Friday, July 23, 2010

Hocus Pocus

The Bible wasn't written to trick anybody. It simply just recorded events as they happened. You guys (some Atheists) want to discredit the Bible because you think it was written by mere men. And they must have some hidden agenda to fool you into this religion to control you. So I guess you think 40 different writers over a 1500 year period of time conspired to achieve this great con. The problem is that your reading it wrong. Men may have actually wrote down what was happening but it was God who inspired their writings.

The Bibles theme From Genesis to Revelations has never changed. First we are to love and serve God and second since Genesis chap 3 God has been trying to reconcile a fallen, sinful, lost man back to Himself. That's it. Where's this giant conspiracy in that and what good has it done for Moses, King David, Isaiah, Jeremiah or the New Testament writers?

When you read the Bible read it as if it was really God trying to talk to you. Read it like it might just be the most important book ever. People say they can't hear God talking to them? I don't usually either, unless I'm reading or studying His word. Are His words important? Quick story from John chapter 6....

Jesus is laying down some hard sayings as He speaks in the Synagogue. And as a result of this many of His followers withdrew from Him. Then Jesus says to the "twelve" "Do you guys want to leave me too"? Listen carefully to my boy Peter's reply. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Abbra Cadabbra I will disa..

38 comments:

  1. There is alot going on in this thread that is interesting. I will be back tomorrow when I can tackle it more thoroughly. I am sure that Tristan can most certainly start this one with discussing the canonization controversies.

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  2. Check it out!

    http://advocatusatheist.blogspot.com/2010/07/i-am-atheos-book-preview.html

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  3. From my book chapter:

    Another consideration is that such fundamentalist literalism actually is disparaging. In his book The Reason-Driven Life the Biblical historian and Christian theologian Robert M. Price reveals:

    …the claim for biblical inspiration is pernicious because it straitjackets the open-ended, inductive reading of the Bible. Once one holds normative beliefs about what an inspired book may or may not be found saying, one has abandoned both the Protestant axiosm of Sola Scriptura and the grammatico-historical method… There is no biblical claim that the whole biblical cannon as we know it is inspired. And to claim that there is, is circular, making the Bible into a univocal, canonical monolith. It is a spurious claim.[iv]

    To set the record straight, it helps to get a general overview of the Bible’s progression as a book. So as Sister Maria says in The Sound of Music, let’s start at the beginning, since the beginning is often the best place to start.

    ---------------------------------------------------
    Read the full chapter online here:

    http://advocatusatheist.blogspot.com/2010/07/i-am-atheos-book-preview.html

    Hopefully it addresses all of your concerns.

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  4. Also from my book:

    Bloom reminds us in his book The American Religion, that this human design, since at the very least humans had to assemble the pages and put the book together, is something we must think about when we think of any holy scriptures. To show, that even before Christian history, that early on there were human artificers behind the creation of the supposed word of God, Bloom reflects, “…what we now call the Bible is the result of a complex process of canonization for which the criteria were surprisingly aesthetic, or at least reconcilable with the aesthetic. The Song of Songs is in the Bible because it had enchanted the great Rabbi Akiba…”[vi]

    -------------------------------------------------
    Extensive copying between all three texts, which were written separately around 70 C.E., turns out to be the result of another document referred to by scholars as Q. Stemming from the word Quelle, which means “source” in German, historians have postulated that there is a lost textual source for the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke. This theoretical text is presumed to be a collection of Jesus’ sayings and teachings and was further given credibility with a huge find in Egypt in 1945 near the town of Nag Hammâdi.

    As the story goes, a local peasant named Mohammed Ali Samman discovered a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts, having stumbled upon several buried jars, all of them sealed. Upon opening the jars the man discovered twelve leather-bound papyrus codices giving birth to The Nag Hammadi library (popularly known as the Gnostic Gospels). Picknett and Prince explain better the importance of the Gnostic texts when they inform:

    There are also a large number of fragments of lost works, sometimes referring to sayings or deeds of Jesus that are not in the New Testament, but of roughly the same age. In fact one of the fragments—actually four small scraps of papyrus—in the British Museum and known by the riveting title of ‘Egerton Papyrus 2’ is possibly the oldest surviving document about Jesus in existence.[xi]

    What is so marvelous about this discovery is that many of the Gnostic Gospels were dated to roughly the same time as the Synoptic Gospels, the oldest being the Ryland’s fragment of John’s Gospel (c.125-150 C.E.).

