Historicity Of The Christian Greek Scriptures
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03-11-2012, 06:38 PM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2012 10:46 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Part I - The Archaeological Evidence (Response In Part)
(02-11-2012 04:40 AM)The Theist Wrote:  
(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi Theist, thanks for your reply.

I note you shifted the topic of the archaeological evidence for the Greek scriptures on to an examination of the scripture itself.

Actually I was responding to your request to supply "one contemporary author who talks about the star of the show, Jesus."

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Am I to understand that your archaeological evidence is limited to the fact that
-John the Baptist ,
-Pilate and a
-fellow who Paul knew existed?
If there is more, please fill me in. If there is no more, you must admit, surely, that this is woefully inadequate as evidence.

I think that you're overlooking crucial evidence based upon a need to come to a certain conclusion, namely; that there is no archaeological evidence of the historicity of the Christian Greek scriptures. Each of the examples I gave were claims by critics of the Bible that it couldn't be historically accurate because those people it mentioned were not known to exist outside of the Bible itself, until the archaeological evidence was discovered thus effectively dismissing those criticisms.

Those examples were just a few of many. Perhaps I should give one of a lesser known discovery which, even to this day isn't well known among skeptics, and demonstrate how important they are to dismissing the critic's doubt of historicity. To this day skeptics of the Bible seem blissfully aware of these rather old discoveries.

The skeptic's accusation is that there was only one census taken while Publius Sulpicius was governor of Syria, at about 6 C.E. The one that sparked a rebellion by Judas the Galilean and the Zealots? (Acts 5:37) That was the second, actually. Inscriptions found at and near Antioch reveals that some years earlier Quirinius served as the emperor's legate in Syria. As the Dictionnaire du Nouveau Testament in Crampon's French Bible (1939 ed., p. 360) says: "The scholarly researches of Zumpt (Commentat. epigraph., II,
86-104; De Syria romana provincia, 97-98) and of Mommsen (Res gestae divi Augusti) place beyond doubt that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria."

In 1764 an inscription called the Lapis Tiburtinus was found which concurs.

What does this mean? The skeptic of the Bible, even to this day, unaware of this "new" information, will unknowingly deny the possibility that there was a registration in days of Joseph and Mary just prior to Jesus birth. Didn't happen, they say. Though the evidence for it has been well established for some time. They, the critics of the Bible, are somewhat selective in their appreciation for evidence, it seems. They have been wrong time and time again. But when the evidence, the archaeological evidence which they claim is so important dismisses their protestations. Then the evidence becomes irrelevant.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Before I specifically address each issue you raise, I need to establish two fundamental points.

1.Irenaeus of Lyons attempted to list the first known Catholic canon in 180-190 CE, although he never compiled a definitive list of books. His list was the first ever to mention the four canonical Gospels. This was the first record of anybody mentioning the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, over 150 years after the events they purported to record. (http://firstnewtestament.com/gospels_ear...yons.htm). This is undisputed historical fact. Please google it for yourself. Ask yourself what that means about "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." It means the names are fabrications that have nothing to do with the authorship. The gospels were probably originally written decades earlier by we don't know who, but the names have NOTHING to do with whoever wrote them. There were scores of gospels in the second century...Irenaeus picked four and invented the names of their authors.

The link you supplied was dead. Irenaeus was educated by Ploycarp, a living link to the apostles. Your unsubstantiated claims that he the originator of the spurious authorship of the Gospels is without merit.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  2. The early church fathers were notorious liars. I refer you to Bucky Ball's commentary on this. I have written a chapter on this in my book, which I could cut and paste, but I will spare. Google the topic. You will be very surprised.

I don't think it a very effective course of debate to make a nonsensical claim unsupported by fact or evidence with a vague reference to some commentary I am unaware of and likely unimpressed by compounded by the suggestion that I "Google the topic." I could Google Chupacabra with a more profound result.

(01-11-2012 09:46 AM)The Theist Wrote:  Matthew, also named as Levi, was the tax collector before becoming one of Jesus' apostles. He is credited for writing the first gospel account.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  WRONG. "He is credited" is a term commonly used by apologists. It is not the same as "the evidence for this is as follows..." Other similar terms are "there is a tradition..." "the earliest tradition..." "it is thought...." "it is commonly believed...." Literature from apologists is full of these phrases because they lack real evidence. Matthew was not the author of the gospel, a fact admitted by nearly all respected historians today (including the conservative Catholic encyclopaedia)

Oh. WRONG! If only we had some fireworks to support that bold assessment. Is this Bucky talking now? 'Cause I gotta tell 'ya Doc, it wreaks of the stench of the Ball. Nevertheless . . .

If I had to choose which were more accurate, you accumulation of "nearly all respected historians of today" verses the numerous historians of the day in which we refer to I would choose the the later, if for no other reason than even as far as this debate goes, a brief episode so as not to bore the biased reader, still offers more support. This is just nonsense.

