Check out this 12 min video of apologist David Wood explaining the Argument from Reason. His wit and humor make this a fun watch and a great resource for your apologetics toolbox. Incidentally, David’s powerful testimony (featured here) has been one of the most viewed posts of 2016. Don’t miss David’s Twitter, Youtube, and apologetics website Acts 17.

122 COMMENTS

    • That’s an interesting read. It leaves me with two questions. First, how is it relevant to the video you are commenting on? And two, what is your background with biblical christianity?

      • The video cites secular sources as justifying the veracity of the crucifixion of the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth, which is nonsense as Carrier demonstrates.

        My background? Oh, just an interested observer. Interested in trying to establish the historical facts,
        Are you also interested in the historical facts, Roger?

          • Ahhh. Hard to follow on the WordPress app. I’ll have to rewatch before commenting.
            But thallus is one of many extra biblical sources, so I would doubt his errancy holds much weight over the totality of evidence. Would you agree?

          • There is no evidence for the resurrection of the character Jesus of Nazareth, only what’s written in the bible.

            May I ask then why you moderate? I never do and it works just fine. I find moderation often makes fr frustrating conversation.

          • First, there are several evidences for the resurrected Jesus. I’d love to discuss them with you, but as a historian of sorts I’m sure you are well aware of them (Bart Ehrman has even substantiated this claim, he just draws a different conclusion of the evidences).

            As for moderation, for me personally, I truly care about the people who engage. While there are times that get frustrating, the times I can learn from others or others can learn from me far outweigh those times. In fact, everyone here at ACL has a heart for Jesus and we are honored and humbled to be part of a place to share that message. I encourage you to engage anyone here and see that in action.

          • No, sorry, there is no contemporary evidence for this claim.
            It only works with apologetics and only if one has a presupposition view;
            such as how Habermas and Licona interpret it.
            And of course he ran into serious trouble – especially with Norman Geisler after suggesting the Raising of the Saints in Matthew was not to be taken literally
            So, once again there really is no evidence.It is simply a faith claim. And for what it’s worth, no genuine historian countenances this claim either, as I am sure you know.

            How does caring about people in any way influence moderation? Or inhibit learning from each other either? I don’t follow, sorry.

          • I would disagree on one part of your statement, I don’t think one needs a presup view to interpret Habermas’ minimal facts as resurrection worthy. In contrast, I would argue a presuppositional view of naturalism forbids this view.

            I guess I’m not following as to what you mean about moderation. By moderate, I simply means allow comments and engage as the author of a post. Because we write on the validity of Christianity, we care that people get accurate information. In that way, I’ve learned erroneous information and have removed while posts. In other ways, some of us have learned new sources and perspective. Similarly, commentors can ask questions and learn from this we may have left out. Is that what you are looking for?

          • The only mention of the resurrection of the character, Jesus of Nazareth is what is featured in the gospels, and even then, it does not feature in the oldest extant copies of the gMark – the long ending being a Christian interpolation. I am sure you accept this and as do your readers. These days many modern bibles do not include the short ending, and those that do sometimes use italics and include an explanatory note at the end, explaining this was an interpolation.

            And as I mentioned, no genuine historian will lend any credence to this being an historical event.

            So, as there is no contemporary evidence whatsoever to confirm, and many believers did/do not even consider there was a physical resurrection, we have to be brutally honest and acknowledge this is simply a faith claim and not an historical event.

            Every comment I post states:
            Awaiting moderation

            What possible reason is there to fear what you consider erroneous information? Surely the truth can withstand serious scrutiny? And surely you are not afraid that people will encounter different view points? This should be welcomed if one is genuinely in pursuit of truth?

            Ark.

          • Two thoughts on the resurrection evidence. (1) there are plenty of non resurrection details that substantiate a resurrected Jesus (the conversion of Paul, the dramatic change of the disciples, the empty tomb, etc). All of those exist extra-biblically, require no supernatural explanations, and are well aggreed to be historical. How you interpret those events (and others) is up to you, but the resurrection IMO makes the best sense of all the evidence.

            Your moderation comment: Ahhh, I understand now. That is two-fold. It keeps the comments authentic (not computers or trolls) and maintains a respecful environment. It can be an extra step but one we’ve found beneficial.

          • Extra biblical claims (details) are not extra biblical evidence.

            Paul’s conversion has no bearing as many people convert and they never see a physical being.
            Belief is not necessarily evidence otherwise are you suggesting we accept all UFO claims?

            What empty tomb?
            We do not even know where this supposed tomb is and the only mention of it is, once again, in the bible.

            And as already stated, no genuine historian lends this story any credence whatsoever.
            So, if we are honest and wish to demonstrate a measure of integrity we should acknowledge this is simply a faith claim, and can not be considered an historical claim.

          • When discussing historical evidence vs historical claims how do you differentiate? What if a genuine historian did affirm the resurrection, would that discredit his genuinity?

          • The reason why they will not is largely because there is no contemporary evidence, so your point is moot. Almost an oxymoron in fact.

            I prefer not to be drawn in on a semantic level, thanks.
            The simple fact is the resurrection s nothing but a faith claim, period and there is nothing to suggest otherwise.
            That here are a great many Christians past and present who do not accept a literal resurrection is good enough to suggest the doctrine is not universal.
            If we are going to attempt to judge claims then the resurrection of Lazarus has a much better claim at authenticity than that of the character, Jesus of Nazareth as the bible mentions witnesses, friendly and likely hostile, yet not a single secular mention of this event anywhere.
            Why is it apologists never discuss this resurrection claim?
            Is it because it has no bearing on atonement perhaps?

            Whatever the reason the criteria remain the same for any claims of historicity.

            So, once again, it can only be considered a faith claim- which I am perfectly happy to accept – but not an historical event.

          • For the sake of learning, if the resurrection is a faith claim, can’t the argument still get made, christianity is historically consistent?

            As to your other question, about no non Christian evidences, I’d like to hold off from answering. I have some theories, but I respect you enough to not chase down rabbits. If that’s ok?

          • If you mean consistent as in, does not have any evidence to back its primary claims and its foundational tenets are all unsubstantiated, then yes, absolutely.

            I am prepared to accept there could well have been an itinerant 1st century eschatological rabbi running around Palestine that was crucified by the Romans for sedition. Yeshua was a common enough name and Josephus mentions a few.
            But the biblical character,Jesus of Nazareth is simply a narrative construct.

          • When I consider what generations of children have been indoctrinated to believe on the threat of eternal damnation and torture I think it is vitally important we do not pussy- foot around such issues and strive with all our hearts ( please excuse the term) and intellect to uncover the absolute truth.
            As the bible is the primary source from whence this indoctrination derives that, for the sake of all children who are exposed to this we must establish its veracity.
            If t pans out so be it.
            But if it doesn’t, then we must face this fa, deal with it and teach our children the truth.
            I am sure you will agree with me on this point, yes?

          • The more I reflect on your thoughts the more I would have to say, I do not agree.
            At first glance you make a reasonable statement, one I probably would have agreed with. But there are some issues:

            1) to assume children are indoctrinated is false. Certainly children are taught the love of Jesus (and even highly inappropriately at times). But, biblically speaking, it is a choice to make everyday. One I as an adult must wake up and affirm. Indoctrination, as I see it, means children are not free to make their own choice. I think you will agree, teaching Christian morality and (alleged) historicity is not the same as the corrupt indoctrination you seem to be pointing to.

