My Life Verse

God causes all things to work together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose...

Throughout my life, in all its ups and downs, this has been the one constant truth I can confess.
My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 07/2005


  • 2008 Favorite Photos
  • Facebooks Blogs
  • Facebook Profile
  • Shared Stuff in Google Reader
  • Google Ads
  • The Patriot Post
  • ClipMarks
  • Arch's Sermons - Growing In Grace,

Become a Fan

« In Your Face: The Polemics of Gen. 1:1 - 2:4 | Main | "Pious Fraud" & The Echo Chamber Effect »

March 20, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I think it is great that my commnets prompt you to write something. Of course, I probably won't agree wth you, but that is by the by.

And just a quick tip. "Proof" is impossible to supply. Evidence that strongly suggests that Jesus was a man who was really a god, who gave birth to himself, and then had himself killed, seems very difficult to EVIDENCE as well.

So you admit that your statements were wrong?

There is no point in talking about proof, there is a point in referring to evidence.

The evidence that jesus was a man, who was also a god, you created himself and then had himself killed - is extremely difficult to evidence.

I seem to remember you providing me a list of things that you really disliked when Christians responded to your arguments. At the top of the list was "shifting the arguments." Yet, here you are shifting the argument.

Do you retract your previous postion on the intellectual dishonesty of those who hold that the NT Scriptures date back to the first century, and do you now agree that there is no necessary reason to believe in a massive conspiracy to support a Roman Ecclesiology to explain the existence of the Scriptures, etc.

You previously stated "It's all about honesty." Do you still maintain this and if so, why are you hesitant to answer the challenges presented in the main post?

No, I am not shifting the argument at all. There is NO way to evidence that a man was born of a virgin, and that he was really a god, made of "invisible holy sperm", and that he created himself so he could kill himself.

It takes faith to accept this. I don't have it. There is also no way to evidence the existence of a the supposed writers of the gospels outside of the church, where pious fraud was rampant.

"Lying for a religious cause" was SO rampant, that the term "pious fraud" was used to describe it. Personally, I think that pious fraud is an occupational hazard, and more than likely, an occupational requirement. But then, that is just me.

There is also no way to evidence the existence of the gospels in written form prior to the late 2nd century.

There is no way to evidence their authorship, or the dates that they were written, yet, if they were written as believers say, by men called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and as the gopsel is the supposed foundation of christianity, the written gospels should have been at the forefront of early christian life. There is no evidence that they were.

The early church fathers seem to be unaware of their presence and speak generically of "apostles" or "disciples" which can just as easily be general descriptions of anyone who considered themselves to be a christian, or a follower of christ. A follower of christ, doesn't literally have to mean that someone knew or followed jesus in the flesh.

It can be a descriptor for anyone who considered themselves a christian.

Any old fragments of the gospels do not make the situation any clearer, as, though believers will automatically attribute them to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in reality, their authorship is unknown.

The church cannot satisfactorily evidence that any of the gospels were written by those people. They are "attributed" to them. The church canot satisfactorily evidence that any either Matthew, Mark, Luke and John existed in reality.

The early church fathers however, did. And that they were "inspired" to flesh out the jesus story into a literal event, seems to me to be the more likely scenario.

Irenaeus (CE 130–202) States that there can only be 4 gospels because there are 4 zones and 4 winds, but once again, he fails to mention those gospels by name.

Remember, this was said sometime between 130 and 202. So, here we have one of the early church leaders discussing how many gospels there should be. So, the number of 4 gospels written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John doesn't sound like a done deal at this time.

Here is an early church leader with a deliberate agenda as to how many gospels there should be. And his magnificent reason for this?

"But it is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the church has been scattered throughout the world, and since the "pillar and ground" of the church is the Gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing incorruption on every side, and vivifying human afresh. From this fact, it is evident that the Logos, the fashioner of all, he that sits on the cherubim and holds all things together, when he was manifested to humanity, gave us the gospel under four forms but bound together by one spirit. (Against Heresies 3.11.8)"

And what is Justin Martyr's apology for the "inconceivable" idea that a man was born of a virgin?

