Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
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12-08-2013, 03:39 PM
Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
No, it isn't a theist argument, although I love dropping the hammer on them. It's an atheist argument -- the one that goes "everything from the Bible is stolen from earlier mythologies".

To start with, it's logically fallacious; correlation doesn't prove causation. It doesn't matter if the Noah flood story appears to have many correlations to the Epic of Gilgamesh, because it's entirely possible that they both plagiarized from a different source (or just have coincidental similarities).

Also, an article on Cracked.com today put to rest many of the ideas that the Jesus myth was stolen from Egyptian myths (Cracked.com is merely a repository for jokes and fun -- the real authorities are found from the various hyperlinks from their article). A lack of correlation definitely means a lack of causation.

But let's say you can totally prove that the stories from the bible are rip-offs of earlier myths; do you think that will convince a believer that they're made up? Of course not! I'm skeptical of the idea that this argument has ever worked. A believer can simply rationalize that a member of the other religion saw visions or prophesies from Christianity (since that's totally possible, according to the Old Testament) and made up false myths (via misinterpretation) based on real prophesy. Or they can simply disbelieve your "facts", because apparently people like Bill Maher or his source (probably God is Not Great, page 9) will make this up to prove their point, as pointless as that point truly is.

This is why we have to stop this. Every bad atheist argument poisons the well filled with good arguments and gives theists a way to justify their belief that we're wrong or misleading.

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12-08-2013, 03:54 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
Not all theists believe in the same thing. I know many who say the flood is nothing at all but symbolism -- just like Adam and Eve and most of the OT. It's the NT where shit gets weird -- because most of them totally believe it all.

Also, depending on their view of god (all lovey dovey and loves everyone), the harder it is to shake their belief because they don't see a reason to question it. Some even believe that even atheists if they're good people can go to heaven....

Those types are harder to deal with....IMHO.


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12-08-2013, 04:16 PM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2013 06:04 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
But if you can demonstrate that everything ... laws, customs, dietary restrictions, mythological concepts, (such as angels) had historical precursors in surrounding cultures with which they are known to have constant contact, it raises the question of "divine origins". Syncretism ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncretism )
and Comparative Mythology aren't "correlation". They have nothing to "prove". Theists have to prove "divine origin", which is made immensely more difficult with a knowledge of other nearby/surrounding cultures. So, I disagree. It's never going to be "laid to rest". It's integral to the debate. "Stolen from" is a modern concept. "Borrowing from" (syncretism) was the way ancient cultures worked, whether anyone likes it or not. Understanding the cultural context from where a cult arose, goes a log way to understanding it. For example, theists, (including Craig) are always using the "miracles" performed, and the resurrection as unique "proofs". When you can point out historically miracle workers, and dying and rising gods were a dime a dozen, the "uniqueness" argument falls on it's face.

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12-08-2013, 04:45 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
Did you know that Christmas trees are actually pagan!? Christmas is a lie!

...
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12-08-2013, 04:52 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
I have this movie idea about a guy who living in this computer virtual world.
He is contacted by someone from outside this virtual world and told what to do when it seems like his whole world is about to come crashing down.
He escapes the virtual world and battles a flood of agents.

Ideas and stories can come from previous stories written or told over generations

In my mind there are two many similarities between Utnapishtim & Noah for this to not be direct plagiarism.
The story of Utnapishtim had been a known story for over 2000 years before the story of Noah was written (copied)

Now granted, it's possible that someone just happened to invent a story that had nearly the same exact sequence of events as a story that had been floating around for 2000 yrs, but the odds of that are extremely extremely rare.

When you find similar stories that were written hundreds or thousands of years earlier, it's very hard to say that the more current version is an ORIGINAL idea.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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12-08-2013, 06:00 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
I Know, when I see this posted on message boards or even churned out in "documentaries" (Religulous,The God Who Wasn't There), it makes me cringe a little.

"Lol, wel jesus wus just copied from mithrus so christianity is fake lol." Research your damn arguments before you spit them out and make yourself look like a jackass.

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12-08-2013, 07:33 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
(12-08-2013 03:39 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  No, it isn't a theist argument, although I love dropping the hammer on them. It's an atheist argument -- the one that goes "everything from the Bible is stolen from earlier mythologies".

I have never heard any atheist claim that EVERYTHING in the Bible is plagiarized from earlier myths.

That does not mean SOME stories in the Bible were plagiarized.

