Sunday, October 30, 2022

How do we know God is not evil?


I've seen atheists ask this in various forms. The most recent I've seen is "prove God isn't evil." I answered that with three arguemnts only to find the atheists pulling the old relativism thing. How do we know good and evil even exist at all they said? Well, first of all, in answering the question about "prove god is not evil," the challenge was in reference to Christian ideas. To even ask the question assumes a Christian framework. You can't say on the one hand "God might really be evil," then say "but there's no such thing as evil." That would have no meaning. God might really be this thing that has no meaning and doesn't exist? What kind of meaning does that have? One get's the feeling of being set up for a cheap trick. Like we say "ok so God is evil ni the sense that there is no such thing as evil. so what?" they say "O you admitted it, God is evil you said it ok that's the end of Christianity!" Those are two completely different questions to answer the one you must bracket the other. first I will present my arguments to prove that God is not evil, and to do that assume the Christian framework for good and evil. Then I will deal with the relativistic stuff (that there is no good or evil).

I am assuming there is such a thing as good and we all have a general idea of what that is. Now I also noted that many atheist in the discussion I allude to above (where the challenge was made "prove God is not evil") were assuming a contradiction in the Bible where on the one hand God says "love your neighbor" and on the other hand he says "slaughter the Amalekites kids." So there's the problem of a contradiction between the values God expresses and the behavior God exhibits. Thus we assume the values expressed are true values of good, and that is a meaningful term, but the question is does God seem to betray the very values that he instigates?

Before giving three positive reasons to think God can't be evil, (that is a logical impossibility) we have to deal with the seeming contradiction in the Bible. In the discussion on a certain message board alluded to above, a friend of mine who is an atheist said this:

Originally Posted by mikey_101 View Post No genocide isn't evil, killing children and homosexuals isn't evil, eternal torture for not believing in one particular religion out of thousands isn't evil, slavery isn't evil. Actually you're right, God isn't evil because God is a reflection of OUR evil. Those are based upon bible verses and bible verses are not creeds, they are not dictum they are not decrees. In short we don't have to bleieve them.

There is NO official Christian doctrine or document or creed or council that say "you must believe every verse in the bible." The fundies say it but they didn't exist until the 1820s. They are merely late commers in Christian history.Each one of those passages must be analogized in the original language and discussed according to the history and culture and textual evidence to show it really belongs in the Bible or not.I can tell you now there is evidence Amalekite passage is added in latter.

The text of 1 Samuel is one of the most heavily redacted in the Bible. As we will see, it's very presence in the canon has been brought into question, but the version we have is probably a corrupted second rate copy, and the LXX is closer, and Q4Sama at Qumran closer still, to the actual original.

Institute Biblical Scientific Studies:

Biblical Archaeology, Dead Sea Scrolls and OT

"1&2 Samuel

" "For the past two centuries textual critics have recognized that the Masoretic Text (MT) of 1&2 Samuel has much textual corruption. The Samuel MT is shorter than the LXX and 4QSama. The Samuel MT has improper word division, metathesis, and other orthographic problems. Certain phrases and clauses go against the Hebrew grammar rules. Parallel passages vary from each other" (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.227-8).

Redaction of Infant Slaughtering Passage

Notes in the New Oxford Annotated Bible on 1 Sam 15:1-35

"Another story of Saul's rejection: The late source. Compare this section with 13:7-15, Samuel, not Saul is the leading figure once more."

This is the very passage in which Samuel relays God's command to wipe out the infants. So even though I still need to find more specific evidence for that very passage, there is a good chance of proving redaction. While its true that I can't produce an actual MS showing no infant slaughter command, the passage in which that command is given has been redacted. The odds are very high that this command was not part of the original passage, or we can regard it as such. We know that slaughtering infants in evil, and we have no obligation to accept a command as divine that we know to be totally at odds with God's law and God's moral code.

All the other verses must be dealt with in similar fashion, one by one, and an overview entailing a theory of inspiration adopted so that one knows how to approach scripture. For an example on this one might consult my page on the nature of Biblical revelation as an example.

Now I present the three arguments that prove God is not evil:

I. Being is good.

Being is not evil. We are all part of being, we all engage in the act of being. We know from our existence that existing is good and it's not evil. There's no reason to think it is. It's hard for a lot of people to get thier minds around the idea of God as being itself. I've certainly spent a lot of time blogging about the concept. I wont go into it here. It can be found on Doxa in several pages. I'm also just finishing my second book which is on the subject. Wait a couple of years and it will be out.


*God is being itself

being is good.

therefore God must be good.

One objection to this is that some atheists tried to evoke the notion that life is not good. One cna mean this either in terms of "my individual life sux," or in terms of amorality or some form of relativism. That would be cheating the issues here becuase I explain above the original challenge assumes Christian categories of good and evil. Moreover, one can condemn the concept of life itself by one's own experiences. I can have a rotten life (to some extent that's what I make it) that doesn't mean all life is rotten. There is a goodness about life itself. Here I take life as a pragmatic form of existence. Existence in and of itself is "good," if not in a moral sense (which is one confusion of the argument--the mixing of senses between moral and pragmatic) at least just in the sense of the (apparent) goodness of open ended possibility.

II. Love can't be evil.

This is one of those mysterious points that of which atheists are most incredulous. Almost every time they will say "you are logic is so bad" on this point. When pressed they never say why. they can't give me a rule of logic that's violated, nine times out of ten it's a matter of rejecting the concept of a priori. That unusually happens becuase they have self esteem problems, as atheists are known to have.

The nature of love makes it the very definition of Good. What is the nature of the good, it's what love is, being kind, being gentile, caring about others, giving to others, living for others. How do we know this? First we have to realize we are not talking about butterflies in the stomach. Many atheists try to lose the concept of love in the emotions that go with it, which they sweep away as the side effect of brain chemistry. The kind of love experienced in romance, puppy love,infatuation, lust, sexual attraction and the like is what is meant here by "love." Here I speak of agape. This is "God's love" sometimes translated "charity." Although that is not a good translation. Paul Tillich defines it as "the will t the good of the other." I think that is the most apt decryption. The Greek does imply the willingness to assign to others the human dignity due them.

It is more or less an axiomatic tenet that love is the background of the moral universe (consult Saint Augustine, and Joseph Fletcher). I am not sure it can be proved, thus making it "axiomatic." Like most axioms, trying to deny it would be absurd. This is certainly true in terms of Christian theology.

