Thursday, October 30, 2008

More stark realizations about the end of democracy

from OPed news

Have you forgotten? Private Republican corporations count and compile the votes with secret and unverifiable software! Just as they did in 2000 and in 2004, and we all know how that turned out.

Accordingly, the stark fact remains: the Republicans might "win" this election, regardless of the preference of the voters. The culprits who rigged the previous elections are fully aware that they might face hard time in the federal slammer if President Obama's Attorney General is ordered to investigate past elections. Thus they are acutely motivated to use their considerable resources to keep Obama out of the White House.

The only way Obama can win is to win by over 60%, so big that a theft would just be implausable. We have to get everyone we can to vote!

The Gop has sued Ohio for the names of new voters who do not exactly match their recoreds. That's exactly how they stole the last election. They will expunge the names of thousands of new voters. In 2004 they took a million voters off the roles. That would have been enough to put Kerry over the top, who led in the polls by a narrow margin. according to newcenter.

In this case they are targeting 200,000 voters who registered since january first.

Last week, after a twisted back-and-forth trail of contradictory lower court decisions, the Supremes ruled that the Republicans "are not sufficiently likely to prevail" in their argument that such discrepancies pose a significant threat to the legitimacy of the electoral process. The Court also ruled that the GOP had not standing as a private organization to file such a suit.

The decision pertains to Ohio, but could have major national impact. Throughout the US, the GOP has been working to strip voters from registration rolls and challenge voting rights predominantly in districts leaning toward the Democrats. Our next article will include an estimate of how many voters that campaign could actually disenfranchise in Ohio.

But the GOP continues to seek ways to disrupt the registration and voting process. In a separate case, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled 4-3 that the Secretary of State must allow partisan observers into voting stations where early voting is proceeding. Outside the early voting sites, Republican operatives have photographed early voters and recorded their license plates in an attempt to intimidate and challenge new voters.

The GOP has foisted this trumped up garbage about acorn in order to divert attention from their own vote stealing practices. Plain said "we cannot allow activists like ACORN to steal the election" that's because they want to steal the election themselves. The Republicans around the country are leading massive drives to stop people from voting,based upon the myth that voter fraud is rampant.

common dreams newscenter again:

The idea of massive fraud by voters continues to be proven as a hyped-up myth. The Cincinnati Enquirer has provided a detailed analysis of Ohio's more than 8 million registered voters and found that problems involving illegitimate voting are minimal. The Enquirer found only 6567 voters who had duplicate registrations. All are individuals who registered twice at their own address, a common routinely resolved by election officials and poll workers. An investigation by Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips of the 2004 election found that of the nearly 800 duplicate registrations he analyzed, none voted more than once. The Enquirer also flagged 589 registered voters who won't be 18 on Election Day.

So contrary to Republican hype, overall the total number of problematic voters appears to be miniscule. The Enquirer concluded that "Data-entry errors make matching voters to other databases an inexact science. Variations on first names, maiden names, and misspellings could red-flag an otherwise eligible voter

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

say bye bye, Democracy: Republicans se to steal anoher election!


Wake up people! We have to face some hard realities here! the last two elections were stolen, IN 2004 over a million new voteres were just not allowed to vote. The decenting justice in the 2000 deicison that put Bush in the Whitehouse said the election was bieng stolen.

An article in rolling stoneexpounds up on the whole ugly mess.

This November, what happened to Maez will happen to hundreds of thousands of voters across the country. In state after state, Republican operatives — the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics — are wielding new federal legislation to systematically disenfranchise Democrats. If this year's race is as close as the past two elections, the GOP's nationwide campaign could be large enough to determine the presidency in November. "I don't think the Democrats get it," says John Boyd, a voting-rights attorney in Albuquerque who has taken on the Republican Party for impeding access to the ballot. "All these new rules and games are turning voting into an obstacle course that could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states."

Suppressing the vote has long been a cornerstone of the GOP's electoral strategy. Shortly before the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Paul Weyrich — a principal architect of today's Republican Party — scolded evangelicals who believed in democracy. "Many of our Christians have what I call the 'goo goo' syndrome — good government," said Weyrich, who co-founded Moral Majority with Jerry Falwell. "They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Today, Weyrich's vision has become a national reality. Since 2003, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, at least 2.7 million new voters have had their applications to register rejected. In addition, at least 1.6 million votes were never counted in the 2004 election — and the commission's own data suggests that the real number could be twice as high. To purge registration rolls and discard ballots, partisan election officials used a wide range of pretexts, from "unreadability" to changes in a voter's signature. And this year, thanks to new provisions of the Help America Vote Act, the number of discounted votes could surge even higher.

Passed in 2002, HAVA was hailed by leaders in both parties as a reform designed to avoid a repeat of the 2000 debacle in Florida that threw the presidential election to the U.S. Supreme Court. The measure set standards for voting systems, created an independent commission to oversee elections, and ordered states to provide provisional ballots to voters whose eligibility is challenged at the polls

Election defense alliance sounds the warning about a new house bill will make it easier for the Republicans to steal the election:

Senate Democrats and Republicans alike are now poised to pass H.R. 6304, known as the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a bill touted by both House and Senate leaders to be a compromise proposal to prior Senate Bill 2248. Unfortunately, H.R. 6304 may give the Bush administration, in its last months, the ammunition it needs to hijack the 2008 presidential election.

It has been known for some time that, since 2001, the Bush administration has conducted mass surveillance of the email and telephone calls made by American citizens. All electronic messages passing through switches in the US, regardless of whether they were international or domestic communications, have been systematically intercepted and screened by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Technologies, which were installed at major hubs of telecommunication companies throughout the nation copy and deposit all electronic messages into a giant NSA computer network. The NSA then uses complex algorithms to parse through these messages using matching criteria such as key words, phone numbers, and dates, and linking these data to further data--anything from credit card and bank records to movie rentals.

H.R. 6304 does not, on the face of it, require that these complex algorithms that are used to parse through our electronic messages be examined and approved by a FISA Court. The role of the FISA Court seems to be limited to approving the general design of the software used in conducting acquisitions of information.

This consists of reviewing the authorizations made by the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence to see if this general design satisfactorily conforms to "minimization procedures," that is, that they take reasonable precautions to avoid targeting American citizens. However, without access to the algorithm itself, as well as to the actual source code and a representative sampling of the data that ultimately get caught in its electronic net, there is no way to confirm that the actual proce

Go Vote! Go Vote! Go Vote!see this source on Bush stealing electiosn

Monday, October 27, 2008

Answering The DC Crowd on the Nature of Christianity

Here I go lecturing again. It's really funny to me how these atheists will make arguments that just absolutely turn upon not knowing something because they refuse to read theology. Then they use their lack of knowledge as a means of arguing against Christianity. When you point out to them that they would understand more about the issue if they read some theology, they soud like kids who skipped school and forged a note form mom, "I don't have to do this I have my note." Except in this case "I don't have to read theology because Dawkins (mom) says it's stupid." But if you read theology you would know better.

The issue this time is an argument going around over there that there is no clear cut means of understanding what Christianity is or how to be a Christian, or what it means to be one. Therefore, they conclude, Christianity must be stupid and wrong and this us just a dandy reason not to believe n it.. Here I go again, "If you read some theology you would know how to define Christianity and what it means to be a Christians and so froth. Of course they would rather have their excuse not to know than to actually find out. This is just another excellent illustration of the intellectual bankruptcy of atheism.

Here's one of the posts:

By Harry McCall at 10/20/2008

With respect to some of the comments I’ve read to my posts that as a former Christians John and I are often told we never knew what Christianity was. In light of this claim, would some Christians care to give the posters here at DC a working definition of Christianity? Or is there really no standard definition believers can agree on?

Statements like “It’s a belief in God” or “It’s a belief in Jesus” are so vague that the character Satan could be a Christian too. And again, statements like “It’s trusting Jesus Christ for salvation.” fails too in that hundreds of denominations who believe this attack one another as false religions (some weird oxymoron isn‘t it?).

A case in point:
A so called “Christian” commenter here at DC who goes by the name Jason tells me there are no righteous dead in Heaven be they Enoch, Elijah, or Moses, neither are there any wicked / unsaved dead in Hell, nor is there any Great White Throne Judgment where the lost or cast into a Lake of Fire.

If Jason can deny clear orthodox Biblical teachings and still be a Christian, exactly how much of the Bible can one deny and still be “saved” or salvation just a subjective term that can have over 20,000 sectarian or denominational meanings which make it basically meaningless?

Jason has stressed in comments to my posts that the “saved” or “righteous” dead or just like the “lost” or “unsaved” dead; in their graves. So be you Christian or atheist, your fate at death is the grave.

By rejecting historical orthodox dogma as traditional historical Christianity has always felt the Bible clearly teaches, is Jason a Christian while John and I never were?

In short:

A. What makes one a Christian?

B. How much of the Bible can one deny and still be a Christian?

C. What is the difference between historical orthodox doctrinal denial and Biblical denial?

All comments welcomed.

Let's take this step by step:

With respect to some of the comments I’ve read to my posts that as a former Christians John and I are often told we never knew what Christianity was. In light of this claim, would some Christians care to give the posters here at DC a working definition of Christianity? Or is there really no standard definition believers can agree on?

I would not say John never knew what Christianity is.I can't speak for Harry because he don't know enough of his posting. But anyone who says that about Lofuts probably hasn't bothered to choose his words carefully.

