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29-10-2014, 08:08 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2015 04:58 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
William Paley's watchmaker argument (design implies a designer). Also bleeds into the complexity theory. Think of a tornado, does a mystical super being push a theoretical button and create a tornado? I would like to think not, the complexity can emerge as a natural result of a system and not as designed or orchestrated by an entity.

- David Hume argued that for the design argument to be feasible, it must be true that order and purpose are observed only when they result from design. But order is observed regularly, resulting from presumably mindless processes like snowflake or crystal generation. Design accounts for only a tiny part of our experience with order and "purpose". Furthermore, the design argument is based on an incomplete analogy: because of our experience with objects, we can recognize human-designed ones, comparing for example a pile of stones and a brick wall. But to point to a designed Universe, we would need to have an experience of a range of different universes.

As we only experience one, the analogy cannot be applied. We must ask therefore if it is right to compare the world to a machine—as in Paley's watchmaker argument—when perhaps it would be better described as a giant inert animal. Even if the design argument is completely successful, it could not (in and of itself) establish a robust theism; one could easily reach the conclusion that the universe's configuration is the result of some morally ambiguous, possibly unintelligent agent or agents whose method bears only a remote similarity to human design. In this way it could be asked if the designer was God, or further still, who designed the designer? Hume also reasoned that if a well-ordered natural world requires a special designer, then God's mind (being so well ordered) also requires a special designer. And then this designer would likewise need a designer, and so on ad infinitum. We could respond by resting content with an inexplicably self-ordered divine mind but then why not rest content with an inexplicably self-ordered natural world?

- Richard Dawkins argues that the watch analogy conflates the difference between the complexity that arises from living organisms that are able to reproduce themselves (and as such may change to become more complex over time) and the complexity of inanimate objects, unable to pass on any reproductive changes (such as the multitude of parts manufactured in a watch). The comparison breaks down because of this important distinction.

Dawkins described Paley's argument as being "as mistaken as it is elegant". In both contexts he saw Paley as having made an incorrect proposal as to a certain problem's solution, but did not disrespect him for this. In his essay The big bang, Steven Pinker discussed Dawkins' coverage of Paley's argument, adding: "Biologists today do not disagree with Paley's laying out of the problem. They disagree only with his solution."

In his book, The God Delusion, Dawkins argues that life was the result of complex biological processes. Dawkins makes the argument that the comparison to the lucky construction of a watch is fallacious because proponents of evolution do not consider evolution "lucky"; rather than luck, the evolution of human life is the result of billions of years of natural selection. He therefore concludes that evolution is a fair contestant to replace God in the role of watchmaker.

- this argument suffers from a number of critical flaws, the biggest flaw being a failure to understand why no amount of empirical evidence will support Paley’s Watchmaker Analogy. This stems from a failure to understand how analogies work: analogies are not arguments. Analogies illustrate arguments, and insofar as one only makes an analogy (but fails to sketch out the meat of the argument), then one is failing to make an argument.

But I’m willing to be a little flexible on this point: insofar as a good argument is one that is clear and unambiguous, and insofar as an analogy is less clear than a list of premises followed by a conclusion, then an analogy is a bad argument. Sure, good rhetoric has implicit/hidden premises, but good arguments don’t.

The Watchmaker Analogy will never demonstrate that design is true, or that belief in design is justified, no matter the evidence. Allow me to provide an analogy to illustrate my point. Imagine, if you will, that we have a painting by a particular artist. The artist has admitted to creating the painting, and people witnessed the creation. The artist has a distinctive style and technique, prefers to use certain unique materials (which are generally not used by other artists). In short, there are a set of characteristics that are associated with this particular artist.

Now suppose that we find a second piece of art. The artist is silent as to whether or not they created this new piece. We start to investigate all the materials and techniques that went into creating this picture, and every characteristic we identify in the second picture, matches a characteristic in the ‘set of characteristics’ mentioned above. Are we justified in concluding that the same artist also created this picture? If not, if we keep accumulating more and more ‘characteristics’, will our conclusion eventually be justified?

