Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Jesus Myth Theory Curcified, We Still Have the Body and The Final Nails


The Jesus myth theory has left no empty tomb. We have the dead body of the theory and we even have the nails that killed it, these are them.The Bill Walker thing has brought some comments from another long time reader, Loren. I have decided to present a series of Jesus myth destroying posts. This one shows the basic reasons to ditch the theory in its purest form, the dying-rising savior myth. After this one I will present a series of seven posts on why Doherty's theory of the evolution of Jesus is beaten. The Dying-rising savior thing is pretty much done in, although one sees it's ghost goes marching on here and there. It has been replaced by Doherty's theory, which has been out for a long time, but the other group flocked to Doherty after their theory was disproved. I'm not going to present all seven Doherty essays consecutively. But if the reader sticks with me over the course of the month he/she will see all seven essays.

There are three basic reasons we can put this nonsense behind us:

(1) Dying Rising Savior gods theory disproved.

(2) There is no reason why we have to theorize that the original evangelists stooped to copying pagan lore when all the elements of the dying rising messiah were present in Judaism.

(3) We can prove Jesus existed as a man in history.

I. Dying-rising savior gods theory disproved.

The disproof of the dying rising savior gods is really very simple. All I did was to look at the classical presentation of pagan mythology in mythological books that had nothing do with Christianity, neither attacking it nor defending it. These are just scholarly books whose only purpose is to teach about mythology of the pagan world. These books show that the forms of the myths actually told in  Pagan cultures were nothing like the story of Jesus. All the major similarities that mythicists talk about have been added in through Myther books designed to promote their view point as an attack on Christian Belief. This can been seen easily on my pages "Jesus Christ Copy Cat Savior?" (Doxa).

II. There is no reason why we have to theorize that the original evangelists stooped to copying pagan lore when all the elements of the dying rising messiah were present in Judaism.

The Whole thesis that the story of Jesus is shaped out of bits and pieces of the mono myth, archetypes from all cultures that make up the basis of all mythology, is extraneous to the facts. All the elements of the Jesus story come from Judaism, including that of the suffering Messiah whose death has atoning implications for his people. This is nothing new. This fact has been known for more than two decades. It comes from several fragments found at Qumran, suggesting that Messiah would atone for the sins of Israel. In fact, the atonement implications were discussed in his book The Dead Sea Scrolls by John Allegro as ealry as 1962. But fragments from Qumran were discovered in the 80s.

here is the NON Christian bibliography I used to check the mythological sources. These are scholarly books they aer not Christain books, but notice that many of them are found on bibliographies of the Myther books. This means the Mythers are nothing more tahn dishonest because they read these books and they can't see that they disprove their theory.

Conze, Edward. Buddhist Scriptures, ,Penguin:1959.:35)
Cumont, Franz. The Mysteries of Mithra. New York: Dover, 1950.
Gordon, Richard. Image and Value in the Greco-Roman World. Aldershot: Variorum, 1996.
Hamilton, Edith. Mentor edition, original copywriter 1940 Mythology, 172). See also World Book Encyclopedia, "Hercules" 1964)
Klausner, Joseph. From Jesus to Paul (New York: Macmillan, 1943), 104
Kramer, S.N. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 183 [1966],
Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies. Manchester U. Press, 1975.
La 'resurrection' d'Adonis," in Melanges Isidore Levy, 1955, pp. 207-40).
Meyer, M. (editor) The Ancient Mysteries : A Source Book , San Francisco: Harper, 1987, pp.170-171).
Robinson, Herbert Spencer. Myths and Legends of all Nations, New York: Bantum Books, 1950, 13-16
Seltman, The Twelve Olympians, New York: Thomas Y. Corwell Company, 1960.p 176).
Ulansey, David. Cosmoic Mysteries of Of Mithras (website).
________________.The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World. New York: Oxford U. Press, 1989.
World Book Encyclopedia, "Hercules" 1964



No verginal conception (mother was rapped)
No crucifixion (multiple death myths, poised or stabbed)
No resurrection (died and went to Olympus--they are calling to heaven "resurrection")


No Virginal conception (born of a rock)
No crucifiction (he killed a bull and the blood was the bulls)
No Resurrection (he didn't die)
Not a savior
No Baptism
Not born on Christmas (nothing bout Dec 25 in Mithric sources)
Most of our sources post date Christianity! (we have no writings from any Mithric believers all we know about it is guess work based upon pictures on walls).
Roman cult began after Jesus life
roman soldiers exposed to Christianity in revolt of 66 brought knowledge of it back to Italy and that influenced Mithrism!

see the link and read about the others, they are all equally disproved.


II. There is no reason why we have to theorize that the original evangelists stooped to copying pagan lore when all the elements of the dying rising messiah were present in Judaism.

Dead Sea Scrolls Isaiah 9
[John Allegro, The Dead Sea scrolls, Pelican, 1956] Allegro was the only member of the original translation team who was neither Christain nor Jew, but claimed "nutrality." However, he was criticized by other members of the team as being anti-Chrsitian and skeptical]

[the most ancient source--pre Christian]


"In one of their hyms the sect pictures itself as a pregant woman suffering the pangs of parturition as she gives birth to her 'firstborn' who is described in terms reminiscent of the Child of Isaish 9:6, the 'Wonderful Counsellor.' Most scholars agree that the passage retains its biblical Messianic significance, in which case it appears that the Sect believed that out of its suffering of atonement for 'the land' would come the Anointed One or Christ."


DSS Testament of Levi-- 2.1 4Q541 frag. 9 col. I/

2.2 4Q541 frag. 24 col. II

Messianic Hopes in the

Qumran Writings

Florentino Garcia Martinez

Florentino Garcia Martinez is professor at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, where he heads the Qumran Institute. This chapter is reprinted from The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Florentino Garcia Martinez and Julio Trebolle Barrera (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995).

Section 1:

"In spite of that, the general lines of the text are clear enough to assure us that in Qumran interpretation, Jacob's blessing of Judah was seen as a promise of the restoration of the davidic monarchy and of the perpetuity of his royal office. And since the future representative of the dynasty is identified not only as the shoot of David, but also explicitly as the "true anointed," there remains no doubt about the "messianic" tone of the text. Unfortunately, the details which the text provides about this "Messiah" are not many."

section 5

"... However, a recently published text enables us to glimpse an independent development of the hope in the coming of the "priestly Messiah" as an agent of salvation at the end of times."

"It is an Aramaic text, one of the copies of the Testament of Levi, recently published by E. Puech,32 which contains interesting parallels to chapter 19 of the Greek Testament of Levi included in the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs. From what can be deduced from the remains preserved, the protagonist of the work (probably the patriarch Levi, although it cannot be completely excluded that it is Jacob speaking to Levi) speaks to his descendants in a series of exhortations. He also relates to them some of the visions which have been revealed to him. In one of them, he tells them of the coming of a mysterious person. Although the text is hopelessly fragmentary it is of special interest since it seems to evoke the figure of a "priestly Messiah." This "Messiah" is described with the features of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, as J. Starcky indicated in his first description of the manuscript.33 The two longest and most important fragments of this new text can be translated as follows:

2.1 4Q541 frag. 9 col. I

1 [. . .] the sons of the generation [. . .] 2 [. . .] his wisdom. And he will atone for all the children of his generation, and he will be sent to all the children of 3 his people. His word is like the word of the heavens, and his teaching, according to the will of God. His eternal sun will shine 4 and his fire will burn in all the ends of the earth; above the darkness his sun will shine. Then, darkness will vanish 5 from the earth, and gloom from the globe. They will utter many words against him, and an abundance of 6 lies; they will fabricate fables against him, and utter every kind of disparagement against him. His generation will change the evil, 7 and [. . .] established in deceit and in violence. The people will go astray in his days and they will be bewildered (DSST, 270).

.... The priestly character of this figure is indicated expressly by his atoning character: "And he will atone for all the children of his generation...."

The agreement of the person thus described with the "Messiah-priest" described in chapter 18 of the Greek Testament of Levi is surprising.34 At least it shows us that the presence of this priestly figure in the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs should not simply be ascribed to interpolations or Christian influence. Rather, it is a development which exists already within Judaism. This text also shows us that the portrayal of this "Messiah-priest" with the features of the "Suffering Servant" of Deutero-Isaiah is not an innovation of purely Christian origin either, but the result of previous developments. Our text stresses that although he would be sent "to all the sons of his people," the opposition to this figure, "light of the nations" (Isaiah 42:6) would be great: "They will utter many words against him, and an abundance of lies; they will fabricate fables against him, and utter every kind of disparagement against him" (compare Isaiah 50:6&endash;8; 53:2&endash;10). What is more, according to the editor, it cannot be excluded that the Aramaic text even contained the idea of the violent death of this "Messiah-priest." In other words, this opposition would reach its ultimate outcome as in Isaiah 53. His argument comes from the other fairly extensive fragment of the work, in which possible allusions to a violent death by crucifixion are found. However, to me this interpretation seems problematic. The fragment in question can be translated as follows:

2.2 4Q541 frag. 24 col. II 2 Do not mourn for him [. . .] and do not [. . .] 3 And God will notice the failings [. . .] the uncovered failings [. . .] 4 Examine, ask and know what the dove has asked; do not punish one weakened because of exhaustion and from being uncertain a[ll . . .] 5 do not bring the nail near him. And you will establish for your father a name of joy, and for your brothers you will make a tested foundation rise. 6 You will see it and rejoice in eternal light. And you will not be of the enemy. Blank 7 Blank (DSST, 270).