1 John 4:

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Don't even think about trying to argue that "you are trying to prove the Bible by the bible." I am not trying to prove the bible, I'm demonstrating the Christian categories which the original challenge assumes (so I have to go by the answer to the challenge). This is exactly what atheists would do to try and prove that an idea was Christian. If we are considering Christian ethics then we must consider that love is the background of the moral universe. Love is the basis of God's character.

That either the issue becomes redundant if we consider the relativist position (which we will soon enough) or it rebounds onto the Christian categories and becomes a matter of what we think about the Bible. With a fundamentalist view of inerrancy it's hard to see how there is not a contradiction in the categories, what God says and what God does. Yet of course that is not the only Christian answer; there are several other views that take up different approaches to the bible that serve as alternatives.syllogism:

Love is not evil

God's nature is love and God is the original source of love

therefore God is not evil.

Thus, from the perspective of the Christian categories each of the above arguemnts individually prove that God is not evil and cannot be construed as evil.

III. Evil can't be the first thing.

Evil is the absence of the good. That means there has to be a good preceding evil to be departed from to create an absence. evil is rebellion against good. Evil is rejecting the good. all of this implies good is first.God is eternal so God has to be first. A lot of people reject the categories of good and evil becasue they don't like the way they are made. One of the major issues in atheism (even though many atheists don't realize it--a psychological problem) is self rejection leads to rejection of the idea that a loving God would make me the way I am. I was an atheist I know what it is to think that way. The old cliche "God is not finished with me yet" has it's uses and this is one of them.If you don't like the way God made you it's only becuase he's not finished yet. If you rebel against God you are not letting him finish you.

That means there has to be a good preceding evil to be departed from to create an absence.

Actual Atheist Objection:

"That doesn't follow. A hole is an absence of earth, the existence of a hole doesn't imply there was earth. Counter example to your premise." I this I argued "are you kidding? Isn't a hole defined by what's around it? That's like saying "I don't believe donuts exist, only the holes exist." A hole with nothing around it is nothing.


evil is falling away from, therefore, good is prior to evil

God is eternal and thus is prior to all things

therefore, God can't be evil.

Now we come to the issue of relativism. For those who do not hold to the Christian categories of good and evil but try to define them either by sweeping them away, or by using the terms relative to other standards, how does one come to ascertain the truth content of the Christian categories? The only way one can really do this is empirically. Of course this assumes there's a God. Though many atheists will try not allow such an assumption, it's pointless to ask about God's character if you don't assume there is a God, at least for the sake of argument. I have certainly spent enough time on this blog giving reason enough why one can assume God based upon any number of things. For those tempted to make comments and demand reasons I tell you now, see my 42 arguments, especially no 7 and no 8. I single out those two because they form the basis of the empirical approach. One might also see my essay on phenomenology and Method. Certainly we are talking about taking religious experience seriously. The same reasoning that would allow one to understand God as reality would also allow one to understand God's character as love. It makes no sense to take up a challenge or to even issue one about God's goodness then turn around and say "you can't prove that because you can't prove god exists." Ok so that what sense would it make to argue "god is fictional but he's really evil?" The realization that leads to faith is the same realiation that allows us to understand God's love. It's simply an empirical matter. We experince God's presence, swe sesne God's love. In a life of 30+ years that has never been disproved. Even in times when I lost faith and thought God was disproved, even in times when I lost everything and thought God was evil, he was neither evil, or absent nor unfaithful. (see part 2 here).

excerpt from those last two links:

Looking back on it things actually were better after we left the house. At the time, however, we couldn't see that. Then it seemed like the end. We were scared, we were homeless, we couldn't find an apartment because we had "financial leper" on our credit. Since 9/11 getting an apartment in Dallas was next to impossible. When I first moved away form my parents and went to New Mexico back in 80, no one cared who I was or what my credit was. I gave them money they gave me an apartment. By 2006, however, in Dallas, it was next to impossible even if your credit was good. It really seemed like the end. I began saying "I am dead, I died, they just haven't told the corpse to lay down yet." I also began to say "God has cursed me." "God loves to crush his own guys, this is what I get for caring about my parents." You know I was practicing for the glee club. I was a tower of faith. We did find an apartment, we had a couple of thousand dollars from the guy who bought the house (because he was a Christian he said) even though the mortgage company actually makes them promise not to help the victim, not to give more than the mortgage price in a short sale. It's set up so the the victim losing the house can't get anything for his/her hard earned ears of struggle to buy the house. He bought the furniture and car and then let us keep them. God was faithful to me even when I was not faithful to him. I was calling him a lair and shouting at him and I said worse than that. I called him a monster and told him he loved to hurt people. He didn't care, he's heard it all. I didn't shame God into helping me, he was working to help me anyway, I only held up the process and made it take longer by not trusting and not looking to seek the spiritual instead of freaking out because things didn't look good. Easy to forget, we walk by faith and not by sight. That means its' going to look grim. That doesn't mean anything you just have to trust God. Cultivate your spiritual relationship with God. Cultivate our inner life! It's a life long project, work on it every day.

That requires a life of faith to understand. The first step is to seek. Then it will fall into place. It wont fall into place when you renounce God and make skepticism your watchword. If your principle is to see through everything, as C.S. Lewis said, you wind seeing nothing.

God, Science, and Ideology by Joseph Hinman is a very important book. Hinman was a PhD candidate in the UT system, his field was history of ideas and he studied the history and philosophy of science. He brings this knowledge to the critique of athye8ist ideology on the internet. Hinman summarizes 20years of arguments with atheist apologist and takes down some of the major atheists figures such as Richard Dawkins,

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Biden's Policies are working The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the labor market has added 7.9 million jobs since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.1 His administration has made the revival of a flagging economy its top priority, with an emphasis on providing more assistance to struggling families. In early March 2021, Congress passed the administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). In the 13 months from March 2021 through March 2022, the economy added 7.2 million jobs.2

please spread ths about

God, Science, and Ideology by Joseph Hinman is a very important book. Hinman was a PhD candidate in the UT system, his field was history of ideas and he studied the history and philosophy of science. He brings this knowledge to the critique of athye8ist ideology on the internet. Hinman summarizes 20years of arguments with atheist apologist and takes down some of the major atheists figures such as Richard Dawkins,

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Deconversion is just losing your faith

The thing about so-called "deconversion" is that it is just losing your faith. I have seen many atheists who try to build it into some enlightenment process where they wised up. Anyway you look at it it's really just a process of becoming disillusioned.

Of course they replace faith with various ideas that pertain to things that bothered them about Christianity. i liked that guy (deconverted man--DM) his positive outlook on Rauser's progressivity.