    The Egerton fragments, from the Gospel of Thomas (a Gnostic text), dated between 90-150 C.E. if not older, at the very least is the same age, as the Ryland’s fragment. Coincidentally enough, it shares many of the same verses and sayings of Jesus Christ of the Synoptic Gospels, thus proving that a yet undiscovered third source text must exist—this being the lost Gospel of Q.

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  5. Most of these ancient writings, including the manuscripts which make up the Gospels, were composed in foreign countries hundreds of miles away from ancient Jerusalem, written in Coptic Greek, a foreign language of a dissimilar culture in a different region of the world more than half a century after the supposed events ever took place.

    Furthermore, much of what constitutes the New Testament is Pseudepigraphic. This means that virtually all of the Gospels are forgeries. Historians for the past couple centuries have taught this historically supported view as the standard which is taught at virtually all the major educational institutions of higher learning, including seminaries and divinity schools. Biblical historian Bart D. Ehrman clarifies further, “A large number of the books in the early church were written by authors who falsely claimed to be apostles in order to deceive their readers into accepting their books and the views they represented.”[xvii]

    Yet this is only scratching the surface of the dilemma, as Ehrman goes on to inform:

    And so we have an answer to our ultimate question of why these Gospels are so different from one another. They were not written by Jesus’ companions or by companions of his companions. They were written decades later by people who didn’t know Jesus, who lived in a different country or different countries from Jesus, and who spoke a different language from Jesus.[xviii]

    Finally, Ehrman reminds us that although most scholars are reluctant to label the majority of the New Testament writings forged documents, that in reality, by any definition of the term that’s what they are.

    It is worthy to note that early Christians, much as the Christians now, have the tendency to attribute words and sayings to Jesus that, in reality, only reflect the experience, convictions, and hopes of the Christian community of any one particular era. For theologians to misrepresent Jesus of Nazareth’s intent and meaning by taking it out of the historical context seems unfair, not to mention dreadfully dishonest, when we stop to look at the context and what he is saying and not what we hope him to be saying.

    Manipulating the meaning of the text, however, is the surest way to create a unity of thought and belief, two important ingredients in any system of faith. Biblical Scholar Bart D. Ehrman phrases it like this:

    Most people… assume that since all the books of the Bible are found between the same hard covers, every author is basically saying the same thing. They think that Matthew can be used to help understand John, John provides insights into Paul, Paul can help interpret the book of James, and so on. This harmonizing approach to the bible which is foundational to much devotional reading, has the advantage of helping readers see the unifying themes of the bible, but it also has serious drawbacks, often creating unity of thought and belief where originally there was none.[xix]

    We might wonder how Christians can pretend to know what they can’t possible know while refusing to correct the errors in print as they continue to discount the very precise scholarly research, each new archeological discovery, advance in the understanding of ancient Hebrew and Greek languages, and the deep penetrating historical, literary, and textual analysis which lend themselves to a more accurate picture of the overall truth.

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  6. Ultimately, this can be troubling for anyone who believes that the Bible is the literal word of God. Robert M. Price, part of the Jesus Seminar, and author of The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, has equivocated:

    The controlling presupposition seems to be, “If the traditional view cannot be absolutely debunked beyond the shadow of a doubt, if it still might possibly be true, then we are within our rights to continue to believe it.” But scholarly judgments can never properly be a matter of “the will to believe.” Rather, the historian’s maxim must always be Kant’s: “Dare to know.”[xxi]

    All considered it seems virtually impossible for the Bible, much less any other holy book, to be a divinely inspired text. There’s too much historical evidence which shows these books have been tampered with repeatedly, from their initial assembly all the way down to the present day editions. As Professor Ehrman inquires, I too have often wondered, “Why would God have inspired the words of the Bible if he chose not to preserve these words for posterity?”[xxii]

    Not to sound too pedantic, but I feel that apparently since God wasn’t perfect enough to maintain the excellence of his Holy Word for posterity, seeing as over time he allowed his word to become corrupted by mere apes, we can’t trust the word of this God even if it were to have been real—mainly because he’d be an accomplice in sowing confusion and sponsoring a lie—something the Christian God is allegedly incapable of (i.e. in 1 Corinthians 14:33, Paul claims that “God is not the author of confusion”).

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  7. Again, the full chapter, with much more support and detail can be read at:

    http://advocatusatheist.blogspot.com/2010/07/i-am-atheos-book-preview.html


    Check it out!

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  8. Thanks Tristan. I knew that you could do that one better than me. This also comes back to what I was talking about in the previous thread. Religion becomes dangerous when it is not contextualized. There are so many Christians out there who are completely unaware of the political, mythological, and sociocultural context of the book.