Absolutely not.

Because I’m not a theologian, I’ll attempt to make the argument clear:

1) There exists a painting (P1) known to have been painted by an Artist (A1)

2) The construction of P1 consisted of certain steps (S1) known to be associated with A1.

3) If a painting (P2) is constructed according to S1, then P2 was created by A1.

4) P2 was constructed according to S1.

5) P2 was created by A1.

The flaw in this argument lies in Premise 3. Premise 3 fails to account for any alternative hypotheses, such as the existence of another artist (A2, A3, … An) who also utilises S1. Changing Premise 3 to the more weak “If a painting (P2) is constructed according to S1, then P2 was probably created by A1” doesn’t resolve this issue. Once we arrive at the conclusion that it’s possible the painting was created by either A1 or A2, we now need to compare A1 and A2 (themselves) to see how likely it is that they created the painting.

Paley’s argument is that a designer (A1) is known to have created a watch (P1), and the marks of design (S1) can be found in the watch. By analogy, Paley claims that life (P2) also exhibits these marks (S1), ergo a designer (A1) is responsible for the creation of life. This argument fails because it fails to take into account an alternative explanation, namely that the processes of Evolution (A2) also exhibit S1.

You can make S1 consist of 10 points of similarity, 1000 points, or 1,000,000 points of similarity: so long as those other points are likewise explained by evolution, one is not justified in simply declaring “alright so, they were designed”. Merely shoveling in more data into S1 is irrelevant.

At this point, anyone acting in accordance with intellectual integrity will move their investigation up a notch, to discuss whether or not A1 (god) or A2 (evolution) exists. As there are only self-contradictory definitions of god, and as there is no evidence for god, and as there are no non-question-begging arguments for god, one cannot assert that god (A1) is a viable explanatory mechanism.

As the arguments for god collapses, the argument for theistic design collapses. The argument is fatally flawed not because of a lack of empirical data, but due to the insufficiency of the arguments for god.

"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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29-10-2014, 08:10 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2015 04:59 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
Disliked atheists
Why do Americans still dislike atheists?

"Long after blacks and Jews have made great strides, and even as homosexuals gain respect, acceptance and new rights, there is still a group that lots of Americans just don’t like much: atheists. Those who don’t believe in God are widely considered to be immoral, wicked and angry. They can’t join the Boy Scouts. Atheist soldiers are rated potentially deficient when they do not score as sufficiently “spiritual” in military psychological evaluations. Surveys find that most Americans refuse or are reluctant to marry or vote for nontheists; in other words, nonbelievers are one minority still commonly denied in practical terms the right to assume office despite the constitutional ban on religious tests.

Rarely denounced by the mainstream, this stunning anti-atheist discrimination is egged on by Christian conservatives who stridently — and uncivilly — declare that the lack of godly faith is detrimental to society, rendering nonbelievers intrinsically suspect and second-class citizens.

Is this knee-jerk dislike of atheists warranted? Not even close.

A growing body of social science research reveals that atheists, and non-religious people in general, are far from the unsavory beings many assume them to be. On basic questions of morality and human decency — issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, environmental degradation or human rights — the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious.

Consider that at the societal level, murder rates are far lower in secularized nations such as Japan or Sweden than they are in the much more religious United States, which also has a much greater portion of its population in prison. Even within this country, those states with the highest levels of church attendance, such as Louisiana and Mississippi, have significantly higher murder rates than far less religious states such as Vermont and Oregon.

As individuals, atheists tend to score high on measures of intelligence, especially verbal ability and scientific literacy. They tend to raise their children to solve problems rationally, to make up their own minds when it comes to existential questions and to obey the golden rule. They are more likely to practice safe sex than the strongly religious are, and are less likely to be nationalistic or ethnocentric. They value freedom of thought.

Denmark and Norway for example, which is among the least religious countries in the history of the world, consistently rates as the happiest of nations. And studies of apostates — people who were religious but later rejected their religion — report feeling happier, better and liberated in their post-religious lives.

