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The LORD Said Unto My Lord

17 Mar

Some of those who hold a low view of Jesus, such as the Jehovah’s Witness and the Biblical Unitarians, try to say that Psalm 110:1 is proof positive that Jesus is no more than a man. They conclude this, because they claim their Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon (BDB) says that the form of adonai (H136) used does not pertain to God anywhere in the Bible. They conclude that it has to do with men only and therefore Jesus cannot be God. Notice the Scripture:

Psalms 110:1-7 KJV  The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.  (2)  The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.  (3)  Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.  (4)  The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.  (5)  The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.  (6)  he shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.  (7)  he shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

I looked this up in my BDB Lexicon and sure enough what they claim is correct. BDB: Adonai in Psalm 110:1 refers to “human superiors.” However, they never show why. I hate taking anyone’s word for something. I like to prove what the experts say. That way I own it. Nevertheless, that door of understanding is shut to me here. What does this interpretation prove? It does not prove that Jesus is not God. It merely proves (if correct) that the office of Messiah is not an office of Deity. I have never claimed such. In fact, I have shown that this throne cannot indicate Deity, because the Lord Jesus invites us who overcome to sit with him on that throne (Revelation 3:21). This is David’s throne, which is assumed by Jesus, the Messiah, who rules over all the earth.

The other throne that Jesus rules from, however, is the throne of God (Revelation 22:1, 3), and both Jesus and the Father rule from there forever and ever (Revelation 22:5). Now, how does this relate to Psalm 110? Well, notice Psalm 110:5 above. “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” To whom does this Scripture refer? If we take Revelation 22:1, 3 into consideration, it is Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father (cp. Hebrews 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1Peter 3:22). Nevertheless, this is not the entire story. It doesn’t matter what anyone’s BDB says about this Lord, because Scribes known as the Sopherim had changed this word a few hundred years before Christ.[1] These were guardians of the Sacred Text. Probably out of respect for the name of God, they changed to adonai some places where the tetragrammaton (YHWH) had been in the original manuscripts. One of those places is Psalm 110:5. It therefore should read: “The LORD (or YHWH) at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” There is no doubt that Psalm 110:5 is speaking of Jesus even those who hold a low view of him say this is true. However, here is another indication of plurality within the Godhead. Not only does Jesus sit on the throne of God, showing that he is God, but he is called by the name of God, YHWH, in Psalm 110:5.

However, if by chance some would say that Psalm 110:5 really indicates the Father (the Jewish Scribes known as the Sopherim didn’t think so), then the Father would be at Jesus’ right hand executing the will of Jesus! I don’t believe this would be the correct rendering, but this is the only other choice one has to keep a Scripture passage, that everyone agrees points to Jesus, from saying that Jesus is YHWH!


[1] Companion Bible; Appendix 32, page 31; E.W. Bullinger; The 134 Passages Where The Sopherim Altered “Jehovah” To “Adonai” The Bullinger Publications Trust, 1972.

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23 Comments

Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Godhead, Jesus

 

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23 responses to “The LORD Said Unto My Lord

  1. Anton A. Hill

    August 9, 2011 at 16:19

    Hi Ed,

    My sincerest apologies for such an extreme delay. I finished my response on our first thread, but wanted to attached it to my response on our second, which I’m still working through. Sucks to finally be working full-time hours.

    Best,

    Anton.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      August 10, 2011 at 06:57

      Hello again Anton,

      No need to apologize. Offense was not intended nor was one taken. I am simply glad for your return. I enjoy our little discussions, though at times I seem to be in a dilemma in not knowing how to explain myself. Perhaps I will be able to do better this round. Probably you would appreciate a better challenge than what you have had thus far. :-)

      Anyway, I’m glad you have returned. What do you mean by: “I finished my response on our first thread, but wanted to attached it to my response on our second, which I’m still working through.” I don’t understand what you are saying here.

      All the best to you as well,

      Eddie

       
    • Anton A. Hill

      August 10, 2011 at 12:25

      Hi Ed,

      I meant that I have two long conversations in my inbox. I’d already responded to one, but wanted to send them both together as one so that I don’t have to keep track of more than one conversation. I still need to respond to the second conversation, though, before I can attach it to the first and send them to gather as one.

      Best,

      Anton.

       
  2. me

    April 11, 2011 at 12:45

    Hey Ed,

    Finally getting to another one.

    “The point is this: are the conclusions I draw too far off the mark with what can be known about 1st century culture, or do they even contradict known data about that culture? If so, then you have made your case. If, on the other hand, what I conclude is reasonable, then I made my case. You don’t have to believe it, and my argument doesn’t have to agree with every Christian scholar who comes down the pike. All I am shooting for is reasonable evidence about a reasonable argument.”

    But as I said earlier, whether Jesus wore sandals made in a verifiable 1st century style is not the issue. Whether he rose from the dead is. And even if we can verify every last detail of every last natural claim made on every page in the Bible, this is not evidence for even one supernatural claim. Verification of the part doesn’t equal verification of the whole.

    “How I ‘know’? I am not defending what I ‘know’, because that needs no defense.”

    Except that one of your core arguments seems to be that the Gospel accounts are eyewitness accounts composed within days of the events they describe. This is a very specific claim and different from the claim that the Gospel accounts were composed by anonymous authors decades or centuries after the alleged events. Given that part of the credibility that you claim derives specifically from the verifiability of the accounts you claim to be eyewitness, how you know them to be eyewitness accounts is very much in need of defense.

    “What I ‘know’ about the first century is what everyone else knows or at least accepts as true.”

    But knowledge of what’s true about the 1st century is not verification of the Gospels, specifically not of the supernatural claims contained within them.

    “For example, a stone was uncovered with Pilate’s name on it and dates to the 1st century. I ‘know’ Pilate existed and so does everyone else. This needs no debate. What we are discussing is whether or not ‘what I believe to be true’ is supported with reasonable evidence.”

    I’m not questioning Pilate’s existence. What I’m questioning is the supernatural claims.

    “The point is this: word order is not really important in the Greek in order to understand what someone is saying (or so I’m told). Nevertheless, Mark translates back into the Aramaic very well. Word order is important in the Hebrew/Aramaic and the Greek Gospel Mark preserves that word order. So, evidently Peter had an Aramaic copy of the Gospel he preached, which he derived from Matthew’s notes. They all witnessed what Jesus said and did, but Matthew kept a running journal of those things, or so it would seem. Matthew was a tax collector and ‘keeping records’ was part of his job. Tax collectors in the first century CE even knew a kind of ‘shorthand’; so it would only be natural for him to keep a running journal of what Jesus said and did.”

    I’m not sure of your point. Is it that the Apostles all had access to Matthew’s notes? Even if that’s true, all it proves is that the Christian scholar you cited makes such a claim, but it doesn’t prove the claim to be true. I’d also wonder why everyone copied Matthew. But that’s another point entirely.

    It sounds like what you’re saying is Guy X says that the Gospels were eyewitness accounts, therefore they Gospels were eyewitness accounts. If that is what you’re saying, how do we know what Guy X says is true is actually true?

    “I am not so concerned with ‘extra-Biblical’ evidence.”

    I would be concerned with proving my claims by any means possible. I suppose we disagree on this. Fair enough.

    “If it is there fine; if not, its silence does not negate the truth of the Apostles’ testimony.”

    No, a lack of extra-Biblical evidence doesn’t necessarily negate the so-called truth of the Apostles’ testimony, I agree. But then a lack of objectively verifiable evidence for Santa Claus’s annual worldwide night flight doesn’t negate such an amazing event occurring either. But we don’t assume such an event to occur solely because millions of kids say it does. We investigate as many avenues as possible as the claim is extraordinary and thus (pardon the cliche) requires extraordinary evidence.

    “Moreover, there are many things that cannot be proved through experimentation. It is not possible to reproduce a murder, for example, to show who did it, or that it occurred just as some witnesses claim.”

    A murder is not a supernatural claim. Additionally, there are other kinds of evidence besides witness testimony. There’s blood-spaatter. There are all kinds of records (cell phone, purchases, etc.). There’s surveillance footage. There’s DNA. In fact, we now know that even eyewitness testimony is never fully reliable. And eyewitnesses can always lie.

    “The testimony is believed or it isn’t, according to its reasonability.”

    Right, but eyewitness testimony and its reasonability in regards to a murder is a wholly different thing from an alleged eyewitness testimony to a supernatural event. You must know that.

    “What is the best explanation of no resurrection, according to you?”

    Given that the resurrection of the human body is a supernatural claim, I’d require objectively verifiable evidence. Without such evidence, I have no reason to believe such an event occurred.

    “Obviously, the record was believed by many people in the 1st century. 21 centuries later, you conclude not only that it isn’t true, but it is “the worst explanation” of all that is available. What is your best explanation for an obviously believable claim to many folks in the first century?”

    How is it objectively believable? How is what you’re asking not simply an appeal to popularity? Even if the entire world’s population believed that Jesus rose from the dead, that would only be an extremely popular opinion without objectively verifiable evidence to support it. Popular belief in a claim doesn’t equal evidence for that claim.

    “Concerning a ‘Jewish insurgent’ what evidence do you have that this is the most reasonable explanation for Jesus’ death?”

    First, my point with saying “Jewish insurgent” etc. was simply that such a series of events most likely would’ve brought considerable attention if not from the emperor, then certainly of historians and yet there is no extra-Biblical record of Jesus’ existence.

    Second, deaths occur all the time by natural means. We have but to look in hospitals, morgues, funeral homes, cemeteries, etc. to find evidence of human death naturally occurring. Thus, an account of someone dying is completely reasonable and universally found within the human experience.

    Third, resurrections never occur; therefore, we need extraordinary evidence to prove that such a thing is possible. Given the age and unreliability of Gospel accounts along with no objectively verifiable evidence of any kind, it’s unreasonable to assume that the legend of Jesus’ resurrection to be anything more than that, legend.

    “Concerning Mormanism, I try not to defame anyone’s religion. Sometimes this is unavoidable but I don’t consider it necessary here.”

    I wasn’t defaming them.

    “I have spoken with representatives of these people and they are good, decent folk.”

    Except for the ones who force young women into marriage and sex. And the ones who fund anti-gay legislation, attempting to force their value system onto the rest of us.

    “Suffice to say that their faith contradicts mine. I cannot believe theirs and mine, and I feel it unnecessary to keep seeking for what I’ve already found.”

    My only point is that what you seem to say, that of lots of alleged eyewitness accounts of supernatural events being credible until proved otherwise, seems to be the exact same thing that the Mormons claim. Thus, why don’t you believe them?

    “Well, how advanced do you wish to make them? If we are speaking of traveling several times faster than the speed of light, then why would you consider a six day creation so far off the mark?”

    First, the hypothesis of alien technology is about technology. Since we have technology that only fifty years ago seemed impossible, I find it plausible that there could be technologies fifty years from now that today seem impossible. Do I find it plausible that the light barrier can be breached? Not really, but I think it is possible. I admit that part of my optimism is based on ignorance. I don’t understand enough of relativity to sincerely judge. But if the question is posed why would I believe in breaking the light barrier and not a God, well, one is defined by natural means, the other by supernatural.

    I consider a six-day creation story ridiculous because 1. a god is an undemonstrated premise 2. from what we know of astronomical, archaeological, and paleontological evidence (to name a few), the world was not created in six days, and 3. theologically I’ve never understand why an omnipotent god would take six days to create something–why not instantly? Feel free to ask me more specific questions.

    “After all, if an ‘alien’ could know how to travel that quickly, couldn’t God, who ‘stretched out the heavens’ according to the Scriptures, have done so at unfathomable speed maintaining the beam of light in its path to earth?”

    If we define a god at least as omnipotent, then of course a god would be able to do so, but since a god is an undemonstrated premise, I have no reason to believe in its existence.

    “In such a case what ‘appears’ to be many light years away, was in fact placed there in a very short time at many times the speed of light, but keeping the beam of light to earth in place while the feat was accomplished.”

    All of which is undemonstrated or unverified.

    “If we are going to speak of technology so far advanced than our own, then why can’t God be God?”

    Because technology is verifiable. God is not.

    “I think you are toying a bit here. I haven’t seen compelling evidence for either leprechauns or the Loch Ness monster. Have you? If not, let’s get on with the discussion at hand.”

    My point is that you’re completely willing to believe one set of supernatural claims and completely dismissive of another set or sets. What you say, “I haven’t seen compelling evidence for either leprechauns or the Loch Ness monster” is exactly what I say about God and Jesus. What you say about “evidence” for God and Jesus I say about leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster. At least the latter has photographic evidence supporting its claims. And yet despite the accounts of leprechauns, the age of claims of their existence, and the popularity of their claims–all reasons you’ve given for believing the supernatural claims you believe–you dismiss the same claims of leprechauns.

    Furthermore, there was a time that ended only recently in which people sincerely believed in fairies. The Cottingley Fairies case proves this. If you don’t believe in fairies, I’d have to ask the same thing. Why not?

    I’ll get to the next in a bit.

    Best,

    Anton.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      April 12, 2011 at 11:42

      But as I said earlier, whether Jesus wore sandals made in a verifiable 1st century style is not the issue. Whether he rose from the dead is. And even if we can verify every last detail of every last natural claim made on every page in the Bible, this is not evidence for even one supernatural claim. Verification of the part doesn’t equal verification of the whole.

      One cannot verify that we put men on the moon! Many of us are still living when Armstrong first stepped onto the moon’s surface, but we have to trust that these people didn’t lie to us and present us with a Hollywood fantasy. Some things cannot be verified in the manner in which would give you and others peace. One has to look at the testimony given and ask if it is a lie. I have looked and say it is not a lie. If there is a God, there is such power that would raise the dead. So, this is not what is unreasonable. Once I believe in a God who cares for mankind, then the resurrection of Jesus is as reasonable as believing the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.

      Except that one of your core arguments seems to be that the Gospel accounts are eyewitness accounts composed within days of the events they describe. This is a very specific claim and different from the claim that the Gospel accounts were composed by anonymous authors decades or centuries after the alleged events. Given that part of the credibility that you claim derives specifically from the verifiability of the accounts you claim to be eyewitness, how you know them to be eyewitness accounts is very much in need of defense.

      Now you bring up textual criticism. We can go this route if you wish, but it all ends with which expert you and I believe presents the most reasonable argument. There are experts with excellent credentials on both sides of the fence. Is this where you wish to go? I believe I am able to present that the most reasonable argument is that the Gospels were written by those whom we have always thought. Furthermore, I have written testimony from a late 2nd century church father that all of the New Testament was written between the reigns of Tiberius and Nero—all, including John’s writings. Moreover, one of the strongest logical arguments that the Gospels were written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple is that this shocking event was never recorded as an accomplished fact in the New Testament.

      But knowledge of what’s true about the 1st century is not verification of the Gospels, specifically not of the supernatural claims contained within them.

      I was differentiating from what I **know** from archeological evidence and suchlike (which most reasonable people would find little trouble agreeing with) and what I believe founded upon reasonable faith.

      I’m not questioning Pilate’s existence. What I’m questioning is the supernatural claims.

      You made the statement in a previous reply: ** Fitting well with what we know to be true doesn’t conflict with being written decades after the fact. I’d also be interested to know how you know that the Gospels were eyewitness accounts written immediately after events described.**

      I then differentiated between hard evidence (the evidence of Pilate) and then reasonable evidence what has come down to us by way of testimony as to how the Gospels were first written. I quoted from one of the 2nd century church fathers, and what he claimed about the original writings of the Gospels.

      I’m not sure of your point. Is it that the Apostles all had access to Matthew’s notes? Even if that’s true, all it proves is that the Christian scholar you cited makes such a claim, but it doesn’t prove the claim to be true. I’d also wonder why everyone copied Matthew. But that’s another point entirely.
      It sounds like what you’re saying is Guy X says that the Gospels were eyewitness accounts, therefore they Gospels were eyewitness accounts. If that is what you’re saying, how do we know what Guy X says is true is actually true?

      The New Testament itself claims to be an eyewitness account of the things that occurred in Jesus’ lifetime. Guy X simply agrees with their claim and gives us a reasonable account as to how it all developed.

      Look, I am not trying to claim anything about the New Testament is more provable than the stories of witnesses that daily give their own testimonies of crimes and events that they saw and heard take place before a court of law. More often than not, we cannot verify their testimony, because the event that took place cannot be reproduced before everyone’s eyes. It took place and they offer their testimony. It is up to the jury to decide whether or not the testimony is believable. Bringing this to our argument, once we decide there is a God, miracles are not unreasonable. The New Testament claims that Jesus was God in the flesh. If miracles are not unreasonable for God, then our only decision lay in whether or not the New Testament seems reasonable as written. You and I—the jury—are required to decide on this.

      I would be concerned with proving my claims by any means possible. I suppose we disagree on this. Fair enough.

      If there was absolutely no extra biblical evidence, the New Testament is what it is. It can be believed or rejected on its own merit.

      No, a lack of extra-Biblical evidence doesn’t necessarily negate the so-called truth of the Apostles’ testimony, I agree. But then a lack of objectively verifiable evidence for Santa Claus’s annual worldwide night flight doesn’t negate such an amazing event occurring either. But we don’t assume such an event to occur solely because millions of kids say it does. We investigate as many avenues as possible as the claim is extraordinary and thus (pardon the cliche) requires extraordinary evidence.

      Your argument is not sound here. Even a child can figure out that Santa cannot visit everyone in the world in a single night. This is how they come to conclude—without having been told—that there is no such a person. The New Testament cannot be passed off in the same manner. Brilliant men on both sides of the fence argue about Jesus and the claims made about him. Books are written pro and con in an effort to get the public to agree one way or another. This is not a **Santa** issue we are debating.

      A murder is not a supernatural claim. Additionally, there are other kinds of evidence besides witness testimony. There’s blood-spaatter. There are all kinds of records (cell phone, purchases, etc.). There’s surveillance footage. There’s DNA. In fact, we now know that even eyewitness testimony is never fully reliable. And eyewitnesses can always lie.

      It sounds like if **you** cannot see it for yourself, you will not agree. That’s fine, but your decision on this issue does not negate the fact that brilliant men and women on both sides of the fence believe there is a reasonable argument to be debated. The fact remains that once we decide there is a God, the miraculous claims are reasonable. The “supernatural” becomes a very natural phenomenon.

      Right, but eyewitness testimony and its reasonability in regards to a murder is a wholly different thing from an alleged eyewitness testimony to a supernatural event. You must know that.

      Indeed I do know this, and it is really the supernatural claims of the Bible that you have an argument against. If God… then there is no problem with the supernatural—correct?

      Given that the resurrection of the human body is a supernatural claim, I’d require objectively verifiable evidence. Without such evidence, I have no reason to believe such an event occurred.

      And what exactly would “objectively verifiable evidence” look like? Would it be a Jesus Museum where anyone could drop in and say hello—glad to see you are still alive?