    The Bibles theme From Genesis to Revelations has never changed. First we are to love and serve God and second since Genesis chap 3 God has been trying to reconcile a fallen, sinful, lost man back to Himself.

    I agree Feeno.... They were archetypal themes that were already there in Pagan, Egyptian, and Greek mythology. They are universal to all epochs of humans. The Bible was certainly not the first appearance of such an idea.

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  9. T-Vick

    I know you have put a lot of effort in your research and writings. And for what it is worth I hope it is financially rewarding to you. But it is all in vain.

    I have read and or studied much of the Talmud and the Gnostic gospels. I know all about the library at Nag Hammadi. Did you actually unearth something new? The Bible itself mentions many other books that were never canonized. Ever heard of the "Acts of Solomon"? The Annals of King David"? The books of "Daniel the Seer or Gad the Seer"? There are a lot more than these mentioned in the Old Testament and even more in the New Testament. They weren't included for a reason.

    I also know that if you wanted to write your own "gospel" nobody would take it to serious if the Authors name was Fred Jones. So that's why you have so many supposed lost gospels with names attached to them like Thomas, Luke Matthew etc.

    And every year which some artifact is dug up somewhere, it only adds to the historical accuracy of the Bible. And again the Bible was simply jotting down what was going on.

    It's funny how the "Dead Sea Scrolls" showed up and supported the Bible dead on. Did that change any non-believers mind? No. They just attack the scrolls too.

    be right back

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  10. At one time Bible doubters scoffed at places mentioned in the Bible. Towns like Jericho were once thought as pure fiction. Guess what? Secular discoveries have now proven Jericho was a real place. Ever heard Paran? Or Mecca, or Bacca or Kaabah? The longer we have Archeologists uncovering things the more proof we will find.

    There is nothing new about doubting Scripture, changing Scripture or copy cat versions. The Apostle Paul warned Believers about these things.

    The Bible as it is, is all we need. We need not add some book uncovered from Mary or take away the book of James because of something that contradicts it. The Bible is exactly what it needs to be and God has preserved that way.

    I think other historical writings and the other gospels can all be read and studied to help us learn. But the problem is what I posted about; As long as you can't see this as a book inspired by God, your understanding of it will be polluted.

    Later, feeno

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  11. Dear Feeno, in the old days, writers weren't concerned with historical accuracy. They wrote a mixture of fact, fiction, fantasy, myth, song, poetry etc. They didn't really make a distinction. So yes, there are facts in the Old Testament that can be proven by archaeology. But nowhere in the Old Testament does it claim that the Old Testament is the inerrant word of God. If you know of a passage that makes such a claim, please forward it to me.

    As our buddy Tristan has explained, the books of the New Testament were never intended to be bound together in a single book, or unified into a single faith. That came much, much later. The person who took all these different books and said: "this is the body of Christianity" was emperor Constantine. While the forty different authors who co-wrote the Bible over 1500 years did not themselves have an agenda, Constantine did. He need to unify the Empire, which was on the verge of civil war, and by creating a single faith from different sources, he helped give his subjects a sense of unity.

    Oh and he had his scribes sneak in a few snippets encouraging people to pay their taxes:

    "Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Romans 13:7)

    and in Matthew 22:21:

    "Caesar's," they replied.
    Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."


    And again in Mark 12:13-17:

    Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?"
    But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
    "Caesar's," they replied.

    Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
    And they were amazed at him.


    They were amazed that Jesus wanted people to pay their taxes Give me a break. I smell propaganda.

    Convenient for Good Ole Constantine eh?
    There he is, an Emperor in a time of civil unrest, deciding which books are canonical and which aren't and somehow... decides to include (fabricate maybe?) passages telling people to pay their taxes.

    And then the whole thing about Barrabas, scheduled to be executed for murdering roman soldiers, but then released, while Good Jesus is executed for merely preaching. Including this story in the canon had for effect of making the Romans dislike the Jews (who refused to believe in Jesus), and so the message here is "be a good Roman citizen, pay your taxes, and blame the Jews"

    I don't think it's a coincidence. Remember who Constantine was. He was an emperor struggling to calm civil unrest in his Empire. And he decides that these passages are canonical. Convenient. Very convenient.

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  12. 'Sup Lordship

    Your right about the early writers not being concerned with historical accuracy. They just wrote down things as it happened or as it was told to them. It wasn't designed to be a history book. It just is. The purpose was to use these letters and books to help further the early church. They were already using some of the books and letters. Peter was telling folks that Paul's writing were as good as gold. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

    90% of the Canonized Scripture was all put in place @ 140 years after Christ's resurrection. There is not a lot of dispute over the Old Testament between the early Church folk. They were all basically Jews who formed the first Church and they needed no evidence because God personally talked with Moses and the Prophets.

