussion with someone who labels himself as an ex-Christian. What does that mean? What is your definition of being a Christian?

October has been a busy month for me as well, but I am glad you had the opportunity to reply.

Yes I am active duty navy, a Chief Warrant Officer 4 and have been in over 28 years thus far. I was also a police officer in Florida part time for 4 years while serving in the military.

“As to our ongoing discussion, you mentioned a couple of issues that peaked my interest. One, the Bible is fabricated and two, that a plethora of evidence refutes a young earth. Can you point me in the direction of your research? I've researched materials online myself, but I'd like to see the sites and resources that impacted your belief.”

Wow that is a huge chunk of discussion right there, I will delve into it a bit and we can take it where you wish as the amount of info I could post is overwhelming and would be a long read.

In short, I will borrow some of the work of Bucky Ball (member of TTA who has made some erudite contributions in regards to the OT). I specialize in NT and deconstruction of the great flood myth, more on those later..

Today we know that the Judean priests cooked up/assembled Genesis for political reasons in Babylon as a text for reference for the return, to provide a national story and a legal system for a basis for the return. They did it around 575-550 BCE, in order to promote political unity during a crisis caused by the exilic experience in Babylon, after having written the book of Job, (as an attempted "spiritual" response to the question of suffering). While the "Persian Imperative" is now discounted by scholars, it was probably on the right track in some ways, i.e. the unification of the warring priestly class with the Yahwist land owners into a unified, post exile state. In any case in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah it describes the Return from Babylon, with Ezra carrying two things, ... the letter from Artaxerxes giving him and the King the power to rule in his name, and the Torah of Moses --- the first time in human history what is now the beginnings of "The Bible" (The Scroll of Moses), are ever mentioned.

Using the fact that archaeology has proven that the domestication of camels did not occur in the Ancient Near East until after 1000 BCE, the fact that camels have not been portrayed on pottery, ceramics, buildings and decorations earlier than 1000 BCE, (except on royal buildings), we know they were not a regular, general part of their culture. That and the fact that the Sea Peoples (aka Philistines) did not arrive in the Levant until about 1200 BCE tells us that the dating of any possible Genesis as real history is impossible before that. We know from location citing, that the Patriarchs were not related, and that the priest-authors invented the "family" of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, meaning that the Patriarchs are mythological, as well as unrelated. Camels were used in the Southern trade route to Arabia, where they transported the gum, ointments, tragacanth and labdanum mentioned in Genesis. The trade was at it's height around 700 BCE, making it the approximate likely date for Joseph, in case he ever existed. That being said, he was probably a myth as well.

How do we know that? Because Genesis is a conflation of J-1, the Yahwist-1 source, with J-2, E, and P. The "4 source hypothesis" was originally proposed by the French phsyician Jean Astruc in his monumental work, published in 1753, which forever changed our view of the Bible and the way it was written. His discovery forms the basis of present day scholarship by every mainline Biblical Studies department in the world and is confirmed by most scholars, including Dr. Cuthbert Simpson, who was Sub-Dean and Professor of Old Testament at the General Theological Seminary, in the US, in his chapter of Albright's Interpreter's Bible.

The most important early historical person we know of in the history of Isra-EL is Deborah. She organized the tribes (Judges 5) in combating their neighbors. Judaism should therefore rather be called Debra-ism. She is the Mother of the Nation and actually existed, whereas Abraham did not.