Statements like “It’s a belief in God” or “It’s a belief in Jesus” are so vague that the character Satan could be a Christian too. And again, statements like “It’s trusting Jesus Christ for salvation.” fails too in that hundreds of denominations who believe this attack one another as false religions (some weird oxymoron isn‘t it?).

A case in point:
A so called “Christian” commenter here at DC who goes by the name Jason tells me there are no righteous dead in Heaven be they Enoch, Elijah, or Moses, neither are there any wicked / unsaved dead in Hell, nor is there any Great White Throne Judgment where the lost or cast into a Lake of Fire.

If that is the Jason I think it is he's a universalist so he doesn't' have conventional interpretation. But this Harry person equates Christian identity with acceptance of an inerrant bible and literal interpretation. That would be a good reason to suspect he doesn't' know anything about Christianity. Now that's not to say that a hell of a lot of Christians don't know anything about it either. That's not a bad surmise. Many Christians don't know beans about their own faith tradition and just going to church is no guarantee you will know anything. We are not saved by our own righteousness, the bible does say no one is righteous "no not one." This Harry seems to lack basic instruction in the faith.

If Jason can deny clear orthodox Biblical teachings and still be a Christian, exactly how much of the Bible can one deny and still be “saved” or salvation just a subjective term that can have over 20,000 sectarian or denominational meanings which make it basically meaningless?

Another point of ignorance. Belief in judgment and hell is only understood as "sound orthodox teaching" by certain groups, it is not understood as such by major denominations such as Episcopal, Anglican, United Methodist, and is different in Eastern Orthodox terms, (although they do have judgment and hell but they would think most of the fundamentalists will be there). If he knew something about theology he would know this.

By rejecting historical orthodox dogma as traditional historical Christianity has always felt the Bible clearly teaches, is Jason a Christian while John and I never were?

This highlights one of the major weaknesses of his alleged "orthodox" understanding: no creed, no council, not the bible, not any gatekeeper of Christian id anywhere in any ways makes acceptance of hell a prerequisite for salvation. The Catholic church does not say "unless you believe in hell, you are going there." No they do not say that. Many fundies believe that, but no official magisteria of the church ever says that. That is not the nature of of it means to be a Christina. Christian identity is not defined by belief in hell. Nor does the Bible teach that hell is eternal conscious torment for the soul. The only thing it does teach and can be understood as a literal teaching about hell is that it is "destruction of the soul." That is the only literal statement and everything else is metaphor.

The same with the Bible. No magisteria of the church teach that belief in the Bible is the limit on salvation. No one in the Bible ever makes a statement connecting belief in the Bible to salvation. Come to that, there is no mention of a "Bible" in the Bible. There is mention of something called "scripture" but no "Bible."If scripture is synonymous with the canon of the two testaments (ie "The Bible" as we know it) no one ever says. No Creed, no council, no pope, no saint no theologians has eve made any official statement on the theses matters that could be construed as definitive for the church as a whole.

So we can answer Harry's questions like so:

A. What makes one a Christian?

An expressed faith based statement links one's ends and the goals of one's life, the purposes of one's living in connection with a belief in Jesus of Nazareth, his death and his resurrection, as redemptive and soteriological.

B. How much of the Bible can one deny and still be a Christian?

all of it. everything and the binding. Nothing in Christian magisteria connects belief in the bible to salvation. There were Christians before there was a canon of the Bible. Christians lived and died before any books of the New Testament were written, how do you suppose they were saved?

C. What is the difference between historical orthodox doctrinal denial and Biblical denial?

What you are calling "historical Orthodox doctrine" is largely a matter of what community one wishes to belong to. Its' as different for an Anglican as is for a Baptist or an Eastern Orthodox person. No official doctrine of the statements that belief in the bible is the basis of salvation. Luther did not say that. Knox did not say it, no pope every said it. No creed ever said "I believe in the bible."

The fact that you think so shows us how deeply the fundies have let down the Gospel faith they pretend to guard.

The basic doctrines of the church are historically set out in the creeds. That's what the creeds were for. Protestant Churches that have abandoned the creeds have set themselves apart from historical Christianity. Fudnies who think the Bible is the basis of salvation have separated themselves from historical Christianity even twice over; once as abandoning the creeds, again as setting up the Bible as a standard of salvation that it never was in Church history.

Harry, how can you go about try to debunk something you refuse to learn about? You should know this. Every Christian should know this, but unfortunately you have to go to seminary to learn it. Loftus should know it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Early Date for Mark

Most Jesus mythers and a lot of atheists take the old nineteenth century view that Mark was written in the second century. They accept modern scholarship when it ways Mark came first and Mat and Luke are dependent upon him, then shed modern scholarship when it says (and the vast majority do) that AD 70 was the Date for Mark.

I have argued that a new trend has emerged giving earlier dates for the Gospels. What do you suppose atheists said? I'm a liar of course! I will show that there is a much better basis for thinking of the gospel of Mark (I will just stick with Mark to makes things easier) as written before AD 70!

The major reason scholars put the date as 70 is the destruction of the temple. Mark records Jesus prediction that the temple would be destroyed. So most scholars today assume the naturalistic answer that they can't base dating on prophesy, so they have to put it after 70. It can't be much after 70 or it would cease to be very relevant. There are other and better reasons for putting around 70. That's the limit on how early they think it can be. they think it can't be latter than that becasue its too Jewish, the eschatology expectations doesn't match the second century.

there are good reasons to think Mark was written earlier than 70.

(1) The destruction of the temple does not have to be taken as a limit on the date. The problem is the basic assumption that no one expected the temple to be destroyed is wrong.

Jews of the first century had different expectations of the Messiah than do Jews today, or in subsequent centuries. Th view that has emerged from Qumran shows us that Jesus fit exactly what many Jews of the frist century expected. He doesn't fit the only profile but he does fit one profile that we know did exist, right down to the redemption. There was a view that saw Messiah as born, rejected by his people, executed, returns, and his death was redemption for the people.

Within that view they saw the temple's destruction connected with Messiah's birth. This is found in Yalkut the earliest volume of the Talmud, material from that segment goes back to the first century. This documented by Alfred Edersheim in Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.

"Suffice it to say, according to the general opinion, the birth of the Messiah would be unknown to his contemporaries, that he would appear, carry on his work, than disappear--probably for 45 days, than appear again and destroy the hostile powers of the world..." (Edershiem, 436, Yalkut on Is. vol ii, )

"[Messiah]...his birth is connnected with the destruction, [of temple] and his Return with the restoration of the temple" (on Lamintations i.16 WArsh p 64 in Edersheim "He might be there and be known or the might come and be again hidden for a time" comp Sanhedirin 97a Midrash on CAnt.

So they already had the idea that the temple would be destoryed. If Jesus followers were expecting this, they would already be aware that since he had grown to manhood the destruction of the temple had to come soon. So they could have expected that before it happened, even by a couple of decades. This means the Evangelical apologetic loses a prophet fulfillment, but they have plenty of those to spare.

Other reasons for early date:

(1) The Jewish expectations of the Messiah are fit by Jesus in general and the view that fits him to a exactly is found at Qumran.

By the early second century this view was shifting away. Separation form the Gentile church, the bad blood that developed after the fall of the templ, the move away form the LXX and to their own translation that the Christians didn't use, made this view obsolete among Jews byt he early second century. Thus we can see the atmosphere and the Jewishness of Mark reflects an earlier period. It fits perfectly with the 30s, 40, 50s.

(2) The eschatology expectations fit the Jews of the first but not the second century. (see the links above)

The idea of the end times, the Messiah coming, the temple would be destoryed, this was all the sort of expectations they had int he time of Christ and even a bit before. But by the second century that gap with the Christians, the Jewish Christians didn't leave many writings from that period. The church was outgrowing those kind of eschatology by that time.

(3) different versions of Mark (used by Mat and Luke)

that means the date must be pushed back because you had to have time for different versions to develop.

"External evidence for two different versions of Mark circulating at an early date can be derived only from the observation that Luke does not reproduce the section Mark 6:45-8:26. Luke 19: 19= Mark 8:27 follows directly upon Luke 9:17= Mark 6:44. Luke may have used a copy of Mark that had accidentally lost a few pages. However there are some special features which differentiate this particular from the rest of Mark's Gospel. It begins with Jesus going to Bethsaida (Mark 6:45) and ends with the healing of a blind man from Bethsaida (Mark 8:22). Thereafter Jesus goes to Cesaria Philippi and the town of Bethsaida never occurs again the Gospel. This section is also of a number of other doublets of Markan pericopes. 6:44-54 the walking on the water is a variant of the stilling of the tempest (Mark 4:35-41). 8:1-10 the feeding of the 4000 is a secondary elaboration of the feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44)...The cumulative evidence of these peculiarities may allow the conclusion that an earlier version of Mark, which was used by Luke did not yet contain the Besiada section (Mark 6:45-8:26) whereas Matthew knew the expanded version which must have come into existence very soon after the original composition of the original gospel." (Koester, 285)."

Koester doesn't' argue for a complete UrMarkus a more permeative version of the Gospel, but this evidence does suggest different versions of the same Gospel. While we can't find an UrMarkus, we can see clearly that the redactor who first formed the Gospel used several sources. The passion narrative has been mentioned, moreover, a miracle story source that is compatible with John, two written documents of saying sources are also recognizable. These include a collection of parables and one of apocalyptic material. (p.287)

But does this mean that Mark [the primary redactor] is merely a "cut and paste" which destorts previous sources and collects rumors and legends with no historical value? Where the skeptic sees this aspect, Koester does not. What Koester sees is a faithful copyist who has collected materials known to be of value to the community, and forged them into a certain order for the purposes of edification to the community.