      How is it objectively believable? How is what you’re asking not simply an appeal to popularity? Even if the entire world’s population believed that Jesus rose from the dead, that would only be an extremely popular opinion without objectively verifiable evidence to support it. Popular belief in a claim doesn’t equal evidence for that claim.

      Again, what would “objectively verifiable evidence” look like to you? We agree that popular opinion does not by necessity equal truth, but I must ask, isn’t your opinion the most popular among those who lead the nations of the world today, who teach in our schools, colleges and universities today, who run our great commercial empires today? Those with the power almost unanimously agree there is no God, or at least act like there is no God. Believing in God and in the New Testament is for those folks who need a crutch in life—who cannot make it on their own—etc. Doesn’t this sound like the prevailing **popular** argument among those people who run this world’s organizations—the people we all want to be like?

      First, my point with saying “Jewish insurgent” etc. was simply that such a series of events most likely would’ve brought considerable attention if not from the emperor, then certainly of historians and yet there is no extra-Biblical record of Jesus’ existence.

      The argument that Jesus never existed is no longer a consideration of those who debate Jesus issues. The experts all agree that he did exist. This argument, however, continues to be popular among non-experts like us. The fact is that there is evidence within the New Testament that Rome didn’t consider the Jesus Movement a threat to their way of life. Every messianic uprising in Palestine from Tiberius to the destruction of Jerusalem was hunted down and destroyed by the Roman governors all except the Jesus Movement. We claimed Jesus was not the ruler of **this** world. Caesar didn’t consider the Ruler of another world to be a threat to him in his world.

      Second, deaths occur all the time by natural means. We have but to look in hospitals, morgues, funeral homes, cemeteries, etc. to find evidence of human death naturally occurring. Thus, an account of someone dying is completely reasonable and universally found within the human experience.

      None of these deaths, with the possible exception of Evils Presley, have people running around saying they have seen the person who died risen from the dead. They have handled his body and they saw the body consume food. The body was alive and spoke with them. Just because many people die and nothing is said of them afterward, is not evidence that someone who claimed to be God in the flesh couldn’t die and rise again. Once we put God in the equation, the miraculous is not an unreasonable argument.

      Third, resurrections never occur; therefore, we need extraordinary evidence to prove that such a thing is possible. Given the age and unreliability of Gospel accounts along with no objectively verifiable evidence of any kind, it’s unreasonable to assume that the legend of Jesus’ resurrection to be anything more than that, legend.

      Anton, do you believe in evolution? Most intelligent people do. Do you realize that we have absolutely no evidence of life rising out of non-living matter—zero evidence? Yet, most intelligent people find this theory infinitely more preferable than the account in Genesis. I should think that believing that life actually arises from non-living matter would need “extraordinary evidence to prove that such a thing is possible.” I think you would agree to this; wouldn’t you? The problem is we both believe in something about which there is zero verifiable evidence. You have the testimony of some of the greatest minds this world has to offer. I have the testimony of some simple folk who lived 2000 years ago. It really comes down to who one **believes** as it pertains to things that cannot be verified with extraordinary evidence. Wouldn’t you agree?

      Concerning Mormonism…
      I wasn’t defaming them.

      I didn’t think or claim that you were. However, for me to reply to your statement as they compare with Christianity, I would be required to defame them. I didn’t wish to do that.

      Concerning Mormonism
      Except for the ones who force young women into marriage and sex. And the ones who fund anti-gay legislation, attempting to force their value system onto the rest of us.

      Anton, I thought we were not going to defame them. Let’s let this go—okay? It will not help your argument or mine by going down this road.

      My only point is that what you seem to say, that of lots of alleged eyewitness accounts of supernatural events being credible until proved otherwise, seems to be the exact same thing that the Mormons claim. Thus, why don’t you believe them?

      Suffice to say, I don’t find their argument reasonable. Therefore, I am not a Mormon.

      First, the hypothesis of alien technology is about technology. Since we have technology that only fifty years ago seemed impossible, I find it plausible that there could be technologies fifty years from now that today seem impossible. Do I find it plausible that the light barrier can be breached? Not really, but I think it is possible. I admit that part of my optimism is based on ignorance. I don’t understand enough of relativity to sincerely judge. But if the question is posed why would I believe in breaking the light barrier and not a God, well, one is defined by natural means, the other by supernatural.

      The words: “supernatural” and “technology” are simply words we use to describe what we know or believe. Many of the things we might have described as “supernatural” 100 years ago is today’s technology. If God… then “supernatural” is technology—on the God level.

      I consider a six-day creation story ridiculous because 1. a god is an undemonstrated premise 2. from what we know of astronomical, archaeological, and paleontological evidence (to name a few), the world was not created in six days, and 3. theologically I’ve never understand why an omnipotent god would take six days to create something–why not instantly? Feel free to ask me more specific questions.

      Concerning #1, the String Theory is an undemonstrated premise of the science of Physics, yet some of the most brilliant scientists of today believe the String Theory is the answer for everything.

      Concerning #2, astronomical evidence is based upon theory and math; archaeological evidence is often expressed to accommodate the current theory, and likewise paleontological evidence.

      Concerning #3, God was operating according to the laws he created and it took a week because he wished to create a 7 day period (the 7th day he stopped creating), around which man would calculate his life.

      If we define a god at least as omnipotent, then of course a god would be able to do so, but since a god is an undemonstrated premise, I have no reason to believe in its existence.

      I have argued above that you base your life upon “an undemonstrated premise.” It all comes down to which “undemonstrated premise” one wishes to believe, and yes it is all based upon **belief**, whether it is you or me! :-)

      Concerning God stretching out the heavens and giving it the appearance of age…
      All of which is undemonstrated or unverified.

      What astronomical data, as it pertains to all the galaxies and their positions and how they got to where they are, is demonstrable or verifiable?

      Because technology is verifiable. God is not.

      Yet, God is a reasonable answer for all that exists. I find no such reasonability in the answers that science offers.

      My point is that you’re completely willing to believe one set of supernatural claims and completely dismissive of another set or sets. What you say, “I haven’t seen compelling evidence for either leprechauns or the Loch Ness monster” is exactly what I say about God and Jesus. What you say about “evidence” for God and Jesus I say about leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster. At least the latter has photographic evidence supporting its claims. And yet despite the accounts of leprechauns, the age of claims of their existence, and the popularity of their claims–all reasons you’ve given for believing the supernatural claims you believe–you dismiss the same claims of leprechauns.
      Furthermore, there was a time that ended only recently in which people sincerely believed in fairies. The Cottingley Fairies case proves this. If you don’t believe in fairies, I’d have to ask the same thing. Why not?

      What I have presented as “popular” was so with the leaders of the world and some of the best minds throughout history. This is not so concerning leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster. Moreover, what I believe is still debated by brilliant men on both sides of the fence. This is not so about leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster. I don’t see the reasonable comparison that you do here.

      Have a great day,

      Eddie

       
    • Anton A. Hill

      May 13, 2011 at 16:07

      Hey Ed,

      I’m endeavoring to get to responses quicker. Please pardon conversational redundancies as I’m too lazy to make absolutely sure what’s already been said.

      >> Verification of the part doesn’t equal verification of the whole.

      >One cannot verify that we put men on the moon!

      That’s an obvious false equivalency. Resurrection = supernatural. Moon landing = natural.

      >Many of us are still living when Armstrong first stepped onto the moon’s surface, but we have to trust that these people didn’t lie to us and present us with a Hollywood fantasy.

      I agree that we can’t necessarily verify absolutely every last claim made by every last human who ever lived. And though I personally find the hypothesis of the moon landing being a faked, Hollywood fantasy ridiculous, I have to admit that I can’t disprove it; however, just because I can’t disprove it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Though you could say the same thing about the resurrection, the difference I’ve already pointed out. Furthermore, in both assertions, that of the resurrection and that of the faked moon landing, you’d have to prove them. You can’t.

      >Some things cannot be verified in the manner in which would give you and others peace.

      I question whether you understand the definition of “verify.” The term refers to an absolute. One can’t verify “in a manner.” One can either verify or not. The resurrection can’t be verified just as the founding of Rome can’t be verified.

      >One has to look at the testimony given and ask if it is a lie. I have looked and say it is not a lie.

      The term “lie” is problematic. Something can be false without being a lie. My friend who claims to see dead people isn’t necessarily lying. He sincerely believes his claims. But this doesn’t mean that his claims are true. How have you looked and how do you know that the “testimony” given is not a lie?

      >If there is a God, there is such power that would raise the dead. So, this is not what is unreasonable. Once I believe in a God who cares for mankind, then the resurrection of Jesus is as reasonable as believing the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.

      I agree. So, first prove that a god exists, then we can discuss the evidence for the resurrection.

      But even if we had evidence of your assertion that a god exists, this still wouldn’t resolve the conflict that the Jews don’t believe you, nor do the Muslims, nor any other faiths. How can you prove that you’re right and they’re all wrong?

      >>Given that part of the credibility that you claim derives specifically from the verifiability of the accounts you claim to be eyewitness, how you know them to be eyewitness accounts is very much in need of defense.

      >Now you bring up textual criticism. We can go this route if you wish, but it all ends with which expert you and I believe presents the most reasonable argument.

      So we’re back to various appeals to authority which is not evidence. Expert X says that the NT = eyewitness accounts because they read like them. Expert Y says that the NT = eyewitness accounts because they contain historical details that can be corroborated. At the end of the day, though, both of these experts’ opinions are that and nothing more. Opinions. Neither are evidence.

      Are you seriously suggesting that the way you know, not believe, but know the Gospels to be first-person eyewitness accounts composed within days of events described is that other people say that they are?

      If this is the case, then I submit to you that I am a prophet. As I may have described already, I accurately predicted, with no insider information, that Sony would win the HD format battle with its Blu-Ray against Toshiba’s HD-DVD. I predicted the victory would occur within less than a year from the time of my prediction. I was right. I’m not a liar, which my friends and family will attest, so you know that I’m not. Since you can’t disprove my lack of insider knowledge nor my lack of lying, then both must be true. I am, therefore, a prophet.

      >There are experts with excellent credentials on both sides of the fence.

      Having a credential is not evidence.

      >I believe I am able to present that the most reasonable argument is that the Gospels were written by those whom we have always thought.

      Again, you’re relying on the “reasonable” argument, which is fallacious because you’re defining “reasonable” ultimately by an appeal to popularity. You’re basically saying that because something seems reasonable (to most), it therefore is.

      >Furthermore, I have written testimony from a late 2nd century church father that all of the New Testament was written between the reigns of Tiberius and Nero—all, including John’s writings.

      How do you know this church father was correct? How do you know what he wrote wasn’t later altered to fit someone’s agenda? How do you know that a church father–someone with a desire to further his claims–can be trusted? The era in which the NT was written doesn’t make it eyewitness accounts.

      >Moreover, one of the strongest logical arguments that the Gospels were written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple is that this shocking event was never recorded as an accomplished fact in the New Testament.

      That’s funny. I’d heard that it in fact was recorded, thus proving that the composition occurred after such an event. I’ve been researching this and haven’t found specific verses yet. If, however, you’re right, then I agree.

      >>I’m not questioning Pilate’s existence. What I’m questioning is the supernatural claims.

      >>It sounds like what you’re saying is Guy X says that the Gospels were eyewitness accounts, therefore they Gospels were eyewitness accounts. If that is what you’re saying, how do we know what Guy X says is true is actually true?

      >The New Testament itself claims to be an eyewitness account of the things that occurred in Jesus’ lifetime. Guy X simply agrees with their claim and gives us a reasonable account as to how it all developed.

      Fair enough, but a “reasonable account” is not evidence.

      >Look, I am not trying to claim anything about the New Testament is more provable than the stories of witnesses that daily give their own testimonies of crimes and events that they saw and heard take place before a court of law.

      Though I’ve already covered this, I’ll happily do it again.

      In a court of law, we see and record eyewitnesses. We also corroborate their statements by proving where and when they were. We know that court witnesses exist because we experience them first-hand. It’s true that we take their testimony as evidence, but not solely their testimony. And if solely, we acknowledge that such evidence is all we have.

      We also endeavor to introduce empirical evidence so that we don’t have to solely rely on eyewitness evidence.

      We also have countless cases of supposed eyewitnesses either not being such or lying.

      We also toss out cases that can’t be proved or acknowledge that they can’t be proved.

      If any eyewitness makes a supernatural claim we either don’t believe them or we seek evidence to prove that claim.

      You keep harping on so-called eyewitness testimony as if it is an infallible form of evidence, which it clearly is not. You either seem to forget or ignore this fact since I’ve pointed out that it is not the only form of evidence available, but we have other, empirical evidence such as DNA, which we can introduce into a case.

      You keep citing “courts of law” in a bit of an appeal to authority, essentially claiming that “if it’s good enough for them” possibly ignoring that it’s usually not good enough for them and it’s also not being used to prove supernatural claims.

      Finally, you’d think that an omnipotent god would be able and willing to provide empirical evidence of him and his son. You’d think this god wouldn’t let his creation have a need or desire to question the claims made of said son; the empirical evidence would simply be there. You’d think this god wouldn’t want his creation to have to rely on that which they can prove to be questionable evidence at best.

      >Bringing this to our argument, once we decide there is a God, miracles are not unreasonable.

      I agree.

      >The New Testament claims that Jesus was God in the flesh. If miracles are not unreasonable for God, then our only decision lay in whether or not the New Testament seems reasonable as written. You and I—the jury—are required to decide on this.

      So why don’t you believe that Mohammed rose bodily to heaven?

      >>We investigate as many avenues as possible as the claim is extraordinary and thus (pardon the cliche) requires extraordinary evidence.

      >Your argument is not sound here. Even a child can figure out that Santa cannot visit everyone in the world in a single night.

      I didn’t. Maybe I was dumb and naive, but I believed my parents when they told me the story because, as you’ve said with your “evidence”, I had no reason to believe that my parents were lying or that what they were saying wasn’t true. Thus, I believed them. It wasn’t until my mom actually told me that it was all made up that I knew that.

      But more to the point, you’re basically saying that if something is meant for children, it shouldn’t be believed, a reverse appeal to popularity. And it’s irrelevant. You can’t prove that Santa doesn’t exist and that he can’t take his worldwide night flight.

      >This is not a **Santa** issue we are debating.

      Except that neither Jesus nor Santa has any empirical evidence to support his existence or deeds. Yet you claim that “eyewitness” accounts are sufficient to prove the former and deny that millions of believers prove the latter.

      >It sounds like if **you** cannot see it for yourself, you will not agree. That’s fine, but your decision on this issue does not negate the fact that brilliant men and women on both sides of the fence believe there is a reasonable argument to be debated.

      Doesn’t mean that they’re right.

      >Indeed I do know this, and it is really the supernatural claims of the Bible that you have an argument against. If God… then there is no problem with the supernatural—correct?

      Sure, so just prove that God exists, specifically the Abrahamic god, and then we can discuss the supernatural claims made of him.

      >>Given that the resurrection of the human body is a supernatural claim, I’d require objectively verifiable evidence. Without such evidence, I have no reason to believe such an event occurred.

      >And what exactly would “objectively verifiable evidence” look like?

      Not sure, to be honest. But people telling me it happened or writing down that it happened isn’t good enough just as it isn’t good enough for Zeus or Thor.

      >Would it be a Jesus Museum where anyone could drop in and say hello—glad to see you are still alive?

      That’s a start. :)

      >We agree that popular opinion does not by necessity equal truth, but I must ask, isn’t your opinion the most popular among those who lead the nations of the world today, who teach in our schools, colleges and universities today, who run our great commercial empires today?

      I’m not basing my opinion on whether it’s popular or not. Notice I’ve appealed to no one in terms of god’s existence because anyone’s opinion on the matter is irrelevant.

      >Those with the power almost unanimously agree there is no God, or at least act like there is no God. Believing in God and in the New Testament is for those folks who need a crutch in life—who cannot make it on their own—etc. Doesn’t this sound like the prevailing **popular** argument among those people who run this world’s organizations—the people we all want to be like?

      You’re making a bunch of baseless claims and irrelevant questions here.

      >The argument that Jesus never existed is no longer a consideration of those who debate Jesus issues. The experts all agree that he did exist.

      Who are they and how do they know?

      > Caesar didn’t consider the Ruler of another world to be a threat to him in his world.

      Are you saying that not one Roman or Greek historian contemporary to or after Jesus never mentioned him once is due to the fact that the empires themselves found him irrelevant?

      >None of these deaths, with the possible exception of Evils Presley, have people running around saying they have seen the person who died risen from the dead.

      So why is it unreasonable to assume that Presley didn’t rise from the dead?

      >>Third, resurrections never occur; therefore, we need extraordinary evidence to prove that such a thing is possible. Given the age and unreliability of Gospel accounts along with no objectively verifiable evidence of any kind, it’s unreasonable to assume that the legend of Jesus’ resurrection to be anything more than that, legend.

      >Anton, do you believe in evolution?

      That’s irrelevant.

      >Most intelligent people do. Do you realize that we have absolutely no evidence of life rising out of non-living matter—zero evidence?

      I’ve already covered this. To deny evolution is the intellectual equivalent of denying gravity.

      >Yet, most intelligent people find this theory infinitely more preferable than the account in Genesis.

      That’s because there’s evidence of the former (which I’ve already covered) and none for the latter. Not only that, but here is also evidence that the account in Genesis is little more than a derivation of previous and concurrent creation myths.

      >I should think that believing that life actually arises from non-living matter would need “extraordinary evidence to prove that such a thing is possible.” I think you would agree to this; wouldn’t you?

      Indeed I do, which is why it’s so awesome that there are mountains of it.

      >You have the testimony of some of the greatest minds this world has to offer.

      That and mountains of evidence clogging museums and labs around the world.

      >I have the testimony of some simple folk who lived 2000 years ago.

      Which you’ve admitted isn’t the “best” evidence.

      >It really comes down to who one **believes** as it pertains to things that cannot be verified with extraordinary evidence. Wouldn’t you agree?

      I’d agree except that there is plenty of evidence to support “theories” like gravity and evolution.

      >>Except for the ones who force young women into marriage and sex. And the ones who fund anti-gay legislation, attempting to force their value system onto the rest of us.

      >Anton, I thought we were not going to defame them. Let’s let this go—okay? It will not help your argument or mine by going down this road.

      Pardon me, but saying “Mormons are bad” I thought was defamation, not citing documented fact. Is calling the KKK racist defamation?

      >>My only point is that what you seem to say, that of lots of alleged eyewitness accounts of supernatural events being credible until proved otherwise, seems to be the exact same thing that the Mormons claim. Thus, why don’t you believe them?

      >Suffice to say, I don’t find their argument reasonable. Therefore, I am not a Mormon.

      Why not?