... Whatever might be the possible allusion to the death of the expected "Messiah-priest," the identification of this figure with the "Servant" of Isaiah seems confirmed by the parallels indicated in fragment 9. In any case, the idea that the eventual death of the "Messiah-priest" could have an atoning role, as Christian tradition attributes to the death of the "Servant," is excluded from our text since the atonement he achieves (frag. 9 II 2) remains in the perspective of the cult.

As far as I know, this is the only text which in the preserved sections deals with the priestly "Messiah" alone. However, many other texts refer to this figure when speaking of a two-fold messianism. This is the two-headed messianism in which we are presented with the "davidic or royal Messiah" and the "levitical or priestly Messiah" together. They are called the "Messiahs of Israel and of Aaron" respectively."

[Martinez urges scholarly caution as the scrolls are very fragmentary, there is no guarontee they do not contiain references to other Messianich figures as well, and the notion of a curcifiction for the presitly Messiah is doubtful for several reasons, pertaining to the nture of the text--but his overall opinion seems to be that the concept of a Preistly Messiah on the order of the suffering servant is vindicated]

Qumran text, 4Q521

Hebrew Scholars Michael Wise and James Tabor wrote an article that appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review (Nov./Dec. 1992) analyzing 4Q521:

"Our Qumran text, 4Q521, is, astonishingly, quite close to this Christian concept of the Messiah. Our text speaks not only of a single Messianic figure.but it also describes him in extremely exalted terms, quite like the Christian view of Jesus as a cosmic agent. That there was, in fact, an expectation of a single Messianic figure at Qumran is really not so surprising. A reexamination of the Qumran literature on this subject leads one to question the two Messiah theory. As a matter of fact, only once in any Dead Sea Scroll text is the idea of two Messiahs stated unambiguously.


"There is no doubt that the Qumran community had faith in the ultimate victory of such a Messiah over all evil. However, a closer reading of these texts reveals an additional theme, equally dominant-that of an initial, though temporary, triumph of wicked over righteousness. That is, there was the belief among the Qumran community that the Messiah would suffer initial defeat, but that he would ultimately triumph in the end of days."

Of course I'm sure that mythers will reach for straws and argue that there was earlier pagan influence upon the Jews from Egypt. At that point we are just not talking about the same things anymore. The bread and whine are found in the passover ceremony which do have roots in arab culture, but thousands of years back. There is just no reason to pushing the pretense at that point. We don't need to reach for the pagan parallels to explain the major elements in the story.

In the words of the great scholar Franz Cumont, often quoted and admired by the Mythers themselves: "resemblances do not necessarily suppose an imitation," (The Mysteries of Mithra, p 194).

In terms of the second point:

III.We can prove Jesus existed in history.

First, there are two important observations to make about the myther's standard of evidence:

(1) They do not use a historical standard. the demand a level of documentation that would only be possible in the modern world with the 6:00 news.

They do not seem to understand that documented sources on scene, form the hour,t he day even same year as the events are extremely rare. They poo poo the use of any historian because historians write years after the event and the level of documentation they exact is up to the minute. But no other figure in history can be documented in this manner prior to the invention of the telegraph. Almost all reports from the ancient world are written years after the fact. Now it's true that most are not written sixty years after, but even a couple of years is rare. This is not impossible but its not the norm either. Arguments made by mythers about trying to compare the solidity of documents proving Caesar existed to those of Jesus, are silly comparisons. Of course Cesar can be documented more easily than Jesus Caesar controlled the known world, he was the most important man in his day from the perspective of the world as such. Jesus was an unknown peasant. Events in the Roman world had importance only in relation to Rome. Jesus did not have much proximity to Rome, Geographically, politically, culturally, economically or otherwise.

Most of the Mythicist arguments turn on an argument from silence that fails to appreciate the true nature of history or documentation in the Roman world. For example, some will argue Philo doesn't mention Jesus, as though he should hear all about some guy in Palestine with no polsitical position, money or military accomplishment. With Messiahs and saviors and prophet figures cropping up every day out in the desert, and Philo in Rome or elsewhere most of the time, why should he hear about Jesus? If he did why should should he take note? Most of these internet sketpics seem obvious to the fact that they did not have the evening news.

(2) the use a totally a-historical standard of proof.

Historians used to believe that Pilate didn't exist, because he was not mentioned outside the Bible. Then they found two mentions of him and now they accept his existence. But Jesus mythers want to see birth certificate, driver's license appearance on the 6:00 news and so on. There doesn't have to be that much material to demonstrate Jesus existence. Two good reasonable mentions by historians or sources who were in an authoritative position or in a position to know should do it. There are many more than two references. Let's go with three.

(1) The Gospels Themselves: all 34
Including lost and theoretical

The Mythers just refuse to the accept the Gospels at any price, but that is not the standard used by historians or scholars. The former darling of the atheists, John Dominick Crosson hinsts that Doherty doesn't know much and states explicitly that he acceptes Jesus as historical becasue he is testified to in the Gospels.

John Dominic Crossan


The full review is at:

If I understand what Earl Doherty is arguing, Neil, it is that Jesus of Nazareth never existed as an historical person, or, at least that historians, like myself, presume that he did and act on that fatally flawed presumption.

I am not sure, as I said earlier, that one can persuade people that Jesus did exist as long as they are ready to explain the entire phenomenon of historical Jesus and earliest Christianity either as an evil trick or a holy parable. I had a friend in Ireland who did not believe that Americans had landed on the moon but that they had created the entire thing to bolster their cold-war image against the communists. I got nowhere with him. So I am not at all certain that I can prove that the historical Jesus existed against such an hypothesis and probably, to be honest, I am not even interested in trying.

It was, however, that hypothesis taken not as a settled conclusion, but as a simple question that was behind the first pages of BofC when I mentioned Josephus and Tacitus. I do not think that either of them checked out Jewish or Roman archival materials about Jesus. I think they were expressing the general public knowledge that "everyone" had about this weird group called Christians and their weird founder called Christ. The existence, not just of Christian materials, but of those other non-Christian sources, is enough to convince me that we are dealing with an historical individual. Furthermore, in all the many ways that opponents criticized earliest Christianity, nobody ever suggested that it was all made up. That in general, is quite enough for me.

There was one other point where I think Earl Doherty simply misstated what I did. In BofC, after the initial sections on materials and methods (1-235), I spent about equal time in Galilee (237-406) , or at least to the north, and in Jerusalem with pre-Pauline materials (407-573). I agree that if we had a totally different and irreconcilable vision/program between Paul and Q (just to take an example), it would require some very good explaining. Part of what I was doing, for example, in talking about the Common Meal Tradition was showing how even such utterly distinct eucharistic scenarios as Didache 9-10 and I Cor 11-12 have rather fascinating common elements behind and between them. It is a very different thing, in summary, for Paul to say that he is not interested in the historical Jesus (Jesus in the flesh) than to say that "no Galilee and no historical Jesus lie behind Paul."M


Crosson's Asnwer:I am not certain, Neil, that I have much to add to my previous post. I do not claim "ideological immunity" against the possibility that the historical Jesus never existed. That such a person existed is an historical conclusion for me, and neither a dogmatic postulate nor a theological presupposition. My very general arguments are: (1) that existence is given in Christian, pagan, and Jewish sources; (2) it is never negated by even the most hostile critics of early Christianity (Jesus is a bastard and a fool but never a myth or a fiction!); (3) there are no historical parallels that I know of from that time and period that help me understand such a total creation. There is, however, a fourth point that I touched on in BofC 403-406. It is crucially important for me that Jesus sent out companions and told them to do exactly what he was doing (not in his name, but as part of the Kingdom of God). The most basic continuity that I see between Jesus and those companions was, as I put it, not in mnemonics, but in mimetics. In other words, they were imitating his lifestyle and not just remembering his words. I find that emphasized in the Q Gospel’s indictment of those who talk, but do not do, and in the Didache’s emphasis on the ways (tropoi) of the Lord (not just words/logoi). When, therefore, I look at a phrase such as "blessed are the destitute," and am quite willing to argue that it comes from the historical Jesus, I am always at least as sure that it represents the accurate summary of an attitude as the accurate recall of a saying. For analogy: If Gandhi had developed a large movement after his death of people who are living in non-violent resistance to oppression, and one of them cited an aphorism of Gandhi, namely "if you do not stand on a small bug, why would you stand on a Big Bug," I would be more secure on the continuity in lifestyle than in memory and could work on that as basis.

It doesn't matter that these were not the eye witnesses the Gospels were named after. The whole community was  witness to Jesus existence.

It's not just the canonicals. There are 34 Gospels that are known are thought to exist, taking into account, fragments, theories such as Q and so forth. Many of them are dated to the first century. They all depict Jesus as flesh and blood. Not one of the early one's depicts him in any other way. All the lost Gospels take him to be a man in history.

Story by Kay Albright, (785) 864-8858

University Relations, the public relations office for the University of Kansas Lawrence campus. Copyright 1997

LAWRENCE - Fragments of a fourth-century Egyptian manuscript contain a lost gospel dating from the first or second century, according to Paul Mirecki, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Kansas.

Mirecki discovered the manuscript in the vast holdings of Berlin's Egyptian Museums in 1991. The book contains a rare "dialogue gospel" with conversations between Jesus and his disciples, shedding light on the origins of early Judaisms and Christianities.

The lost gospel, whose original title has not survived, has similarities to the Gospel of John and the most famous lost gospel, the gospel of Thomas, which was discovered in Egypt in 1945.

The newly discovered gospel is written in Coptic, the ancient Egyptian language using Greek letters. Mirecki said the gospel was probably the product of a Christian minority group called Gnostics, or "knowers."

