My Take on Atheism
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04-09-2015, 11:46 AM
RE: My Take on Atheism
jabeady,
Well written. Welcome to the forum. I especially like your last paragraph. You have the soul of a poet.
Doc
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04-09-2015, 12:24 PM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2015 12:43 PM by Free.)
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 10:26 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  It's a conspiracy, maaaaan!

Q: Does the Tacitus text regarding the Great Fires of Rome- which includes Christ and the Christians- provide any evidence whatsoever that Tacitus used hearsay?

A: If you're using the phrase "which includes Christ and the Christians" in your question, it shows you're a really bad historian, because you're assuming the whole passage is one thing, rather than a composite of data from numerous reports, as Tacitus himself says it is.

The whole passage is indeed part of Neronian history. Sure, he uses multiple sources, like any good historian does, but that does not eliminate the fact that he is focused upon 1 thing; Neronian history.

Quote: Information sources for each piece of data in his report can be different, and there are things that are extremely strange omissions (detailed in my previous reply) if he is reading that particular part on the basis of official (or as you say, "previously written") Roman records. You simply cannot assume that the whole thing is based on records, when Tacitus is so specific about what part he is referring to as based on the written reports, regarding the main subject of discussion, the actions of Emperor Nero. It appears pretty clear that the "Chrestus/Christus" stuff is just a footnote, and comes from various sources which, even if written down, are not necessarily Roman Empire records, but could simply be various written reports he collected from various sources regarding the fire, as he appears to indicate, there.

Well now, if this isn't a classic example of cherry picking and moving the goalposts, then I don't know what is. You are obviously stating the following:

"Okay, so Tacitus tells us he is using previously written Roman sources for his Neronian history regarding the great fires of Rome, but he doesn't tell us where he got his information about the part on Christ and the Christians!"

1. You are cherry picking the part about Christ and the Christians.
2. You are moving the goalposts after evidence has been provided by requesting even greater evidence.

You sir stand in treason of reason, and should be beheaded.

Big Grin

Quote:The burden of proof is on you, making the clear implication that they were Roman records, rather than witness statements and/or claims made by common citizens of Rome that he gathered as part of his own efforts to piece together a composite story, as historians (even accurate ones) must sometimes do when conclusive proof is unavailable, even if it is their usual practice to provide detailed documentary evidence when possible.

When he says all through his Annals that he is using a multitude of written Roman records including historians, the Roman registry, eyewitnesses, official records, then the case is made on where he got his sources from for his Annals, especially when he tells us right in the context of the Neronian history regarding the Great Fires of Rome and Christ that he is using previously written Roman records.

For 99.9% of historians, the burden of proof has been met. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether or not your little voice screams about it in some small insignificant cave out in the abyss of the internet. Nobody hears you, and nobody cares what you think of it.

It isn't the historians trying to make a claim for hearsay, it's people like you. If you are going to make that claim, then back up your assertions to support it, or you haven't said a fucking thing.

No historians are required to dispute any claim of hearsay because no evidence of it has been provided. Until you can actually provide that evidence, you have no claim at all, and I am under no obligation of any burden of proof whatsoever, since the burden of proof has been met. Therefore, you are again attempting to shift the burden of proof upon me to prove that something doesn't exist, such as hearsay. That is not my obligation; you are making the positive claim about the possibility of hearsay, therefore you have the burden of proof.

So ... if you think it was hearsay, then the floor is yours to meet the burden of proof.

Let's see it.

Big Grin

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04-09-2015, 01:17 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
Double post.

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04-09-2015, 01:17 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 11:18 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(04-09-2015 07:44 AM)Free Wrote:  Good morning, and sorry that I am about to piss all over your fucking cornflakes.

And there you are; assuming the possibility of hearsay without ever providing one single stitch of evidence to support the claim.

YOU have the burden of proof, not me or the historians. Get it?

If not, then the next time I see your sorry ass telling any fucking theist that he must meet the burden of proof I will call out your sorry ass as nothing more than a fucking hypocrite and an intellectually dishonest prick. It's fucking hilarious how you Jesus Mythicists employ a double standard regarding the burden of proof.

Drinking Beverage

To help clarify, for what Jesus are you insisting there is strong evidence?
  • The one as described in the Gospels? That magic man most certainly did not exist.
  • Someone on whom in the Gospel myths were created? That man may well have existed.
  • Some collection of preachers on whom in the Gospel myths were created? They may well have existed.
  • Some other Jesus?

Someone on whom in the Gospel myths were created? That man may well have existed.

Quote:And to what Jesus do you think mythicists refer? Consider

Someone on whom in the Gospel myths were created.