(01-11-2012 09:46 AM)The Theist Wrote:  Though he isn't listed as its writer in the account itself,


(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Correct ....one only needs to leaf through any of the Gospels to realise they were not written by eyewitnesses, or by anyone who interrogated eyewitnesses. There are no interviews of Jesus, or his disciples, or of any of the characters in the action. Nowhere do we read a phrase such as “I, Matthew/Mark/Luke/John saw this or heard that” or “I was present when” this or that happened, or “I talked to …who told me… so I asked him...” Everything is written as pure narrative, because the authors had no close connection to the described accounts.

Are you joking? The entire collection of four accounts are exclusively devoted to the very thing you are claiming doesn't exist.

Look. If Bucky Ball is the best you can do I would have pissed off to you and challenged him before you. Let me just give you this advise. Look elsewhere. You only do yourself a disservice.

I'm going to call a time out and pause this debate for a discussion with the moderator. Stark. We need to establish if Mark is using Bucky as puppet master, whether that is acceptable. I can come to some agreement upon that in as much as I am aware of it. I wanted a debate with Mark and promised one to Bucky which he rejected. Now, I'm willing to accept a debate with both of them but it is . . . somehow dirty and unacceptable to continue without the acknowledgement of Mr. Ball's participation.
You wrote


"If I had to choose which were more accurate, you accumulation of "nearly all respected historians of today" verses the numerous historians of the day in which we refer to I would choose the the later, if for no other reason than even as far as this debate goes, a brief episode so as not to bore the biased reader, still offers more support. This is just nonsense."


The issue at hand is the authorship of Matthew's gospel. You claim it was written by Matthew, the disciple, the tax collector. I know it wasn't. I have already pointed out to you that the name " Matthew" was only first attached to this gospel in roughly 180 CE. I have already mentioned the gospel is not written in the first person. I have mentioned that the very conservative (and very imaginative) official Catholic Encyclopaedia admits the gospels were NOT written by the disciples of Jesus. I'm going to help you by making it easy. Have a look at these references


Atwell, Joseph “Caesar’s Messsiah”


Bethune, George “The Grounds of Christianity Examined by Comparing The New Testament with the Old” (http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/15968/pg15968.html)


Cross, C. 1970 “Who Was Jesus”. Trinity Press. London


Crossan, J. 1994 “Jesus A Revolutionary Biography”. Harper. San Francisco.


Schonfield, H. 1977 “The Passover Plot”. Futura Publications. London


Schonfield, H. 1969 “Those Incredible Christians”. Bantam. New York.


Spong, J. 1994 “Resurrection: Myth Or Reality?”. Harper Collins. San Francisco.


Wilken, R. 1971 “The Myth Of Christian Beginnings”. Doubleday. New York.


Yancey, P. 1995 “The Jesus I Never Knew” Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House.


Tabor, J. 2006 “The Jesus Dynasty”. Harper Collins. London.




http://www.amazon.com/Who-Wrote-New-Testament-Christian/dp/0060655186


http://www.truthbeknown.com/historicaljc.htm


http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/mark.html


http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/forgery_of_matthew23.htm


http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/partthre.htm


http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp13A.htm


http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/james_still/jesus_trial.html


http://www.ancientpaths.org/APJTnazandeb.html


http://www.bible-history.com/jesus/jesusList_of_Procurators_in_Judea.htm


http://phillipharland.com

Consider your source's credentials. Are they historians? Have they done their research? Are they up to date? OR...are they ignoring the opinions of the massive biblical scholarly community and just choosing to peddle the outdated, unsubstantiated myth that the disciples wrote the gospels?
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03-11-2012, 06:54 PM (This post was last modified: 07-11-2012 08:08 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Part I - The Archaeological Evidence (Response In Part)
(02-11-2012 04:40 AM)The Theist Wrote:  
(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi Theist, thanks for your reply.

I note you shifted the topic of the archaeological evidence for the Greek scriptures on to an examination of the scripture itself.

Actually I was responding to your request to supply "one contemporary author who talks about the star of the show, Jesus."

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Am I to understand that your archaeological evidence is limited to the fact that
-John the Baptist ,
-Pilate and a
-fellow who Paul knew existed?
If there is more, please fill me in. If there is no more, you must admit, surely, that this is woefully inadequate as evidence.

I think that you're overlooking crucial evidence based upon a need to come to a certain conclusion, namely; that there is no archaeological evidence of the historicity of the Christian Greek scriptures. Each of the examples I gave were claims by critics of the Bible that it couldn't be historically accurate because those people it mentioned were not known to exist outside of the Bible itself, until the archaeological evidence was discovered thus effectively dismissing those criticisms.

Those examples were just a few of many. Perhaps I should give one of a lesser known discovery which, even to this day isn't well known among skeptics, and demonstrate how important they are to dismissing the critic's doubt of historicity. To this day skeptics of the Bible seem blissfully aware of these rather old discoveries.