Mirecki said the discussion between Jesus and his disciples probably takes place after the resurrection, since the text is in the same literary genre as other post-resurrection dialogues, though the condition of the manuscript makes the time element difficult to determine.

"This lost gospel presents us with more primary evidence that the origins of early Christianity were far more diverse than medieval church historians would tell us," Mirecki said. "Early orthodox histories denigrated and then banished from political memory the existence of these peaceful people and their sacred texts, of which this gospel is one."

Mirecki is editing the manuscript with Charles Hedrick, professor of religious studies at Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield. Both men independently studied the manuscript while working on similar projects in Berlin.

A chance encounter at a professional convention in 1995 in Philadelphia made both men realize that they were working on the same project. They decided to collaborate, and their book will be published this summer by Brill Publishers in the Netherlands.

The calfskin manuscript is damaged, and only 15 pages remain. Mirecki said it was probably the victim of an orthodox book burning in about the fifth century.

The 34 Gospels

Bible Review, June 2002: 20-31; 46-47

Charles W. Hendrick, professor who discovered the lost Gospel of the Savior tells us

Mirecki and I are not the first scholars to find a new ancient gospel. In fact scholars now have copies of 19 gospels (either complete, in fragments or in quotations), written in the first and second centuries A.D— nine of which were discovered in the 20th century. Two more are preserved, in part, in other andent writings, and we know the names of several others, but do not have copies of them. Clearly, Luke was not exaggerating when he wrote in his opening verse: "Many undertook to compile narratives [aboutJesus]" (Luke 1:1). Every one of these gospels was deemed true and sacred by at least some early Christians

These Gospels demonstrate a great diversity among the early chruch, the diminish the claims of an orthodox purity. On the other hand, they tell us more about the historical Jesus as well. One thing they all have in common is to that they show Jesus as a historical figure, working in public and conducting his teachings before people, not as a spirit being devoid of human life.Hendrick says,"Gospels-whether canonical or not- are collections of anecdotes from Jesus' public career."

Many of these lost Gospels pre date the canonical gospels, which puts them prior to AD 60 for Mark:


The Gospel of the Saviour, too. fits this description. Contrary' to popular opinion, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not included m the canon simply because they were the earliest gospels or because they were eyewitness accounts. Some non canonical gospels are dated roughly to the same period, and the canonical gospels and other early Christian accounts appear to rely on earlier reports. Thus, as far as the physical evidence is concerned, the canonical gospels do not take precedence over the noncanonical gospels. The fragments of John, Thomas and theEgerton Gospel share the distinction of being the earliest extant pieces of Christian writing known. And although the existing manuscript evidence for Thomas dates to the mid-second century, the scholars who first published the Greek fragments held open the possibility that it was actually composed in the first century, which would put it around the time John was composed.

Using the science of Textual criticism Koestler demonstrates that the Gospel material was written and circulated in written form as early as mid century, and this includes the story of the empty tomb. Many sources can be shown to per date Mark. The Gospel material was circulating in many forms prior to its final closure in the form of the four that we know as canonical. There was Thomas, Peter, the saying source Paul used, Q, Pre Mark non Q and so on. see my pages on: Gospel Behind the Gospels (2 pages). What all of this means is the figure of Jesus as flesh and blood human was circulating from a verity of sources, not all of them acceptable to Orthodoxy as early as the middle of the first century. As far back as that period Jesus is a flesh and blood man in history.

(2)  The Talmud
Talmudic Evidence is hard to sift through.

Jews self censored the Talmud to remove mentions of Jesus, thus modern Jews deny that it is talking about him, while ancient rabbis used examples supposedly speaking of him for centuries. But what cannot be denied is that the Talmud gives evidence of Christians believing in Jesus as a flesh and blood rabbi from the late first century, which contradicts the Jesus myth theory.

There is a 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

This clearly indicates that Jesus was followed by Christians who understood him as a Rabbi in the late first century, but the Jesus myth theory says that it was only in the second century that began to put a concrete history to Jesus. Note this history indicates that they had a history about him as they said he had been a pharisee.

The index indicates that this statement is from the time covering the late first century.
Index to the wrok

The Talmud is Rabbinical commentaries that begin about the second century but they draw upon even older material. some parts of the Jerusalem Talmud go back to the frist century and even before:

Michael L Rodkinson

"History of Talmud"

"The Talmud is a combination of Mishna and Gemara, the latter is a collection of Mishnayoth, Tosephtas, Mechilta, Siphra, Siphre and Boraithas, all of these, interpreted and discussed by the Amoraim, Saboraim, and also Gaonim at a later period. "The Mishna is the authorized codification of the oral or unwritten law, which on the basis of the written law contained in Pentateuch, developed during the second Temple, and down to the end of the second century of the common era." The author of which was R. Jehuda, the prince named "Rabbi" (flourishing toward the end of the second century), taking the unfinished work of R. Akiba and R. Meir as basis."

It seems pretty obvious that the Talmud is discussing Jesus, at least in some enstances. A summary of what the most liley passages say about theone I take to be Jesus of Nazerath makes this clear:

a Summary of what is said about the charactors who seem go by these names:

*He was born under unusual circumstances, leading some rabbis to address him as ben Pandira and " a bastard of an adulteress."
*mother Mary was Heli's daughter.
*was crucified on the eve of Passover.
* made himself alive by the name of God.
* was a son of a woman. (cf. Galatians 4:4)
* claimed to be God, the son of God, the son of man.
* ascended and claimed that he would return again.
* was near to the kingdom and near to kingship.
* had at least five disciples.
* performed miracles, i.e. practiced "sorcery".
* name has healing power.
* teaching impressed one rabbi.
The Talmud essentially affirms the New Testament teaching on the life and person of Jesus Christ, God's unique Son and Savior of the world.

Before going into that we need to understand what we are looking for. The Talmudic writters don't say "O Jesus of Nazerath is who we are talking about." The counch things in langaue form their world is very different to anything modern Christian would expect to find. they have many nicknames for Jesus, both as derogatory and as part of the self censering. soem of these can be translated as "may his name be blotted out" Others are of doubtful origin, but it is asserted strongly by Rabbis over the centuries that they are Talking about Jesus.Some of htese names include:

*Ben Stada
*Ben Pantira


The pagan detractor of Christianity,Celsus, demonstrates a connection to the material of the Talmud, indicating that that material about Jesus was around in a least the second century. Since Jewish sources would not have been available to Celsus it seems reasonable to assume that this information had been floating around for some time, and easier to obtain. Therefore, we can at least went back to the early second, late first century.

Origin quoting Celsus: Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a soldier named Panthéra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god."

So we estabilsh:

(1) Mary was poor and worked with her hands

(2) husband was a carpenter

(3)Mary committed adultery with Roman soldier named Panthera. (where have we heard this before?)

(4) Jesus as bastard

(5) driven to Egypt where Jesus leanred magic.

All of these points are made in the Talmudic passages. This can be seen both above and on the next page. The use of the name Panthera is a dead give away. Clearly Celsus got this info from the Talmud. Christians never used the name Panthera. He could only have gotten it form the Talmud and these are very charges the Talmudists made.

Here is a Mishna passage, which makes most of the points. Being from the Mishna it would draw upon first century material:


If one writes on his flesh, he is culpable; He who scratches a mark on his flesh. He who scratches a mark on his flesh, [etc.] It was taught, R. Eliezar said to the sages: But did not Ben Stada bring forth witchcraft from Egypt by means of scratches [in the form of charms] upon his flesh? He was a fool, answered they, proof cannot be adduced from fools. [Was he then the son of Stada: surely he was the son of Pandira? - Said R. Hisda: The husband was Stada, the paramour was Pandira. But the husband was Pappos b. Judah? - his mother was Stada. But his mother was Miriam the hairdresser? - It is as we said in Pumbeditha: This is one has been unfaithful to (lit., 'turned away from'- satath da) her husband.]

(Shabbath 104b)

In fact Origin himself almost hints at special knowledge of Jesus "true" origins, what would that knowledge be? Christian knowledge would be positive and not contain many of the points, such as Mary being a spinner or hair dresser. No Christians ever said that. It was suspect for a woman to work. That's an insult to her.

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 contacts 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.

Shomoun, Ibid:

R. Shimeaon ben 'Azzai said: I found a genealogical roll in Jerusalem wherein was recorded, "Such-an-one is a bastard of an adulteress." McDowell and Wilson state, on the authority of Joseph Klausner, that the phrase such-an-one "is used for Jesus in the Ammoraic period (i.e., fifth century period)." (McDowell & Wilson, p. 69)

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)

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

(3) Josephus' "brother" of James passage.

Despite hoards of evidence, skeptics have managed to convence themselves that the Testimonium Flavianum is fabricated (here's proof that it isn't). The way atheists on the net work is, if certain websites say something is the csae, it is the case and to deny it is so stupid one darn attempt the denial. If the IIB said grass is pink and grows down instead of up, there's just another reason to assume Christians are stupid! Therefore, they treat the TF's alleged fabrication as an absolute fact and if one doesn't go along with it one is just denying something so obvious he might as well deny that life is real. In a sort of guilt by association move they have managed to convence themselves that since the TF is fabed then it only follows that the brother passage must be too.But in point of fact there are no scholarly arguments for this, the same kind of evidence for that does not exist. There is no good reason to assume that the brotehr passage is not a frank and authentic historical reference to Jesus' existence:

But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned.(Jospheus "brother of James passage")

Lacking any real evidence of fabrication, atheists just assume it by association but I've seen two arguments which, as my old sainted granny would say, "take the cake!" The first one is a frank denial that it's the same guy! This is rich, there was another James with another brother named Jesus who just happened to also be thought of as the Messaih! The other argument is more particle but shows a real ignorance of historical method: "it was written several years after his death." That's the demand for a report from the 6:00 news again. The fact of the matter is, this constitutes a valid and authentic historical reference from outside the new testament. If we treat those 34 lost Gospels as one source, this makes three reference. Its' actually a mot more than that because we 34 lost Gospels, the four canonicals, Talmudic references and Celsus, Jospheus brother passage and we are not even counting Papias and Polycarp who appeal to eye witness testimony.