On numerous respected measures of societal success — rates of poverty, teenage pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, drug use and crime, as well as economics — high levels of secularity are consistently correlated with positive outcomes in first-world nations. None of the secular advanced democracies suffers from the combined social ills seen here in Christian America.

More than 2,000 years ago, whoever wrote Psalm 14 claimed that atheists were foolish and corrupt, incapable of doing any good. These put-downs have had sticking power. Negative stereotypes of atheists are alive and well. Yet like all stereotypes, they aren’t true — and perhaps they tell us more about those who harbor them than those who are maligned by them. So when the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich engage in the politics of division and destruction by maligning atheists, they do so in disregard of reality.

As with other national minority groups, atheism is enjoying rapid growth. Despite the bigotry, the number of American nontheists has tripled as a proportion of the general population since the 1960s. Younger generations’ tolerance for the endless disputes of religion is waning fast. Surveys designed to overcome the understandable reluctance to admit atheism have found that as many as 60 million Americans — a fifth of the population — are not believers. Our nonreligious compatriots should be accorded the same respect as other minorities."

"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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29-10-2014, 08:11 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2015 05:00 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
No records of jesus
Why there are no records of Jesus Christ

It is not possible to find in any legitimate religious or historical writings compiled between the beginning of the first century and well into the fourth century any reference to Jesus Christ and the spectacular events that the Church says accompanied his life.

This confirmation comes from Frederic Farrar (1831-1903) of Trinity College, Cambridge:
"It is amazing that history has not embalmed for us even one certain or definite saying or circumstance in the life of the Saviour of mankind ... there is no statement in all history that says anyone saw Jesus or talked with him. Nothing in history is more astonishing than the silence of contemporary writers about events relayed in the four Gospels."
(The Life of Christ, Frederic W. Farrar, Cassell, London, 1874)

This situation arises from a conflict between history and New Testament narratives. Dr Tischendorf made this comment:

"We must frankly admit that we have no source of information with respect to the life of Jesus Christ other than ecclesiastic writings assembled during the fourth century."

(Codex Sinaiticus, Dr Constantin von Tischendorf, British Library, London)

There is an explanation for those hundreds of years of silence:

The construct of Christianity did not begin until after the first quarter of the fourth century, and that is why Pope Leo X (d. 1521) called Christ a "fable."

"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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29-10-2014, 08:12 PM (This post was last modified: 10-05-2015 07:12 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
biblical flat world
The phrase of Isaiah 40:22, "the circle of the earth" is very controversial. There are a couple main views of this phrase. The first interpretation says that the word "circle" means "sphere" indicating that the earth is a sphere. This view seems most unlikely since we have all ready seen that the Hebrew word gh means "circle," and it seems very remote that it means "sphere" because of the context, and there is a better Hebrew word for "sphere," rwd. In Isaiah 22:18 the word rwd is translated "ball." If the LXX translators understood gh as "sphere," they would have used the Greek word sfairoeides. Plugging the meaning of "sphere" into every passage that gh occurs will result in awkward interpretations.

The second interpretation is that the earth is a round flat disk. Although the ancient world thought the earth was round and flat, this phrase seems to refer to the shape the vaulted heavens above the earth from which the inhabitants look like grasshoppers.

this same fictional book further purports the world is flat,

Revelation 7:1
1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

corners? no no, sry it is a round sphere....ah, guess the lord and creator wasnt aware of that.

Matthew 4:8
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (KJV)

Astronomical bodies are spherical, and you cannot see the entire exterior surface from any place. The kingdoms of Egypt, China, Greece, Crete, sections of Asia Minor, India, Maya (in Mexico), Carthage (North Africa), Rome (Italy), Korea, and other settlements from these kingdoms of the world were widely distributed.

Job 11:9
The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.

Job 28:24
For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;

Job 37:3
He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.

Job 38:4-6
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

Job 38:13
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?

