Feed on Posts or Comments 24 November 2014

Christianity Johnson on 11 Apr 2009 12:45 am

Jesus did not exist

There is no evidence that Jesus existed:

80 Responses to “Jesus did not exist”

  1. on 11 Apr 2009 at 11:14 am 1.Dimms said …

    The logic of the Atheist Belief (at least within the framework of this website: “Why Wont God Heal Amputees”)

    (An interesting 2:48 minute clip. Not comprehensive in the arguments put forward but I understand it was only a brief clip. I will think through and investigate her position.)

    I have been on a bit of a journey through the website to get an idea of its underlying presuppositions and premises. I am a Christian who is attempting to use logic and reason as the website exhorts me to. I am not going to put forward my arguments FOR God here to meet every point in the “book” presented on the site. I simply do not have the time. If I did have the time I honestly would, since I find the discourse fascinating. Moreover, many of the non-theists who blog here strike me as very intelligent (at least within a western intellectual framework) who presumably have access to all the literature and arguments I would put forward. It really is up to them to assess the evidence. My stance is more on the offensive (I am not assuming an arrogant posture here, just applying reason to the websites own propositions) than defensive, specifically looking at the literature of the website.

    The literature is profoundly normative, absolute and puts forward an authoritative posture. It, in places, is almost creedal and dogmatic in its propositions for no god. Here are some of the absolute claims. Textually and grammatically these are not proposed as opinions but foregone conclusions.
    • “There is neither heaven nor hell. These two places are fairy tale worlds that spring from the human imagination.”
    • “You do not have an “everlasting soul.” The concept of a soul is completely imaginary.”
    • “People do not have “eternal life” after their deaths. The whole notion of eternal life is a fantasy.”
    • “People do not meet back up with dead friends and family members in the afterlife, nor is there any reincarnation.”
    • “There are not 72 virgins waiting for you in heaven if you martyr yourself in a suicide bombing.”
    And:
    • “All of it is imaginary. The truth is this simple: When you die, you die.”

    Indeed, so convinced is it (it = the website and its proponents) of its proposition of “Truth”, it seeks to engage in discourse, not as an exchange of ideas to come to truth, but to bolster and confirm its predetermined Truth. This is not open discourse (note the underlined portion, added by me): “It is time for Americans, both religious and non, to openly discuss the evidence showing that God IS (capitals added)imaginary.”(the discussion is not open here. The conclusion has already been reached that God is imaginary)It does in places imply a certain “canon” bound up in scientific research and literature, which constitutes this “evidence”. However, as I put forward below, the “evidence” pronounced by the website is grounded in a methodology that is, by its very nature and process, ill-equipped to demonstrate the metaphysical thesis of “no god”.

    Furthermore, the website cleverly sets a up a dichotomy between the non-theist who rationally trusts in science, and the theist who irrationally trusts in an imaginary god. It is clever, because the website recognizes the power of lexical choice in discourse and rhetoric. Very persuasive but when deconstructed, is benign. Within a western cultural epistemology (at least within a tertiary educated framework) vocabulary such as “science” and “rational” are valued entities, whereas “irrational”, “imaginary” and “faith” are less valued as means to ascertain truth claims within this same framework. I am asserting below, however, that the non-theist view presented in the website literature is not the “logical” outcome of scientific inquiry, but a faith-based presupposition imposed on the scientific data.

    It is my assumption here that the science put forward is based on a western empirical, scientific method. This scientific inquiry hypothesizes based on observable phenomena, tests the hypothesis for physical verification and forms a hypothesis for the cause of the previously discovered physical event and so on…. Necessarily, it is an epistemological framework which operates on “seeing is believing”. Natural causes, then, are the only causes this framework can address. It is internally ill-equipped to test for “supernatural” or “metaphysical” causes (or non causes-if I can state it like that) and phenomena. To assert in absolute terms that there is god or no god (as this sight asserts) is by its nature a metaphysical or philosophical proposition. Such a proposition can be imposed on the scientific data, but the data itself neither proves or disproves the metaphysical claim. The methodology cannot do this. Nevertheless, this is used by the website as one of its fundamental groundings for its claims of the non existence of a deity. In this sense it moves from science to “philosophical naturalism” which is an abstract construct, not a scientific phenomenon. Again, it is not a considered approach (based on reason and logic) to use science (which the website does)to then assert these tenets below(content in parentheses are added by me to confirm my assertions in this paragraph):
    • “ There is neither heaven nor hell. These two places are fairy tale worlds that spring from the human imagination.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
    • “You do not have an “everlasting soul.” The concept of a soul is completely imaginary.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
    • “People do not have “eternal life” after their deaths. The whole notion of eternal life is a fantasy.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
    • “People do not meet back up with dead friends and family members in the afterlife, nor is there any reincarnation.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
    • “There are not 72 virgins waiting for you in heaven if you martyr yourself in a suicide bombing.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
    And:
    “All of it is imaginary. The truth is this simple: When you die, you die.” (metaphysical proposition, NOT a scientific finding)
    And:
    “You are a collection of chemical reactions (finding based on a modern, empirical, scientific methodology). When these chemical reactions cease, you die(finding based on a modern, empirical, scientific methodology). When you die, “you” cease to exist (metaphysical proposition and “leap”). Imagining eternal life and creating a fantasy called “heaven” does not change anything. When you die (physical, observable event), you are dead (metaphysical proposition and “leap”).”

    And:

    “We can look at all of this evidence (these evidences are grounded by the website in two foundations: the Christian canon (which the site claims are deficient, deceptive and fallible to start with), and the western scientific method) and we can see that God is imaginary. Christianity is a delusion. Religion in general is a delusion (metaphysical proposition, NOT a scientific finding).”

    Please remember, I am not attempting here to put forward the case FOR god. I am endeavoring to put forward the case that the methodology used by the writer of the text is not compatible (indeed flawed) in terms of his/her absolute conclusions. The scientific process and methodology cannot necessarily show “there is no god”, however, the website explicitly sites this methodology as its driving framework. The above dot points are extraordinary claims which imply a comprehensive (metaphysical and physical) knowledge of the cosmos (in terms of what is seen and unseen), asserted in a dogmatic, absolute nature, and are not, necessarily, borne out by scientific method. Indeed, the non-theist position, as presented by the website is exclusive, absolute and implies an omniscience possessed by the non-theist observer. So, (in my reasoning) unless the non-theist observer is positioned outside the cosmos, he/she necessarily cannot make the omniscient claim of “no god” through a temporal, restricted scientific methodology. The positions held by the website are philosophical hypotheses. By extension (I wouldn’t go so far to say that they are “imaginary” , there is a closed reasoning here) they are human constructs being implied as Truth with a capital “T”.

    It is for the above reasons that I am not convinced by this website that there is no god, at least through the western scientific framework. My reasoning, therefore, informs me that it is a leap of faith (or indeed doubt).

    In conclusion, for me, the western scientific method cannot by its very nature demonstrate god or no god. Moreover, the proponents on this website (although they cleverly attempt this) cannot use the Christian canon of scripture to refute the existence of a deity in absolute terms, since by the site’s own admission it is fallible, indeed, “imaginary” and not compatible within the current western construct of morality and ethics (which themselves could be considered cultural constructs).