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04-09-2015, 01:44 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 11:46 AM)docskeptic Wrote:  jabeady,
Well written. Welcome to the forum. I especially like your last paragraph. You have the soul of a poet.
Doc
Thank you. Apparently, however, I need to clarify my position on the historicity of the biblical Jesus. I don't have a problem stipulating that a carpenter/rabbi named Jesus lived and died as described. We have the effect of such an existence all around us, we might as well go with it and put that argument behind us. OTOH, I am of the opinion that Thomas Jefferson's version of the Gospels is closer to the truth than is the better-known account. It's also more powerful as a story. If you haven't read it, it's available on Amazon.
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04-09-2015, 01:58 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 01:17 PM)Free Wrote:  That man may well have existed.

May have existed doesn't mean did definitely exist.

Personally I don't think Jebus ever existed and was lifted from folklore and other tall tales mostly by Saul of Tarsus.

There is probably a good deal more evidence that John the Baptist existed.

But really....whatever. Drinking Beverage

There's this, wonderfully empty, box beside me of the shits I give.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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04-09-2015, 02:01 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(03-09-2015 06:33 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  1. The Burden
2. The Magic
3. The Historians
4. The Cherry Pickers
5. The Disagreements
6. The Cults
7. The Threats

Could also read as a list of hipster bands you've probably never heard of.
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04-09-2015, 02:01 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
Really, mom. That's a word-picture I definitely did not need to take home this weekend.

Doc
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04-09-2015, 02:07 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 01:58 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(04-09-2015 01:17 PM)Free Wrote:  That man may well have existed.

May have existed doesn't mean did definitely exist.

Personally I don't think Jebus ever existed and was lifted from folklore and other tall tales mostly by Saul of Tarsus.

There is probably a good deal more evidence that John the Baptist existed.

But really....whatever. Drinking Beverage

There's this, wonderfully empty, box beside me of the shits I give.

My position has always been that the evidence to support historicity is far greater than the evidence to support a total myth. The reality is, Jesus Mythicists do not have a shred of evidence at all to support total myth.

There is simply no evidence at all to support a total myth. Nothing from antiquity from any culture has ever been found in which anyone questioned the actual existence of Jesus of Nazareth. This may sound like an argument from silence, but it is a valid argument from silence since we would expect someone somewhere in the past saying something to that affect.

What really does not make sense here is an explanation of how all these different sources including the Gospels, Paul, other biblical letters, Tacitus, Josephus, the Gnostics etc all speak of this man as someone who existed, and how the Jesus Mythicists do not have an explanation other than existence. Are we to logically conclude that all these writers were writing about a total myth and nobody said anything about it?

Nawww ... some things just utterly fail the litmus test, and this myth bullshit fell asleep during the exam.

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04-09-2015, 02:28 PM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2015 02:59 PM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 12:24 PM)Free Wrote:  The whole passage is indeed part of Neronian history. Sure, he uses multiple sources, like any good historian does, but that does not eliminate the fact that he is focused upon 1 thing; Neronian history.

Well now, if this isn't a classic example of cherry picking and moving the goalposts, then I don't know what is. You are obviously stating the following:

"Okay, so Tacitus tells us he is using previously written Roman sources for his Neronian history regarding the great fires of Rome, but he doesn't tell us where he got his information about the part on Christ and the Christians!"

1. You are cherry picking the part about Christ and the Christians.
2. You are moving the goalposts after evidence has been provided by requesting even greater evidence.

You sir stand in treason of reason, and should be beheaded.

Big Grin

When he says all through his Annals that he is using a multitude of written Roman records including historians, the Roman registry, eyewitnesses, official records, then the case is made on where he got his sources from for his Annals, especially when he tells us right in the context of the Neronian history regarding the Great Fires of Rome and Christ that he is using previously written Roman records.

For 99.9% of historians, the burden of proof has been met. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether or not your little voice screams about it in some small insignificant cave out in the abyss of the internet. Nobody hears you, and nobody cares what you think of it.

It isn't the historians trying to make a claim for hearsay, it's people like you. If you are going to make that claim, then back up your assertions to support it, or you haven't said a fucking thing.

No historians are required to dispute any claim of hearsay because no evidence of it has been provided. Until you can actually provide that evidence, you have no claim at all, and I am under no obligation of any burden of proof whatsoever, since the burden of proof has been met. Therefore, you are again attempting to shift the burden of proof upon me to prove that something doesn't exist, such as hearsay. That is not my obligation; you are making the positive claim about the possibility of hearsay, therefore you have the burden of proof.

So ... if you think it was hearsay, then the floor is yours to meet the burden of proof.