The skeptic's accusation is that there was only one census taken while Publius Sulpicius was governor of Syria, at about 6 C.E. The one that sparked a rebellion by Judas the Galilean and the Zealots? (Acts 5:37) That was the second, actually. Inscriptions found at and near Antioch reveals that some years earlier Quirinius served as the emperor's legate in Syria. As the Dictionnaire du Nouveau Testament in Crampon's French Bible (1939 ed., p. 360) says: "The scholarly researches of Zumpt (Commentat. epigraph., II,
86-104; De Syria romana provincia, 97-98) and of Mommsen (Res gestae divi Augusti) place beyond doubt that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria."

In 1764 an inscription called the Lapis Tiburtinus was found which concurs.

What does this mean? The skeptic of the Bible, even to this day, unaware of this "new" information, will unknowingly deny the possibility that there was a registration in days of Joseph and Mary just prior to Jesus birth. Didn't happen, they say. Though the evidence for it has been well established for some time. They, the critics of the Bible, are somewhat selective in their appreciation for evidence, it seems. They have been wrong time and time again. But when the evidence, the archaeological evidence which they claim is so important dismisses their protestations. Then the evidence becomes irrelevant.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Before I specifically address each issue you raise, I need to establish two fundamental points.

1.Irenaeus of Lyons attempted to list the first known Catholic canon in 180-190 CE, although he never compiled a definitive list of books. His list was the first ever to mention the four canonical Gospels. This was the first record of anybody mentioning the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, over 150 years after the events they purported to record. (http://firstnewtestament.com/gospels_ear...yons.htm). This is undisputed historical fact. Please google it for yourself. Ask yourself what that means about "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." It means the names are fabrications that have nothing to do with the authorship. The gospels were probably originally written decades earlier by we don't know who, but the names have NOTHING to do with whoever wrote them. There were scores of gospels in the second century...Irenaeus picked four and invented the names of their authors.

The link you supplied was dead. Irenaeus was educated by Ploycarp, a living link to the apostles. Your unsubstantiated claims that he the originator of the spurious authorship of the Gospels is without merit.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  2. The early church fathers were notorious liars. I refer you to Bucky Ball's commentary on this. I have written a chapter on this in my book, which I could cut and paste, but I will spare. Google the topic. You will be very surprised.

I don't think it a very effective course of debate to make a nonsensical claim unsupported by fact or evidence with a vague reference to some commentary I am unaware of and likely unimpressed by compounded by the suggestion that I "Google the topic." I could Google Chupacabra with a more profound result.

(01-11-2012 09:46 AM)The Theist Wrote:  Matthew, also named as Levi, was the tax collector before becoming one of Jesus' apostles. He is credited for writing the first gospel account.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  WRONG. "He is credited" is a term commonly used by apologists. It is not the same as "the evidence for this is as follows..." Other similar terms are "there is a tradition..." "the earliest tradition..." "it is thought...." "it is commonly believed...." Literature from apologists is full of these phrases because they lack real evidence. Matthew was not the author of the gospel, a fact admitted by nearly all respected historians today (including the conservative Catholic encyclopaedia)

Oh. WRONG! If only we had some fireworks to support that bold assessment. Is this Bucky talking now? 'Cause I gotta tell 'ya Doc, it wreaks of the stench of the Ball. Nevertheless . . .

If I had to choose which were more accurate, you accumulation of "nearly all respected historians of today" verses the numerous historians of the day in which we refer to I would choose the the later, if for no other reason than even as far as this debate goes, a brief episode so as not to bore the biased reader, still offers more support. This is just nonsense.

(01-11-2012 09:46 AM)The Theist Wrote:  Though he isn't listed as its writer in the account itself,

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Correct ....one only needs to leaf through any of the Gospels to realise they were not written by eyewitnesses, or by anyone who interrogated eyewitnesses. There are no interviews of Jesus, or his disciples, or of any of the characters in the action. Nowhere do we read a phrase such as “I, Matthew/Mark/Luke/John saw this or heard that” or “I was present when” this or that happened, or “I talked to …who told me… so I asked him...” Everything is written as pure narrative, because the authors had no close connection to the described accounts.

Are you joking? The entire collection of four accounts are exclusively devoted to the very thing you are claiming doesn't exist.

Look. If Bucky Ball is the best you can do I would have pissed off to you and challenged him before you. Let me just give you this advise. Look elsewhere. You only do yourself a disservice.

I'm going to call a time out and pause this debate for a discussion with the moderator. Stark. We need to establish if Mark is using Bucky as puppet master, whether that is acceptable. I can come to some agreement upon that in as much as I am aware of it. I wanted a debate with Mark and promised one to Bucky which he rejected. Now, I'm willing to accept a debate with both of them but it is . . . somehow dirty and unacceptable to continue without the acknowledgement of Mr. Ball's participation.