      >>But if the question is posed why would I believe in breaking the light barrier and not a God, well, one is defined by natural means, the other by supernatural.

      >The words: “supernatural” and “technology” are simply words we use to describe what we know or believe. Many of the things we might have described as “supernatural” 100 years ago is today’s technology. If God… then “supernatural” is technology—on the God level.

      Except that technology is testable and supernatural isn’t. Not one supernatural claim, in the entire history of humanity, has ever been proven. Not one. Not once. Kooky technology, however, has been.

      And even if I go with your “God-level” technology, that suggests that you know something about god, which you’d have to demonstrate the existence of and your knowledge of, but that still supposes rules by which it’s governed, as with any technology.

      In short, it’s fallacious to attempt to draw an equivalency between technology and the supernatural. And you know that.

      >Concerning #1, the String Theory is an undemonstrated premise of the science of Physics, yet some of the most brilliant scientists of today believe the String Theory is the answer for everything.

      And they’re testing it in an attempt to falsify it. Once they do, they’ll change it to a model that does work. Or if they don’t falsify it, they’ll keep it until they discover another model that works better.

      >Concerning #2, astronomical evidence is based upon theory and math; archaeological evidence is often expressed to accommodate the current theory, and likewise paleontological evidence.

      Again, I’m not sure that you understand the scientific method. Astronomical evidence is also based on observation among other things. Evidence is never expressed to accommodate theory. That’s not how the scientific method works. If evidence refutes a current theory, the current theory is revised to fit the evidence. Evidence can’t be “expressed.” It either is or it isn’t. And did you have any evidence to back your claim that “archaeological evidence is often expressed to accommodate the current theory”?

      >Concerning #3, God was operating according to the laws he created and it took a week because he wished to create a 7 day period (the 7th day he stopped creating), around which man would calculate his life.

      What, god couldn’t just hand out calendars?

      >>If we define a god at least as omnipotent, then of course a god would be able to do so, but since a god is an undemonstrated premise, I have no reason to believe in its existence.

      >I have argued above that you base your life upon “an undemonstrated premise.” It all comes down to which “undemonstrated premise” one wishes to believe, and yes it is all based upon **belief**, whether it is you or me! :-)

      Except that my beliefs are based on evidence or I admit that I have no evidence to support them.

      >>Concerning God stretching out the heavens and giving it the appearance of age…
      All of which is undemonstrated or unverified.

      >What astronomical data, as it pertains to all the galaxies and their positions and how they got to where they are, is demonstrable or verifiable?

      I know that red-shift is one. Feel free to look it up. Sagan actually goes into a lot of detail on this in Cosmos. You can watch it streaming on NetFlix.

      >>Because technology is verifiable. God is not.

      >Yet, God is a reasonable answer for all that exists. I find no such reasonability in the answers that science offers.

      Again with the reasonability thing! :) That’s irrelevant. The question is what is there evidence to support? What’s your evidence of a god?

      >>Furthermore, there was a time that ended only recently in which people sincerely believed in fairies. The Cottingley Fairies case proves this. If you don’t believe in fairies, I’d have to ask the same thing. Why not?

      >What I have presented as “popular” was so with the leaders of the world and some of the best minds throughout history.

      Doesn’t make it true.

      >This is not so concerning leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster.

      So what you’re saying is that since Myth X is more popular with lots of people and smart people, it is true because Myth Y is not as popular with not as many smart people?

      >Moreover, what I believe is still debated by brilliant men on both sides of the fence. This is not so about leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster.

      So because people are debating what you believe, that makes it more true than Nessie?

      >I don’t see the reasonable comparison that you do here.

      All I’m saying is that Claim X has no evidence and Claim Y has no evidence. You believe Claim X, citing that it’s more popular than Claim Y. That, though, seems to be all that you have.

      >Have a great day,

      You too!

      Anton.

       
    • Ed Bromfield

      May 15, 2011 at 06:06

      Greetings Anton. What a welcome surprise! I wasn’t expecting your reply for at least a week. I imagine you are very busy, which is another reason why I appreciate your presence here.

      I’m endeavoring to get to responses quicker. Please pardon conversational redundancies as I’m too lazy to make absolutely sure what’s already been said.

      No problem. Most people get tired of the length of the posts by this time. I appreciate your desire to continue. If I recognize a redundancy, I’ll pass over it and consider it answered or try to lump them together. In this way the replies will be shorter than they would be.

      Concerning not being able to verify that we put people on the moon…
      That’s an obvious false equivalency. Resurrection = supernatural. Moon landing = natural.

      I am merely pointing out that we must take some things on faith—trusting that people have not lied to us, whether in religion or science (supernatural or natural). I think the point is perfectly appropriate.

      I agree that we can’t necessarily verify absolutely every last claim made by every last human who ever lived. And though I personally find the hypothesis of the moon landing being a faked, Hollywood fantasy ridiculous, I have to admit that I can’t disprove it; however, just because I can’t disprove it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Though you could say the same thing about the resurrection, the difference I’ve already pointed out. Furthermore, in both assertions, that of the resurrection and that of the faked moon landing, you’d have to prove them. You can’t.

      The proof of both is in the witness that it did occur. It is the manner in which we establish the truth of this type all over the world. It is not scientific proof, but it is proof of the truth nonetheless.

      I question whether you understand the definition of “verify.” The term refers to an absolute. One can’t verify “in a manner.” One can either verify or not. The resurrection can’t be verified just as the founding of Rome can’t be verified.

      I trust that I have understood properly. The moon landing cannot be verified by common folk. Only people with the means and knowledge to get there and discover what we claimed to have left behind can verify the moon landing, and if that should occur the very verification they perform still cannot be verified by the common folk!

      “in the manner” refers to scientific verification. One can always repeat scientific formulas etc. However, this is not the only means of deriving truth. Witnessing to the fact of a thing is also a means of deriving the truth of an event. Science cannot always prove events. Nevertheless, they either occurred or they didn’t. Events are proved to have occurred through the means of people witnessing the thing. There are other means, but we are discussing ‘witnessing’ and why it cannot be verified.

      The term “lie” is problematic. Something can be false without being a lie. My friend who claims to see dead people isn’t necessarily lying. He sincerely believes his claims. But this doesn’t mean that his claims are true. How have you looked and how do you know that the “testimony” given is not a lie?

      Perhaps the word ‘false’ would have fit the discussion better. I have determined the witness of the NT is not false through several means. First, I have not found a so-called ‘contradiction’ that cannot be explained. Secondly, I have not found the testimony contradicting known truth. Third, I have found archeology supporting at least some of the testimony—places are where the NT says they are, and some of the characters named in the NT can be shown to have existed during the 1st century and in the places the NT points to. Fourth, there is some (very little, however) support in the historical writings of non-Christian historians of the 1st and 2nd centuries. There are a few other means available, but these are off the top of my head.

      I agree. So, first prove that a god exists, then we can discuss the evidence for the resurrection.

      The point is **if** God exists, miracles are not unbelievable, and **if** God became man, the resurrection is not out of the question. It would be a perfectly ‘natural’ thing for him to do.

      The existence of God can be believed through ‘evidence’ one finds all around him, but like the moon landing and the founding of Rome, he cannot be ‘verified’ in the manner in which science would like.

      But even if we had evidence of your assertion that a god exists, this still wouldn’t resolve the conflict that the Jews don’t believe you, nor do the Muslims, nor any other faiths. How can you prove that you’re right and they’re all wrong?

      All that is necessary is that I prove that my faith is valid. Whether others believe it (or me) is another matter. Their ‘belief’ or ‘unbelief’ is not in my hands. It is in theirs and God’s.

      Are you seriously suggesting that the way you know, not believe, but know the Gospels to be first-person eyewitness accounts composed within days of events described is that other people say that they are?

      Not at all. I have determined by reading the accounts that they are believable. With as much honesty as I have, I put my trust in Jesus. I am promised that something would occur within me and I would know whether what is claimed by him in the Bible is true or not. I have that witness within me. I **know** subjectively whether or not the ‘objective’ witness is true. The only way one could cast doubt on my inner witness is for someone to prove that the objective witness is absolutely wrong. This is as honest as I can put it.

      If this is the case, then I submit to you that I am a prophet. As I may have described already, I accurately predicted, with no insider information, that Sony would win the HD format battle with its Blu-Ray against Toshiba’s HD-DVD. I predicted the victory would occur within less than a year from the time of my prediction. I was right. I’m not a liar, which my friends and family will attest, so you know that I’m not. Since you can’t disprove my lack of insider knowledge nor my lack of lying, then both must be true. I am, therefore, a prophet.

      Successfully predicting a trend is not the same thing as being a prophet. All you did was look at the available evidence and predict the correct outcome. A prophet in the Bible predicts matters hundreds of years in advance. At times animals are used to reflect current and future kingdoms, because the names of those future kingdoms are not given; only their existence is shown to the prophet. I don’t believe you could successfully predict what technological advances would be occurring in the business world 50 years from now. Could you?

      Again, you’re relying on the “reasonable” argument, which is fallacious because you’re defining “reasonable” ultimately by an appeal to popularity. You’re basically saying that because something seems reasonable (to most), it therefore is.

      This is not entirely true. I think I am able to support my argument in the same manner that you could show the ‘reasonability’ of the moon landing. First, we have absolutely no evidence of any of the Gospel narratives being named anything but what they are. There are no records of Matthew, for example, being mistaken for Thomas or James, nor is Luke mistaken for Barnabas or Andrew etc. They are always as we have them today: the Gospel narratives according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This shows the names **must** be ancient, more ancient than our oldest complete Bibles we have. Secondly, I am sure you have heard of the ancient great library at Alexandria. How do you suppose people were able to accurately go through such a library of tens (perhaps hundreds?) of thousands of works and find exactly what they wished to read? We know that in ancient times there were tags attached to books (scrolls). They were attached to either the papyrus at the end of the scroll or the navel (around which the scroll was wrapped) and dangled from something like a string. It named the author, title and usually offered a short synopsis of the work. It is very reasonable that such a tag was attached to each work in the NT, because eventually all the NT works ended up in all the churches throughout the Empire. There are no such scrolls in our possession today, since later the books were copied onto parchment codices, making the ‘tags’ unnecessary. Books were expensive and laborious to reproduce. It is not reasonable to handle each work until one found the scroll that says “In the beginning was the Word…” It would have already had a tag somewhere on the work showing it was the “Gospel according to John” or a reasonable facsimile.

      How do you know this church father was correct? How do you know what he wrote wasn’t later altered to fit someone’s agenda? How do you know that a church father–someone with a desire to further his claims–can be trusted? The era in which the NT was written doesn’t make it eyewitness accounts.

      How would you know any ancient author is correct or that his work wasn’t altered by someone later? How do you know any ancient author—with a desire to further his claims about his subject—can be trusted? The point is at some point we must decide whether or not we are going to believe such people, and then do it until they are proved false.

      That’s funny. I’d heard that it in fact was recorded, thus proving that the composition occurred after such an event. I’ve been researching this and haven’t found specific verses yet. If, however, you’re right, then I agree.

      I don’t know where you got your assumption. Non-believing textual critics say the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple is recorded in Jesus’ prophecy on Mt. Olives, but this is prophecy—not the recording of it as an accomplished fact. My claim above comes from a textual critic who made the statement in the 1970s (I think or thereabouts). He has not been contradicted by any of the opposing experts to my knowledge.

      Concerning the claim that the resurrection is true…
      Fair enough, but a “reasonable account” is not evidence.

      A reasonable account of how the Bible was written enhances its believability. The people of the second and third centuries were closer to the age of the Apostles than we are. It is reasonable to believe more objective evidence was available to them than is available to us today.

      In a court of law, we see and record eyewitnesses. We also corroborate their statements by proving where and when they were. We know that court witnesses exist because we experience them first-hand. It’s true that we take their testimony as evidence, but not solely their testimony. And if solely, we acknowledge that such evidence is all we have.

      In a court of law, I think you would be disqualified as a juror if you knew any of the witnesses. So, in a sense the Gospel narratives are testimonies by unknown people, just like in a jury today. It is the testimony itself that is decided upon—whether it is believable or not.

      You **don’t** know that the court witnesses exist, because all you know firsthand is their claim to be an eyewitness. Obviously someone wrote the NT account so, ‘someone’ existed, just like that ‘someone’ on a witnesses stand exists. In the end it is the testimony itself that is put forth for approval that is important and judged. Often, all we have is their testimony to review in order to decide the matter before us as a juror—so too it is with the NT. At times we have corroborating ‘evidence’ such as medical reports (if appropriate) or neighborhood layout (if appropriate), but we have such things available for the NT as well; archeology and historical records have corroborated both some neighborhood layouts and some of the people living there in Jesus’ times, and recent medical testimony shows what one could expect if someone was crucified etc., thus corroborating some of the NT records about the crucifixion.

      You keep harping on so-called eyewitness testimony as if it is an infallible form of evidence, which it clearly is not. You either seem to forget or ignore this fact since I’ve pointed out that it is not the only form of evidence available, but we have other, empirical evidence such as DNA, which we can introduce into a case.

      This is not entirely true. I have replied to this claim before in this discussion. I have pointed out that the ‘eyewitness’ testimony is all we have concerning Jesus’ words and works, and eyewitness testimony is not that unusual in a courtroom today. Often the claim of the ‘eyewitness’ is all that is used or available to decide a matter, and it is presumed that it is all that should be needed for a jury to make a decision. Such evidence and the verdict coming out of such evidence are accepted by the state as a valid means of expressing the truth about a particular event.

      Finally, you’d think that an omnipotent god would be able and willing to provide empirical evidence of him and his son. You’d think this god wouldn’t let his creation have a need or desire to question the claims made of said son; the empirical evidence would simply be there. You’d think this god wouldn’t want his creation to have to rely on that which they can prove to be questionable evidence at best.

      Given the witness of the Apostles is true, at least some people had that empirical evidence. Nevertheless, this is not provided for each generation, nor was it provided for that entire generation in the Apostles’ day. God was not and is not interested in providing that kind of evidence—at least up to now. What he will do in the future is not for me to say. His interest has always been to give mankind a choice. We are provided with the means to make such a choice; we either believe the eyewitness record or we don’t. I don’t mean to imply that such a choice now opposed to believing would be held against the unbeliever for all time or any similar decision against everyone who has ever lived or shall yet live, but for now this decision of trusting the available evidence is what is important to God.

      So why don’t you believe that Mohammed rose bodily to heaven?

      First of all (as you mentioned earlier), I wasn’t born into a Muslim family, so I wasn’t confronted with this issue until later in adult life. By that time I had already decided for Jesus. What claims I have investigated about Islam, I have to reject, and yes, I do have a Qur’an—three, in fact.

      But more to the point, you’re basically saying that if something is meant for children, it shouldn’t be believed, a reverse appeal to popularity. And it’s irrelevant. You can’t prove that Santa doesn’t exist and that he can’t take his worldwide night flight.

      Sounds like the mathematical theory that there are an infinite number of points in a single line three inches long. However, the practicality is false, just as one could not put an infinite number of anything on those infinite number of points in any line (however long or short), neither could anyone visit every household on earth or even every Christian household in a single night. While one can make the theory work, the practicality of it all is false, and that can be shown to be true any and every night of the year, no matter how many years you wish to use in the experiment.

      Except that neither Jesus nor Santa has any empirical evidence to support his existence or deeds. Yet you claim that “eyewitness” accounts are sufficient to prove the former and deny that millions of believers prove the latter.

      The Santa story doesn’t claim to be a miracle. It is just told to children. It is based upon false natural data. Anyone is able, given the time and resources, to show the Santa story is false.

      Concerning the fact that many brilliant men and women—believers, atheists and agnostics—agree that there is a reasonable argument to be debated…

      Doesn’t mean that they’re right.

      Are you the only one that believes the argument is unreasonable? Most atheists will not engage anyone in a debate about the ‘reality’ of Santa, Mother Goose, or the existence of vampires. Such things are simply a waste of their time (and I agree), but they will engage people, however begrudgingly, who wish to claim the existence of God. This seems to convey some, albeit perhaps reluctant, agreement that the argument is reasonable.

      Sure, so just prove that God exists, specifically the Abrahamic god, and then we can discuss the supernatural claims made of him.

      Well, do you wish to leave off this discussion and go to an “Is there a God?” discussion? If so, use the link provided, or click on the “Discussion” tab on the top of the page. If you wish to reply to both, continue to respond here and go there as well. If you choose “Is there a God?” over this, I’ll simply provide a link to that argument, announcing we have gone there. If you choose to reply to this present series but opt to continue to respond only for the question of the existence of God on the page provided, I’ll allow your reply here (however long or short it may be) to stand unanswered—leaving you with the final word, unless, of course you say you desire my reply both here and there, but given where we are, I believe my replies are becoming predictable, as are your arguments, though I am intrigued by your announcement in the last series that ‘life’ has been created in a laboratory recently.

      Concerning what ‘objective, verifiable evidence’ of the supernatural would look like…
      Not sure, to be honest. But people telling me it happened or writing down that it happened isn’t good enough just as it isn’t good enough for Zeus or Thor.

      Well, if memory serves, Zeus and Thor represent an entirely different worldview than what we have today. But if you don’t know what sort of evidence would be believable, it is difficult to reply more than to say an ‘eyewitness’ account of Jesus’ words and works are provided for our acceptance or rejection. We get to choose which we are willing to believe, and it seems we both have drawn our own conclusions. :-)

      Concerning choosing our standards by what is popular…
      I’m not basing my opinion on whether it’s popular or not. Notice I’ve appealed to no one in terms of god’s existence because anyone’s opinion on the matter is irrelevant.

      Have I?

      Concerning the popular argument…
      You’re making a bunch of baseless claims and irrelevant questions here.

      I don’t believe so. You said that I or at least claimed my decision to believe in Jesus was based upon what was popular. I was merely showing what was really popular in all of the power structures of our Western civilization, and whether or not your decision was consciously made to follow that ‘popular’ scheme, your own decision is in line with it.

      Concerning the experts claims that Jesus did exist…
      Who are they and how do they know?

      I don’t pretend to know all of them, but one is Bart Ehrman, an agnostic that teaches at the North Carolina University. Perhaps you have read some of his books—or not. Anyway, I think my belief about the prevailing ‘expert’ understanding comes from a quote from him, or maybe it was from some other textual critic. I wasn’t looking to add ‘evidence’ to my apologetic argument when I read it, or I would have marked it down. However, I do know Ehrman believes Jesus existed, and I am almost certain he has admitted that most experts in his field are in agreement concerning Jesus’ existence, and let’s face it—they are the people who actually **study** what is said about Jesus. Their word should be taken over the ‘experts’ in other fields who simply ignore much of the historical religious data and cherry pick from there what seems to suit what they think they have discovered in their own branch of expertise.