The hilarious nature of the charge that there's a different James and a different Jesus just staggers the imagination. Think about it. We are supposed to believe that not only was there another guy named Jesus was had a brother named James, who was head of Jerusalem church and was taken to be Messiah, but somehow that Jesus, who apparently was a historical guy, didn't ground the Jesus myth in a concrete history, some how the fictional Jesus and the real Jesus were kept separate until the second century when the fictional Jesus could be given a real background, which included James his bother as head of the church stoned in the same circumstances of which Josephus speaks. Of course the skeptics could say well this Josephus James taken to be the real one and his brother Jesus was confused with the mythological Jesus and so that gave him a concrete history earlier than we thought. But then what's the difference in that a real historical Jesus? Any way you look at it  it's stupid! It's all going come down to saying "there was a real guy but we don't know much about him." However, if they say that, the Jesus myth is gone. Its' not a mythology anymore, its' a real guy whose history is kind of shadowy and we have to dig to learn more about him. I predict that will not satisfy the mythers.

Not only do they muliply Jameses and Jesus's but also Peter's and Paul's. Now they deny that Paul was a real guy. So we have a myth spreading the gospel of another myth. Nothing short of absurd. Everything time anything counts against their view they try to same the paradigm by violating Occam's razor and Multiply Jesus and his side kicks beyond necessity.

The obvious simple logical solution is just to admit there was a guy named Jesus who was some kind of Rabbi, probably taken to be Messiah by some set of groupies, and now we can happily blog away arguing about how much we really know about him!

4. Polycarp

(see my Polycarp section on Doxa)

According to Iranaeus Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (Martyred in AD 155?) knew the Apostle John. This doesn't seem likely and has been denounced by the great Church historian B.H. Streeter (The Primitive Church ,1923) and others. The date of Ploycarp's Martyrdom is fixed by W.A. Waddington (see Richardson, Early Christian Fathers, p.144). The tradition recorded in the Martyrdom of Polycarp says that he was 86 years old when he went to his glory as a martyr. This would place his birth in the year 69 AD. Assuming he was a teenager (and he was supposed to be very young) when he knew John, this would place their friendship around the late 80s. Is it possible that John lived this long? Clearly legend has it that John lived to be over 100, returned from Patois and worked in the church of Ephesus. But those legends are probably driven by the statements in the Gospel which imply that John would not die or would be very old when he did die. If Johannie authorship holds up, and John was in Ephesus in 90 to write his Gospel, than it is possible that he knew Polycarp. The information that these two men did know each other comes through Iraneaeus who did know Polycarp.

Iraneaeus speaks of Polycarp's rememberence of John which he heard first hand:

For I have a more vivid recollection of what occurred at that time than of recent events (inasmuch as the experiences of childhood, keeping pace with the growth of the soul, become incorporated with it); so that I can even describe the place where the blessed Polycarp used to sit and discourse-his going out, too, and his coming in-his general mode of life and personal appearance, together with the discourses which he delivered to the people; also how he would speak of his familiar intercourse with John, and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord; and how he would call their words to remembrance. Whatsoever things he had heard from them respecting the Lord, both with regard to His miracles and His teaching, Polycarp having thus received [information] from the eyewitnesses of the Word of life, would recount them all in harmony with the Scriptures. These things, through, God's mercy which was upon me, I then listened to attentively, and treasured them up not on paper, but in my heart; and I am continually, by God's grace, revolving these things accurately in my mind.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bill Walker Strickes Again.


"Who is Bill Walker? I hear you asking. He's just a friendly internet atheist who stops by from time to time to say stuff so I'll have material for another blog piece. Well he's at it again. He has a gimmick, he acts like his insulting diatribes against things he doesn't study or understand are really for my own good, and the fains the anguish of a Pastor fretting over the lost sheep of his flock.

Here's his latest:

Joe, You have no idea how much I am hoping that you will see past that book of mean/dirty fairy tales. The bronze age 'produced/ invented' a huge number of 'saviors'. Only 15 or 16 were crucified, the rest were poisoned, hanged or impaled. JC is the composite of these other 'saviors'. He was 'created' at Nicaea, 325CE. If you spent a tenth of the time reading history, that you have wasted reading that book of fairy tales, you would join us at ExChristian.Net. We would love to have you join us in disbelief of an invisible, imaginary deity created by Emperor Constantine.

Pretty unremarkable, and this was posted on the well worn post about introducing atheist watch which I know he's seen before, telling me this is just a routine mission and not some new idea. Since there is nothing remarkable here it's hardly worth commenting on. But I will anyway because it demonstrates such typical meld of all the major atheists buzz words and myths that have been floating around the net, that have been answered, disproved, beaten into the ground so many many times, and thus stands as a testimony to how littl atheists really listen to what we say.

Of course the begins with the usual name calling, the bbile si fair tale ect ect. its' so stupid any one who would believe that bunch of hog wash is an idiot. Of course he can't say that that would be a dead give away. But by insulting the book he's insulting the reader.

Then of course he launched into the tired old well disproved carp of Jesus mytherism. He knows this composite crap, this lie has been exposed as the lie that it is. He's heard this a million times, but like so many ideologically driven atheist minions of the hate group he doesn't care what's true or what's real. He's not seeking any kind of answer, he's a soldier. He's in the war, he's on the battle field, he's firing his weapon at the enemy, his weapon is the lie about the unhistorical nature of Jesus. He's a solider, this is what soldiers do they shoot at the enemy.

My page on Doxa, copy cat savior? thoroughly destroys this nonsense. Speaking of copy cat don't tell J.P. Holding about the title of that article I kind of, well, copied it.

the lunacy about Jesus being created at Nicaea hardly deserves an answer. No one with any sort of real knowledge of anything connected with the new testament would think that. Even those with a very elementary and cursory familiarity with it can see by just reading the NT what a crap it is to claim that.

He has the gall to say this:

If you spent a tenth of the time reading history, that you have wasted reading that book of fairy tales, you would join us at ExChristian.Net. We would love to have you join us in disbelief of an invisible, imaginary deity created by Emperor Constantine.

My dear fellow. I spent ten years in a Ph.D. program studying history. I know from my training as a historian that you know nothing about the subject. I doubt that you have adequate undergraduate training in the subject. You are a good little soldier but you are not a scholar or a thinker and you know nothing about history. I looked at the sight and was totally unimpressed. As thinkers we are better off without most of them.

The link above to my Doxa page is important becuase it links to many other sites where the documentation to back up the follows view are found, it also contains my answers on other figures. Just to show a little bit of the how desperately misguided the mytehrs are I'm going to show what I say about Mithra who is one of the major figures they use most often.

The Mythic Mysteries are very complex, and the only real similarities to Jesus are minute ones.. Most of these alleged similarities are suspect or unimportant. It is often claimed by skeptics on the Internet that "there is so much similarity" but I find very little. Mithra comes from Persia and is part of Zoroastrian myth, but this cult was transplanted to Rome near the end of the pre-Christian era. Actually the figure of Mithra is very ancient. He began in the Hindu pantheon and is mentioned in the Vedas. He latter spread to Persia where he took the guise of a sheep protecting deity. But his guise as a shepherd was rather minor. He is associated with the Sun as well. Yet most of our evidence about his cult (which apparently didn't exist in the Hindu or Persian forms) comes from Post-Pauline times. Mythic rituals were meant to bring about the salvation and transformation of initiates. In that sense it could be seen as similar to Christianity, but it was a religion and all religions aim at ultimate transformation. He's a total mythical figure he meets the sun who kneels before him, he slays a cosmic bull, nothing is real or human, no sayings, no teachings.

1) no Virginal Conception

Mithra was born of a rock, so unless the rock was a virgin rock, no virginal conception for him. (Marvin W. Meyer, ed. The Ancient Mysteries :a Sourcebook. San Francisco: Harper, 1987,, p. 201). David Ulansey, who is perhaps the greatest Mithric scholar of the age, agrees that Mithras was born out of a rock, not of a virgin woman. He was also born as a full grown adult. (Ulansey, David. The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World. New York: Oxford U. Press, 1989.)

2) No crucifixion or resurrection.

There no story of Mithras death and no references to resurrection. The only similarity about him in this relation is that his shedding of the Bull's blood is said by H.G. Wells (Out Line of World History ) to be the prototype for Jesus sacrifice on the cross. But in reality the only similarity here is blood, and it wasn't even his own. It may even be borrowing form Christianity that made the shedding of blood important in the religion. Gordon says directly, that there is "no death of Mithras" -- (Gordon, Richard. Image and Value in the Greco-Roman World. Aldershot: Variorum, 1996.(p96)

3) No Savior, no baptism, no Christmas

Moreover, one of the major sources comes from the second century AD and is found in inscriptions on a temple, "and you saved us after having shed the eternal blood." This sounds Christian, but being second century after Christ it could well be borrowed from Christianity (Meyer, p 206). (This source, Meyer, is used by Kane as well, but it says nothing to back up his claims, and as will be seen latter, Meyer disparages the notion of conscious borrowing] (More about this ceremony on Page II)

"Mithra was the Persian god whose worship became popular among Roman soldiers (his cult was restricted to men) and was to prove a rival to Christianity in the late Roman Empire. Early Zoroastrian texts, such as the Mithra Yasht, cannot serve as the basis of a mystery of Mithra inasmuch as they present a god who watches over cattle and the sanctity of contracts. Later Mithraic evidence in the west is primarily iconographic; there are no long coherent texts". (Edwin Yamauchi, "Easter: "Myth, Hallucination, or History," Leadership University)

4) Most of our sources Post Date Christianity.