Jean Astruc noticed that the name of God alternated in the Genesis text and he and scholars in the years to follow, were able to figure out what the probable source documents were. They separated the ones that were used by the Judean priests, who combined the J-1 (Yahwist doc) with J-2 and E (Elohim doc) and added their own P (Priestly) material. There is also evidence for further work, which is called "R" for "redactor". This multiple source "hypothesis", has been accepted by scholars for hundreds of years, except for a very small radical fringe of fundamentalists who refuse to accept the facts that are lying right in front of them. The reason Abraham was created as "Father of the Nation", is that he was associated with local geographical sites from the Kingdom of Judah. The Judean priests were trying to centralize and give importance to their own location in Judah by making Abraham hold primacy of importance, thus giving Judah, (and themselves) primacy. This is all proven by the archaeology. There is another theory which proposes that since J is more concerned with women, women's issues and more sensitive to women, that at least one of the major authors of J was a female. Dr. Richard Elliot Friedman does not discount this. In fact, in his book "Who Wrote the Bible?", written in 1987, Dr. Friedman raised the question of whether or not J was a woman. In comparing J with E, he pointed out that the J documents originate from the Judean court, "from a circle in which both men and women had a certain status. The possibility of J being a woman is thus much more likely than with E. More important, the J stories are, on the whole, much more concerned with women and much more sensitive to women than are the E stories."

This became what is known in Biblical scholarship as the Source Hypothesis, or Documentary Hypothesis. There is no longer any dispute in scholarly circles about this hypothesis. Why ? Because it it confirmed by 6, independent sets of supporting evidence.

1. The linguistic dialect in each source is known, and can be documented as separate by decades, or longer.
2. The terminology for the same idea, person, object, or place is different in each source.
3. The content of each of the sources is different.
4. The "flow" of the story works if the source materials are combined.
5. The same known sources are similar or connect to the same known sources in other books.
6. The inferred political motivations for each source matches the material and it's apparent goals.

A lot of the J traditions came from Sumeria, the Enuma Elish and the Gilgamesh Epic. They were used as sources for the Creation myth and the Flood myth.

Break

Now in regards to the great flood (2349 BCE)myth..some items to consider, which gave me great pause as a believer years ago..

Egyptian civilization is probably familiar to most of us. Egypt’s dynastic history started with the uniting of Upper and Lower Egypt by King Menes, around 3100 BCE. The Egyptian period known as the “Old Kingdom” lasted from 2800 to 2175 BCE. During this time many of the pyramids were built. There is no record, written or archaeological, for a monster flood destroying and completely interrupting this countries infrastructure or it’s monuments such as the Sphinx, the Step Pyramid, or the Great Pyramids, which were built before ‘The Flood’. Neither were they wiped out.

China has a reasonably accurate history starting around 3000 BCE. According to texts from a Chinese book called “Shu King” and verified by archaeological records, China was undergoing a prosperous period around 2400 to 2200 BCE during the early Yaou Dynasty. They have no record of a cataclysmic flood interrupting their whole civilization and destroying the infrastructure of the country. Neither were they wiped out.

The Indus valley civilization has a well-known history dating back to perhaps 3100 BCE. By 2500 BCE there were two major cities, Mohendaro (or Mohenjo-Daro) and Harrapa, which rivaled Egypt and Mesopotamia in population and technologies. This great Civilization also encompassed maybe 100 smaller cities, towns, and villages, and didn’t fall until about 1500 BCE. They have no record of a worldwide civilization-destroying flood. Neither were they wiped out.

The Minoan civilization was probably as old as Egypt. Based on the Island of Crete, this civilization grew quickly and was highly advanced by 2500 BCE. By the middle of the second millennium it had an alphabet, used bronze tools, had pottery, textiles, advanced architecture, and had established cities around the Islands. It continued to grow and was a center for trade and culture until about the mid-1400′s BCE when it was suddenly destroyed by the violent eruption of the Thera volcano. There has been no evidence unearthed from this civilization that shows a flood destroying their whole infrastructure, at any time in their existence. Neither were they wiped out.

Trees that were completely submerged in salt water would have died, so when we look at trees that are say 10,000 years old, and not only did they live past the "mythical flood' but they show zero evidence of a flood. Can you find trees with flood evidence ? Sure, that shows there was a local flood, not worldwide, submerged flood that killed all life including vegetation. you are familiar with barometric pressure of course so you understand introducing that much magical water into our system would have wrecked it right? There is not enough water on or in the earth to cover the planet under 40 feet above the highest mountain.

