My Take on Atheism
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04-09-2015, 02:48 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
Never mind.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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04-09-2015, 02:53 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(03-09-2015 04:15 PM)jabeady Wrote:  What comes after this? I dunno. As with the question of god, I don't see any reason to think or believe anything comes after. I could be wrong. If I am, would a god who, as I am told, created me and gave me my reason and intellect and who, I am also told, is infinitely compassionate, really abandon me to an eternity of suffering simply because I misunderstood?
If He wanted you to suffer for eternity He would let you know. If He doesn't do this then you are not going to suffer for all eternity. Just be true to yourself and you are going to be just fine.
P.S.this message is given to you by someone who belongs to true Church of God.

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04-09-2015, 03:36 PM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2015 03:50 PM by Free.)
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 02:28 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(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".)

You act as if just because it's a few paragraphs back it means something. The fact of the matter is that it is within the context of the Great Fires of Rome, and it is within the very first line of this historical event. He tells us right off the bat that he is sourcing other written historical sources, and you are trying to suggest that the sources he was referencing were only in relation as to whether Nero started the fire or if it was accidental?

Is this not yet another fine example of cherry picking? Do you think he only sources previous writers to tell us about whether the fire was started by Nero or was accidental?

Dude, the fact of the matter is that he specifies that he is accessing previously written Roman sources for his history on the Great Fires of Rome. That is without question, and if you think for one moment that all he was accessing was whether or not Nero was blamed for the fire or if it was accidental, then perhaps you would like to explain where he got all the other information about Nero?

Did he make it up in his head? Did he use "hearsay" to write Roman history about a Roman Caesar? Do you think he walked the street and talked to just ordinary common people?

Seriously dude ... your argument here is too weak to be considered.

Oh, and by the way, I noticed you stopped at paragraph 15:44, and did not continue to 15:45 which shows us the aftermath of the fires, and gives us this gem:

Quote:[15:45] According to some writers, poison was prepared for him at Nero's command by his own freedman, whose name was Cleonicus. This Seneca avoided through the freedman's disclosure, or his own apprehension, while he used to support life on the very simple diet of wild fruits, with water from a running stream when thirst prompted.


1/4 of a paragraph away from Nero, Christ, Pilate and Tiberias we see Tacitus is using more Roman historical accounts regarding Nero.

So much for your assertion that it was only about whether or not Nero started the fire, and how far back the opening paragraph is.

Wink

Quote: in which THEY would certainly have reported that they were followers of Christus, the Anointed One,

And .... your evidence for this assertion is ... where?

Big Grin


Quote:It shows us that the Christians were being interviewed, and that Tacitus is reporting their information.

Sure! Evidence please?


Quote: It does NOT show us that the info about Pilate killing Jesus was from any other source, as Tacitus 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.

You do understand that Tacitus was a Roman, who was writing Roman history, regarding a Roman governor named Pontius Pilate, who served in Judea under the Roman Caesar, Tiberias?

Do you really think that a Roman historian- who as a governor, senator and a Consul- would write Roman history according to the claims of the hated Christians?

Is that what you think?

Big Grin

Quote: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.

You say we have zero evidence when the Annals themselves demonstrate ad nausium where Tacitus was getting his information from? What I see here is nothing more than you cherry picking a couple of lines of text and demanding greater evidence than what is obvious.

You are cherry picking something about Christ, and using your faulty reasoning we could just cherry pick everything he wrote and do the same thing. We could do this all day on millions of books, and using your reasoning we could just doubt everything ever written on every subject ever conceived.

The fact of the matter is that if he had used "Clopus" in place of Christ, and "Clopusians" in place of Christians, you wouldn't have a single reason whatsoever to doubt the text.

You are only doubting because you are bias, and instead of seeing ROMAN history, all you care to look at is Christ, and that's all you see.

I see Roman history, not Christian history ... just like 99.9% of historians see it.

Big Grin

Quote: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.

Sure, I'll stop being an asshole when you start being an actual historian.

Deal?

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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04-09-2015, 04:06 PM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2015 04:51 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 11:03 AM)mordant Wrote:  
(04-09-2015 08:37 AM)daniel1948 Wrote:  If we're going to discuss whether or not Jesus was a real person, don't we have to ask, which Jesus? I think it extremely likely that there was a guy names Jesus who went around preaching the end of the world, got himself in trouble with the authorities, and was crucified. Apparently he was not the only person preaching the end of the world around then, and he was certainly not the only person who was crucified.
I think it more likely he's a composite character or an outright fabrication, but yes, as an historical figure he's far more likely than a miracle-working god-man.

The only source concerning this Jesus is the NT. Secular mentions are nearly non-existent and the ones we have are of very uncertain provenance ... the best and clearest one (Josephus) has all the hallmarks of a pious fraud.

What clears it up for me is reading the NT in the chronological order it was written in. Done that way, the first mention of Jesus is in Paul's letters, the earliest authorship of which is dated to roughly a decade to a decade and a half after the alleged events in the gospels.

