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91
General Religious Discussion / Re: Present Day Slavery
« Last post by screwtape on August 21, 2016, 04:01:14 PM »
God needs our worship so he can lead us down the path to everlasting life.

Non sequitur.  Does not follow.  Why would God need our worship for that?  Does any leader need his or her followers' worship?  Compliance, sure.  Buy-in, sure.  Worship? No.

Seems like you are saying we need to worship God for our own good (as if), but are just being...coy about it. Plus, it doesn't address you point about God needing our worship. 

A person that is long suffering is patient and forgiving, willing to suffer (long) in order to help someone.


Another non sequitur.  This has nothing to do with the conversation. Nor did the rest of your post.
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I honestly don't understand your question.  Please forgive me.  I'm not very smart.  Doing the best I can with my limited intelligence.  Thanks for your patience.

Well I suppose to simplify, let's go with an analogy.

Let's say that you and I are having a conversation regarding a box.  Someone says "there is a ball in that box."  I say something to the effect of "there is absolutely no evidence that there is a ball inside of that box."

Let's say that you disagree with the assessment that there is absolutely no evidence that there is a ball in the box.  That is, let's say that it is your position that there is evidence that there is a ball in the box (basically, the opposite of the claim "there is absolutely no evidence that there is a ball inside of that box").  If your goal were to convince me that I am incorrect in my assessment that there is absolutely no evidence that there is a ball inside of the box, do you a) argue that there is evidence that there is a ball inside of the box or b) present the evidence that there is a ball inside of the box?

Wouldn't option B be a much more definite way of demonstrating that my claim that "there is absolutely no evidence that there is a ball inside of that box" is incorrect?  Like, for example, actually showing me that there is actually a ball inside of the box?
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If we found out that Hannibal had hidden a nuclear bomb, somewhere under New York, THEN we'd suddenly be interested in the whether the accounts of him were real, to try to figure out where the bomb was. However, Hannibal is safely in our past.

If we found out that Hannibal had discovered the secret to time travel, and making gold and diamonds, THEN we'd be interested in whether the accounts were real, to try to figure out how to time travel and make gold. But, he didn't.

The fact is, it really doesn't functionally matter how faked-up our distant past is, if it has no relevance to the present and future.

This is where I am with regards to Hannibal. I like history. In my past life (before kids), I earned a college degree in the subject. Life got in the way. Moving on. I think the question about the existence of someone like Hannibal is interesting. To ferret out evidence from assumed knowledge is fascinating. I'd love to get in on the debate about whether or not he brought elephants over the Alps. I kind of geek out at the little details and the big pictures that can be made out of them, then trying to figure out which big picture is the most likely, and for the most fun - challenge that assumption by throwing more details at it.

But... if this was all a mythological tale euhemerized into the annals of history books and we discovered that it was all fabrication, there would be no compelling reason to suppress this knowledge. It would be a fun plot twist on history, the best kind of present for a researcher - a new discovery!

To suggest Jesus was real because many people have believed it for years, but to deny Mohammed vacationed in heaven courtesy a flying donkey is was real because many people have believed it for years, is the very double standard that makes this assumption necessary to challenge. It takes more than group consensus to recognize reality has been accurately represented. Besides, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that most historians in western civilization were raised in cultures that taught, celebrated, and protected the idea that Jesus was really real. Growing up in a society that believes a thing, and sharing that belief, isn't evidence the belief is accurate. Even if people really, really, genuinely and sincerely feel so in the deepest pits of their hearts. If a claim is accurate, it can withstand challenges.

To say Jesus was real because there was a popular rabbi in Israel in the beginning of the first century is as useful as saying Mario was real because there was an efficient plumber in NYC in the last half of the twentieth century in NYC. You don't need to prove something that is so common because its likelihood is well established (Jesus was a popular Jewish name, rabbi was an established career choice). But to suggest Jesus walked on water, raised the dead, flew to heaven - or even that he was the inspiration of these stories - is to say that Mario really did fight a giant gorilla and saved a princess - or even the real Mario was the inspiration of these stories.