The conventional flood story states that the flood waters came from rain that lasted 40 days and 40 night right? Rain appears when the atmosphere can no longer support water in the vapor phase and it becomes saturated. So normally, the atmosphere is on the brink of saturation, and the variations in temperature and pressure caused by weather fronts are capable of altering the threshold at which precipitation will form quite easily. What about the amount of water vapor suspended in air needed for the 4.5 billion cubic kilometers of water needed for the global flood? The water vapor currently in the air is only around 2-3% on average, with a maximum of 4% limited by temperature and pressure.

The change in atmospheric conditions required to support enough vapor for 112 million cubic kilometers of rain per day - about 120,000 times more than the current daily rainfall worldwide - would have rendered the air unbreathable.

Indeed, the atmosphere really couldn't sustain that much water even under the most extreme temperature and pressure conditions the planet can produce. If the conditions were right for that much water to be in the atmosphere, humans and virtually every other animal would have drowned through the simple act of breathing, as well as turning the earth into the equivalent of a pressure cooker with atmospheric pressure at nearly a thousand psi instead of the standard 14.7 or so that we have today.

How do you explain the relative ages of mountains? For example, why weren't the Sierra Nevadas eroded as much as the Appalachians during the Flood?

Why is there no evidence of a flood in ice core series? Ice cores from Greenland have been dated back more than 40,000 years by counting annual layers. [Johnsen et al, 1992,; Alley et al, 1993] A worldwide flood would be expected to leave a layer of sediments, noticeable changes in salinity and oxygen isotope ratios, fractures from buoyancy and thermal stresses, a hiatus in trapped air bubbles, and probably other evidence. Why doesn't such evidence show up?

How are the polar ice caps even possible? Such a mass of water as the Flood would have provided sufficient buoyancy to float the polar caps off their beds and break them up. They wouldn't regrow quickly. In fact, the Greenland ice cap would not regrow under modern (last 10 ky) climatic conditions. The fact that greenland even exists single handedly refutes the flood.

Why did the Flood not leave traces on the sea floors? A year long flood should be recognizable in sea bottom cores by (1) an uncharacteristic amount of terrestrial detritus, (2) different grain size distributions in the sediment, (3) a shift in oxygen isotope ratios (rain has a different isotopic composition from seawater), (4) a massive extinction, and (n) other characters. Why do none of these show up?

Repopulation issue

The global flood story requires that only eight people were left alive in 2349 BCE. This does not allow enough time for humans to repopulate the earth. In 2000 BCE only 350 years after the flood the population of the world was 27 million. To go from a population of eight to a population of 27 million in 350 years would require a population growth rate of 136.07%. That is 133% more than the fastest growing portions of the world today.

The Bible also places the date of construction on the Tower of Babel roughly 100 years after the great flood. Saying a population could go from 6 people (Noah and his wife don't count, they didn't have any more children) to enough people to build the Tower of Babel as it is described in the Bible is absurd. This tower was so great that it threatened God, so it must have been greater that the pyramid of Khufu which took 30,000 people to build. Even a growth rate of 500%, which is absurd beyond all imagination, would only produce about half the required people to even begin to think about such a construction project.


The Ark,

I won’t, unless you desire, get into the issue of how pandas, and polar bears, and ants, and anteaters, and sloths etc etc all animals from all over the world from different continents somehow swam/flew/crawled across massive oceans to line up for the ark cruise…or what they ate, or where the poop went, or how they breathed from that tiny window, or how the different species survived from various climates and requiring specific foods. I will dabble into some building issues however;

Noah's Ark was a great rectangular box of gopherwood, or perhaps some combination of other woods colloquially referred to as gopherwood. Its dimensions are given as 137 meters long, 23 meters wide, and 14 meters high. This is very, very big; it would have been the longest wooden ship ever built. These dimensions rank it as one of history's greatest engineering achievements; but they also mark the start of our sea trials, our test of whether or not it's possible for this ship to have ever sailed, or indeed, been built at all.

