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God Does Not Exist Because... (3)

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In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 12:50:22 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 12:51:18 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 12:59:33 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 13:11:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2012 13:14:14 BDT
I said I was away for a couple of days, Paul, not on holiday.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 13:11:35 BDT

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 13:12:55 BDT
I already have Paul, it took a while to write. Your reply was one word, "Incoherent."


In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 13:13:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2012 13:16:49 BDT
Well then, I apologise for misrepresenting your position.

In my defence I would say, you never stated your position explicity.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 13:45:42 BDT
I suggest you read the book I referred to by Paul D Janz. Ethical truths have their own kinds of objectivity-- it depends whether you take a narrow interpretation of objectivity or not. EG I would be prepared to argue that objectively Belsen was morally bad. However this is too complex a subject for adequate debate on this forum.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 13:49:10 BDT
Pity to take a narrow and fundamentalist view of the texts, which I presume you would criticise others for doing. All texts must be read in the context of the whole text and in the context of the original time and situation in which they were written.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 13:54:10 BDT
Here we go again Notreshuggie with a travesty of Catholicism @burn in hellfire for all eternity@-- not what the Church teaches about the fate of non-Catholics and non-believers.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 14:14:30 BDT
Jo Mo, Catholics do believe Christ is physically present in the Eucharist. Many modern Catholics do not believe in the particular theory or explanation of that presence that you refer to. Nor do Catholics have to believe that there is anyone in hell.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 17:04:04 BDT

Thank you for modifying your approach to praying for others. I appreciate it.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 18:22:17 BDT
Shakepen says:
Sam: For no particular reason, I decided to post this bit I copied from another Amazon forum about the historical Jesus. I thought this person's post was pretty good.

Anybody reading this yet?

While generally not a huge fan of Prof. Ehrman's work, this title intrigued me by its subject matter. It should be of special interest to our many "Jesus Mythers" in this forum.

In his latest book, Prof. Ehrman is addressing primarily those "Jesus mythicists" as he calls them, who deny that Jesus of Nazareth historically existed.

Ehrman writes in the Introduction:

"Every week I receive two or three e-mails asking me whether Jesus existed as a human being. When I started getting these e-mails, some years ago now, I thought the question was rather peculiar and I did not take it seriously. Of course Jesus existed. Everyone knows he existed. Don't they.

"But the questions kept coming, and soon I began to wonder: Why are so many people asking? My wonder only increased when I learned that I myself was being quoted in some circles--misquoted rather--as saying that Jesus never existed. I decided to look into the matter. I discovered, to my surprise, an entire body of literature devoted to the question of whether or not there was ever a real man, Jesus.

"I was surprised because I am trained as a scholar of the New Testament and early Christianity, and for thirty years I have written extensively on the historical Jesus, the Gospels, the early Christian movement, and the history of the church's first three hundred years. Like all New Testament scholars, I have read thousands of books and articles in English and other European languages on Jesus, the New Testament, and early Christianity. But I was completely unaware--as are most of my colleagues in the field--of this body of skeptical literature.

"I should say at the outset that none of this literature is written by scholars trained in New Testament or early Christian studies teaching at the major, or even the minor, accredited theological seminaries, divinity schools, universities, or colleges of North America or Europe (or anywhere else in the world). Of the thousands of scholars of early Christianity who do teach at such schools, none of them, to my knowledge, has any doubts that Jesus existed. But a whole body of literature out there, some of it highly intelligent and well informed, makes this case."

Ehrman goes on to say that only two academics that he knows of--Robert Price and Richard Carrier--are Jesus mythicists.

Much of the literature of the Jesus Mythicists, such as the conspiracy theories of Brown, Freke and Gandy, Achayra/Murdock, etc., can be easily dismissed, however Ehrman believes that two or three Jesus mythicists deserve to be taken seriously and their arguments refuted by bona fide scholars, namely GA Wells, Earl Doherty and Robert Price.

Ehrman also argues that pretty much all of the NT dates to the first century AD. And while on record as believing the New Testament gospels have been "corrupted" in various places, and that their original authors were/are anonymous, Ehrman nevertheless believes the canonical gospels, along with the non-canonical texts *Gospel of Thomas,* *Gospel of Peter,* and *Papyrus Egerton* are our best sources for discovering the historical Jesus. I believe Ehrman overestimates the importance of the non-canonical texts; while mentioning in passing that most scholars still date GoT to the mid-late 2nd century AD, Erhman seems to ignore Nick Perrin's recent devastating findings that date GoT to the late 2nd century, in favor of De Connick's earlier work, which places it much, much earlier. However I agree with his overall point that these sources MAY contain material that dates back to the historical Jesus, and that the canonical gospels are certainly among our best sources. Ehrman seems to believe that the Nag Hammadi Gnostic texts are practically worthless for giving us any reliable information about the historical Jesus, which I also believe to be accurate. Though as Ehrman seems to be a champion of "alternate Christianities" in his other work, I find his views here interesting.