You have challenged me to present evidence that the church fathers were liars. Ok....you asked for it...here it is.....



Were these men reputable scholars? Were they honest historians? We can examine their writings to find the answers.


Papias was one of the very earliest “fathers.” He may (if we can believe Eusebius) have claimed to have known someone who had known the author of Mark’s Gospel, yet gave no details of who they were. Surely he would have documented something so important if he knew of it.


Unfortunately for Papias’ reputation, Eusebius expressed serious reservations about the caliber of his intellect:


“I guess he got these ideas from a misinterpretation of the apostolic accounts. For he did not understand what they said mystically and in figurative language. For he obviously was a man of very little intelligence, as one can tell judging from his sayings. Nevertheless, it was due to him that so many churchmen after him adopted a similar opinion, basing their position on the fact that he was a man of the earliest era” (Eccles. Hist. 3.39.12–13). Eusebius had to guess where Papias got his facts from, wrote him off as stupid, and then admitted he was a significant and early source of dogma!


Papias wrote that Jesus said:


“The days shall come, in which there shall be vines, which shall severally have ten thousand branches; and every one of these branches shall have ten thousand lesser branches; and every one of these branches shall have ten thousand twigs; and every one of these twigs shall have ten thousand clusters of grapes; and everyone of these grapes being pressed shall yield two hundred and seventy-five gallons of wine. And when a man shall take hold of any of these sacred bunches, another bunch shall cry out ‘I am a better bunch, take me, and bless the Lord by me!’” (Irenaeus, Adv.Hær., v. 33, 3).


He was willing to concoct anecdotes and obviously wasn’t a reliable historian.


Ignatius tells us of the “star of Bethlehem:”


“A star shone forth in heaven above all other stars, and the light of which was inexpressible, while its novelty struck men with astonishment. And all the rest of the stars, with the sun and moon, formed a chorus to this star” (to the Ephesians chapter XIX). He may have been writing metaphorically, yet to claim something this comical is childish.


Irenaeus praised ignorance as a virtue:


“It is therefore better and more profitable to belong to the simple and unlettered class, and by means of love to attain to nearness to God, than, by imagining ourselves learned and skilful” (Against Heresies, Book II, Chapter 26). He had little respect for human intellect or integrity.


Justin was unscrupulous. He interpolated the Septuagint with a number of phony prophecies concerning Jesus, which were weak, clumsy, and dishonest. They can be found in the dialogue of Justin with Trypho the Jew (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html).


Justin justified his belief in Jesus as follows:


"When we say also that the Word, which is the first birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified, died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter" (First Apology, chapter 21). Instead of discussing evidence, he said (quite correctly) that the Jesus account was very similar to myths about other gods, and should therefore be equally true. Jesus had died only one hundred years earlier.


He claimed that Socrates (469–399 BCE) and Heraclitus (535–475 BCE) were Christians (First Apology Chapter 46, Second Apology Chapter 10), a statement similar to saying that Galileo was a Mormon.


He believed insane people were possessed by the souls of the wicked, so were proof of the immortality of souls. (First
Apology
, Chapter 18).



Origen wrote the following:


“Before replying to Celsus, it is necessary to admit that in the matter of history, however true it might be, it is often very difficult and sometimes quite impossible to establish its truth by evidence which shall be considered sufficient” (Contra Celsum 1.58). This was a plain admission that many of the claims in the New Testament could not be historically verified. At least he was candid enough to admit he often called beliefs true only because he wanted them to be true.


He wrote:


“As this matter of faith...we accept it as useful for the multitude, and that we admittedly teach those who cannot abandon everything and pursue a study of rational argument to believe without thinking out their arguments.” (Contra Celsum 1.10). He admitted that “we” turned to faith as a tool to convince a gullible crowd. “We” were his fellow bishops, the men who promoted Christian dogma.


Origen thought the sun, moon, and stars were living creatures, with a free will, that sometimes sinned. One might forgive him for having no understanding of astronomy, but not for imagining that celestial objects had minds of their own. He clung to the pagan superstition that comets and new stars portend great world events, and thought that this undoubted fact gave credibility to thestory of the star of Bethlehem:


“It has been observed that, on the occurrence of great events, and of mighty changes in terrestrial things, such stars are wont to appear, indicating either the removal of dynasties or the breaking out of wars, or the happening of such circumstances as may cause commotions upon the earth, why not then the Star of Bethlehem?” (Contra Celsum, chapter 1).


Tertullian was a commodious liar. He asserted,


I know it that the corpse of a dead Christian, at the first breath of the prayer made by the priest, on occasion of its own funeral, removed its hands from its sides, into the usual posture of a supplicant; and when the service was ended, restored them again to their former situation.” (De anima chapter 51).


