Reliability of the Gospels
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04-12-2012, 09:07 PM
Reliability of the Gospels
Even it was proven that the stories were transmitted over time flawlessly, this would only prove that the story was handed down as originally told and not that it's contents are true.
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05-12-2012, 07:42 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(04-12-2012 08:22 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I've heard this point made elsewhere as well, usually in reference to change blindness and often proven with the "basketball video". I totally agree. Who cares if the gospels were eyewitness accounts? That still wouldn't establish their reliability or credibility.
Right... I'm familiar with the basketball video as well, and of course, the video I posted yesterday is a demonstration of change blindness.

It really doesn't take much experience in the field to realize that this is the case. I remember an incident from when I was in high school, for example. I had just boarded my bus to head home. The driver was starting to pull out from the bus stop, when we heard a loud pair of thumps, as of something fairly hefty hitting the bus pretty hard. The bus driver stopped and got out, where he discovered that a woman whom he had somehow not seen (I think she was coming from behind the bus, in his blind spot, but I'm not sure) had been hit. Unfortunately, she didn't make it. :-(

Not long afterward, I was talking to an insurance claims adjuster about the incident. I gave my recollection of the event, and after we were done, she started talking to me about some of the other reports she had taken from others who were also on the bus. Everyone's accounts differed, and not in small ways, either. I, for example, said that some four or five people had gotten on the bus at the bus stop, but another person on the bus said we had boarded about twenty. There were many other such significant differences as well, and the investigator told me that that's pretty usual. I would imagine others in related fields (e.g., police detectives) would probably say the same thing.

Which brings me back to the gospels. Like probably most other people here, I've often heard apologists crow that we have no excuse for rejecting the New Testament because we have "eyewitness testimony" of the life of Jesus. In my opinion, they should be trying to explain why we should accept Christianity in spite of having eyewitness testimony, not because of it -- especially inasmuch as almost nothing related in the gospels is corroborated by any other evidence.
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08-12-2012, 11:48 AM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Bump

I hope you didn't forget this thread, Free. Sleepy
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08-12-2012, 12:40 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(08-12-2012 11:48 AM)Vosur Wrote:  Bump

I hope you didn't forget this thread, Free. Sleepy

Nope I didn't. Just preparing some info and will post as soon as I finish. Been swamped at my business and going 12 hours a day for the past 7 days.

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08-12-2012, 01:12 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Quote:The main problem is that they were written years after the events were purported to happen. They sprinkle real location and some historically provable people but then inject supernatural events around them.

This is very true, but what is also true is that back in those days (and even today) it was very common for followers of a certain person to embellish the life of their hero.

Take a look at Muhammad, for example. We know he lived because he actually has a grave. Yet, his early followers embellished his life much the same way the followers of Jesus did. Here are some examples of the embellishment of the life of Muhammad:

Quote:The Traditions mentioned below are all from Sahih al-Bukhari, the most authentic collection of ahadith.

Splitting of the Moon

Food Multiplication

Water Multiplication

Supplication for Rain

Lights to guide Companions

Crying of the stem of the Date-palm Tree

Glorification of Allah by the Prophet's meals

The explusion of a liar's corpse by the Earth

The Speech of the Wolf

The Prophet's Night Journey to Jerusalem and Ascent to the Heavens

http://www.sunnah.org/history/miracles_of_Prophet.htm


Where have we seen this type of stuff before? We certainly seen it in the Gospels, but just because we know that the supposed miracles of Muhammad did not occur does not man the man did not exist, therefore with evidence like this should we use such embellishments against the existence of Jesus? We all know how many real life people have had their lives embellished by followers.

So does it mean that Jesus existed? Does it prove anything either way? No, I don't think so. However, what it does indicate to me at least is that since we have several stories from several different people from various cultures in antiquity all about this one man, the evidence and logic indicates that that the focus of all these different people traces back to somebody named Jesus who was considered to be the Christ by many Jews, and was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Other than that, not much more we can say about him.