            2) the Bible is A source not the only and not even the primary source. I say that with caution. I don’t suppose it’s irrelevant, but I do say the primary means by which we can affirm christianity is through the in dwelling of the Holy Spirit. The bible is the word of God, which confirms and validates the calling of the spirit. To put this in my context, I cried out to a god I did not know. I recognized that this world was either a cosmic accident or there was a divine of some sort. I sought many resources, worldviews, at the same time as christianity. Finding the truth in the scriptures of the bible confirmed what I already knew.
            I share that as an illustration and largely condensed not as something as doctrinal or that I will defend against alternatives –it is my life testimony.

            3) with the above said, this is the point I find the most contention with your points. The bible is more than reliable. There are numerous, provable, historical references to make the bible reliable (i didn’t say inerrant). There are archeological findings (the pool of shalom, the burnt temple from 2 kings 25:9, the hitites –which were only known from the bible, and many more), for example. If one wants to consider all the evidence and then continue arguing alternatives to each piece, that’s a personal choice. But to dismiss the supernatural at the onset is the only presuppositional opponent to the biblical narrative. Therefore, I attest any refutation must be met with stricter scrutiny than affirmations because it is only submitted with bias. (Though I’m sure you’ll disagree. That’s one of the beautiful lessons we can both glean from history; it’s all interpretive–even your view *smile*)

          • 1) to assume children are indoctrinated is false.

            With due respect, I am afraid this is a flat out falsehood and I can call upon at least a half dozen deconverts right here on WordPress who went through ‘’hell’’ as kids and a few I subscribe to are under therapy after denconversion. I am sure there are many more in a similar situation.
            There is nothing moral about Christianity as it relies on false doctrine – Old and New Testament – and the punishment for failure to accept your god is eternal damnation and torture in Hell. This doctrine is an integral part of fundamentalism.

            2) the Bible is A source not the only and not even the primary source.

            For the Christian it is! Directly or indirectly. Unless you can give verifiable examples that do not rely on the bible or apologetics of some description?

            3) with the above said, this is the point I find the most contention with your points. The bible is more than reliable. </blockquote.
            No, as a statement of truth it is false from beginning to end. While there are factual historical references the whole is simply Historical Fiction.
            Science refutes it and backs the refutation with solid evidence.
            The Human Genome Project proved the biblical Adam and Eve are false (narrative constructs) and thus, Original Sin becomes moot. This obviously throws into a quandary what Paul believed and what Augustine later honed.
            The Pentateuch is nothing but geopolitical myth especially the Egyptian Captivity, Exodus and Conquest narratives. All complete nonsense from an historical point of view and this is the consensus of archaeologists and surprisingly the majority of Jews, including most Rabbis. And we can include some biblical scholars as well, but obviously not those who have any sort of fundamentalist religious leaning.
            In fact, regarding Exodus, archaeology has established a completely different history than that portrayed in the Old Testament, and hard evidence fully supports this. You are aware of the Settlement Pattern in Canaan, yes? There was no Exodus or Conquest and the Israelites emerged internally from coastal tribes that immigrated to the interior. Even a quick Google search or look on Wiki will give you the basic details, so I am very surprised you are unaware of this?
            See Dever or Finkelstein as perfect examples. I can provide links if you need them?

          • 1) 6 people hardly makes my comment false. You may even elect to go back and note I said some do as you said, but this is not a biblical teaching; there is no bible verse to force a belief in your kids.
            I’m sorry to hear some of those fall in your acquaintances.
            2) did you just say I’m not a Christian? That’s pretty bold. Perhaps we are using the term differently. What do you mean by the word christian?

            “Unless you can give verifiable examples”
            1) What do you consider verifiable?
            2) if I can produce these examples, are you willing to examine them without bias, or will continue to apply your own reasoning? Unfortunately, eliminating supernatural ideas before considering all the facts that need evaluated results in hardening attitudes. If you’ve already made up your mind that the supernatural doesn’t exist, than our conversation isn’t beneficial for either of us. I’ll respectfully step away with no hard feelings.

          • I can see that I must be 100% accurate the way I word my statements.
            Indoctrination:
            Any child that makes a testimony of faith regarding their religious belief has been subject to indoctrination.
            Christianity and especially fundamentalist denominations consider the utterly erroneous doctrine of a literal Hell to be a vital part of the doctrine inculcated into children. This is tantamount to child abuse.
            I mention the few deconverts as examples only to illustrate the damning effects indoctrination has on people. And no doubt there are many many more who will attest to this.

            I stand by the assertion that your entire doctrine is based upon the bible.
            There are a great many ”versions” of christianity, from people like Craig to Spong. Only you know if you believe you are a Christian.

            You seem to have not tackled Point 3, re: The Exodus etc?
            Do I take it you agree with the archaeology and science?

          • I should have added I am quite prepared to discuss the notion of the supernatural, but would like to clear away each point as we come to it and in this vein I would first like to settle any different points of view regarding the Exodus.
            Does this sound fair to you?

          • It sounds like fun. But I’ll be open and transparent from the beginning. I have 4 kids, work 2 jobs, and while I enjoy this type of forum, it’s not always my priority. I’ve noticed you like quick responses. I’d like you to know that likely won’t happen.

            Can I first ask, do you believe history is completely knowable? How would you reconcile a British history book with an American history book and reasons for the revolutionary war, for example?

          • I wrote a new post calling for former Christians to offer their take on the indoctrination issue as I concede that I may have been approaching this from an overly biased and ill-informed perspective.
            However, it seems I may well have been right after all.
            The comment by Charity is especially enlightening. Sad, but enlightening nonetheless.
            Maybe more will volunteer their story later or tomorrow?

            https://attaleuntold.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/the-systematic-religious-indoctrination-of-children-or-not/

            Also it seems that religious indoctrination is recognised by the medical profession and has been for quite some time. Professionals identify some pretty serious traumatic side effects.
            Here’s one site and there were quite a few after the most cursory of Google searches.

            http://journeyfree.org/childhood-religious-indoctrination/

  1. Sorry, but to me, this video is nothing but a lot of double-speak. Say lots of things on the subject and say them fast, moving quickly onto the next point you want to make and Voila! You have proved your point because no one really knows what you said.

  2. If the person in the video is correct, then his explanation of reasoning could also apply to anyone who is religious yes ? Muslims, Jews, Mormons, etc……….

    He seems to be making it exclusive to Christians but not explaining why this would be .

    Back to indoctrinating children, ever watch Jesus Camp ?

    https://youtu.be/LACyLTsH4ac

    • I don’t think his reasoning would apply to theism (of any variety) as theism argues for internal processes beyond simple chemical reactions required by naturalism (which is the target of the video).

      As to you link, before commenting I suggest reading the original quote. My comment reflected that teaching biblical morals was not the same as indoctrination. Christianity is a choice not a mandate. I even acknowledge that some do get it wrong (like your Jesus camp I’m guessing) but it doesn’t reflect the whole of Christianity.
      Hope that helps clarify any misunderstandings.

      I’d also invite you to look around as we really enjoy helping others see our point of view (even if you dont agree).

      • Christianity is a choice not a mandate.