.....(a) Almost no Textual evidence exists for Mithraism

Most of the texts that do exist are from outsiders who were speculating about the cult. We have no information form inside the cult.

Cosmic Mysteries of Mythras (website--visted July 1, 2006)

David Ulansey (the Major scholar of Mithraism in world)

Owing to the cult's secrecy, we possess almost no literary evidence about the beliefs of Mithraism. The few texts that do refer to the cult come not from Mithraic devotees themselves, but rather from outsiders such as early Church fathers, who mentioned Mithraism in order to attack it, and Platonic philosophers, who attempted to find support in Mithraic symbolism for their own philosophical ideas.

International congress of Mithraic studies

"At present our knowledge of both general and local cult practice in respect of rites of passage, ceremonial feats and even underlying ideology is based more on conjecture than fact." (Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies. Manchester U. Press, 1975. ,437)

And Cumont himself observed, in the 50s

"The sacred books which contain the prayers recited or chanted during the [Mithraic] survives, the ritual on the initiates, and the ceremonials of the feasts, have vanished and left scarce a trace behind...[we] know the esoteric disciplines of the Mysteries only from a few indiscretions." (Cumont, Franz. The Mysteries of Mithra. New York: Dover, 1950.152)

........(b) Roman Cult began after Jesus life

Our earliest evidence for the Mithraic mysteries places their appearance in the middle of the first century B.C.: the historian Plutarch says that in 67 B.C. a large band of pirates based in Cilicia (a province on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor) were practicing "secret rites" of Mithras. The earliest physical remains of the cult date from around the end of the first century A.D., and Mithraism reached its height of popularity in the third century. (Ulansey, David. Cosmoic Mysteries of Mithras (Ulansey website)

..........(c) No Continuity between Ancient Persian past and Roman Cult

Throughout most of the twentieth century Franz Cumont so influenced scholarship that the entire discipline followed in the wake of his assumption that the Roman cult was spread by the Persian cult. In the early 70's David Ulansey did for Mithric scholarship what Noan Chomsky did for linguistics, he totally redefined the coordinates by which the discipline moved. Ulansey showed that the Roman cult was not the continuance of the Persian cult, that there was no real evidence of a Persian cult. He showed that the killing of the great comic bull which latter became the major event in Mithraism, and the parallel from which Jesus Mythers get the shedding of blood and sacrifice, was not known in the Persian era. This was be like showing that the story of the Cross was not known to Christians in the first century. The major likeness to Christianity and the central point of the cult of Mithraism was not known in the time of Christ, in the time Paul, or for at least two centuries after:

"There were, however, a number of serious problems with Cumont's assumption that the Mithraic mysteries derived from ancient Iranian religion. Most significant among these is that there is no parallel in ancient Iran to the iconography which is the primary fact of the Roman Mithraic cult. For example, as already mentioned, by far the most important icon in the Roman cult was the tauroctony. This scene shows Mithras in the act of killing a bull, accompanied by a dog, a snake, a raven, and a scorpion; the scene is depicted as taking place inside a cave like the mithraeum itself. This icon was located in the most important place in every mithraeum, and therefore must have been an expression of the central myth of the Roman cult. Thus, if the god Mithras of the Roman religion was actually the Iranian god Mithra, we should expect to find in Iranian mythology a story in which Mithra kills a bull. However, the fact is that no such Iranian myth exists: in no known Iranian text does Mithra have anything to do with killing a bull." (David Ulansey Mithras Mysteries).

(5) Mithraism Emerged in the west only after Jesus' day.

Mithraism could not have become an influence upon the origins of the first century, for the simple reason that Mithraism did not emerge from its pastoral setting in rural Persia until after the close of the New Testament canon. (Franz Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra (Chicago: Open Court, 1903), 87ff.)

(6) We Don't know what any of it means.

"No one can be sure that the meaning of the meals and the ablutions are the same between Christianity and Mithraism. Just because the two had them is no indication that they come to the same thing. These are entirely superficial and circumstantial arguments." (Nash, Christian Research Journal winter 94, p.8)

(7) Mithraism was influenced by Christianity

,,,,,,,,,,a) Roman Soldiers Spread the cult.

Roman soldiers probably encountered Mithraism first as part of Zoroastrians when they while on duty in Persia. The Cult spread through the Roman legion, was most popular in the West, and ha little chance to spread through or influence upon Palestine. It's presence in Palestine was mainly confined to the Romans who were there to oppress the Jews. Kane tries to imply that these mystery cults were all indigenous to the Palestinian area, that they grew up alongside Judaism, and that the adherents to these religions all traded ideas as they happily ate together and practiced good neighborship.

,,,,,,,,,,,,b) Mithric Roman Soldiers Influenced by Christians in Palestine

But Mithraism was confined to the Roman Legion primarily, those who were stationed in Palestine to subdue the Jewish Revolt of A.D. 66-70. In fact strong evidence indicates that in this way Christianity influenced Mithraism. First, because Romans stationed in the West were sent on short tours of duty to fight the Parthians in the East, and to put down the Jewish revolt. This is where they would have encountered a Christianity whose major texts were already written, and whose major story (that of the life of Christ) was already formed.

"There is no real evidence for a Persian Cult of Mithras. The cultic and mystery aspect did not exist until after the Roman period, second century to fourth. This means that any similarities to Christianity probably come from Christianity as the Soldiers learned of it during their tours in Palestine. The Great historian of religions, Franz Cumont was able to prove that the earliest datable evidence for the cult came from the Military Garrison at Carnuntum, on the Danube River (modern Hungary). The largest Cache of Mithric artifacts comes form the area between the Danube and Ostia in Italy." (Franz Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra (Chicago: Open Court, 1903), 87ff.)

3) Mithraism was not Christianity's Major Rival


The Ecole Initiative:

Mithraism had a wide following from the middle of the second century to the late fourth century CE, but the common belief that Mithraism was the prime competitor of Christianity, promulgated by Ernst Renan (Renan 1882 579), is blatantly false. Mithraism was at a serious disadvantage right from the start because it allowed only male initiates. What is more, Mithraism was, as mentioned above, only one of several cults imported from the eastern empire that enjoyed a large membership in Rome and elsewhere. The major competitor to Christianity was thus not Mithraism but the combined group of imported cults and official Roman cults subsumed under the rubric "paganism." Finally, part of Renan's claim rested on an equally common, but almost equally mistaken, belief that Mithraism was officially accepted because it had Roman emperors among its adherents (Nero, Commodus, Septimius Severus, Caracalla, and the Tetrarchs are most commonly cited). Close examination of the evidence for the participation of emperors reveals that some comes from literary sources of dubious quality and that the rest is rather circumstantial. The cult of Magna Mater, the first imported cult to arrive in Rome (204 BCE) was the only one ever officially recognized as a Roman cult. The others, including Mithraism, were never officially accepted, and some, particularly the Egyptian cult of Isis, were periodically outlawed and their adherents persecuted.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Play the "Prove I Exist" game

This is a little game I paly now and then on CARM when atheists get too cocky with their "we have the facts" mentality.

First I'm going to say this and you need to read the whole thing to see what i mean: God is not adding a fact to the universe. Belief in is God is not just a belief in one more entity but is a belief in an aspect of being, that of necessary eternal being.

let's settle the BS about "proof is only for mathematics." But if that's the case then atheists have to stop saying "there's no proof for your God" because God is not mathematics. You also miss the point of that expression becuase it means you can't expect any scientific data to be proof of anything. So then say "There's not scientific data that proves God" and expect that o be a big deal is a total contradiction to this concept that proof is only in mathematics.

When non mathematicians use that expression "proof" they really mean a very tight collation. Scientists will speak of "proof" which not math and call it proof and they mean more than just correlation. They also mean a mechanism. But epistemologically speaking even the inclusion of a mechanism is part of the correlation becasue nature doesn't come with labels telling us what the causes are. The analysis that decides what is a mechanism for a cause is also a correlative result.

So the upshot is we have two choices, we can either use the term "proof" in a less strict since, an "informal" sense of really strong warrants, or we can admit that its' silly to want proof of God since God is not a mathematical construct.

For those who chose the former, you are not out of the woods yet. I have often made a point that we take many things for granted which are not provable by science, not even in the informal sense of the term. For example basic epistemic judgments about other minds have to be made by a judgment or leap of faith, they cannot be settled by scientific data becuase any scientific data could be part of the illusion.

That means 2 things:

(1) It's false to say that we can't believe something without proof because we believe things without proof all the time, and in fact we could not live a coherent rational like without making assertions of these things which cannot be proved.

(2) This means there has to be a method for making such judgments that does not involve math or scientific data and that is only available to us Logically. Descartes tried to supply that method with the cogito (I think, therefore I am?)

That method is found generally in various forms of philosophy especially existential and phenomenological but also deductive reasoning.

Because God is not merely adding a fact to the universe but really consists of coming to an understanding of some facet of being, the theist and the atheist live in different worlds. We have totally different ways of understanding the nature of truth the nature of proof the importance of logic and the basic epistemological set up.