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08-12-2012, 03:57 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
(08-12-2012 01:12 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:The main problem is that they were written years after the events were purported to happen. They sprinkle real location and some historically provable people but then inject supernatural events around them.

This is very true, but what is also true is that back in those days (and even today) it was very common for followers of a certain person to embellish the life of their hero.

Take a look at Muhammad, for example. We know he lived because he actually has a grave. Yet, his early followers embellished his life much the same way the followers of Jesus did. Here are some examples of the embellishment of the life of Muhammad:

Quote:The Traditions mentioned below are all from Sahih al-Bukhari, the most authentic collection of ahadith.

Splitting of the Moon

Food Multiplication

Water Multiplication

Supplication for Rain

Lights to guide Companions

Crying of the stem of the Date-palm Tree

Glorification of Allah by the Prophet's meals

The explusion of a liar's corpse by the Earth

The Speech of the Wolf

The Prophet's Night Journey to Jerusalem and Ascent to the Heavens

http://www.sunnah.org/history/miracles_of_Prophet.htm


Where have we seen this type of stuff before? We certainly seen it in the Gospels, but just because we know that the supposed miracles of Muhammad did not occur does not man the man did not exist, therefore with evidence like this should we use such embellishments against the existence of Jesus? We all know how many real life people have had their lives embellished by followers.

So does it mean that Jesus existed? Does it prove anything either way? No, I don't think so. However, what it does indicate to me at least is that since we have several stories from several different people from various cultures in antiquity all about this one man, the evidence and logic indicates that that the focus of all these different people traces back to somebody named Jesus who was considered to be the Christ by many Jews, and was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Other than that, not much more we can say about him.
Except that he threw a shekel across the Jordan.
And chopped down the olive tree.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-12-2012, 05:01 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Not everyone thinks ole Mo actually existed.










Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating Yogi, CAAT-LY.
Living daily with the high tragedy of being #2 on Laramie Hirsch's ignore list.
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08-12-2012, 05:49 PM
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Quote:Not everyone thinks ole Mo actually existed.


Robert is a great guy, and I have been associated with Jihad Watch for years. We both have a mutual friend named Ali Sina, and all of us are very anti-Islamic.


Ali Sina, from http://www.faithfreedom.org and http://www.alisina.org does not live too far from me, and I have often helped him out a bit with some of his debates with so-called "Islamic scholars."


I have written many articles for Faith Freedom over the years, and am an activist in the war on the Islamic religion. My motto is, "Fuck political correctness, Islam is the scourge of mankind."


I love Robert and Ali, but I know Robert may be going a bit too far asserting Mo didn't exist, considering the evidence.

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08-12-2012, 09:19 PM (This post was last modified: 09-12-2012 08:26 AM by Free.)
RE: Reliability of the Gospels
Quote:Lost in Translation.
The Gospels were not originally written in Aramaic, or Hebrew, but in Greek, which was first translated into English in the early seventeenth century. To translate a language is difficult and always introduces subtle misunderstandings. These tales have been translated twice, so Yeshua’s words and the remembered reports of what he did include errors in translation. This important and undeniable fact is often overlooked when the supposed words of Jesus are carefully dissected looking for their true meaning.




John Wycliffe translated the bible into English around AD 1385. It was from his scholarship that the King James Version emerged.

Admittedly, bad translations do indeed exist, and many newer translations use the older translations for part of their scholarship. Also, with the development of the English grammar over the centuries we often see a capitalized "God" in place where a lower-case "god" should actually be. Many translations are the result of Christian biases and zeal.

Quote:Yeshua’s Words?

There is no evidence that Yeshua had chroniclers writing down his words as he spoke, so any recording of his remarks must have been reliant on the “oral tradition.” Yet Jesus’ lyrics are recounted in long passages in all the Gospels. For example, there is a monologue that goes on barely uninterrupted for almost ten pages in John 13–18, and there are similar lengthy lectures in Matthew. They must be fictitious.