    Therefore in terms of (my) faculty of reason, if both these methodologies (the Christian canon (as depicted by the website’s proponents) and scientific method) are deficient, my inquiring mind requires that the burden of proof lies as much with the atheist to demonstrate the absolute claim that there is NO deity. Since such a claim is indeed as metaphysical, “extraordinary” and “supernatural” as that of the theist.

    Ultimately, if the methodology is deficient, one necessarily has to reconsider his/her foundational hypothesis (i.e. “there is no god”) or seek another methodology. That is of course if one works within this western epistemological framework, which this site seems to. This website does not logically or rationally convert me to belief in no god. It is not logically or rationally convincing for the reasons outlined above.

    I hope the above makes sense. If not my apologies. I am not presuming to know everything on the issue (I am only finite). I am simply taking the implied challenge of the website to employ my finite reason and logic and not operate as anancient “primitive” man(again the lexical choice of “primitive” is a clever, emotive employment in the website’s rhetoric).

    Thank you sincerely for the opportunity this site affords in terms of a free discourse and exchange of ideas. I have really found it thought provoking. However I am not converted to its thesis based on the exercise of reason.

  2. on 11 Apr 2009 at 1:15 pm 2.Steve said …

    You know, they say brevity is the wit of the soul. The lack of it probably comes from all that word-putting in other prople’s mouths. You know, that wall of text of yours is best off suited for the fora so people with time can help you. You’ll find it under “Links” to the right.

    http://www.godisimaginary.com/ (50+ simple proofs)
    Have you seen this site? I sure did, but then I ignored it for no reason other than to stroke my own ego. Sad, I could have saved us time.

    I’m not sure if you realize this, but the main focus of this site is dealing with fundamentalist christians-like I used to be!!. (Thanks again, Hermes!)

  3. on 11 Apr 2009 at 1:18 pm 3.Lou said …

    Also of note, Pascal’s Wager doesn’t fly here. It’s simply not a valid reason for faith! So keep this in mind when talking to an atheist like myself.

    Lou

  4. on 11 Apr 2009 at 1:20 pm 4.Lou said …

    Again, the scientific method is not biased just because it doesn’t find what you want to find. Don’t blame it on that. It’s not “western” or “eastern” or anything of the sort.

    Lou

  5. on 11 Apr 2009 at 1:54 pm 5.Hermes said …

    Dimms, thanks for your comments.

    As for those that touch on souls and an afterlife, below is something that I wrote that I think is complete enough to start a serious discussion on the topic.

    I don’t claim it is a perfect analysis, though anything I mention is supported by facts and other evidence. If you want some of those references, let me know and I’ll be glad to provide them.

    Important: The comments below do not address any deity. They only cover souls and an afterlife.

    —————————–

    “Where will I go when I die?”

    I know the answer to that. When I’m alive, I am — when I’m dead, I am not.

    Here’s the long version;

    Summary: There is no such thing as a soul. Because of that, there is no existence for us after our lives are over. That’s why it’s called death.

    How can I write that with any confidence?

    Think about what we know — what we can actually check and examine. Think about what we do not need to speculate about — on both life and death.

    1. Death is not a clear line; on one side alive, on the other completely dead.

    Death happens in stages as individual cells no longer retain integrity for a variety of reasons, often because of oxygen starvation from organ failure or trauma that prevents the blood from circulating. Parts of us are dying and new cells are being made all the time.

    2. Organ transplants. Even when ‘we’ cease to be, parts of us are still coherent, allowing organ transplants. There is even a method of blood extraction from corpses that is used occasionally.

    3. All of our thoughts while we are alive are contained in a structure of neurons. This can be seen in a variety of well documented cases from Phineas Gage through to the impacts of severing the corpus colosum and the impacts of traumas such as strokes and alzheimers as well as the structures found that map nerves to a variety of tasks and thoughts.

    4. When people start to die, the brain is frequently one of the last organs to be starved of oxygen.

    5. The ‘tunnel of light’ is caused by the visual cortex losing oxygen and the remaining parts of the brain attempting to deal with that. The same ‘tunnel’ can be simulated. Pilots experience this when they use a centrifuge under high G forces for training or to test new gear. Both these are documented and can be duplicated with the proper equipment and/or circumstances.

    6. People who live after being through this oxygen starvation tell stories based on their brain’s attempt to deal with the stress. They talk about ‘flash backs’, they talk about ‘stepping outside’ of themselves and seeing themselves. The same thing the pilots in the centrifuges report.

    7. The more time the brain or any organ is starved, the more damage.

    8. People don’t act any differently from more damage (that brings them closer to complete death and thus an ‘afterlife’) then other victims of brain damage.

    9. When people ‘come back’ from ‘the dead’ their bodies have not suffered complete cell death; they weren’t completely dead.

    10. When cell death is complete, there is no place for ‘us’ to stand; there is no way to ‘see the other side’ and return to talk about it.

    11. Think back to #3. Now, with that in mind, where do ‘we’ go if our brains suffer a stroke or other damage? Are there surpluses of souls hanging around, waiting for brain damage before they can be inserted into a live body?

  6. on 11 Apr 2009 at 2:28 pm 6.Hermes said …

    Dimms, keep in mind that the web site does not attempt to dispute all potential deities but focuses on the common Christian conception of it’s prime deity and supporting religious texts.

    The pivotal pages in the web book (as I read them) are as follows;

    Chapter 5 – Why won’t God heal amputees?
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm

    Understanding the rationalizations
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/rationalizations.htm

    From the second link we find this text;

    ======================================

    You can see that the amputee experiment reframes our conversation. No longer are we talking about “religion” or “faith” or “God’s existence”. What we are talking about here is the basic human ability to process factual information. Jesus makes a number of promises about prayer in the Bible:

    * If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. [Matthew 21:21]

    * If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. [John 14:14]

    * Ask, and it will be given you. [Matthew 7:7]

    * Nothing will be impossible to you. [Matthew 17:20]

    * Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. [Mark 11:24]

    Are Jesus’ promises true or false? By looking at amputees we can see that they are false. Jesus/God never answer prayers to spontaneously restore lost limbs, despite the promises in the Bible.

    If you are a believer, and if this is the first time you have thought about the situation faced by amputees seriously, you may have a set of rationalizations and excuses swirling through your head right now. Let’s examine them one by one.

    [ analysis clipped! ]

    ======================================

    So, that leaves us with a few possible conclusions (maybe more) for these specific passages (above);

    1. The Bible is in error, and the deity described in the Bible is not responsible for those errors.

    2. The Bible was correct, but for some unknown reason the deity described in the Bible no longer holds to what the Bible says.

    3. The Bible is in error as there are one or more deities but none of them are the deity associated with the Bible.

    4. The Bible is in error as there are no deities.

    Note that for this analysis, I’m limiting the discussion to the quoted parts above, not any other part of the Bible.

    You can say that those parts are quoted out of context, and if a case for each one were given I may agree with some or all of those. Yet, I don’t currently think all of them are quoted out of context, and for the most part they all reflect the intent of the text that they come from.

