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11-08-2014, 03:08 PM
RE: Tough questions
(10-08-2014 10:17 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Welcome...

The first question to ask -- did he exist?

I don't think so -- or at least he's far more myth than man.

Thanks. Not a spammer and entered my comment after looking at the Headings “ The Heavy Stuff › Atheism and Theism › Real Life Debates with Theists”. Hope it’s okay to follow and perhaps join discussions here..

Pretty much grew up non-church going but married into Lutheran and am not really a big fan of Luther either. But the ELCA church is pretty progressive and I feel it does a lot of good for people.

I question very much the validity of the Old Testament. How do you get from a vengeful and jealous god, one who likes to smell burning fat, uses fear tactics and instructs a “Chosen People” to use genocide to expel a population; to the Jesus who calls us to seek justice for the weak and poor.

Good Point about whether there is a historical existence to Jesus. . I know the accounts of Josephus are very much in debate. So in a sense it is fruitless to discuss further if one denies that Jesus existed. Perhaps after the crucifixion (if it happened) his followers simply came up with these stories, adjusted them as best they could to the Old Testament and hence we are left these myths.

Even if Jesus lived and died what significance should there be to us humans on how we should attempt to live our lives? Like it or not we are all contaminated/affected by these myths/happenings. Is there any chance that doubters who at least try to follow the teachings should not claim to be Christians? Perhaps I am trying to make my own designer Christian religion. I know I don’t really fit in with the one I attend.
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11-08-2014, 03:15 PM
RE: Tough questions
(28-05-2014 10:36 PM)f stop Wrote:  A theist claims that I can't answer his tough questions. Any suggestions for tough questions I might ask him? So far I've come up with
  • How do you know the Bible is the word of God?
  • How do you know Jesus existed?
  • The riddle of Epicurus.
  • If the big bang never happened how do you explain the expanding universe?
  • Did God sanction the holocaust, the crusades, etc.
Any others?

Share this little nugget that I use to hammer theists with...no one who writes of jesus, knew him. He will come back with nu-unh...paul did, no, no sorry, paul had a hallucination on the road to damascus and heard voices that allegedly came out of a light. Then he will come back with one of their favorites, usually josephus, then drop this bomb on him;

The epistles were written after the mythical jesus's death;

1) paul - written about 60 C.E., of the 13, he actually wrote 8. Not a single instance in any of Paul's writings claims that he ever meets or sees an earthly Jesus, nor does Paul give any reference to Jesus' life on earth (except for a few well known interpolations). Therefore, all accounts about a Jesus could only have come from other believers or his imagination. Hearsay.

2) Galatians - complete third hand heresay.

3) James - Epistle of James mentions Jesus only once as an introduction to his belief. Nowhere does the epistle reference a historical Jesus and this alone eliminates it from an historical account.

4) Peter - Many scholars question the authorship of Peter of the epistles. Even within the first epistle, it says in 5:12 that Silvanus wrote it. Most scholars consider the second epistle as unreliable or an outright forgery. The unknown authors of the epistles of Peter wrote long after the life of the traditional Peter. Moreover, Peter lived (if he ever lived at all) as an ignorant and illiterate peasant (even Acts 4:13 attests to this). In short, no one has any way of determining whether the epistles of Peter come from fraud, an author claiming himself to know what Peter said (hearsay), or from someone trying to further the aims of the Church. Encyclopedias usually describe a tradition that Saint Peter wrote them. However, whenever you see the word "tradition" it refers to a belief passed down within a society. In other words: hearsay. This the definition of Pseudepigrapha; a book written in a biblical style and ascribed to an author who did not write it...otherwise known as a FORGERY.

5) Jude - Even early Christians argued about its authenticity. It quotes an apocryphal book called Enoch as if it represented authorized Scripture. Biblical scholars do not think it possible for the alleged disciple Jude to have written it because whoever wrote it had to have written it during a period when the churches had long existed. Like the other alleged disciples, Jude would have lived as an illiterate peasant and unable to write (much less in Greek) but the author of Jude wrote in fluent high quality Greek..more forgery.