In one sentence you say that the recording of the words of Jesus must have relied on oral tradition, and then dispute it because of the lengthy passages, then dismiss it as fictitious?

Although this appears to be a reasonable and logical train of thought, before it can be demonstrated as having any strong merit we should see if there are other examples where we have anyone else in antiquity that has no evidence of an on-the-spot chronicler and yet recited a long diatribe.



And indeed there are many examples. Here's just a few:

Muhammad’s Farewell Speech


The Third Philipic


Depart: Alexander the Great



These are just 3 that were easy to find, and none have an on-the-spot chronicler. Yet, here those speeches exist without a chronicler, so by using your train of thought should we conclude that these speeches are fictitious?



Using your method of reasoning should we therefore then conclude that anybody’s speech in ancient history should be considered fictitious just because we cannot name the chronicler?



Is that truly reasonable?



Quote:If you grew up Jewish outside a city, you were unschooled. It is highly unlikely that Jesus or any of his disciples could read or write.The Catholic Encyclopedia disagrees with the majority of historians about the literacy of those in Jesus’ circle: “We may suppose that the Apostles, at least most of them, read and spoke Greek as well as Aramaic, from their childhood.” They “suppose” that “most” of the apostles were bilingual, and could read and write in two languages! They can’t verify these absurd assumptions with evidence. I think they are implying that the apostles wrote the Gospels (in Greek), yet admit elsewhere they didn’t. Carefully chosen commentary is creating an incorrect impression.

I’m somewhat doubtful of the reasoning and validity of this assertion of yours that says Jesus or his disciples could not read or write for the following 2 reasons:

1. If you feel the Gospels are a total work of fiction as you have expressed here and elsewhere, then you have no evidence to support that assertion whatsoever. Therefore, you have no reference point to draw such a conclusion.

2. On the other hand, if you feel the Gospels do indeed record at least some of the things Jesus said, then we have evidence within the gospels that he could indeed read, as he recites dozens of Torah verses and reads in the synagogue. We also have evidence that some of his disciples could read and write as well, according to the NT.



Either way, your argument doesn't work, for how can you determine Jesus was illiterate according to the supposed uttered words of Jesus in the Gospels if you think the entire Gospel record is fictitious? Hence, you cannot use the "fictitious" Gospel record as a reference point to drawn that conclusion, and therefore you have no evidence to draw that conclusion from.


Quote:The so-called “oral tradition,” said to be how Jesus’ supporters remembered what he said, and then (somehow) later documented, is a myth. We have trouble remembering words from conversations five minutes ago, and our memories are very prone to suggestion, exaggeration, and confabulation. We forget, alter, and exaggerate details. Why would poorly educated peasants perform any better?



We cannot make this comparison between a modern culture and an ancient culture without committing the Historian’s Fallacy. We cannot impose the modern mindset with all its distractions, plus our modern recording devices with could promote memory laziness, onto an ancient culture which would be far more dependent on memorization than we would be. Nor can we compare our modern westernized cultures with such an ancient people. If you are going to draw any kind of comparison then in all fairness the comparison must be relative to the ancient culture.



For example, even in our modern civilization we still have backward cultures that do not have nearly any of the modern conveniences that we take for granted. Take a look at some of the Islamic tribal communities in the outskirts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many of their children have memorized the entire Qur’an verbatim by the age of 12, and then by merely reciting it, they teach it to others.



Therefore, we do know for a fact that when it comes to religion many of followers of their so-called prophets will indeed memorize verbatim whatever their prophet has said, and the oral tradition can in fact remain verbatim for tens of centuries, as evidenced by the followers of Muhammad from ancient times and even up to today.


Now that's a good example of a fair comparison that is totally relative.


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09-12-2012, 08:20 PM
Reliability of the Gospels
Once again, all these arguments are academic as to proof of supernatural claims. Eye witness testimony absent corroborating and independently verifiable evidence, is merely another fairy tale
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