Quote:To start with, it's logically fallacious; correlation doesn't prove causation. It doesn't matter if the Noah flood story appears to have many correlations to the Epic of Gilgamesh, because it's entirely possible that they both plagiarized from a different source (or just have coincidental similarities).

It is not just correlation, though.

It is a well studied subject with understood vectors of transmission of myths from one tribe in the area to others.

Quote:Cracked.com today put to rest many of the ideas that the Jesus myth was stolen from Egyptian myths (Cracked.com is merely a repository for jokes and fun -- the real authorities are found from the various hyperlinks from their article). A lack of correlation definitely means a lack of causation.

Yes, the Jesus myth does not map to the Horus myth.

But there is a greater point that you are missing.

The fact is, that the vast majority of gods from before Jesus had many of the same characteristics (miracle births, healing the sick, resurrecting the dead, etc). It doesn't matter that they are not identical, they fit the basic outline.

Google 'Lord Raglan's Hero-Myth Pattern'. This is based on a compilation of the attributes of all hero myths. There are 22 points of comparison. Jesus matches on 18 (some say he matches on 20).

Quote:But let's say you can totally prove that the stories from the bible are rip-offs of earlier myths; do you think that will convince a believer that they're made up? Of course not! I'm skeptical of the idea that this argument has ever worked

Not every believer will be convinced by any single argument. But some will be convinced by the totality of many of the arguments.

The vast majority of believers that no longer believe were convinced by SOME argument, right?

Quote:A believer can simply rationalize that a member of the other religion saw visions or prophesies from Christianity (since that's totally possible

A believer can rationalize ANY argument.

I guess in the context that ANYTHING is possible, it is possible. But you do understand that there is a HUGE difference between 'possibility' and 'probability', right?

Quote:This is why we have to stop this. Every bad atheist argument poisons the well filled with good arguments and gives theists a way to justify their belief that we're wrong or misleading.

Yes, the bad Zeitgeist video (piece of crap that it is) type of arguments should not be used. But that does not mean that there is actual truth that much of the Bible was plagiarized from earlier myths.
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12-08-2013, 07:53 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
I've seen it work in conjunction with "theist are atheist about other religions gods". When you say to them that they don't believe in Issis or some other god, and then show them that their myths are based on those myths, you can actually see the spark in their eyes as the neurons connect Tongue

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12-08-2013, 08:53 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
I am in some agreement and some disagreement with the OP. Many human myths follow similar patterns.

Almost all have some sort of creation myth that describes how a god/s or a god/s like creature/s created humans. Almost all have strictures against certain kinds of behaviors. Almost all have featured a god/s that has been among humans for some purpose, mostly helping humans. Clearly there are correlations between some of the myths common in the mediterranean at the time some of the myths of the old testament were created. Others here who are more versed in bible scholarship have commented on that. The correlation between the bible and common human myths is great and it should be a good argument to offer theists.

The argument should however not go so far as to say all the bible was stolen from other myths. The argument should be more effective if only the commonalities were presented and not presented as absolute proof. Someone who has bought into the myth of the one true god needs to know not that the entirety of the bible is stolen from elsewhere but that it is a common form, written down, of all the usual myths of humans. That might get them thinking.

Odd bit to me is how few christians see any correlation between mid winter feasts and the so called birth and the spring death and rebirth of their most revered character. The connection to known non christian (at least in the northern hemisphere) rituals around the same times should cause any christian pause.

A side note around the Cracked.com thing linked to. There was an expose of "Looking for Superman" there and there was a linked to news story about Woodside High school in California. I have lived as an adult for around 15 years total in proximity to this high school. I know the area quite well and would have disbelieved the statistics they present about that school in the documentary. I was correct according to the news story.
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12-08-2013, 08:59 PM
RE: Let's Finally Put This Dumb Argument to Rest
A recent article in Bible and Interpretation by no less a figure than Chris Rollston shows that this idea that god getting pissed at people and punishing them was not a unique feature of Judaism; it was documented on the Mesha Stele in which the king of Moab said:

Quote: Notice especially the language Mesha uses in his stele so as to account for Moab’s military losses: “Omri the King of Israel subjugated Moab for many days because Kemosh was angry with his land.” Kemosh was the national God of the Moabites and this inscription demonstrates that just as the Israelites and Judeans could attribute their military defeats to Yahweh’s anger (that is, to their national God), so also the Moabites could attribut their military defeat’s to Kemosh’s anger.

http://www.bibleinterp.com/opeds/2013/07...8029.shtml

Archaeology is showing us that there was little to nothing unique about the inhabitants of Israel or Judah.
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