    That's why we need God's word. He chooses to talk to us through that, instead of Prophets. And the early Church fathers and scribes painstakingly used Scripture on Scripture to decide what was to be included. But ultimately God led these men and preserved the words He wanted in it.

    I had a pretty good Catholic education. I'm old enough that my Teachers were mainly Nuns and Priests. When you speak of Constantine I think your referring to the Council of Nicea? When this event took place 21 out of the 27 New Testament books were already considered "Holy" by all Christians everywhere. 6 more were added and several more who had consideration were left out altogether. But here's something you might not know if Sr. Loretta wasn't your freshman religion teacher. No books were added or subtracted from this council. It wasn't until 6 years after the death of Constatine any changes were even made.

    So you'll have to forgive me if I take Sr. Loretta's word over some four eyed, pocket protecting wearing, booger eating commie derelict writer somewhere.

    No offense to booger eaters or commies.

    Later Holmes, feeno

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  13. Dear Feeno, in the old days, writers weren't concerned with historical accuracy. They wrote a mixture of fact, fiction, fantasy, myth, song, poetry etc. They didn't really make a distinction

    GTA, in reference to miracles which Gospel notes the most and which the least? When you have that answer, please tell me which was the later to be written.

    Extensive copying between all three texts, which were written separately around 70 C.E., turns out to be the result of another document referred to by scholars as Q. Stemming from the word Quelle, which means “source” in German, historians have postulated that there is a lost textual source for the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke

    I find it amusing that some critics will offer up the theory of the "Gospel of Q" as if this is some sort of intellectual boogeyman that believers should cringe from.

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  14. feeno - "Towns like Jericho were once thought as pure fiction. Guess what? Secular discoveries have now proven Jericho was a real place."

    But feeno, what actually happened at Jericho...you know, the Joshus, the walls? Sure, Jericho existed, but did the battle transpire as described in the bible?

    From Wikipedia -
    The battle of Jericho has become a touchstone of the Bible's reliability as a source for the history of ancient Israel, and Jericho has accordingly been a focus of investigation since the earliest days of archaeology in Palestine. The first scientific investigation was carried out by Charles Warren in 1868, but amounted to no more than a site-survey (Warren's prime interest was in establishing the modern equivalents of Biblical locales). In 1907-09 and again in 1911 digging was carried out by two German archaeologists, Carl Watzinger and Ernest Sellin. Watzinger and Sellin believed that they would be able to validate the Biblical story of Jericho's destruction by Joshua and the Israelites, but concluded instead that the data indicated that the city was unoccupied at the time which the Bible indicated for the Conquest.
    These results were tested in 1930-36 by John Garstang, at the suggestion of William F. Albright, the doyen of Palestinian archaeology at the time. Garstang discovered the remains of a network of collapsed walls which he dated to about 1400 BC, the time he believed the Israelites were on their conquest, that had apparently fallen in a dramatic fashion as opposed to being ruined by abandonment or decay from natural forces. Garstang's work thus reversed the conclusions of the earlier diggings.
    By the post-war period a revolution had occurred in archaeological methodology, and Albright accordingly asked Kathleen Kenyon, one of the most respected practitioners of the new archaeology, to excavate at Jericho once more. Kenyon dug at Jericho over the seasons between 1952-1958. Kenyon traced the entire history of the city from the earliest Neolithic settlement. She did this by digging a narrow deep trench maintaining clean, squared off edges, rigorously examining the soil and recording its stratification, and thus building up a cross-section of the tell. When presented with an area that would require wider areas to be excavated - the floor plan of a house for example - she carefully dug in measured squares while leaving an untouched strip between each section to allow the stratification to remain visible. Kenyon reported that her work showed Garstang to have been wrong and the Germans right - Jericho had been deserted at the accepted Biblical date of the Conquest. Her result was confirmed in 1995 by radiocarbon tests which dated the destruction to 1562 BCE (plus/minus 38 years) with a certainty of 95%.


    link - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jericho

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  15. feeno - "You guys (some Atheists) want to discredit the Bible because you think it was written by mere men."

    Personally, I don't want to discredit the bible. it does a fine job at that on it's own.

    What I want to discredit are modern day believers (Christians) who make claims of facts not in evidence.

    Examples:

    "And every year which some artifact is dug up somewhere, it only adds to the historical accuracy of the Bible."