    You can say that some other part of the Bible negates the specific parts of the Bible that are quoted above. This raises the issue of what to consider valid in the Bible at all.

  7. on 12 Apr 2009 at 6:07 am 7.GotMooo said …

    When it comes to Pascal’s Wager, I don’t bother wasting my time researching all the religions for the right one, to cover my ass. Since there is infinite possible gods, it’s nearly impossible to pick the right one, and to do what it wants (if anything). I can’t live my life in fear, worrying about pleasing some deity. I have better things to do with my time.

    Just like many, I absorbed in the religion of my society (and family), and believed in everything it said as the truth. It wasn’t my fault, I didn’t know any better at the time. I respected my elders as knowing what they were talking about in these areas.

    What it took for me to reassess what I believed in, I had to hear criticism from skeptics. Fortunately, I was able to get past the blind bubble of faith and think about this for myself. This has nothing to do with pride at all, I am only wanting to encourage others to question everything. Being skeptical isn’t a bad thing, it helps to improve life.

    I do not say “There is no god”. I could only say that and know for sure, if I was a god. I do say that “God is imaginary”. (Meaning the Christian God or all gods, depending on context for me) But just because I believe all gods were made up by humans, doesn’t mean that one (or more) do not exist. It has nothing to do with faith. It is a default position to not believe in something until it has been proven as true.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  8. on 12 Apr 2009 at 9:41 am 8.Lou said …

    Dimms,

    Another well thought I response. I just read Burebista’s on another thread and you both make great points. Your point about western scientific methods is very well taken. Science, in our hemisphere is not capable of discovering God. ET yes, but not God. The true scientist must come to the table with a set of presuppositions that does not allow God into the equation. A large number of scientist are Theist or Christian but they tend to keep that quiet to protect themselves from persecution.

    I see we have another Lou. Good to have you buddy.

    Lou

  9. on 12 Apr 2009 at 1:01 pm 9.Felix Atagong said …

    There is indeed no god, any compassionate deity would have given this woman a voice that doesn’t sound like a dozen of dissonant violins. 8-)))

    It isn’t relevant if there is some (written) proof whether jesus existed or not, if the lack of paperwork proofs anything at all it is that he was a small-town preacher whose followers happened to be lucky…

  10. on 12 Apr 2009 at 2:10 pm 10.Lou said …

    If the western scientific methods are no good, why haven’t the eastern ones found him yet?

    Lou

  11. on 12 Apr 2009 at 5:40 pm 11.anonymous said …

    I think it is blasphemy to say that God does not exist. Most people think that because bad things happen to them or to the world that God could not possible be real well their wrong.

    Rejecting the Creator results in moral depravity (Romans 1:20-32). The Bible warns that when mankind rejects the overwhelming evidence for a Creator, lawlessness will result. Since the theory of evolution has swept the globe, abortion, pornography, genocide, etc., have all risen sharply. So therefore man choose to reject God because of this.

    And i noticed this site said a few wrong things like Jesus after he died on the cross went straight to hell obviously they did not take the time to read the bible properly anyone who doesn’t take the time to read it has no right in saying it’s made up and anyone who did obviously does not understand God’s word.

    Everyone bleams God on bad things that happen but it also says that we humans need to look at ourselves because we are not perfect God is and he wants us to love him and worship him and believe in him turning your back only means death and sorrow to the earth just like today. I mean how can anyone be ignorent and turn a blind eye on sin? it’s around us everyday.

  12. on 12 Apr 2009 at 6:35 pm 12.Anonymous said …

    What exactly do you think you accomplished with some driveby preaching w/o backing anything up?

  13. on 12 Apr 2009 at 7:05 pm 13.Subjectsofinterest said …

    Dimms, despite his wording things in absolute terms, surely you understand the point. Where there is no evidence (its never absolute in science anyway) it is useful to reach a consensus of our best understanding. You are left as a believer in the unenviable position of holding the ‘least’ likely conclusion. Not once has our search for understanding something lead us finally to a formulated theory with a supernatural origin, not once.

    Hey, one day you might get lucky.

  14. on 12 Apr 2009 at 10:15 pm 14.A said …

    The woman in the video should read this article:

    Jesus and Pagan Mythology by William Craig Lane

  15. on 12 Apr 2009 at 11:04 pm 15.Anonymous said …

    Tell it to Mithras and Bacchus.

  16. on 13 Apr 2009 at 9:04 am 16.Subjectsofinterest said …

    A said….., that link was the most ridiculously complicated nonsense i have ever read. I would like to suggest a great read minus the convoluted bull#$it – Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman, brilliant, easy to read and free of diversion tactics.

  17. on 13 Apr 2009 at 1:48 pm 17.See in the light said …

    Bible Verse

    John:

    In the begining was the word of God, and the word was with God, and the word was God.

    Now, if that woman think she can short change the work of God in her limited knowledge, she is condeming herself for eternity.

  18. on 13 Apr 2009 at 4:27 pm 18.anonymous said …

    Noone likes to be told what to do thats why non-believers hate christians because they do not like to be told what to do and think and believe thats where free will comes into it you have a choice to believe what you want and i believe in that strongly non-believers can not believe in God if they wish to and christians can believe in God if they want to it’s called resepting other peoples beliefs not going online and saying that what eachother believes is in is wrong thats why science and religion fight with eachother to prove a point but what are we all trying to prove here? Who exactly is right? no one knows for sure everyone follows what everyone else believes in we live in a world that follows others footsteps in fashion,religion,evolution etc we all need to believe what we want without the arrugments thats why it’s called free will.

  19. on 13 Apr 2009 at 5:04 pm 19.Snowflake said …

    Dimms is correct in asserting that science cannot answer metaphysical questions such as “Does god exist?” And therefore it is true – this site (or any other) cannot claim “God is imaginary” with 100% authority. And, in fact, by making black-and-white claims such as that, the site use such claims for effect, not absolute and complete accuracy.

    I think that most of us accept that fact because the effect aimed for is to inspire curiosity and rational thought on the part of the reader. Not to turn each and every one into a drone repeating a mantra of atheism – “God is imaginary” is no more an answer to something than “God exists.” But both are certainly statements that arouse the simple question “Why do you believe that?” That’s what the author is trying to do.

    And no, the author of this site cannot prove his claim that “God is imaginary”, and neither can science. Nor could either prove that the invisible pink unicorn does not exist. The same applies to any fantastic claim. But why would we default to the fantastic claim?! I believe when I dream my soul is transported to an astral dimension where I drive fast cars and I can fly. Does that sound loony? Well, let’s see science prove me wrong. The soul is metaphysical, science doesn’t know where mine goes at night!

    What I believe this site does successfully is offer overwhelming evidence against the Christian god, or any theistic belief system. In fact, simple observation offers sufficient evidence against theism because theism by definition requires supernatural involvement in the physical realm. That would be measurable, observable, and – if truly supernatural in origin – at times impossible by natural, physical law. Nothing ever happens in this vein. Nothing that would require supernatural cause or intervention ever occurs. No matter how unlikely or coincidental, everything that happens is perfectly possible by natural means. And the only record of these impossible events (in the form of miracles) we have is thousands of years old and completely unverifiable.