Which is why some of us don't assume there was a real Jesus, the one the stories were fashioned after, until we are introduced to some actual evidence. We're still waiting for that evidence. Any kind. And the most we ever get is: People have believed this sincerely since the beginning of the timeline of this belief.

The thing is, people believed sincerely that the god Saturn was a real entity because whole cities celebrated his glorious supernatural life since time immemorial. And Zeus, and Odin, and Quetzalcoatl, and any number of gods. Sincerely, too. Profoundly even. Rules were established and kept to ensure not offending the gods, gods that today we recognize are anthropomorphized human characteristics turned up to 11. Except for Jesus apparently. He's the one exception. How interesting that it just so happens to have been the very god accepted by our culture, and not someone else's. I don't hear historians from Xian cultures finding evidence that Vishnu was real. And I don't find people accept belief qua evidence for any religion other than their own, or the one with which they are most familiar.

But anyway, if people want to believe Mario was a real super guy and really did save the princess and saved NYC from a giant gorilla, more power to 'em. However, if they start manipulating their children into feeling guilty or anxious should they question that belief, should they demand public policy be predicated on some detail of this supposed rescue, then that would be quickly challenged by society. Interesting double standard that happens when millions of people have the same general cognitive dissonance.
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Religion & Society / Olympians praying
« Last post by shnozzola on August 21, 2016, 11:55:15 AM »
A funny thing about the Olympics shows what separates us.  After the American women's 4 X 400 m relay team yesterday won, they gathered to pray.
 


I very much appreciate these 4 women.  I understand why they do it, and of course it is understandable why so many religious people are for praying, but what I think it draws away from, is the truth - the day to day work, the natural talent, sweat, the dieting, overtraining, the mental anguish, etc, that goes with being an Olympic athlete.  Even Mo Farah, Great Britain's winner of the 5000 m, has spoken about how much time he had to spend away from family to train.  If only theism could look at the situation objectively and see who is doing the work, and Who is not.
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And so why do you have more confidence in the "accuracy" of what we can know about Hannibal and Socrates, but not Jesus?  That is to say, how is the evidence stronger for Hannibal and Socrates than for Jesus?

And what is it about the NT that would make them unreliable?  Are the NT writers liars?  Or is there something intrinsic about "anecdotal" that makes them unreliable or not of any use to historians searching for truth? 

Hannibal and Julius Caesar left archaeological contextual evidence such as coins and inscriptions. Socrates was mentioned and portrayed by people who knew him.

Were the early Christians liars? Yes.

There is a vast literature of faked documents written by early Christians, letters, Acts of various types, Gospels of various people. and revelations. All completely fake. There is even a fake gospel discovered half written in Egypt where the author was taking words from one document about one person and writing them as the words of Jesus in another document. The authors of the new testament were no different. We don't have to guess whether the authors of the NT were liars, we can prove it. Mark was not interested in facts, he was interested in proving that he was "right". He thought exactly like a modern creationist. Mark wrote that only Mark himself and demons understood Jesus. He claimed the Romans misunderstood, the Jews misunderstood and the disciples were idiots who misunderstood. This is ideology not fact. Mark decided that Jesus told parables to confuse people. That is the level of cognitive dissonance in Mark's gospel. If you look at the resurrection, originally, it was just visions and dreams. Mark's general purpose was to discredit the disciples, so one thing he did was he made up a bodily resurrection and claimed that the women did not say anything to the disciples so the disciples did not have authority from the resurrection. Matthew and Luke did not like Mark's claim that only he understood Jesus, so they rewrote his gospel to say something else including newly invented bodily resurrection appearances proclaiming their own agendas. Note how Matthew was not interested in facts, one blind man in Mark becomes two in Matthew and other miracles are similarly exaggerated such as many tombs opened in Jerusalem and zombies walking around. This is ideology not fact. Mark wrote that the women at the tomb said nothing. Luke wrote that they went directly to the disciples. He copied the exact text of Mark and purposely changed it. Then he added invented resurrection stories. These were later copied to the end of Mark. This is lying.

The gospel authors were deliberately lying and so were all the early Christians, because they were in an ideological struggle with each other.

The people who knew Jesus were Jews and remained Jews who worshipped at the temple. They thought Jesus and later their visions and dreams supported Judaism. If they died for anything, they died for Judaism just as many other Jews did at the time, supporting various messiahs and revolts against the Romans.