What that means is it is absurd to make claims such as "there's no proof for God" because it's meaningless to expect proof for something that is not a matter of contingency but underpins the whole nature of existence; it also means that the demand for scientific data is absurd. Scientific data is only avaible where one has contingencies and where one can make observations. We can't make first hand observations about the basic nature of reality, and that's what the idea of God is, it's a concept about reality.

To believe in God is to believe in one's own contingency. That's why Tillich says if you know being has depth you can't be an atheist. That means if you realize there's more to being than just contingent things, and you realize you are contingent and there must be some necessity that these contingencies are pinned upon, then you can't be an atheist because that is a priori the definition of God.

The good little soldiers did their ideological duty and spouted a bunch of canned answers but did not answer the argument:

You claim atheism is based upon facts, and there not facts that stick up for belief in God. You also claimed the only form of knowledge is empirical scientific data, which of cousre the atheist ideology thinks that atheism has in abundance.

the upshot is the atheist ideological propagandist dictum that one cannot believe without proof.

I said two things:

(1) alleged factual basis of atheism is totally selective, it includes only facts that seem to bolster the ideology but ignore those facts that speak against it.

(2) You believe things all the time that cannot be demonstrated in empirical scientific data. You take for granted the necessity of epistemic judgment and you make such judgments all the time.

These are not "facts" that can be demonstrated objectively but you assume them as fact all the time and never consider the flimsy nature of proof concerning them.

A. The existence of your own mind

B. the existence of a world external to your own mind

C. The existence of other minds not dependent upon your imagination.

I have a huge list but this will do for now. No evidence at all of any kind has been presented yet to demonstrate the factual nature of these beliefs.

you are believing you exist in a real world with real other minds based upon 0 empirical scientific data capable of proving these assertions. To accept them as "facts" you must assume them as judgments.

upshot: demonstration of the necessity to use philosophy and logic in discursive reasoning to understand the reality of the world rather htan proving it by empirical scientific means.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Did Jesus Blow It or did the Atheist?


Atheists often use the so called "Olivette discourse" As what they must think is a certain proof that Jesus screwed and predicted the end of the world wrongly. The issue is found in all three synoptic Gospels but in Mark it's found in chapter 13: 1=3

1As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!"

2"Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4"Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"
Jesus seems to say "this generation will not pass away before this comes to pass," by "this" is included angels coming in glory and the end of the world. So it appears that Jesus got it wrong. There is an answer that I came up with. It's not the only answer, there are others. The Preterits answer for example (which most Christians find untenable). I like my answer best. I came up with it way back around 2002-4 or something and I've used it a lot. It's based upon textual criticism.

My answer says there is an older version than we have in the canonical Gospels. The pre-Mark redaction was circulating in writing as early as AD50 and this is agreed upon by a majority of Scholars* today. Certainly three of the major one's, Koester, Crosson, and Brown all agreed in principle even though they all  have different senerioes as to what that original writing was like. So I assume that in the original there were two separate questions.

(1) What will be the sing of Messiah' coming

(2) when the temple be destroyed.

To one Jesus says "this generation will not pass away," to the other he says "you will see the son of man return in the clouds with the angels" to the other. So he has two questions and two answers. It only makes him a fool if he gave as an answer to "when is the end of the world? (messiah returning) as "this generation will not pass away" and when will the temple be destroyed as "when you see the angles coming." If he got it the other way, when is the temple destroyed, before this generation passes away, when is the end? "when you see the angels coming," then he's a prophet. The fact that that's the right is just obvious since the end of world did not accompany the fall of the temple but some of Jesus' generation did live to see it. So that seems to be what did happen and that's that's a good reason to think that's the way the questions and their answers really stack up.

But we can see that Mark reduced or collapsed the two questions into one and Matt preserved them as two with their two answers. but the answers were cross threaded. Let's see how it's worded:

Mark 13:

 1As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!"  2"Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
 3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4"Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"
there we see the collapse into one question. Why? Because this is the question:

v4 (a) when will these things happen?

(b) what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?"

this is the same question. It's just saying "when will this happen" and when will it be fulfilled? that's the same thing. What things' (Notice plural two things what are they?) he's been talking about destruction of the temple. what was said in vs 2:

2"Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

that's just one thing, the stones will not be left, (they are at the temple so they are talking about the destruction of the temple) they get to the mt of Olives and suddenly it's "things" not just one but two. where did they get two things to ask about? Obviously there are two questions in the original version and Mark has collapsed them into one. They began with the temple and suddenly they have the return of Messiah in it and the the end of the world and they are talking about more than one thing. where did they get that? How do I know they are discussing the end? Because the rest of the chapter, Jesus' answer to this question is about the end times, it concludes in verse 25 with this:

24"But in those days, following that distress,
   " 'the sun will be darkened,
      and the moon will not give its light;
 25the stars will fall from the sky,
      and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'[d] 26"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
So somehow they go from destruction of the temple to the end of the world and form one question to discussion "things" including the return of the Messiah. Why do that? Why collapse two questions in to one and why one questions bout the end times? Because they Jews believed then and they do now that the Messiah will return at the end when the temple is destroyed. They would not conceive of their faith with out the temple so the end of the temple had to mean the end of the world. So why bother to preserve two questions which are unrelated when you assume they are about the same thing? Of cousre Jesus answer is not reflective of his real words, but may contain the elements of his answers but crosses the answers to the wrong questions because they assume it's one question, about one event with one answer: when the temple is destroyed you will see the angels coming in the clouds with the son of man. one event.

Now Mat just happens to preserve the original two questions, but the redactor while not collapsing the questions cross threads the answers. So the answer to "when will the temple be destroyed" becomes "when the angles come down" and the answer to "when will the end come?" becomes "this generation will not pass away. It should be the other way around. Since the redactor didn't understand that the questions are preserved as separate becuase they are two separate events, he just preserved them by accident and when on assuming that' they about one event.

Let's look at how Mat preserves the questions:

Mat 24:1-3

1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."  3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

This is not just one question repeated two different ways as Mark has it. These are two seperate questions, even though the redactors probably never realized it. They are (1) when will this (destorcution of temple) happen? and (2) what is the sign of your comming? But since they understood those two things as one event Mark conflated them. Mat on preserves the distinction by accient. why? because the answer Jesus gives in Mat reflect the notion of one event:

 4Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,[a]' and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
He goes on for the rest of the chapter talking about the end times. So clearly the redactor the two events as one even though it seems there must have been two seperate qeustions in the begining. Now one might ask do I know it wasn't the other way around? Mat might break them into two when they were one to begin with. But while its' obvious what the motive would be for conflating them but there seems to be no motive I can think of for doing it the other way. This is especially true the the answer Mat gives implies that he though of these two events as one just as everyone else did, it's just by happen stance, (or because the original document did) that he preserves the two (perhaps the original document did because there really were two questions in the beginning). I have shown above direct evidence that Mark was deal with two questions and collapsed them into one: Jesus speaks of one thing, the stones wont be left one another (the context is the temple) but then Mark suddenly sticks in end times stuff and changes it to a purl "these things."

This is textual criticism. This is exactly what the work of lower criticism invovles. The only thing I'm missing that a real textual critic would do would be to look at the various ms of these existing passages and show their differences and ry to relate that the analysis. I no longer have my textual apparatus after moving so many times in the last view years. I don't have the time or Patience to look it up, and I think I have a good argument anyway.

*The phrase on that page that documents my view is this: "Nevertheless, the idea of a pre-Markan passion narrative continues to seem probable to a majority of scholars. One recent study is presented by Gerd Theissen in The Gospels in Context, on which I am dependent for the following observations." (Peter Kirdy). Now some atheist is goign to say "that's just for the Passaion narrative not a whole pre Mark redaction" but with Koester the Passion narrative includes several redactions of books such as Eterton 2, GThomas, and others. It includes much more than just the passion.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Does the Universe Exist? Is HRG an abstraction?

One of the major -perennial, knock-down-dragout fights I've had with atheists on the net is with HRG the Austrian Mathematician on CARM over Tillich's existential ontology, especially his argument against being itself as an abstraction. All of his arguments assume that being itself is an abstraction. As I pointed out last time Tillich denied this but HRG refuses to accept it even in spite of the fact that Tillich denied it. But what's totally hilarious is that HRG gives away the store, and I think he knows this, I'll get to that in a minute.

Before I get into that I will speak to this concept of the universe as not exiting. "How could it be," you might ask, "that the universe doesn't exist when I am here, I see a world around me, the world is the universe?" But is "the world" the universe? Universe is a concept. The world does not come with convenient labels telling us what things are. We have to decide what things are. We see a mass of sense data and qualia bombarding our senses. We ask "what is this stuff around us? to make sense of it we invent the notion of a  universe. We don't see a plaque on the side Jupiter saying "universe, self caused and undersigned." Nor do we see "universe by God." We decide it's a universe and we decide what that means. True we have what appear to be real sense data to go on, but it's still our conceptualization.

Take the night sky for example. The night sky is actually a myth. How can that be? it's right there, just open your eyes and look up. But what are we really looking at? Are we seeing the starts as they truly are? No, through science we know now that the light of each star that is just now reaching us is coming to us over millions of years. In fact, theoretically, all the stars could have gone out and we wouldn't know it for some time. Moreover, not only is the light old and shows us things as they appeared a long long time before humans even existed, but the stars are not in the places they appear to be. We know now that gravitational lenses distort the location and also existence of some stars.  Some stars could be reflections of other stars and they are all in different places. What seemed to true and clear at one time is actually non existent. The night sky exists, but its not what we think it is. Now as to this thing we call "universe," we make up theories of its origin with NO means of empirically verifying if those theories are right. We are imposing our own ideas of order upon the pile of sense data and we have no real way of checking to see it it's right. But those who worship our methods of investigation of the natural world tell us that we can't believe anything unless it's checked out by their methods. Yet the universe itself can't be totally checked out.