Let's see it.

Big Grin

No, you are the one connecting dots which do not meet up.

Here, quoted so it will collapse, is the entire passage. I have added bold emphasis where appropriate:

Quote:A disaster followed, whether accidental or treacherously contrived by the emperor, is uncertain, as authors have given both accounts, worse, however, and more dreadful than any which have ever happened to this city by the violence of fire. It had its beginning in that part of the circus which adjoins the Palatine and Caelian hills, where, amid the shops containing inflammable wares, the conflagration both broke out and instantly became so fierce and so rapid from the wind that it seized in its grasp the entire length of the circus. For here there were no houses fenced in by solid masonry, or temples surrounded by walls, or any other obstacle to interpose delay. The blaze in its fury ran first through the level portions of the city, then rising to the hills, while it again devastated every place below them, it outstripped all preventive measures; so rapid was the mischief and so completely at its mercy the city, with those narrow winding passages and irregular streets, which characterised old Rome. Added to this were the wailings of terror-stricken women, the feebleness of age, the helpless inexperience of childhood, the crowds who sought to save themselves or others, dragging out the infirm or waiting for them, and by their hurry in the one case, by their delay in the other, aggravating the confusion. Often, while they looked behind them, they were intercepted by flames on their side or in their face. Or if they reached a refuge close at hand, when this too was seized by the fire, they found that, even places, which they had imagined to be remote, were involved in the same calamity. At last, doubting what they should avoid or whither betake themselves, they crowded the streets or flung themselves down in the fields, while some who had lost their all, even their very daily bread, and others out of love for their kinsfolk, whom they had been unable to rescue, perished, though escape was open to them. And no one dared to stop the mischief, because of incessant menaces from a number of persons who forbade the extinguishing of the flames, because again others openly hurled brands, and kept shouting that there was one who gave them authority, either seeking to plunder more freely, or obeying orders.

Nero at this time was at Antium, and did not return to Rome until the fire approached his house, which he had built to connect the palace with the gardens of Maecenas. It could not, however, be stopped from devouring the palace, the house, and everything around it. However, to relieve the people, driven out homeless as they were, he threw open to them the Campus Martius and the public buildings of Agrippa, and even his own gardens, and raised temporary structures to receive the destitute multitude. Supplies of food were brought up from Ostia and the neighbouring towns, and the price of corn was reduced to three sesterces a peck. These acts, though popular, produced no effect, since a rumour had gone forth everywhere that, at the very time when the city was in flames, the emperor appeared on a private stage and sang of the destruction of Troy, comparing present misfortunes with the calamities of antiquity.

At last, after five days, an end was put to the conflagration at the foot of the Esquiline hill, by the destruction of all buildings on a vast space, so that the violence of the fire was met by clear ground and an open sky. But before people had laid aside their fears, the flames returned, with no less fury this second time, and especially in the spacious districts of the city. Consequently, though there was less loss of life, the temples of the gods, and the porticoes which were devoted to enjoyment, fell in a yet more widespread ruin. And to this conflagration there attached the greater infamy because it broke out on the Aemilian property of Tigellinus, and it seemed that Nero was aiming at the glory of founding a new city and calling it by his name. Rome, indeed, is divided into fourteen districts, four of which remained uninjured, three were levelled to the ground, while in the other seven were left only a few shattered, half-burnt relics of houses.

It would not be easy to enter into a computation of the private mansions, the blocks of tenements, and of the temples, which were lost. Those with the oldest ceremonial, as that dedicated by Servius Tullius to Luna, the great altar and shrine raised by the Arcadian Evander to the visibly appearing Hercules, the temple of Jupiter the Stayer, which was vowed by Romulus, Numa's royal palace, and the sanctuary of Vesta, with the tutelary deities of the Roman people, were burnt. So too were the riches acquired by our many victories, various beauties of Greek art, then again the ancient and genuine historical monuments of men of genius, and, notwithstanding the striking splendour of the restored city, old men will remember many things which could not be replaced. Some persons observed that the beginning of this conflagration was on the 19th of July, the day on which the Senones captured and fired Rome. Others have pushed a curious inquiry so far as to reduce the interval between these two conflagrations into equal numbers of years, months, and days.

Nero meanwhile availed himself of his country's desolation, and erected a mansion in which the jewels and gold, long familiar objects, quite vulgarised by our extravagance, were not so marvellous as the fields and lakes, with woods on one side to resemble a wilderness, and, on the other, open spaces and extensive views. The directors and contrivers of the work were Severus and Celer, who had the genius and the audacity to attempt by art even what nature had refused, and to fool away an emperor's resources. They had actually undertaken to sink a navigable canal from the lake Avernus to the mouths of the Tiber along a barren shore or through the face of hills, where one meets with no moisture which could supply water, except the Pomptine marshes. The rest of the country is broken rock and perfectly dry. Even if it could be cut through, the labour would be intolerable, and there would be no adequate result. Nero, however, with his love of the impossible, endeavoured to dig through the nearest hills to Avernus, and there still remain the traces of his disappointed hope.