Ehrman also sees as authentic the non-Christian references to Jesus in Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius and some of the Talmud references; though Ehrman believes that the Testimonium Flavianum was "tweaked" by an anonymous Christian to read as more favorable to Jesus than Josephus intended and that none of these sources tell us much more than we could already have read in the gospels-yet they're still genuine, and pretty much what one would expect from disinterested, non-Christian sources.

Ehrman considers the gospels and these non-Christian sources to be multiple, independent sources. And while he doesn't accept any of these sources as eyewitness accounts, he says:

"This fact, too, however, should not be overblown when considering the question of whether or not Jesus lived. The absence of eyewitness accounts would be relavant if, and only if, we had reason to suspect that we *should* have eyewitness reports if Jesus really lived. That, however, is far from the case. Think again of our earlier point of comparison, Pontius Pilate. Here is a figure who was immensely significant in every way to the life and history of Palestine during the adult life of Jesus (assuming Jesus lived), economically, culturally, socially. As I have indicated, there was arguably no one more important. And how many eyewitness reports of Pilate do we have from his day? None. Not a single one. The same is true of Josephus. And these figures were of the highest prominence in their day."

Ehrman also asserts that Paul does indeed reference quite a bit of Jesus material in his authentic letters, such as the credal statement in I Corinthians 15:3-7, which Ehrman, like nearly every other NT scholar, argues goes back to ca. 33-35 AD, just a few years after Jesus death. Ehrman is adamant that the Christian claims of the resurrection thus date back to just a few years after Jesus' death, and not to later centuries, as many "mythicists" claim.

Ehrman simply confirms what I and others have been arguing to our mythicist friends in these forums-that Jesus of Nazareth's historical existence is beyond serious question.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 18:42:43 BDT
Pendragon says:
Hi Shakepen

A good post indeed, I have read it before on
Just to add, the book being referred to is Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 18:47:41 BDT
I think that the existence of an historical Jesus is largely neither here nor there. There probably was an apocalyptic preacher called Jesus who is the basis for the later Christian myths and legends. There is no evidence for that historical Jesus performing the miraculous tasks attributed to him nor for him being the son of God.
So it's historically relevant, but it doesn't improve the case for religion.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 20:19:42 BDT
It's what I was taught in church and at school in the 60s/70s. Take it up with my priest (since deceased) and my teachers (mainly deceased).

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 20:56:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2012 20:57:02 BDT
Shakepen says:
Sam: Don't be too sure that the historical Jesus did not perform miracles. There are a number of maladies today that medicine recognizes as hysterical. These illnesses mimic real sicknesses. But, since they are psychological, they can be "cured" if the right psychological techniques are used. If people genuinely believed in Jesus, this could be the psychological component in curing their illness. The cure would be a "miracle" by the science known at the time. One such example would be hysterical blindness. Just think if you were a person of the early 1st century with 1st century orientation, wouldn't you think you'd witnessed a miracle?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 22:51:35 BDT
John Smith says:

If God is omnipotent, then He must be able to do anything, which would include being able to create a being that was unpredictable, i.e. He would not be able to know what it was going to do. But the creation of such a being would violate His omniscience, so He cannot be able to create such a being. However, this then means the He is not omnipotent.

In this way, by logic, God CANNOT be both omnipotent and omniscient, as most Christians believe Him to be.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 22:55:08 BDT
Withnail says:
I'm not convinced you will appreciate his thoughts when they arrive.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 22:55:40 BDT
Pendragon says:
Ah, the irresistible force meets the immoveable object argument.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 22:59:52 BDT
Pendragon says:
Ah, the omniscient master meets the ignorant yet unappreciative audience argument.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 23:06:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2012 23:06:52 BDT
Withnail says:
I'll give you unappreciative, but beg to differ on the ignorant.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 23:35:58 BDT
Shakepen says:
John: I presented an argument similar to this to the JWs. Their response was that God is omniscient, but he refuses to interfere in human free will. When they made this response, I don't think they realized the implications. God can stop suffering, but he refuses! Sounds like a cosmic lab-rat experiment gone bad.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2012 03:25:05 BDT
G. Proctor says:
The answer to the cellular automaton question is, as Isobel and Sam both suspected: the first, random looking pattern is designed, and the second, orderly repeating pattern is not. They're both patterns from the Game of Life cellular automaton.

The first is a pattern called a Garden of Eden. It's a fairly unremarkable collection of cells except for one unique property: this pattern has no possible precursors in the Game of Life universe, and therefore, cannot ever form naturally. The only possible way the pattern can exist is if someone deliberately created it, or by very lucky chance. By the ID definition, this pattern is absolutely, 100% designed, and yet as Paul himself showed, it is unintelligible.

The second pattern is a pulsar, a commonly occurring period 3 oscillator that arises easily from random precursors. Here we have the opposite - a highly intelligible pattern is the natural result of some very simple laws.

I therefore propose, Paul, that intelligible things do not have to be made by an intelligence at all.

Posted on 1 Jul 2012 09:20:34 BDT
I think Paul already knows that, on some level. All his over-compensating and hot air is just to paper over it.
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