Reliability of the Gospels
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14-12-2012, 07:25 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Quote:That's an admirable goal. BUT....at the end of the day, we want the truth, and so does most of the world.

Like I keep saying, nothing is ever conclusive when it comes to ancient history. We could find the corspe of Jesus along with the sign Pilate placed over his head, use DNA testing, and have another half dozen clear markers pointing to his identity and still we would not have the truth because somebody somewhere would throw up some kind of crazy argument that millions of gullible people would believe.

Quote: You seem adamantly opposed to the idea that Jesus never existed, and you start lecturing anyone who disagrees with you (about, for example, your interpretation of logical fallacies). While your motives are admirable, you shouldn't drive an agenda if you become closed-minded by doing so.

I am not opposed to it, but only opposed to the arguments used to support it, which all fail miserably in the court of reason and get sliced to pieces by Occam's Razor. Now, this may sound insulting, but many proponents for the Jesus Myth theory-including yourself- repeatedly use logical fallacies in their reasoning and fail to use Occam's Razor when evaluating their own arguments. They constantly deny that obvious evidence actually exists, and hold to their theory with a religious fervor.

To be blunt, most Mythers are every bit as much a believer in what they believe in as a Christian or Muslim, and the reasons and arguments they use to believe in what they believe are every bit as weak as a Christian or Muslim.

Seriously, I feel like I am arguing against a theist when I am arguing with Jesus Christ Myth proponents. The difference between them and me is that I am arguing for historical purposes, and they are arguing for non-existence, which is nothing whatsoever.

Quote:Now....I too think Yeshua probably existed, yet I'm open to the possibility that he didn't... because I'm not sure. I too would like to help Christians by helping them discover the humanity of a real OR a 100% invented Jesus.

The argument that somebody named Jesus who was considered to be a Messiah by many 1st century Jews and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate is a far better argument than total myth, by a long shot.

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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14-12-2012, 08:05 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(13-12-2012 11:24 PM)vindicarblack Wrote:  see i can post unsupported and undocumented internet cut and paste items like free, although I think there is historically more support for my quote:


A negative proof is a logical fallacy which takes the structure of:
X is true because there is no proof that X is false.
If the only evidence for something's existence is a lack of evidence for it not existing, then the default position is one of skepticism and not credulity. This type of negative proof is common in proofs of God's existence or in pseudosciences where it is used to attempt to shift the burden of proof onto the skeptic rather than the proponent of the idea. The burden of proof is on the individual proposing existence, not the one questioning existence.


On the contrary, my argument was indeed supported.

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14-12-2012, 08:12 AM (This post was last modified: 14-12-2012 09:38 AM by Free.)
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(13-12-2012 11:20 PM)vindicarblack Wrote:  
(13-12-2012 08:51 PM)Free Wrote:  "In some circumstances it can be safely assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_absence


You will want to update your education regarding negative proof/argument from silence/argument from ignorance. At one time, even just a few months ago, it was indeed declared to be a fallacy. But because some exceptionally good arguments were presented, it is no longer considered to be a fallacious argument in some circumstances.


My argument was one of those "some circumstances."

I will not stoop to your level and resort a personal attack but it is still the opposite of what you are asserting. The quote above asserts that the absence of proof that an event did not occur is proof, in way, that it actually did not occur, not just that the proof is non-existent - I will explain it one last time for you. You are asserting something completely different. You are asserting that the lack of disproof of Jesus is proof that he did exist. If you cannot understand the difference than there is no point to continue our discussion.


You are failing miserably to understand the reasoning of the argument. It is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence.


If there is a lack of evidence to support an occurring of something that reasonably should have occurred, then it is perfectly reasonable to accept that lack of evidence as being positive proof that that something did not actually occur.


It is under those circumstances where the fallacy of negative proof does not apply.

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14-12-2012, 08:36 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Quote:Now....I too think Yeshua probably existed, yet I'm open to the possibility that he didn't... because I'm not sure. I too would like to help Christians by helping them discover the humanity of a real OR a 100% invented Jesus.


Okay, so now let's put you to the test.


Please provide any evidence whatsoever to support your belief that Yeshua probably existed. Please demonstrate your reasoning to support this belief.


Wink

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14-12-2012, 08:53 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(13-12-2012 09:58 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(13-12-2012 07:42 PM)Free Wrote:  But the quote of Origen regarding what John said is not in the Gospel record, so you really have no point there. Also, the age of Jesus, if you read it properly, is an old wives tale that stems from his supposed resurrection and subsequent remaining on earth.