The universe is actually an abstraction. It's an abstract concept based upon calculating and reducing what we observe to averages and tendencies and conceptual understanding. The whole concept of induction and the notion of scientific empirical proof is based upon abstracting the concrete and reducing it to averages. That's what statistical probability is. Probability is an abstraction. Things fall through the cracks of abstraction and of empirical science. For example most men tend to be physically bigger than most women. As a result men tend to be stronger than women. But there are plenty of women out there who could kick my ass. My former next door neighbor was much bigger than I am and broader shoulders and could have mopped the floor with me. I used to tell people that in her youth she secretly played for the Dallas Cowboys. When they asked "under what name?" I would tell them, "Bob Lilly." Yet on average I should be stronger than any woman.

So the universe is an abstraction. It's a concept we impose upon the pile of sense data. This is science but it's also what Heidegger calls "metaphysics." Metaphsyics Not spooks and esp and strange things but the tendency to reduce sense data and group it under a given organizing principle that determines our understanding. The whole science of cosmology is actually metaphysics by that definition. But if you asked anyone "is the universe real?" we would have to say "sure." Yet it's also an abstraction. So when HRG tells me that being itself is an abstraction what does that really mean? If it means, as he says it does, that Being itself is not real, then the universe isn't real either. But they can both refer to real things and still be abstractions.

consider the following exchange:
Originally Posted by HRG View Post
Then the universe can also be the basis of its own existence.
Meta:O, now that's interesting. who told you that? what star do you see through a telescope that has that printed on it's side? Since everything we know is contingent, why should we think this is not contingent? Well in fact if space and time are two aspects of the whole and the whole is dependent upon each space and time, then how can you make the claim that the whole is the basis? why wouldn't the parts be the basis?

this would of course assume for certain that you know the universe is not created. so how do you know that? where's the label printed that says "self made universe?"

Since there is no logical reason why there has to be a beginning of this chain, all that you say about God is special pleading.
Meta:again, you can't understand the concept. I spoke right to this and I say "he doesn't get it." why? because I said "whatever the basis is that is the basis." We are not talking about the cosmological argument, or cause and effect or any of that. the basis is the basis, if the universe is it's own basis then I guess the universe is being itself. so why aren't you worshiping the universe?

but I have better reason to assume it's not and that something else is involved. But it's not a matter of a chain of causal relationships.

See above. There is nothing illogical about a chain without a first element. Example: negative integers.

Meta:yes, there sure it's. circular reasoning, begging the question. trying to subvert a a line of clausal effects because you don't like what it implies. but that's not the issue. the chain would be being itself if that is the basis of all things. so you still have God.

We are not stuck with such a petty version of God however, because it's silly to assume there could be an endless stream of arbitrary necessities.

It does not explain the existence of this "first cause". It just postulates it. I can equally well postulate the existence of an infinite chain; this has the advantage that I do not need your special pleading.

Meta:It's not even about a first cause. In Tillich's world the Cosmological argument diminishes the greatness of God. It really has nothing to do with a first cause. You are bringing stuff in from arguments because you are not willing to learn about Tillich.

Definitions <>existence proof.
Meta:silly gimmickry

The premise "there must be a final cause" is wrong.

Meta:being itself is not based upon that premise. but you are totally and absolutely wrong and waxed you on the floor everything we argued it. you don't even respond to half the answer. But as it so happens in this discussion that is totally irrelevant. you are shooting blindly hoping this applies and it does not. you are going to have to learn soemthing about Tilich to argue with him.

[quoet]Fine. Being itself (a concept) cannot cause anything.[/QUOTE]

Meta:It doesn't have to. that's not the issue. That that is' the "basis" is not the same as saying it's the cause.

At the end of all this I made the above point about the universe and reiterated that fact that Han's arguemnts assume an abstraction where there is none, and that his own guiding principle (which he takes as self causing and self sufficient) is an abstraction as well, and one abstraction is as good as another, then he has failed to address my arguments.

His answer? He says he wont talk to me anymore (promises!, promises!) for two reasons:

 (1) I have not been responsive to his arguments.

I've been so non responsive I showed that the founding premise to all of his arguments is wrong and that his arguments don't apply to my mine for that reason, and that his basic argument about abstractions also defeats his own alternative to God.

(2) I am insulting.

I am insulting by saying he's dishonest becuase when I showed that Tillicih denies that being itself is an abstraction then Hans says he's lying, and that means then Hans is not being honest or fair, and pointing that out is insulting to him.

But you know, a screen on a message board might just be an abstraction too. Does HRG exist? No he does not. Metacrock does not exist. My parents didn't name me that.

As with Being itself and God, being abstraction doesn't mean I don't exist, does it mean Hans doesn't exist? It doesn't, but it might mean his arguments don't exist.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

HRG's Arguments on Tillich's God as Being Itself.

HRG is Hand Reginold Grum a mathematician from Austria who has been my nemisis on CARM for about eight years now.

HRG on carm
Originally Posted by Metacrock View Post

The builder of the car is a bad analogy becuase it casts God in the role big guy in the sky. That would mean belief in God is merely adding one more fact to the universe. God is not just one more fact, God is not an object alongside other objects, but the basis upon which all existence coheres, the basis of all existence.

Including his own ? If all existence needs a basis, then what basis is there for this god's existence ?

He's saying is God the basis of his own existence. First here's how I usually answer the question; why doesn't God need a cause:

First check to see if the Skeptic has managed to disagree with line A.6 becasue the answer to this objection is built into the argument there. If that premise has been granted than essentially the skeptic has granted this point. Since there must be a final cause which begins the chain of cause and effect, logically the final cuase itself is not subject to it. So God is that point and therefore does not require a cause. There essentially five answers to this argument:

a) God is the final cause and by defintion does not need a cause himself.

The internet atheist will argue until dooms day that if "everything must have a cause" than God must have one too. This is of course illogical. God does not require a cause for several reasons:

This is merely a priori, if there must be a place where the chain stops, logically that place is the final cause of all things, which is what we say God is. Therefore God cannot need a Cause.

b) Everything but God needs cause

We are arguing that everything has to have a cause, except one this, that is the "final cause" or "first cause," the cause of all causes. Trying to the turn the words of the argument against itself wont work because we specify "everything but one needs a cause." Now this is not circular becasue the proof of the hypothosis is that no other alternative works, not that we merely stipulate it. Since this is the only alternative that adequately explains things, it is the most logical alternative.

c) By Definition God is not an effect

By definition God is beyond the natural realm of cause and effect, if not, "He" Would not be God, because that's what God is

d) all the more reason to assume God.

Since there must be a final cause, God is the only alternative since God is eternal and not arbitrary.

2) God is Being itself and thus trasncends The laws of Cause and effect.

a) God is not a thing alongside other things in creation.

God is by definition not a thing alongside other things in creation (ontologically speaking) but is on the order of being itself; the cause of the whole, which means God is the creator of the chain of cause and effect is therefore logically outside of it. (see also Timothy Ware The Orthodox Chruch; Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be, and Dynamics of Faith, Systematic Theology, and John MacQuarrie Principles of Christian Theology).

b) Being itself

God is Being Itself (see above) Being has to be. The fact that there is anything at all indicates that there is no such thing as true nothingness. If anything is than there must have always been something. Since God is Being itself in a sense we could say that being causes God,although this is not an adeuate way to pu it.

3) God is Spiritual and not physical, thus does not need physical cause

4) God's essence is his existence.

a) The Scholastic answer:

God's essence is his existence. The thing that makes God what he is (essence) coincides with the fact that he is (existence).For all other things the essence of a thing is to be the particular thing that it is. But with God the essence of the divine is to to be; thus, God's being is the same as his essence and to be the certain thing that God is is to be. God cannot fail to exist and requires no cause. see Eteinne Gilson, God And Philosophy.

b) This is the only logical answer,

otherwise we just have an ifinite regress of the same problem; it's a logical deduction

5) Proper use of Ocam's Razor

It would be a useless multiplication of entitites to posist a cause of God; God is sufficient explaination in and of "Himself" and logically deos not requrie a cuase.
The argument proves prior existance of creative "Source" as origin of the univserse, by logical deduction as the most plausible answer. Logically it cannot be an infitine regression, cannot be subject to the same laws of cause and effect but must be "first cause." Logically it must be eternal, and must be necessary to the existance of the singularity that produced the universe, by the law of Ockum's razor cannot be multiplied to include an infintie regress. Logically than we are talking about an erternal creative agent that stands behind all existance as the cause of all that is that creates as a free creative act; "that thing," as Aquinas says, "we call God."

F. Objection 2: Eternal Cause Cannot have Time bound Effects

1) Can timeless facts cause timebound facts?

Metaphysics and Epistemology of Causation Robert C. Koons (University of Texas)

a) Yes they can.


First, we must admit that logical and mathematical realities, although they are certainly outside physical spacetime, can be causally efficacious. Otherwise, it would be impossible for us to have knowledge in logic and mathematics, and impossible for us to think about and refer to particular mathematical objects, like specific numbers or numerical relations.

Second, it seems plausible to suppose that space and time are themselves definable or constructible in terms of causal relations. One event is earlier than another, just in case the first is causally prior to the second, or if the first is spatially related to an event causally prior to the second. Two events are in the same spatiotemporal neighborhood just in case there are direct causal relations between the two. What we call physical or measurable time is a simple and systematic system of measurement that can be imposed on the whole network of causal relations. It is reasonable to expect that some of the causal network will lie outside of the system of measurable space-time. At least, it would be a remarkable coincidence if all of the causal network could be included in a single simple and systematic measurement system.