Would it have been possible to find enough material to build Noah's Ark? When another early supership was built, the Great Michael (completed in Scotland in 1511) it was said to have consumed "all the woods of Fife". Fife was a county in Scotland famous for its shipbuilding. The Great Michael's timber had to be purchased and imported not only from other parts of Scotland, but also from France, the Baltic Sea, and from a large number of cargo ships from Norway. Yet at 73 meters, she was only about half the length of Noah's Ark. Clearly a ship twice the length of the Great Michael, and larger in all other dimensions, would have required many times as much timber. It's never been clearly stated exactly where Noah's Ark is said to have been built, but it would have been somewhere in Mesopotamia, probably along either the Tigris or Euphrates rivers. This area is now Iraq, which has never been known for its abundance of shipbuilding timber.

Whether a wooden ship the size of Noah's Ark could be made seaworthy is in grave doubt. At 137 meters (450 feet), Noah's Ark would be the largest wooden vessel ever confirmed to have been built. In recorded history, some dozen or so wooden ships have been constructed over 90 meters; few have been successful. Even so, these wooden ships had a great advantage over Noah's Ark: their curved hull shapes. Stress loads are distributed much more efficiently over three dimensionally curved surfaces than they are over flat surfaces. But even with this advantage, real-world large wooden ships have had severe problems. The sailing ships the 100 meter Wyoming (sunk in 1924) and 99 meter Santiago (sunk in 1918) were so large that they flexed in the water, opening up seams in the hull and leaking. The 102 meter British warships HMS Orlando and HMS Mersey had such bad structural problems that they were scrapped in 1871 and 1875 after only a few years in service. Most of the largest wooden ships were, like Noah's Ark, unpowered barges. Yet even those built in modern times, such as the 103 meter Pretoria in 1901, required substantial amounts of steel reinforcement; and even then needed steam-powered pumps to fight the constant flex-induced leaking.

“I do believe in a literal translation of the Bible and I hold to a young earth.”

Interesting. More on that later.

“Of course, I can't prove it. I wasn't there. I think many Christians are challenged by the theory of evolution and carbon dating.”

Evolutionary "theory"
A reason why many in the general public doubt the theory of evolution is due to lack of education and understanding of scientific methods. The problem comes with the word theory, those unfamiliar with scientific terms think that theory is something, “not quite right”, a speculation, a guess, and very likely wrong.

“According to the Oxford English dictionary, a scientific theory is “a statement of what are held to be the general laws, principles, or causes of something known or observed.” (Coyne 2009) in science, a theory is much more than just a speculation about how things are: it is a well thought out group of propositions meant to explain facts about the real world.”

I believe it is due to lack of understanding of the plethora of empirical and scientific evidence proving evolution that prevents some from accepting it. I am fluent in evolution and we can get really deep into that if you like, vestigial organs, transitional fossils etc, let me know.

Dating methods:
You are aware of how accurate that really is now right? The errancy rate is insignificant when you are talking dating methods, especially in regards to long periods of time, like establishing the age of earth. For example;

Rubidium-strontium dating method
This is based on the beta decay of rubidium-87 to strontium-87, with a half-life of 50 billion years. This scheme is used to date old igneous and metamorphic rocks, and has also been used to date lunar samples. Closure temperatures are so high that they are not a concern. Rubidium-strontium dating is not as precise as the uranium-lead method, with errors of 30 to 50 million years for a 3-billion-year-old sample.

“However, it seems to me that the Bible account of creation, in cooperation with a world flood, provides adequate explanation for what we observe in nature.”

I disagree on many levels. I will answer the rest on another post so as to not over lap the page.