        Are you saying, Roger, that when a parent tells a child that if they don’t love Jesus, they will burn in hell forever when they die, the child has a choice as to whether or not to believe them? What choice do you think that would most likely be, and would it be based of facts and reason, or on their emotional attachment to the parent?

        • I’m saying the actions of parents do not determine truth. If a parent says “pay for this candy or you’re going to jail ” is the harshness of the term the reason is true?

          • Then perhaps it is important to clarify your position on this topic.

            1) Do you believe in the Christian doctrine of Hell. Yes/No. Damnation no chance of reprieve,torture etc

            2) Do you teach it to your own kids? Yes/No.

            3) Do you consider someone like me for example will end up there because I am an atheist? Yes/No?

            I would prefer you not to respond in a fashion that was in any way ambiguous or use terms such as ”choice” or it is ”not up to you”.

            Thanks.

          • I’m confused, why are we changing topics? I thought we were going to tackle the supernatural next. As a show of good faith, I will answer your questions like this:

            I appreciate you don’t want an ambiguous answer. However, I serve a loving God. One who loves me (and you) enough to be relational. Do you have someone you love/loves you (mom/dad/boyfriend/girlfriend/son/daughter)? I wonder, are you a stickler for rules with them? Was there ever a rule in the house, bed time is at 8PM and you were once allowed to say up until 830? 9? midnight? That’s the powerful thing about God that so many legalists miss; God loves you more than the rules–he loves you enough to pay the penalty of death for you.
            Do I believe Hell exists–yup. I believe it to be a place where there is no love. A place of extreme sadness and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in remorse. The pain will likely burn with the intensity of 1000 fires. But, for some, that is better than service to God. Some people are genuinely repulsed that Heaven could involve worshiping God, and God allows them to go away…on their own accord.
            So I teach my kids what love is. I show them how God loves them, and all of his creation. I teach them to investigate the claims and put God to the test. I encourage them to ask questions, pray, and make their own decision. Because that’s exactly what God has done for me.
            I consider you a person, made in the image of a loving creator. And while I believe that the case presented before you will include your declaration of atheism, your case will be no stronger than mine. The choice for salvation lay in the hand of Jesus. A verdict that will not be read until the trial.

            Therefore, I’m sorry you don’t want ambiguity , that’s what relationship means. It means grace, forgiveness, love, patience, kindness.

            Respectfully written.

            Your turn, when did you become (or decide or realize) you were an atheist? What evidence for atheism helps solidify that belief.

            I would prefer you not make such ridiculous assertions that atheism is not a belief, I think we’ve chatted enough to hear my heart for the question.

          • I’m confused, why are we changing topics? I thought we were going to tackle the supernatural next. As a show of good faith, I will answer your questions like this:

            Sorry, I popped over to see if you had left me a comment and saw this.
            Sure we can go back to the original topic. What did you want to ask about the supernatural or do you have any more questions vis the Exodus now you have acknowledged is never happened?

            I appreciate you don’t want an ambiguous answer. However, I serve a loving God.

            No, you don’t; you serve Yahweh and he was/is a genocidal maniac. Or would have been if he wasn’t a man-made Canaanite deity.

            Do I believe Hell exists–yup. I believe it to be a place where there is no love. A place of extreme sadness and weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in remorse. The pain will likely burn with the intensity of 1000 fires. But, for some, that is better than service to God. Some people are genuinely repulsed that Heaven could involve worshiping God, and God allows them to go away…on their own accord.

            So you accept the delusional Christian version and not >/em>what the character, Jesus of Nazareth talked about. Okay. This says quite a lot.

            So I teach my kids what love is. I show them how God loves them, and all of his creation. I teach them to investigate the claims and put God to the test. I encourage them to ask questions, pray, and make their own decision. Because that’s exactly what God has done for me.

            I am going to take this as a ‘Yes’ to teaching your kids they will burn in Hell for eternity if they reject the make-believe god you genuflect to. This is child abuse plain and simple. This link might help you understand what damage you are potentially doing to your kids. There are several people here already who know perfectly well what Hell was all about as kids.
            http://journeyfree.org/childhood-religious-indoctrination/

            I consider you a person, made in the image of a loving creator. And while I believe that the case presented before you will include your declaration of atheism, your case will be no stronger than mine. The choice for salvation lay in the hand of Jesus. A verdict that will not be read until the trial.

            Aside from the fact the character, Jesus of Nazareth is a narrative construct; I consider this answer hypocritical and somewhat cowardly in the face of what is openly taught will happen to non-believers in homes and churches world-wide, and especially among the more fundamental Christian cults. However, as there are several others who are much better versed on your religion than I, expect some heat.

            Your turn, when did you become (or decide or realize) you were an atheist? What evidence for atheism helps solidify that belief.

            I was never more than a cultural Xian, raised in a laissez faire Christian household. I was writing a fantasy novel, a spoof on Moses and decided to check out some background history. Although I never bought the miraculous nonsense even as a kid I expected an historical figure behind the tale and was quite surprised there was nothing. Further investigation has revealed how it is all myth. Later when I began to blog I was genuinely shocked to come across grown adults who actually believed in Creationism, seriously I had never come across this growing up in the UK, people who believed in a Young Earth, a literal Adam and Eve, a global flood, a real Hell and dinosaurs who co-existed with humans
            What horrified me was this garbage was being taught to children! I truly could not believe it. Such was my naivety.
            Such patent lunacy amazed me, so I sat down and read the bible and began casual study, cross-checking everywhere I could. My old KJV from Sunday School is a mass of marks made in red felt-tip pen. I eventually came to realise that huge swathes of the bible are nothing but geopolitical myth, simply Historical Fiction, interpolation and outright lies. Christianity as a worldview is based on false doctrine, its foundational tenets are fallacious, it is insidious and the indoctrination of children should be considered child abuse.
            You did ask …..

          • Not defending Ark here (he’s a big boy and can defend his own), but in a statement you made to Ark, you said: “That’s the powerful thing about God that so many legalists miss; God loves you more than the rules–he loves you enough to pay the penalty of death for you.

            This gave me cause to wonder how that works exactly. The Jewish religion included a ‘Sin offering,’ an offering given annually to their god to expiate them of their sins. Yeshua, allegedly, WAS that sin offering, but if Yeshua actually WAS Yahweh in the flesh, then he had himself killed as an offering to himself (as Yahweh), for behavior that he, himself (Yahweh) decided would be considered ‘sin’. That makes no sense.

            http://i887.photobucket.com/albums/ac73/archaeopteryx1/Meyou.jpg

            http://i887.photobucket.com/albums/ac73/archaeopteryx1/god-created-hell.jpg

          • You’re moving your goalposts – parents are a child’s most familiar authority figures, and the people he will most likely believe. When a parent tells a child that unless they behave in a certain way, they will burn forever, they aren’t even telling them an established fact, only their own belief, yet their child ha little choice but believe them. As for the child and the candy, no child I’ve ever heard of, has ever gone to jail for stealing a piece of candy, I don’t know why you even brought it up.

          • When my kids play close to the road, I say “if you play in the street you can get hit by a car”. I want to scare them away from danger because the threat is real. As an adult, the will know that it isn’t playing in the street that causes being hit by a car, it’s not paying attention–which kids can’t do.

            My point remains, belief is a choice. One you are free to make as an adult–regardless of your parents teachings. May I suggest, that fear of eternal consequence is not from a nagging mom, but a loving father who doesn’t want you to be hit by a car for not paying atttention. There is a lot of beauty to be taken in everyday, but only one way to explain it.