"Mark [the primary redactor] is primarily a faithful collector. In so far as he is also an author he has created an overriding general framework for the incorporation of traditional material but he has still left most of his material intact.His Gospel is therefore a most important witness for an early stage for the formative development of the traditions about Jesus. The world which these traditions describe rarely goes beyond Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem, which is not the world of the author [primary redactor] or the readers for whom the book was intended. Mark's information about Palestine and its people is fairly accurate whenever he leaves his sources intact. But from his redaction of the sources it is clear that the author is not a Jewish Chrstistian and that he does not live in Palestine." (Koester p.289)

As for a trend to early dating Errantskeptic. org provides this list of both conservative and liberal scholars who are pushing toward earlier dates for Mark.


Believer's Study Bible, A.D. 65 to 68
Allan Black, Ph.D. early AD 60's
Raymond E. Brown, Ph.D. AD 60 to 75, most likely between AD 68 & 73
F.F. Bruce, Ph.D. AD 64 or 65
D.A. Carson, R.T. France, and G.J. Wenham, eds. New Bible Commentary: 21 Century Edition, 60 to 70 CE
M. G. Easton M. A., D. D. Probably about AD 63
James M. Efird, Ph.D. AD 65 to 70
David A. Fiensy, Ph.D. AD 66 or 67
Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Ph.D. AD 60 to 70
Robert A. Guelich, Ph.D. AD 67 to 70
Donald Guthrie, Ph.D. New Testament Introduction, 65 to 70 CE
William Hendriksen, Ph.D. AD 40 to 65, with the earlier date favored.
Martin Hengel, Ph.D. AD 69
A.E. Hill, Ph.D. AD 50 to 70
R. Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, and D. Brown, eds. AD 54 to 68
Howard Clark Kee, Ph.D. AD 70
Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. AD 64
Werner Georg Kummel, Ph.D. AD 70
William L. Lane, Th.D. AD 60 to 70
John MacArthur, Ph.D. AD 50 to 70
K.E. Malberg, AD 68 to 69
Bruce Metzger, Ph.D. AD 65 to 75
M.S. Mills, Ph.D. AD 68
N. Perrin, Ph.D. after AD 64/65
J.A.T. Robinson, Ph.D. Complete by AD 62
Edward P. Sanders, Ph.D. AD 65 to 70
Carsten Peter Thiede, Ph.D. Before AD 62 Director of the Institute for Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany
Edward J. Tinsley, Ph.D. AD 60 to 70
Joseph B. Tyson, Ph.D. AD 70 AD
J. Wenham, Ph.D. AD 45
Franklin W. Young, Ph.D. AD 65 to 70

JAT Robinson is very liberal. He's one of the primary people in the early 60s who started the idea of levels to Q. Ray Brown was farily liberal, he was one instrumental in starting the trend to study non canonical gospels.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Jesus ben Kurasawa............................Jesus ben who?

The Jesus mythers have a new trick. It's similar to the old find the pea under the thimble scam, but it involves historical figures instead of peas. All the associated people who back up the historicity of Jesus, such as Paul and James, they muddle the identification of them as real people, and as the same people. For example, Jesus who was mentioned by Josephus as the brother of James doesn't have to be the same Jesus int he Testamonium Flavious. Of course the James in the passage Jo speaks of is not the same James as James the Just, nor is the the same as James the Just in the New testament. Of course now they deny that Dual existed.

What we see happening here is the horrible lack of scholarly standards imploding upon itself. Since they were rebuffed so many times with historical data they had to get rid of the supports holding up the case for Jesus' historicity. Thus they place these figures in their magic pressure cooker of wish fulfillment and--whoosh woosh--away it goes. Just as they rid themselves of those pesky Gospels by insisting that they can't have any validity until finally they became so irrelevant that they are not viewed as any sort of evdience at all. Just as they did with he dying rising savior Gods, they are lying through their teeth. The mythers lied about the evidence of the dying rising gods and distorted what real mythology said about them, then they were careful to use only old Jesus myth books and claim them are real scholarship. Christian apologists such as Miller, Holding, (dare I include myself?) finally succession in putting about the facts, Mithra didn't die on a cross, none of them did. Then they shift their lies to other areas. This muddle of figures in evidential support is the latest version.

One example is people named Jesus in the first century. I was arguing on carm yesterday and found a post by a guy who made a list of several people named Jesus, who one of whom could be one or both of the mentions of Jesus by Josephus. Of course they act like just the fact of having the same name means they would easily be confused. It's a very hazy theory, because it isn't clear weather they are saying that these guys are just the person referred to in that one chapter, or perhaps one or more of these people were actually fundamental inspirations for the "idea" of Jesus in the first place?

Here's the list:

Jesus ben Sirach. This Jesus was reputedly the author of the Book of Sirach (aka 'Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach'), part of Old Testament Apocrypha. Ben Sirach, writing in Greek about 180 BC, brought together Jewish 'wisdom' and Homeric-style heroes.
Jesus ben Pandira. A wonder-worker during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (106-79 BC), one of the most ruthless of the Maccabean kings. Imprudently, this Jesus launched into a career of end-time prophesy and agitation which upset the king. He met his own premature end-time by being hung on a tree – and on the eve of a Passover. Scholars have speculated this Jesus founded the Essene sect.

Jesus ben Ananias. Beginning in 62AD, this Jesus had caused disquiet in Jerusalem with a non-stop doom-laden mantra of 'Woe to the city'. He prophesied rather vaguely:

"A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against the whole people."
– Josephus, Wars 6.3.

Arrested and flogged by the Romans, he was released as nothing more dangerous than a mad man. He died during the siege of Jerusalem from a rock hurled by a Roman catapult.

Jesus ben Saphat. In the insurrection of 68AD that wrought havoc in Galilee, this Jesus had led the rebels in Tiberias. When the city was about to fall to Vespasian's legionaries he fled north to Tarichea on the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus ben Gamala. During 68/69 AD this Jesus was a leader of the 'peace party' in the civil war wrecking Judaea. From the walls of Jerusalem he had remonstrated with the besieging Idumeans (led by 'James and John, sons of Susa'). It did him no good. When the Idumeans breached the walls he was put to death and his body thrown to the dogs and carrion birds.
Jesus ben Stada was a Judean agitator who gave the Romans a headache in the early years of the second century. He met his end in the town of Lydda (twenty five miles from Jerusalem) at the hands of a Roman crucifixion crew.

Jesus ben Thebuth. A priest who, in the final capitulation of the upper city in 69AD, saved his own skin by surrendering the treasures of the Temple, which included two holy candlesticks, goblets of pure gold, sacred curtains and robes of the high priests. The booty figured prominently in the Triumph held for Vespasian and his son Titus.*

The major problem with all this is that these guys don't meet the criteria the mythers want us to apply to Jesus. They always say "there's no record of his birth, no writing from anyone who knew him (of course the Gospels, but they dismiss those as though they don't exist because if they dint' their theory would go up as a tissue of lies) and they put loads of stress recent and contemporary writings about them. Well can any of these other Jesus's be proven to have lived? We no records of any of their births, we have no writings by any of them, except of course Ben Sira author of the Wisdom of Ben Sira, but there's a problem I'll get to it in a moment. We have none of these criteria, no sources that new them contemporaneously, nothing. In fact, as I shall show, one is pretty well non existent, and three are actually Jesus of Nazareth in the Talmud the others can be clearly removed as candidates for the persons referred to by Josephus.

Jesus ben Sira

according to Jewish It's not certain he ever lived at all. He's quite probably not the author of Ben Sira and the name "Jesus" was put on him in the middle ages and a fictional life story made up for him based upon Jesus of Nazareth to compete with Christianity.

The alleged intercourse between Ben Sira and Nebuchadnezzar is the invention of the author, while the miraculous birth and early history of Ben Sira are a Jewish echo of a Christian legend, in which Jesus Ben Sira is made to play the part of Jesus of Nazareth. According to the "Evangel of the Childhood of Jesus," a pseudepigraph written in Arabic (Thilo's "Codex Apocryphus Novi Testam." i. 122 et seq.), Jesus spoke to his mother (chap. i.) while he was still in the cradle, and said: "I, whom thou hast brought forth, am Jesus, the son of God." Ben Sira, likewise, had teeth when he was born and could talk, for he at once told his mother who he was, whence he came, his name, and what he would accomplish (ed. Venice, 17a, b). Furthermore, just as the "Evangel" chap. xlviii.) mentioned above narrates that Jesus, while a schoolboy, astonished his teacher by explaining the names, form, and order of the Hebrew letters—in this book Ben Sira is said to have done the same. The story of the extraordinary conception of Ben Sira by his mother, p. 16b, is evidently a parody of the familiar Christian dogma....

