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R. S. Martin

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2011, 04:01:18 pm »
I have had time to think about what I learned in my research yesterday and to read some more in Blomberg's "Historical Reliability of the Gospels." Since Michael has not yet posted his view I will take the liberty to post some of my conclusions.

Re Blomberg. He writes in the Introduction: [T]he only completely convincing way to confirm or deny historical testimony is by comparison with other historical testimony (Historical Reliability of Gospels, xv, http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Reliability-Gospels-Craig-Blomberg/dp/0830828079/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295123787&sr=8-1#reader_0830828079).

That, my friends, is a false statement. Comparison with other historical testimony is by no means the only way to confirm or deny a historical statement. The presence or absence of archaeological evidence, and what is found/not found, also testifies very strongly. For example, if we have no evidence whatsoever that a city called Troy ever existed, then perhaps the entire "history" around it is myth, complete with all the characters, landscape, buildings, and events. The same applies for Jesus of Nazareth. No such town existed in the early first century AD.*

Nor do we have any other evidence for the existence of such a Jesus--outside that of his religious followers. Religious and political followers naturally develop a literature to support their beliefs so that doesn't count. What critics and enemies say is what truly counts. Since no such written (evidence by critics or enemies of Jesus) or archaeological evidence exists of Jesus' existence while a great abundance of other evidence remains of the time period, there is no reason to believe that any reputable scholar can honestly arrive at the conclusion that the NT is historically reliable. That is why I say Dawkins is correct on this item.

Just to bring this to a personal level. I know that some biblical scholars do believe in Jesus as the Messiah. At the same time, they accept the scientific evidence that the NT and creed of Christian belief are built on a Greek mistranslation. The mistranslation is of the Hebrew word "Alma" meaning "young woman." It was translated to say "virgin," so that the NT says Jesus was born of a virgin, and the passage in Isaiah (upon which it is built) prophecies that a virgin shall have a child. The original Hebrew said a "young woman." That is by no means the same thing, since women used to marry and bear children at a very young age.

Is that reputable? That is open to debate, subjectively determined, I suppose.

Is it historically reliable? Nope.

You might argue that this is just one minor little thing. Well, okay, if going to hell for eternity for disbelief is minor, I'll let it go for the sake of argument. But consider this: If the foundation is rotten/skewed then how can we trust the structure to be sound?

*Apparently, some evidence for Troy has been found in recent decades. See Wikipedia article. Perhaps Nazareth will turn up, too, one day.
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. –Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted World, p. 12
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Cletus Nze

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2011, 05:12:21 pm »
rsmartin wrote: I have had time to think about what I learned in my research yesterday and to read some more in Blomberg's "Historical Reliability of the Gospels." Since Michael has not yet posted his view I will take the liberty to post some of my conclusions.

Re Blomberg. He writes in the Introduction: [T]he only completely convincing way to confirm or deny historical testimony is by comparison with other historical testimony (Historical Reliability of Gospels, xv, http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Reliability-Gospels-Craig-Blomberg/dp/0830828079/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295123787&sr=8-1#reader_0830828079).

That, my friends, is a false statement. Comparison with other historical testimony is by no means the only way to confirm or deny a historical statement. The presence or absence of archaeological evidence, and what is found/not found, also testifies very strongly. For example, if we have no evidence whatsoever that a city called Troy ever existed, then perhaps the entire "history" around it is myth, complete with all the characters, landscape, buildings, and events. The same applies for Jesus of Nazareth. No such town existed in the early first century AD.*

Nor do we have any other evidence for the existence of such a Jesus--outside that of his religious followers. Religious and political followers naturally develop a literature to support their beliefs so that doesn't count. What critics and enemies say is what truly counts. Since no such written (evidence by critics or enemies of Jesus) or archaeological evidence exists of Jesus' existence while a great abundance of other evidence remains of the time period, there is no reason to believe that any reputable scholar can honestly arrive at the conclusion that the NT is historically reliable. That is why I say Dawkins is correct on this item.

Just to bring this to a personal level. I know that some biblical scholars do believe in Jesus as the Messiah. At the same time, they accept the scientific evidence that the NT and creed of Christian belief are built on a Greek mistranslation. The mistranslation is of the Hebrew word "Alma" meaning "young woman." It was translated to say "virgin," so that the NT says Jesus was born of a virgin, and the passage in Isaiah (upon which it is built) prophecies that a virgin shall have a child. The original Hebrew said a "young woman." That is by no means the same thing, since women used to marry and bear children at a very young age.

Is that reputable? That is open to debate, subjectively determined, I suppose.

Is it historically reliable? Nope.