Jeremiah 16:19
O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

Daniel 4:11
The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth

"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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29-10-2014, 08:14 PM (This post was last modified: 10-10-2015 05:23 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
How long is a day in the bible?
Those who argue that the word "day" means "long age," point out that the Hebrew word, yom, can have a number of meanings, only one of which is "day of 24 hours." They further seek to strengthen their position with the use of Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8, comparing a day to a thousand years. Both of these verses, however, are simply using figures of speech (similes) to show that God is not constrained by the same time parameters as are humans. These verses are really irrelevant to the discussion of the meaning of "day," in Genesis 1.

It is recognized, of course, that the word "day" can be used with a number of variations. It can have any of five meanings:

1) a period of light
2) a period of 24 hours
3) a general, vague time
4) a point of time
5) a year

The context determines which of these is intended by the writer. The English language also can have up to 14 definitions for the word "day." The reader should be reminded that the purpose of language is to communicate. Moses wrote in a language that was meant to communicate to his readers. Words must be defined by their relationship to one another. Word meaning must be determined from within its context. It will be shown how the context defines the word in Genesis 1.

The use of a number with the word "day" is very illuminating. This combination occurs 357 times outside of Genesis 1. The combination is used in four different ways, but each time it is used, it must mean 24-hour periods of time. If the combinations had been intended to mean long periods of time, both the texts and contexts then become meaningless. A typical verse is Genesis 30:36: "And he (Laban) set three days journey betwixt himself and Jacob." God frequently issued commands that the people were to do or not to do certain things on a given day. This use occurs 162 times. A good example is Exodus 24:16: "And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days, and on the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud." These are the most typical uses of the word "day" with a number. Four times the terms are used to show a starting point. Ezra 3:6 says, "From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord." A number may also be used with "day" to convey an ending point. An example is Leviticus 19:6: "It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire." It would appear, then, that whenever the Old Testament uses a number with the word "day," it means a 24-hour period of time without any demonstrable exception.

If the meaning of the word "day" with a number always means a 24-hour period of time outside of Genesis 1, then it should also mean a 24-hour period of time inside Genesis 1. The words that Moses used to communicate what God did during creation are very significant. If Moses had meant to signify that the "days" were more than 24 hours in length, he could easily have done so. If we are to understand what Moses wrote, then the language he used must be understood in its normal meaning. The normal meaning is that of 24-hour periods of 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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29-10-2014, 08:28 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2015 05:06 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
The Great Global Flood myth
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 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.

"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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29-10-2014, 08:32 PM (This post was last modified: 07-10-2015 08:04 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
No one who ever wrote of jesus, actually knew him
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, (37–100 CE) 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.

Josephus, 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, 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 eclipse lasts about 7.5 mins max, so it wasn’t that....nothing, 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.

Matthew: 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. 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 the many miraculous stories of jesus, no one at the time thought they were cool enough to record...odd don't you think?

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). However, many modern scholars reject this view. The most probable date for Luke-Acts is around 80-100 CE, the anonymous author using as his sources the Gospel of Mark, a sayings collection called Q, and some unique Lukan material called the L source.

The author is not named in either volume. According to a Church tradition dating from the 2nd century, he was the Luke named as a companion of Paul in three of the letters attributed to Paul himself; this view is still sometimes advanced, but "a critical consensus emphasizes the countless contradictions between the account in Acts and the authentic Pauline letters." (An example can be seen by comparing Acts' accounts of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1-31, 22:6-21, and 26:9-23) with Paul's own statement that he remained unknown to Christians in Judea after that event (Galatians 1:17-24).)

He admired Paul, but his theology was significantly different from Paul's on key points and he does not (in Acts) represent Paul's views accurately. In summary, the Gospel of Luke was written by an anonymous author. The Gospel wasn't written and does not claim to be written by direct witnesses to the reported events.

He was educated, a man of means, probably urban, and someone who respected manual work, although not a worker himself; this is significant, because more high-brow writers of the time looked down on the artisans and small business-people who made up the early church of Paul and were presumably Luke's audience.