    What this site does is provoke thought. That is the purpose. The general statement “God is imaginary” can be nitpicked and qualified and is, yes, unprovable. But it’s a statement that can be the genesis (see what I did there? nyuk, nyuk) for healthy, rational thought.

  20. on 13 Apr 2009 at 5:53 pm 20.Anonymous said …

    Here’s the thing. There may be A god, but biblegod is out the window. The bible is supposed to be his word, but if it’s blatanly wrong (and it is!), where does that leave biblegod?

    If you knew the history behind Judaism (it had other pagan gods in it!), you wouldn’t bother with biblegod.

  21. on 13 Apr 2009 at 6:25 pm 21.Snowflake said …

    Right, there may be A god, but he/she/it has not seen fit to manifest in an observable way so as to notify us of his/her/its existence. Obviously, if this god exists, it’s not a priority to them to clue us in on their nature.

    So if there is A god, it would seem it’s a distant, impersonal one that can’t be known. And if that’s the case, should we bother with worrying about something we have absolutely no way of knowing anything about?

  22. on 13 Apr 2009 at 6:31 pm 22.Lou said …

    “overwhelming evidence against the Christian god, or any theistic belief system”

    Would you be making the claim that the supernatural realm has never intervened in the physical realm? How can such a claim be substantiated for all of time and space? How can you make a claim that the supernatural must be observable and measurable? That statement is a self-contradiction.

    I would postulate that is an impossible claim to make. As well, I would argue that origins was a supernatural event. The past is not measurable or observable.

  23. on 13 Apr 2009 at 6:39 pm 23.Anonymous said …

    I totally agree with Snowflake. The sites and videos are designed to encourage thinking.

    I do however, (personally) see “Imaginary” in “God is Imaginary”, as, “made up”. Someone imagined a god or gods to explain the world around them. Like the Sun god, Water god, Wind god, and etc. Maybe it should be called, “God is make believe”. But that doesn’t sound as good does it?

    And while something can be “made up”, it does not mean it doesn’t actually exist. It is possible for abstract thoughts to coincide with reality.

  24. on 13 Apr 2009 at 6:42 pm 24.GotMooo said …

    Apparently my name wasn’t sent… I’m GotMooo. The previous post belongs to me. I don’t want any mix up here.

  25. on 13 Apr 2009 at 7:36 pm 25.Snowflake said …

    “Would you be making the claim that the supernatural realm has never intervened in the physical realm? How can such a claim be substantiated for all of time and space? How can you make a claim that the supernatural must be observable and measurable? That statement is a self-contradiction.

    I would postulate that is an impossible claim to make. As well, I would argue that origins was a supernatural event. The past is not measurable or observable.”

    Do I NEED to claim that the supernatural has never intervened in the physical realm? No, I don’t make that claim. Nor do I claim that the supernatural must be observable and measurable. In fact, I don’t claim the supernatural exists at all! But I would argue that the physical realm IS observable and measurable. And therefore the supernatural interfering with it WOULD be observable and measurable.

    Now, one could argue that a subtle god might influence the physical realm in unobservable ways – slowly shaping the evolutionary chain, perhaps carefully arranging weather patterns that look completely natural – but that is most definitely not a god of impossible events, like turning people into pillars of salt, or flooding the entire planet, or raising the dead.

    And the subtle god gives us no evidence of existence – no source of knowing. With no source of knowing why presuppose this god’s existence at all?

    In fact, your comments seems to presuppose the existence of the supernatural altogether. By asking if I make the claim that the supernatural has never intervened in the physical realm, you are already making the claim that the supernatural exists. I claim nothing about something that is unknowable. That’s where I’m starting, from zero.

    For instance, I could make this claim: “Hundreds of millions of light years from the Earth there is a planet very much like Earth and the people on it wear blue hats.”

    Here’s how that statement should really read “IF there is a planet hundreds of millions of light years from here it MIGHT be like our planet Earth and IF there are creatures on it that have heads and wear hats then MAYBE they are blue hats.” In fact, the response to my claim should be “Let’s see evidence of the planet first, pal.” Unfortunately, the response would more likely be “Do the people there also wear blue shoes?”

    People love to start from a point of presupposition. But why work backwards? Let’s actually start from zero. There is no evidence of the supernatural. That’s it. We can theorize about what shape that supernatural would take if it exists, but we need to take a step back and acknowledge that there is no evidence of it in the first place. And if it DOES exist, and it is of the type that is absolutely unobservable and has no interference with our physical world – then it is also UNKNOWABLE, and therefore we should make no claims to knowledge about it.

    You are right in that the past is not measurable or observable. And you say that origins is evidence for the supernatural. Origins, being in the past, is not measurable or observable. Therefore, it is unknowable and no claims can be made about it. Could the beginning have been a supernatural First Cause? Yes, it could have been. But that fact is completely unknowable, as no god has seen fit to give us evidence, so there is no reason to believe it.

  26. on 13 Apr 2009 at 9:12 pm 26.Lou said …

    Snowflake

    I have personally witnessed 5-7 events that completely deny natural explanation over the last 30 plus years. Others in the medical profession could probably give similar examples. No explanation and no way to measure or observe. You are attempting to put the supernatural in some sort of box that science can study. That is not a logical presupposition. How can you be ready to record results or be sure to be ready to observe the event?
    As for origins, until science comes up with something better, why not believe God did it? It is certainly justifiable. But remember, just 30 years ago scientist told us we were getting ready to enter the next ice age. I wouldn’t hold out for much of an explanation from the realm of science. Historical science is notoriously allusive.

    Lou

  27. on 13 Apr 2009 at 9:27 pm 27.Maxwell said …

    WOW, you had 5-7 undefined events allegedly happen who knows when or where to you and I am now convinced. I’m sold! LOL. Can you prove they weren’t natural, or ,uh, happened? How about telling us what they were at least?! I must know!

  28. on 13 Apr 2009 at 11:53 pm 28.Anonymous said …

    Why would those supernatural events, if one could call them that and if they in fact happened, why do they point to Christianity and not, say, Hinduism?

  29. on 14 Apr 2009 at 12:29 am 29.Subjects Of Interest said …

    One persons personal experiences is perhaps the worst evidence for the supernatural. There is too much we know about the brain and the tricks it can play. If all you have is some private personal experience then you have nothing. Unless of course you have researched it more or asked a neurologist or another brain scientist to give you their best guess as to what it might have been. If you experience something unusual, say in your stomach, you dont just take a guess as to what is wrong, you go see an expert. Why is this any different?

  30. on 14 Apr 2009 at 1:29 am 30.Snowflake said …

    Lou

    I am interested to hear about these 5-7 events that defy natural explanation. I mean that sincerely. I am curious about what experiences you, as another human being, have had that would lead you to a belief in the supernatural.

    However, I must disagree with the following statement you made:

    “As for origins, until science comes up with something better, why not believe God did it? It is certainly justifiable.”