      Concerning so little outside historical evidence of Jesus’ existence…
      Are you saying that not one Roman or Greek historian contemporary to or after Jesus never mentioned him once is due to the fact that the empires themselves found him irrelevant?

      Not mentioning once is a debatable issue, but if he was a threat the chances are better that he would have been mentioned more. A lot would depend upon how much of a threat he turned out to be. The fact remains that very few, if any, rabbis are mentioned by Roman or Greek historians. Why would Jesus be different?

      So why is it unreasonable to assume that Presley didn’t rise from the dead?

      You can’t be serious! :-)

      Concerning empirical evidence needed for life coming from non-living matter…
      Indeed I do, which is why it’s so awesome that there are mountains of it.

      Really? Apparently our definition of these ‘mountains’ would differ.

      Concerning the testimony of scientists used to make your claims…
      That and mountains of evidence clogging museums and labs around the world.

      “mountains of (empirical) evidence clogging museums” seems a bit of a stretch. The testimony of some scientists will define that evidence one way and the testimony of equally brilliant scientists may define it another. How do you know which definition is correct?

      Concerning it all coming down to ‘belief’ no matter which way you choose…
      I’d agree except that there is plenty of evidence to support “theories” like gravity and evolution.

      I’m not disagreeing with the theory of gravity.

      Concerning why I’m not a Mormon…
      Why not?

      To become a Morman, I would have to basically agree Christianity up to the time of Joseph Smith was a failure. I am not willing to admit anything close to that.

      I SAID: “The words: “supernatural” and “technology” are simply words we use to describe what we know or believe. Many of the things we might have described as “supernatural” 100 years ago is today’s technology. If God… then “supernatural” is technology—on the God level.”

      YOU REPLIED: Except that technology is testable and supernatural isn’t. Not one supernatural claim, in the entire history of humanity, has ever been proven. Not one. Not once. Kooky technology, however, has been.

      Ignorance is not proof. At one time we had no idea how to measure the speed of light. Ignorance didn’t keep light from travelling. It merely kept us from understanding. When I was a kid, people laughed at the Dick Tracy wristwatch communicators. Far out ‘kooky’ technology. Yet that technology is here today. My grandchildren cannot imagine a world without TV or computers. I remember when my only widow to the outside world was radio. I lived through a great many technological breakthroughs. Very little would surprise me now.

      And even if I go with your “God-level” technology, that suggests that you know something about god, which you’d have to demonstrate the existence of and your knowledge of, but that still supposes rules by which it’s governed, as with any technology… In short, it’s fallacious to attempt to draw an equivalency between technology and the supernatural. And you know that.

      The “String Theory” presents many (but not all) of the same problems for science that ‘faith’ has for religion. Neither is able to ‘demonstrate’ what we claim is true. The rules which govern our ‘technology’ are there, but our ignorance is too great to be able to demonstrate what we know to be true. Faith is the key to Christianity, and I think math is the key to the believability of the String Theory (if memory serves). Otherwise, we have many problems in common.

      Concerning the String Theory being an undemonstrated premise of the science of Physics…
      And they’re testing it in an attempt to falsify it. Once they do, they’ll change it to a model that does work. Or if they don’t falsify it, they’ll keep it until they discover another model that works better.

      Pity the same cordiality is not extended to religion. :-)

      Again, I’m not sure that you understand the scientific method. Astronomical evidence is also based on observation among other things. Evidence is never expressed to accommodate theory. That’s not how the scientific method works. If evidence refutes a current theory, the current theory is revised to fit the evidence. Evidence can’t be “expressed.” It either is or it isn’t. And did you have any evidence to back your claim that “archaeological evidence is often expressed to accommodate the current theory”?

      I admit I am not well versed in the scientific method. I have heard of it before, and have discussed matters relating to it with others on some of the discussion boards on the Internet. It doesn’t make me an expert, and I even have to be reminded, as you are doing now, of the formula used. I don’t mean to use my vocabulary in an insulting way or to belittle the work of science. I have issues with some conclusions drawn, but not necessarily with the work performed or even the formula used.

      Concerning ‘my’ evidence, if memory serves, the geological table is supposed to represent ‘x’ number of years or ages identified by the deposits on each level. According to the current scientific theory the table was not deposited suddenly or all at one time (i.e. everything in one age). If this is not the current theory, my conclusion is obviously wrong. However, presuming that my understanding is correct so far, how do they account for the fact that often only the top layer of the table shows any evidence of erosion? If each layer is supposed to have been deposited in its own age, evidence of erosion should be found in every layer, but I have seen pictures of layers where only the top layer has any sign of erosion. Is there a reasonable explanation for this? I have not discovered one.

      Concerning both our worldviews being based upon ‘faith’…
      Except that my beliefs are based on evidence or I admit that I have no evidence to support them.

      I, too, base my beliefs on available evidence. You have rejected it, but your unbelief does not remove the evidence at hand.

      Concerning God stretching out the heavens…
      All of which is undemonstrated or unverified.

      We have gone through this before. Many things we accept today as true cannot be demonstrated or verified. We simply believe we have been told the truth (viz. founding of Rome, moon landing, etc.)

      I SAID: “What astronomical data, as it pertains to all the galaxies and their positions and how they got to where they are, is demonstrable or verifiable?”

      YOUR REPLIED: I know that red-shift is one. Feel free to look it up. Sagan actually goes into a lot of detail on this in Cosmos. You can watch it streaming on NetFlix.

      Okay, but I didn’t have that in mind. What I had in mind, and should have clearly expressed but didn’t, is we were speaking of God stretching out the heavens (which cannot be demonstrated or verified with evidence available), but is science able to demonstrate how the distant galaxies got where they are today? If everything ‘exploded’ (for lack of a more scientific word) outward from a very small point, why do some galaxies appear so far from others travelling in the same outward direction? I understand how galaxies 180 degrees apart from center would be very distant, but what about all the galaxies at or near any one degree in the spectrum? If all came from the same small point, how is it possible for these galaxies to be millions of light years apart, though travelling in the same outward direction? – or is my question and, therefore, my understanding of this off base? Another matter would be space itself. If it is a fabric that can be torn does it deteriorate? If it erodes like everything else, was space, itself, also produced in this ‘exploding’ phenomenon? How could it expand at a more rapid rate than the light it holds? If space does expand, does it expand only in an outward direction or does it expand between the objects it holds, thus producing a false conception of how long it would take for light to travel away from us?

      Again with the reasonability thing! :) That’s irrelevant. The question is what is there evidence to support? What’s your evidence of a god?

      If you desire we can begin our discussion of this HERE!

      All I’m saying is that Claim X has no evidence and Claim Y has no evidence. You believe Claim X, citing that it’s more popular than Claim Y. That, though, seems to be all that you have.

      I don’t agree. I have presented the evidence of claim ‘x’ – Christianity. You have rejected it as not having enough or having inferior evidence, since it is ‘eyewitness’ testimony. Claim ‘y’ has not stood the test, though it too has claimed eyewitness evidence. Some of their data has been shown to have been falsified.

      Have a great day, Anton,

      Eddie

       
  3. me

    April 6, 2011 at 01:32

    Hey Ed,

    Sorry for the delay.

    “Well, I understand your point, but if all things must be verifiable, then absolutely nothing in antiquity can be taken seriously as historical.”

    I agree with that. I think we can assume some things to be true, such as Julius Caesar’s existence, but whether he literally said “et te Brute” we probably shouldn’t assume. But in Caesar’s case, there are multiple corroborating accounts and records of his existence. And nothing about his life ever suggested anything supernatural. Thus, we can safely assume some of the historical details, but cannot assume anything supernatural.

    “Many things are verifiable, but not all in ancient literature. Hence the historians’ general acceptance of Aristotle’s dictum, which says in essence that unless a document is self contradictory or contradicts known truth, it should be given the benefit of the doubt.”

    Yes, benefit of the doubt, but only in reasonable claims. I don’t personally see any evidence that Jesus existed, given that there’s zero extra-Biblical evidence, but I have no issue with other people assuming he did. The supernatural claims, however, are a very different story. Even if there were extra-Biblical evidence that Jesus existed, that’s not at all confirmation of any supernatural claims. Just as multiple stories recounting King Arthur are not verification of the Round Table.

    “On the contrary, all things are not verifiable in the Bible. Hence the need for faith, but not blind faith—faith needs to be based upon reasonable evidence, just as you would trust your friend’s word when his claims cannot be verified. If he has proven himself trustworthy in the past, there is no logical reason why you cannot take his word at face value.”

    Except that I don’t believe friends who make supernatural claims for there’s no reason to believe them. And I have a friend who, in all sincerity, claims to be able to see the spirits of the dead. I’m not saying he’s intentionally lying, but I don’t believe him. According to science, that which defines our personalities is physical and so dies when we die. Nothing left over. On the other hand, if my friend says that he got a job he wasn’t expecting to get, I believe him because that’s not an unreasonable or supernatural claim.

    “Obviously, there are no talking snakes, but some people are referred to as a generation of vipers in the Bible.”

    So, according to you, are Christians who swear that there literally was a talking snake in the Garden of Eden wrong? If so, how do you know they’re wrong? I’ve had people tell me to my face with a straight face that there was a literal talking snake.

    “The metaphor is in place, and there is no reason not to accept the serpent in Genesis as a person.”

    According to you. Why should I, an outsider, believe your interpretation over any other? What makes your interpretation correct?

    “The Hebrew language has no adjectives or adverbs. What it lacks in some areas it makes up for in others. It is replete with metaphor (the Lord is my Shepherd etc.). If one cannot accept this as so, then you may as well stay away from ancient studies of the Near East, because you simply will not understand it.”

    I think this is perfectly reasonable, but see my experiences above.

    “As for science—the jury is still out on this. Are the days in Genesis 1 twenty-four hours long or do they refer to ages?”

    I’ve heard both. I don’t know how any Christian would prove his interpretation as the correct one. Also, we know that the universe is at least 14 billion years old. Genesis doesn’t say “fourteen billion years”; it says “seven days.” You’d think an infallible book written by God would get it exactly right. Even if we were to accept the “ages” hypothesis, that begs the question how we define an “age.”

    “On the other hand, does science fully understand the working of the universe?”

    It doesn’t claim to. Science is in constant evolution. Any new hypothesis is tested and attempted to be disproved. Religion, on the other hand, claims not only to know, but be correct.

    “For example, if something explodes outwardly (Big Bang) and keeps traveling in an outward direction and forms galaxies of varying sizes, the age of the most distant galaxies should be greater than those nearer the center, yet I am told that this isn’t so. Everything seems to be the same age. How can that be?”

    First, I’d love to know where you heard that. Second, let’s say that that is a current theory. I’m no expert, but I know many who could explain that. Third, even if they can’t, that doesn’t make creationism correct. To suggest otherwise is a false dichotomy.

    “I am not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination. I am totally dependent upon what I am told by those who claim they know. I am naturally suspicious of everyone in the field of science, because both camps (deists and atheists) have an axe to grind.”

    But evidence doesn’t. The awesome thing about the scientific method is that any old patent clerk can come up with a revolutionary theory that later people can prove or disprove. Even if one million scientists were in cohoots and trying to trick all of us, all it would take would be one person, one experiment to disprove their claims. Evidence never lies.

    “I keep getting the feeling that people in these fields tell me only what they want me to know. So, everybody seems to be hiding something.”

    You can’t prove that anyone is hiding something. Even if someone is, it can always be disproved by someone else.

    There doesn’t seem to be anything in your prophecy discussion that suggests that my skepticism is unfounded. Anyone at any time could’ve written or rewritten any of that. Because there is an additional explanation to the alleged accuracy of the prophecy, we can’t assume the explanation that the prophecy was fulfilled is correct.

    “Do you have a specific prophecy in mind? I know Nostradamus is written this way, but I know of no Bible prophecy that is written this way.”

    I don’t have a specific prophecy. If I think of one or come upon one, i’ll suggest it.

    “Again, do you have a specific prophecy in mind?”

    Confirmation bias doesn’t require specific prophecies. It can work with anything. All I have to do is pick any verse in the Bible, say one that refers to “three”, and claim that that is a clear example and prophecy of the Trinity. Yes, Trinity is a three-part thing, but I can’t prove that such an observation is anything other than an observation.

    “All the prophecies, of which I am aware, have come true and are accurate enough that the critics claim the prophecies had to be written after the fact.”

    You’ve demonstrated my point. How does one tell the difference between a fulfilled prophecy and one edited to seem fulfilled?

    “True, one or two prophecies might be ‘coincidence’ but after awhile, one would have to recognize a pattern and conclude that either something unseen is at work here or the law of ‘coincidence’ occurs about as often as anything else, in which case, I would have to wonder about bias from your end! :-)”

    How is that not a false dichotomy? There are other options besides “it’s coincidence” and “it’s the hand of God at work.”

    More soon.

    Best,

    Anton.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      April 6, 2011 at 13:53

      Greetings Anton, don’t be concerned about delays. I am simply glad to have your latest offering. :-)

      But in Caesar’s case, there are multiple corroborating accounts and records of his existence.

      True, but the New Testament wasn’t collected together into one book until about the 3rd or 4th century CE. Up until that time they were multiple books and letters corroborating together and pointing to the existence of Jesus and the things he said and did.

      Yes, benefit of the doubt, but only in reasonable claims. I don’t personally see any evidence that Jesus existed, given that there’s zero extra-Biblical evidence, but I have no issue with other people assuming he did. The supernatural claims, however, are a very different story. Even if there were extra-Biblical evidence that Jesus existed, that’s not at all confirmation of any supernatural claims.

      On the contrary, there are multiple sources of evidence saying what Jesus said and did. You have simply not believed the evidence. What you seem to be looking for is scientific evidence. You want to see it and hear it yourself. This will not be given to you or anyone else. The evidence is there for anyone to consider—testimonial evidence, the sort of which is used in juries around the world to show what is and what is not true about various people and events.

      Except that I don’t believe friends who make supernatural claims for there’s no reason to believe them. And I have a friend who, in all sincerity, claims to be able to see the spirits of the dead. I’m not saying he’s intentionally lying, but I don’t believe him.

      And you probably should doubt your friend’s testimony concerning these claims. However, if several of your friends witnessed the same spiritual event and made the same claims, then you might have reason to think there might be something to what they are saying [unless they happen to tell you this story on April 1st :-)]. Moreover, if other people you did or did not know also saw the same thing, but doubted what it meant. This too would add to its authenticity. The interpretation might be in question but some mysterious event occurred.

      I am not a spiritualist. I don’t see sprits and don’t particularly believe what others tell me about the spirits they claim to have seen. I have never come across several people seeing the same spirit and verifying each other’s testimony, so this type of thing has absolutely nothing to do with what we find in the Bible.

      According to science, that which defines our personalities is physical and so dies when we die. Nothing left over.

      Exactly how do they know this? Some branches of physics believe in the String Theory and they believe there are 12 or 13 dimensions. They describe what an ‘apparition’ from another dimension might look like. For example, a two dimensional world is like a sheet of paper. An ‘apparition’ would be like a pencil piercing the sheet of paper. When the pencil is removed, the ‘apparition’ is over. These are scientists, not necessarily Christians. So which scientists are you listening to and how do they know?

      So, according to you, are Christians who swear that there literally was a talking snake in the Garden of Eden wrong? If so, how do you know they’re wrong?

      They are wrong! Remember, I told you in an earlier reply that I cannot and will not be bound to support the thoughts and beliefs of other brethren who interpret the Scriptures. You came to my blog. It is the evidence that I presume to be reasonable that we are addressing. What you heard from other folks—Christian or not—is not really my concern.

      According to you. Why should I, an outsider, believe your interpretation over any other? What makes your interpretation correct?

      I believe my interpretation is more reasonable. If you don’t think so, well, there is nothing I can do about that.

      I’ve heard both. I don’t know how any Christian would prove his interpretation as the correct one. Also, we know that the universe is at least 14 billion years old. Genesis doesn’t say “fourteen billion years”; it says “seven days.” You’d think an infallible book written by God would get it exactly right. Even if we were to accept the “ages” hypothesis, that begs the question how we define an “age.”

      Concerning time, I am sure you have heard the expression: “garbage in = garbage out”. What does 14 billion years actually mean. How has anyone come to this conclusion? Did they count the number of years manually? I’m sure they didn’t. They used math and computers. They had to decide on data that would give them an answer they considered reasonable. The problem is they have no idea if thousands of years ago the same data used today would have been accurate in ancient times. Some scientists believe the speed of light was faster years ago. What would that do to E=mc2? We have no evidence that the data science uses today to understand ancient times was consistent throughout all ages. All we know is that it can be used to calculate scientific matters for today.
      Moreover, you were willing to put forth the idea in your last reply that aliens could have traveled to earth if they had a far more advanced scientific knowledge than ours. This would have to take into consideration that they would travel faster than the speed of light. Our scientists don’t think that is possible (if memory serves). Yet, you seem to be willing to consider the possibility. If so, why couldn’t God stretch out the heaves at unfathomable speed—thus giving the ‘appearance’ of age? What would this do to your 14 billion years?

      Concerning my question if science fully understands the working of the universe…
      It doesn’t claim to. Science is in constant evolution. Any new hypothesis is tested and attempted to be disproved. Religion, on the other hand, claims not only to know, but be correct

      What is it tested with? Isn’t it tested with data that we can only presume has been a constant throughout the ages? They have no real evidence that this is so. There are some indications to the contrary, but this is ignored.

      Concerning religion, I cannot and will not defend the claims of ‘religion’. I will defend the claims of Christianity. All religions cannot be correct, because they contradict. If any is correct, only one can be. This is only logical.

      Concerning my saying that I heard the age of the galaxies in the universe is the same whether near or of far…

      First, I’d love to know where you heard that. Second, let’s say that that is a current theory. I’m no expert, but I know many who could explain that. Third, even if they can’t, that doesn’t make creationism correct. To suggest otherwise is a false dichotomy.

      I will attempt to find the source. I believe it was on a video, so this will take awhile. Meanwhile, just disregard it as something said without foundation. I think that would be fair.

      Concerning other explanations, this is my point. The scientists are merely offering their opinions. They have no real data to explain what they tell you. They simply analyze the data they have and offer an ‘educated guess.’ Meanwhile, other scientists with just as impressive qualifications offer something different. Who do you believe? Well, one must make a choice. You made yours and I made mine.

      Concerning the validity of creationism, I believe my understanding is much more reasonable than all of what we see is the result of a chance explosion ages ago. There is absolutely no evidence that life comes from non-living matter. There is absolutely no evidence that order is the result of disorder. There is absolutely no evidence that things come into existence on their own accord. Zero evidence, yet some the greatest minds on the planet will say otherwise, and at the same time exclude the existence of God.

      But evidence doesn’t. The awesome thing about the scientific method is that any old patent clerk can come up with a revolutionary theory that later people can prove or disprove. Even if one million scientists were in cohoots and trying to trick all of us, all it would take would be one person, one experiment to disprove their claims. Evidence never lies.