Most experts date the composition of Luke-Acts to around 80-90 CE, although some suggest 90-110. The eclipse of the traditional attribution to Luke the companion of Paul has meant that an early date for the gospel is now rarely put forward. There is evidence, both textual (the conflicts between Western and Alexandrian manuscript families) and from the Marcionite controversy (Marcion was a 2nd-century heretic who produced his own version of Christian scripture based on Luke's gospel and Paul's epistles) that Luke-Acts was still being substantially revised well into the 2nd century.

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 7: (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon). 2 of them (Ephesians, Colossians) scholars are divided on their authenticity, and of course 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus are pseudepigrapha. 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.

"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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29-10-2014, 08:33 PM (This post was last modified: 03-05-2015 05:08 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
The Book of Daniel is often paired with the Book of Revelation as providing the road map of future end-time events. Many alleged prophecies in Daniel were fulfilled, but is that because Daniel was a divinely inspired seer? Critical scholars see a more mundane explanation. Daniel might actually be a Jew from the Hellenistic period, not a person from the Babylonian court. His so-called prophecies were made ex eventu, or after the fact, so that he could pass himself off as a genuine seer. The book itself betrays more than one author. Chapters 1–6 were written in Aramaic, while chapters 7–12 are in Hebrew. Daniel makes many historical errors when talking about the Babylonian period, the time in which he supposedly lived. For example, he claims that Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar, but the Nabonidus Cylinder found in Ur names Nabonidus as Belshazzar’s actual father.

Also, Belshazzar was a crown prince but never a king, contrary to Daniel’s claim. In Daniel 5:30, Daniel writes that a certain Darius the Mede conquered Babylon. It was actually Cyrus the Great, a Persian and not a Mede, who overthrew Babylon. On the other hand, Daniel writes about events of the Hellenistic era with extreme accuracy. Chapter 11, presented as prophecy, is on the mark in every detail. This leads to the conclusion that Daniel was witness to these events but not to those of the Babylonian period, on which he is vague and unfamiliar.

Scholars thus place the writings of Daniel at around 167–164 B.C., during the persecution of the Jews by Syrian tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes. The book was meant as inspirational fiction to encourage the Jews in their time of trial. Daniel did take a shot at making a real prophecy, predicting the death of Antiochus in the Holy Land. This genuine prophecy turned out to be wrong. Antiochus actually died in Persia in 164 B.C.

Traditionally ascribed to Daniel himself, modern scholarly consensus considers the book pseudonymous, the stories of the first half legendary in origin, and the visions of the second the product of anonymous authors in the Maccabean period (2nd century BCE). Its exclusion from the Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve) was probably because it appeared after the canon for those books had closed, and the dominant view among scholars is that Daniel is not in any case a prophetic book but an apocalypse.

Daniel is one of a large number of Jewish apocalypses, all of them pseudonymous. Although the entire book is traditionally ascribed to Daniel the seer, chapters 1–6 are in the voice of an anonymous narrator, except for chapter 4 which is in the form of a letter from king Nebuchadnezzar; only the second half (chapters 7–12) is presented by Daniel himself, introduced by the anonymous narrator in chapters 7 and 10. The real author/editor of Daniel was probably an educated Jew, knowledgeable in Greek learning, and of high standing in his own community. It is possible that the name of Daniel was chosen for the hero of the book because of his reputation as a wise seer in Hebrew tradition.

Daniel's exclusion from the Hebrew bible's canon of the prophets, which was closed around 200 BCE, suggests it was not known at that time, and the Wisdom of Sirach, from around 180 BCE, draws on almost every book of the Old Testament except Daniel, leading scholars to suppose that its author was unaware of it. Daniel is, however, quoted by the author of a section of the Sibylline Oracles commonly dated to the middle of the 2nd century BCE, and was popular at Qumran beginning at much the same time, suggesting that it was known and revered from the middle of that century.