            Hope that helps clarify my point. Thanks for interacting.

          • There is a lot of beauty to be taken in everyday, but only one way to explain it.

            Again, purely subjective.

  3. “Because we write on the validity of Christianity, we care that people get accurate information.”

    And who decides what information is accurate ? Why can’t the readers decide for themselves ? I think a moderated site only discourages open debate. What are you afraid of ?

    • What are we afraid of? You assume too much. Our site is moderated to discourage people from making unproductive comments. That’s determined by me. If you like unmoderated sites, go find them and have fun.

  4. Roger, you wrote the following in one of your responses to Ark: … there is no bible verse to force a belief in your kids.

    Proverbs 22:6 says — “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJV). While there are no threats or warnings attached to this scripture, there are many, many Christians who take this verse quite seriously … to the point that yes, it could be said the child is forced to believe.

    Moreover, how many parents will allow their child to stay home from church and/or Sunday School if that child states very emphatically that they don’t want to go? I would daresay the number would be very close to zero.

    • “Our site is moderated to discourage people from making unproductive comments. That’s determined by me. If you like unmoderated sites, go find them and have fun.”

      This is exactly the response I expected. Thank you for frankness.

      • You’re welcome, although that’s the obvious answer for any responsible site. Let us know when your voice hasn’t been heard. So far that hasn’t happened yet, right?

    • I see you know your bible verses. I wonder if you also understand them, or any literary context. Proverbs is full of, well, proverbs; wise sayings. They are not commands or promises. While I recognize some people take them as such, it really doesn’t change the Jesus narrative. In fact, even if I and every other Christian have it wrong it doesn’t change truth (for a better depiction of what I’m summarizing, you should read Logan’s post “Bad Arguments Against Christianity”; it’s very well done).

      But for giggles, let’s assume you’re right, Christians (and Jews, this is an OT verse after all) should train up a child as he should go. I wonder, if you would argue that parents should not train (teach HCSB, start up NIV, give instruction YLB) to youth in the direction they should go? Would it be wise to birth em and leave em? Fend for yourself? Offer no training, teaching, starting up, or educating? I think you’ll agree, even the application of this verse is not something to be brushed off as theistic and barbaric — a reason for needing counseling later in life.
      Ha! It’s good advice. (Psst: you’ll find lots of good advice in the bible).

      Further, and really the heart of the issue at hand, following Jesus is a choice — a constant choice. One you’re free to make for or against. Certainly, anyone finding Jesus to be a compelling answer will make a completing case for its truth. Atheist, similarly train their kids up in the way they believe they should go. And while I’m sympathetic with professing atheist raised harshly to fear an all powerful God of the universe, I mourn with Christians who’s patents died before finding Jesus. Because this pain is temporal, but death is eternal. Which is why I teach (train) my children to think critically, never be afraid to ask a question, think, and not let emotions dictate their beliefs. Which, I believe, is a way we all can agree kids should be brought up, so they won’t turn away when their older to foolish ways.

      Hope that clears it up for you. Thanks for the interaction.

  5. sounds like fun. But I’ll be open and transparent from the beginning. I have 4 kids, work 2 jobs, and while I enjoy this type of forum, it’s not always my priority. I’ve noticed you like quick responses. I’d like you to know that likely won’t happen.

    Can I first ask, do you believe history is completely knowable? How would you reconcile a British history book with an American history book and reasons for the revolutionary war, for example?

    I fully understand time constraints;work family etc and I am in no hurry, I assure you.

    Before we tackle your history question and any others you may have, as previously mentioned I would like to clear the table of any outstanding issues that have been raised in the thread before we move on. That way our discussion can ”develop” or progress and in an ( hopefully) orderly fashion and not end up meandering all over the place. 🙂

    So, to recap: I would first like to settle any different points of view regarding the Exodus.
    This was my part of that comment from above

    The Pentateuch is nothing but geopolitical myth especially the Egyptian Captivity, Exodus and Conquest narratives. All complete nonsense from an historical point of view and this is the consensus of archaeologists and surprisingly the majority of Jews, including most Rabbis. And we can include some biblical scholars as well, but obviously not those who have any sort of fundamentalist religious leaning.
    In fact, regarding Exodus, archaeology has established a completely different history than that portrayed in the Old Testament, and hard evidence fully supports this. You are aware of the Settlement Pattern in Canaan, yes? There was no Exodus or Conquest and the Israelites emerged internally from coastal tribes that immigrated to the interior. Even a quick Google search or look on Wiki will give you the basic details, so I am very surprised you are unaware of this?
    See Dever or Finkelstein as perfect examples. I can provide links if you need them?

    I would like to know how you come to terms with the fact the Captivity, Exodus and Conquest tale is geopolitical myth and the Pentateuch is considered Historical Fiction, and how you square away these facts with you Evangelicalism?

    Thanks.

    Once this is dealt with we can tackle the supernatural question you asked and then the question regarding the know-ability of history.

    • Hi Ark,
      The reason I asked my question before attempting to answer yours is because it plays into this answer. You’re right, we don’t have much (if any depending on your perspective) of the exodus accounts outside the bible. What we do have, however, are verifiable falsifications in the Egyptian narrative. We know that Egypt doesn’t record losses and therefore don’t really expect to see any extra biblical accounts (much like British textbooks only talk of the treasonous accounts in the American Revolution story). If you would, can you check out Alex’s post https://clearlens.org/2016/05/12/navigating-skepticism/ he does a brilliant job laying out anything I would snippet here.

      So, to your question, how do I come to grips with exodus as a myth, I submit 2 answers.
      1) I don’t believe it’s a myth
      2) we have more than enough verifiable information to make a case that the missing or contradictory parts are better understood through biblical truth than external assumptions.
      This link may also help understand my perspective: http://bibleevidences.com/archeology.htm

      Does that clear up your question?

      My question still stands, how do you know historical truth and how do you determine what evidence is/isn’t admissible? A good example would be how do you determine ehrmans point of view is more reliable than Metzger if they both had the same evidence?

      • What we do have, however, are verifiable falsifications in the Egyptian narrative.

        I am unaware of any but please list them and the Egyptologists/archaeologists that verify them.

        1) I don’t believe it’s a myth

        Then please explain why you believe virtually the entire archaeological corpus and almost every Rabbi is wrong and why the evidence the archaeologists do have is incorrect.
        You are aware of the Settlement Pattern I presume, and the pottery finds etc? How the coastal tribes split and moved inland.
        You have at least read people like Dever, Finkelstein, Herzog etc.
        You are also aware the entire area was under Egyptian control at this period in time, I’m sure.
        And of course you know of the Armana Letters.
        This is why I am a little confused by your assertion that the Exodus was an historical event. Or at least this is what I think you are telling me.
        Are you telling me this?
        However, until otherwise shown differently I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and presume you have honestly investigated this thoroughly from a scientific point of view and not just come back to me with an unsubstantiated evangelical perspective.

        Re: the archaeological link you offered. Unfortunately, it gave no evidence to back any claim of the veracity of the Exodus.

        Discoveries ranging from evidence for the Tower of Babel, to Exodus, to the Walls of Jericho,

        This was the only line pertaining to the Old Testament and no evidence or citation to support the mention of evidence for the Exodus in particular. Can you please tell me specifically what evidence for the Exodus the writer is talking about? Again, I am going to presume you know as you would hardly cite someone without at least fact-checking.