    I have to admit, that leaves me flabbergasted. Primitive man knew nothing of fire when lightning caught fire to a tree – why not believe God did it? Let me ask this about origins – until science comes up with something better, WHY believe God did it?

  31. on 14 Apr 2009 at 2:11 am 31.Hermes said …

    [ Repost - links kicked previous comment to moderation. ]

    Dimms, keep in mind that the web site does not attempt to dispute all potential deities but focuses on the common Christian conception of it’s prime deity and supporting religious texts.

    The pivotal pages in the web book (as I read them) are as follows (http:// removed);

    Chapter 5 – Why won’t God heal amputees?
    whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm

    Understanding the rationalizations
    whywontgodhealamputees.com/rationalizations.htm

    From the second link we find this text;

    ======================================

    You can see that the amputee experiment reframes our conversation. No longer are we talking about “religion” or “faith” or “God’s existence”. What we are talking about here is the basic human ability to process factual information. Jesus makes a number of promises about prayer in the Bible:

    * If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. [Matthew 21:21]

    * If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. [John 14:14]

    * Ask, and it will be given you. [Matthew 7:7]

    * Nothing will be impossible to you. [Matthew 17:20]

    * Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. [Mark 11:24]

    Are Jesus’ promises true or false? By looking at amputees we can see that they are false. Jesus/God never answer prayers to spontaneously restore lost limbs, despite the promises in the Bible.

    If you are a believer, and if this is the first time you have thought about the situation faced by amputees seriously, you may have a set of rationalizations and excuses swirling through your head right now. Let’s examine them one by one.

    [ analysis clipped! ]

    ======================================

    So, that leaves us with a few possible conclusions (maybe more) for these specific passages (above);

    1. The Bible is in error, and the deity described in the Bible is not responsible for those errors.

    2. The Bible was correct, but for some unknown reason the deity described in the Bible no longer holds to what the Bible says.

    3. The Bible is in error as there are one or more deities but none of them are the deity associated with the Bible.

    4. The Bible is in error as there are no deities.

    Note that for this analysis, I’m limiting the discussion to the quoted parts above, not any other part of the Bible.

    You can say that those parts are quoted out of context, and if a case for each one were given I may agree with some or all of those. Yet, I don’t currently think all of them are quoted out of context, and for the most part they all reflect the intent of the text that they come from.

    You can say that some other part of the Bible negates the specific parts of the Bible that are quoted above. This raises the issue of what to consider valid in the Bible at all.

  32. on 14 Apr 2009 at 2:12 am 32.Hermes said …

    Snowflake, well said.

  33. on 14 Apr 2009 at 3:04 am 33.Subjects Of Interest said …

    Which version of the bible did these come from! I would love to know how many Christians realise that the original texts were never found, that all we have are copies of copies of copies etc; and also that this version of Christianity was just one of a few in which Christ was viewed quite differently in each. By chance or more likely by force this particular version survived. How do you reason past these historical facts?

  34. on 14 Apr 2009 at 9:43 am 34.Lou said …

    For origins Snowflake, I suppose you can stick with “I don’t know” but but the complexity and astronomical odds will not allow me to stay there. Once again, I see it as justifiable and the belief has been there as long as man. If I am wrong, no big deal.

    I am in a hurry this morning, but we had a man dead for 37 minutes who somehow regained consciousness and walked away the next day with no complications. He was declared dead by multiple medical staff not to mention the VS monitor.

  35. on 14 Apr 2009 at 10:24 am 35.Gern Blansten said …

    Very often, you’ll see nonbelievers chide believers for saying, “God did it.” For instance, when something appears inexplicable, well, God did it.

    However, this is generally a figure of speech. I’ve rarely seen anyone willing to openly say, “I don’t understand how it happened, so God must have done it.”

    But Lou, you appear ready to use that explanation at every turn. Why is that? And how in the world do you see it as justifiable? It seems like the biggest cop-out one could ever use.

  36. on 14 Apr 2009 at 11:50 am 36.satcomguy said …

    First, I’d like to say “Thank you” for this excellent and interesting site!

    I was on another message board (I just go there to read all the “patriots’” posts and have my blood pressure raised!) and found a couple of examples of the way that the minds of believers in the Christian god work. In one example, a man related how his wife had been diagnosed with cancer, had surgery and chemo and was then declared free of the cancer; of course the very next poster praised god and testified as to the power of prayer!

    The other example was not medical in nature but ran the same way: the owner of the site had an editorial about the plane that performed an emergency landing in the Hudson recently. He praised the pilot’s cool head, his training and years of experience. With the very next breath, he described the safe landing and survival of all aboard as a miracle!

    The total denial of reality and obvious need to shoehorn everyday occurrences into the view that a supernatural force is to be credited never ceases to amaze me!

  37. on 14 Apr 2009 at 1:20 pm 37.Anonymous said …

    I am in a hurry this morning, but we had a man dead for 37 minutes who somehow regained consciousness and walked away the next day with no complications. He was declared dead by multiple medical staff not to mention the VS monitor.

    Can we have a name or some links? If this is true, have you considered joining Shinto?

  38. on 14 Apr 2009 at 3:05 pm 38.Lou said …

    “But Lou, you appear ready to use that explanation at every turn. Why is that?”

    That would be because you did not read my initial response at #25 where I started with “Until science provides something better”

    Why is it because a theist gives God credit for something they somehow believe we are advocating to shutdown the labs and stop researching?

    Gern, please show me how I use this explanation at every turn? Outside origins and a few instances in my 30 plus years in medicine I haven’t offered no other instance.

    Snowflake,

    I believe my remarks on supernatural events are confirmed by my above comments. I would ascertain if a supernatural event does occur, many atheist would deny it indeed was supernatural. Therefore, it would be impossible to examine. It happened to Jesus and it would no doubt be true today.

    Lou

  39. on 14 Apr 2009 at 3:30 pm 39.Anonymous said …

    Ah, weaseling out of telling us about those events. Why did you bother bringing them up? Especially if you weren’t going to, I dunno, back it up?
    _

    I think it would depend on the “supernatural event” in question.

  40. on 14 Apr 2009 at 3:50 pm 40.Gern Blansten said …

    Lou, has there been a mention of something inexplicable in which you didn’t assume Goddidit?

  41. on 14 Apr 2009 at 5:21 pm 41.Snowflake said …

    Lou

    I agree that if something supernatural did occur many WOULD want to deny it, or try to explain it with scientific reasoning. So if it is going to be convincing, it’s going to have to be good. If God parted the heavens and began speaking to all of humanity that would probably convince a lot of people.

    But unfortunately as satcomguy said, the supernatural is shoe-horned into the every day, even into the mundane. The plane landed safely in the Hudson largely because of the skills of the pilot. People are healed from sickness because their bodies react properly with the treatments given them – or because their immune systems win the battle against the infection. When I was late for a job interview and every traffic light I arrived at was green, that was based on random chance. I don’t need to cram God or anything else supernatural into these events for them to have meaning. I applaud the skills of the pilot which saved many lives. I am glad when a relative is no longer ill and I’m thankful to the doctors and scientists who developed the means to heal them. When I got to the job interview on time and got the job I felt – for lack of a better work – very lucky! Not “blessed”. For you see, all of these things are altogether possible in our physical world. There’s no reason to add anything supernatural to it when there is no need.