The Hindu's have a similar story about Jesus. Apparently, Jesus is buried in India.


Um.....what are you on about? I never mentioned Origin (I was talking about Irenaeus). Whether what Irenaeus wrote is in the gospels or not is irrelevant. He was a very important church father. He should have known how old Jeebus was. Obviously Jeebus hadn't finished evolving when Irenaeus wrote this.

Have you been smoking something? Big Grin


Have never done drugs.

Sorry about the mistype.

I see you have attempted to change your position from the following ...


Quote:This demonstrates that the gospels were still evolving in the late second century.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid219176

... to the following:

Quote:Obviously Jeebus hadn't finished evolving when Irenaeus wrote this.


So first you claim the Gospels hadn't finished evolving when Irenaeus wrote this, and when I demonstrated to you that you had no point, you then switched it to say Jesus hadn't finished evolving.

That fallacy is known as Moving the Goalposts.

I don't think it's me who is smoking anything.

Wink

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14-12-2012, 09:11 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Quote:I'm not sure why you think "Romans" hated Christianity. Leaving that aside...I'm glad you asked the question...here is something REALLY INTERESTING I want to share with everyone. These are Joseph Atwill's ideas about the origins of the gospels...


There’s a fascinating, intriguing theory about the origins of the gospels that fits with my suspicion that Christianity originated as government propaganda. The contemporary writer Joseph Atwill, who spent ten years studying the gospels, the Dead Sea scrolls and the works of Josephus, thinks intellectuals working for the government during the Flavian dynasty (69-96 CE) wrote the original versions of the gospels. He writes in his 2005 book “Caesar’s Messiah” (http://www.amazon.com/Caes+ars-Messiah-R...oks&ie=UTF) about certain events from the ministry of Jesus that closely parallel the military campaign of Titus in the first Jewish war. He believes that sometime during the Flavian dynasty, when Vespasian, then Titus and then Domitian were emperors, intellectuals under their direction created the gospels, and incorporated a skillful satire of the Jews that becomes apparent on reading Josephus’ “Wars of the Jews” and his “The Life of Flavius Josephus.”Mr Atwill believes the existence of a real Yeshua may have been a fact, yet that doesn’t mean that anything that character may have said or done is faithfully recorded in the gospels.He believes that Titus had the gospels invented for two reasons; firstly to act as a theological barrier against the spread of messianic Judaism, and secondly because if he could get Jews to worship “Jesus,” it would mean they accepted Roman authority.

Titus had decimated militant Judaism in 70CE, but he couldn’t get the Jewish prisoners to worship him as Lord. The revolt may have been crushed, but the religion that inspired it wasn’t. It became obvious that Jews were still dreaming about their messiah, so Titus transformed himself into the embodiment of their dreams. He had a derivative of Judaism created that worshipped him (as Jesus) without its followers knowing it. He became the Son of God, sent by his father (Vespasian), who had already been deified by the Roman Senate. The agenda was to tame Judaism by transforming it into a cooperative, government friendly religion.

Using religion for the good of the state was a well-established practice in ancient Rome. If this is why the gospels were created, the cruel joke is that it was done to subdue stubborn Jews and to get them to worship the Roman Caesar as Lord.

The Flavians fancied Christianity might flourish before the Gospels’ satirical level became widely known. The gospels were designed to become apparent as satire only to the more educated classes who had access to Josephus’ works. If this is true, they were a very black comedy.

Josephus was an adopted member of the Imperial family. He lived in the imperial palace, and was their official historian. Titus supported the publication of his “Wars of the Jews.” Josephus would have considered Vespasian and Titus divine, or been pleased to help propagate the myth. Titus became emperor in 79 CE, and was deified shortly after his death in 81 CE. The historian Seutonius says of him “I have likewise been informed by many persons, that he was remarkably quick in writing short-hand, would in merriment and jest engage with his secretaries in the imitation of any hand-writing he saw, and often say, ‘that he was admirably qualified for forgery.’" (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, section 466). Titus had his writers who wrote the gospels backdate Jesus’ ministry to c.30 CE, thereby enabling “Jesus” to foresee events in the future war.As part of the scheme, Josephus shaped some of the details of his history of the war so it appeared that the messiah fulfilled predictions from the book of Daniel. There were plenty of people in the Flavian household who, like Josephus, were familiar enough with Judaism to help create Christianity. Titus’ mistress Bernice was a Jew of Maccabean descent. Tiberias Alexander, a Jew, was chief of staff to Titus during the siege of Jerusalem. He was also the nephew of Philo, the well-known Jewish philosopher. John of Gischala, one of the main leaders of the Jewish revolt, had been transported as a prisoner back to Rome, but not executed. Atwill believes his inside knowledge of the struggle against Rome was used by the Flavians to help fabricate gospel fictions.