      On the contrary, the ‘evidence’ you have is the result of the data you ‘defined’ in order to arrive at the conclusion you have. Once you try to determine what occurred ages ago by using data available today, you have to agree there wasn’t any data in existence ages ago that is not present today. Plus, you have to agree that the way the data you use acts today has always acted in the same way no matter how far back you wish to go to determine what occurred. If everything you see today was the same ages ago, and there were no additional unaccounted for data ages ago that could have affected the data you are using to determine what occurred in ancient times, then you may arrive at a good conclusion. However, that is a lot of ‘ifs’ to presume.

      You can’t prove that anyone is hiding something. Even if someone is, it can always be disproved by someone else.

      Let me clue you in on something I’ve learned over the years. This seems to be a truism—no matter what field you consider, religion, science, military, educational systems etc. If someone invests a lot of time (life) and money (resources) in something he later finds out is wrong, he will continue to ‘preach’ the same falsehood simply because he has dedicated his life and resources to that thing he now understands is false. He will not turn back. He will not admit error. He will not appear foolish. He will continue as he has always done and bring pressure to bear upon those younger colleagues who would undermine what he has built up. People have lost their jobs, funding and their names have been tarnished, because they bucked the system – science or religion and other fields that could be mentioned. This seems to be a truism or at least an accurate commentary of ‘the system’ — whatever that might be. Go ahead. Try to buck the system, and you will find out very quickly what little power you have to make a difference.

      There doesn’t seem to be anything in your prophecy discussion that suggests that my skepticism is unfounded. Anyone at any time could’ve written or rewritten any of that. Because there is an additional explanation to the alleged accuracy of the prophecy, we can’t assume the explanation that the prophecy was fulfilled is correct.

      I presume you are referring to the 70 Weeks Prophecy I mentioned. Not everyone who reads what I have written will agree with me. I know that. The reply you give above is the pat answer. Nevertheless, no one has ever been able to show why I am wrong. What the 1260 days, the 1290 days and the 1335 days actually refer to. I have them referring to actual events in Jesus’ lifetime—calendar events that can be counted, and the context of the beginning and end of the days agree. But that is me—how I see things. I believe it is reasonable, yet not everyone agrees; and that’s okay. Nevertheless, no one has come forth to show what those days actually do refer to—whether prophecy after Jesus or history before Jesus.

      Confirmation bias doesn’t require specific prophecies. It can work with anything. All I have to do is pick any verse in the Bible, say one that refers to “three”, and claim that that is a clear example and prophecy of the Trinity. Yes, Trinity is a three-part thing, but I can’t prove that such an observation is anything other than an observation.

      Well, that is not how it works, but you may believe however you wish, but how is this not ‘bias’?

      You’ve demonstrated my point. How does one tell the difference between a fulfilled prophecy and one edited to seem fulfilled?

      I was merely repeating what you claimed earlier and admitted that this is what is naturally assumed by Biblical critics.

      How is that not a false dichotomy? There are other options besides “it’s coincidence” and “it’s the hand of God at work.”

      Really? Well, if prophecy after prophecy has been fulfilled, and it occurs too often and us too accurate to call it coincidence, and if we don’t call it the “hand of God” what would you call it?

      Take care,

      Eddie

       
    • Anton A. Hill

      May 8, 2011 at 21:01

      Hi Ed,

      Wish it didn’t take me so long to get back to you. Oh well. :)

      >>But in Caesar’s case, there are multiple corroborating accounts and records of his existence.

      >True, but the New Testament wasn’t collected together into one book until about the 3rd or 4th century CE. Up until that time they were multiple books and letters corroborating together and pointing to the existence of Jesus and the things he said and did.

      While technically I agree with you–the New Testament was not originally literally one book–it was compiled from letters and Gospels specifically because those texts supported the goals of the New Testament. In other words, Christians wrote Christian writings and Christians decided on what to include in a Christian book based on those Christian writings. The New Testament doesn’t include works by non-Christian writers who criticize the claims made. In fact, the Gnostic Gospels made claims such as the notion that the Old Testament god and New Testament god are different gods. This notion was considered heretical and not included in the New Testament. Also, some early church fathers (whose names escape me right now) considered the Old Testament god to be cruel and petty and said so, and in one case, was excommunicated from the then-mainstream church for such critical thinking. The New Testament is a textbook example of confirmation bias.

      >>Even if there were extra-Biblical evidence that Jesus existed, that’s not at all confirmation of any supernatural claims.

      >On the contrary, there are multiple sources of evidence saying what Jesus said and did. You have simply not believed the evidence.

      With respect, Ed, please don’t presume to know what I have “believed” or not. Give me your evidence and I’ll evaluate it. And please define these “multiple sources of evidence.”

      >What you seem to be looking for is scientific evidence. You want to see it and hear it yourself. This will not be given to you or anyone else.

      On the contrary, as you’d pointed out with a murder scene, I’m not seeking to first-hand experience Jesus. That’s physically impossible. I am, though, seeking scientific evidence for the claims made of him. If none is available, then I fail to see why I should believe said claims over claims made of other religious leaders or no religion at all.

      >The evidence is there for anyone to consider—testimonial evidence, the sort of which is used in juries around the world to show what is and what is not true about various people and events.

      It’s interesting to me that you keep repeating this standard–testimonial evidence–when I’ve already pointed out that courts around the world don’t solely gather testimonial evidence, but also physical evidence, such as DNA. Not only that, but we well know that eyewitness testimony is not 100% accurate when it is sincere and we can’t ever be certain that it is always sincere. Thus, to insist that so-called testimonial evidence is sufficient to support supernatural claims when we don’t solely trust such evidence with natural claims is a demonstrably biased standard.

      Furthermore, the crux of your insistence that the Gospels are eyewitness testimony seems to be that they claim that they are. I’ve already pointed out that even if we have no obvious reason to question whether something is what it claims to be (though supernatural claims are automatically to be questioned), that doesn’t automatically make it what it claims to be. And, as I’ve pointed out, corroboration of some claims of the Bible doesn’t make all claims of the Bible true. I’m sure you’d agree with that in regards to other so-called holy books.

      >>I’m not saying he’s intentionally lying, but I don’t believe him.

      >And you probably should doubt your friend’s testimony concerning these claims. However, if several of your friends witnessed the same spiritual event and made the same claims, then you might have reason to think there might be something to what they are saying [unless they happen to tell you this story on April 1st :-)].

      Popularity doesn’t equal validity. If all of my friends came to me with alleged eyewitness testimony of a supernatural event, I’d be even more insistent on objectively verifiable evidence.

      >Moreover, if other people you did or did not know also saw the same thing, but doubted what it meant. This too would add to its authenticity. The interpretation might be in question but some mysterious event occurred.

      I would have no better reason to believe someone I didn’t know than to believe someone I did.

      I really have to question your standard of evidence. Are you sincerely saying that if a bunch of your friends came to you with declarations of visions of Zeus and then you read of similar visions in your daily newspaper that you’d believe these claims?

      >I am not a spiritualist. I don’t see sprits and don’t particularly believe what others tell me about the spirits they claim to have seen.

      Funny that you say you don’t “particularly” believe what others tell you. It seems to me that you’d either believe them or not.

      >I have never come across several people seeing the same spirit and verifying each other’s testimony, so this type of thing has absolutely nothing to do with what we find in the Bible.

      Have you known anyone or heard anyone describe a near-death experience?

      >>According to science, that which defines our personalities is physical and so dies when we die. Nothing left over.

      >Exactly how do they know this?

      What’s been explained to me by doctors and neurologists is that that which we observe as “personality” has been mapped by technology such as CT scans. When we apply stimulus to the subject, the scans show predictable and repeatable results.

      Also, many times when someone suffers brain damage, his personality changes. If his personality were independent of his physical body, this could not occur.

      There are other cases such as the above which demonstrate the personality as being equal to the individual’s brain activity. If you like, I can find some more. Or you can do the research on your own.

      >Some branches of physics believe in the String Theory and they believe there are 12 or 13 dimensions. They describe what an ‘apparition’ from another dimension might look like. For example, a two dimensional world is like a sheet of paper. An ‘apparition’ would be like a pencil piercing the sheet of paper. When the pencil is removed, the ‘apparition’ is over.

      An apparition of another dimension isn’t necessarily corroboration of the idea of the human soul just as the occurrence of thunder isn’t necessarily corroboration of Zeus.

      >These are scientists, not necessarily Christians. So which scientists are you listening to and how do they know?

      Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one I’ve listened to. I’ve already explained how we know.

      >>According to you. Why should I, an outsider, believe your interpretation over any other? What makes your interpretation correct?

      >I believe my interpretation is more reasonable. If you don’t think so, well, there is nothing I can do about that.

      You could explain how your interpretation is more reasonable and how your “evidence” for you interpretation is more valid than any other.

      >>You’d think an infallible book written by God would get it exactly right. Even if we were to accept the “ages” hypothesis, that begs the question how we define an “age.”

      >Concerning time, I am sure you have heard the expression: “garbage in = garbage out”. What does 14 billion years actually mean.

      Seems I was wrong. I looked this up recently and it seems the universe is closer to 13.7 billion. 13.7 billion years means 13.7 billion years. I don’t know what else you’re asking.

      >How has anyone come to this conclusion?

      Evidence.

      >Did they count the number of years manually?

      Obviously not.

      >I’m sure they didn’t. They used math and computers.

      And telescopes and observable, testable physical laws, and physical evidence.

      >They had to decide on data that would give them an answer they considered reasonable.

      I don’t mean to be condescending, but I question if you know how the scientific method works. One doesn’t “decide on data” that gives an answer one considers reasonable. One posits a hypothesis and attempts to disprove the hypothesis with evidence. Or, one observes evidence and posits a theory to explain it.

      >The problem is they have no idea if thousands of years ago the same data used today would have been accurate in ancient times.

      I don’t understand what you mean. Are you suggesting that because something like current, observable star positions are different from what ancient, observable star positions were means that the current observation is somehow false?

      Evidence is evidence no matter in which era it was collected.

      >Some scientists believe the speed of light was faster years ago. What would that do to E=mc2?

      What scientists believe can always be tested and disproved. If we found evidence that contradicted E=MC2, we’d have to reconsider our conclusions based on the evidence.

      >We have no evidence that the data science uses today to understand ancient times was consistent throughout all ages.

      I’m really not sure what you mean here. Data we collect doesn’t necessarily change since ancient times, unless we’re talking about something like the half-life nuclear decay of an isotope.

      >All we know is that it can be used to calculate scientific matters for today.

      No, we can measure things that occurred long ago just as easily as now. That’s what carbon-dating is.

      >Moreover, you were willing to put forth the idea in your last reply that aliens could have traveled to earth if they had a far more advanced scientific knowledge than ours. This would have to take into consideration that they would travel faster than the speed of light.

      Or have really comfortable seat cushions.

      >Our scientists don’t think that is possible (if memory serves). Yet, you seem to be willing to consider the possibility.

      I’m willing to consider the possibility that that which we currently suspect possible given observable, testable physical laws, we may be wrong about.

      I also admit that I •want• faster-than-light travel possible; therefore, I’m operating from an ignorance-is-bliss confirmation bias.

      I don’t sincerely believe that faster-than-light travel is possible given current and projected technologies. I do, however, see the possibility of something like a generational spaceship on which many generations of crew travel vast distances.

      But when it really gets down to it, I must admit that what I want to think is possible simply isn’t. It’s just fun to pretend.

      But therein it lies. I admit that I’m just pretending. You don’t.

      >If so, why couldn’t God stretch out the heaves at unfathomable speed—thus giving the ‘appearance’ of age?

      First, you’d have to demonstrate your premise of a god, but within that internal logic, I agree. Though I’d have the theological question of why a god would create an appearance of billions of years.

      >What would this do to your 14 billion years?

      Destroy it! (I guess.)

      >>Concerning my question if science fully understands the working of the universe…
      It doesn’t claim to. Science is in constant evolution. Any new hypothesis is tested and attempted to be disproved. Religion, on the other hand, claims not only to know, but be correct

      >What is it tested with?

      Depends on the hypothesis.

      >Isn’t it tested with data that we can only presume has been a constant throughout the ages?

      Not necessarily.

      >They have no real evidence that this is so.

      What is the “this” you’re claiming not to be so?

      >There are some indications to the contrary, but this is ignored.

      You’re going to have to be a lot more clear and specific.

      >Concerning religion, I cannot and will not defend the claims of ‘religion’. I will defend the claims of Christianity. All religions cannot be correct, because they contradict. If any is correct, only one can be. This is only logical.

      Right, but your religion makes extraordinary claims as with every other and so far, the only “evidence” you’ve suggested to support your extraordinary claims is so-called eyewitness testimony to the claims, which is, by the way, the exact same thing others faiths claim.

      The only reason you’ve given to me that I should take your claims seriously is that you claim to be more “reasonable”, which is also exactly what everyone else says. No adherent to any faith says, “Yeah, I know it sounds ridiculous, but just go with me on this.”

      >>>Concerning my saying that I heard the age of the galaxies in the universe is the same whether near or of far…

      >>First, I’d love to know where you heard that. Second, let’s say that that is a current theory. I’m no expert, but I know many who could explain that. Third, even if they can’t, that doesn’t make creationism correct. To suggest otherwise is a false dichotomy.

      >I will attempt to find the source. I believe it was on a video, so this will take awhile. Meanwhile, just disregard it as something said without foundation. I think that would be fair.

      No problem.

      >Concerning other explanations, this is my point. The scientists are merely offering their opinions.

      That’s not entirely intellectually honest, but I’ll go with it for now. So are you.

      >They have no real data to explain what they tell you.

      I challenge you to give me a specific case in which specific scientists made specific claims which you found to be false based on specific evidence.

      >They simply analyze the data they have and offer an ‘educated guess.’

      Dismissing established theories by trivializing them as “educated guesses” only serves to demonstrate a lack of understanding of how theories work.

      I observe Fact X. I call it “fact” because I can observe it under repeatably testable circumstances. I record my observations and posit Theory Y to explain Fact X. I attempt to disprove my Theory Y. I can’t. I publish my Theory Y in a peer-reviewed journal. Others attempt to disprove my Theory Y. They can’t. My Theory Y becomes established, scientific theory until some young punk fresh out of university is able to disprove an aspect of my Theory Y (perhaps with superior technology than that which I had access to) and alter it to explain the discrepancy. I founded Theory Y. Now there’s Theory Z that better explains Fact X.

      To call the above process an “educated guess” may be literally accurate, but it is also pejorative in its implication and thus intellectually dishonest.

      >Meanwhile, other scientists with just as impressive qualifications offer something different.

      Name some.

      >Who do you believe? Well, one must make a choice. You made yours and I made mine.

      I believe that which is objectively verifiable. Which peer-reviewed scientists have proved that which you believe?

      >Concerning the validity of creationism, I believe my understanding is much more reasonable than all of what we see is the result of a chance explosion ages ago.

      Dismissing the Big Bang theory by trivializing it as a “chance explosion” only serves to reveal a confirmation bias against it and lack of understanding of it.

      The word “chance” alone has a built-in connotation of “happened for no reason at all.” That’s not at all what the Big Bang theory claims. In fact, one of the claims is that not only was it not by chance, but it was inevitable.

      Furthermore, we could have an endless war of what’s “reasonable.” You find the claims of creationism reasonable presumably because you were raised in a culture that supported such claims. Had you lived in ancient Greece, you would’ve found claims that Gaia formed by “chance” out of the Void reasonable.

      That which we find “reasonable” or not, when not supported by objectively verifiable evidence, is ultimately an appeal to popularity and authority. But that doesn’t make it true.

      >There is absolutely no evidence that life comes from non-living matter.

      Ah, finally. The tired “I didn’t come from no monkey” argument.

      It depends on how we define “life.” Some say “life” is a sentient being. That rules out any non-self-aware life form like ants. Okay, then life is that which can grow and develop. That includes crystal. Okay, then life is that which reproduces. Hmmm, we’re getting warmer.

      You define “life” and I’ll have that portion of the discussion with you.

      Now, I preface this with another “I’m no expert”, but I researched this six months ago. And it turns out, and feel free to look this up on your own, but not only is there evidence that organic molecules existed on the early Earth, and that they are theorized to have processed themselves into amino acids and DNA, but we have also reproduced this process in the lab. I don’t recall the specifics which I can look up, but yes, it seems that this did happen.

      Now, if you still don’t believe it, I suggest that you’re not only operating on confirmation bias, but also an appeal to personal incredulity–you personally find it incredible; therefore, it didn’t happen. Well, whether you like that something happened or believe that something happened has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether it happened.

      A little more at the bottom…

      >There is absolutely no evidence that order is the result of disorder.

      Define “order” and “disorder” and specifically what you mean by this.

      >There is absolutely no evidence that things come into existence on their own accord.

      Who’s suggested otherwise?

      >Zero evidence, yet some the greatest minds on the planet will say otherwise, and at the same time exclude the existence of God.

      You’re really gonna have to cite evidence for some of these claims.

      I find it remarkable that Christians claim with 100% certainty that God is eternal. Doesn’t have a beginning. Doesn’t have a cause. Yet, when it’s posited to Christians that the universe may also be eternal, without beginning, without a cause, then begins the torrent of incredulity. Why is it you find it likely the eternity of one entity and not another? Why is it you find likely the eternity of an entity which we can’t observe, but find just as unlikely the eternity of an entity which we observe every day?

      >>Even if one million scientists were in cohoots and trying to trick all of us, all it would take would be one person, one experiment to disprove their claims. Evidence never lies.

      >On the contrary, the ‘evidence’ you have is the result of the data you ‘defined’ in order to arrive at the conclusion you have.

      Ah, now you’re talking about confirmation bias. I say X is true and not only look for evidence Y to support X but even ignore evidence Z that disproves X. The great thing about the scientific method, though, is even if I’m dumb enough to do that, anyone anywhere in the world can use the scientific method–not confirmation bias–and disprove my claims. Anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.

      Hypothesis 1st, then evidence, then conclusion and theory.

      >Once you try to determine what occurred ages ago by using data available today, you have to agree there wasn’t any data in existence ages ago that is not present today.

      I’m really not sure what you mean by this, so please be more specific.

      >Plus, you have to agree that the way the data you use acts today has always acted in the same way no matter how far back you wish to go to determine what occurred.

      Depends on what we’re talking about.

      > If everything you see today was the same ages ago, and there were no additional unaccounted for data ages ago that could have affected the data you are using to determine what occurred in ancient times, then you may arrive at a good conclusion. However, that is a lot of ‘ifs’ to presume.

      All of it is testable. If not, we can’t assume anything to be 100% absolute truth.

      >>You can’t prove that anyone is hiding something. Even if someone is, it can always be disproved by someone else.