    God doesn’t seem to want to perform anything spectacular – the kind of thing that would convince millions of people. He apparently prefers to remain hidden, and thus unknowable, and thus we can make no claims about God, or the supernatural.

    Your example of a dead mean rising is impressive. If indeed that man was dead for that period of time and there was no brain activity but he regained consciousness, then what you’ve described would seem to be impossible by physical law. It may indeed be evidence of the supernatural. I’m curious, without revealing personal detail, what you know of this man? What do you think it was that marked him for revival from death by some supernatural force or entity? What made him, well, special?

  42. on 14 Apr 2009 at 5:27 pm 42.Smarter than 95% of you said …

    What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong? I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong?

    I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. Most atheist cannot explain even the basics of evolution. They only parrot what scientist tell them to believe. They are no better than your typical christian on theology.

  43. on 14 Apr 2009 at 5:39 pm 43.Anonymous said …

    Where’s the other 6?

  44. on 14 Apr 2009 at 5:55 pm 44.Gern Blansten said …

    Smarter than 95%….

    When science is involved, there is evidence you can review. You don’t have to “trust” scientists. Review the evidence for yourself.

  45. on 14 Apr 2009 at 6:21 pm 45.Satcomguy said …

    Smarter,
    Gern is absolutely right: with science there is evidence and procedures that can be duplicated and either verified or falsified. While mistakes have been made or hoaxes perpetrated, the mistakes and hoaxes are always found by other scientists; science is self-correcting! Religious dogma is not. If something in the bible is questioned, it is either ignored, danced around, or rationalized. It can be interpreted differently by others, but there is no way to determine any sort of objective “truth.”

  46. on 14 Apr 2009 at 6:22 pm 46.Snowflake said …

    Scientists have certainly been proven wrong, many times. How many times have priests been proven wrong about their theology? Well, never, I suppose. That’s because they’ve set themselves up with claims that can neither be proved or disproved. After all, I can’t prove to you that the supernatural does NOT exist.

    How about this as a question, then: how many times have scientists been proven RIGHT? That’s happened too, hasn’t it? Well then, how many times have priests been proven right? Never. No theological claim has even been substantiated.

    So, I’d still rather stick with the batter that hits the ball half the time, or even a quarter of the time, than one who has never even been up to bat.

  47. on 14 Apr 2009 at 8:51 pm 47.Lou said …

    “Review the evidence for yourself.”

    No man can check the claims of all scientist in all areas of science. Impossible. The faith is placed in the scientist and we buy into their interpretation of the evidence. This is a daily event in the medical field. How many of us are well versed in astrophysics?

    Snowflake, (I like the moniker)

    I don’t see the quandary as an either or proposition. I have studied science all my life and enjoy the field. I have been a theist for 30 years and believe in God and the Bible. The two do not contradict one another. Check out the book by Francis Collins called “The Language of God”. He was the leader of the Human Genome project and provides great insight into this relationship. It is a great read.

  48. on 14 Apr 2009 at 9:09 pm 48.Gern Blansten said …

    “No man can check the claims of all scientist in all areas of science. Impossible.”

    That’s true, Lou, but I never claimed otherwise.

    I’m guessing that one area in particular bothers “Smarter than 95%”–evolution. Just a guess. The good news is, there are mountains of evidence for evolution that any layperson can understand.

    Of course, no evidence can overcome willful ignorance.

    Lou, what one piece of evidence for your god do you find most compelling?

  49. on 14 Apr 2009 at 10:37 pm 49.Satcomguy said …

    Lou,
    You are correct that no one can examine all evidence in every field of science, but you can read the works of some well-respected popularizers of science (sounds like you made a start with Collins). You can trust organizations that represent the consensus of the experts in the field, like the WMO and climate change.

    The point I’m trying to make is that scientists don’t work in a vacuum: when a claim or discovery is made, dozens (or hundreds) of scients rush to verify it, to prove or disprove it. That is a major difference between science and religion: whereas “the faithful” have the interpretation of their religious leader, the more skeptical among us have the work being done by the entire scientific community to study and stir the imagination. We have evidence!

    And I echo Gern’s request: what compels you to believe?

  50. on 14 Apr 2009 at 11:16 pm 50.Anon said …

    Didn’t you read? Those 5-7 events he won’t tell us about because he has no time although that doesn’t explain why he keeps posting and now I’m rambling.

  51. on 14 Apr 2009 at 11:39 pm 51.Lou said …

    Is absence of proof the proof of absence? It would be difficult to deny religious beliefs without the first statement. Yet, this statement is illogical. The actuality that it is always impossible to prove that something does or does not exist will not change the truth that it is not knowable if something doesn’t exist. This is the reason I am not an atheist.

    To move from there from the evolutionary aspect, can you name the one physical behavior that is exclusive to the genus Homo? Bipedalism, culture, or reasoning would seem obvious but no. There are many possibilities but really the only one trait is a belief in God. The question shouldn’t be what compelled me to believe but what compelled you to leave?

  52. on 15 Apr 2009 at 12:10 am 52.Anonymous said …

    Not everybody left because they were never Christians/Jews/Muslims, etc., to begin with.

    The evidence for evolution is more compelling than the lack of it for christianity. Again, why God instead of Zeus or Odin?

  53. on 15 Apr 2009 at 12:52 am 53.Subjects Of Interest said …

    “can you name the one physical behavior that is exclusive to the genus Homo? ”

    Belief is now a physical behaviour? Wow….just wow.

    I very strongly suggest ‘The Third Chimpanzee’ by Jared Diamond before you even attempt to write anything like that again. Us modern apes love to think that we invented culture, morality, war, love, speech, art and many many other things. But we can only claim these things in degrees. And it is these small changes in degree over lengths of time that utterly and completely destroy our perceived high position in the universe and on this planet. We are just one other species, nothing more, nothing less. It kills theists to think this way because in terms of time on Earth we are extremely insignificant. Our ability to believe in a God is no more interesting or important than a Bower birds ability to collect and order colours in its nest. Its just something we can do. One of our worst qualities is our utter arrogance as a species.

  54. on 15 Apr 2009 at 6:15 am 54.satcomguy said …

    I left Catholicism when I was about 12; it wasn’t especially hard since I had only half-heartedly been raised in it anyway.

    “Is absence of proof the proof of absence?” I just never followed this argument at all. Surely the default position should be that there is no belief without a reason to believe; it is the same reason that I feel that the burden of proof of the existence of a god (or any supernatural entity) is on the believers and NOT on the shoulders of the skeptics.

    Some of the people that I work with have askem me how I raise my children as atheists, envisioning perhaps that I spend long hours teaching them why I believe there is no god. They always seem surprised that the way I do it is just not to teach them about a god, not believing that I don’t have an “active disbelief”, I guess.

    As far as your argument regarding man’s belief in a deity as the defining difference between ourselves and all our other relatives, I would say that it is simpler than that: perhaps we are the only species capable of fooling ourselves!