The actual historical setting of the book is clear from chapter 11, where the prophecy is accurate down to the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, king of Syria and oppressor of the Jews, but not in its prediction of his death: the author knows about Antiochus' two campaigns in Egypt (169 and 167 BCE), the desecration of the Temple (the "abomination of desolation"), and the fortification of the Akra (a fortress built inside Jerusalem), but he knows nothing about the reconstruction of the Temple or the actual circumstances of the death of Antiochus in late 164. Chapters 10–12 must therefore have been written between 167 and 164 BCE. There is no evidence of a significant time lapse between those chapters and chapters 8 and 9, and chapter 7 may have been written just a few months earlier again. (Wiki)

Now the good stuff:

Today the consensus of scholars understands the whole book of Daniel to be put together by an author editor who first collected traditional stories in chapters 1-6 about the boy hero Daniel showing his courage during the persecutions of exile, and added to them the visions of chapters 7 – 12 that predicted the coming end of Antiochus Epiphanes and his persecution. This kind of writing is called a Vaticinium ex eventu, a “prediction after the fact,” in which an author creates a character of long ago and puts into his mouth as predictions all the important events that have already happened right to the author’s own time and place. The language is often coded with symbolic animals and colors and dates to protect its message from the persecuting authorities. Its focus is not on predicting the future, but getting some meaning to present happenings by explaining the past events that led up to this terrible situation (Boadt 1984, p509).

To achieve such an important purpose, the authors mixed historical facts with older religious traditions and even pagan myths (Boadt 1984, p509).

It is important to note that the entire book claims to take place in the sixth century BC and to report a series of visions that come to the boy Daniel, who is remarkable for his great wisdom and his ability to receive divine revelation about the future. Very few scholars today, however, believe that this book originated in any way during the days of the Babylonian exile. And the ones who do usually have a very difficult time explaining the references to historical people and places which seem to be grossly wrong.

Darius the Mede is called the son of Xerxes in 5:31 and 9:11, both are wrong:

Darius was not a Mede but a Persian and the father of Xerxes. Belshazzar is called the king of Babylon in chapter 7 and the son of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 5. He was neither: he was only crown prince under his father Nabonidus.

In chapter 6 Cyrus succeeds Darius as King of the Persians. This too has history backward, since Cyrus was the founder of the Persian dynasty. The author seems to be quite confused about his facts and either lived long afterward or else intended the giant bloopers to warn the audience that what follows is not intended as history but a story of faith; similar to the approach of the book of Judith (Boadt 1984, p508).

Although the book of Daniel was supposed to have been written during the Babylonian exile by an official of King Nebuchadnezzar, modern scholars date its writings to the second century BCE. The reasons for this include:

• It is listed in the writings of the Jewish canon, rather than the Prophets. This indicates that Daniel was written after the collection of prophetic books had been closed (sometime after 300 B.C.E.)
• Parts of the book (2.4 – 7.28) were written in Aramaic, which suggest a later date when Aramaic had become the common language.
• The author of Daniel used Persian and Greek words that would not have been known to residents Babylon in the sixth century BCE.
• The book contains numerous historical inaccuracies when dealing with sixth century B.C.E. Babylonian history. Such mistakes would not have been made by an important official of King Nebuchadnezzar.
• Daniel is the only book in the Old Testament in which angels are given names (such as Gabriel in 8.16 and 9.21 and Michael and 10.13, 10.21, and 12.1). Elsewhere in the Bible, names for angels only appear in the Apocrypha and the New Testament.
• The absence of Daniel’s name in the list of Israel’s great men in Ecclesiasticus.
• Nebuchadrezzar is spelled Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel, which is the way the king’s name was spelled, under Greek influence, at a later time.
• In 2.2 the Kings wise men are called “Chaldeans.” But at the time of Nebuchadrezzar, “Chaldean” would have referred to the nationality. It was only centuries later that this word came to mean sorcerer or astrologer. (Wells 2013, p 1109)

Do you see how these books were put together not by whom you think, not when you think and how they are allegorical writings based on parables, meant to drive a message and purposely designed in a hubris attempt to give them credibility? This was the driving force for me losing my faith, an intelligent person can't ignore facts, and the facts have been laid out. The more I learned, the more I thought, the less I believed. Your thoughts?

Works cited:

Boadt, L. (1984) Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. New York. Paulist Press.