Titus Flavius fulfilled in real life many of “Jesus’” prophesies, forty years (within one generation) after “Jesus” spoke them. Jesus and Titus both preached “good news,” and were sent on a mission from God, their father.Both began their three-year campaigns in Galilee and finished them in Jerusalem. Atwill believes the site of today’s Nazareth was chosen in the fourth century because it was the location of Titus’ first battle in Galilee. Titus was in his late 20’s, just like Jesus. He’s the “son of man” who “laid low” many Galilean towns, surrounded Jerusalem and destroys the buildings therein, and annihilated a “wicked generation,” all as predicted by Jesus. “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:43-44 KJV). Many Jews had been trapped inside Jerusalem’s walls because they didn’t know the Romans were coming.

Mark’s gospel says:“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 4:18-19 KJV). That sounds like a nice story, but takes on a more macabre meaning if read in conjunction with Josephus’ Wars of the Jews in which he relates the story of a battle between Jews and Titus’ troops on the same sea of Galilee:“Sometimes the Romans leapt into their ships, with swords in their hands, and slew them; but when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off their heads or their hands…” Hence Titus’ troops followed him on to the Sea of Galilee where they became “fishers of men.”

Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, as foretold by Jesus. "As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (Luke 21:6 KJV, see also Matt. 24:1; Mark 13:1).

How then, does Atwill explain the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus? The parallel is in Josephus’ autobiography “The Life of Flavius Josephus”“Moreover, when the city Jerusalem was taken by force…I was sent by Titus Caesar…to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp; as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered. (75, 417, 420-421). So three men were crucified, but only one survived. The person who begged the Roman commander to take the survivor down from the cross was Josephus himself, whose Jewish name was Joseph Bar Matthias, from which the gospels get Joseph “of Arimathea,” the man who allegedly asked Pilate for Jesus’ body.

When Rome went to war it had a long tradition of absorbing the religions of its opponents. It was easier and more cost effective than allowing those gods to remain enemies, thereby risking more wrangles with the rank and file rallying under them. This was another example, yet with its own unique twist. The authors were hoping to convince Hebrews that Jesus, who was really Titus, and predicted the future, and had been the messiah they had been waiting for. “Jesus” was a concoction designed to deprive them of the desire to start insurrections. If this is true, Christianity was, in fact, a very clever, and in one sense humorous, product of the broader struggle that had been going on since Alexander the great in 333 BCE, the one between Hellenism with its polytheism, cleverness and rationalism, and Judaism’s monotheism, subservience and faith.

This neatly explains how Christianity, a pro-Roman religion reliant on the gospels and said to promote pacifism and obedience, allegedly emerged from a Judean cult in a nation that had over a one hundred year history of a militant struggle against Rome. It explains why a pacifist preacher, Jesus, was created out of the story of Yeshua, an unsuccessful upstart. It’s why the true identities of all the four gospel authors are unknown. It’s why “Jesus” referred to Jews who rebelled against Rome as a “wicked generation.” It’s why the “second coming” of Jesus never happened; it was Titus who came instead. It’s why the gospels are so often anti Semitic. It nicely explains why “Jesus” would say“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.’ (Matthew 5:41 KJB,) about Roman soldiers conscripting people to carry their packs. It also explanations why “Jesus” was able to predict the future, as noticed by the credulous (or dishonest) Eusebius:“If anyone compares the words of our savior with the other accounts of the historian (Josephus) concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Saviour were truly divine and marvelously strange.” (Church History, Book III, Chapter VII.) Eusebius failed to realize, or admit, that the gospels’ authors had used Josephus to create Jesus. It explains why the gospels were first written in Greek and how Christianity’s structures of authority, namely churches and the college of bishops, were based on Roman, not Judaic, traditions.It is why so many members of the Roman imperial family were said to be promoting Christianity, for example Flavius Clemens, later said to be the fourth pope, Bernice, Titus’ mistress, and Flavia Domitilla, Vespasian’s granddaughter. If these people were “Christians,” they were so in name only, as they couldn’t have believed in their own spoof.