The chief interest attaches to the animal fables, which are of great value for comparative folk-lore. The following may serve as an instance: At the creation of the world God consigned a male and a female of every kind of animal to the sea. When the Angel of Death ("Malak ha-Mawet"), who was charged with the duty of sinking them in the water, was about to take the fox, that animal began to cry. The Angel of Death asked him why he did this. The fox answered that he wept because his friend had been condemned to live in the water; and going to the shore, he pointed to his own image in the water. The Angel of Death, believing that a fox had already been sunk, allowed him to go. Leviathan, the ruler of the sea, now tried to lure the fox into its depths, because he believed that if he could eat the heart of so cunning an animal he would gain in wisdom. One day, while the fox was walking by the sea, some fishes came and spoke to him. They told him that Leviathan was nearing his end and wanted the craftiest of animals to be his successor. They promised the fox to carry him to a rock in the sea where he could erect his throne without fear of the surrounding waters. When he reached the high seas the fox knew that for once he had been tricked; but he did not lose his self-possession. "What!" said he, "It is my heart you want, is it? Well, why did you not say so before? I would then have brought it here; for usually, you know, I do not carry it with me." The fish quickly conveyed him back to the shore, and in exultation he leaped about. The fish called to him to fetch his heart and come with them; but the fox replied: "To be sure, I went with you when I had no heart" (the ancients considered the heart the seat of wisdom); "but now I have my heart, I'll stay here. I got the better of the Angel of Death; how much easier, then, to fool stupid fish!" (Ed. Venice, pp. 27a-28b; partly given, according to the MS. version by Schorr, in "He-Ḥaluẓ," viii. 170, 171.)

The next three are quite amusing because they may have had some grounding in real personalities but they show up in the Talmud as lose covers for Jesus of Nazareth. All the information I'm giving here about the Talmud is found on my website on the arguments about Jesus in the Talmud Jews had to be careful in dealing with those segments of the Talmud that speak of Jesus, because they feared pogrom, persecution in Christian counties. In fact twice the Talmud was self centered by Jews and the name Jesus was changed. There were overt statements about Jesus but they were taken out or changed or the name was either coped as small 0's or changed to some epithet like "such a one." From a Jewish commentary on the History of the Talmud:

The Babylonian Talmud

translated by MICHAEL L. RODKINSON
Book 10 (Vols. I and II)
The History of the Talmud

from Vol I chapter II

Thus the study of the Talmud flourished after the destruction of the Temple, although beset with great difficulties and desperate struggles. All his days, R. Johanan b. Zakkai was obliged to dispute with Sadducees and Bathueians and, no doubt, with the Messiahists also; for although these last were Pharisees, they differed in many points from the teaching of the Talmud after their master, Jesus, had broken with the Pharisees

that is speaking of the section covering the first century.

The three figures named in the Talmud who show up on this list, and I can find other extra Talmudic documentation of them:

Jesus ben Pandira. A wonder-worker during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (106-79 BC), one of the most ruthless of the Maccabean kings. Imprudently, this Jesus launched into a career of end-time prophesy and agitation which upset the king. He met his own premature end-time by being hung on a tree – and on the eve of a Passover. Scholars have speculated this Jesus founded the Essene sect.

That gives the impression that this guy was a real figure. I have reason to suspect that he was not. There is no evidence for this guy stating what it says above except on myther websites. The objective source of "Jesus never existed".org is the objective source for that statement. But where they got it who knows. Where can find this name is the Talmud and there's a very good possibility that the guy being talked bout is Jesus of Nazareth. Of course the Talmudic record always distorts talk of Jesus so that they have plausible deniable. They know who they mean, and we know too thanks to Celsus. But the accounts don't match the Gospels to add confusion and enabel them to deney it.

Morey quotes from the Soncino edition of the Babylonian Talmud:

Footnote in Soncino: "Supposed by Tosah, to be the Mother of Jesus; cf. Shab. 104b in the earlier uncensored editions. Her description Megaddela (hairdresser) is connected by some with the name of Mary Magdalene whose name was confused with the name of Mary, the mother of Jesus." (Ibid., p. 7) Some scholars also see an allusion to the virgin birth of Christ in the term, "son of Pandira." This is due to the fact that "Pandira" seems to be a play on the Greek word for virgin, parthenos, the very term used in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke when recording Jesus' virgin birth. McDowell & Wilson report:

"... Scholars have debated at length how Jesus came to have this name (i.e., ben Pandira) attached to his. Strauss thought it was from the Greek word pentheros, meaning 'son-in-law.' Klausner and Bruce accept the position that panthera is a corruption of the Greek parthenos meaning 'virgin.' Klausner says, 'The Jews constantly heard that the Christians (the majority of whom spoke Greek from the earliest times) called Jesus by the name "Son of the Virgin"... and so, in mockery, they called him Ben ha-Pantera, i.e., "son of the leopard."'... The theory most sensational but least accepted by serious scholars was dramatized by the discovery of a first century tombstone at Bingerbruck, Germany. The inscription read, 'Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera, an archer, native of Sidon, Phoenicia, who in 9 c.e. was transferred to service in Germany.'... This discovery fueled the fire of the theory that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary and the soldier, Panthera. Even Origen writes that his opponent, Celsus, in circa A.D. 178, said that he heard from a Jew that 'Miriam' had become pregnant by 'Pantheras,' a Roman soldier; was divorced by her husband, and bore Jesus in secret.

"If 'Pantheras' were a unique name, the theory of Mary's pregnancy by the Roman soldier might be more attractive to scholars. But Adolf Deissman, the early twentieth-century German New Testament scholar, verified, by first century inscriptions, 'with absolute certainty that Panthera was not an invention of Jewish scoffers, but a widespread name among the ancients.'... Rabbi and Professor Morris Goldstein comments that it was as common as the names Wolf or Fox today. He comments further:

It is noteworthy that Origin himself is credited with the tradition that Panther was the appellation of James (Jacob), the father of Jospeh, the father of Jesus... So, too, Andrew of Crete, John of Damascus, Epiphanius the Monk, and the author of Andronicus of Constantinople's Dialogue Against the Jews, name Panther as an ancestor of Jesus...

"Jesus being called by his grandfather's name would also have agreed with a statement in the Talmud permitting this practice. Whereas Christian tradition identified Jesus by his home town, Jewish tradition, having a greater concern for genealogical identification, seems to have preferred this method of identifying Jesus. Goldstein presents more evidence to argue the case convincingly." (McDowell & Wilson, pp. 66-67)

Hence, why or how Jesus came to be called ben Pandira is an issue which scholars have not come to an agreement.

one other name also stand out as Talmudic covers for Jesus of Nazerath:

Jesus ben Stada was a Judean agitator who gave the Romans a headache in the early years of the second century. He met his end in the town of Lydda (twenty five miles from Jerusalem) at the hands of a Roman crucifixion crew.

That's what the myther sites say. But let's look at the Talmud, again see the link above:

One of the oldest sources of Talmud is the Mishna. It dates to second or Thrid century, but draws upon mateial that goes back to the fist. There are two Talmuds, Jerusalem and Babylonian. The latter is more improtant, the Mishna belons to the former. In the Mishna, this is drawing upon first century sources (see opening quote above)

R. Papa said: When the Mishnah states a MESITH IS A HEDYOT, it is only in respect of hiding witnesses. For it has been taught: And for all others for whom the Torah decrees death, witnesses are not hidden, excepting for this one. How is it done? - A light is lit in an inner chamber, the witnesses are hidden in an outer one [which is in darkness], so that they can see and hear him, but he cannot see them. Then the person he wishes to seduce says to him, "Tell me privately what thou hast proposed to me"; and he does so. Then he remonstrates; "But how shall we forsake our God in Heaven, and serve idols?" If he retracts, it is well. But if he answers: "It is our duty and seemly for us," the witnesses who were listening outside bring him to Beth din, and have him stoned. ["And thus they did to Ben Stada in Lydda, and they hung him on the even of Passover." Ben Stada was Ben Pandira. R. Hisda said: The husband was Stada, the paramour Pandira. But as not the husband Pappos b. Judah? - His mother's name was Stada. But his mother was Miriam, a dresser of woman's hair? - As they say in Pumpbaditha, This woman has turned away (satath da) from her husband, (i.e. committed adultery).] (Morey, p. 6)

This quote links Pandira with Stada as the same guy. That at least should cut down on the number of Jesus's running around, if it doesn't link them to JC of Naz. But don't forget the mythers cannot document these guys as real people with anything like the kind of criteria they require of Jesus of Nazareth.

Talmud Shabbat 104b, Sanhedrin 67a>

"It is taught: R. Eliezer told the sages: Did not Ben Stada bring witchcraft with him from Egypt in a cut that was on his skin? They said to him: He was a fool and you cannot bring proof from a fool."

Ben Stada is Ben Pandira.

R. Chisda said: "The husband was Stada and the lover was Pandira.

[No,] the husband was Pappos Ben Yehudah and the mother was Stada.

[No,] the mother was Miriam the women's hairdresser [and was called Stada]. As we say in Pumbedita: She has turned away [Stat Da] from her husband."


"What we see from here is that there was a man named Ben Stada who was considered to be a practicer of black magic. His mother was named Miriam and also called Stada. His father was named Pappos Ben Yehudah. Miriam (Stada) had an affair with Pandira from which Ben Stada was born."


"Some historians claim that Ben Stada, also known as Ben Pandira, was Jesus. His mother's name was Miriam which is similar to Mary. Additionally, Miriam was called a women's hairdresser, "megadla nashaia" [for this translation, see R. Meir Halevi Abulafia, Yad Rama, Sanhedrin ad. loc.]. The phrase "Miriam megadla nashaia" sounds similar to Mary Magdalene, a well-known New Testament figure."