To me it is telling that Paul, rather than appeal to living eyewitnesses for the authority of his teachings about Jesus and the meaning of the Christian faith, appeals instead to a personal subjective experience that we must take on his say-so -- a vision in which he was "caught up into heaven". Even then he's oblique and coy about it, talking about it with faux humility in the third person and not sure if he was physically caught up to heaven or just in his mind.

And then there's his prickly, fractious, adversarial relationship with the apostle Peter, another one of those eyewitnesses that should have lent Paul support, but didn't.

Finally, decades later when the gospels were written, they talk about a flesh and blood miracle-working god-man that Paul does not talk about. In fact the Jesus Paul talks about is almost heavenly and non-corporeal. Today the gospels come first in the NT and we tend to interpret Paul in the context of the gospels that did not exist at the time Paul wrote and taught. But if you read them pretending you don't know a single tall tale from the gospels, you get a different version of Christ and of Christianity than we have today. Almost as if the gospels were written in part as a corrective, to half-assed harmonize Paul's musings with the evolving dogma of the church.

So ... while a historic Jesus is certainly possible, I see no particular evidence for it, either.

"Finally, decades later when the gospels were written, they talk about a flesh and blood miracle-working god-man that Paul does not talk about. In fact the Jesus Paul talks about is almost heavenly and non-corporeal. Today the gospels come first in the NT and we tend to interpret Paul in the context of the gospels that did not exist at the time Paul wrote and taught. But if you read them pretending you don't know a single tall tale from the gospels, you get a different version of Christ and of Christianity than we have today. Almost as if the gospels were written in part as a corrective, to half-assed harmonize Paul's musings with the evolving dogma of the church.

So ... while a historic Jesus is certainly possible, I see no particular evidence for it, either."


This is an excellent point, one that is fundamental to understand when discussing the historicity of Jesus. Paul, our earliest source, knows nothing or next to nothing of the flesh and blood Jesus, despite the fact he associates with James and some of the disciples.

To me the evidence for the existence of a Jesus is not in the gospels, but in the fact of the existence of his brother James and his possible cousin John are well documented by historians.
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04-09-2015, 04:09 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 02:53 PM)Alla Wrote:  P.S.this message is given to you by someone who belongs to true Church of God.

The Funk and Wagnalls people want to use this with your permission.

They need something to go in the "presumptuous" entry as an example.

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04-09-2015, 07:42 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 02:53 PM)Alla Wrote:  
(03-09-2015 04:15 PM)jabeady Wrote:  What comes after this? I dunno. As with the question of god, I don't see any reason to think or believe anything comes after. I could be wrong. If I am, would a god who, as I am told, created me and gave me my reason and intellect and who, I am also told, is infinitely compassionate, really abandon me to an eternity of suffering simply because I misunderstood?
If He wanted you to suffer for eternity He would let you know. If He doesn't do this then you are not going to suffer for all eternity. Just be true to yourself and you are going to be just fine.
P.S.this message is given to you by someone who belongs to true Church of God.

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04-09-2015, 08:44 PM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(04-09-2015 04:09 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(04-09-2015 02:53 PM)Alla Wrote:  P.S.this message is given to you by someone who belongs to true Church of God.

The Funk and Wagnalls people want to use this with your permission.

They need something to go in the "presumptuous" entry as an example.
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05-09-2015, 01:04 AM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(03-09-2015 04:15 PM)jabeady Wrote:  I somehow got involved in a religious discussion while visiting a gun forum. Here's what I came up with:

1st. It's well-known that it's impossible to prove a negative (there is no god), so demanding that someone do so is inherently a dishonest deflection of the conversation.

No no no no! ( There is a god ) is a negative claim as well as a postive one as well. The god itself is a negative and can never be proven and the claim itself is positive. Positive claims require positive evidence sir. ( There is no god ) is merely a statement from the perspective of those who do not believe. We do not have to prove anything, nor do we need evidence to make that statement. It is an honest thing to say.


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05-09-2015, 10:46 AM
RE: My Take on Atheism
(05-09-2015 01:04 AM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  
(03-09-2015 04:15 PM)jabeady Wrote:  I somehow got involved in a religious discussion while visiting a gun forum. Here's what I came up with:

1st. It's well-known that it's impossible to prove a negative (there is no god), so demanding that someone do so is inherently a dishonest deflection of the conversation.

No no no no! ( There is a god ) is a negative claim as well as a postive one as well. The god itself is a negative and can never be proven and the claim itself is positive. Positive claims require positive evidence sir. ( There is no god ) is merely a statement from the perspective of those who do not believe. We do not have to prove anything, nor do we need evidence to make that statement. It is an honest thing to say.

Actually, "There is a God" and "There is no God" are both positive claims, since each claim asserts a positive truth.

Therefore, both fall under the burden of proof.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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