Wells, S. (2013) The skeptics annotated Bible. New York. SAB Books, LLC

"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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30-10-2014, 08:05 AM (This post was last modified: 25-10-2015 01:26 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
The odd silence about jesus
Philo of Alexandria (25BCE to 50 CE)

The early years of the Roman Republic is one of the most historically documented times in history. One of the writers alive during the time of Jesus was Philo-Judaeus (sometimes known as Philo of Alexandria).

Philo was a prolific Jewish author who wrote in Alexandria, Egypt, at the very time Christianity was taking root there. He wrote a lot on Jewish sects and Jerusalem, as well as Judean interests. Philo made pilgrimages to Jerusalem and knew about Palestinian affairs and wrote about the Herods and Pontius Pilate in his book, On the Embassy to Gaius. Philo also traveled to Judea and Rome wrote down what he observed and witnessed (Carrier, 2014, p.294).

"Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He was there when the crucifixion happened with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness and resurrection of the dead took place – when Christ himself rose from the dead and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These amazing marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had they really occurred, were all unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not" (Remsburg, 1909).

Philo was about 65yo when he led an embassy from the Jews to the court of Emperor Gaius Caligula in 40 CE. As such, Philo was alive when "Jesus of Nazareth" allegedly entered the world with a chorus of angels, performed miracles like Benny Hinn on a world tour and then was nailed to a piece of wood.

Philo also happened to be in the right place to testify and record information about the "Messiah". A Jewish aristocrat and leader of the large Jewish community of Alexandria, Philo spent a lot of time in Jerusalem where he had intimate connections with the royal house of Judaea. Alexander the "alabarch" (chief tax official), his brother, was one of the richest men in the east, and was in charge of collecting levies on imports into Roman Egypt. Alexander's great wealth financed the silver and gold sheathing which adorned the doors of the Temple (Josephus, War 5.205). Alexander also loaned a fortune to Herod Agrippa I (Josephus, Antiquities, 18).

Marcus, one of Alexander's sons, and Philo's nephews, was married to Berenice, daughter of Herod Agrippa, tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, 39-40. After the exile of Herod Antipas – villain of the famous Jesus saga – ruled as King of the Jews, 41-44 CE. Julius Alexander Tiberius, another nephew was the "apostate", Prefect of Egypt and also Procurator of Judaea itself (46-48 CE).

Philo wrote extensive apologetics on the Jewish religion and commentaries on contemporary politics. Just like Josephus did a half century later. About thirty manuscripts and at least 850,000 words are extant. He was a devotee to the OT, as was evident by his constant mention of the scriptures within.

Yet Philo says not a word about Jesus, Christianity nor any of the events described in the New Testament. In all this work, Philo makes not a single reference to his alleged contemporary "Jesus Christ", the godman who supposedly was perambulating up and down the Levant, exorcising demons, raising the dead and causing earthquake and darkness at his death.

With Philo's close connection to the house of Herod, one might reasonably expect that the miraculous escape from a royal prison of a gang of apostles (Acts 5.18,40), or the second, angel-assisted, flight of Peter, even though chained between soldiers and guarded by four squads of troops (Acts 12.2,7) might have occasioned the odd footnote. But not a murmur. Nothing of Agrippa "vexing certain of the church" or killing "James brother of John" with the sword (Acts 12.1,2).

Odd that someone who cherished and devoted so much of his life to the concept of the Abrahamic god, and the OT, mentioned not a single word about Jesus....yeah....Philo of Alexandria.

Justus of Tiberius
There was also a historian named Justus of Tiberius who was a native of Galilee, the homeland of Jesus. He wrote a history covering the time when Christ supposedly lived. This history is now lost, but a ninth century Christian scholar named Photius had read it and wrote: “he [Justus] makes not the least mention of the appearance of Christ, of what things happened to him, or other wonderful works that he did” (Barker, D., 2008, p.254)


Barker, D. (2008). Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists. Berkeley, CA. Ulysses Press. Print.

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

Josephus, F. (2012). The Antiquities of the Jews: Complete and Unabridged. Renaissance Classics. Print.