He denounced the sin of going to the theatre:


“We have the case of the woman—the Lord Himself is witness—who went to the theater, and came back possessed. In the outcasting (exorcism), accordingly, when the unclean creature was upbraidedwith having dared to attack a believer, he firmly replied: ‘And in truth I did most righteously, for I found her in my domain” (De Spectaulis).


He believed the hyena could change its sex every year (De Pallio, Chapter 3), eclipses and comets were signs of god’s anger (Toscapula, Chapter 3), and volcanoes were openings into hell (De Penitentia, 12).


He advised Christians not to think critically, but to take the path of blind faith. To him, all kinds of rational thinking became superfluous compared to the gospels:


“For philosophy is the material of the world’s wisdom, the rash interpreter of the nature and dispensation of God. Indeed heresies are themselves instigated by philosophy… What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What has the Academy to do with the Church? What have heretics to do with Christians? Our instruction comes from the porch of Solomon, who had himself taught that the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart. Away with all attempts to produce a Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic Christianity! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after receiving the gospel! When we believe, we desire no further belief. For this is our first article of faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides.”(De Praescriptione, Chapter vii).


He claimed, without evidence, that Pilate converted to Christianity:


“All these things Pilate did to Christ; and now in fact a Christian in his own convictions, he sent word of Him to the reigning Caesar, who was at the time Tiberius”(The Apology, Chapter 21).


He was so deluded he could claim:


The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed because men must needs be ashamed of it. And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed because it is absurd. And He was buried, and rose again; the fact is certain, because it is impossible. But how will all this be true in Him, if He was not Himself true--if He really had not in Himself that which might be crucified, might die, might be buried, and might rise again?”(The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol: III: Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian, 525). He obviously preferred faith to reason, and disliked complexity. In the same work he called Aristotle “wretched” and disparaged the tentative investigative nature of Greek science as “self-stultifying…ever handling questions but never settling them.” This attitude was the antithesis of rational thought. Compare this to what Celsus said:


“For why is it an evil to have been educated, and to have studied the best opinions, and to have both the reality and appearance of wisdom? What hindrance does this offer to the knowledge of God? Why should it not rather be an assistance, and a means by which one might be better able to arrive at the truth?”(Excerpts from Contra Celsus by Origen, book 3 Chapter 59). Celsus, a contemporary, clearly realized their reasoning was irrational.


Tertullian lacked common sense, was a lazy thinker, justified his own ignorance using religion, and thought he could invent facts to advertise an agenda.


Jerome was an impressive scholar, yet he admitted to employing verbal babble to beguile the hoi polloi:


“There is nothing so easy as by sheer volubility to deceive a common crowd or an uneducated congregation.” (Epistle to
Nepotian
, lii, 8.)
.



He claimed:


“It is usual for the sacred historian to conform himself to the generally accepted opinion of the masses in his time” (P.L.,
XXVI, 98; XXIV, 855
). In other words, the historian need not rely on facts, but rather on common opinion.



Eusebius is notorious as the author of numerous falsehoods. He probably created the "Testimonium Flavianum" and forged a letter in Jesus’ name. He admitted on at least two occasions that he was less than honest:


“We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity” (Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, Chapter 2).


“How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived.”(Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, chap. 2). So much for integrity and objectivity from Christianity’s most important historian!


He wrote of a man who was tortured until his body


“was one continued wound, mangled and shriveled, that had entirely lost the form of man” and then “recovered the former shape and habit of his limbs” (Ecclesiastical History, book V, Chapter 2). These are the words of a man using falsehood as a medicine.


The Catholic Encyclopedia claims Augustine was


“a philosophical and theological genius of the first order, dominating, like a pyramid, antiquity and the succeeding ages. Compared with the great philosophers of past centuries and modern times, he is the equal of them all; among theologians he is undeniably the first, and such has been his influence that none of the Fathers, Scholastics, or Reformers has surpassed it.” High praise indeed! It almost sounds as if they are apologizing for other church theologians. Interestingly, the author is conceding there is not a single theologian other than Augustine whose intellect can compare with great philosophers past and present. I am surprised he thinks so little of other theologians, and I wonder if the wording here will be changed in future editions. I am alsotaken aback that Augustine is considered a greater theologian than Paul, as it was Paul who more or less invented Christian theology. In my opinion Augustine was not a philosopher of the highest caliber for the following reasons.


He was adamant the earth was no more than six thousand years old:


“They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not yet 6,000 years have passed…” (City of God, Bk. xii, Chapter 10).

Science has proven the great philosopher’s “sacred writings” wrong. He was writing in the fourth century, and could not have known any better, but he was bone-headed about it and sneered at anyone who didn’t believe the creation story:



“For as it is not yet 6,000 years since the first man, who is called Adam, are not those to be ridiculed rather than refuted who try to persuade us of anything regarding a space of time so different from, so contrary to, the ascertained truth?” (City of God, Bkxviii, Chapter 40). His “ascertained truth” was the Old Testament, which was wrong about the age of the earth by a factor of close to a million!