Here's where Student argues against the passage being about Jesus, as he does with all the passages:


1. Mary Magdalene was not Jesus' mother. Neither was Mary a hairdresser.

Of course the hair dresser bit is new information that would be part of the unique Jewish soruces and kept out fo the Gosepsl, or if we look at it in another way, added as propaganda value since a working woman was supect. We see from Celsus' comments tha they also said she spun for living. Association wiht Mary Magdelon is based upon the assumption of a pun. Maybe they weren't making a pun. Maybe they were just running two figures from the Gospels together as if to say they all common women.

2. Jesus' step-father was Joseph. Ben Stada's step-father was Pappos Ben Yehudah.

Who knows what that means. It looks offhand like its dervied from the Roman Pappa, meaning father, ben = son, Yehudah might mean something derogatory.

3. Pappos Ben Yehudah is a known figure from other places in talmudic literature. The Mechilta Beshalach (Vayehi ch. 6) has him discussing Torah with Rabbi Akiva and Talmud Berachot 61b has Pappos Ben Yehudah being captured and killed by Romans along with Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva lived during the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. He died in the year 134. If Pappos Ben Yehudah was a contemporary of Rabbi Akiva's, he must have been born well after Jesus' death and certainly could not be his father.

that leads me to suspect that his use here is polemical.

If nothing else it is clear the myther are just reaching for any connection to the name Jesus and these Talmudic figures are confused and muddled are place holders for the passages that once openly cursed Jesus of Nazareth. This is far from any kind of documentation that Josephus could have referred to any such people.

But a good couple of clues that these figure do all have some relation to Jesus of Nazareth is that the Genealogy given for "such a one" matches that of Jesus given by Luke and that Celsus tells us the Jews are talking about Jesus of Nazareth.

(1) Genealogy:

According to the Jewish Tractate of Talmud, the Chagigah a certain person had a dream in which he saw the punishment of the damned. In the dream, "He saw Mary the daughter of Heli amongst the shades..." (John Lightfoot, Commentary On the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica [Oxford University Press, 1859; with a second printing from Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1995], vol. 1, p. v; vol. 3, p.55)

Compare this with Luke 3:23.


The following quotes are taken from Celsus On the True Doctrine, translated by R. Joseph Hoffman, Oxford University Press, 1987:


"Let us imagine what a Jew- let alone a philosopher- might say to Jesus: 'Is it not true, good sir, that you fabricated the story of your birth from a virgin to quiet rumourss about the true and insavoury circumstances of your origins? Is it not the case that far from being born in the royal David's city of bethlehem, you were born in a poor country town, and of a woman who earned her living by spinning? Is it not the case that when her deceit was uncovered, to wit, that she was pregnant by a roman soldier called Panthera she was driven away by her husband- the carpenter- and convicted of adultery?" (57).

why a Jew? or Philospher? Celsus was obviously reading the jewish sources. This is one of the charges made in the Talmud.

Here he claims to have secret knowledge that Christians don't have:

"I could continue along these lines, suggesting a good deal about the affairs of Jesus' life that does not appear in your own records. Indeed, what I know to be the case and what the disciples tell are two very different stories... [for example] the nonsensical idea that Jesus foresaw everything that was to happen to him (an obvious attempt to conceal the humiliating facts)." (62).

where is that from? It has to be the Talmud, or sources commonly drawn upon by the Talmud.But how does this prove it was Jesus? Celsus sure thought it was. Apparently his Jewish contracts told him this is the straight scoop on Jesus' life. We see that everywhere in the Talmud Jesus is talked about as a living person,and connections are made to his family and genealogy.

Celsus pushes the knowledge back to late second century, but due to the availability or Rabbinical writings it must have been around for some time before that. The Jews were very conscious of genealogies and family connections. why would they not pick up on the fact that Jesus had none and no one had ever seen him personally, if indeed that was the case?

The talk about Pandira also might hint at an answer to another myther argument. Some say because Paul never talks about "Jesus of Nazareth" this implies that he had not heard of him. But the name could have been a proper last name, or it could be a play on the Greek Parthenos, virgin, alluding to the allegedly illegitimate origins of Jesus. Nazareth was a Podunk hick town the Gentiles had never heard of. People in Rome and Corinth and Asia Minor wouldn't know anything about that. So rather than refer to him as "Jesus of this Podunk hick town," or "Jesus the illegitimate bastard" he uses "Christos" which the Greeks used to mean "hero" and the Jews used to mean "messiah." We beileve in "Jesus the Hero" or "Jesus the savior," that's how the Greek and Romans would have understood it. Paul was referring to Jesus as "son of God" when he used the term Christ because "son of of God" was an euphemism for Messiah.

that leaves the others mentioned above. None of them lived before the 60s. Thus the pre mark redaction was already circulating. No change they could have been the influence of the legend. Now they could have been the people to whom Josephus alluded but how likely is that? They don't fill the bill. We have no documentation on them. But how likely would it be that Jo would not mention that Jesus was Priest? None of those guys had followers, claimed to be Messiah, or worked miracles. What he says about Jesus in TF indicate that the Jesus he does mention has all of those things.

Jesus was a very common name but how many Jesus's were running around claiming to be Messiah and leading followers and working miracles? The Jesus myth theory is prenicious because it's a just a bloody minded determination not to accept any facts that don't squire wtih a pipe dream.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hume's Misconception about Miracles

David Hume (1711-1776)

Hume is revered by the atheists as though he is the only philosopher they will listen to. Even those who say "Philosophy is bs" love and laud Hume. One of the most cherished things that Hume had to say was his misconceptions about miracles. Atheists treat that famous passage as though it has canonical status, for them it does. But Hume gets it wrong on both counts: he doesn't understand miracles, nor does he understand "laws of nature." Both observations are apparent form the opening line of the passage:

A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature;
The problem here is that science no longer regards nature as run by prescriptive laws.

Everytime I would argue that physical laws prescriptive, the atheist guru HRG (CARM ath) would tell me that this no longer the case. They are just descriptions of what happens. They are not real laws. But this in fact contradicts completely what their otehr guru, Hume, tells them. In fact they have to take this contradictory position if they want to argue against my third God argument Fire in the equations. It's also necessitated in their argument against final case. In fact Has was exaggerating, it's not as though no scist still holds for prescriptive laws. the truth of it is there is a dispute in science between "regulaterians" and "Necessitarians." Nevertheless, those who say they are not prescriptive are contradicting Hume and rendering his point null. How can miracles volote laws if they only describe what happens? If they only describe, then miracles could just as well be part of the description, so there is noting to prevent them.

Actually laws of nature are not the confused with scientific laws or natural law.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Laws of Nature are to be distinguished both from Scientific Laws and from Natural Laws. Neither Natural Laws, as invoked in legal or ethical theories, nor Scientific Laws, which some researchers consider to be the scientists' attempts to state or approximate the Laws of Nature, will be discussed in this article. Instead, this article explores issues in contemporary metaphysics. Within metaphysics, there are two competing theories of Laws of Nature. On one account, the Regularity Theory, Laws of Nature are statements of the uniformities or regularities in the world; they are mere descriptions of the way the world is. On the other account, the Necessitarian Theory, Laws of Nature are the "principles" which govern the natural phenomena of the world. That is, the natural world "obeys" the Laws of Nature. This seemingly innocuous difference marks one of the most profound gulfs within contemporary philosophy, and has quite unexpected, and wide-ranging, implications.

That throws up an even greater problem for the atheist. How many atheist told me that metaphysics is just fairy tales and that we don't need philosophy? Yet here is their great guru Hume using philosophy and Metaphysics no less! Be that as it may, here is a contradiction for them. If laws of nature or "laws of physics" in science (ether one) are merely descriptive, then where is the basis for standing against miracles?

Moreover, I say that Hume says miracles are a violation of the laws of Nature, but that is a misconception of the concept of miracle. First of all, it's a misconception of the supernatural to beileve that supernatural means "breaking into the natural," or a "contradiction" to laws of nature. Supernatural is not a contradiction to the the laws of nature, they are framework in which the laws of nature make sense and in which the laws of nature have their warrant. The concept of the supernatural has been misconceived in modern times. It was first degraded in the Renaissance, and this process began with the dissolution of the medieval synthesis. See my pages on the Supernatural, (Doxa). Thus miracles are not violations of anything. They are, as C.S. Lewis put it occasions where the lower law bends to the higher (see his book on Miracles, sorry I don't have a page number or link). An example of what he's talking about is seen in Martin Luther King's speech ("I have a Dream") where he says "The arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward Justices." what is the talking about? The Supernatural is the ground and end of the natural. That's the framework, when I the SN is a larger framework in which the natural plays out, that's what I mean. The natural is rooted in the SN as it's origin and it is moving toward SN end which are set by the higher protocol. Thus when SN effects happen, it is because the lower is obeying the higher, not because the higher is breaking in.

Miracles are also contextual.It's almost meaningless to talk about them. Miracles could naturalistic because the dichotomy between SN and N is artificial and the creation of this modern era which sought to destroy religious thinking and to create a fixed standard of science as the umpire of reality and rule out all that is not part of their naturalistic ideology. The difference between miracles and "anomalies" is merely that miracles have a religious connotation. When an anomalous event happens and produces verification of a religious belief it's a miracle.