The thing that always irked me about the phrase "deconversion" is the way some would try to make it into a counter witness. They would try to indicate it was as transforming as religious conversion was for me. I guess if you have not been transformed by your religious faith then the measure of enlightenment pertaining to various issues would seem by comparison to be transforming, The example in our discussion was where the DM said finding that evolution is true was freeing him from belief.

I experienced something like that when I decided I was an atheist and shucked off my Church of Christ upbringing, I felt freed and liberated on many fronts. Evolution was one of them. Yet this is nothing compared to the transformed nature of finding Jesus. That is my own subjective experience but it is backed by empirical data, My first book, the Trace of God was about this. 200 studies in peer reviewed academic journals, document the transforming effects of religious experience. The bottom line is there is no similar body of data showing that losing your faith is life transforming on that same level.

I can't say that finding yorself as an atheist and shedding a beleif sysrem you no longer agree with cannot be a speical time in one's life. But I doubt it can compete with fiding Jesus is real and beginging a personal relaionship with him-- If any really seek to compete and I'm sure many do not.

In case anyone is interested, Here is a link to my essay "HowI got saved and became Metacrock"

Monday, October 24, 2022

Dialogue: an atheist and I; Euthyphro in reverse?

Dialouge with atheist Dana Harper on Randol Rauser's board:

Dana Harper Oct 16 2022.

DH: • a few seconds ago As depicted in the New Testament the main teaching of Jesus was of an imminent Devine judgment and the arrival of God’s Kingdom. Jesus is quoted on multiple occasions; God’s Kingdom would arrive during the Apostles’s lifetime, as in right now. (Matthew 24:34 and Matthew 16:28) (Mark 13:35 and Mark 9:1) (Luke 21:32 and Luke 9:27)


There has been a lot of theological work on that. The main counter theology is called "realized eschatology," The kingdoms did come. It came on the day of Pentecost. Jesus never said the whole world system would be replaced right away. The kingdom is here now it's a spiritual reality, "my kingdom is not of this world."


Jesus did seem to endorse Hebrew Scripture, although he sharply rebuked the teachers of the law. Hebrew Scripture is filled with scientific ignorance, it’s filled with extreme cruelty, sexual violence, and horror. It’s contradictory, makes multiple prophesies which never materialized.


Yes it has all that. The councils ratified the closed canon but they never gave us an interpretative model. Verbal plenary inspiration is not mandated by God it's the idea of some fundamentalist. That does not mean the Bible doesn't contain the word of God. It is a human record of human experiences of the Devine.

DH: The Bible is simply the word of an ancient superstitions people who were using fantasy to deal with their ignorance, fears and anger.

JH Partly so but it's clearly more than that. Pete Segar was an atheist but he new a good piece of wisdom and a hit song when he saw one: Turn turn turn,


They made stuff up and wrote it down, we call that stuff the Old Testament. Jesus comments on the Hebrew Scriptures don’t prove their veracity, it proves Jesus was wrong.

JH Of course Jesus can't be wrong since he is the incarnate Logos. He could be wrong about minor things but not what is inspired. When he Said "you have heard eye for an eye...but turn the other cheek" he is saying we are going to understand the OT differently." I see the OT as a cultural artifact the function of which is to create a frame work in which Messiah is meaningful.


Like the Euthyphro dilemma in reverse.


Euthyphro is for intro classes. Just to get their feet wet in the wading pool or philosphy.

what he means by putting it in reverse: theological dilemma: is it good because God says it, or does God say it because it's good? The point atheist have in asking this is to force the believer to say that God[s decisisons are oribtrary and meaningless. God is dominated by necessity because there is no god it's just men. Reverse would be does God command the bad stuff of the OT because he's bad or is he bad because he commands this stuff?

I think my answers illustrate that God does not mandate bad things, there are hardships impossed by the need to preserve free will and the natural world. Here are two essays by me that might help.

How do we know God is not Evil?

Why does God allow evil: soteriological drama

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Objective morality and The Euthyphro Dilemma

The point of objective morality is to ground axioms in something not liable to vanish with shifting sands of culture.In What would atheists ground their axioms? Feelings? Those are governed by culture. Brain chemistry? That's Hume's Fork, can't get an ought from an is.

I have seen atheists argue moral realism as an answer to the moral argument. That would allow them to say the good exists aprtr God or apart from there being a God.

Taken at face value, the claim that Nigel has a moral obligation to keep his promise, like the claim that Nyx is a black cat, purports to report a fact and is true if things are as the claim purports. Moral realists are those who think that, in these respects, things should be taken at face value—moral claims do purport to report facts and are true if they get the facts right.[1]
First I find realism commits the same fallacy as the atheist argument; no grounding, no reason for the good. No basis for an ought, I'm not sure they even value an ought. Does this mean only God can furnish objective grounding? I wont say nothing else can but I will say God is the most certain source.

Atheists try to impune God's grounding abilities with the Euthyphro dilemma. I think the Euthyphro dilemma was designed for use in a culter with limited gods who were limited by the fates and who acted arbitrarily. The dilemma works on Greek gods because they were arbitrary. Though atheists may argue God is arbitrary he is not

While the skeptic asks, does God command it because it's good? yes of course. Or is it good because God commands it? If as I think the basis of the good is God's love the question is meaningless, God is the source of all love, He created it it's from his character,which does not change according to the Bible.

At times atheists may raise a moral relativity argument in terms of God's role as the foundation of moral  axioms. In other words If good is based upon what God says then God could declare sin holy tomorrow and it would be so. In fact some Christians support this view which is called "Divine command theory." I think the unchanging nature of God is the answer to that argument. But in addition Morality is based upon the good andthegood upon God's character. It's not just an arbitary pronounceent that God could change anytime.But God is the basis of the standard.

[1] "Moral Realism," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.First published Mon Oct 3, 2005; substantive revision Tue Feb 3, 2015.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Oral tradition was not uncontrolled rumor

Image result for Oral tradition and early Christian Community

The Form Critical school of Biblical criticism holds that there were no eye witnesses to the Gospel events, it was made up.They also adhere to the Form critical ideology of oral tration as wild rumers. None of this is true. Oral tradition in first-century Judaism was not uncontrolled as is often assumed, based on comparisons with non-Jewish models. The writers of the Gospels did not invent anything because that was totally opposed to what they were about.[1]

...[T]he early form criticism tied the theory of oral transmission to the conjecture that Gospel traditions were mediated like folk traditions, being freely altered and even created ad hoc by various and sundry wandering charismatic jackleg preachers. This view, however, was rooted more in the eighteenth century romanticism of J. G. Herder than in an understanding of the handling of religious tradition in first-century Judaism. As O. Cullmann, B. Gerhardsson, H. Riesenfeld and R. Riesner have demonstrated, [22] the Judaism of the period treated such traditions very carefully, and the New Testament writers in numerous passages applied to apostolic traditions the same technical terminology found elsewhere in Judaism for 'delivering', 'receiving', 'learning', 'holding', 'keeping', and 'guarding', the traditional 'teaching'. [23] In this way they both identified their traditions as 'holy word' and showed their concern for a careful and ordered transmission of it. The word and work of Jesus were an important albeit distinct part of these apostolic traditions.