Although many Greek philosophers from Pythagorus onwards had held that the earth was round, and Augustine had heard the theory, he was adamant it was flat and inhabited on the upper side only:


“As to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men who are on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours, is on no ground credible.” (City of God, Chapter xvi).


This “towering figure of early Christianity,” claimed:


“I was already Bishop of Hippo, when I went into Ethiopia with some servants of Christ there to preach the Gospel. In this country we saw many men and women without heads, who had two great eyes in their breasts; and in countries still more southly, we saw people who had but one eye in their foreheads.” (Sermones, xxxiii)


Augustine devoted two whole treatises to the topic of lying. The first of these, 'De mendacio' ('On Lying'), written in 395, discussed the pros and cons of lying. Of the eight kinds of lie which he identified (each with several sub-types) he excused 'jocular' lies, was 'uncertain' about others (depending on motive and the likelihood of being believed,) and questioned the morality of the remainder. The second, 'Contra mendacium', written in 422 CE, cautioned the brethren as follows.


"One never errs more safely, methinks, than when one errs by too much loving the truth, and too much rejecting of falsehood." (St Augustine, Retractations, Book I). He had evidently thought long and hard before gracing his readers with this conclusion.


The great doctor invented his own biological facts:


“Frogs are produced from the earth, not propagated by male and female parents” (City of God, Chapter xvi); and “There are in Cappadocia mares which are impregnated by the wind, and their foals live only three years.” (City of God, Chapter xxi)


This number one theologian attempted to explain how people could survive fire in hell without being consumed, and wrote two chapters in City of God, on the topic, the first entitled “Whether it is Possible for Bodies to last Forever in Burning Fire,”and the second “Examples from Nature Proving That Bodies May Remain Unconsumed and Alive in Fire.”


He accepted as historic truth the mythical founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus and their birth to a virgin, fathered by the god Mars (an interesting idea for a Christian father), and their nursing by the she-wolf, but attributed this to the interference of Yahweh.


This highly influential intellect thought demons caused disease:


“All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to these demons; chiefly do they torment fresh-baptized Christians, yea, even the guiltless new-born infant” (De Divinatione Daemonorum, Chapter 3). I know some superstitious Christians today who still attribute illnesses to demons.


The great interpreter of scripture accepted the fable of the miraculous translation of the Septuagint, (six-hundred-odd years before his time):


“It is reported that there was an agreement in their words so wonderful, stupendous, and plainly divine, each one apart (for so it pleased Ptolemy to test their fidelity), they differed from each other in no word, or in the order of the words; but, as if the translators had been one, so what all had translated was one, because in very deed the one Spirit had been in them all. And they received so wonderful a gift of God, in order that these scriptures might be commended not as human but divine, for the benefit of the nations. Who should at some time believe, as we now see them doing. If anything is in the Hebrew copies and not in the version of the Seventy, the Spirit of God did not choose to say it through them, but only through the prophets. But whatever isin the Septuagint and not in the Hebrew copies, the same Spirit chose rather to say it through the latter, thus showing that both were prophets.” (The City of God, xviii, 42, 43; pp. 385–387.) In reality the Septuagint translation was notoriously unreliable, a fact any Hebrew scholar can confirm today. Augustine invented history to justify the traditional text.


This great pyramid of learning pondered over


“whether angels, inasmuch as they are spirits, could have bodily intercourse with women?” (The City of God, Book XV, Chapter 23). After much deliberation over an entirely imaginary subject, he concluded that they can and do, and that he had proof:


“Many proven instances, that Sylvans and Fauns, who are commonly called ‘Incubi,’ had often made wicked assaults upon women, and satisfied their lusts upon them: and that certain devils, called Duses by the Gauls, are constantly
attempting and effecting this impurity.” (City of God, Chapter xv).



This “philosophical genius,”thought Christianity pre-dated Christ.


“What we now call the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and was from the beginning of the human race, until Christ Himself came in the flesh; from which time the already existing true religion began to be styled Christian.” (Retractions, I, xiii, 3)


Augustine even wrote


“I would not believe in the Gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not influence me to do so.” (Against the letter of Mani 5,6). The Catholic Church’s number one theologian thought the gospel of Jesus was not inherently believable, but that the church knew better and was more authoritative than himself. Today’s church claims Augustine was their number one authority. Does anyone else sense a circular argument?


He too derided the value of critical thought.


“There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity…It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.” (Confessions) This comment promotes what is, in fact, the antithesis of good philosophy.


Augustine was a reasonably intelligent man, although his great rival Pelagius was far more sensible. His teachings on original sin, women and sex were despicable. He claimed to be an authority on history and scientific subjects he knew very little about, and invented facts to fill in the gaps. He wasn’t honest enough to admit the deficiencies of his religion.