    "The Bible is exactly what it needs to be and God has preserved that way."

    and this jewel:

    "As long as you can't see this as a book inspired by God, your understanding of it will be polluted."
    Translation - all you non Christians bible scholars out there (dare I name a few) - feeno knows more about the bible than you do.

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  16. bobaloo

    Actually you'll find that Scripture tells us this battle was no battle at all. Joshua and his army simply marched around the city once a day for a week, then on the last day marched around it 7 times. After that someone blew a horn/trumpet and the walls fell. Every Scientist and Archeologist worth his weight will verify that that this city of Jericho collapsed from an earthquake and not a military invasion.

    And even your girl figures this all took place around 1562 BC. Then minus her 28 years you get 1534 BC. If you follow biblical chronology this battle should have taken place around 1400 BC.

    So after 20 centuries of doubt the Bible correctly names the site, the city, the people involved, and the event and because of Indiana Jones' mom says the date is off by 134 years that this proves something?

    It does prove something, that Mrs. Jones was wrong by 134 years.

    I'll check in with ya in the A.M.

    good night bob, feeno

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  17. Hey bobaloo

    I saw you posted another comment while I was.

    Not for a minute do I think I'm more smarter than any Bible scholar. Secular or Christian. I'd say many of the Atheists that I've encountered are a lot more smarter than me when it comes to Scripture. But...

    The beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.

    I also want you to know that I really am not trying to argue with you. I'm only offering an explanation from a different view point.

    Who knows bob, I might be wrong? But should I not also be a skeptic and go where I think the evidence is leading me?

    Thanks for commenting and unless you've p[osted again already, this time I'm going to bed.

    Late, feeno

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  18. Feen said..."It's funny how the "Dead Sea Scrolls" showed up and supported the Bible dead on. Did that change any non-believers mind? No. They just attack the scrolls too."

    So early copys of parts of the fictional bible are later found backing up some of the fictional writings/ideas ..Specially parts connected to history and real places.....And you feel that proves its not much fiction ,but proves its "all" truth ?.

    Sheeze Feen ...I do hope some early copy of writings about ole Santa are not found !.Especially if some history connects it to a place where the myth was actually supposed to have originally came from...And may all the mythical Gods be ready to help us! ,should they dare dig up some old house ruins, proving! some folks in old times ACTUALLY did practiced the pagan belief of christmas.Man the utter chaos caused by the christian faith myth is plenty enough trouble for this planet.We dont need a santa belief to do it quite the same way.

    Man, Islam and Hindism along with Christianity etc, causes us plenty enough problems.

    Feen said..."Actually you'll find that Scripture tells us this battle was no battle at all. Joshua and his army simply marched around the city once a day for a week, then on the last day marched around it 7 times. After that someone blew a horn/trumpet and the walls fell. Every Scientist and Archeologist worth his weight will verify that that this city of Jericho collapsed from an earthquake and not a military invasion"

    So what proves anything omnipotent or supernatural?....Dont you suppose ancient folks who once even believed even killer lightning bolts, were also thrown by Gods,might have not thought/believed/guessed ....oh this means God made the earth shake! and brought down the walls of Jericho! ...And then to make it seem even more Godly and superstitious and threatening! ,decide ahhh i know! .lets get all creative with our story telling!,and suggest somebody walked around the wall ex ammount of times ....and all of a sudden the walls simply tumbled!.....That will better help MANIPULATE many more of them plurry heathen pricks! into simply folding in such fear.

    And you bet ..it would have worked ...these type tricks are still used today

    Theist aint changed much from ancient times Feen ...There are plenty who still try and connect earthquakes with matters of the supernatural to try and MANIPULATE matters and cause FEAR so as to gain more CONTROL.

    What makes you think ancient theists were likely to honestly be absolutely so much more trustworthy, than modern day theists are today, Feen ?.

    Hell mate open you eyes a little...Even when sexaul infalibilities are exposed within theist situations ...surrounding theists all gather around together and try corralating much the same stories , in hope of hiding the truth and making the story better fit.

    What makes you think ancient theists were anymore different? ...What was there back in old days that made folks back then think theist "fibbing" for Gods was "totally" against! Gods will?.

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  19. A couple of points--

    The Q Document is real... just undiscovered. I talk about the evidence for it, but basically it amounts to the sayings of Jesus found in The Gospel of Thomas being the same as the Synoptics.

    The reason scholars KNOW the Q document exists is because Christians would have no way to explain the sayings in Thomas without such an external source so far after the death of Jesus.