  55. on 15 Apr 2009 at 9:40 am 55.Lou said …

    Subject I do appreciate your book suggestion but above was not my unique opinion, it IS from an anthropologist. I quote “The Inner Life of Animals” But it does make me go WOW as well.

    “Jane Goodall observed chimpanzees making tools out of sticks and other everyday objects. We’ve asserted our unique abilities to think, learn,
    and develop languages. But we now know that gorillas can learn and communicate with human sign language and dolphins clearly communicate with a sophisticated system of signals.

    Anthropologists, again have discovered that many social animals have cultures and hierarchical relationships. Emotions, altruism, a sense of shame have all been observed in animals from elephants to mice, and on the negative side, both chimpanzees and ants are known to wage war. Goodall’s studies of wild dogs and chimpanzees even revealed apparent pathological behavior and murder.”

    Work on self-awareness is still taking place. We may discover other species recognize a soul and God as well. Some are beginning to believe we are not alone in that arena.

    IMHO found you post ironic in that you start out by saying “us modern apes love to think that we invented” and then end with “our utter arrogance as a species.” I do agree with you,

    Everyone have a great day

    Lou

  56. on 15 Apr 2009 at 11:15 am 56.Gern Blansten said …

    Lou, I have a theory that I’ve created after many conversations with believers like you. I call it the Satan-wrote-the-bible theory and it goes like this….

    1. There is no god or gods; the theory of evolution is accurate.

    2. The earth (and everything else) was formed as a result of the Big Bang, billions of years ago.

    3. We don’t know how life originated, and we may never know.

    4. The only supernatural entity in existence is Satan. He didn’t create mankind, but he does have some limited powers than can be quite annoying. For instance, he has affected our thinking to make humans believe in thousands of different “gods” throughout history. He gives them funny names like Mordak, Zeus, and Yahweh, just because he thinks it’s humorous.

    5. Satan wrote the Bible as a means to torment mankind. He wants us to think there is a wonderful afterlife, but there isn’t. He got a real kick out of filling the Bible with stonings, genocide, slavery, incest, etc. He also wrote the Koran and some other religious texts just to stir up trouble.

    6. Satan planted the idea of intelligent design into some humans’ brains as a means to create havoc on earth. It appears to be working. Just look at the Discovery Institute. They are in the grip of Satan and don’t even realize it.

    7. Satan occasionally uses his limited powers to create “evidence” of a god or gods or intelligent design. For instance, he might make some organisms appear irreducibly complex.

    8. There were a lot more fossils around that would have satisfied everybody, including creationists, as far as transitions, but Satan destroyed them.

    That’s as far as I’ve gotten. I can always refine it later. As you can see, my theory is supported by the same amount of evidence that believers have for their gods. In fact, it counters every claim you’ve made in your comments.

    The neat thing is, any additional evidence for any god can also be construed as evidence for my theory. (See #7 above.)

    If you can refute my theory, please do so. Otherwise, it will be just as believable as anything you’ve posited in your comments.

    I realize that it’s not very realistic to assume a set of beliefs is accurate when one doesn’t have any evidence, but you’ve used that approach yourself so you can’t really complain.

  57. on 15 Apr 2009 at 4:37 pm 57.Lou said …

    Gern,

    I feel no need to refute any belief system. Do you feel a need to conform everyone into an atheist Gern? If so why?

    You really should give credit to Evangelatheist (the most fitting of names)or Ben for his theory. To pretend you put all this effort into such a radical and productive religion is just not kosher.

    Satcomguy,

    If had been a Catholic, I would have left as well. Religious organizations do not own the rights to God.

  58. on 15 Apr 2009 at 4:57 pm 58.Gern Blansten said …

    “I feel no need to refute any belief system.”

    Then why are you trolling on an atheist website?

    “Do you feel a need to conform everyone into an atheist Gern? If so why?”

    Nope, sure don’t, I don’t care what you believe, as long it doesn’t affect me. Unfortunately, the beliefs of many religious zealots do affect me.

    Sad that a silly little Satan theory is as logically airtight as your bible.

  59. on 15 Apr 2009 at 9:16 pm 59.Lou said …

    Trolling? Trolling?, why Gern is it trolling when you do not buy into the house dogma? LOL, I thought atheist where the ones who condemned the religious for evangelizing others.

    I thought ideas could be discussed without belittling of others who don’t buy into the house dogma. Doesn’t this site invite us in to challenge our beliefs? Thus far, nothing new from my own atheist days over 30 years ago but I am open to new evidence.

    The little theory that you borrowed is rock solid, if as Anthony Flew states “that is where the evidence leads.” I agree. Just not a lot of history, theology, documents, archeology or anthropology to back it up. But, good luck with it anyhow.

  60. on 15 Apr 2009 at 9:40 pm 60.Anonymous said …

    Challenging and refuting a belief is the same thing.

    What do you mean not a lot of theology? He just gave it to you!! Sure there’s not a lot of history, documents, archeology, or anthropology to back it up but neither does christianity. (Otherwise you’d post it and settle things once and for all.)

  61. on 15 Apr 2009 at 10:43 pm 61.Chris said …

    Radiometric dating of the Siloam Tunnel, Jerusalem

    “The historical credibility of texts from the Bible is often debated when compared with Iron Age archaeological finds (refs . 1, 2 and references therein). Modern scientific methods may, in principle, be used to independently date structures that seem to be mentioned in the biblical text, to evaluate its historical authenticity. In reality, however, this approach is extremely difficult because of poor archaeological preservation, uncertainty in identification, scarcity of datable materials, and restricted scientific access into well-identified worship sites. Because of these problems, no well-identified Biblical structure has been radiometrically dated until now. Here we report radiocarbon and U–Th dating of the Siloam proving its Iron Age II date; we conclude that the Biblical text presents an accurate historic record of the Siloam Tunnel’s construction. Being one of the longest ancient water tunnels lacking intermediate shafts11, 12, dating the Siloam Tunnel is a key to determining where and when this technological breakthrough took place. Siloam Tunnel dating also refutes a claim13 that the tunnel was constructed in the second century bc.”

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v425/n6954/full/nature01875.html

  62. on 15 Apr 2009 at 10:45 pm 62.Chris said …

    Reassessing the chronology of Biblical
    Edom: new excavations and 14C dates
    from Khirbat en-Nahas (Jordan)

    http://russellbadams.brinkster.net/publications/Levy%20and%20Adams%20et%20al.%20Antiquity%202004.pdf

  63. on 15 Apr 2009 at 10:47 pm 63.Chris said …

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — A limestone burial box, almost 2,000 years old, may provide the oldest archeological record of Jesus of Nazareth, experts announced Monday.

    The ossuary, as the bone boxes are known, dates to A.D. 63 and has an inscription in Aramaic which translates to: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” said Andre Lemaire, an expert in ancient writing who identified the box in Jerusalem last spring.

    Aramaic, an ancient Semitic language, was the lingua franca of the Middle East for many centuries. At the time of Jesus’ life, Aramaic was the common language of the Jews.

    Writing about his findings in the new issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Lemaire, who teaches at the Sorbonne in Paris, called it “very probable” that the box belonged to Jesus’ brother James, who by Christian tradition was the leader of the early church in Jerusalem.