Luke used one of the same technical terms, speaking of eyewitnesses who 'delivered to us' the things contained in his Gospel and about which his patron Theophilus had been instructed. Similarly, the amanuenses or co-worker-secretaries who composed the Gospel of John speak of the Evangelist, the beloved disciple, 'who is witnessing concerning these things and who wrote these things', as an eyewitness and a member of the inner circle of Jesus' disciples.[24] In the same connection it is not insignificant that those to whom Jesus entrusted his teachings are not called 'preachers' but 'pupils' and 'apostles', semi-technical terms for those who represent and mediate the teachings and instructions of their mentor or principal.(25)[2]

The form critical movement was motivated by a worldview rooted firmly in the nineteenth century; a view based upon outmoded notions about folklore, history, and oral tradition. They assumed that oral tradition was preferred because their world was ending and it was replaced by written documents when the Churches eschatological expectations dried up.Qumran soured modern scholarship on that view because they had strong escatological expectations and they were prolific writers.[3]

N. T. Wright, critiquing the Jesus Seminar's view of oral tradition as uncontrolled and informal based on some irrelevant research done in modern Western non-oral societies writes:

"Against this whole line of thought we must set the serious study of genuinely oral traditions that has gone on in various quarters recently.[4] For example, see H. Wansbrough (ed.), Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition (JSNTSup 64; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), referring to a large amount of earlier work; Bailey, "Informal Controlled Oral Tradition," 34-54. The following discussion depends on these and similar studies, and builds on Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 418-43; and idem, Jesus and the Victory of God, 133-37.)[5]both by Wright.

Communities that live in an oral culture tend to be story-telling communities. They sit around in long evenings telling and listening to stories--the same stories, over and over again. Such stories, especially when they are involved with memorable happenings that have determined in some way the existence and life of the particular group in question, acquire a fairly fixed form, down to precise phraseology (in narrative as well as in recorded speech), extremely early in their life--often within a day or so of the original incident taking place. They retain that form, and phraseology, as long as they are told. Each village and community has its recognized storytellers, the accredited bearers of its traditions; but the whole community knows the stories by heart, and if the teller varies them even slightly they will let him know in no uncertain terms. This matters quite a lot in cultures where, to this day, the desire to avoid 'shame' is a powerful motivation. "Such cultures do also repeat, and hence transmit, proverbs, and pithy sayings. Indeed, they tend to know far more proverbs than the orally starved modern Western world. But the circulation of such individual sayings is only the tip of the iceberg; the rest is narrative, narrative with embedded dialogue, heard, repeated again and again within minutes, hours and days of the original incident, and fixed in memories the likes of which few in the modern Western world can imagine. The storyteller in such a culture has no license to invent or adapt at will. The less important the story, the more the entire community, in a process that is informal but very effective, will keep a close watch on the precise form and wording with which the story is told. "And the stories about Jesus were nothing if not important. Even the Jesus Seminar admits that Jesus was an itinerant wonder-worker. Very well. Supposing a woman in a village is suddenly healed after a lengthy illness. Even today, even in a non-oral culture, the story of such an event would quickly spread among friends, neighbors and relatives, acquiring a fixed form within the first two or three retellings and retaining it, other things being equal, thereafter. In a culture where storytelling was and is an art-form, a memorable event such as this, especially if it were also seen as a sign that Israel's God was now at last at work to do what he had always promised, would be told at once in specific ways, told so as to be not just a celebration of a healing but also a celebration of the Kingdom of God. Events and stories of this order are community-forming, and the stories which form communities do not get freely or loosely adapted. One does not disturb the foundations of the house in which one is living."[B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus [6]

Edward Goodspeed, one of the most renowned liberals of his day (20s-50s)argued that Christians were required to  memorise certain texts and repeated them back in pubic.He aegued that this was the highly controled natre of oral traditim. It was not wild rumors or making things up.

Our earliest Christian literature, the letters of Paul, gives us glimpses of the form in which the story of Jesus and his teaching first circulated. That form was evidently an oral tradition, not fluid but fixed, and evidently learned by all Christians when they entered the church. This is why Paul can say, "I myself received from the Lord the account that I passed on to you," I Cor. 11:23. The words "received, passed on" reflect the practice of tradition—the handing-down from one to another of a fixed form of words. How congenial this would be to the Jewish mind a moment's reflection on the Tradition of the Elders will show. The Jews at this very time possessed in Hebrew, unwritten, the scribal interpretation of the Law and in Aramaic a Targum or translation of most or all of their Scriptures. It was a point of pride with them not to commit these to writing but to preserve them.[7]


1 Corinthians 15:3-8 has long been understood as a formula saying like a creedal statement. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

1Cr 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

1Cr 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

1Cr 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

1Cr 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

1Cr 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Oral tradition is a carefully controlled process. The Jews understood how to learn the words of their teachers and preserve them just as they were spoken. All oral cultures understand how to control the process."No one is likely to deny that a tradition that is being handed on by word of mouth is likely to undergo modification. This is bound to happen, [8] Neil adds in a fn: IT is precisely on this ground that Scandinavian Scholar H. Risenfeld in an essay entitled 'The Gospel Tradition and its Beginnings' (1957) has passed some rather severe strictures on the form critical method."[9]

N. T. Wright, critiquing the Jesus Seminar's view of oral tradition as uncontrolled and informal based on some irrelevant research done in modern Western non-oral societies writes:"Against this whole line of thought we must set the serious study of genuinely oral traditions that has gone on in various quarters recently. [10]  Jerome Neyrey says,see also- Bruce Malina & Richard Rohrbaugh, - See also John Pilch, Jerome Neyrey, and David deSilva. [11]

A great review of oral transmission within the gospels can be found in James D.G. Dunn's Jesus Remembered. is a useful review of the progress from the form critics to now, and from 210ff he makes some proposals about the synoptics and oral narratives.[12]

From Dunn from his essay "Altering the Default Setting...":

The literary mindset (‘default setting’) of modern Western culture prevents those trained in that culture from recognizing that oral cultures operate differently. The classic solution to the Synoptic problem, and the chief alternatives, have envisaged the relationships between the Gospel traditions in almost exclusively literary terms. But the earliest phase of transmission of the Jesus tradition was without doubt predominantly by word of mouth. And recent studies of oral cultures provide several characteristic features of oral tradition. Much of the Synoptic tradition, even in its present form, reflects in particular the combination of stability and flexibility so characteristic of the performances of oral tradition. Re-envisaging the early transmission of the Jesus tradition therefore requires us to recognize that the literary paradigm (including a clearly delineated Q document) is too restrictive in the range of possible explanations it offers for the diverse/divergent character of Synoptic parallels. Variation in detail may simply attest the character of oral performance rather than constituting evidence of literary redaction.[13]


[1] B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans (eds.) Authenticating the Activities of Jesus. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998,53-55.