Thumbsup

Works used:

Boadt, Lawrence. Reading the Old testament: An introduction, New York, Paulist press, 1984. Print.

Wells, Steve. The skeptic's annotated bible, New York, SAB Books LLC, 2013. Print.

Coyne, J. (2009) Why evolution is true. London: Penguin Books Ltd.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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27-10-2014, 07:11 PM (This post was last modified: 28-10-2014 02:16 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
RE: GWG invites tsukho to a civil debate
PART 2 OF RESPONSE

“As to our ongoing discussion, you mentioned a couple of issues that peaked my interest. One, the Bible is fabricated”

I could write for days on this, but basically, When one reads written works, a question one must ask is who wrote it, and why, when analyzing its validity. Contrary to popular belief outside of biblical scholar circles, a large amount of the NT is pseudepigrapha, parables, interpolations and allegorical writings.

No one who ever wrote of jesus, actually knew him. When you learn this, and validate this, it throws the whole Christianity belief basis out the window, thus discrediting it. Lets look at this real quick..

The epistles were written after the mythical jesus's death;

1) paul - written about 60 C.E., of the 13, he actually wrote 8. See the bottom where I get into Paul a bit more.
2) James - Epistle of James mentions Jesus only once as an introduction to his belief. Nowhere does the epistle reference a historical Jesus and this alone eliminates it from an historical account.
3) Peter - Many scholars question the authorship of Peter of the epistles. Even within the first epistle, it says in 5:12 that Silvanus wrote it. Most scholars consider the second epistle as unreliable or an outright forgery. The unknown authors of the epistles of Peter wrote long after the life of the traditional Peter. Moreover, Peter lived (if he ever lived at all) as an ignorant and illiterate peasant (even Acts 4:13 attests to this). In short, no one has any way of determining whether the epistles of Peter come from fraud, an author claiming himself to know what Peter said (hearsay), or from someone trying to further the aims of the Church. Encyclopedias usually describe a tradition that Saint Peter wrote them. However, whenever you see the word "tradition" it refers to a belief passed down within a society. In other words: hearsay. This is the definition of Pseudepigrapha; a book written in a biblical style and ascribed to an author who did not write it.
4) Jude - Even early Christians argued about its authenticity. It quotes an apocryphal book called Enoch as if it represented authorized Scripture. Biblical scholars do not think it possible for the alleged disciple Jude to have written it because whoever wrote it had to have written it during a period when the churches had long existed. Like the other alleged disciples, Jude would have lived as an illiterate peasant and unable to write (much less in Greek) but the author of Jude wrote in fluent high quality Greek..more forgery.

Then there are the non-christian sources as follows;

1) Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, lived as the earliest non-Christian who mentions a Jesus. Although many scholars think that Josephus' short accounts of Jesus (in Antiquities) came from interpolations perpetrated by a later Church father (most likely, Eusebius), Josephus' birth in 37 C.E. (well after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus), puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Moreover, he wrote Antiquities in 93 C.E., after the first gospels got written. Therefore, even if his accounts about Jesus came from his hand, his information could only serve as hearsay.
- Flavius Josephus, (37–100 CE) a prolific and comprehensive Jewish historian, who would frequently write a few pages on the execution of common Jewish thieves, has not one authentic line that mentions Yeshua. “He” does mention “Christ” on two occasions, yet both have been convincingly exposed as interpolations.
2) Pliny the Younger (born: 62 C.E.) His letter about the Christians only shows that he got his information from Christian believers themselves. Regardless, his birth date puts him out of range as an eyewitness account.
3) Tacitus, the Roman historian's birth year at 64 C.E., puts him well after the alleged life of Jesus. He gives a brief mention of a "Christus" in his Annals (Book XV, Sec. 44), which he wrote around 109 C.E. He gives no source for his material. Although many have disputed the authenticity of Tacitus' mention of Jesus, the very fact that his birth happened after the alleged Jesus and wrote the Annals during the formation of Christianity, shows that his writing can only provide us with hearsay accounts.
4) Suetonius, a Roman historian, born in 69 C.E., mentions a "Chrestus," a common name. Apologists assume that "Chrestus" means "Christ" (a disputable claim). But even if Seutonius had meant "Christ," it still says nothing about an earthly Jesus. Just like all the others, Suetonius' birth occurred well after the purported Jesus. Again, only hearsay.
5) Talmud: Amazingly some Christians use brief portions of the Talmud, (a collection of Jewish civil a religious law, including commentaries on the Torah), as evidence for Jesus. They claim that Yeshu in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Yeshu, according to scholars depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus or it may refer to Yeshu ben Pandera, a teacher of the 2nd centuy CE. Regardless of how one interprets this, the Palestinian Talmud didn't come into existence until the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion. At best it can only serve as a controversial Christian or Jewish legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.
6) Thallus/africanus, In the ninth century a Byzantine writer named George Syncellus quoted a third-century Christian historian named Sextus Julius Africanus, who quoted an unknown writer named Thallus on the darkness at the crucifixion: 'Thallus in the third book of his history calls this darkness an eclipse of the sun, but in my opinion he is wrong.' All of the works of Africanus are lost, so there is no way to confirm the quote or to examine its context. We have no idea who Thallus was, or when he wrote. Third century would have put him being born long after jesus's alleged death, thus hearsay.
7) Phlegon of Tralles was a Greek writer and freedman of the emperor Hadrian, who lived in the 2nd century AD. case closed, more hearsay, born after the alleged jesus's death.

Christian apologists mostly use the above sources for their "evidence" of Jesus because they believe they represent the best outside sources. All other sources (Christian and non-Christian) come from even less reliable sources, some of which include: Mara Bar-Serapion (circa 73 C.E.), Ignatius (50 - 98? C.E.), Polycarp (69 - 155 C.E.), Clement of Rome (? - circa 160 C.E.), Justin Martyr (100 - 165 C.E.), Lucian (circa 125 - 180 C.E.), Tertullian (160 - ? C.E.), Clement of Alexandria (? - 215 C.E.), Origen (185 - 232 C.E.), Hippolytus (? - 236 C.E.), and Cyprian (? - 254 C.E.). As you can see, all these people lived well after the alleged death of Jesus. Not one of them provides an eyewitness account, all of them simply spout hearsay.

So when we consider that during times of miraculous events, no one AT THE TIME thought they were significant enough to even write down, it kind of of makes a thinking person contemplate the validity of a story told and written down based on myth and hearsay 60-150 years later..For example;

Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Luke 23:44-48 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

Unfortunately, there is not one shred of evidence that this happened...zero, all of the royal scribes, historians, philosophers, and literate people who wrote down and recorded EVERYTHING of any significance, failed to note the whole earth going dark mid-day for three hours...an eclipse lasts about 7.5 mins max, so it wasn’t that....nothing, .....zero. Never happened.

Another example:

Matthew 27:51-53
King James Version (KJV)
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Again…no one thought a zombie invasion was worthy of writing down…seems rather odd.

When you research authorship of each book of the bible, you find out they were not written by whom you think, which makes them suspect for any level of validity. Let’s look at the gospels a bit more…

Writings of the Gospels: Mark (60 to 75 CE), Matthew (80 to 90 CE), Luke (80 to 90 CE based on the Gospels of Mark), and John (80 to 110 CE) (Albl 283). I have shown before in various venues the issues with the Gospels, the fact that we don’t know who wrote the gospels, the community effort that put them together, and the fact that they don’t agree with one another, all of which make them a suspect source of empirical evidence. When one posits a super natural, extraordinary story, one requires extraordinary evidence....sadly it doesn't exist, except philosophically.