    Some scholars expressed doubt that the box, which is 20 inches long by 11 inches wide, could be definitively linked to Jesus, a Jewish carpenter by trade revered by Christians as the son of God.

    “We may never be absolutely certain. In the work I do we’re rarely absolutely certain about anything,” said Kyle McCarter, a Johns Hopkins University archaeologist, who said that the finding was probable, but that he had “a bit of doubt.”

    While most scholars agree that Jesus existed, no physical evidence from the first century has ever been conclusively tied with his life.

    Two scientists from the Israeli government’s geological survey tested the box last month, inspecting the surface patina and inscription under a microscope. They concurred that the object is more than 19 centuries old, the archaeology magazine reported.

    “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that these three names refer to the personages so identified in the New Testament,” said Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review.
    Writing provides answers

    Many of the conclusions reached by experts relied on the inscription written on the ossuary. The boxes commonly were used by Jewish families between 20 B.C. and A.D. 70 to store the bones of their loved ones.

    Lemaire said out of hundreds of such boxes found with Aramaic writing only two contain mentions of a brother. From this, scholars infer that the brother was noted only when he was someone important.

    James, Joseph and Jesus were common names in ancient Jerusalem, a city of about 40,000 residents. Lemaire estimates there could have been as many as 20 Jameses in the city with brothers named Jesus and fathers named Joseph.

    But it is unlikely there would have been more than one James who had a brother of such importance that it merited having him mentioned on his ossuary, Lemaire said.

    Lemaire found the box in June by accident, said Shanks, who was able to inspect the box personally.

  64. on 16 Apr 2009 at 1:29 am 64.Gern Blansten said …

    In other words, no, Lou can’t refute my theory.

    The Bible supports my theory. It was written by Satan. If it wasn’t, it should be easy for you to provide evidence showing that it wasn’t.

    Also, did I mention that Jesus was also really Satan in disguise?

  65. on 16 Apr 2009 at 1:34 am 65.Gern Blansten said …

    If I were Satan and I was writing the bible as a prank, I’d write it exactly as he wrote it–contradictions, inconsistencies and all. It’s really quite brilliant. I mean, who would believe that a loving god would stuff his sacred text full of so much garbage? Satan knew that if he made the bible too perfect, everybody would believe it, and that’s not what he wants. He wants some people to believe and others to think it’s rubbish. Quit playing into Satan’s hands, Lou. Reject Satan by rejecting the bible.

  66. on 16 Apr 2009 at 3:33 am 66.Subjectsofinterest said …

    Chris what is that supposed to prove? Didnt i just post before about how theists divert rather than answer. This was a plum dilly of a diversion. I really dont think there are many people who dont think there was a Jesus running around at that time. After all lots of men were called Jesus and its likely he was one of the many many hundreds of charlatans selling their own version of the divine at the time. But this does not resolve any of the many problematic issues that scholars must deal with. Such as which version of Jesus was the real one if any, given there were at least three of four groups in the second century all with their own take on him; how does a box with a name on it help resolve why we should consider him as divine given all the other evidence or lack of. I mean even the Christians of the second century couldn’t resolve this. The idea of Christ being both divine and mortal just happened to be the group that survived the ages. It also doesn’t help when none of the historians of the time had heard or written about the Jesus of the Bible.

  67. on 16 Apr 2009 at 12:20 pm 67.Snowflake said …

    I don’t think that the existence of Jesus is really of too much concern. Nor is it really arguable that some of the Bible is historically accurate.

    What has real importance are the claims of Jesus’ divinity. If he showed up to clue some folks in on how to be saved, then God knew well enough that the message would only reach so many people. Essentially, God sent Jesus to Earth to bring humans the good word and then abruptly ended the age of miracles. For (at least) the next two thousand years he would show no signs of himself; Jesus was everyone’s last chance.

    God knew there would be people the message wouldn’t reach, and he knew that by going into hiding after Jesus ascended that people would doubt his existence for thousands of years to come. He knew billions would go to Hell for eternity because of this. So was it really the best he could do, if he loves us so much? Isn’t it really pushing the whole “free will” argument a little far when we are given the very flakiest of non-evidence to save our eternal souls?

    If Jesus was truly divine, and he was the son of God, then I think we need to redefine our conception of God.

  68. on 16 Apr 2009 at 12:50 pm 68.Lou said …

    I agree with you Snowflake, the best place to due that is through the Bible, not religions or religious organizations. I am not a theologian, but I understand enough to know the basic doctrines presented. Jesus stated himself that men would not believe even when He performed miracles in front of them. Why would that be different today? The fact that Christianity has survived and thrived for this long is a testament in itself.

    Gern,

    I thought about your scenario. I certainly wouldn’t write about Loving God and loving your neighbor and especially loving your enemies! I think if I was Satan, I wouldn’t write anything at all. I would let man believe I didn’t exist and that God didn’t exist and keep his mind on the physical life and completely ignorant of the spiritual life. I must admit, this is not my original idea, it is borrowed from conversations between Screwtape and Wormwood.

  69. on 16 Apr 2009 at 6:22 pm 69.Gern Blansten said …

    I didn’t borrow it.

  70. on 16 Apr 2009 at 6:59 pm 70.Anonymous said …

    http://www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/judgmentday.html

  71. on 24 Apr 2009 at 6:19 pm 71.anonymous said …

    What is wrong with you aetheists is the amount of faith you put in God. All I know is that the only way you can find out is to believe. I know your just going to say some stupid comment about what I put butat least I have a reason to live.

  72. on 24 Apr 2009 at 6:40 pm 72.Gern Blansten said …

    Uh….

    I know it’s Friday, but take it easy on the pharmaceuticals.

  73. on 24 Apr 2009 at 7:04 pm 73.Lou said …

    I think he just doesn’t like the fact us ATHEISTS (note the proper spelling) have a reason to live that doesn’t involve living in fear of sky daddy.

  74. on 25 Apr 2009 at 7:35 pm 74.Chris said …

    Aien’t no god out there. You can’t see one can you? then their aien’t one. You stupid christens just are stupid and like to believe in space mens. I dont no how you all can be so stupid.

  75. on 25 Apr 2009 at 8:27 pm 75.Lou said …

    Are you a different Chris?

    Your spelling leaves a lot to desire…

  76. on 26 Apr 2009 at 6:40 pm 76.Lou said …

    Chris,

    You let me know if anyone gives you guff. That is the best not to mention the most well thought out argument I have witnessed to this point.

    Kudos!

    Lou

  77. on 27 Apr 2009 at 6:09 pm 77.anonymous said …

    WTF whats with you idiots!!!

  78. on 27 Apr 2009 at 6:13 pm 78.Anonymous said …

    Who are you talking about? It would be a shame for that searing wit to go to waste…

  79. on 07 May 2009 at 8:34 pm 79.anonymous said …

    Want proof God is real? then visit http://www.livingwaters.com

  80. on 07 May 2009 at 9:02 pm 80.Anonymous said …

    And it was full of crap. Amen.

Trackback This Post | Subscribe to the comments through RSS Feed

Leave a Reply