Josephus, F. (1970). The Jewish War: Revised Addition. London. Penguin Books. Print.

Remsburg, J. E. (1909). The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence. New York. Prometheus Books. Print.

"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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03-11-2014, 12:07 PM (This post was last modified: 10-05-2015 07:14 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
Easter "resurrection" myth challenge
Tell me exactly what happened on the day that their most important doctrine was born.

Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. Paul wrote, "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not." (I Corinthians 15:14-15)

The conditions of the question are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul's tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened. Since the gospels do not always give precise times of day, it is permissible to make educated guesses. The narrative does not have to pretend to present a perfect picture--it only needs to give at least one plausible account of all of the facts.

One of the first problems I found is in Matthew 28:2, after two women arrived at the tomb: "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it." (Let's ignore the fact that no other writer mentioned this "great earthquake.") This story says that the stone was rolled away after the women arrived, in their presence.

Yet Mark's Gospel says it happened before the women arrived: "And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great."

Luke writes: "And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre." John agrees. No earthquake, no rolling stone. It is a three-to-one vote: Matthew loses. (Or else the other three are wrong.) The event cannot have happened both before and after they arrived.

Some bible defenders assert that Matthew 28:2 was intended to be understood in the past perfect, showing what had happened before the women arrived. But the entire passage is in the aorist (past) tense, and it reads, in context, like a simple chronological account. Matthew 28:2 begins, "And, behold," not "For, behold." If this verse can be so easily shuffled around, then what is to keep us from putting the flood before the ark, or the crucifixion before the nativity?

Another glaring problem is the fact that in Matthew the first post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples happened on a mountain in Galilee (not in Jerusalem, as most Christians believe), as predicted by the angel sitting on the newly moved rock: "And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him." This must have been of supreme importance, since this was the message of God via the angel(s) at the tomb. Jesus had even predicted this himself sixty hours earlier, during the Last Supper (Matthew 26:32).

After receiving this angelic message, "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted." (Matthew 28:16-17) Reading this at face value, and in context, it is clear that Matthew intends this to have been the first appearance. Otherwise, if Jesus had been seen before this time, why did some doubt?

Mark agrees with Matthew's account of the angel's Galilee message, but gives a different story about the first appearance. Luke and John give different angel messages and then radically contradict Matthew. Luke shows the first appearance on the road to Emmaus and then in a room in Jerusalem. John says it happened later than evening in a room, minus Thomas. These angel messages, locations, and travels during the day are impossible to reconcile.

Luke says the post-resurrection appearance happened in Jerusalem, but Matthew says it happened in Galilee, sixty to one hundred miles away. Could they all have traveled 150 miles that day, by foot, trudging up to Galilee for the first appearance, then back to Jerusalem for the evening meal? There is no mention of any horses, but twelve well-conditioned thoroughbreds racing at breakneck speed, as the crow flies, would need about five hours for the trip, without a rest. And during this madcap scenario, could Jesus have found time for a leisurely stroll to Emmaus, accepting, "toward evening," an invitation to dinner? Something is very wrong here.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, none of these contradictions prove that the resurrection did not happen, but they do throw considerable doubt on the reliability of the supposed witnesses. Some of them were wrong. Maybe they were all wrong.

This question could be harder. I could ask why reports of supernatural beings, vanishing and materializing out of thin air, long-dead corpses coming back to life, and people levitating should be given serious consideration at all. Thomas Paine was one of the first to point out that outrageous claims require outrageous proof.

Protestants and Catholics seem to have no trouble applying healthy skepticism to the miracles of Islam, or to the "historical" visit between Joseph Smith and the angel Moroni. Why should Christians treat their own outrageous claims any differently? Why should someone who was not there be any more eager to believe than doubting Thomas, who lived during that time, or the other disciples who said that the women's news from the tomb "seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not" (Luke 24:11)?

I ask this question in all seriousness, because it astounds me how people can believe in something so important and with such passion, yet not have actually looked at what it is they are celebrating/believing in.

You will find that the trip from A-Z via the gospels will lead you in 4 different paths.

"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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