        Furthermore, can you please cite an archaeologist that has dealt with the Exodus and the evidence they have to back the biblical claims. Thanks.

        I am sure we’ll sort this out and discover what really happened and it’s always fun to learn new things

        Over to you.

        • Hi Ark,

          Great catch on my wording. I should have said missing information. That is, we have 3000 years of Egyptian history and not one example of a lost battle. As stated by R. Alan Cole “Egyptian monarchs were never given to recording defeats and disasters, and certainly not the loss of a chariot brigade during the pursuit of runaway slaves.”

          But…

          I want to address two points before my words are compared a myriad of alternative views and even consensus to the antithesis.
          First, your question was, how do “I” reconcile what most archeologist say and my view of a literal exodus. To that, MY answer –not the answer of scholars or archeologist /historian/otherwise is: I don’t put my hope and faith and trust in the literal representation of the exodus; I put my faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ. There is more than enough evidence for Jesus, the things he said, the reactions of those around him, and biblical consistency to allow the things I don’t understand to outweigh what I know to be true.

          That is how and why I feel comfortable standing in opposition to current historical understanding.

          2) for the sake of continued learning, I’m willing to concede my position. As it relates to our relationship, I will not assert a literal exodus. Let’s call it (i believe these were your words) a geopolitical myth.

          Does that sound fair?

          • 2) Excellent!
            You will excuse me if I don’t wade in with any more this evening, there’s a Euro 2016 quarter final on the TV in a short while and I want to grab a bite to eat before it starts.

            But you might want to ponder on this:
            No Captivity, ( that a lot of preceding history that is simply fiction) no Exodus, no Moses, no conquest.
            No Mount Sinai No Ten Commandments.
            So if the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth said he had come to ”Fulfill the Law” , tell me, who’s law was he talking about?

            Catch you later.
            There’s still the supernatural thing to tackle …. I haven’t forgotten, I promise.

          • There is more than enough evidence for Jesus

            I have no idea, Roger, what for YOU is ‘enough,’ but a book written by an anonymous autho9r 40 years after the alleged life of Yeshua, another written by an anonymous author 5-10 years after that, copying the work of the first author almost word for word, a third written ten years later by yet a third anonymous author and a fourth around the turn of the century by yet a fourth anonymous author, to be much in the way of evidence – such hearsay, or actually hearsay of hearsay, wouldn’t be accepted as evidence in any court in the land.

          • Honestly, arch, enough evidence would be the love he has shared in my life. Everything after that has been icing on the cake (and there is a lot of icing *wink*).

            Can I ask, if you lived in the times of Jesus, what would it take to convince you–a poor commoner–to spend 2 days wages on writing material so you could document a poor carpenters son? See, the writing itself isn’t the only evidence. As I write above, there are conversions, research papers, shared experiences, and commitments up to and including death. It’s really quite amazing if you think about it.

          • Honestly, arch, enough evidence would be the love he has shared in my life.

            Entirely subjective, Roger – I could say the same thing of the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster.

            …they always neglect other pieces of the story (like Ananias welcoming Paul and vouching for him).

            And who said that happened?

        • Even if his assertion were true, Ark, and the Egyptians WERE trying to cover up this deep, dark secret out of shame, Egypt was a major hub of civilization, countries from Mesopotamia, Canaan, and points in Africa had representatives trading there at all times – if such an event had happened, none but the Egyptians would have had any reason to keep it quiet.

      • This link may help you greater understand how the Exodus is currently viewed by almost all archaeologists.
        John has been communicating with a considerable number of archaeologists in Israel for over plus minus two years and his efforts in this are truly illuminating, especially regarding how little is known by the average ”man in the street”, if you will.
        Although John might present some of his posts in a somewhat provocative manner, I thoroughly recommend you read him. And use this particular post as a ”primer”, and then peruse his blog for more of the same.
        Every post is backed with citations and thoroughly researched
        All the best

        thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/kadesh-barnea-gaza-the-exodus/

      • What we do have, however, are verifiable falsifications in the Egyptian narrative. We know that Egypt doesn’t record losses and therefore don’t really expect to see any extra biblical accounts.

        I have heard that SO often from fundies! ‘There’s no trace of Moses because the Egyptians erased it out of embarrassment —‘ At the time alleged to have been the time of Moses, the entire population of Egypt was roughly 3.5 million people – the Bible relates that approximately 2.5 million left during the Exodus. Are you REALLY saying that if 2/3 of a population suddenly left a well-known country, that fact could be hidden?

        • Are you really saying that entire histories and customs can be made on myth? Is it possible to say that we celebrate independence day, not because we escaped the tyranny of Britain but because our forefathers made the whole thing up as an alagory?

          Thousands of years of history are laid upon that narrative. Lack of evidence doesn’t discount the amount of reasons we have for accepting it. IMO

          • “Thousands of years of history are laid upon that narrative. Lack of evidence doesn’t discount the amount of reasons we have for accepting it. IMO”

            The Mormons and the Muslims feel exactly the way you do .

          • The Mormons and the Muslims last their faith in 1 person. Hardly an entire people group. We’re taking 2.5 million people substantiating the claim that this is the beginning of our customs and traditions.

          • “We’re taking 2.5 million people substantiating the claim that this is the beginning of our customs and traditions.”

            What 2.5 million people ? Where is your proof these 2.5 million people existed ? Oh I forgot you said, “Lack of evidence doesn’t discount the amount of reasons we have for accepting it. IMO”

          • I am not saying there weren’t 2.5 million Jews . There’s just no evidence they were in Egypt. BTW There’s only 15 million Jews worldwide today. Hardly the number used in the Bible to describe them. Gen 22:17 “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore”

            Along with others here, I do want to commend you for the way you engage non-believers. I can’t say I have found many other Christian bloggers as civil as you.

          • So that’s a weird way to look at that–as if today’s Jews were the only descendants of Abraham, ever. In addition to the thousands of years of genealogical descendants, this would also include foreign sojourners and/or slaves of the Jewish people, and (eventually) the Gentiles of the NT and current Christians all reference the lineage of Abraham as adopted. Certainly all those people would fit the numbers relative to stars.
            –and–
            Thanks! You, also, have been polite and pleasant to learn with. If you get a chance to check out other authors here, I’m sure you will find them of similar nature.

          • “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky ”

            “this would also include foreign sojourners and/or slaves of the Jewish people, and (eventually) the Gentiles of the NT and current Christians all reference the lineage of Abraham as adopted”

            OK Roger. Either you state this as “your opinion” or you need to cite some reliable sources which state this is what the scripture also implies. It say descendants and offspring of Abraham. Period. If you are correct you forgot to include the 1.5 billion Muslims in your count. 🙂

            “Certainly all those people would fit the numbers relative to stars.”

            Oh and by the way ,”Our stargazer gets a Hubble telescope and a calculator, so now we can count distant galaxies, faint stars, red dwarfs, everything we’ve ever recorded in the sky, and boom! Now the population of stars jumps enormously, to 70 thousand million, million, million stars in the observable universe (a 2003 estimate), so that we’ve got multiple stars for every grain of sand — which means, sorry, grains, you are nowhere near as numerous as the stars.”