Only a small number (in the hundreds at most) of Jews believed that Jesus was the messiah which was why Mark was so hostile to them. It was easy for Jews to show that Jesus did not fulfil the criteria to be the messiah. Non Jews did not have the same knowledge and were dishonestly converted to a false ideology.

The people who later died for Christianity never knew Jesus.

You asked if scholars are delusional about the historical Jesus. Do you think they are? The general consensus is that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who was executed for revolt against the Romans. Crucifixion was a punishment for political crimes. It is also the consensus that Jesus did no miracles, was not resurrected and did not intend to start a new  religion. The original disciples continued to be Jews and it was years before the final split with Judaism. So do you accept what scholars say?

Have I missed anything important to you?
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Chatter / Re: Gun Fails
« Last post by screwtape on August 21, 2016, 09:33:24 AM »
NRA's "academic" turns out to be a fraud.  Of course.
http://www.rawstory.com/2016/08/nras-favorite-academic-john-lott-exposed-as-a-data-fudging-sock-puppeting-fraud/

Quote
...
However, as Devin Hughes and Evan DeFelippis wrote, before he became the darling of the pro-gun right, “Not only was Lott’s assertion that more guns leads to more safety formally repudiated by a National Research Council panel, but he had also been caught pushing studies with severe statistical errors on numerous occasions. An investigation uncovered that he had almost certainly fabricated an entire survey on defensive gun use. And a blogger revealed that Mary Rosh, an online commentator claiming to be a former student of Lott’s who would frequently post about how amazing he was, was in fact John Lott himself. He was all but excommunicated from academia.”
...

Of course, that is unlikely to change the minds of gun fondlers.
97
1)... what evidence do you have for Hannibal's existence?

2-7)... I'm glad you agree that Jesus was based on a real person. That's comforting to know. So there is at least SOME evidence to lend credibility to the opinion of the vast majority of reputable and credentialed historians and scholars that a  historical Jesus did exist... even if we (as you claim) can't know with complete accuracy about some of his supposed exploits.

So I would assume you would then join me in rejecting any claim and/or assertion that there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE for a historical Jesus.

Comparing evidence of Jesus to evidence of other figures, is a fallacy. It's a wonder Christians don't spot it sooner, but they keep rolling the argument out.

Say all the evidence about Hannibal was invented by some great forger in 500AD, and there was no archeological backup to the belief that he existed. Say all historical figures, prior to 1000AD were invented. I know that historians would spit their coffee all over their monitors, when I say this, but history is in the past, and has near zero relevance to anything in the future, besides academic interest.

If all history prior to 1000AD was an epic story, invented by UFO people, it would only be of interest, because we'd be interested in the UFO people and their motivations for this great conspiracy. It would truly be jaw dropping. Well, for a few days, at least. Not because we care about the past, but purely because it's radically different to what we perceived was a human invented past.

Various random human forgers could have had many impacts on our perceptions of the distant past. All of which is of little interest to anyone looking towards the future.

However, the claim of Christians, is that Jesus has a direct impact on everyone's personal futures. Orthodox Christian Jesus is radically different to everyone else, in the past.

If we found out that Hannibal had hidden a nuclear bomb, somewhere under New York, THEN we'd suddenly be interested in the whether the accounts of him were real, to try to figure out where the bomb was. However, Hannibal is safely in our past.

If we found out that Hannibal had discovered the secret to time travel, and making gold and diamonds, THEN we'd be interested in whether the accounts were real, to try to figure out how to time travel and make gold. But, he didn't.

The fact is, it really doesn't functionally matter how faked-up our distant past is, if it has no relevance to the present and future.

It does matter whether the story of Orthodox Christian Jesus was faked up, and it has no comparison to other historical figures. You can only compare Jesus to other historical figures who claim to save us from hell, and be our personal saviours. There are some, but we dismiss them, due to our cultural bias. It is certainly not Nero or Hannibal.