Then there are the non-christian sources as follows;

1) Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, lived as the earliest non-Christian who mentions a Jesus. Although many scholars think that Josephus' short accounts of Jesus (in Antiquities) came from interpolations perpetrated by a later Church father (most likely, Eusebius), Josephus' birth in 37 C.E. (well after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus), puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Moreover, he wrote Antiquities in 93 C.E., after the first gospels got written. Therefore, even if his accounts about Jesus came from his hand, his information could only serve as hearsay.
- Flavius Josephus, (37–100 CE) (http://www.josephus.org) a prolific and comprehensive Jewish historian, who would frequently write a few pages on the execution of common Jewish thieves, has not one authentic line that mentions Yeshua. “He” does mention “Christ” on two occasions, yet both have been convincingly exposed as interpolations, (http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/josephus-etal.html)

2) Pliny the Younger (born: 62 C.E.) His letter about the Christians only shows that he got his information from Christian believers themselves. Regardless, his birth date puts him out of range as an eyewitness account.

3) Tacitus, the Roman historian's birth year at 64 C.E., puts him well after the alleged life of Jesus. He gives a brief mention of a "Christus" in his Annals (Book XV, Sec. 44), which he wrote around 109 C.E. He gives no source for his material. Although many have disputed the authenticity of Tacitus' mention of Jesus, the very fact that his birth happened after the alleged Jesus and wrote the Annals during the formation of Christianity, shows that his writing can only provide us with hearsay accounts.

4) Suetonius, a Roman historian, born in 69 C.E., mentions a "Chrestus," a common name. Apologists assume that "Chrestus" means "Christ" (a disputable claim). But even if Seutonius had meant "Christ," it still says nothing about an earthly Jesus. Just like all the others, Suetonius' birth occurred well after the purported Jesus. Again, only hearsay.

5) Talmud: Amazingly some Christians use brief portions of the Talmud, (a collection of Jewish civil a religious law, including commentaries on the Torah), as evidence for Jesus. They claim that Yeshu in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Yeshu, according to scholars depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus or it may refer to Yeshu ben Pandera, a teacher of the 2nd centuy CE. Regardless of how one interprets this, the Palestinian Talmud didn't come into existence until the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion. At best it can only serve as a controversial Christian or Jewish legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.

6) Thallus/africanus, In the ninth century a Byzantine writer named George Syncellus quoted a third-century Christian historian named Sextus Julius Africanus, who quoted an unknown writer named Thallus on the darkness at the crucifixion: 'Thallus in the third book of his history calls this darkness an eclipse of the sun, but in my opinion he is wrong.' All of the works of Africanus are lost, so there is no way to confirm the quote or to examine its context. We have no idea who Thallus was, or when he wrote. Third century would have put him being born long after jesus's alleged death, thus hearsay.

7) Phlegon of Tralles was a Greek writer and freedman of the emperor Hadrian, who lived in the 2nd century AD. case closed, more hearsay, born after the alleged jesus's death.


Christian apologists mostly use the above sources for their "evidence" of Jesus because they believe they represent the best outside sources. All other sources (Christian and non-Christian) come from even less reliable sources, some of which include: Mara Bar-Serapion (circa 73 C.E.), Ignatius (50 - 98? C.E.), Polycarp (69 - 155 C.E.), Clement of Rome (? - circa 160 C.E.), Justin Martyr (100 - 165 C.E.), Lucian (circa 125 - 180 C.E.), Tertullian (160 - ? C.E.), Clement of Alexandria (? - 215 C.E.), Origen (185 - 232 C.E.), Hippolytus (? - 236 C.E.), and Cyprian (? - 254 C.E.). As you can see, all these people lived well after the alleged death of Jesus. Not one of them provides an eyewitness account, all of them simply spout hearsay.

As you can see, apologist Christians embarrass themselves when they unwittingly or deceptively violate the rules of historiography by using after-the-event writings as evidence for the event itself. Not one of these writers gives a source or backs up his claims with evidential material about Jesus. It doesn't matter what these people wrote about Jesus, an author who writes after the alleged happening and gives no detectable sources for his material can only give example of hearsay. All of these anachronistic writings about Jesus could easily have come from the beliefs and stories from Christian believers themselves. And as we know from myth, superstition, and faith, beliefs do not require facts or evidence for their propagation and circulation. Thus we have only beliefs about Jesus' existence, and nothing more.

Watch the stuttering and the tap dancing begin....usually they will just refuse the data outright, but he WILL go look it up, and the seeds of doubt have been planted whether he likes it or not.