            And neither is your estimate even if you through in every human who has ever lived.

            (http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/09/17/161096233/which-is-greater-the-number-of-sand-grains-on-earth-or-stars-in-the-sky)

          • I don’t suppose I can appeal to allegory–a comparison. You seem to be approaching this quite legalistically. Suppose I said, “you are going through the Bible with a fine-toothed comb”, you recognize that I wouldn’t actually mean a literal comb, but depicting a way to draw a comparison. Here we have a similar situation, the word in our case is zera and means seed.
            I’m actually really glad you brought this up because while it doesn’t take telescopic sky-views into consideration (hint: it doesn’t need to), it does correspond with modern day science and tracking ancestors through DNA. And even better than that(!!!) is Galatians 3:29, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed”. Awesome, right!

          • “I don’t suppose I can appeal to allegory–a comparison.” Not really because you then said, ““Certainly all those people would fit the numbers relative to stars.”

            You are quite within your right to make a statement as opinion (ahead of time) not afterwards.

            Sorry, you can’t have it both ways. 🙂 Christian bloggers hold my feet to the fire all the time. Especially since I am a Christian de-convert. A traitor in their eyes. And yet if I do the same, they instantly start looking for wiggle room. I think you Christians refer to it as “grace” It might work with the Big guy but not so much online. 🙂

            It’s all good Roger. It’s your blog. I was in your shoes as an apologist for 50 years. Like Charles Templeton , the more I read , my faith slipped away. Have you read Templeton’s “A Farewell to God” ? Quite sad really.

          • One more thing. If you haven’t already noticed, most of the comments by non-Christians here are supplied with references. Like my previous statement said, Christians like to hold our feet to the fire. 🙂

          • I have to laugh at the irony. This post is the result of another commenter pointing out the Exodus never happened because there was no evidence the Jews were in Egypt. And here we are…Jews in Africa. Anyway, this topic is beyond the intent of the post so I won’t comment about this here. Perhaps it can be addressed in the future. Is that ok?

          • And let me add to that, that you operate it very fairly. Some of the blogs many of us visit drop our comments into moderation where they never again see the light of day, or else they censor them and remove the parts they don’t like. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I appreciate your openness.

          • Are you really saying that entire histories and customs can be made on myth?

            Yes.

          • Well, there all those that have physical evidence to back them up, and those that don’t.

            Sodom and Gomorroah, for example, were located on a faultline that runs all the way from the Dead Sea to Olduvai in Africa. It is also rich in bitumen, a petroleum product halfway between oil and coal, the Egyptians used to mine it for use in embalming. Long before Abraham and his nephew, Lot were alleged to have lived, a major quake in the area threw bitumen into the air, where it ignited and fell back to earth, burning the homes of the villagers. Evidence supports the existence of the two cities, as well as the earthquake and the fact that this event occurred long before Abe and Lot were alleged to have lived. The Yahwist Source, writing in Jerusalem, in Judea, around 950 BCE, took a tiny historical event and fabricated an entire story line around it, just as they did with the ‘flood’ and Noah’s Ark and the actual, historical flood in Shuruppak, in southern Iraq, when the Euphrates River overflowed its banks to a depth of 15 cubits (22.5 feet), 400 years before the alleged time of Noah.

          • Are you really saying that entire histories and customs can be made on myth?

            Absolutely – look to the legends of Paul Bunyon, John Henry, Jonny Appleseed.

          • I looked them up, but I can’t seem to find “the feast of Paul Bunyon” or “Johnny Appleseed Passover”. In other words, they are not the same. But funny. 🙂

          • Did I say that either had a Passover or ‘feast’? Next you’ll be telling me about Israeli lumberjacks.

  6. I am a middle son of an Independent Baptist preacher. Now approaching retirement age, I have long considered these matters in my own life and have more and more moved out of the choice to believe. It took me years to even brave questions of belief or acknowledge doubts and contradictions. How, for instance can a man love his son and yet raise a knife over him in obedience to a god voice he hears? There is only one way that I have been able to accept such a despicable act and that is mental infirmity in the father. If any voice from anywhere told me that my life depended on my sacrificing my son, they would get an earful and more from me and certainly not any compliance. Yet this man’s great (sic) faith in almost gutting his own son as a sacrifice is held aloft by Christians as glorious faith and real love. To me, it is child abuse and is not excused by mental problems. Oh but the symbol is what it is all about and God providing the animal to prevent it is so important to understand… No, I don’t care what any god-voice does after asking me to gut my child or suffer judgment. My choice.
    And to me, having been brought up in the church and having spent more than a quarter century as a Christian before finally deciding to be honest with myself and to say No, I do not believe, I maintain that Chritianity is based in self-harm. You must admit that you are fallen and worthless and that you cannot be worthy without Christ. This in itself is evidence that the belief harms a person. Human beings are not perfect but they are not evil either and they need no justification from the sky.
    When children are instructed in Christianity, they might be gently and lovingly addressed but if they are exposed to ideas of ultimate punishments and eternal rewards, it is abuse as I see it. We are bornb into the world with such potential , such human wonder and we it destroying children in evangelical fervor. No, no, say some, not all Christians are like that… This is surely a truth. Some people have a human decency and will not harm others if they can help it even if their preacher is telling them to hate and cry out in judgment against gays or Muslims or those of other flavors of religion. Decent human beings make the world go round as i see it and there are some among those of belief, Muslims, Christians and others. Still, for me as i begin soon to collect my old age pension, I am so grateful to be free of belief and to be among people who do not harm themselves with belief. Please don’t suggest that I do not understand what I have read my whole life or that I do not appreciate literary tradition. I understand well enough to be honest with the mirror and to honor myself as worthy of honesty. Christianity taught me the opposite, that I was unworthy and only God could save me. It forced me to lie as a child so that I would not be further harmed.

    • Hi Brian,
      That’s a heartfelt answer, and I’m thankful for honesty. Please don’t take this as disrespectful but as curiosity when I ask what the issue with Abraham and Isaac is with modern christianity. Yes there is some symbolism,but Hebrews tells us the only reason he believed God would ask him to do that (indeed horrible act that is even depicted as horrible biblically) is because he believed Gods power to be substantial for a resurrection. The time in which Abraham was following this command was a time when God was physically showing himself, but humanity (even if you hold to atheistic evolution) was very young and being taught / learning a great deal.
      I guess I’m asking, what about that story would lead someone away, especially considering the message that came since–nothing like that would ever be required again.

      Can I ask another question? What
      Contradictions?

      Thanks for your engagement. I truly thankful you chose to share your story here.

      Respectfully,
      Roger

      • Roger, you wrote: Hebrews tells us the only reason he believed God would ask him to do that (indeed horrible act that is even depicted as horrible biblically) is because he believed Gods power to be substantial for a resurrection.

        There is nothing in Hebrews related to this event that mentions anything about a resurrection. All that is indicated in the related verses (11:17-18) is that through Isaac, Abraham’s offspring will be “reckoned” (i.e., they will carry on his name).

        Further, at the time of the event, Abraham had NO way of knowing what God had in mind … or even that it WAS God. Essentially, he thought he heard a voice. He thought it said to kill his son. Your assumption that during this time in history God was “physically showing himself” contradicts other scriptures that say no man has ever seen God. Moreover, it was not God who stopped him, it was an “angel.”