    It's simple logic. If you have __ + 3 = 4 then you can guess the missing piece of the puzzle, in this case the roman numeral 1. The Q document is simply a deduction, very easy to understand, no strings or tricks attached.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Feeno mentioned how Paul warned against false prophets and copycat versions and the like. Needless to say, he probably said this because so many were copying his style and trying to hijack his authority.

    Still, most of the Epistles are pseudepigrapha, meaning Paul didn't write them! Paul is known to only have written 7 of the Epistles.The rest are forgeries or else in dispute.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles

    So Feeno's point only makes sense in the historical context--that Paul warned against plagiarists because it threatened his authority. At the same time, it complicates Biblical authority, and shows how the Bible can NOT be trusted.

    This isn't a theory so much as a proven historical fact... Christians will undoubtedly create a wealth of apologetics to get around such difficulties, but they often do so at the sake of sacrificing the genuine historical truth.

    If one is honest... you can't just dismiss such findings. You must face them squarely.

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  21. As a sidenote... The Dead Sea Scrolls came to town and I went to see them. LOL. Me and my best friend cracked jokes the whole way through.He talked me into it so that he could impress him mom. I got more from the Vanity Fair Portraits and dinosaurs upstairs. Of course, I still had to cough up twenty bucks on top of my admission. The money making power of religion.

    Feeno-Who knows bob, I might be wrong? But should I not also be a skeptic and go where I think the evidence is leading me?

    I think that this is a great statement. And, it really complements what Tristan is saying above. Face all information. Become informed in faith. I think that the reason why many Christians refuse to accept a contrary type of position is because I think that they fear they will end up like us... That is not necessarily true. Become historically competent and accepting of the contradictions within your belief system will only serve to enhance your spiritual beliefs. You will learn to appreciate the humanity of the flaws. I always say this to people. You get sick and you need surgery. You do not go into surgery with no knowledge of what is being done, what the risks are, and what the outcome is to be. Same should be with faith.

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  22. The Q Document is real... just undiscovered

    Am I allowed to make the same statement in reference to Noah's Ark?

    I talk about the evidence for it, but basically it amounts to the sayings of Jesus found in The Gospel of Thomas being the same as the Synoptics

    You seem to know a bit about the Gospel of Thoas so I don't think that you would mind if I asked you a couple of basic questions about it.

    1) Are any of the sayings completely contradictory to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

    2) To what date do you ascribe the so-called "Gospel of Thomas" and what evidence would you cite to support it?

    3) If those are a complete breeze, then what language is it believed that it was originally written in?

    There, that's three for you to get started on and I await your reply.

    The reason scholars KNOW the Q document exists is because Christians would have no way to explain the sayings in Thomas without such an external source so far after the death of Jesus

    Just for fun...

    The reason scholars KNOW the Ark exists is because Christians would have no way to explain the sayings of Moses without such a boat existing after the death of Noah.

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  23. feeno,

    I really mean no offense by this, but the stuff you're saying here shows that you are uninformed about these sorts of things. I mean, I'm no expert either, but there are people that devote their lives to studying archaeology, textual criticism, etc., and they keep up-to-date about what is happening in their field of study as well. The kinds of things you are saying are things I heard from the pulpit all the time as a kid, and they make their appearances in those feel-good Christian magazines as well. But typically it's either incorrect or at least out of date.

    For example, back in about the late 1800s - early 1900s, there was an idea floating around about "Biblical archaeology." Essentially, people went around with a Bible in hand, looked for a city in the approximate area where the Bible said there was a city, and when they found the ruins of something, they said, "Oh, this must be it!" The methods were not at all rigorous, but it sure led to a lot of "proof" that the Bible was historically accurate. As I understand it, archaeology has overturned many of these earlier "findings", but this is the sort of stuff people talk about when they say that "archaeology is constantly proving the Bible to be true." It's this stuff that most archaeologists nowadays see as foolish - the word just never got out to the Christian masses.

    The other point I'd like to make is that being able to name places and people doesn't make an account "historical". By that reasoning, Seinfeld is a documentary because it takes place in New York City. Just because an account takes place in a real location and mentions real people, it doesn't mean that the events that are described are not embellished or outright fabricated. For example, there is absolutely no evidence of a large migration from Egypt, through the Sinai desert, to Israel. Considering the size of the group described in Exodus, you would think there would be much evidence of garbage, other discarded items, and (since everyone over a certain age died in the desert) dead bodies. Wherever people go, archaeologists find evidence through pottery shards, bones of animals, ash from fire pits, etc. But we find none of this. Not a scrap. So yes, there is a place called Egypt, and a place called Canaan, and a place called Sinai. But that doesn't make the exodus a real event. (A more common conclusion of archaeologists/historians is that the Israelites were native to the region of Canaan, and slowly displaced the other tribes in the area. During this time, a complex mythology involving the exodus, etc., was developed to explain their origins. This is not at all uncommon for many cultures.)