[2] Ibid Chilton and Evens foot notes:

22. O. Cullmann, "The Tradition," in Cullmann, The Early Church (London: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1956) 55-99; B. Gerhardsson The Origins of the Gospel Traditions (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979); H. Riesenfeld The Gospel Tradition (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970) 1-29; Riesner, Jesus als Lehrer. 23. Rom 6:17; 16:17; 1 Cor 11:2, 23; 15:3; Phil 4:9; Col 2:6-7; 2 Thess 24. John 19:35; 21:24-25; cf. 13:23; 18:15-16; 19:26-27; 20:1-10; 21:7, 21-23. Cf. J. A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976) 298-311. 25. On parallels with other rabbis and their disciples and other Jewish usage cf. Mark 2:18 = Luke 5:33; K.H. Rengstorf TDNT 1 (1964) 412-43;.TDNT 4 (1967) 431-55.


[4]N.T. Wright, "Five Gospels But No Gospel," Authenticating the Activities of Jesus,op cit 112-113.


[6]B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans op cit 113-115.

[7]Goodspeed, Intorduction to New Testament, Chcago: University of Chicago press, 1937, 126.

[8] Stephen Neil, The Interpretation of the New Testament: 1861-1961, London: University of Oxford Press, 1964, 250.

[9] Ibid

[10] NT Wright, op cit, 112-113

He also sights

H. Wansbrough (ed.), Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition (JSNTSup 64; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), referring to a large amount of earlier work; Bailey, "Informal Controlled Oral Tradition," 34-54. The following discussion depends on these and similar studies, and builds on Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 418-43; and idem, Jesus and the Victory of God, 133-37.

[11] Jerome Neyrey, "Group Orientation." Handbook of Biblical Social Values John Pilch and Bruce Malina. 2000, 94-97.

[12]James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered: Christianity in the Making, Volume 1, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; Edition Unstated,July 29, 2003,192-210.

Personally, I find the work of Birger Gerhardsson quite well done and would recommend the relatively small book The Reliability of the Gospel Tradition for those interested in early Christian oral transmission. Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony is very interesting and has opened (or in other cases, reopened) discussions.

For anyone interested, I think journal articles are probably easier to obtain, some of which do not require database access: P.M. Head, “The Role of Eyewitnesses in the Formation of the Gospel Tradition”, Tyndale Bulletin vol. 52 no. 2, 2001, p. 275ff * Michael F. Bird, “The Purpose and Preservation of the Jesus Tradition”, B.B.R. 15.2, 2005, pp. 161-185.* , K.E. Bailey, “Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels”, Themelios, vol. 20 no. 2, 1995, pp. 4-11.* James .D.G. Dunn, “Altering the Default Setting: Re-envisaging the Early Transmission of the Jesus Tradition”, New Testament Studies. vol. 49, 2003, pp. 139-175.

[13] D.G. Dunn, “Altering the Default Setting: Re-envisaging the Early Transmission of the Jesus Tradition”, New Testament Studies . vol. 49, 2003, pp. 139-175.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

I am in Mourning

Today I lost one omy best friends, Pam Chavez. I loved her, she was the stogest Christian I knew, She has gne to be with the Lord. I wont be doing this blog thing until monday.

The Secular and The Sacred in Mystical Experience

Abraham Maslow

Film of Maslow dicussing peak experience,

Critics of my religious experience (RE) arguments have turned to Abraham Maslow as a counter to Ralph Hood, inventor of the M scale. Maslow is a good choice superficially but I have studied him a lot.He is one of my favorite thinkers in social sciences. He was one of the first thinkers I read on mystical experience.

The reason they think Malosw fends off Hood is because Maslow was an atheist. He found mystical experiences among all types of people. He took it beyond the ranks of the religious mystic and made it everyday  secular and non religious. Although he has nothing on Martin Luther who turned milking cows into the worship of God.

First Maslow did say he had to strip away the relogocity  from the experience. Part of doing that was to call it "peak experience." He was not saying that Peak is a separate experience from mystical. He did not say peak is a secular version. it's just a different name, one that gets  away from rekuguiyw connotations in the term mystical experience. Maslow said th e atheist and the religious believer can walk togeather qhit a lomgway dowwn the road. They can the atheists who usehimagaimt Hood would never go two feet with a believer. Maslow had the hatred or anti God feeling  that Loftus or Dawkins have.

The major question I want to answer is does the secular nature of mystical experience, at least some experiences, call into question the presence of God in mystical experience? These atheists think they ust addimg God nevasue see God everything. Which is it?

The blog danger in this kind of discussion is that people invariably bring ideology then start saying your ideology is wrong. I don't have one. We need to stay alert to that tendency. I spoke with Dr, Hood On Thursday he said what I just said here.I ask him do you believe in God? If so, is God personal or impersonal? He said he doesn't use such language because it seeks to pin down what God is and that means to ideologize God. God is beyond our understanding. Hood studies snake handlers.He is equally comfortable with snake handlers or atheists.

Let's apply this principle to the issue of :secular" mystical experience. Let's assume God gives each human equiemtm an instinct or capacity to sense his presence. But that capacity is always operative and can sense other presences. I've seen studies that say when we feel like we're being watched we are right 60% of the time.[1]

If God is the ground of being and transcends the notion of a big man in the sky then God is involved in everything, that means we can sense God's presence in nature and in life even when we choose not to recognize what that presence is. Maslow says he stripped away the Divine aspect from the experience. We should take that literally, he just chose to focus on one aspect of the presence and pretend there's nothing more to t. He talks about the runner havimg a bliss attack after his second wind but how can he know if the man's heart is lofting to Go or not. They didn't recognize it but is it really vid of God?

That shows us theoretically God could be there but how can we know? What reason do we have for actually thinking so? The experiences are the same for either group, all pervasive sense of love and undifferentiated unity. Those experiences people find god in are real and the others are experiencing the same but just refusing to count it as God.