        If I’ve learned anything since my departure from Christianity, it’s that believers will modify, amend, re-interpret, and explain away things that, when taken at face value, are simply wrong — all in an effort to maintain their undying belief that “God is Good,”

        • Nan, you’ll need to forgive me. I was making summaries to apply an overview quickly. I wasn’t trying to “change” anything.

          What I was trying to get at was, there are ways to see Abraham differently. But what I should’ve said was…

          Why is Abraham the straw that’s too much? It seems like that’s an emotional reaction to a physical situation with an array of understandings. After all, not liking something doesn’t make it true or false. In fact, Abraham may have been a lucky schizophrenic horn-dog, but that doesn’t mean his claims about God are false. At best it makes him uncredible. If we see other things corroborating his claims, even if we don’t like him that doesn’t affect truth.

          Leaving christianity must have been hard, and I’d guess there are still heartaches associated with leaving. But I’m curious, what did you do with the things that christianity does support : there must be an uncaused cause and the start of the universe, the appearance of design, the existence of evil, the case for the resurrection, the argument for reason, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the prophetic predictions, the existence of love, and so much more. All these things don’t go away because hell (or Abraham) is unlikeable.

          • For me, Abraham most definitely isn’t the “straw that’s too much.” He just happened to be the topic of discussion. 😉

            Nope. No heartaches associated with leaving Christianity. In fact, much joy.

            As for the various things you mentioned? They don’t bother me at all. I long ago came to terms with any and all Christian interpretations of life. Part of this came about through extensive research into the history and doctrines of Christianity for a book I wrote. (If you’re interested, it’s called “Things I Never Learned in Sunday School.”) But beyond that, I have no problems or doubts with simply accepting what
            “is.” IOW, no god needed.

            BTW. I appreciate your discourse on this blog. You discuss, ask questions, and then discuss some more. A much more pleasant way of tackling sensitive topics than what takes place on many other blogs.

          • It’s in paperback and eBook format, the latter being available in several formats, including Kindle and iBook. Thanks for asking.

            BTW, if you happen to read it, I’d love your feedback. 🙂

          • Of course. Probably won’t get to it this week but by the end of the month (length depending) I should have something for you.

            Can I ask, given where you are now, is a reasoned defense or appeal to Christianity even something you’ll entertain? I won’t push, but I’m sure you can appreciate why I think it’s important.

          • It’s fairly quick reading … not a long book. Just packed with great information. 😀

            In answer to your question … yes, I understand why you might think it’s important but I can guarantee you, it would be a waste of your valuable time. I think you’ll understand more once you have read my book.

          • …there must be an uncaused cause and the start of the universe, the appearance of design, the existence of evil, the case for the resurrection, the argument for reason, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the prophetic predictions, the existence of love, and so much more.

            Aristotle determined that there must be an uncaused cause of the universe, an ‘unmoved mover,’ yet he made that assumption without a shred of evidence to support it. Why does there need to be an uncaused cause? Where is the evidence to support that that is absolutely essential? If such a cause were found to be absolutely necessary, why would it have to be a god, and most specifically, why would it need to be a little desert storm god named Yahweh, borrowed by the Midianites, from the Canaanite pantheon, where he was a minor god, then ultimately adopted by the Hebrews?

            the appearance of design” is obvious – we evolve according to need, therefore everything about us fills a need or atrophies and disappears (our second stomach, the appendix, is on its way out).

            the existence of evil” – “evil” is a religious term – antisocial behavior will be with us as long as there are societies.

            the case for the resurrection” – What case?

            the conversion of Saul” – Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, coupled with guilt anxiety from persecuting Christians.

            the argument for reason” – What relationship has that to religion?

            the prophetic predictions” – Really? You’re going to go there? Writing AFTER something happens, that it’s going to happen, then placing it in an older book, isn’t exactly what I would call a prophetic prediction. BTW – I just read this in a 1962 book I just wrote: “Tell John Kennedy to stay out of Dallas next year!

          • You are approaching this with what I address in my post as a micro view. There are many ways to justify each piece, but they stop at each individual piece. To claim this view, you must (1) accept a very (very) extreme case of coincidences and (2) ignore the parts that don’t fit. The only way to justify every piece is to accept it all as truth.

            Let me try to explain. Let’s say I’m driving down the road as I have a heart attack. My car crashes and catches on fire. A passerby snags me out and performs CPR and calls the fire/paramedics. Once they come, the passerby leaves–no one got their name or saw where they went. As I share my story, you cry foul and say, law requires witnesses give a report. There is a chance the airbag hit your chest like a precordial thump and maybe the ambulance was driving by and saw the accident and they called 911.

            I know this isn’t a perfect example, but the idea is there are numerous ways to explain things like Paul’s conversion, but they always neglect other pieces of the story (like Ananias welcoming Paul and vouching for him).

          • Hi Roger. I really hadn’t planned to comment any more on this post, but when I read this: there are numerous ways to explain things like Paul’s conversion, but they always neglect other pieces of the story (like Ananias welcoming Paul and vouching for him), I simply couldn’t help myself.

            First, what are the numerous ways you speak of?
            Second, what do you mean when you say Ananias “vouched” for Paul?
            Third, what are the “other pieces of the story?”

            Thanks. I know the comments on this post are many, but boy-howdy, you hit a hot spot with your topic. 😉

          • Hi Nan, I’m glad you are staying in the conversation. I got your book last week and have started in–we’ll definitely have some discussion points/different perspectives to talk through if you are interested.

            Anyway, to this comment:
            By numerous ways to explain Paul’s conversion, I only meant to say, explanations are unlimited (perhaps it wasn’t Jesus it was an alien race, he may have had a tumor causing hallucinations, Paul may not have even existed, Maybe he ate some bad fish and dreamed the whole thing up, etc.). Not all of those are plausible but they are possible.

            When I say “vouched” I am discussing Acts 9. That was just my quick way of pointing out that the conversion of Saul of Tarsus was also revealed to Ananias of Damascus. It does not mean to say Ananias saw the conversion or “vouched” for what happened, but to say Ananias heard of the wicked acts of Paul, was genuinely afraid to go him, and trusted God that he was God’s messenger.

            The “other pieces” are just what I said, other pieces. As an illustration, let’s say I blame Pauls conversion on eating a bad piece of fish. That doesn’t explain why Ananias (in a completely different town) would have had an experience so compelling he went to see (lay hands on) someone known to be killing his people. Or if I say Paul didn’t exist, I must throw out tons of written manuscripts and oral tradition. I don’t mean to say, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it”, I mean to say there is a significant more that goes into understanding history than idly making up things that explain away pieces without incorporating the whole of the event.

          • Ok, so to summarize the whole of this convo:

            You asked if I knew anything about the Acts Seminar, which I know very little. Because I knew little, I made a sarcastic jab at a similar group called the Jesus seminar. But they have nothing in common so we can drop it and move on.

            What is your question about the Acts seminar?

      • what about that story would lead someone away, especially considering the message that came since–nothing like that would ever be required again.

        Could you show me what part of the Bible states that nothing like that would ever be required again? Didn’t your own god, Roger, sacrifice his own son?

          • I think, Roger, that you’re defeating your own premise, if I understand you correctly – you’re saying that your god said that the Abe/Isaac thing would never happen again, and list Romans 6:10 as proof, but I don’t see that Abraham or Isaac are even mentioned.