Of Rome meanwhile, so much as was left unoccupied by his mansion, was not built up, as it had been after its burning by the Gauls, without any regularity or in any fashion, but with rows of streets according to measurement, with broad thoroughfares, with a restriction on the height of houses, with open spaces, and the further addition of colonnades, as a protection to the frontage of the blocks of tenements. These colonnades Nero promised to erect at his own expense, and to hand over the open spaces, when cleared of the debris, to the ground landlords. He also offered rewards proportioned to each person's position and property, and prescribed a period within which they were to obtain them on the completion of so many houses or blocks of building. He fixed on the marshes of Ostia for the reception of the rubbish, and arranged that the ships which had brought up corn by the Tiber, should sail down the river with cargoes of this rubbish. The buildings themselves, to a certain height, were to be solidly constructed, without wooden beams, of stone from Gabii or Alba, that material being impervious to fire. And to provide that the water which individual license had illegally appropriated, might flow in greater abundance in several places for the public use, officers were appointed, and everyone was to have in the open court the means of stopping a fire. Every building, too, was to be enclosed by its own proper wall, not by one common to others. These changes which were liked for their utility, also added beauty to the new city. Some, however, thought that its old arrangement had been more conducive to health, inasmuch as the narrow streets with the elevation of the roofs were not equally penetrated by the sun's heat, while now the open space, unsheltered by any shade, was scorched by a fiercer glow.

Such indeed were the precautions of human wisdom. The next thing was to seek means of propitiating the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina. Juno, too, was entreated by the matrons, first, in the Capitol, then on the nearest part of the coast, whence water was procured to sprinkle the fane and image of the goddess. And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

I highlighted two passages. The first is the "based on reports", to show not only how far back it is in his writing on this event about the burning of Rome, and to show that his "have given both accounts" quip is in specific reference to a specific thing that has nothing to do with the Christian comments later. (He refers to the beliefs of various people that Nero had something to do with setting the fire, versus "it was just an accident".) Later, he points to the attacks against Christians by official decree, which would have been common knowledge to anyone living in Rome, as Nero's way of wagging the dog to try, unsuccessfully, to get the public to hate someone else for it, a bit like Donald Trump's attempts to get us to blame immigrants for things they have no connection to, and most people can see it.

He gives no information on where he sourced his knowledge of the Christians, though the "based on their information" implies that he is referring to the reports they gave when interrogated by authorities, prior to their executions, in which THEY would certainly have reported that they were followers of Christus, the Anointed One, which Tacitus informs us was enough information to be executed upon, for "hatred against mainkind". It shows us that the Christians were being interviewed, and that Tacitus is reporting their information. It does NOT show us that the info about Pilate killing Jesus was from any other source, as Tacitus [EDIT: originally wrote "Pilate" here by accident, meaning Tacitus, but it occurs to me that we have no such reports recorded anywhere from Pilate, who did give reports from Judea to Rome] does not make reference to such a Roman report. Since the Romans hated these early Christians, it's hardly surprising that he'd have taken them at their word about the act of Pilate, and interpreted it as an attempt by the Judean Procurator to wipe out this heinous cult at its source.

It is an interpretation, based on our traditional understanding of the story which has grown so pervasive in Western (read: Christian) society, that he must have been operating on Roman reports that gave him information about the actions of Pilate with respect to this Christ, but it's not actually in The Annals XV, and it's wrong to insert it when we have a much more likely source of that information that he acknowledges he was working with: the testimonies of the soon-to-be-executed Christians.

You have zero evidence that the particular bit about Christianity was based on Roman records, not even the bit about Pilate. It's an inference, and not a very good one given the literal reading of Tacitus, who tended to list his specific written sources when he had such sources. Instead, the Christians part appears as a footnote about why Nero tortured and killed so many Christians by way of trying to distract from rumors of his political crimes. And the only "authors note that" listed by Tacitus in this section comes pages earlier, regarding a very specific claim about Nero's fire. It is disingenuous to apply it to the remainder of the passage.

P.S. - I don't appreciate your attempt to emotionally badger or intimidate me from your position as a historian. I have a minor in history, as well, and am well-versed in how to read ancient passages/historians in their context, even if working from a translated version. Stop being an asshole.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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