Atwill thinks the Flavians didn’t intend sophisticated, educated people similar to themselves to read their invention as serious literature or history. It was intended for militant Jews and the hoi polloi, people Josephus referred to as “slaves” and “scum.”If Atwill’s theory is correct, Christians have been unwittingly worshipping Titus Flavius for nearly 2000 years. Jesus’ injunctions to love your enemies, aspire to poverty, and pay your taxes take on a sinister meaning, because they were invented for the control and pacification of peasants and slaves.Titus' invented religion, the one said to be the basis of western morality, took hold partly because common people didn't have the intellectual armor to guard against it, and it succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the Flavians. Titus, lying in his grave, has had an embarrassed grin on his face for the last two millennia. He was responsible for the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on mankind.

This theory adds weight to the hypothesis that Paul’s Christianity originated as part of a government plot. Paul probably wrote well before the Flavian dynasty, yet there is a good reason why the propaganda could have started in Paul’s day; Rome was trying to prevent a war with the Jews. Mr Atwill will be writing a subsequent book that helps explain Paul’s role in the scheme.

There is, however, in my opinion, what seems to be a minor problem with the theory. Atwill has proposed the four gospels were originally written during the Flavian dynasty (69-96 CE), yet it’s a fact that no first century source ever mentions the existence of any of the four Gospels, so there’s no particular reason to even date them from the first century. (see http://www.harrington-sites.com/f5.htm).The gospels are never explicitly mentioned in the writings of the Church fathers and apologists until toward the end of the second century, which suggests they were only originally written then, I would say a minimum of one hundred years after Jesus died. There were hundreds of now so-called apocryphal gospels in the second century, only first whittled down to four in the late second century. There are, however, many possible explanations that render Atwill’s theory still plausible. One is that the gospels were first written only in a minimalist fashion, unnamed and not widely distributed. It could be that they were expanded upon in the later second century, given names and only then widely circulated. It could also be that all mentions of first century gospels were removed by later Christians intent on promoting their own versions of the gospels.Many scholars disagree with me and think the gospels were first penned in the late first century, which fits perfectly with the theory.

Atwill seems to suggest all the four gospels were written simultaneously. This idea isn’t generally accepted, because Mark appears to have been written first. I find it hard to imagine why the government would invent four different accounts. It seems more likely to me they wrote one, the original version of Mark, and the others evolved from this as the second century progressed.

I haven’t done justice to all of Atwill’s ideas, so I encourage anyone interested to read his fascinating book.

Where does this leave my theory that there existed an historical Yeshua who tried to start a war with Rome? I don’t think the ideas are mutually exclusive. Considering the gospels are mostly manufactured manuscripts that made use of many sources for inspiration, there is still room for a once living insurrectionist who imagined he was the messiah. It’s possible Josephus and others knew of a Yeshua, and simply used his existence as the framework for creating the stories of Jesus.

The truth about what may have happened 2000 years ago makes a fascinating discussion. We’ll probably never know for sure, unless startling facts are one day discovered in the bowels of the Vatican or somewhere else. I think while we may be unsure of the details, the whole Jesus narrative reeks of political propaganda


It appears to me that you are very susceptible to swallowing hook, line, and sinker, any kind of conspiracy theory to discount the existence of Jesus. From your illogical, untenable, and unreasonable position that Paul's Jesus had no earthly origin, to your support of a couple different authors who also claim non-existence with their conspiracy theories, it is quite evident that you will accept anything as evidence to support the non-existence of Jesus.

And despite the fact that the arguments for non-existence are easily logically and reasonably destroyed, you cling to your conspiracy theories religiously.

Amazing.

Consider

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14-12-2012, 06:59 PM (This post was last modified: 14-12-2012 07:16 PM by Free.)
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Now, back to the OP. Regarding the video ...

In video 16a, the narrator attempts to dismiss the validity of the 4 gospels by using the United Stated Federal Rules of Evidence. Since he has taken on the position of attacking, that would make him the Plaintiff. Therefore, I will take the position of Defendant.

Immediately, the narrator is in trouble. Since this would not be a criminal trial, and instead would be classified as a civil trial, then Article III of the Federal Rules of Evidence kicks in and it deals with presumptions and burdens of proof.