The men discussed here were the more educated members of the early Christian churches. Yet they were narrow-minded, superstitious, and mendacious. They readily told absurd, fabricated stories to impress simple people. Some of them forged
documents. They displayed very little critical faculty; no story was too silly, no falsehood too glaring, no argument too weak to prevent them teaching it with full confidence of its truth. They thought it was permissible, and even commendable, to assert falsehoods for the sake of selling faith.
They were the tabloid journalists of their day. It is on their testimony and others of their ilk that today’s Christian assumes the Gospels are truthful.



These characters, and countless others just like them, created, edited and interpolated the New Testament. Some altered quotations from the Septuagint to create phony prophecies concerning Jesus. Someone added a resurrection story to the Gospel of Mark. Someone attributed the authorship of the Gospels to the apostles of Jesus. Someone inserted into Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus wanted to start a new church with Peter at its head. Someone inserted Jesus’ name into Paul’s writings. Someone wrote literature in Paul’s name. Someone wrote Acts to try to link Yeshua with Paul’s theology. Some incorporated traditions from other cults into the new one. There are countless other examples of their dishonesty. There was a corrupt culture in the early Christian church.


There are no excuses for this. Blatant fiction presented as truth, uncritical scholarship, and demands for blind faith are unacceptable in any age.


There were men of their era and before them, such as Plato, Aristotle, Celsus, Cicero, Philo, Seutonius, Tacitus and numerous others, who employed high standards of scholarship in their essays. Their compositions are believable, consistent and still read well today, whereas these writings don’t. None of these men were honest enough to publicly admit what their peers repeatedly pointed out; their faith was based on a foundation of manufactured mythical nonsense.


It is apparent how the Jesus Christ account emerged: Paul, church fathers and other nameless men concocted the stories in the same way they created untruthful anecdotes about demons, angels, animals, monsters, and singing planets. How could anyone today be convinced of the divinity, the miracles, or the teachings of Jesus after considering what these characters had to contend?
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04-11-2012, 03:19 AM (This post was last modified: 04-11-2012 05:59 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Part I - The Archaeological Evidence (Response In Part)
(02-11-2012 04:40 AM)The Theist Wrote:  
(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi Theist, thanks for your reply.

I note you shifted the topic of the archaeological evidence for the Greek scriptures on to an examination of the scripture itself.

Actually I was responding to your request to supply "one contemporary author who talks about the star of the show, Jesus."

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Am I to understand that your archaeological evidence is limited to the fact that
-John the Baptist ,
-Pilate and a
-fellow who Paul knew existed?
If there is more, please fill me in. If there is no more, you must admit, surely, that this is woefully inadequate as evidence.

I think that you're overlooking crucial evidence based upon a need to come to a certain conclusion, namely; that there is no archaeological evidence of the historicity of the Christian Greek scriptures. Each of the examples I gave were claims by critics of the Bible that it couldn't be historically accurate because those people it mentioned were not known to exist outside of the Bible itself, until the archaeological evidence was discovered thus effectively dismissing those criticisms.

Those examples were just a few of many. Perhaps I should give one of a lesser known discovery which, even to this day isn't well known among skeptics, and demonstrate how important they are to dismissing the critic's doubt of historicity. To this day skeptics of the Bible seem blissfully aware of these rather old discoveries.

The skeptic's accusation is that there was only one census taken while Publius Sulpicius was governor of Syria, at about 6 C.E. The one that sparked a rebellion by Judas the Galilean and the Zealots? (Acts 5:37) That was the second, actually. Inscriptions found at and near Antioch reveals that some years earlier Quirinius served as the emperor's legate in Syria. As the Dictionnaire du Nouveau Testament in Crampon's French Bible (1939 ed., p. 360) says: "The scholarly researches of Zumpt (Commentat. epigraph., II,
86-104; De Syria romana provincia, 97-98) and of Mommsen (Res gestae divi Augusti) place beyond doubt that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria."

In 1764 an inscription called the Lapis Tiburtinus was found which concurs.

What does this mean? The skeptic of the Bible, even to this day, unaware of this "new" information, will unknowingly deny the possibility that there was a registration in days of Joseph and Mary just prior to Jesus birth. Didn't happen, they say. Though the evidence for it has been well established for some time. They, the critics of the Bible, are somewhat selective in their appreciation for evidence, it seems. They have been wrong time and time again. But when the evidence, the archaeological evidence which they claim is so important dismisses their protestations. Then the evidence becomes irrelevant.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Before I specifically address each issue you raise, I need to establish two fundamental points.