      >Try to buck the system, and you will find out very quickly what little power you have to make a difference.

      I completely agree with you. And it doesn’t change the fact that even if old Professor I’m-Not-Wrong does all that you say, anyone anywhere at any time can disprove him with evidence.

      >>There doesn’t seem to be anything in your prophecy discussion that suggests that my skepticism is unfounded. Anyone at any time could’ve written or rewritten any of that. Because there is an additional explanation to the alleged accuracy of the prophecy, we can’t assume the explanation that the prophecy was fulfilled is correct.

      >Nevertheless, no one has ever been able to show why I am wrong.

      Doesn’t mean you’re right.

      >Nevertheless, no one has come forth to show what those days actually do refer to—whether prophecy after Jesus or history before Jesus.

      I’m no expert, so can’t really comment. All I’ll suggest the days refer to is… anything?

      >>Confirmation bias doesn’t require specific prophecies. It can work with anything. All I have to do is pick any verse in the Bible, say one that refers to “three”, and claim that that is a clear example and prophecy of the Trinity. Yes, Trinity is a three-part thing, but I can’t prove that such an observation is anything other than an observation.

      >Well, that is not how it works, but you may believe however you wish, but how is this not ‘bias’?

      That’s not how what works? What’s not bias?

      >>How is that not a false dichotomy? There are other options besides “it’s coincidence” and “it’s the hand of God at work.”

      >Really? Well, if prophecy after prophecy has been fulfilled, and it occurs too often and us too accurate to call it coincidence, and if we don’t call it the “hand of God” what would you call it?

      I’d call it written after the fact to suggest prophecy of the fact. I’d also suggest vague possibility is often taken as fulfilled prophecy.

      To what I’d alluded to above. I liken the evolution debate to linguistics. You’ll agree that we have mountains of evidence that there is an “Italian” and a “Spanish.” You’ll agree that they share a common ancestor that is “Latin.” There is further evidence that Latin derived from an earlier ancestor, “Italic” and that it, too, derived from a hypothetical language known as Proto-Indo-European. I say “hypothetical” not because we don’t know if PIE existed, but rather we don’t know exactly in what form it existed. We have corroborated all of the above with observable, textual, and genetic evidence.

      We look to our ape brethren and see that they have no language the way we speak of language. For the sake of what I’m explaining, we’ll take as granted that the theory of evolution by natural selection to be true and say that our observation of our ape brethren and ourselves presents a discrepancy. We talk. They don’t. Why?

      The obvious answer is that at one point, humans didn’t talk either. This leads to the conclusion that, as a species, we went from non-talking ape-like creatures to us.

      I’ll admit something to you, Ed. I find the conclusion absolutely unbelievable. I don’t see at all how we could’ve gone from a pre-linguistic species to a producer of the likes of Shakespeare and Douglas Adams in only a few hundred thousand to a few million years. I simply don’t buy it. The advancement is too high and too quick. It seems impossible. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. And the evidence doesn’t care that I don’t believe it. The evidence is. We have English, we had Old English, we had Proto-Germanic, we had PIE, and we had imitative grunts. That which worked better replaced that which didn’t and geography separated one version of that which worked from another version of that which worked.

      ‘Til next time.

      Anton.

       
    • Ed Bromfield

      May 9, 2011 at 21:40

      Anton, hi, no problem about the time.

      While technically I agree with you–the New Testament was not originally literally one book–it was compiled from letters and Gospels specifically because those texts supported the goals of the New Testament. In other words, Christians wrote Christian writings and Christians decided on what to include in a Christian book based on those Christian writings.

      It is a bit more complicated than that. First of all, not just any ‘Christian’ writing could be in the Bible. It had to be considered apostolic—written in the days of the apostles. Writings in the 2nd century don’t qualify, no matter how much they may agree with the New Testament, so it isn’t merely a bias against those writings that disagree. There is a time limit on what could be considered Scripture. That is one necessity there are others, but this will suffice for now.

      The New Testament doesn’t include works by non-Christian writers who criticize the claims made. In fact, the Gnostic Gospels made claims such as the notion that the Old Testament god and New Testament god are different gods. This notion was considered heretical and not included in the New Testament… The New Testament is a textbook example of confirmation bias.

      First of all, the books that made it into the New Testament were 1st century works. They had to have been written during the lives of the apostles—the original witnesses, so they could approve or disapprove. Secondly, why should the Bible include works about other gods? The witnesses of Jesus’ life are compiled together and added to these are letters that concern the witnesses, plus a journal or record of their early history. To compile other works (if there were any) would be anti-productive. The Bible as one work was collected for the sake of Christianity in the 4th century CE. These had a story to tell—they told it—and it was believed or not. The choice was in the hands of the listener, just as it is today. If you want to check out opposing points of view they are there as well, but they are not included in the 4th century Bible and they are not as ancient as the original works making up the 4th century work. Moreover, they have nothing to do with the original witness.

      With respect, Ed, please don’t presume to know what I have “believed” or not. Give me your evidence and I’ll evaluate it. And please define these “multiple sources of evidence.”

      I have merely claimed that you don’t believe the multiple evidence compiled in the Bible. You consider it a single source, but that is not what it was in the beginning. You have admitted that you don’t accept the Bible. I haven’t said anything about you that you haven’t already admitted about yourself. The context of my remark was in my argument that the New Testament books are multiple witnesses.

      On the contrary, as you’d pointed out with a murder scene, I’m not seeking to first-hand experience Jesus. That’s physically impossible. I am, though, seeking scientific evidence for the claims made of him. If none is available, then I fail to see why I should believe said claims over claims made of other religious leaders or no religion at all.

      Perhaps I misunderstand your definition of ‘scientific’ evidence. It is my understanding that ‘scientific’ evidence is reproducible. It can be repeated at will by following the correct formula. The type of ‘evidence’ contained in the New Testament is the sort one could find in a court of law. It is the testimony of witnesses.

      As for other religions, they don’t claim to be witnesses of anything. They merely tell their stories about their gods etc. You either believe or you don’t. I don’t. I see no reason why I should. I do believe the testimony contained in the Hebrew/Greek Scriptures, however. What I could verify (through archeology etc.) I have found to be true. It is not something someone had simply made up, nor is it a dream someone had. The people it speaks of actually lived. It is not like other religious works.

      It’s interesting to me that you keep repeating this standard–testimonial evidence–when I’ve already pointed out that courts around the world don’t solely gather testimonial evidence, but also physical evidence, such as DNA. Not only that, but we well know that eyewitness testimony is not 100% accurate when it is sincere and we can’t ever be certain that it is always sincere. Thus, to insist that so-called testimonial evidence is sufficient to support supernatural claims when we don’t solely trust such evidence with natural claims is a demonstrably biased standard.

      DNA was not possible back then, neither were fingerprints, handwriting experts, behavior scientists etc. The New Testament is simply what it claims to be—eyewitness testimony about God who became man. It is not repeatable and there are no guarantees, except the subjective realization of whether or not it is true by trying it out for oneself (it either works or it doesn’t). There have been many court trials decided on eyewitness testimony alone. The point is, whether it is the ‘best’ kind of evidence or not, it is still accepted as worthy evidence to prove the innocence or guilt of men today—all over the world.

      Furthermore, the crux of your insistence that the Gospels are eyewitness testimony seems to be that they claim that they are. I’ve already pointed out that even if we have no obvious reason to question whether something is what it claims to be (though supernatural claims are automatically to be questioned), that doesn’t automatically make it what it claims to be. And, as I’ve pointed out, corroboration of some claims of the Bible doesn’t make all claims of the Bible true. I’m sure you’d agree with that in regards to other so-called holy books.

      The crux of any matter concerning a ‘witness’ is that they **say** they are, whether then or today. In a court of law the jury must decide whether or not the ‘witness’ who claimed he saw something is telling the truth. One must look for contradictions in the testimony, contradiction of known truth etc. So, no one believes **any** witness, unless the testimony meets certain criteria. Therefore, it is not as simple a matter as you seem to want me to believe here.
      Concerning other religions, no matter what ‘other’ religion one chooses, the believer is alone in all his tasks, decisions and troubles. The Christian Scriptures claim we are not alone, and we can know that God is with us. We have the witness of the Spirit within. This is subjective and can be known only by believing the witness of the Apostles and practicing the teaching of Jesus, so neither is this objection as simple as you make it out to be.

      Popularity doesn’t equal validity. If all of my friends came to me with alleged eyewitness testimony of a supernatural event, I’d be even more insistent on objectively verifiable evidence.

      Well, for me ‘objectively, verifiable evidence’ means scientific repeatable evidence if certain procedures are followed exactly. So it would appear that no amount of ‘eyewitness’ testimony would sway you, if any of the testimony involved anything supernatural. Yet, you probably believe in the ‘big bang’ or a reasonable facsimile. It is not objectively verifiable. The data we have points to **something** like that, but nothing on that level is ‘objectively verifiable’ – not religious beliefs, not scientific hypothesis.

      I would have no better reason to believe someone I didn’t know than to believe someone I did.

      My point was, if your friends told you they saw something you labeled ‘supernatural’ but found it difficult to believe—perhaps thinking they may want to pull something over on you. But if people you didn’t know at all (and didn’t know you) also claimed to see the same thing, but doubting what it meant—the interpretation would be in question, but if so many people saw **something** mysterious, and you knew everyone couldn’t be playing a joke on you, then **something** must have occurred. You might not be able to explain it, but the event’s occurrence shouldn’t be in doubt.

      I really have to question your standard of evidence. Are you sincerely saying that if a bunch of your friends came to you with declarations of visions of Zeus and then you read of similar visions in your daily newspaper that you’d believe these claims?

      Like I said above, I might doubt their interpretation, but I don’t see how the event itself should be held in question, provided all their testimony matched up and was not self contradictory. This, of course, is hypothetical, and your mentioning Zeus is just pulling the name out of a hat. There are reasons for not believing in Zeus.

      Concerning believing in spirits…
      Funny that you say you don’t “particularly” believe what others tell you. It seems to me that you’d either believe them or not.

      I said I don’t, if that means anything. If it doesn’t, well there isn’t much I can say more than I am not a spiritualist. :-)

      Have you known anyone or heard anyone describe a near-death experience?

      Yes, and near death experiences, if labeled as spiritualism, shouldn’t be. People who don’t believe in God have had these experiences. Christians have had them, as well as many people of other faiths. I haven’t, but I do know someone who did. It is not a life-changing phenomenon. It has nothing to do with a particular religion, though religious people can point to knowing God while going through such an event. I don’t know what it is exactly, although it seems to indicate death is an event that takes longer than we realize. So, while I cannot explain it as much as I would like to be able to, I do believe such events occur to some people. I believe they are real. The events described have many common qualities across the whole spectrum of people who have gone through such an experience—people who don’t know one another etc. So, there shouldn’t be any doubt that evidence of conspiracy is lacking. Therefore the similarities have to be explained some other way. This is one of those things you might label ‘supernatural’—I don’t, but I admit it is not altogether natural either. What I mean to say is there is no miracle involved.

      Concerning personality…
      What’s been explained to me by doctors and neurologists is that that which we observe as “personality” has been mapped by technology such as CT scans. When we apply stimulus to the subject, the scans show predictable and repeatable results.
      Also, many times when someone suffers brain damage, his personality changes. If his personality were independent of his physical body, this could not occur.

      I’m not sure how we got onto this subject, because I am uncertain if whether or not personality is physical or something spiritual would affect my faith. Albeit, I don’t think I agree with the conclusions of the people running the scans. Isn’t torture a ‘stimulus’? If one tortures someone, he can pretty much get that person to do just about anything, whether or not it fits his personality. Perhaps I am missing something here, but those are my thoughts.

      Concerning the ‘String Theory’…
      An apparition of another dimension isn’t necessarily corroboration of the idea of the human soul just as the occurrence of thunder isn’t necessarily corroboration of Zeus.

      I never said it did. Admittedly, I had something else in mind when I mentioned the String Theory, but it has nothing to do with ‘personality’ which is what you brought up.

      Concerning which scientists you are listening to (concerning personality)…
      Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one I’ve listened to. I’ve already explained how we know.

      Again, I don’t know what I was thinking when I challenged you here? Perhaps it is the length of time between discussions, or perhaps I just threw out the question without thinking.

      Concerning Eden and that I don’t believe the common interpretation…
      You could explain how your interpretation is more reasonable and how your “evidence” for you interpretation is more valid than any other.

      The long-story-short is the ‘serpent’ is Adam. He got his wife to partake of the forbidden fruit. The long story, if you care to read it can be found HERE. The first seven blog posts relate to this issue, but it comes down to my understanding that Satan is Adam. The website is my main blog.

      Concerning the universe being 14 billion years old and wondering what that meant…
      Seems I was wrong. I looked this up recently and it seems the universe is closer to 13.7 billion. 13.7 billion years means 13.7 billion years. I don’t know what else you’re asking.

      It seems to me that billions of years are thrown around by some scientists as though they were a decade or two. Can we even contemplate what a billion years would look like? I am sure they have mathematical formulas to show the universe is that old, but I don’t believe they have more than the math do they? Math is great—it is really exact, but one needs to begin with correct data in order to arrive at a correct conclusion. My question is: what are they using to arrive at the 13.7 to 14 billion years?

      Concerning the tools they use to arrive at their conclusions being math and computers…
      And telescopes and observable, testable physical laws, and physical evidence.

      I understand how these things can lead people to these conclusions, but are they taking everything into consideration? If only part of the needed data is used to arrive at a conclusion, probably that conclusion would be wrong. Correct? If the String Theory is correct, all the data that should be used is not being taken into consideration.

      I don’t mean to be condescending, but I question if you know how the scientific method works. One doesn’t “decide on data” that gives an answer one considers reasonable. One posits a hypothesis and attempts to disprove the hypothesis with evidence. Or, one observes evidence and posits a theory to explain it.

      Don’t be concerned about being condescending. You have been very fair with me thus far, so I wouldn’t take a blunt remark to be unkind. The truth is I am not a science buff. I like watching some science videos etc, but I don’t try to seek out every video there is. Having said that, if one is positing the distance of one solar system from our own, the speed of light would be one thing that would be taken into consideration to establish how long the light from solar system ‘x’ would get to earth. So if it takes a billion years for the light coming from that solar system to arrive at earth it is assumed that our universe must be at least a billion years, and if they discover something 15 billion light years away, then the universe must be at least 15 billion years old. I assume this is the method used, but I may be wrong, and if I am, I am sure you’ll tell me.

      My thoughts about this are that the data used to draw scientific conclusions are dependent upon laws within our 4 dimensional understanding of our universe. If the String Theory is valid, then other dimensions may need to be taken into consideration that would affect what we know as ‘time’ and therefore the age we consider the universe to be.

      I don’t understand what you mean. Are you suggesting that because something like current, observable star positions are different from what ancient, observable star positions were means that the current observation is somehow false?
      Evidence is evidence no matter in which era it was collected.

      I apologize. I had my mind on other things that had absolutely nothing to do with our discussion. The next few interchanges (which I am simply ignoring as part of this one) reflect my thoughts being off track. I apologize for that.

      Concerning your willingness to believe the possibility of travelling faster than the speed of light…
      I’m willing to consider the possibility that that which we currently suspect possible given observable, testable physical laws, we may be wrong about.
      I also admit that I •want• faster-than-light travel possible; therefore, I’m operating from an ignorance-is-bliss confirmation bias.
      I don’t sincerely believe that faster-than-light travel is possible given current and projected technologies. I do, however, see the possibility of something like a generational spaceship on which many generations of crew travel vast distances.
      But when it really gets down to it, I must admit that what I want to think is possible simply isn’t. It’s just fun to pretend.
      But therein it lies. I admit that I’m just pretending. You don’t.

      You believe religion is ‘pretending’? Some people have lost their lives believing what they do (not just Christians). That is pretty serious ‘pretending’!

      If we consider the ‘supernatural’ for a moment, we need to first understand where we are: we have ‘up and down’ (depth), ‘right and left’ (width) and ‘forward and backward’ (length) and if we include ‘time’ as a dimension, we live in a four dimensional world. This is where we are. If the String Theory is a valid hypothesis, would ‘in and out’ be appearing and disappearing (a fifth dimension)? How about ‘around’ and ‘through’ could that account for such a vast universe being created in only a short time? If one (I call him God) pulled masses of light (solar systems, stars etc.) ‘through’ something like what scientists call ‘worm holes’ to give them great distances from each other and specifically from the earth, could that be something like a sixth dimension?—just thinking here, nothing in stone, just thinking, but am I really **pretending**? From my end, it doesn’t feel like pretending.

      Concerning the universe having only the appearance of great age…
      First, you’d have to demonstrate your premise of a god, but within that internal logic, I agree. Though I’d have the theological question of why a god would create an appearance of billions of years.

      Concerning the ‘appearance’ of age, that is how it appears to us in a four dimensional world. He isn’t trying to confuse us, we just don’t have all the data available to us yet, so our formulas give us wrong conclusions.

      Concerning the premise of God, I think the premise of God being the Creator is infinitely preferable to the understanding that life comes from non-living matter. Science has not been able to demonstrate that as far as I know, but even if it could (under the right kind of laboratory conditions) how could science demonstrate how life could have evolved to what it is today from a single cell life form in an atmosphere completely foreign to what we need to sustain our own existence. Personally, I think my faith in God is a lot more logical than the scientist’s faith in how we arrived here from absolutely nothing.

      Right, but your religion makes extraordinary claims as with every other and so far, the only “evidence” you’ve suggested to support your extraordinary claims is so-called eyewitness testimony to the claims, which is, by the way, the exact same thing others faiths claim.
      The only reason you’ve given to me that I should take your claims seriously is that you claim to be more “reasonable”, which is also exactly what everyone else says. No adherent to any faith says, “Yeah, I know it sounds ridiculous, but just go with me on this.”

      First, I am unaware of any other faith claiming to be based upon eyewitness testimony. I am aware of only Christianity and possibly the Jewish faith. Secondly, eyewitness testimony has always been considered valid (provided it was not self-contradictory and didn’t contradict what was known to be true). We still consider eye-witness testimony valid enough to decide the fate of people accused of crimes. The point is, one considers the evidence and decides for himself whether the testimony is believable. You claim the evidence is poor, but does that invalidate my believing the evidence is consistent and believable? I don’t think it does.