Quote:There are actually two forms of the burden of proof, commonly referred to as the burden of going forward and the burden of persuasion. Both of these burdens are addressed by Rule 301.


Burden of going forward


At any given time, one party is obligated to produce evidence regarding a claim or defense. This is the burden of going forward. Rule 301 adopts a bursting bubble approach to the burden. When evidence is introduced that leads to a presumption of fact, the other side has the burden of going forward to rebut that presumption. If the presumption is adequately rebutted, it "bursts." Otherwise, the presumption is left intact.


For example, take a hypothetical civil case where one element of the claim is that it was raining on a given night. The plaintiff introduces evidence that the ground was wet the next morning. This creates a presumption that it rained the night before. The defendant must then rebut this presumption with other evidence: maybe eyewitnesses who say it wasn't raining, maybe evidence that a truck dumped water on the ground overnight. If a preponderance of the evidence disproves the presumption, the bubble bursts, the presumption is lifted, and the factfinder cannot presume that it was raining that night. If the evidence is insufficient, the factfinder can make the presumption.


This approach is unique to civil cases. Presumptions are not found in criminal cases because of the due process guarantees of the Constitution. The prosecution must always prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.


Burden of persuasion


Beyond a reasonable doubt is one example of a burden of persuasion. That particular burden is the burden that applies when proving a criminal charge. In civil cases, the usual burden of persuasion is either preponderance of the evidence ("more likely than not") or clear and convincing evidence.


Therefore, in civil cases the burden of proof does not need to meet the "beyond a reasonable doubt" criteria, but instead falls under the "best argument to explain the evidence" criteria.


Quote:Unlike the burden of going forward, the burden of persuasion never shifts. Allowing it to shift would make no sense, because it only applies in the context of the factfinder's final decision—to the reasoning of the judge or jury in reaching their verdict. The plaintiff always has the burden to persuade the factfinder that their claim is valid; the civil defendant always has the burden to persuade the factfinder that their defense is valid.


Note that in criminal cases, the burden of persuasion rests with the prosecution at all times, even when the burden of going forward shifts to the defendant. For example, if the defendant raises an affirmative defense, the prosecution must persuade the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defense is invalid.

This is yet another clear indication that there is a distinct difference between civil and criminal law as applied under the United States Rules of Evidence.


Also, there are indeed exceptions that allow for hearsay evidence:


Quote:Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56 (1980), established that a hearsay exception must meet one of two Constitutional standards: it must have been "firmly rooted" at the time the Sixth Amendment was written, or it must have "particularized guarantees of trustworthiness."

Since all 4 Gospels were "firmly rooted" at the time the Sixth Amendment was written, they qualify as being permissable hearsay evidence.

Quote:Rule 804. Hearsay Exceptions; Declarant Unavailable

(b) Declarant. A "declarant" is a person who makes a statement.

(4) is unable to be present or to testify at the hearing because of death or then existing physical or mental illness or infirmity

Therefore, according to the United States Federal Rules of Evidence in regards to Civil Matters, Hearsay is admissable as evidence.

Quote:3. Rule 610. Religious Beliefs or Opinions

Evidence of the beliefs or opinions of a witness on matters of religion is not admissible for the purpose of showing that by reason of their nature the witness' credibility is impaired or enhanced.

Therefore, claiming that the writers of the Gospels are bias because of their religuous beliefs is inadmissable.


Conclusion

This demonstrates that the narrator's premise is both flawed and invalid, since he mistakenly chose to prosecute the evidence from a criminal perspective instead of a civil perspective.

His argument in the video has been rendered both null and void by the very same standard he used in an attempt to justify his position, namely, The United States Federal Rules of Evidence .

And ... that's that.

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14-12-2012, 07:26 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(14-12-2012 06:59 PM)Free Wrote:  Immediately, the narrator is in trouble. Since this would not be a criminal trial, and instead would be classified as a civil trial
Why is that?

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14-12-2012, 07:29 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(14-12-2012 07:26 PM)Vosur Wrote:  
(14-12-2012 06:59 PM)Free Wrote:  Immediately, the narrator is in trouble. Since this would not be a criminal trial, and instead would be classified as a civil trial
Why is that?

Since the law forbids criminal persecution based upon religious beliefs, no crime has been committed.

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14-12-2012, 07:54 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(14-12-2012 07:29 PM)Free Wrote:  Since the law forbids criminal persecution based upon religious beliefs, no crime has been committed.
What about fraud? Consider

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