The nature of science as paradigm driven is also a major theoretical reason to quite thinking in terms of this dichotomy between N and SN. Science is not cumulative, scientific facts are stacked up until they equal truth. As Thomas Kuhn says, When the paradigm shifts the former anomalies in the old paradigm become the proofs of the new paradigm. The facts of the old paradigm become anomalies under the new. So facts are not stacking to equal progress, they are relative to the paradigm. The current paradigm is naturalism; that will change in some way eventually. when it does change the arguments and facts used to back naturalism will be extent,t hey will no longer be regarded as facts but useless anomalies. Hume's statement can't hold any real cogency for us because its entirely relative to the paradigm. It's already looking pretty out of date since the prevailing wind seems to be blowing in the direction of the descriptive laws of nature crowd. If laws are only descriptive, miracle can be part of the description. There is nothing to prevent them.

Hume goes on:

and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.

Here we have the essence of circular reasoning. Now any atheists have to tried to sell this passage on the basis that he's not saying that laws of nature are prescriptive laws but that our experience of them is unalterably. In fact he is saying nothing more than, as they would have us believe: we never see miracles so we must assume they never happen, they are not part of the description. I think it's clear he's not saying that. I think it is clear that he's saying laws of nature (and thus "the laws of physics") are prescriptive and unalterable. He speaks of unalterable. Now it's true he says the experince is unalterable. But it's the experience of the laws he says. So he is saying that the laws are unalterable and thus our experince of them is as well. If not, then there could some day be an exception. If one saw a miracle at some point that would still have to invalidate all the observations of the past, unless one assumes that there is a prescriptive element and that's why the observe rations are always the same.

The circle in reason is here: we do see miracles. There are thousands of claims of miracle. There are 4000 remarkable cases at Lourdes. That means they are amazing, they can't explained. They fail to be declared official only because of some technicality. But Hume would, at least in the interpretation of most atheist, we must discount hose cases because according ot our experinces they don't happen. So those must be hoaxes. Yet, they do happen according to our experiences, becasue these are the ones' that people have experienced.

This is so obviously circular reasoning:

X doesn't happen because we never see X

we can discount claims that people have seen x because:

we never see x.


Why is it more than probable, that all men must die; that lead cannot, of itself, remain suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished by water; unless it be, that these events are found agreeable to the laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or in other words, a miracle to prevent them?

Here he clearly appeals to the authority of the laws of nature, they prevent them, to happen they must be agreeable. That means his views are metaphysics, they validate the need for metaphysical observation. They are also outmoded and relative to the philosophical discussion still progressing. I've seen atheist vow and declare that his argument is totally about the regularity of our observations, not prescriptive laws. Here he clearly says whatever happens must agree with the laws.

Nothing is esteemed a miracle, if it ever happen in the common course of nature.

Here I take issue on the grounds that he doesn't understand the true concept of the supernatural.Miracles are contextual not "factual."

It is no miracle that a man, seemingly in good health, should die on a sudden: because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen.

Here he intentionally blurs the discretion between the perspective nature of laws and the observation of frequency of behavior. I think he is purposely blurring the distinction. He shifts it back over to what he sees happen because it's the only basis he has for denying the resurrection. He can't argue that there's a physical law against it, except by the implication that we never see it, as arguemnt from sing. He has the weight of common experince, and yet it is only argument from sign, thus dangerously close to fallacy. There is no "structural reason" from the laws of nature that would prevent it.

But it is a miracle, that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country. There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against every miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit that appellation....

Doubly fallacious because miracles are suppossed to be contradictions to what we see. In trying to say it can't happen because it's not naturalistic he's merely evoking the ideology of naturalism in order to impose the circular reasoning that naturalists accept axiomatically.

Hume's logic:

Atheist: The Res couldn't happen because it violates what we observe

Believer: but some people did observe it, so it is part of what we observe

Atheist: no it can't because we never observe such things.

But of course, we did that time. It's a circular reasoning that is used to ignore counter proofs on the premise that they can't exist because if they did they would be counter, we can't have that! The truth of it is there are millions of claims that miracles are seen and that they happen.

The plain consequence is (and it is a general maxim worthy of our attention), 'That no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavours to establish....'

Of course this is meaningless prattle. It's more circular reasoning. He is saying that because miracles contradict our ordinary observation (which of course they should because that's their definition) then to establish it it would have to be more amazing that it would not be true." But of course if that was the case then would would have to say "that X isn't true contradicts our regular observation of the world." Now how could it be that miracles not being true could ever be so obscure a condition that they would contradict our normal experience? In such a case our normal experince would be miracles. thus they would not be miracles. This is so like the dictum about extraordinary evidence. I'm sure that's Sagan got it. The problem with that is it's absurd because no one can say what "extraordinary" evidence is. It's just a trick so atheists can keep raising the bar. Of course this what they always do. No evidence is ever good enough.

When anyone tells me, that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable, that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened. I weigh the one miracle against the other; and according to the superiority, which I discover, I pronounce my decision, and always reject the greater miracle. If the falsehood of his testimony would be more miraculous, than the event which he relates; then, and not till then, can he pretend to command my belief or opinion.

In the foregoing reasoning we have supposed, that the testimony, upon which a miracle is founded, may possibly amount to an entire proof, and that the falsehood of that testimony would be a real prodigy: But it is easy to shew, that we have been a great deal too liberal in our concession, and that there never was a miraculous event established on so full an evidence.

In fact this quote basically says "our ideology rules out miracle a priori so ignore any evidence because it's ideologically improper." By the circular reasoning of the ideology any contrary evidence must be ruled because it is contrary.

Clearly the more rational standard would be to take whatever cannot be explained, having been documented with sufficient evidence to establish veracity, as assumed miraculous if violates our sense of "normal" reality, with out any biased pre determination as to the possibility of such events. By definition miracles are anomalies. Anomalies are absorbed into the paradigm until so many have been absorbed that the paradigm can no longer hold them, then the paradigm shifts. Kuhn establishes that when paradigms shift the supporters of the old regime defend it just as though and in the same way as supporters of the old guard stave off a mounting resolution. For this reason we can expect the paradigm to be defend by an ideology, and one that unfairly rules out any change. Such is clearly the case. We see that the paradigm has shifted from "materialism" to naturalism and physical ism. This is because materialism couldn't hold the anomalies. The paradigms they are shifting from physicalism to property dualism and other smile face versions of physicalism which are closer to being miracle friendly. This I will take up next time.

Christians and Politics: The Thrid Way

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On the comments section to the post about Revolution in Jesus land, Andrew says

"Equating Christianity with particular political views is a folly of the left and the right."
I agree, this is a piece I wrote during the last presidential election as an answer to conservatives Christians I knew who were campaigning for Bush. I do not see the Jesus Land thing as defining a particular political formation as the Gospel. I see it as the alternative to doing so.

St. Augustine and Reinhold Neibhur, those scandalous liberals! Toward a Third way in the Culture Wars.

St. Augustine's name always comes up when feminists attack church fathers who said sexist things. By all accounts Augustine seems to have been one of the worst offenders. I've tired to point out to many feminists, of both secular and Christian ilk, that Augies words defended by feminist philosopher Geneva Lloyd in The Man Of Reason. Apprenlty Augustine was using some bizarre metaphorical reasoning and only used Eve as a derivation from Adam symbolically. But no one cares. It's so much easier just to write Augie off as a dead white male church guy who said stupid sexist things, let it go at that. Oddly enough even Augustine's best friends are not that willing to support everything he said. At one point my favorite prop at Perkins, and good friend William S. Babcock (major Augustine scholar) remarked "you don't have to accept it just because Augustine said it, in fact if Augustine said it there's a good chance its wrong." I think we were talking about free will at the time. But be that as it may, Augustine is loved by the right wing politicos of the Catholic church because he is used (wrongly) by a scholar name O'Connell to bolster the double edge sword of civil and religious authority; these hacks somehow think that this gives them the green light on their own social agenda. The deep irony here on both sides is that if one understood what Augustine really says in his massive tome The City of God (which was really just a letter to a friend, but thicker than the NY phone book) one would have to conclude that Augstine should be a comfort as well as a caution to both sides, the left and the right.

The City of God was written in response to the sacking of Rome by the Barbaric hordes in 410 AD. This situation left Christians in a dyer situation, since the Roman state under Constantine had worked up a connection between Christianity and God's blessing on the state that supported it. Constantine's PR man Eusebuis had so inculcated the idea that God was blessing Rome because it was turning to Christ, that Roman Christians had come to understand that their well being and the success of the Empire was all linked in support of the Christian agenda. All of this can be seen in elaborate detail in one my favorite books of all time, Christianity in Classical Culture, by Charles Norris Corcoran. It's an old book, written in the late 40's, Corcoran was at university of Toronto. He has a tendency to make certain aspects of the Rome of St. Augustine analogue to the cold war of the 1940s, viewing Constantine as a mild social democrat of somewhat liberal flavor--at least in terms of social programs. Another excellent and more up to date book which lays out a similar line of thinking is Christianity in the Roman World By S. Markus.

The Christians of early fith century Rome had come to be very selfish in their outlook. They saw themselves as God's chosen people, they alone had been given the right to extort obedience from other nations because they were doing God's will. Of course this was nothing more than the same old political philosophy of the Caesars who came before, the "reason of state argument." Constantine merely revitalized it in order to give the Roman morale a new shot in the arm. In the old pagan configuration, the Caesars were adding other nations to the matrix of civilization, doing them great favor by conquest, in spite of their ungrateful refusal to be taken. Constantine merely expanded this role, not only were they incorporating other people's into the matrix of civilization, (Corcoran' term, nothing to do with the movie) but they where also making the way clear for people to hear the Gospel, thus saving souls and expanding the kingdom. The Christians of that era came to understand their material success to be a direct blessing from God in exchange for their support of the political agenda.