There is a large motivation to fake up the books in the Bible. We can tell this from the plethora of faked-up works, that have been abandoned as apocrypha, or heresy. We can tell this from common sense. Anyone trying to get control of a sect, has an advantage, if they can fake themselves into power of that sect. That is to say, someone who said they saw Jesus alive, after he was dead, had more power than someone who has seen nothing. Someone who says that he had a vision of Jesus, on the way to Damascus, has more power than someone who didn't.

There are some advantages to faking up the actions of distant leaders, to gain control of territories, and justification to persecute groups who were supposedly hated by this person.

Appealing to my belief in Hannibal or Julius Caesar, is irrelevant, since any of it could have been faked, and has no relevance to my future. Our knowledge of the Caesars comes from one book by Tacitus. He could have made it up.

Christians are just pissing on their own shoes, implying that other historical figures could have been faked-up, because there is LESS motivation to fake up their history, than there is to fake Jesus' history up.  ... AND we have no clue how much of the past HAS been faked up, if the forgers got away with it.

It is a dead parrot, non argument.

You can only compare Jesus with someone else, who has an infinite affect on my future. Who is that historical person?

If history is correct, then it's correct. If it's been faked, then it's fake. You can't make inferences from other histories (or my belief therof), especially when you don't know if they are fake, or how strong the motivation is to fake them up.
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We have records maintained by Greek and Roman historians regarding Hannibal, charlie, which detailed the many battles he fought against Roman forces and his eventual defeat by the Romans.  That's enough to establish the fact that he lived beyond any reasonable doubt.  So I'm going to ask that unless you have some reason to think that those records are false, that you leave off of this particular subject.

As for the rest of it, it isn't saying much to say that Jesus was based off of a real person.  It wouldn't be the first time that a fictional character was made by drawing on the exploits of someone who really existed; there were plenty of itinerant preachers from that era, so it's entirely possible he was based off of multiple real people.  So I would say there is no known evidence showing that Jesus - as opposed to some itinerant preacher or a literary composite of several of them - actually existed.

I have more confidence in the records regarding Hannibal because they were written by actual historians, as opposed to the nameless gospel ghostwriters who regularly contradict each other. That's really all there is to it.  It might be different if there were independent records of Jesus's life (you know, written by people who didn't imply they were his followers), but there aren't.  If the only records we had of Hannibal or Socrates were of people who claimed to be his followers, and who furthermore claimed that they had magical powers, I wouldn't put any real confidence in them ever having lived (at least when it comes to the events described in those fantastical stories)

You should probably note that there are no contemporary Jewish writings regarding Jesus actually existing.  The closest you ever come is the writings of Paul, and he never actually said anything about Jesus living a human life anywhere in his letters to various Christian fellowships.  In fact, his only 'encounter' with Jesus was in a vision.  Furthermore, regarding your question, it's notable that the educated Jews, the Pharisees and Sadducees, almost invariably did not convert.  And on top of that, most Christian converts were Gentiles, that is, non-Jews.  Therefore, your attempt to argue that these many intelligent Jews wouldn't have given their lives without corroborating the evidence falls quite flat, because most Jews didn't convert to begin with, and it's debatable whether the ones that did would have been particularly intelligent.

I fail to see the reason why you tried to call me on a category fallacy, seeing as I was comparing science to religion in that last bit.  Especially since you immediately followed by saying you agreed with the point I was making.  If I had committed a fallacy, it would have invalidated my logic (at least until I corrected the fallacy), so the fact that you agreed with said logic strongly suggests that there was no fallacy in the first place.  This is made worse by your subsequent attempt to claim that I was using a straw man.  I have to wonder just what you were referring to, because an actual straw man argument is when someone constructs a fake argument which they impute to someone else and then argue against.  You'll note that I never suggested you said any such thing.

I'm well aware that you were also talking about history, but the fact is that you were referencing a religion, Christianity, quite a bit in your earlier post.  I don't see why you think it's unreasonable to draw a comparison between science and religion as an example of why you can't simply assume that seemingly-historical stories written in a religious holy book are, in fact, historical.
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2-7)... I'm glad you agree that Jesus was based on a real person. That's comforting to know. So there is at least SOME evidence to lend credibility to the opinion of the vast majority of reputable and credentialed historians and scholars that a  historical Jesus did exist... even if we (as you claim) can't know with complete accuracy about some of his supposed exploits.