            As for Hebrews, no one knows who wrote that. It was nearly considered non-canonical, but was ultimately accepted and assigned to Paul – at no point does the author ever say that he is Paul. And as any reliable biblical scholar can tell you, Peter was an illiterate fisherman who could never have written either 1 Peter or 2 Pete.

          • Arch,

            I’m not sure what you mean “I don’t see that Abraham or Isaac are even mentioned” in Rom 6. Do you mean, you did a keyword search for “Abraham” and “Isaac” and neither showed up? Or do you mean that you don’t understand how the the all encompassing language of “all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus” could mean OT characters?

            To help both of those issues I gave several verses which explain that the Abraham/Isaac sacrificial event is no longer relevant because Jesus was the sacrifice.

            To be honest, arch, I think you do understand what I said (even if you don’t believe it). Instead of offering a different perspective or reasoning for the information you jump right to attacking the source. You’re right, it’s unlikely that a poor fisherman would have been able to write, I suppose that means his testimony is invalid. Just like the testimony of Charlemagne and Gengis Khan (both said to not be able to read or write). Or perhaps you mean to call into question the validity of every autobiography since it wasn’t written BY the person making the claims. Just the other day I was walking through my house and I found a notepad with the words “Pick up milk while you’re out” on it. It wasn’t signed so I couldn’t be sure who wrote it. But, I did know a few things (1) I was going to be out that day, (2) the handwriting looked like my wife’s, (3) she would have known I was going to be out, (4) we were out of milk that day, (5) the note was found in our home and we hadn’t had any visitors in several weeks, and (6) she knows I like notes to remind me. By your argument, I should throw out everything I know about the likelihood of my wife leaving the note for me. If asked later I can say, “There was no name on this note therefore it is unreliable and I ignored it”.

            Isn’t that a little silly?

      • I reject the entire premise that Abe was doing something correct in obeying such a suggestion/command. As soon as he made the first move against his son, asking him to accompany his dad, he strays from decent humanity into harm, harm towards himself in allowing a voice to command such a thing and harm to his child. I am unable to stomach this kind of betrayal of human love for a voice coming from….? It contradicts my natural human love for my own child and is completely illogical. That is the bigger picture for me not some higher power peeling the onion of ultimate love for me. A god demands that you worship and obey. You see a reason to do so and I hear you, I believe, suggesting that the New Testament and ‘new’ Christianity has left the old behind, or perhaps fulfilled it if you prefer.
        I do not believe. I know this in the depths of my being as I assume you might know something else for you in your life. I do not need you to join me in my lack of belief but I struggle with Christians quite often because they are bullies in their fundamentalist evangelical faith.
        I sometimes resort to name-calling and foul language in the face of Christian hatred(s) because I remember my childhood and what Jesus’ love meant in my Fellowship Baptist instruction. I went to Hell before I was 7 because I had a child’s imagination. Christian parents still send their children to hell to ‘save’ them. I have spent a good deal of time over my life raging at the sky for the harm done as I see it and finally, I have been able for many many years to be free of belief, of lying to myself. When I say, Oh God, if I ever do, I am addressing you, us, expressing human emotion and acknowledging the unseen, somewhat commonly referred to as ‘God’.

  7. “The time in which Abraham was following this command was a time when God was physically showing himself, but humanity (even if you hold to atheistic evolution) was very young and being taught / learning a great deal.”

    Not sure where you read about atheistic evolution, but man had already been around 10’s of thousands of years .(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_human_evolution) The Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza had been built hundreds of years before the Biblical Abraham.(http://www.schoolsliaison.org.uk/kids/access/egypt/timeline_egypt.htm)

  8. I am really not not interested in what you call Biblical evidence for the resurrection of the character, Jesus of Nazareth. I know it all, and it isn’t evidence, merely a faith claim based on erroneous text.
    And please do not refer me to nitwits such as Strobel or Wallace,either, thanks. They are the type of apologist that makes my fillings hurt, sorry.
    It is no difference to me knowing all the JK Rowling evidence for Harry Potter.

    I am willing to compromise though and life is so often about compromise is it not?
    Why don’t you rather offer me evidence for the resurrection of Lazarus?
    I have never heard an apologist attempt to make this claim and as I haven’t really investigated this incident much from an historical point of view I would be much more interested in hearing evidence for this event.
    After all, the bible records that there were actual living witnesses to Lazarus’s actual resurrection, friend and likely foe alike.
    Let’s rather discuss this particular resurrection, what do you say?

    Re: Yahweh being a genocidal maniac.
    Firstly it is important that you fully realise that there is no evidence for your god, other that the texts that mention him and those of the Ugaratic texts, so all we are discussing here is, in fact, whether or not there is any validity to the fictitious literary claims in the Old Testament. As long as you understand this?
    So, if you actually have to ask why I claim your god, Yahweh, is a genocidal maniac, after the Flood for example then your level of morality is appalling and you can well appreciate why I consider what you indoctrinate your children with is nothing but ca form of child abuse.
    There are a myriad of professionals who will back this claim as well. Would you like a few links or are you prepared to Google and find out?

    Truly, I am not quite sure at this point if you are being intransigent or your behaviour is due to fundamentalist indoctrination or you are simply winding me up?
    You have already acknowledged the Exodus etc episode is geopolitical myth – historical fiction, yet you are pursuing a case for Yahweh, a man- made deity first announced to Christians in the Pentateuch.
    However, I will give you the opportunity of telling me which of the three it is.

    Morality is a by-product of evolution and there are myriad studies to demonstrate this. Google is your friend.

    Why do you not know this?

    • I seem to have touched a nerve; that was not my intent. It was my hope to show new evidence, or at very least a new perspective, but ultimately we have reached the point of calling names and “winding you up”–so I will back off.

      To your quote, “Google is your friend”; I’m copying two links to refute this claim.
      1) https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=reasons+I+don%27t+trust+google
      and 2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_tWyvnH0xY

      These links aren’t meant to be thorough, just pointed; you can’t trust everything you find on Google. To be more clear, for every Ehrman there is a Metzger drawing a drastically different conclusion with the same evidence.
      So, when you say there is no evidence for my belief, I have the exact same right to say you have no evidence for your belief by simply eliminating the same evidence from your claim that you reject from mine.
      Thanks for the good chat, when/if you find that all the science you put your trust in changes (are atoms still the smallest thing possible? Is junk DNA still junk? Are things still getting simpler as they get smaller? –but tell me again how accurate science is), you are still cared for; designed and created for great things.

      Until we meet again, my friend.

      • Touched a nerve? *Smile* Au contraire my fundamentalist friend.
        I believe you may have just realised that I am no ignorant patsy you can shovel creationist BS at and expect me to bloom into a genuflecting Yahweh worshiper.
        Sorry to disappoint, Roger, it really doesn’t work this way.
        You however have come out True Colours blazing in the evangelical sunshine and when asked to provide evidence for the Lazarus resurrection you behave like a child who just had his carefully blown up balloon get pricked and are forced to watch as the the air leaks out.

        This is where integrity and honesty come to the fore, and it is where you have the opportunity to demonstrate you have both.
        Or, if you choose to retreat to your apologetic redoubt, none at all.

        To use a baseball(?)metaphor; are you prepared to step up to the plate?

        I would like to think you had the ”balls”, but somehow I feel you will not surprise me.

Comments are closed.