"When we say that Jesus Christ was produced without sexual union, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended to heaven, we propound nothing new or different from what you believe regarding those whom you call the sons of Jupiter."
- Justin Martyr, church father [21:30]

One wonders who got the idea from whom? The greek mysteries perhaps?

Furthermore, no other writer subsequent to Martyr shows any awareness of the existence of the gospels until around the year 180CE.

It should also be noted that Martyr 's works did not escape the centuries of mutilation and massive interpolation done to virtually every ancient author's works, which makes the disentanglement all that more difficult.

Yet, even as it stands, Justin 's writing still does not demonstrate knowledge of the canonical gospels.

The question is: "Do you still maintain that it is intellectually dishonest for Christians, such as I, to view the same evidence you do and interpret it other than you do?"

The basis of conversation is mutual respect for the arguments and positions being advanced. I have stated before that I do not consider the atheist position as being irrational. On the contrary I have stated that the atheistic existentialist position is internally consistent with its logical presuppositions.

It is you who has denied the intellectual integrity of those who disagree with you.

The immediate question is not whether you accept the truth claims of the NT Scripture in what they proclaim. The immediate question is "Do you grant that Christians may, with intellectual honesty, believe that the NT scriptures date back to the first century?"

Or do you, against the overwhelming majority of scholars, both Christian and non-Christian, maintain that your position is the ONLY rationally honest position that can be taken on this question?

If actual conversation is to occur then it has to be treated as something other than a game which means that the topic being discussed is treated seriously and the integrity of the arguments, where present is acknowledged.

RE: "It is you who has denied the intellectual integrity of those who disagree with you."
Well, we could point the finger at each other all day concerning this, and it wouldn't solve anything.

RE: "Do you grant that Christians may, with intellectual honesty, believe that the NT scriptures date back to the first century?"

They may believe it. If they like to believe things that are not well evidenced. People can believe whatever they want. That is what freedom of thought is about. There is a good chance that I might disagree with them though.

I am not sure that the comment "they may believe it with intellectual honesty" makes a great deal of sense to me. What is intellectually honest about believing that a god created himself as a man, and was born to a virgin so that he could have himself killed later on?

If, on the otherhand, you are asking if I consider that people have the right to a religious belief, of course I do. But I fail to see what being "intellectually honest" has to do with god belief.

Re: I am not sure that the comment "they may believe it with intellectual honesty" makes a great deal of sense to me.

This is firstly an amazing admission and secondly is taken out of context.

First: It is curious that a person who advances what I presume is intended to be serious arguments concerning the complex phenomenon of the origin of religious views in mankind , should then admit that the idea of "intellectual honesty" in opposing views does not make sense to her. If you cannot distinguish when a person may, with intellectual honesty, differ with you on a particular subject then perhaps you should leave the conversational topic alone.

Secondly, as I have said on numerous occasions, the charge of intellectual dishonesty was advanced NOT on the basis of the truth content of the scriptures but on whether or not an honest case can be made from the evidence we have that the scriptures of the NT did indeed exist prior to the end of the first century.

Before I ever undertake to defend how Christians can, with intellectually honesty, accept what those writings say, I expect that the person to whom I am speaking has at least some capacity to recognize a logically valid argument even if it is not one which she personally accepts.

You believe, against the overwhelming majority of people who know what they are talking about, that it is intellectually dishonest to believe even that the scriptures we have date back to the first century. It is not necessary for you to change that belief in order to admit that it is possible that they did and that the evidence we have can, with intellectual honesty, be understood in such a way as to support that view.

That you choose to view the evidence differently is not specifically pertinent. People can differ on such things. But for you to believe that person cannot believe that the scriptures date back to the first century with intellectual honesty you must prove that it is irrational to so believe, that the evidence is overwhelmingly against such a position, and that the person who is dishonest is making such a claim with malicious intent to deceive. That is the difference between intellectual dishonesty and mere error.

I hopr this clears that up.

Well, I am just being honest. I don't see what is intellectually honest about god belief.

And isn't this wonderful. I am providing you with inspiration for your blog. ;)

The comments to this entry are closed.