      I don’t belief it was purposeful, but you picked apart a paragraph of mine phrase by phrase, but unconnected it made me sound like I was saying something else. See below:
      [My statement] Concerning other explanations, this is my point. The scientists are merely offering their opinions.
      [Your reply] That’s not entirely intellectually honest, but I’ll go with it for now. So are you.
      [My statement] They have no real data to explain what they tell you.
      I challenge you to give me a specific case in which specific scientists made specific claims which you found to be false based on specific evidence.
      [Your reply] They simply analyze the data they have and offer an ‘educated guess.’
      Dismissing established theories by trivializing them as “educated guesses” only serves to demonstrate a lack of understanding of how theories work.
      I observe Fact X. I call it “fact” because I can observe it under repeatably testable circumstances. I record my observations and posit Theory Y to explain Fact X. I attempt to disprove my Theory Y. I can’t. I publish my Theory Y in a peer-reviewed journal. Others attempt to disprove my Theory Y. They can’t. My Theory Y becomes established, scientific theory until some young punk fresh out of university is able to disprove an aspect of my Theory Y (perhaps with superior technology than that which I had access to) and alter it to explain the discrepancy. I founded Theory Y. Now there’s Theory Z that better explains Fact X.
      To call the above process an “educated guess” may be literally accurate, but it is also pejorative in its implication and thus intellectually dishonest.
      [My statement]Meanwhile, other scientists with just as impressive qualifications offer something different.
      [Your reply] Name some.

      [My statement] Who do you believe? Well, one must make a choice. You made yours and I made mine.
      [Your reply] I believe that which is objectively verifiable. Which peer-reviewed scientists have proved that which you believe?

      The context of my argument had to do with galaxies of the universe. The intent (if memory serves—it has been awhile), though unexpressed was that some scientists use the “Big Bang” to account for what they are able to see. Some scientists (I don’t know their names—I merely remember a PBS program on the subject) doubt the Big Bang though it is the accepted reason for what we see. No one has any objective, verifiable proof of the Big Bang or any other hypothesis of how it all began. The Big Bang is merely the most accepted opinion. If my understanding of this is wrong and someone can show actual verifiable evidence of how it all began, well, I am wrong. But I was not trying to reject out of hand all the works of science, simply because some of it contradicts what I believe concerning the Bible.

      Dismissing the Big Bang theory by trivializing it as a “chance explosion” only serves to reveal a confirmation bias against it and lack of understanding of it.

      It is trivializing? Perhaps it is, I hadn’t thought about it.

      The word “chance” alone has a built-in connotation of “happened for no reason at all.” That’s not at all what the Big Bang theory claims. In fact, one of the claims is that not only was it not by chance, but it was inevitable

      Inevitable? By what law, were laws in existence before the Big Bang occurred. Were these laws always here? Where is ‘here’ if the Big Bang hadn’t occurred yet?

      Furthermore, we could have an endless war of what’s “reasonable.” You find the claims of creationism reasonable presumably because you were raised in a culture that supported such claims. Had you lived in ancient Greece, you would’ve found claims that Gaia formed by “chance” out of the Void reasonable.

      Yes, I was raised in a Christian home. But no, had I lived in ancient Greece, I probably would not have found the above reasonable. Reason was not the point of mythology. I may have believed just as you say, but such a belief would not be founded in any way upon reason.

      That which we find “reasonable” or not, when not supported by objectively verifiable evidence, is ultimately an appeal to popularity and authority. But that doesn’t make it true.

      Is this also true of the String Theory? I don’t believe it is objectively verifiable, which is a troubling point for many physicists. Yet, the math works out.

      Ah, finally. The tired “I didn’t come from no monkey” argument.
      It depends on how we define “life.” Some say “life” is a sentient being. That rules out any non-self-aware life form like ants. Okay, then life is that which can grow and develop. That includes crystal. Okay, then life is that which reproduces. Hmmm, we’re getting warmer.

      We can begin with you and me. We are alive. Obviously we came from somewhere. Where did our life first begin and how?

      Now, I preface this with another “I’m no expert”, but I researched this six months ago. And it turns out, and feel free to look this up on your own, but not only is there evidence that organic molecules existed on the early Earth, and that they are theorized to have processed themselves into amino acids and DNA, but we have also reproduced this process in the lab. I don’t recall the specifics which I can look up, but yes, it seems that this did happen.

      Neither am I an expert, so we’ll stumble through this together. I think that would be fair.

      Now, if you still don’t believe it, I suggest that you’re not only operating on confirmation bias, but also an appeal to personal incredulity–you personally find it incredible; therefore, it didn’t happen. Well, whether you like that something happened or believe that something happened has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether it happened.

      My most pertinent question here would be what is ‘confirmation bias’? I had assumed I understood what you meant when you used it previously, but that definition doesn’t fit here. So—if I am operating under ‘confirmation bias’ what am I doing? The ‘personal incredulity’ thing seems well defined above so I have no problem with it. But ‘confirmation bias’ intrigues me. :-)

      Concerning my saying order does not result from disorder…
      Define “order” and “disorder” and specifically what you mean by this.

      You begin with a Big Bang. What guided it all? Do you begin with a universe already equipped with laws? Out of this explosion comes all that exists in our universe, but does this include space and gravity? Space, I am told is a fabric that can be torn. Did it exist before the Big Bang? If so how old is it? If not, into what did the Big Bang explode? Why wouldn’t it implode? It resulted ultimately into numerous forms of life on at least one planet. Of these forms of life, there seems to be a life chain some feeding off plant life while others feed off what is called higher forms of life (higher than plant life). Everything seems to ‘know’ how to get what it lacks. How does this ‘order’ result from this Big Bang? Where did all the laws come from?

      Concerning there being zero evidence for things like life coming from non-living matter…
      You’re really gonna have to cite evidence for some of these claims.

      Well, we’ll see what you have to offer here. Maybe you’ll make me eat my words, but we’ll have to see. :-)

      I find it remarkable that Christians claim with 100% certainty that God is eternal. Doesn’t have a beginning. Doesn’t have a cause. Yet, when it’s posited to Christians that the universe may also be eternal, without beginning, without a cause, then begins the torrent of incredulity. Why is it you find it likely the eternity of one entity and not another? Why is it you find likely the eternity of an entity which we can’t observe, but find just as unlikely the eternity of an entity which we observe every day?

      If life cannot come from non-living matter, then it is only logical that there must be Eternal Life somewhere that began it all. I am 100 % certain that God is eternal because nothing I see is eternal. It is all subject to time and decay. No matter how large it is or how powerful, it is all wearing down, showing it had to have had a beginning. This is only logical. Therefore, since it all came from somewhere—something or someone must be eternal.
      Concerning the universe, it is all wearing down. It all began sometime. You my claim 13-14 billion years—whatever! It began. The scientists refer to it as the Big Bang. It is a theory, because nothing exists today that is able to show that is what occurred. Scientists try to theorize back further but it is difficult to show what caused the Big Bang when everything we are able to see is this side of the Big Bang.

      Concerning my saying that the ‘evidence’ science has is the result of the data science ‘defined’ in order to arrive at the conclusion they have…
      Ah, now you’re talking about confirmation bias. I say X is true and not only look for evidence Y to support X but even ignore evidence Z that disproves X. The great thing about the scientific method, though, is even if I’m dumb enough to do that, anyone anywhere in the world can use the scientific method–not confirmation bias–and disprove my claims. Anyone. Anytime. Anywhere.
      Hypothesis 1st, then evidence, then conclusion and theory.

      Unless we are talking about a scientist “ignoring” God, I am not saying they deliberately ignore any ‘evidence’. I am saying that something has to be put into a computer before the computer can be used as a tool to assist in one’ hypothesis. Whatever one puts into the computer to assist in the analysis defines the outcome. Depending upon the branch of science one begins with certain assumed data. If the assumed data is correct, then the outcome of the project will probably be correct, but if you begin with incorrect or insufficient data, no matter how careful the work is otherwise, the conclusion will be wrong.

      I’m really not sure what you mean by this, so please be more specific.

      Again, I apologize for getting off track. I got myself in a mode of thought and began questioning matters not in the discussion. My mistake.

      All of it is testable. If not, we can’t assume anything to be 100% absolute truth.

      Apologies once more. I don’t know how I got onto this train of thought.

      Concerning my understanding of Prophecy…
      Doesn’t mean you’re right.

      If memory serves the prophecy I referred to does not lend itself well to your theory that it was written after the fact. By my saying and showing how it was fulfilled during Jesus’ lifetime shows that what was written before Jesus fit certain dates very well during his ministry. While someone might argue the prophecy means something else, I have shown how it fits contextually within Jesus’ ministry. Does this necessarily prove I am correct? No, not necessarily so, but I believe it is highly probable.

      Concerning evolution…
      To what I’d alluded to above. I liken the evolution debate to linguistics…

      You go on showing the evolution of our language and make some personal conclusions but yield to what you believe is science.

      I have to say that for a long time we have concluded that the theory of evolution is true. It is difficult to **not** take this into consideration when evaluating evidence that is before us. We naturally conclude that ‘x’ in the DNA chain must show an evolutionary similarity. I am not saying the bias is intentional, but I am saying it is difficult for it not to be assumed. When something is assumed it is very difficult to see anything else.

      Have a great day,

      Eddie

       
  4. me

    April 3, 2011 at 03:34

    Hey Ed,

    I’m getting to the next bits soon. Lots to catch up on with this and other things.

    Best,

    Anton.

     
  5. me

    March 30, 2011 at 12:36

    Hi Ed,

    I’m going back to some earlier stuff first.

    “Well, I know many folks believe the Gospel records were written decades after the events described, and I am aware that many folks say they are anonymous, but these opinions are really very subjective and often don’t fit well with what we know to be true during the times the New Testament is supposed to have been written.”

    I understand that opinion is subjective. I would never suggest otherwise (though as far as I know, most apologist arguments are based if not entirely, then partially on opinion, but I digress). My understanding is that not only secular scholars, but many Christian scholars are pretty convinced that the Gospels were written decades after the events described. Obviously we can debate this single point ’til the end of time and since I’m not an expert, i can’t do so, but it’s seemed to me that the opinion of decades-post authorship is not solely that of secularists.

    Fitting well with what we know to be true doesn’t conflict with being written decades after the fact. I’d also be interested to know how you know that the Gospels were eyewitness accounts written immediately after events described.

    “The best explanation of the resurrection (considering all the events described in the Gospel accounts) is that it occurred.”

    Given that it’s a supernatural claim for which we have no extra-Biblical evidence and for which we can’t conduct experiments to verify, how is this possibly the best explanation? And if you truly believe that, mustn’t you also apply the same to all supernatural claims? What I mean is, let’s say that the Gospels were written by the Apostles and that they were eyewitness accounts composed within days of the witnessing. Given zero extra-Biblical evidence of something as amazing as a Jewish insurgent intent on overthrowing the local Roman magistrate rising from the dead, it’s not only not the best explanation to assume that the resurrection really happened, but the worst explanation.

    Take the example of Joseph Smith and his Mormon brethren. I’ve seen a signed account by Smith and his fellows swearing that they all saw the alleged Golden Tablets and the angel Moroni who gave them to Smith. By your reasoning, I must believe them because they all claim to have witnessed it. And yet it’s entirely possible that they lied, were mistaken, that their story grew to a legend, or any number of other things before I take them at their word.

    And if you don’t believe the Mormon story, I have to ask why if you do believe the resurrection story. The Mormon story has at least two advantages. One, it happened in more recent, verifiable history, and two, those involved left objectively verifiable evidence of their existence.

    “No, I don’t believe in aliens. Considering the light years it would take to travel from what ‘could’ be life-friendly planets to here would make this ‘possibility’ improbable. I don’t believe in leprechauns. I never studied anything about them, but I know they are connected with Irish myth. If you think they exist, then you would have to educate me. As for the Loch Ness monster, I’ve seen enough fabricated stuff concerning its presumed existence to say that such a ‘possibility’ is highly improbable.”

    Yes, considering light years, but isn’t it possible that alien technology is so advanced that such a consideration is trivial to them?

    Why don’t you believe in leprechauns?

    Isn’t it possible that you simply haven’t seen compelling evidence of the Loch Ness monster yet, but that such evidence exists? For centuries, no one believed Troy actually existed until archaeological evidence was found. Couldn’t you apply the same to the Loch Ness monster?

    More later.

    Best,

    Anton.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      March 31, 2011 at 09:49

      I understand that opinion is subjective. I would never suggest otherwise (though as far as I know, most apologist arguments are based if not entirely, then partially on opinion, but I digress). My understanding is that not only secular scholars, but many Christian scholars are pretty convinced that the Gospels were written decades after the events described. Obviously we can debate this single point ’til the end of time and since I’m not an expert, i can’t do so, but it’s seemed to me that the opinion of decades-post authorship is not solely that of secularists.

      I am not necessarily basing my argument upon what ‘most’ apologists conclude. I don’t peruse the internet seeking what they say before I draw my conclusions. I read the text and a book or two about what scholars may suggest. Then I draw my conclusions. If they are what ‘most’ conclude, all the better, but it does not necessarily have to be so. The point is this: are the conclusions I draw too far off the mark with what can be known about 1st century culture, or do they even contradict known data about that culture? If so, then you have made your case. If, on the other hand, what I conclude is reasonable, then I made my case. You don’t have to believe it, and my argument doesn’t have to agree with every Christian scholar who comes down the pike. All I am shooting for is reasonable evidence about a reasonable argument.

      Fitting well with what we know to be true doesn’t conflict with being written decades after the fact. I’d also be interested to know how you know that the Gospels were eyewitness accounts written immediately after events described.

      How I ‘know’? I am not defending what I ‘know’, because that needs no defense. What I ‘know’ about the first century is what everyone else knows or at least accepts as true. For example, a stone was uncovered with Pilate’s name on it and dates to the 1st century. I ‘know’ Pilate existed and so does everyone else. This needs no debate. What we are discussing is whether or not ‘what I believe to be true’ is supported with reasonable evidence.
      According to Papias a second century Christian, originally Matthew wrote down what he calls “the oracles of the Lord” in Hebrew (probably Aramaic which was the Jewish language in the 1st century). He doesn’t say this was his Gospel account, but says “…each one interpreted them as best he could.” It seems to me that Papias is speaking about people writing their own accounts out of Matthew’s record, which may have been a working journal in Aramaic.
      Papias uses the same word to describe Mark ‘interpreting’ Peter. That is, he wrote down what he remembered Peter saying at Rome. Mark was Peter’s companion/secretary and knew what he preached. He may even have had an Aramaic copy of Peter’s Gospel. I say this, because the Gospel of Mark is not good Greek. I am told it is a bit cumbersome to read. The point is this: word order is not really important in the Greek in order to understand what someone is saying (or so I’m told). Nevertheless, Mark translates back into the Aramaic very well. Word order is important in the Hebrew/Aramaic and the Greek Gospel Mark preserves that word order. So, evidently Peter had an Aramaic copy of the Gospel he preached, which he derived from Matthew’s notes. They all witnessed what Jesus said and did, but Matthew kept a running journal of those things, or so it would seem. Matthew was a tax collector and ‘keeping records’ was part of his job. Tax collectors in the first century CE even knew a kind of ‘shorthand’; so it would only be natural for him to keep a running journal of what Jesus said and did. This would afford all the Apostles with an opportunity to have input in the Gospel record.

      Concerning the resurrection…
      Given that it’s a supernatural claim for which we have no extra-Biblical evidence and for which we can’t conduct experiments to verify, how is this possibly the best explanation? And if you truly believe that, mustn’t you also apply the same to all supernatural claims? What I mean is, let’s say that the Gospels were written by the Apostles and that they were eyewitness accounts composed within days of the witnessing. Given zero extra-Biblical evidence of something as amazing as a Jewish insurgent intent on overthrowing the local Roman magistrate rising from the dead, it’s not only not the best explanation to assume that the resurrection really happened, but the worst explanation.

      I am not so concerned with ‘extra-Biblical’ evidence. If it is there fine; if not, its silence does not negate the truth of the Apostles’ testimony. Moreover, there are many things that cannot be proved through experimentation. It is not possible to reproduce a murder, for example, to show who did it, or that it occurred just as some witnesses claim. The testimony is believed or it isn’t, according to its reasonability.

      What is the best explanation of no resurrection, according to you? Obviously, the record was believed by many people in the 1st century. 21 centuries later, you conclude not only that it isn’t true, but it is “the worst explanation” of all that is available. What is your best explanation for an obviously believable claim to many folks in the first century?

      Concerning a ‘Jewish insurgent’ what evidence do you have that this is the most reasonable explanation for Jesus’ death?

      Concerning Mormanism, I try not to defame anyone’s religion. Sometimes this is unavoidable but I don’t consider it necessary here. I have spoken with representatives of these people and they are good, decent folk. Suffice to say that their faith contradicts mine. I cannot believe theirs and mine, and I feel it unnecessary to keep seeking for what I’ve already found.

      Concerning aliens…
      Yes, considering light years, but isn’t it possible that alien technology is so advanced that such a consideration is trivial to them?

      Well, how advanced do you wish to make them? If we are speaking of traveling several times faster than the speed of light, then why would you consider a six day creation so far off the mark? After all, if an ‘alien’ could know how to travel that quickly, couldn’t God, who ‘stretched out the heavens’ according to the Scriptures, have done so at unfathomable speed maintaining the beam of light in its path to earth? In such a case what ‘appears’ to be many light years away, was in fact placed there in a very short time at many times the speed of light, but keeping the beam of light to earth in place while the feat was accomplished. If we are going to speak of technology so far advanced than our own, then why can’t God be God?

      Why don’t you believe in leprechauns?

      Isn’t it possible that you simply haven’t seen compelling evidence of the Loch Ness monster yet, but that such evidence exists? For centuries, no one believed Troy actually existed until archaeological evidence was found. Couldn’t you apply the same to the Loch Ness monster?

      I think you are toying a bit here. I haven’t seen compelling evidence for either leprechauns or the Loch Ness monster. Have you? If not, let’s get on with the discussion at hand.

       
  6. me

    March 29, 2011 at 11:36

    Hey Ed,

    Since I wasn’t finding time for every point, I’ll find time for one or two.

    “I simply mean that if it is God’s word, then we can expect it to be true and its teaching would be without error.”

    That reasoning makes perfect sense. I agree that if a document can be proved to be the infallible Word of God, then it’s a reasonable expectation that anything the document says is true. My issue is that even if some information is objectively verifiable, we should never assume that the whole thing is true. I understand you have your reasons for believing that the whole thing is verifiable, which I’ll eventually get to, but my immediate skepticism comes from claims such as all of humanity branching from one couple, a talking snake, a boat that contained pairs of all animals, etc. Even if we’re to assume that many bits of the Bible are meant to be taken as metaphor (which Christians ferociously disagree on), we’d have to figure out which bits are metaphor and how we know that. If we’re to assume that every last letter is literally true, well, we have the scientific method to demonstrate that they’re clearly not. The Earth formed much more than 6,000 years ago and humans have never lived to 200 years old.

    “If you wish to discuss this, fine. If you would rather discuss another, that would be fine with me too.”