Dont let him switch it up on you, YOU don't have to prove god/disprove god, because 1) you can't, 2) it is on the person who posits a extraordinary story to prove it, not the listener. Swing it up on him like this, "I believe that venus is hollow and full of little blue men, can you disprove that?" he will say that is ridiculous, then the answer is, the same amount of evidence exists to prove they are there as that god exists...none. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Enjoy.


Oh yeah, youtube hitchens debates Wink

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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11-08-2014, 03:18 PM
RE: Tough questions
(11-08-2014 03:08 PM)fluffycat Wrote:  
(10-08-2014 10:17 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Welcome...

The first question to ask -- did he exist?

I don't think so -- or at least he's far more myth than man.

Thanks. Not a spammer and entered my comment after looking at the Headings “ The Heavy Stuff › Atheism and Theism › Real Life Debates with Theists”. Hope it’s okay to follow and perhaps join discussions here..

Pretty much grew up non-church going but married into Lutheran and am not really a big fan of Luther either. But the ELCA church is pretty progressive and I feel it does a lot of good for people.

I question very much the validity of the Old Testament. How do you get from a vengeful and jealous god, one who likes to smell burning fat, uses fear tactics and instructs a “Chosen People” to use genocide to expel a population; to the Jesus who calls us to seek justice for the weak and poor.

Good Point about whether there is a historical existence to Jesus. . I know the accounts of Josephus are very much in debate. So in a sense it is fruitless to discuss further if one denies that Jesus existed. Perhaps after the crucifixion (if it happened) his followers simply came up with these stories, adjusted them as best they could to the Old Testament and hence we are left these myths.

Even if Jesus lived and died what significance should there be to us humans on how we should attempt to live our lives? Like it or not we are all contaminated/affected by these myths/happenings. Is there any chance that doubters who at least try to follow the teachings should not claim to be Christians? Perhaps I am trying to make my own designer Christian religion. I know I don’t really fit in with the one I attend.

One needs to look at the time period that helped to shape this religion. Rome was a melting pot and the Romans were collectors of culture (having not had much of their own) and Gods. The majority of the "Good bits" of christianity come from Buddhism and Mithraism with a hodgepodge of others adding a story or two. Most of the "Gospels" were written more than a lifetime after the supposed events transpired and are generally thought to be poor copies of "Mark", the names of course were added centuries later and have no bearing on the original author/s.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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11-08-2014, 03:19 PM
RE: Tough questions
(11-08-2014 03:08 PM)fluffycat Wrote:  Even if Jesus lived and died what significance should there be to us humans on how we should attempt to live our lives? Like it or not we are all contaminated/affected by these myths/happenings. Is there any chance that doubters who at least try to follow the teachings should not claim to be Christians? Perhaps I am trying to make my own designer Christian religion. I know I don’t really fit in with the one I attend.

Someone a few days ago mentioned Marcion here - look him up on wikipedia. He was one cool cat. And pretty much the originator of the 'design your own Christianity' concept Tongue

Teachings of Christ on compassion and so forth are probably the only things of worth that I find in the Bible. Things like the 'cast the first stone' story - that's powerful imagery.

But... following the teachings... nah. Design your own religion - why bother? Design your own *life*. Follow your own desires. Even those so called sinful ones. As long as you feel at the end of the day that you have behaved as a person of integrity, why not? That's why I can't be religious, even if I was to believe in the literal truth of the Bible - the suppression of self that religion demands... is just not possible.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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11-08-2014, 09:07 PM
RE: Tough questions
(10-08-2014 10:10 PM)fluffycat Wrote:  Just came on this forum more or less by accident. Gotta think there is a chance that eternal peace for our soul might be somehow tied in with our decision to follow or fall away with the messages of how Jesus showed us to live. Whether a devout Born again or professed Atheist, I would venture to say all who come to this forum have had to ponder what the heck was going on 2,000 years ago when Jesus came upon the scene. When Jesus challenged everyone in the crowd to have someone cast the first stone, I believe it did give the world a new hope and outlook. Without those actions of Jesus where would the world be today?
This story is found only in the Gospel of John 7:53-8:11. It is not in the oldest surviving copies of the Bible, viz. the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, dating from the early 4th century. It is also missing from 2nd century copies of the Gospel of John. The oldest surviving copy of the Bible which contains it is the Codex Bezae which dates from the late 4th or late 5th century. I can only conclude that it is an interpolation or a forgery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_and_t...n_adultery

(10-08-2014 10:10 PM)fluffycat Wrote:  Tough questions do need to be asked.
And answered.