The Gospel of Matthew is generally believed to have been composed between 70 and 110, with most scholars preferring the period 80–90; a pre-70 date remains a minority view, but has been strongly supported. The anonymous author was probably a highly educated Jew, intimately familiar with the technical aspects of Jewish law, and the disciple Matthew was probably honored within his circle. The author drew on three main sources to compose his gospel: the Gospel of Mark; the hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source; and material unique to his own community, called "Special Matthew", or the M source. Note the part where I said...disciple matthew honored...and anonymous writer.

I find it interesting that the writer of matthew refers to "matthew" in the third person. Matthew claims jesus was born in "the days of herod the king." Yet Herod died in 4 BCE. Luke reports that jesus was born "when Cyrenius (Quirinius) was governor of Syria." Cyrenius became governor of Syria in 6 CE...that is a discrepancy of 9 years. Luke says Jesus was born during a roman census, and it is true there was a census in 6 CE. This would have been when jesus was 9 years old according to matthew. There is no evidence of an earlier census during the reign of Augustine. Which is true?

Matthew also reports that Herod slaughtered all first born in the land in order to execute jesus. No historian, contemporary or later, ever mentions this alleged genocide, an event that should have caught someones attention....like the many miraculous stories of jesus, no one at the time thought they were cool enough to record...odd don't you think?

The gospel of Mark; Most modern scholars reject the tradition which ascribes it to Mark the Evangelist, the companion of Peter, and regard it as the work of an unknown author working with various sources including collections of miracle stories, controversy stories, parables, and a passion narrative. Mark is the oldest of the synoptic gospels, of which the authors of matthew, and luke based their stories. All scholars agree that the last 12 verses of Mark, are highly dubious and are considered interpolations. The earliest ancient documents of mark end right after the women find the empty tomb. This means that in the first biography, on which the others based their reports, there is no post-resurrection appearance or ascension of jesus.

Luke: Tradition holds that the text was written by Luke the companion of Paul (named in Colossians 4:14). Many modern scholars reject this view, although the list of scholars maintaining authorship by Luke the physician is lengthy, and represents scholars from a wide range of theological opinion. According to Raymond E. Brown, opinion concerning Lukan authorship was ‘about evenly divided’ as of 1997.

John: The gospel identifies its author as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Although the text does not name this disciple, by the beginning of the 2nd century, a tradition had begun to form which identified him with John the Apostle, one of the Twelve (Jesus' innermost circle). Although some notable New Testament scholars affirm traditional Johannine scholarship, the majority do not believe that John or one of the Apostles wrote it, and trace it instead to a "Johannine community" which traced its traditions to John.

paul - written about 60 C.E., of the 13, he actually wrote 8. Not a single instance in any of Paul's writings claims that he ever meets or sees an earthly Jesus, nor does Paul give any reference to Jesus' life on earth (except for a few well known interpolations - Bible interpolation, or Bible redaction, is the art of adding stuff to the Bible). Therefore, all accounts about a Jesus could only have come from other believers or his imagination. Hearsay.

There’s no indication from Scripture that Paul and Jesus ever met before the Damascus Road incident. And Acts 9:4-7 doesn’t specify whether the Lord’s encounter with Paul was physical or not. It only says Paul saw a bright light and heard a voice. (hallucination/lie)The men with him heard a loud sound but didn’t see anything. In subsequent re-tellings of the encounter Paul never indicated that He had actually seen Jesus at that time.

Various works cited or used:

Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2009. Print.

The Catholic Study Bible: The New American Bible 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University press, Inc., 2011. Print.

Moule, C. F. D., The birth of the New Testament. New York: Harper & Row, 1962. Print

Lieu, Samuel N. C., and Montserrat, Dominic, Constantine: History, Historiography, and Legend. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.

O'Collins, Gerald, Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

Carrier, Richard, On the historicity of jesus: why we might have reason for doubt. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Phoenix press, 2014. Print.

Sorry about long response, you asked some HUGE questions…

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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