The sack of Rome came as terrible news to these Christians, because suddenly God had withdrawn his favor. The pagans capitalized on this mishap by arguing that the old gods of Olympus had punished Rome for turning away from them. The Christians really had no answer because they had come to think so clearly that material riches meant divine favor. The destruction of material riches had to mean the removal of God's favor, or perhaps even the triumph or another god? Of course, the City of God is as thick as the New York Phone book, so pardon me if I give the short version: basically, Augustine argues that no temporal power arrangement can claim to be the city of God. Temporal power is an earthly thing it belongs to the city of man. The city of God and the City of Man are made for two different purposes and they have two different ends. The City of Man is Temporal and fleeting. It is not permanent and it is not holy. The City of God is permanent and Holy, and though the two exist one inside the other, the City of God inside the City of man, the City of God is everlasting and the City of man is not. Thus the temporal power can never claim to be the City of God. That means that Constantine did not set up a Christian state, and that Rome was never the commonwealth of God. No political agenda can ever be sacred and no temporal seat of power can ever claim to be the work of God on earth. Augustine totally severs the connection between temporal rewards and material success and eternal destiny.

Augustine was also a major influence upon modern political thinker and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Niebuhr is, oddly enough, another misunderstood figure who has been cast in the role of "neo-liberal." Far from being Neo-anything, Niebuhr was a self defined socialist until the day he died. I know this to be the case through my own association with his friend Frederic Carney. Niebuhr applied Augustine's dictum to modern cold war politics. While he did write "why is communism so evil?" and he was too slow in denouncing the war in Vietnam (waiting until almost the day he died in 1971) he was a tireless advocate of whomever needed advocating. He not only wrote "why is communism So Evil?" But the also went to bat to help defend the defendants in the Dennis vs. United States case, because he felt hat those representatives of the Communist Party USA were being rail roded. Niebuhr did not allow himself to be standoffish about the people he helped, and he did not try to enshrine the American effort in the cold war on the grounds that "we have to be as bad as they are to fight communism." His work Moral Man and Immoral Society pointed out the danger in thinking pointed to the errors in human wisdom when we try to project our own personal morality onto the group. We always wind up supporting things as a group that we would never condone as individuals, because we internalize the group interest and that overshadows our ability to think as free moral agents.

Niebuhr tried to cut a third course through the mine field of the American cold war. In the 1950s he fought a journal war against Billy Graham over the issue of Graham's anti-communist crusades. Graham argued that all one needed was a McCarthy like anti-communism and the "simple answer of the Gospel" and one could beat communism. Niebuhr argued that Graham's approach was simple minded; that we needed keen political analysis, and answer to social ills on our own side, and a more complex message than going down to the front at a Graham crusade. Graham won the war in the popular mind because it was easier for the common man to idneify with him and his answers seemed more "clear cut" (if not more simplistic). Niebuhr, of course, won the respect of his colleagues for standing up to the crowd, there was never any danger of Billy Graham besting Reinhold Niebuhr in an intellectual debate, but this was the McCarthy era. Niebuhr's attempt at steering a third course (Debsian socialism is socialism but divorced from Marxist Leninist philosophy) never panned out in the American mind. The cold war sucked all other forms of thinking into a black hole in which it was possible only to be community, or anti-communist. There were other attempts at a third way, however, but they wound up in the same swamp of indifference. The Papal office tried through several Popes to run a third way political solution through Christian Democrat parties. This met with mixed results, sometimes good government in West Germany, sometimes support for the death Squads in El Salvador. Overall the Pope (JPII) had much more success helping to destabilize communism than he did in founding a third way.

But what other avenue should we expect in the political arena? We should expect to fail to starting a concrete third alternative since that would mean setting up a new agenda for temporal power. The strength of the City of God (the Kingdom of God) does not arise from temporal political power. The church is a priori the third way. When we try to forge a concrete political alliance by uniting the Gospel to anyone political agenda we miss the point and merely re-create Constantine's mistake.The City of God is not about holding temporal power, the city of man is not the city of God and cannot claim to have the anointing of God. No political party can calim to be the part of God; and by contrast, the other party is not the "party of sin." Both or all political parties are just confused humans looking for historically bound power arrangements and hoping desperately that this will make their lives better. In some senses it will, it will also make something worse. These are unavoidable realities of the world. We cannot cast the aura of the sacred over the temporal and claim victory foe the Knudson of God!

Now we are ensconced in a kind of cold war in the church. Another enemy has been thrust upon us, one we don't' understand very well, but it remains to be seen what becomes of that conflict. But in the church the new cold war is not about that, it is about the social changes inaugurated in the 1960s which still continue today; it is about the Reagan era and the moral majority and the new republican party which somehow never quite says it is the party of God, but somehow one gets that feeling. The cold war is the culture war, "liberal" vs. "conservative." But for "liberal" read, pro gay, pro feminist, pro abortion, for "conservative" read prayer in schools, teaching creationism in schools, keeping gays and feminists out of everything and supposedly ending abortion; the short answer; Democrat vs. Republican, blue country vs. Red country. The blue/red split in the church (it's so confusing being blue after being red so long) is mainly about the role of women and gays. These are the issues that seem galvanism both sides.

Liberals are so despised and rejected by American society that there isn't a single liberal talk show on PBS. Charley Rose is what passes for a liberal and he is an avoid conservative Republican who openly camping for Reagan. Somehow, he is what passes for liberal, and he actually does a pretty good job of substituting for one. The media is reviled by the conservatives as the "dreaded liberal media" but if one were to read Noam Chomsky books one would see what a joke that is (Manufacturing Consent). There are two media watchdog groups, one left, (FAIR, Fairness and accuracy in Reporting) one Right (AIM, Acruacy in Media). Having studied both and having been a local organizer for FAIR my own bias is that FAIR makes a much better case for a conservative media than does AIM for a liberal media. The media is solidly in the hands of the conservatives, especially the news media. About the only place "liberals" really rule in the media now are on cit cons, where the husband is always a bumbling fool and the wife is the only competent person and the husband is a bit afraid of her and she's always proven right. The liberal tinge to the cultural side of the media is probably what leads many think of the media as liberal. But that is just what Marcuse called the "carnation on the lapell of capitalism."

The Evangelical movement, since tasting real political power a couple of times, well almost, have become more despondent and feel more surrounded than ever before. Seeing the utter failure of the old patriarchal hierarchy in Western civilization they founder and desperately grab at deck chairs while the vast unsinkable titanic of guideline Age America goes under. Of course this means in reality that they are closer to political control than ever. The only way to get a conservative to move into political action is to convenes him that he's surrounded. So the more defeated and desperate the conservatives believe their cause to be, the more one can be sure they are winning. But the outcome either way will be bad for the Gospel. The Gospel is not the city of man. Taking temporal power can never be the fulfillment of God's will, not in the long run.

The Gospel should always be the third way. It was the third way when it came out in the time of Christ; neither Jew nor Greek. In other words, not Hebrew and not pagan. It was the third way in the cold war, as there was a vast Christian left history which is usually pretty much ignored and unknown in conservative churches, but it still exists. Figures like Dorothy Day and Mother Jones were real Christians and really did fight for workers and the poor. The Gospel must be the third way because it is not the City of Man, it cannot be a temporal political agenda, and the temporal political power cannot be confused with the gospel doctrine and moral view points are essential in following the Gospel, but the Gospel is much more than just sound doctrine. There is also the matter of living out our sound doctrine and how we treat people is a large part of that.

We cannot make a Christian Democrat party, as some have tried, because that's jut playing the world's game. To be effective in helping people in the world for the Gospel, we can at times enter the political arena. We can enter on either side, and we should never lose sight of the fact that real Christians who really love the Lord are on both sides. Niebuhr once said that we demonize the other because we see in him our own temporal minded pretensions. We must remember as we play the politics game that the other guy is playing the same game, he/she may have the same motives we have and we must recognize that fact. That realization could be to laud the other, or it could be to convict ourselves. We must take seriously Paul's talk about party spirit and realize that this is never more a danger than when one becomes involved in political parties.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Real Reasons for Belief in God.

Atheists have a new trick--which is actually their original trick but dusted off. They seem to be on a tangent of arguing that "there's no proof for your God." Of course, they have never really stopped saying that. But perhaps a new generation is coming up. I find more of them more often arguing that there is not "one single piece of scientific evidence..." When I put out several posts on the CARM atheist board similar to the previous post here, Kuhn, science is a social construct, they just went ape. One of them was saying "you are making such a fool of yourself to say these things..." Of course it takes real ignorance no to know that no so long ago (mid 90's perhaps) Kuhn was hot stuff. He was a major force, considered a major thinker in the world for about four decades. But I'm making a fool of myself! When I told them we should not expect to find scientific of evdience of God because God is not a scientific question they just sort of blinked their eyes (in writing so to speak) and said "that's why you shouldn't believe in him." Before it was all said and done one of them had made several pronouncements to the effect that "science tells us everything that is worth knowing and if something isn't given in science it's not worth knowing." Moreover, "the only meaningful questions are scientific questions because that's what makes them meaningful." I bet that guy is magic in a relationship.