    Feeno, I'd really just encourage you to read up a bit on the state of archaeology and some of the conclusions they've reached. Or alternately, there is an excellent documentary by PBS called The Bible's Buried Secrets that can give you some information about this sort of thing. I found it very illuminating, and from what I can tell, it pretty accurately represents the mainstream opinions of historians in the field.

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  24. Wow, that post was a lot longer than I thought it was. Sorry for the length!

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  25. 'ey Jeff

    Are you saying that there are no Christian Archeologists that have devoted their whole life work to these sort of things? Because there out there, are you gonna take their word for it?

    Do we discount what somebody says because they happen to be a Christian? I don't know ho to link, but if I could, don't you think I could find plenty of educated folks who'd agree with the Bible's position?

    Don't feel like you have to answer these questions. They are really not questions. Just something to think about.

    later, feeno

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  26. Feeno, if you have time, look at this: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biblianazar/esp_biblianazar_40.htm

    I am not sure if this writer is in fact a 'booger eating commie derelict' but that's for you to judge.

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  27. JD, scholars believe that the first Gospel to be written was Mark's, and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke use it as a source. I'm not sure of the relevance of the number of miracles that either one of them contain.

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  28. I stated: The Q Document is real... just undiscovered.

    JD inquired: "Am I allowed to make the same statement in reference to Noah's Ark?"

    Great flood stories, e.g. deluge myths, are found in most early civilization's literature. What one must be aware of is plagiarism and borrowings from earlier myths which would put the veracity of any myths claims to be literally a historical account into jeopardy.

    Such is the case with the Biblical flood myth, which was proved by the assyriologist George Smith to be a heavily derivative re-telling of ancient Sumerian (Babylonian) "Epic of Gilgamesh." This also accounts for why early Church leaders mistook the myth for a historical account--they simply were unaware of the Gilgamesh legend which the ancient Hebrew cannibalized and included into their mythos.

    JD:"You seem to know a bit about the Gospel of Thomas so I don't think that you would mind if I asked you a couple of basic questions about it."

    Yes, I've read most of the available English translations of the Gnostic texts.

    "1) Are any of the sayings completely contradictory to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?"

    Yes there are. One of the things about Jesus' sayings--even in the NT--is that they are amazingly contradictory! That's not the problem here. The problem is how the attributed sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas match verbatim those found in the Synoptic tradition. 114 sayings to be exact.

    Why is this a problem you wonder? Because the Gospel of Thomas is the oldest surviving text which mentions Jesus by name!

    Stevan L. Davies argues that the apparent independence of the ordering of sayings in Thomas from that of their parallels in the synoptics shows that Thomas was most likely not reliant upon the canonical Gospels and probably predated them.Most historians estimate that it is an early first century Gnostic work.

    JD: "2) To what date do you ascribe the so-called "Gospel of Thomas" and what evidence would you cite to support it?"

    Nobody knows the exact date when it was composed, just like with the Gospels we can only make estimates, but there is enough evidence to suggest it is older than the synoptic tradition.Richard Valantasis estimates anywhere around 60, in or roughly the same period as the period when the Gospels were composed.

    "3) If those are a complete breeze, then what language is it believed that it was originally written in?"

    Like the Synoptic Gospels and most of the NT canon, the Gospel of Thomas was written in Coptic Greek.We know this because of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 when a full manuscript of the text was uncovered.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas

    All this--by the way--is evidence which supports the Q Document hypothesis.

    JD inquired:

    "The reason scholars KNOW the Ark exists is because Christians would have no way to explain the sayings of Moses without such a boat existing after the death of Noah."

    That's a false dichotomy. Since we're talking about the attributed sayings of Jesus, recorded in the Gospels and in the Gnostic sources, both of which we have surviing copies of.

    The comparison is being made between two source texts. Not a hypothetical boat found in a derivative work of fiction and a mythological Jewish figure.

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  29. TV,

    Rather than go point by point, I made an entire entry on my blog in order to present how completely foolish it is to argue the authenticity of Thomas. Enjoy!

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  30. scholars believe that the first Gospel to be written was Mark's, and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke use it as a source. I'm not sure of the relevance of the number of miracles that either one of them contain

    Correct. Mark is the earliest Gospel and it contains 19 miracles.

    John was the last Gospel to be written a couple of decades later and contains only 8.