As Paul said: 21 "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."(Rom 1:21).

[1]  Edward F. Kelley and Emily Williams Kelley, et al, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Boulder, New York, Toronto: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Inc, 2007/2010.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

The Historicity of women at the Tomb

Image result for The woman at the tomb
Baciccico's "Women at the Tomb" (D 1709)

The women at the empty tomb who were the first to preach the Gospel strike an important blow for women in the church, yet they are written off as made up, fictional, the product of folk lore, by the major and most accomplished scholars working under the assumptions of the form critical school. Form criticism is a philosophy and methodology of Biblical criticism, "Criticism" in relation to the Bible does not mean talking about how bad the Bible is (too long and hard to understand) but refers to a means of analysis in a systematic sense. Form criticism seeks to analyze the historical development of the New Testament by understanding the forms in which the writing developed. The major scholars of that school were Rudolph Bultmann (1584-1976) and Martin Franz Dibelius (1883-1947). The form critics understood the Gospels as folk lore, their major paradigm for this view was the collection of German folk songs which were popular for intellectuals and poets in the 19th century.  

The other thing that is well worth considering is that the form critics at the beginning of the 20th century were working with probably the best models of oral tradition that were around at the time. But we now know a great deal more about oral tradition. They were reliant, mostly, on the way that folk tales were transmitted in European history. And of course, these are the kind of things that were passed down over centuries. It's a very different process, really, from the transmission of gospel traditions over a few decades in the New Testament period. Folk tales were also, by definition, fictional material, and people who passed on fictional material were often interested in creative development of it. They didn't feel bound to transmit material accurately. But we now know far more about oral tradition. We have studies of oral tradition from all societies all over the world, Africa and parts of Asia, and so forth, lots of data about how oral traditions work. And one of things we can say is… Actually, there is very little we can say about oral tradition in general.[1]

 My task here is to rehabilitate the historicity of the women of the  empty tomb,who are maligned by  critical ideology.

Form criticism assumes that there were no authors there were no historical individuals and of course don't even think about an eye witness. It's all made up out of whole cloth by the anonymous folk. This kind of criticism is still dominant and although most of it's founding assumptions have been put to bed modern liberal scholarship is loath to let go. They still make the tired old assumptions that the church fathers are not even worth reading.They assume no authors and no eye witnesses. These assumptions have been ably challenged by believing scholars  such as Mark Goodacher, N.T. Wright, and Richard Bauckham. The latter has made the greatest contribution in my view, with his great ground breaking work Jesus and the Eye Witnesses.[2] 

Before moving on I want to clearly delineate the difference in my argument about community as author [3] vs form critical assumptions. Form critics speak of community as author in the sense that there are no individual authors and the myths spread like wildfire by means of folklore. When I use the term I mean there is no one single author but I  do not exclude individuals who initiate the work yet the community is the author to the extend that it is a production of the redaction   process  and oral tradition but not to exclude either eye witnesses or a single initiating author. For example I believe that (based upon Papias) a redaction process combined Mathew's saying source with a narrative framework, to produce the Gospel of Matthew.

I have three arguments for historicity of the women:

(1) The Web of historicity.

(2) The Pre Mark Passion Narrative (PMPN)

(3) The counter productive nature of female witness.

(1) The Web of historicity: The characters of the Gospels are always assumed to be historical and many of them are tied to historical figures. There are no folkloric characters, This is the amazing challenge Bauckham has brought with his great book.[4] In seminary I had a female professor who had the reputation of always flunking men and believers, (I got an "A" out of her by disagreeing with her). One day she made the Statement that no sub apostolic writer ever claimed to have known the apostles. After class I told her  Irenaeus of Lyons talks about how Polycarp used to tell him about knowing John. She looked dumbfounded like she could barely grasp It. It made no difference in her teaching the rest of the term. These are dogmatic assumptions that have no basis in actual fact. For a rousing defense of historicity of John, and other figures in the Gospels see my debate with Bradley Bowen of Secular Outpost Blog [5]

The women could not have achieved lasting fame outside the Gospels, but the fact that they gave her a name and a geography (of Magdalah) means the character must have been based upon an actual person. Not that authors can't make up characters but why make up a female character in a patriarchal society where women  can't accomplish things why bother?,The woman at the well may have been hypothetical but MM was not. The reality is the Gospels deal in historical people not folklore. Bauckham's method see the designations of the women (all the figures from the Gospels) as code to the reader as to who was being discussed so the communities knew who the witnesses were. In so doing he's tagging specific women as witnesses to the tomb but not just any women, specific one;s to the exclusion of others,Meaning it is a historically definable reality with real flesh and blood people.

Luke, who names the women only at the end of his account of their visit to the tomb,  lists, besides the indispensable Mary Magdalene, Joanna, who is peculiar to his Gospel and already introduced at Luke 8:3, and the other Mary. His reference to Joanna surely indicates the distinctive source of his distinctive empty tomb story.1 Like Matthew he omits Mark's Salome, but he does not simply reproduce the list of women followers of Jesus he had employed earlier in chapter 8 of his Gospel. Mary Magdalene and Joanna he knew to be witnesses of the empty tomb, but Susanna, the third name in his earlier list, he evidently did not. If, as I have suggested and allowing for the evangelists' freedom as storytellers, the stories of the women are substantially as the women themselves told them, then we must regard the differences between the stories as irreducible. We cannot go behind them to a supposedly original version. Nor can we dispense with the angels and reconstruct a less mythologically laden event. These are the stories as doubtless different women told them. They are different performances of the oral traditions, and their differences are such as would have been expected and unproblematic in performances of oral tradition, no greater and no more problematic than those between the three narratives of Paul's conversion that all occur in Acts.[6]
It makes sense, consider if the story was entirely fiction we could reduce it by deconstruction to an original narrative, Being the result of several different perspectives that observed some actual event we cannot combine them to make a coherent event because it is based upon these perspectives,Now we can theorize as to the actual events but we can't get at it by reducing the eye witness accounts, they are not working  from a single unified narrative but form their experiences.They contradict each other because they have different perspectives,

(2) The Pre Mark Passion Narrative (PMPN) is the earliest writing of the Gospel and it includes the women.For an understanding of the PMPN see two  essays Iv'e written in the past [7][8].