So I would assume you would then join me in rejecting any claim and/or assertion that there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE for a historical Jesus.

It's been a terribly long day for me, could you please repeat *what* evidence you have for the existence of an actual Jesus? Can you be specific?
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@charlie:

1.  Because we have evidence that Hannibal existed, and not just anecdotal stories.

2 - 7.  I think most people would accept that the Jesus written about in the New Testament was at least based on a real person.  But all we have in the way of evidence are the anecdotal stories of the New Testament.  That's not enough to make any kind of definitive statements about the accuracy of said stories.  Which didn't stop people from doing so anyway, because they were culturally conditioned to accept such stories as true rather than seeking corroborating evidence.

Also, jdawg's point was that if there is evidence showing that the Jesus written about in the New Testament actually lived, it should be much easier to present such evidence instead of arguing that the evidence must exist even though it hasn't been found yet.  In science, you have to have at least some evidence to support an explanation before you can expect people to take it seriously, but in religion, the converse is true - explanations are often believed true despite no evidence being available.


Thanks jaimehlers for your patience and kindness.

1)... what evidence do you have for Hannibal's existence?

2-7)... I'm glad you agree that Jesus was based on a real person. That's comforting to know. So there is at least SOME evidence to lend credibility to the opinion of the vast majority of reputable and credentialed historians and scholars that a  historical Jesus did exist... even if we (as you claim) can't know with complete accuracy about some of his supposed exploits.

So I would assume you would then join me in rejecting any claim and/or assertion that there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE for a historical Jesus.

Quote
But all we have in the way of evidence are the anecdotal stories of the New Testament.  That's not enough to make any kind of definitive statements about the accuracy of said stories.

And so why do you have more confidence in the "accuracy" of what we can know about Hannibal and Socrates, but not Jesus?  That is to say, how is the evidence stronger for Hannibal and Socrates than for Jesus?

And what is it about the NT that would make them unreliable?  Are the NT writers liars?  Or is there something intrinsic about "anecdotal" that makes them unreliable or not of any use to historians searching for truth? 


Can you elaborate a bit on that?


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... they were culturally conditioned to accept such stories as true rather than seeking corroborating evidence.

Really?  From what I can understand, the Jews had every cultural and religious predisposition to reject Jesus and His  teachings... especially as the Messiah... because He taught many things that ran counter to some of the Jew's most cherished and strongly held beliefs.

So I'm not clear how "they were culturally conditioned to accept such stories as true rather than seeking corroborating evidence"... especially since many were being rejected by their families and religious leaders for their belief in Jesus... and many were martyred.

It seems incredulous that many intelligent Jews would be willing to die for Jesus without first seeking corroborating evidence about who Jesus was and for what He taught.  Isn't it rather credulous to believe that intelligent Jews would be willing to be shunned from their families and countrymen and former beliefs and to be martyred without seeking corroborating evidence?  Especially since Jews were famous for being zealous in their defense of their most cherished beliefs?

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Also, jdawg's point was that if there is evidence showing that the Jesus written about in the New Testament actually lived, it should be much easier to present such evidence instead of arguing that the evidence must exist even though it hasn't been found yet.

I'm confused.  I thought you were saying that we have enough evidence so that most people would accept that the Jesus written about in the New Testament was at least based on a real person.

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In science, you have to have at least some evidence to support an explanation before you can expect people to take it seriously,...

1st of all, this is not science. This is history. So you appear to commit a category fallacy. That is why I brought up Hannibal and Socrates.

Secondly, I agree with your underlying assumption/premise that if we want to believe that Jesus and Hannibal and Socrates were real people... we would want SOME evidence so that we can take seriously that each of these people were historical.

So I was wondering why (if I understand you correctly) you have more confidence in the accuracy of what we know about Hannibal and Socrates, but not Jesus?   

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... but in religion, the converse is true - explanations are often believed true despite no evidence being available.

I think this commits a strawman.  I'm not talking about religion... but about history.

I don't think you would claim that historians believe "explanations" are true despite no evidence being available... correct?

 
Thanks again jaimehlers for your patience and kindness with me.  I tend to be pretty dense and slow at times.
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