    This flies in the face of the commonly held theory that as the temporal distance from the events increases, that writers often typically increase the amount of supernatural involvement e.g. miracles) to embellish an account as time goes on.

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  31. Tristan,

    Can we not cite Wikipedia? I have problems with their credibility.

    Also, when researching you book, if you are quoting a source that is a self proclaimed *ahem* authority on the Bible and they are affiliated in any way with the "Jesus Seminar", run, do not walk, from the idea of citing them as anything remotely resembling a credible source. This is because about 90 percent of scholars outside the Jesus Seminar have been critical of their methods.

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  33. JD-

    I typically use Wikipedia as an auxiliary source.I cite the names so you can go look up the scholars research and read the material yourself.

    Mind you, bias against the Jesus seminar is mainly an Evangelical thing. Most Catholics I've talked to agree with the Seminar's approach to uncover a "historical Jesus."

    If you have a problem with the historicity of Jesus that's not my problem.

    Wiki normally has a good reference lists. I use those to look up the names and books on Amazon, Inter-library lone, Google Books, etc. to get books and more information. It's a useful aid if you use it correctly.

    And when I cite Wiki it's normally so that you can get an overview of the basics--as it does address many of the questions you have. If you have a problem with the accuracy or authenticity--then it's up to you to fact check! That's part of the scholarly approach to qualifying your sources or else defending them.

    Since I'm not quoting from Wiki as a primary source, I see no problem with using it to supply further reference material.

    I've read much of the material posted on my blog, but instead of giving you a list of books you'll likely never read--I give you the short and simplified Wiki version.

    If you want my sources, feel free to read any of the history books I link on my website for good references to scholarly resources.

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  34. This flies in the face of the commonly held theory that as the temporal distance from the events increases, that writers often typically increase the amount of supernatural involvement e.g. miracles) to embellish an account as time goes on.

    People embellish, but not always. Sometimes they simplify things over time. I mean take almost any novel that was made into a movie, for example. So much stuff gets cut out. We can't generalize and say that the only outcome of any story is to be embellished, because both embellishment and simplification can happen. Even within the same story, certain details can be embellished or elaborated on, and other details can be left out.

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  35. feeno,

    No, I certainly didn't mean to imply that Christian archaeologists should be discredited. Just the ones that use bad methodology, who essentially point to the first ruins of a city they see and say, "That must be Nazareth!" There are clearly good, competent archaeologists and historians that are Christians, and they are good and competent precisely because they follow the accepted methods that all archaeologists/historians use. That's what I was trying to say. Sorry if it wasn't clear :)

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  36. Here's a proper response to JD's 'Doubting the Gospel of Thomas' post.

    Hopefully everyone here will find time to read it, as I correct some common misconceptions regarding the dating of the text and its legitimacy as an Early Christian writing.

    http://advocatusatheist.blogspot.com/2010/07/doubting-gospel-of-thomas-response.html

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  37. feen - "Every Scientist and Archeologist worth his weight will verify that that this city of Jericho collapsed from an earthquake and not a military invasion.

    Earth quake? Is that what the bible says?

    feen - "...Indiana Jones' mom says the date is off by 134 years that this proves something?

    How far off would the date have to be before you questioned the "accuracy" of the bible...200 years, 500 years, 10,000 years? How about if it was discovered that the LDS church was off by 150 years on the birth of Joseph Smith? Would you encourage your Mormon friends to take another look at their religious claims?

    feen - "Are you saying that there are no Christian Archeologists that have devoted their whole life work to these sort of things? Because there out there, are you gonna take their word for it?
    Do we discount what somebody says because they happen to be a Christian?


    Joseph Callaway - conservative Southern Baptist and professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spent nine years excavating the ruins of ancient Ai (Jericho)-

    "The evidence from Ai was mainly negative. There was a great walled city there beginning about 3000 B. C., more than 1,800 years before Israel's emergence in Canaan. But this city was destroyed about 2400 B. C., after which the site was abandoned.

    "Despite extensive excavation, no evidence of a Late Bronze Age (1500-1200 B. C.) Canaanite city was found. In short, there was no Canaanite city here for Joshua to conquer."

    "Archaeology has wiped out the historical credibility of the conquest of Ai as reported in Joshua 7-8. The Joint Expedition to Ai worked nine seasons between 1964 and 1976... only to eliminate the historical underpinning of the Ai account in the Bible."

    These are the words of a Christian Archeologist. Read more about him:
    http://archives.sbts.edu/CC/article/0,,PTID325566_CHID717902_CIID1986956,00.html

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