1.Irenaeus of Lyons attempted to list the first known Catholic canon in 180-190 CE, although he never compiled a definitive list of books. His list was the first ever to mention the four canonical Gospels. This was the first record of anybody mentioning the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, over 150 years after the events they purported to record. (http://firstnewtestament.com/gospels_ear...yons.htm). This is undisputed historical fact. Please google it for yourself. Ask yourself what that means about "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." It means the names are fabrications that have nothing to do with the authorship. The gospels were probably originally written decades earlier by we don't know who, but the names have NOTHING to do with whoever wrote them. There were scores of gospels in the second century...Irenaeus picked four and invented the names of their authors.

The link you supplied was dead. Irenaeus was educated by Ploycarp, a living link to the apostles. Your unsubstantiated claims that he the originator of the spurious authorship of the Gospels is without merit.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  2. The early church fathers were notorious liars. I refer you to Bucky Ball's commentary on this. I have written a chapter on this in my book, which I could cut and paste, but I will spare. Google the topic. You will be very surprised.

I don't think it a very effective course of debate to make a nonsensical claim unsupported by fact or evidence with a vague reference to some commentary I am unaware of and likely unimpressed by compounded by the suggestion that I "Google the topic." I could Google Chupacabra with a more profound result.

(01-11-2012 09:46 AM)The Theist Wrote:  Matthew, also named as Levi, was the tax collector before becoming one of Jesus' apostles. He is credited for writing the first gospel account.

(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  WRONG. "He is credited" is a term commonly used by apologists. It is not the same as "the evidence for this is as follows..." Other similar terms are "there is a tradition..." "the earliest tradition..." "it is thought...." "it is commonly believed...." Literature from apologists is full of these phrases because they lack real evidence. Matthew was not the author of the gospel, a fact admitted by nearly all respected historians today (including the conservative Catholic encyclopaedia)

Oh. WRONG! If only we had some fireworks to support that bold assessment. Is this Bucky talking now? 'Cause I gotta tell 'ya Doc, it wreaks of the stench of the Ball. Nevertheless . . .

If I had to choose which were more accurate, you accumulation of "nearly all respected historians of today" verses the numerous historians of the day in which we refer to I would choose the the later, if for no other reason than even as far as this debate goes, a brief episode so as not to bore the biased reader, still offers more support. This is just nonsense.

(01-11-2012 09:46 AM)The Theist Wrote:  Though he isn't listed as its writer in the account itself,


(02-11-2012 02:24 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Correct ....one only needs to leaf through any of the Gospels to realise they were not written by eyewitnesses, or by anyone who interrogated eyewitnesses. There are no interviews of Jesus, or his disciples, or of any of the characters in the action. Nowhere do we read a phrase such as “I, Matthew/Mark/Luke/John saw this or heard that” or “I was present when” this or that happened, or “I talked to …who told me… so I asked him...” Everything is written as pure narrative, because the authors had no close connection to the described accounts.

Are you joking? The entire collection of four accounts are exclusively devoted to the very thing you are claiming doesn't exist.

Look. If Bucky Ball is the best you can do I would have pissed off to you and challenged him before you. Let me just give you this advise. Look elsewhere. You only do yourself a disservice.

I'm going to call a time out and pause this debate for a discussion with the moderator. Stark. We need to establish if Mark is using Bucky as puppet master, whether that is acceptable. I can come to some agreement upon that in as much as I am aware of it. I wanted a debate with Mark and promised one to Bucky which he rejected. Now, I'm willing to accept a debate with both of them but it is . . . somehow dirty and unacceptable to continue without the acknowledgement of Mr. Ball's participation.
You wrote

"Are you joking? The entire collection of four accounts are exclusively
devoted to the very thing you are claiming doesn't exist."

I don't think you understood the point I was making. Please read this again:

"One only needs to leaf through any of the Gospels to realise they were not written by eyewitnesses, or by anyone who interrogated eyewitnesses. There are no interviews of Jesus, or his disciples, or of any of the characters in the action. Nowhere do we read a phrase such as “I, Matthew/Mark/Luke/John saw this or heard that” or “I was present when” this or that happened, or “I talked to …who told me… so I asked him...” Everything is written as pure narrative, because the authors had no close connection to the described accounts."

I was making the point that the commentary in the gospels is written from the viewpoint of an uninvolved commentator, not from the viewpoint of someone who was actually there or who had talked to eyewitnesses.
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07-11-2012, 06:21 AM (This post was last modified: 07-11-2012 03:18 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Historicity Of The Christian Greek Scriptures
Is this it?

Bugger...was hoping for a work out but haven't even raised a sweat
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12-11-2012, 10:58 AM (This post was last modified: 20-11-2012 09:29 PM by Erxomai.)
RE: Historicity Of The Christian Greek Scriptures
Mr. Theist, I see you're back. Would you like to continue this bout? If so, I'm reopening the thread with the strict reminder to the peanut gallery that this challenge is for The Theist and Mark Fulton only!

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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12-01-2013, 08:33 PM
RE: Historicity Of The Christian Greek Scriptures
Thread closed due to lack of posting.

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