What can one say? Everyone likes a booster. When confronted with the challenge to prove that science is the only valid form of knowledge--with scientific data only--of course they responded with philosophical arguments and logic. Naturally they never tried to offer one single piece of evidence from science, and when I put up the post defending religious experience with 300 studies they just poo pooed and said it wasn't science. So science is the only valid knowledge, but you can't prove that with science, and when it supports religion it's not science. Of course the real problem is its impossible to really tell people why we believe in God. No one actually comes to believe because of some fact or argument. It's so ultra foolish to expect scientific proof because belief is a world view, it's not based upon any one fact, but upon thousands of fact, upon the way we look at ourselves and the world. It's important to make God arguments, not to prove the existence of God, but because you can't say "I have reasons, they are supported by lots of things and deal and junk and stuff." God arguments help us to focus on detailed reasons that support belief, but they are not meant to prove anything.

The real problem is, on the one hand, the believer really doesn't have a single cogent provable reason for belief, on the other hand, the atheist doesn't understand the nature of world views. Atheists don't understand their own unbelief. They can't get it that they are touting an ideology. They think all the have to do is say "it's the absence of a belief" and that's suppose to make it real simple and clear it of any ideological connotations. But its' not that simple. Belief is a world view.It's foundational, that is is serves as the basis for everything else you think and the ways you view the world. You can't just take out the centerpiece of a world view and not replace it with something. Its' absurd to say "atheism is just the absence of a belief" there is no such thing. The absence of a belief is the presence of unbelief and that is an ideology. This is what Derrida teaches us: absence is presence and presence is absence. It's easy to be a skeptic all you have to do is just keep doubting things and demeaning that no evidence is of any value until it lines up with the ideology. But they have a very clear ideology to fill in the blank left by God and it is based upon reductionism. Nothing short of absolute scientific proof will do becasue the absence of the foudnation requires the presence of a replacement foundation.

atheists can only see the primitive misunderstanding, they can't see the sense of transcendence behind it.

Maslow talks about the psychological necessity of being able to maintain a tranformative symbology. He is not merely saying that we should do this, but that we do it, it is universal and through many different technqiues and psychological schools of thought he shows that this has been gleaned over and over again. What Jung called the Archetypes are universal symbols of transfomration which we understand in the uncoscious, and we must be able to hold them in proper relation to the mundane (the Sacred and the Profane) in order to enjoy healthy growth, or we stagnate and become pathological. It is crucial to human psychology to maintain this balance. Far from merely being stupid and not understanding science, striving to expalin a pre-Newtonian world, the primatives understood this balance and held it better than we do. Religious beleif is crucial to our psychological well being, and this fact far more than social order or the need for examplianation exaplians the origins of religion.


"For practically all primitives, these matters that I have spoken about are seen in a more pious, sacred way, as Eliade has stressed, i.e., as rituals, ceremonies, and mysteries. The ceremony of puberty, which we make nothing of, is extremely important for most primitive cultures. When the girl menstruates for the first time and becomes a woman, it is truly a great event and a great ceremony; and it is truly, in the profound and naturalistic and human sense, a great religious moment in the life not only of the girl herself but also of the whole tribe. She steps into the realm of those who can carry on life and those who can produce life; so also for the boy's puberty; so also for the ceremonies of death, of old age, of marriage, of the mysteries of women, the mysteries of men. I think that an examination of primitive or preliterate cultures would show that they often manage the unitive life better than we do, at least as far as relations between the sexes are concerned and also as between adults and children. They combine better than we do the B and the D, as Eliade has pointed out. He defined primitive cultures as different from industrial cultures because they have kept their sense of the sacred about the basic biological things of life.

"We must remember, after all, that all these happenings are in truth mysteries. Even though they happen a million times, they are still mysteries. If we lose our sense of the mysterious, or the numinous, if we lose our sense of awe, of humility, of being struck dumb, if we lose our sense of good fortune, then we have lost a very real and basic human capacity and are diminished thereby."

"Now that may be taken as a frank admission of a naturalistic psychological origin, except that it invovles a universal symbology which is not explicable through merely naturalistic means. How is it that all humans come to hold these same archetypical symbols? (For more on archetypes see Jesus Chrsit and Mythology page II) The "prematives" viewed and understood a sense of transformation which gave them an integration into the universe. This is crucial for human development. They sensed a power in the numenous, that is the origin of religion."

He is saying that the reductionist can only see a flimsy superstition in such primitive doings, but the real knight of faith sees in it the sense of the numinous the way religion really affects people on in daily life. In the words of Thomas Indinopulos:

I think this is a healthy development. When emphasis shifts away from what a Christian believes or does not believe, we can begin to understand the power and meaning of Christianity in a given culture, at a certain time. In other words, I should say that a better way to ascertain Christian belief is to focus on how Christians actually live their lives. I say this on the basis of years spent with Greek villagers who, when asked what they believe, can hardly answer in any precise way. But ask them how they would identify themselves as Greek Orthodox and you will hear a recital of ritual observances and traditional acts of faith that leave no doubt that their faith is not a matter of what is believed or thought about, but rather what is done or felt or imagined. For such villagers the daily life of faith is not reducible to or equatable with a set of formal beliefs. The academic or pedagogical implications here are enormous. When professors teach Christianity as a matter of beliefs, ideas, and institutions, they may be teaching something that is not at all equivalent to the religion practiced by the people who claim the Christian religion as their own. But if they were to teach Christianity as practiced, they would have to pay attention to that which is not so easily categorized as doctrine -- the unspoken, often emotional undertones of faith on the part of ordinary believers.

My point being that real belief is faith, not words on paper. The reasons people relay believe in God have to do with the way they sense their presence in the world and the relation to that sense of God which they also intuit in the world. A good example of this came out in a message board discussion I had on CARM recently:

I don't remember who the other party in the discussion was, I'll just call him "friendly atheist."

Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post
the studies show believers are less depressed. you should encourage her faith even if you dont' believe in it. I'm not saying it's your fault but obviously it's very damaging to someone who fervently believes to have that crushed. Please don't think I'm accusing you.

FA:Many of us who are no longer believers have dealt with the transition. I'm not sure that 'damaging' is the correct word. Sometimes growth is hard. Sometimes realizing that what you believed for a long time is false can be hard to deal with. It requires a commitment to intellectual honesty and a desire to know rather than to believe.

Meta: a lot will depend upon why the loss of faith. If one outgrows the Provencal nature of one's faith context, then it's not damaging it's actually a form of growth. Unfortunately due to the fundies and other religious people a lot of people never find the more progressive style of faith so they don't go on with it. But to lose faith due to personal tragedy or just being worn down and not having a chance to cultivate it is deadly. it's killing.

FA:My wife and I don't argue about it. I'm not 'anti' about it.

Meta: that's good. what do you hope for? The best you can do is momentary happiness and not really that if you have hard times.

FA:Even in hard times there are things that can be hoped for. I hope for ease, happiness, love, the same as anyone

Meta:Yes but I have someone to trust in hard times. I know from personal experince I can trust God to me through anything. I'm not the least bit worried about the backing collapse. I expect to die in the gutter but I'm looking froward to a lot of republicans learning something!

more than just beyond life. It's the hope that some force of love cares about you.

FA:I prefer to be loved by someone rather than think that I am loved by a 'force'. Perhaps being loved by a force is sufficient for many people but 'love' to me is an active thing.

Meta:I understand why it would be hard for you to think of god as real, but It's not all hard for me. In fact the opposite. it's nearly impossible for the to deny God's reality, becasue the experinces I've had cannot be denied.

even in times when I thought God abandoned me I was still not wiling to give up the concept, I was willing to think of God as impersonal before I was willing to say there wasn't one. Then he came through and I knew I just needed to trust.

I know it's hard for you think of that as a reality since you have not experienced it. but I have and i know it's real. I know it as well as I know I exist myself.

Meta:It's not the hope of getting money because you pray for it anything like that. But meaning in life gives hope.

FA:I agree. I would rather have real meaning than imaginary meaning. But either way, whether one believes that God has a purpose or if one gives credit to something else for their purpose, ultimately it all comes from the self. WE determine our purpose, our meaning.

Meta:meaning that I get from God is a priroi. IT is real and it doesn't depend upon the existence of a God with a mind who knows who I am. Just the attitude to being that undersatnd from studying theology gives me a rock solid meaning that can't be deneied. It is real and I prove it's real (the meaning that is not the being named God who thinks and knows who I am).

Now I believe God is mind and knows who I am but even at a default of an impersonal ;God who si just being itself and nothing ore the meaning that comes from that is undeniable.

but the experinces I've had lead me to have a major hope because I know God is real and is more than just being.

Atheists can only have localized small letter meaning, meaning that is related to the immediate context. Believers in God can have big capital letter meaning.

FA:Atheists and believers are no different here, the 'meaning' in our lives comes from the same place, ourselves. Some just have the need to put the cause on something else.

Meta:I disagree. I've been both. I was a Sartean atheist so the idea of making youkr own meaning was crucial to my thinking. it was total revolution when I got saved. It was day from night.

repentance is not just saying words. It means "turn from sin" so you are changing your thinking and your behavior. if one really repents one does not want to do the same things again.

FA:Did the thief on the cross do more than just say the words?

Meta:Yes, he sure as hell did. His words were not empty they were backed by the attitude of the heart, which is true repentance. He did more than say words, he repented, he turned his heart toward God!