"That Mark was Using and Relied upon a pre Markan Passion story is one that is widely accepted by most scholars today, and because it goes back so early it is probably based upon eye witness Testimony."[9] The Gospel of Peter (GPete--an apocryphal work--we don't want to use this as a guide to doctrine but it is an historical artifact). Early readings preserved in the GPete illustrate that even tough the Gospel in the form in  which we have it is late, (second century), it drew upon a very early independent source, Ray Brown showed that the Passion narrative in GPete drew upon this early source that was not dependent upon Matthew or Mark. MM is in it and I will presently give argument that she is from the earliest strata.[10]

(3) The counter productive nature of female witness. Women in both Greek and Hebrew culture were regarded as appendages to men. Not so much true in Asia Minor where Paul grew up but very much the case in Corinth and in Jerusalem. In Hebrew law women could not be considered valid witnesses in court, the testimony of one man outweighed that of two women.[11] If they are making it up anyway why use women? For that matter why allow it to even be known that women saw him? That can be answered: they were the witnesses and in that situation where they needed everyone they could get, owing to the special nature of the case,  they could not afford to be picky.

Bart Erhman tries to invent supposedly logical and creative reasons why they would invent women. He argues: first that they were not in court, Secondly, "Well, for openers, maybe women would.   We have good reasons for thinking that women were particularly well represented in the early Christian communities.  We know from the letters of Paul – from passages such as Romans 16 – that women played crucial leadership roles in the churches:  ministering as deacons, leading the services in their homes, engaging in missionary activities."[12] The court rule reflected the culture so saying they are not in court is lame, they are in the culture. The argument that women  would make them up is irrelevant because the women would not be inventing a Gospel. The community would not accept it, the women as witnesses went to Peter to get him to come and look he validated their claim, Why invent fictional women then validate their claim? He is making form critical assumptions--seeing it as folklore. Yet by acknowledging their critical role in the community he's giving us a reason to assume that real women were involved.

He Then argues: "Moreover, this claim that it was specifically women who found the empty tomb makes the best sense of the realities of history.  Preparing bodies for burial was commonly the work of women, not men.   And so why wouldn’t the stories tell of women who went to prepare the body?   Moreover, if, in the stories, they’re the ones who went to the tomb to anoint the body, naturally they would be the ones who found the tomb empty."[13] That's a better reason to think real women would have been involved because it does not outweigh the liability of female witness. All the reasons he presents are like this they all work was reasons to think women would have been involved and they do not outweigh the  liability. Ehrman himself is aware of this: "Again, I’m not saying that I think Mark invented the story.  But if we can imagine very easily a reason for Mark to have invented it, it is no leap at all to think that one or more of his predecessors may also have had reasons for doing so"[14]He never actually gives a reason that outweighs the problem. Sure they would have a reason for introducting women but as long as they are making it up they would invent a reason to have a man there too.

There are two basic counter arguments with which I will deal:

(1) It's in Mark

(2) Paul Does not mention them.

It's in Mark: There are atheists I know who seem to imply Mark has to be the first and so being in Mark must mean the author of Mark invented it. Of course this is based upon form critical assumptions, but we can put more fiber into the argument. The argumet is based upon the gradual increase in complexity from Mark through Matt and Luke to John. For example the men in white are men in Mark but by Luke they are a bad of angels. In Mark the women are afraid and run off and and tell no one. In Luke they are given a message of hope and go off joyously. That progression of development in the narrative is true but it doesn't prove it's made up or the women didn't exist. I've seen this on message boards.

As indicated above Mary M. is in the earliest strata, She is in the pre Mark redaction. Mark could not invent her. We can see from the readings that that they are early, In the Gospel of Peter it says: "[50] Now at the dawn of the Lord's Day Mary Magdalene, a female disciple of the Lord (who, afraid because of the Jews since they were inflamed with anger, had not done at the tomb of the Lord what women were accustomed to do for the dead beloved by them), [51] having taken with her women friends, came to the tomb where he had been placed. [52] And they were afraid lest the Jews should see them and were saying, 'If indeed on that day on which he was crucified we could not weep and beat ourselves, yet now at his tomb we may do these things."[14]

Mark 16"[1] When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb." (ESV)

Matthew: 28, "Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. "(ESV)

Luke 24 "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.." (NIV)  "10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles."

John 20 "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.."(NIV)

First, The Peter passage feels the necessity of explaining who Mary M. was. ("Mary Magdalene, a female disciple of the Lord "). None of the others do this, why? Because they are all written 60 plus year after the events and for people who grew up hearing about it, Mary . was well known in Christian community, But if this passage in Peter was written just a few years after they might feel she needed an introduction.Secondly,  GPete takes lengths to describe preparing the body and mourning rituals (flagellation). None of the others mention the latter and only Mark and Luke mention the spices, Everyone knew 60 years latter why the women went no need to make a big thing of it,Thirdly, the mention of fear and the Jewish anger, strangely absent from the canonical other than Mark. That is something that might be mentioned when the events are recent and emotion fresh in the mind, but 60 years latter no one reading it had experienced that fear no point.

(2) Paul Does not mention them.

Paul doesn't mention the women (1 Cor 15:5-7) because women were not considered valid witnesses. He's writing to a Greek audience and it would be read by Judaizers and James church people.He does it the way a Rabbi does things. It might also be that Paul wasn't told abouit them. He got his information from people not from books, he could not google the resurrection. He must have discussed those events with James and with Peter but would either have gone to great pains to tell him of the women?

The historicity or lack thereof of the women of the tomb is neither support for nor argument against the historical nature of the narrative at large, because it derives from the narrative at large,, The assumptions we make about the women determine how we see their historicity, Yet I think there is a sense of support for the reliability of the text that derives from knowing there are good arguments for the historical nature of the women.


[1] Richard Bauckham, "A Croquette of From Criticism of The Gospels." Third Millennium Ministries, website,  no date listed.
(accessed 2/2/18)
these guys have video to down load
Richard Bauckham (M.A., Ph.D. Cambridge; F.B.A.; F.R.S.E) is a widely published scholar in theology, historical theology and New Testament.

[2]____________. Jesus and The Eye Witnesses: The Gospel as Eye Witness Testimony. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wb. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Second Edition, 2017/2006. no page  indicated.

[3] Joseph Hinman, "Community as Author part 1," The Religious a priori. website no date listed.
(accessed 2/2/18)

part 2

part 3

[4]Richard Bauckham, Jesus and The Eye Witnesses:... op. cit, chapter 1 "From Historical Jessu to Jesus of Testimony,: 2 "what Papias says about eye witnesses: 1-12, 13-30.