Sapere aude
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11-08-2014, 10:46 PM
RE: Tough questions
(11-08-2014 03:18 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  One needs to look at the time period that helped to shape this religion. Rome was a melting pot and the Romans were collectors of culture (having not had much of their own) and Gods. The majority of the "Good bits" of christianity come from Buddhism and Mithraism with a hodgepodge of others adding a story or two. Most of the "Gospels" were written more than a lifetime after the supposed events transpired and are generally thought to be poor copies of "Mark", the names of course were added centuries later and have no bearing on the original author/s.

Appreciate the scholarly comments brought forth in discussion. Hadn’t really heard that Buddhism would have been a component of early Christianity but need to read more.

I still think that there is a good possibility we do have a literal Jesus existing in this time period when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea. Would agree hard to be sure about things written such a long time ago. Remarkable that history has been so greatly influenced by these stories. What possible reason could there have been even for anyone taking the effort to compose and write them? Financial reward, Power, Practical Joke, Insight that the world needed something a little different than the Roman Gods or Yahweh to follow. Was there some special insight by a group of people that what was needed, was a kinder gentler God who promoted meekness and looking after the welfare of the weak and helpless? Taking the opportunity of using the torture and execution of a misguided and delusional man, was this somehow used to scramble out a message of living out life a different way?.

I have no credible background to discuss all the points “goodwithoutgod” brings forth. I’ve done a little quick reading on these points and agree much is disputed. Because it was so long ago and the gospels do seem to be written with mistakes, biases, inconsistencies and just really bizarre things, perhaps we really aren’t getting the whole picture of what had been said and preached by Jesus. Just bits and pieces mixed in with myths, old stories etc.

I found it interesting to note that evidently Thomas Jefferson had trouble with a lot of what was written in the New Testament. He used a razor to construct his own designer Bible.
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11-08-2014, 11:08 PM
RE: Tough questions
(28-05-2014 10:36 PM)f stop Wrote:  A theist claims that I can't answer his tough questions. Any suggestions for tough questions I might ask him?
If god created existence then god is necessarily outside of existence.
In which case how can god have existed prior to him creating existence?

In physical terms, what is god made of? (remembering that "Love" is a concept rather than a physical substance)

If it is impossible to create energy from nothing, then how did god create the energy in our universe?

How did god have knowledge before there was any existence?

Does your friend believe in evolution?
If so it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison between the godly explanation of the diversity of life, the similarities between Human and Chimp DNA, the explanation of ring species, etc
If he believes in evolution but thinks it is guided by god, then it would be interesting to hear his explanation for the need of divine guidance when natural selection (accounting for fitness within a changing environment) appears like an elegant and complete solution.
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13-08-2014, 01:53 AM
RE: Tough questions
Is something good because god commands it or does God command it because it is good?

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.

-Christopher Hitchens
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14-08-2014, 02:54 AM
RE: Tough questions
(11-08-2014 11:08 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(28-05-2014 10:36 PM)f stop Wrote:  A theist claims that I can't answer his tough questions. Any suggestions for tough questions I might ask him?
Does your friend believe in evolution?
He does not, nor does he accept the big bang. He has called me a fool for believing in both.
(11-08-2014 11:08 PM)Stevil Wrote:  If so it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison between the godly explanation of the diversity of life, the similarities between Human and Chimp DNA, the explanation of ring species, etc
He does not believe that human and chimp DNA are similar. In fact, I doubt very much that he believes there is such a thing as DNA. I'll ask.

Sapere aude
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15-08-2014, 10:14 PM
RE: Tough questions
(14-08-2014 02:54 AM)f stop Wrote:  
(11-08-2014 11:08 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Does your friend believe in evolution?
He does not, nor does he accept the big bang. He has called me a fool for believing in both.
(11-08-2014 11:08 PM)Stevil Wrote:  If so it would be interesting to see a side by side comparison between the godly explanation of the diversity of life, the similarities between Human and Chimp DNA, the explanation of ring species, etc
He does not believe that human and chimp DNA are similar. In fact, I doubt very much that he believes there is such a thing as DNA. I'll ask.
I asked him. His response was "How is that question relevant to spiritual beings?"

Sapere aude
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