    I’ll get to that prophecy specifically in a while. What I’ll discuss now is prophecy in general. There are two issues I have with prophecy. One is that even if Prophecy X is made in Book 1 of the Old Testament and then Fulfillment X occurs in later Book 2, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the prophecy came true because 1. the prophecy could’ve been added after the fulfillment to make it look like it predicted the fulfillment. Given the various authors of the Bible, the various editions, the various committees who decided on these editions, it’s not only possible, but likely that the Bible was altered to make certain claims seem true or fulfilled. 2. The prophecy could’ve been written in such a general way (like a fortune cookie or horoscope) that just about anything would’ve made it true. 3. Operating on confirmation bias, one could simply claim that prophecy came true and, without objective evidence to confirm or deny, maintain said claim for the sake of it. 4. The prophecy and its fulfillment could simply be coincidence.

    The other issue I have with prophecy is it’s frankly easy to accomplish. I’ll give myself as an example. When I first heard of the then-competing HD video formats of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, I predicted that within the year, Blu-Ray would win out and HD-DVD would be gone. I told several friends and acquaintances (eyewitnesses to my prophecy). In less time than I’d predicted, Blu-Ray did win out.

    I have no supernatural powers. I’m not even a technology expert. I had no inside knowledge. I simply follow news etc. I made a good, educated guess. But as my best friend points out, it could easily have gone the other way with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

    But wait. Isn’t he just a cynical skeptic? I made a prediction. It came true. In less time than I’d even predicted. I had no inside knowledge. I’m not an expert. How is that possible? It must be a miracle, right? I must be a prophet. In your opinion, how am I not one?

    More later.

    Best,

    Anton.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      March 29, 2011 at 15:44

      Greetings Anton, I’m glad to see you really do intend to continue. If you wish to zero in on anything at the expense of addressing other issues, I perfectly understand. Discussions such as these tend to get out of hand rather quickly. I feel like I should address everything you put forth, because I am ‘defending’ the issue(s), so any control as far as length is concerned will have to come from your end. If all you wish to speak about is a single issue, you won’t meet with criticism from my end. So, sit back make it simple for yourself and let the discussion begin! :-)

      My issue is that even if some information is objectively verifiable, we should never assume that the whole thing is true.

      Well, I understand your point, but if all things must be verifiable, then absolutely nothing in antiquity can be taken seriously as historical. Many things are verifiable, but not all in ancient literature. Hence the historians’ general acceptance of Aristotle’s dictum, which says in essence that unless a document is self contradictory or contradicts known truth, it should be given the benefit of the doubt.

      I understand you have your reasons for believing that the whole thing is verifiable, which I’ll eventually get to, but my immediate skepticism comes from claims such as all of humanity branching from one couple, a talking snake, a boat that contained pairs of all animals, etc. Even if we’re to assume that many bits of the Bible are meant to be taken as metaphor (which Christians ferociously disagree on), we’d have to figure out which bits are metaphor and how we know that. If we’re to assume that every last letter is literally true, well, we have the scientific method to demonstrate that they’re clearly not. The Earth formed much more than 6,000 years ago and humans have never lived to 200 years old.

      On the contrary, all things are not verifiable in the Bible. Hence the need for faith, but not blind faith—faith needs to be based upon reasonable evidence, just as you would trust your friend’s word when his claims cannot be verified. If he has proven himself trustworthy in the past, there is no logical reason why you cannot take his word at face value.

      Obviously, there are no talking snakes, but some people are referred to as a generation of vipers in the Bible. The metaphor is in place, and there is no reason not to accept the serpent in Genesis as a person. The Hebrew language has no adjectives or adverbs. What it lacks in some areas it makes up for in others. It is replete with metaphor (the Lord is my Shepherd etc.). If one cannot accept this as so, then you may as well stay away from ancient studies of the Near East, because you simply will not understand it.

      As for science—the jury is still out on this. Are the days in Genesis 1 twenty-four hours long or do they refer to ages? On the other hand, does science fully understand the working of the universe? For example, if something explodes outwardly (Big Bang) and keeps traveling in an outward direction and forms galaxies of varying sizes, the age of the most distant galaxies should be greater than those nearer the center, yet I am told that this isn’t so. Everything seems to be the same age. How can that be? I am not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination. I am totally dependent upon what I am told by those who claim they know. I am naturally suspicious of everyone in the field of science, because both camps (deists and atheists) have an axe to grind. I keep getting the feeling that people in these fields tell me only what they want me to know. So, everybody seems to be hiding something.

      the prophecy could’ve been added after the fulfillment to make it look like it predicted the fulfillment.

      This is one reason why I like the Seventy Weeks Prophecy. Critics say just what you claim above. Everything seems to fit very well from the release of the Jews from captivity until Antiochus Epiphanes. Then nothing fits. Well, it only appears that way, because the Jews gained independence in the war the Maccabees waged against Syria. All the while the Maccabees ruled Jerusalem, Daniel 11 is silent, because it is speaking specifically about gentile rulership, so if the gentiles aren’t specifically ruling the Jews, nothing is said of those years of independence (roughly 100 years). The story doesn’t pick up again until the willful king arises—Herod the Great. Then everything is just as clearly depicted as that account that critics say is so accurate that it had to be written after the fact. Anyway, the account keeps going until we get to Jesus. No one says Daniel was written after Jesus. Nevertheless, the Seventy Weeks Prophecy—marked out specifically in Daniel 11 and 12 record events in the gentile kingdoms that affect the Jews for nearly 5 centuries before Jesus’ public ministry.

      The prophecy could’ve been written in such a general way (like a fortune cookie or horoscope) that just about anything would’ve made it true.

      Do you have a specific prophecy in mind? I know Nostradamus is written this way, but I know of no Bible prophecy that is written this way.

      Operating on confirmation bias, one could simply claim that prophecy came true and, without objective evidence to confirm or deny, maintain said claim for the sake of it.

      Again, do you have a specific prophecy in mind? All the prophecies, of which I am aware, have come true and are accurate enough that the critics claim the prophecies had to be written after the fact.

      The prophecy and its fulfillment could simply be coincidence.

      True, one or two prophecies might be ‘coincidence’ but after awhile, one would have to recognize a pattern and conclude that either something unseen is at work here or the law of ‘coincidence’ occurs about as often as anything else, in which case, I would have to wonder about bias from your end! :-)

      Lord bless,

      Eddie

       
  7. me

    March 22, 2011 at 20:15

    Hey Eddie,

    I’ll get to everything else in a bit. I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten. I’ll be back soon.

    Best,

    Anton.

     
  8. me

    March 21, 2011 at 12:58

    Hi Eddie,

    A good chunk of things to think about! :) If this gets to be too bulky for your comments section, please feel free to write to me directly at antonahill@gmail.com.

    I don’t quite understand your criterion for the validity of the supernatural claims of Jesus. Don’t you think it’s possible for a book to get many things right, but one big thing wrong? What I mean is, if you were to read a well-respected history book on the life of Napoleon that had all relevant and correct dates and details on the man’s life, if it also claimed that Napoleon could fly, would you believe that claim based solely on the veracity of other claims made and facts given?

    I’m so glad you mentioned Nostradamus. I was going to mention him. Please tell me what, in your opinion, is the best example of a fulfilled prophecy from the Bible.

    Am I to understand that because (as you claim) God is described as acting the same way and providing the same message (what is that, anyway?) that the Bible is thus God’s word? Is the Odyssey, then, Zeus’ Word? The gods and heroes of the Odyssey never change and always give the same message.

    Additionally, you must be aware of resources out there (print and on-line) which point to specific verses of God acting and saying if not contradictory things then at least inconsistent things. I have no examples in front of me, but I could find some if we like.

    Because the Gospels claim to be witness accounts they must be accepted as such? Isn’t it possible that a document can claim to be a witness account, but not be? And you must be aware that the Gospels were written decades after the events described and we don’t actually know who wrote them. How, then, are they different from Bede’s Anglo-Saxon Chronicle wherein Bede describes events, but not ones he personally witnessed?

    Isn’t it possible that different witnesses who claim the same things were simply influenced by each other? There are countless retellings of the Arthurian legend, all containing the same basic events. That doesn’t mean that the legend actually occurred. As for contradictions, not only are there resources out there that would disagree with you, but a lack of contradictions doesn’t equal veracity. The Arthurian legends don’t contradict each other.

    With your final point, are you saying that if the only explanation for a supernatural event is believing that it happened, then we must believe that it happened? Is, then, the best explanation for the claim that Santa Claus gives gifts to all children all around the world in a single night best explained by just believing that he does?

    Your suggestion of a “bias against it being true” describes critical thinking. Are you against critical thinking? Do you believe in aliens, leprechauns, or the Loch Ness monster? If not, are you “biased” against those claims being true?

    The two main issues that I see in what you’ve provided are 1 that many of the claims you make can easily be explained by the very nature of documents, how they’re written, and how they’re handed down and 2 that you seem to be saying that if one doesn’t believe the Jesus story, it seems unlikely, therefore, one should believe it because then it’ll seem likely.

    Thanks for all the great info. I look forward to corresponding with you again soon. And again, please feel free to write me directly.

    Best,

    Anton.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      March 21, 2011 at 20:45

      Greetings Anton,

      I don’t mind the comments getting long. I’ve been thinking about adding a ‘discussion’ tab for things like this, but this is fine for now. At some point one of the two of us will decide the discussion is no longer profitable. If and when that would occur, I am inclined to offer my partner in the discussion the final word. If it is you who tires first, announce your final posting, and I will leave your statement stand. If it is I who tires first, I will either announce to you my final posting and permit you to reply, or I’ll simply announce that your last posting will be the final statement in the discussion. After a few days when I am certain you would have seen my statement, I’ll remove my statement that ended the discussion, and it will appear to anyone who reads that you have had the final word.

      Don’t you think it’s possible for a book to get many things right, but one big thing wrong?

      Of course, but if the Scriptures are what they claim to be, then (except for scribal errors) what we find would be a book that tells the truth about all its claims. I don’t mean to imply that simply because it claims to be God’s word that it is, indeed, the word of God. I simply mean that if it is God’s word, then we can expect it to be true and its teaching would be without error.

      Please tell me what, in your opinion, is the best example of a fulfilled prophecy from the Bible.

      Of course there are many prophecies that can be considered, but I am impressed with Daniel’s 70 Weeks Prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. It assumed the release of the Jews from captivity and predicted the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple and the coming of the Messiah (Jesus). All things were to occur within a 490 year period (Seventy 7s), from the time of the beginning of the rebuilding to the end of the Messiah’s work. If you wish to discuss this, fine. If you would rather discuss another, that would be fine with me too.

      Am I to understand that because (as you claim) God is described as acting the same way and providing the same message (what is that, anyway?) that the Bible is thus God’s word?

      No, the Bible is not God’s word simply because these things are true, but if they weren’t true, the Bible couldn’t be the word of God. It is one of the criterion that would have to be so, if the Bible is what it claims to be. It is not a mish-mash of different ideas. There are general themes running throughout both Covenants. There is general agreement between the different sections, whether it is the Law, the Writings or the Prophets (under the Old Covenant) and the same is so in the New. There is general agreement between the authors of the different works within each Covenant and between the Covenants. If we didn’t have this, the Bible couldn’t be a candidate for being the word of God, which it claims to be.

      Additionally, you must be aware of resources out there (print and on-line) which point to specific verses of God acting and saying if not contradictory things then at least inconsistent things.

      Yes, I am aware of such literature on the market and on websites on the internet. I don’t make it my business to seek out everything others have said, but I have read some of what is out there, and I don’t believe these arguments are true—i.e. the conclusions they draw. What is viewed as contradictions etc. can be understood differently than what those websites/books conclude.

      Because the Gospels claim to be witness accounts they must be accepted as such? Isn’t it possible that a document can claim to be a witness account, but not be?

      No, I am not saying that. I am saying that the Gospels claim to be eye-witness accounts and should be judged for what they claim to be. In other words one should look at what they say and judge for oneself if they read like an eyewitness’s record, and is the record believable according to the data presented, does it contradict either itself or what we know to be true about the times when the events it records were supposed to have occurred etc.

      And you must be aware that the Gospels were written decades after the events described and we don’t actually know who wrote them.

      Well, I know many folks believe the Gospel records were written decades after the events described, and I am aware that many folks say they are anonymous, but these opinions are really very subjective and often don’t fit well with what we know to be true during the times the New Testament is supposed to have been written.

      For example, normally books (scrolls) were wrapped in cloth and inserted in a cubical in a case which held several other books. Each scroll had a tag (titulii) attached to the naval of the roll [see ancient library shelving systems HERE http://www.ithaca.edu/hs/history/journal/papers/sp02ancientlibraries.html%5D. The tag contained the title of the book, the author’s name and a sentence or two telling what the book contained. Otherwise how could anyone find anything in the ancient libraries such as the one in Alexandria?

      Clement of Alexandria, a late 2nd century to early 3rd century church father wrote that the whole of the New Testament was written between the reigns of Tiberius and Nero.

      The opinions held by modern textual critics, though valuable in many ways, are often subjective and merely represent their own guesses nearly 2000 years after the facts.

      Isn’t it possible that different witnesses who claim the same things were simply influenced by each other?

      This could be true if the authors weren’t eyewitnesses. If the Bible is not what it claims to be, then certainly different men wrote what they wanted to say and some of what they claimed would have been built upon what someone else wrote a few years or months earlier. However, this is supposing the accounts are not what they claim to be. Just because you have a ‘possibility’ does not mean you have a ‘probability.’

      As for contradictions, not only are there resources out there that would disagree with you, but a lack of contradictions doesn’t equal veracity.

      As I said above, I understand there are people who would disagree with me. I am speaking with one, am I not? I also understand that a lack of contradictions doesn’t mean the content is necessarily true. However, if there were contradictions, this would exclude the Bible as the work of God [I am, of course, not speaking of scribal errors].

      With your final point, are you saying that if the only explanation for a supernatural event is believing that it happened, then we must believe that it happened?

      Well, perhaps I haven’t expressed myself as clearly as I thought. I apologize for that. Thankfully, we aren’t having this discussion when I was a young man. I have gotten better with age (believe it or not). :-)

      What I had in mind was, for example, I have seen many arguments against the resurrection of Jesus. The most powerful opposing argument is already written in the Bible—the apostles stole the body. I think this is a weak argument, but it is the best (in my opinion) of the opposing arguments I’ve read. The best explanation of the resurrection (considering all the events described in the Gospel accounts) is that it occurred. Nothing is 100 %; just like a jury must give its best opinion of the veracity of the stories of the different witnesses they’ve heard, so we are challenged to give our best opinion of what we believe about the evidence of the witnesses offering their testimonies in the New Testament. Many will agree that the resurrection occurred, but many will not.

      Are you against critical thinking?

      Not at all. I think it is such challenging thought that has caused us to dig deeper to discover better data to support what we have concluded about our ancient texts.

      Do you believe in aliens, leprechauns, or the Loch Ness monster? If not, are you “biased” against those claims being true?

      No, I don’t believe in aliens. Considering the light years it would take to travel from what ‘could’ be life-friendly planets to here would make this ‘possibility’ improbable. I don’t believe in leprechauns. I never studied anything about them, but I know they are connected with Irish myth. If you think they exist, then you would have to educate me. As for the Loch Ness monster, I’ve seen enough fabricated stuff concerning its presumed existence to say that such a ‘possibility’ is highly improbable.

      I think that about does it for covering your remarks. Have a good day.

      Lord bless,

      Eddie

       
  9. me

    March 21, 2011 at 00:21

    Hey Ed,

    I’ll try to keep it simple for now. I find in these discussions, that once several questions come up, things become easily convoluted. Thus, I’ll stick with what you began. Why do you believe that the testimony of Scriptures is correct in its supernatural claims of Jesus?

    Best,

    Anton.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      March 21, 2011 at 06:38

      Hi Anton,

      Well, if he Scriptures are correct about their supernatural claims about Jesus, they must first be correct concerning everything else they claim. They claim to be the word of God—expressed through men, but the word of God nonetheless. Before it would be proper to believe the supernatural stuff, the Scriptures must meet certain more fundamental requirements.

      How could we judge that what we find in our Bibles is the word of God? One way might be fulfilled prophecy, and sure enough there were many things, specific things, that were predicted that have come true—and we are not speaking of matters that we must read into the text like one must do with Nostradamus. The text identifies specific countries, sometimes specific people and tells the people living at the time of the prophecy what would occur.

      Another issue that would point to their being the word of God is that by and large, though the word has come down to us through many men over a period of nearly 2000 years, the message is not contradicted by anyone of any generation. It is consistent. It is always the same God. He always has the same message, and he always acts the same way, which is pretty much counter to how the gods of other nations are presumed to be behaving. In other words, the Jewish nation was a counter culture nation throughout its history. It tended to be more like the nations around them, but always repentance brought them back to their counter cultural behavior.

      Something else which lends to credibility is the New Testament claims to be a witness to the events of Jesus. A witness is supposed to be considered seriously. We take this into account in that many of our legal documents today are witnessed to by at least two people. Much of what goes on in our courtrooms today is founded upon the testimony of witnesses, and a jury decides as to the credibility of the witness offered for judgment.

      As this pertains to the New Testament, the men who write claim the same things. Their witness does not contradict. As would be expected, they often used different wording to describe the same events, sometimes pointing to different data—not contradictory, just different data—in order to make their claim. Jesus, according to the testimony of three Gospel accounts, made certain claims about the Jewish nation that had to have come true in the expected lifetime of a single generation. It occurred just as he said.

      Some of the explanations concerning miraculous events that the Gospels claim to have occurred can be best explained if they are believed. For example, the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection—which, if true, he certainly would have to have been God in the flesh, especially since he claimed he would rise in exactly the time period it is said to have taken place—are best explained if believed. In 2000 years no one has come up with a more believable explanation. Of course the resurrection itself is unbelievable for anyone who reads the Bible without believing in God or that he (if existing) could or would intervene in our lives and do great works that we describe as miracles. But, should this be the case, one begins the argument with a bias against it being true.

      It’s been awhile since I had to defend this or even explain it in a manner such as this, so we’ll begin with what I’ve stated here and see where this leads us. Have a good day.

      Lord bless,

      Eddie

       
  10. me

    March 20, 2011 at 03:05

    Hi Ed,

    You say you enjoy your faith being challenged. I’m not here to do that. I just want honest answers from a true believer. So, what do you specifically believe and why?

    Best,

    Anton.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      March 20, 2011 at 06:33

      Greetings Anton,

      Yes, I do enjoy a good discussion concerning my faith. I also enjoy testifying about my faith when answering specific questions. Your question above is very general. I could possibly spend all day answering it, but would that be what you want to hear? What do I believe about what? If I can assume you read this blog post, because your comment lies below it, then you already know I believe that Jesus was/is God in the flesh. I believe this because I believe the testimony written about him in the Scriptures. Do you have a specific interest in mind?

      Lord bless,

      Ed

       

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