[5] Joseph Hinman,"Hinman Bowen Debate," The religious A priori, website, No date, originally published on CADRE Comment's blog, Agust 2,2016.
(accessed 2/2/18)

[6]Richard Bauckham,"The Women at the Tomb:the Credibility of their Story,"pdf, The Laing Lecture at London Bible College,no date
(accessed 2/2/18)

[7]Joseph Hinman, "Gospel Behind the Gospels, part 2," Religious a priori. website, no date
(accessed 2/2/18)

[8]  Joseph Hinman, "Story of Empty Tomb Dated To Mid First Century." Cadre Comments Blog, (April 2, 2017)
(access 1/25/18) also published in Holding's anthology Defending the Resurrection

[9]James Bishop, "Jesus in The Pre Mark Passion Narrative," James Bishop's Theologoical Rationalism:Where reason and Evidence meet faith (June 13, 2015)
(accessed 2/2/18)

[10] Raymond Brown, Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave, A commentary on the Passion narratives in the Four Gospels. Volume 2. New York: Dobuleday 1994 1322

[11]Bart Ehrman, "The Women AT the Tomb." The Bart Ehrman Blog. no date (first coment April 4, 2014).
(accessed 2/2/18)


[14]Ibid God, Science, and Ideology by Joseph Hinman is a very important book. Hinman was a PhD candidate in the UT system, his field was history of ideas and he studied the history and philosophy of science. He brings this knowledge to the critique of athye8ist ideology on the internet. Hinman summarizes 20years of arguments with atheist apologist and takes down some of the major atheists figures such as Richard Dawkins,

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

My answer to Nadine Mesnard Alldridge¬if_t=comment_mention&ref=notif

Oct 5, 2022.

Nadine Mesnard Alldridge claims to be a historian bt doesn't seem to know what they do. she says:

Joe Hinman -"...he problem with that analogy is that is up front a fictional work. The Bible is not fictional meaning it is taken as and was written as historical..."

NMA Says: It is NOT historical. I'm an historian. The only things in it that have ever existed are most of the places and just a few of the people. There is no physical evidence for any of it. This is mine. I wrote it about 20 years ago and no substantiation has been found to refute it since. All holy people know this as fact. It is all based on faith, and is not historical.

Me: First you need to talk about what you think needs to be proved. What historian things: Jesus running aboutworking mirecles. That's about it. What happemedto this guy whosuppossedly worked mirealces? He was cliamed to haverise formthedead, see by a whole town full of people. His words became the world's leadigrelgion and have lasted 2000 years, That's a much better histrical record than the guys who crucified him, Pilate wasonly roven to exist in thelast hundred years.

_____________ NMA: "Most authentic historians know there is no physical evidence for Jesus. There could have been a guy walking around preaching, but no evidence for him. And he certainly didn't rise from the dead."

Me: Why do we need physical evidence when we have writtigs of people who knew him? Show me physical evidece for Pliny the younger? We do actually have some physical evidence. Chruch of the Holy Seplechur is over the site of the crcifiction and resurrection. Writtimgs of people who knew him: Matthew, John 1 Pete, James, epistles of John. People who knew his best friemds: Paul. Luke,

. NMA: These are the facts:

. "We have no physical evidence that Jesus ever existed primarily because nothing was ever written down during his supposed lifetime. There are no contemporaries of Jesus that documented any of it."

Google search:

"Virtually all scholars of antiquity accept that Jesus was a historical figure, although interpretations of a number of the events mentioned in the gospels (most notably his miracles and resurrection) vary and are a subject of debate." (google search)

we have writtigs of people who knew him. Of the Gospels which chronical his life Matt and John knew him.The sight of his death and resurrection that is physical.We have writtings by his brother James, his best friend Peter.Oaul and luke met people who knew him,

NMA"Also, none of the writers of the Bible, including Paul, ever heard him speak let alone met him, not ever. The biographers wrote many decades and even centuries after Jesus supposedly died. The Gospels were all written anonymously and we do not know who they really were."

Me: This is false: I answered this above, Peter, John, John, Matthew, James and they are attested to ny studetsoftheirs such as Pokycarp whoo knew Jon, WE have three writers who knew John.

NMA According to the Catholic Church, their records say that Jesus was crucified in 33 CE. All that was written about him by sources outside of the Bible, mostly Roman, cannot be called evidence because they all were born after Jesus supposedly died. This includes:

. Josephus-born 38 CE

Tacitus-born 54 CE

Pliny the Younger-born 61 CE

Suetonius Tranquillus-born 69 CE

Lucian-born about 125 CE"

This is called history, That is what historians d they write about things from before theiriera,we cal it "the past." Sheis using criteria of Jesus myth movementnot real historiogrophy. I dobt that sheis acadmeically trained.

Me: Odd she claims to be a historian and doesnt know what historians do. All histoirans write about periods before they were born. It is not true that we have nothing from people who knew him. Matthew,John, James, Peter, Paul tesifieis to having met many who knew him such as many of the 12.

. NMA All supposedly wrote of Jesus. ALL of it was taken from ORAL history, or the writings of people who witnessed none of it.

Me: these are assertions for which she offers no evidence. Factially we know and have works by people who knew him as I show above.

The ancient Iron Age Hebrew people couldn't write. And the scribes the Hebrew hierarchy used did little more than copy the Old Testament over and over again. It was the only thing they thought worthy of being written down. Certainly nothing that was supposedly said by Jesus meant anything to them. They did not record anything happening at the time. And AT THE TIME IT HAPPENED is what constitutes evidence that it DID happen. If they had, then that would be historical, yet they did not.

Me: clearly not true. How dowe have the OT if they couldn;t wrote? The timeof Christ saw Grek inflence andRoman mnflunce they could write,The vast majoirity of scholars accpet Paul's letter as geiuime wo that dispproves her assertion,John Oakes>"By the time of Christ, the chiefinstitution among the Jews was the Synagogue. This institution encouragedthe learning of at least a rudimentary level of Hebrew literacy, at least for the more well off male Jews. I have done some research since receiving your inquiry. Let me give you what seems to me a fairly careful scholarly study. It is at" (

. NMA: "It's all nothing but folklore, ALL of it. And until or IF they ever find any evidence that he lived, at all? That is how it remains."

assertion backed by nothing,

_________________________________________________________ NMA:Most of my research I used the Vatican library, often. Even the librarians there (priests) know it has no physical evidence it can use for proof. Nothing but faith. Joe, you need to research for yourself. I've been doing it for more than 50 years and nothing has changed-nothing new. Me: do you know the differencein research and documemtation? I am actually a PhlD cndidateim history of ideas, you are not. You arenit an historian/ You are not awqare of the major issues. You thin oral tradition is disproof no it's a way to predseve knwingeim ancient worldbyou don't know your stuff. Historian!