Therefore, from this perspective, it seems reasonable to think that there might be exceptions to the general rule of causation occurring within physical spacetime.

Third, scientific realism depends on the possibility of timeless causation. Scientific realism is the thesis that we sometimes know that our scientific theories are approximately true. Philosophers and historians of science are generally agreed that the acquisition of empirical data alone does not determine which scientific theories we accept. This is known as the "indeterminacy of theory by data". In addition to data, we use considerations of simplicity, symmetry, and elegance to guide our theory choice. For example, scientists accepted Copernicus' theory despite the fact that, for over 200 years, it did not fit the astronomical data as well as Ptolemy's theory. The fit with data was less important than the fact that Copernicus's model was vastly simpler than the ramshackle, epicyle-laden Ptolemaic model.

However, if our choice of theories is guided by considerations of simplicity and elegance, then our scientific beliefs constitute knowledge only if these aesthetic preferences are a reliable guide to the truth. In order for these to be truly reliable, there must be some causal mechanism that ensures that the deep structure of the world (as describable by our theories) is, by and large, very simple, symmetrical, elegant, etc. Any such causal mechanism must be a timeless fact, since it causes the history of the world to take a certain form or shape. This is especially so in light of general relativity, which takes the form of space and time to be themselves an essential part of the structure of the world. Hence, there must be a cause that determines the spacetime structure of the universe, introducing a bias toward simplicity. Thus, there must be at least one cause that lies outside of time.
Is God the basis for his own existence? That question doesn't make any sense. The statement that promoted it applied to contingent existence so it doesn't apply to God. But since God is not a thing in creation alongside other things then we can't really ask if he's the basis of his own existence. It's a nonsense question to begin with. But technically asiety has always been assumed to be self sustaining. Of course if you say that the atheists try to turn into a contradiction because they don't understand it.

That a thing exists is just a fact. It is a philosophical postulate that this fact needs a basis, or that existence has to "cohere". You are welcome to it, but I don't share it. I regard it as an anthropomorphic imagination.


In fact he's actually doing what Tillich called "looking only at the surface." Here is someone who doesn't understand depth fo being. He thinks being is only surface, things are what they seem, there's nothing going on beyond just the fact of things existing.

He asserts that it's a philosophical postulate that things need a basis that shows me he doesn't understand the concept. Say materialism at its post shallow, thing are just brute facts and that's all they are. They still have reasons for existing, we call them "causes." We still assert then need them. The basis for that is whatever the basis is. It still must be there whatever it is because we still believe in causes. We have not established that anything can just start existing for no reason at all Begin a fact does not mean it's a fact without a reason. Can you think of any other instance in which an atheist materialist would allow for things just popping out of nothing than the creation of the universe? Why don't we see things popping into existence all the time?

HRG dogmatically discounts any sort o ontology a prori merely because he knows it's going to lead to God. But is nothing more than an ideological predilection. There is no basis in scinece for the idea that things are surface only.

So it's not something can be laid alongside other things and terms "another fact in the universe." That's like trying to use a scale to weigh itself.


Thus it is as meaningless to speak about the weight of the scale as about the existence of this god.

That doesn't make any sense either. He's just trying to win by cheating, ruling God out by twisting the language rather than understanding the concepts. It is meaningless to speak of the scale but he's the one doing that. HE is the one who asked about God's cause and if he's the basis of his own existence, that's demanding the weight of scale, talking about why t's a foolish question is not demanding the weigh to fhte scale it's sayign i'ts a foolish question! The foolish question is the atheist argument!

You carefully try to remove your God from the need of objective arguments for his existence. But that removes him as well from the realm of objective existence.

Well you have to since you want me to talk about it. I told you it can't be spoken it's beyond langaue and beyond undersanding, it can be experinced. But you poo poo experience and foment the propaganda that all experince is BS so you just refuse a prpori to eve rthing clealry  or honestly about any issue connected with God.

This is also and switch because he's actually reversing the true understanding of objective and of empirical. Empirical doesn't mean absolute objective evdience it means first hand experience. So my religious experience is empirical evidence of God. Empirical and objective are not the same thing. Objective is a pretense. There is no such thing as objective, there is varying degrees of subjective. He wants to make the pretense that abstracting particulars through statistics and probability is "objective" but in reality it's nothing like objective, it's creating cracks through which a lot of data falls to the way side but hat suits the atheist need to lose the phenomena. When  you see the dishonesty that HRG employs you will see what I mean by "pretense."

The problem with the hurricane analogy is that it doesn't take into account the basis of what consciousness is. God is not just an impersonal force or a happenstance or set of circumstances. I don't blame you for saying there's no clear idea here. Because that's what it means to say God is beyond our understanding, we don't have a convenient thing for it.

If this alleged god is beyond our understanding, you should heed Wittgenstein's advice: "What one cannot speak about, one must remain silent about".

ahahaha that was Hegel! You are misquoting! typical, typical. But hey I would remain silent, except you want listen. you wont accept the need to seek and then go seek yourself. Of cousre i"m not considered with HRG seeking, I know he never will, he's way too invested as a would be big shot in the Adelaide he get's from being an atheist. But who who read his misguided insincerity need to understand that taling and silence are both the same, everything is inadequate short of actually experiencing God for yourself. So everything I can say about it is just a means moving the reader close to the point where s/he will be willing to seek.

here I refer to HRG's tendency to bring up his silly little "three partical univdrse" non answer taht he always beings up:

 I have beaten that silly unfounded assertion so many times it's not funny.

(1) 3pu would be being, God is being itself, therefore, 3pu has god.

(2) unfounded assertion that one can assert God or lack of God based upon the appearance of world--that is the same logic as the design argument. In design argument you assert this cannot be done, and now assert it can be done in your argument. contradiction!

(3) only thing it could possibly prove is that God is not interested in doing much. not that there is no God

(4) God has to exist in all possible worlds, that proves that God has to exist. 3pu does noting but prove that God exits!

(5) there is no such thing as 3pu you are merely asserting it's assumed possible becuase you want to beat my God argument. you have not evidence at all that a 3pu is even possible. I have good reason to believe it's not, therefore, 3pu is not a possible world!

at various times I've argued all five of these and more. you have never beaten one. any one of them clobbers your argument.

you are bringing the old propaganda out of moth balls because you have nothing to say. But this is dead horse and you can't make it run by beating it yet again.

not just a dead horse it's throttled bag of horse bones.

in the words of our illustrious former Governor of Texas, the late great Anne Richards, "that God wont hunt." __________________

now at this point he charges the Being itself thing with being an abstraction and all his answers are based upon that premise.

At this point I quote the long quote that I did of Tillich in the Part 2 of the into to Tillich's ontology:

When a doctrine of God is initiated by defining God as being itself, the philosophical concept of being is introduced into systematic theology. This was so in the earliest period of Christian theology and has been so in the whole history of Christian thought. It appears in the present system [meaning in his systematic theology] in three places, in the doctrine of God where God is called being as being or the ground and the power of being; in the doctrine of man…and in the doctrine of Christ where he is called manifestation of New Being…In spite of the fact that classical theology has always used the concept of “being” the term has been criticized from the standpoint of nominalistic philosophy and that of personalistic theology. Considering the prominent role which the concept plays in the system it is necessary to reply to the criticisms and at the same time to clarify the way in which the term is used in its different applications.

The criticism of the nominalists and their positivistic decedents to the present day is based upon the assumption that the concept of being represents the highest possible abstraction. It is understood as the gneus to which all other genera are subordinated with respect to universality and with respect to the degree of abstraction. If this were the way in which the concept of being is reached, nominalism could interpret it as it interprets all universals, namely, as communicative notions which point to particulars but have no reality of their own. Only the completely particular, the thing here and now, has reality. Universals are means of communication without any power of being. Being, as such, therefore, does not designate anything real. God, if he exists, exists as a particular and could be called the most individual of all beings.

The answer to this argument is that the concept of being does not have the character that nominalism attributed to it. It is not the highest abstraction, although it demands the ability of radical abstraction. It is the expression of the experience of being over against non-being. Therefore, it can be described as the power of being which resists non being. For this reason the medieval philosophers called being the basic transcendetntale, beyond the universal and the particular. In this sense was understood alike by such people as Parmenides in Greece and Shankara in India. In this sense its significance has been rediscovered by contemporary existentialists such as Heidegger and Marcle. The idea of being lies beyond the conflict of nominalism and realism. The same word, the emptiest of all concepts when taken as an abstraction, becomes the most meaningful of all concepts when it is understood as the power of being in everything that has being.[viii]
from system one* around page 167.

To this Hans (HRG) says "he's just using semantics!" he goes on using the same old arguemnts! I just proved that he's dead wrong. Tillich says point bland "ti's not an abstraction!" moreover, he explains at length why that's the case and that expiation should make sense in the context of the two pieces I posted of intro to his ontology. It should be clear at that point that Tillich is not merely using semantics but that he has an elaborate sysetm of which HRG knows nothing and he doesn't want to know anything of it. He's merely fudiging the ponit to keep up the appearance that his arguments apply when Obviously they do not.

He's just using semantics! in other words. I cathc him point blank, the guy syas you are wrong! What does he say "I refuse to accept that I'm wrong, Tillich must mean what I said even he doesn't know it." I didn't say that but what he did say says that in other words.

To put it bluntly HRG says "I cannot be wrong even when its proved."

to me this is total dishonesty.

*Systematic Theology Volute I by Paul Tillich