You might argue that this is just one minor little thing. Well, okay, if going to hell for eternity for disbelief is minor, I'll let it go for the sake of argument. But consider this: If the foundation is rotten/skewed then how can we trust the structure to be sound?

*Apparently, some evidence for Troy has been found in recent decades. See Wikipedia article. Perhaps Nazareth will turn up, too, one day.


UTTER DRIVEL! What you prefer to believe is that SH*T JUST HAPPENED - FOR NO REASON and the Universe emerged, eh? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
Pursue Truth - with rigour and vigour!

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idrovetheepb

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2011, 05:59:09 pm »
UTTER DRIVEL! What you prefer to believe is that SH*T JUST HAPPENED - FOR NO REASON and the Universe emerged, eh? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!


How does one become a mad scientist? Did you have go through some kind of apprenticeship or what?
Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.

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Michael S

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2011, 07:09:32 pm »
rsmartin wrote: The presence or absence of  archaeological evidence, and what is found/not found, also testifies  very strongly. For example, if we have no evidence whatsoever that a  city called Troy ever existed, then perhaps the entire "history" around  it is myth, complete with all the characters, landscape, buildings, and  events. The same applies for Jesus of Nazareth. No such town existed in  the early first century AD.*


I didn't feel the need to post as yet, as you had suggested you still had more to say.

I believe the quote above is something of a misdirection, as it seems to ignore the many other archaeological findings made possible by the bible, based on one of the findings that have not yet occurred.

For a brief list of findings made possible by the bible, try this brief article here. While I am aware that this is a Christian ministries site, and thus potentially biased, the article appears to quote a number of dates, places and facts, rather than simply quoting the bible and praising God.

When I can make the time, I will see if a secular educational institute (something that all parties might consider less biased).

Finally, it should go without saying that this is a contribution to the conversation, not an attempt to shut you up once and for all.
There are many things in life worth taking seriously. You and I are not among them.
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R. S. Martin

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2011, 10:38:29 pm »
Michael wrote:
Quote from: rsmartin
The presence or absence of  archaeological evidence, and what is found/not found, also testifies  very strongly. For example, if we have no evidence whatsoever that a  city called Troy ever existed, then perhaps the entire "history" around  it is myth, complete with all the characters, landscape, buildings, and  events. The same applies for Jesus of Nazareth. No such town existed in  the early first century AD.*


I didn't feel the need to post as yet, as you had suggested you still had more to say.

I believe the quote above is something of a misdirection, as it seems to ignore the many other archaeological findings made possible by the bible, based on one of the findings that have not yet occurred.

For a brief list of findings made possible by the bible, try this brief article here.


Thanks for explaining why you did not respond earlier. It's too late tonight to make a full evaluation of the article you linked. But I recognized the following from a TV program I watched a few years ago:
"After nearly 2,000 years, historical evidence for the existence of  Jesus has come to light literally written in stone. An inscription has  been found on an ancient bone box, called an ossuary, that reads "James,  son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." This container provides the only New  Testament-era mention of the central figure of Christianity and is the  first-ever archaeological discovery to corroborate Biblical references  to Jesus..."
I  think that is the same case I watched on tv a few years ago in which  scholars were asked for their opinions on whether it actually is the  family of Jesus in the NT. The scholars consulted could not rule out a  lot of other facts, one of them being that these are all very common  names for the time, so that they could not confirm that it was the  family of Jesus. Thus, in my opinion, it does not rightfully belong in a list of "evidences" for archaeological proofs of the Bible.
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. –Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted World, p. 12
exChristian.net Atheist Apologist

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Michael S

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2011, 10:54:39 pm »
Thus, in my opinion, it does not rightfully belong in a list of "evidences" for archaeological proofs of the Bible.


No, I would expect that there would be at least a few things on any list that could be contended, or flat out rejected, based on date written, new evidence since found etc.

There are many things in life worth taking seriously. You and I are not among them.
The Dalai Llama walks into a Pizza shop and says "Can you make me one with everything?"

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2011, 12:43:04 am »

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Cletus Nze

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2011, 12:54:34 pm »
idrovetheepb wrote:
UTTER DRIVEL! What you prefer to believe is that SH*T JUST HAPPENED - FOR NO REASON and the Universe emerged, eh? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!


How does one become a mad scientist? Did you have go through some kind of apprenticeship or what?


Don't be silly!
Pursue Truth - with rigour and vigour!

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Michael S

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Richard Strawkins [rant]
« Reply #53 on: January 18, 2011, 06:20:04 pm »
Mwalimu, I now do dub the "Bargle the Infamous".

"You only think I'm mad! Bwuah-HAH-hahahah!"
There are many things in life worth taking seriously. You and I are not among them.
The Dalai Llama walks into a Pizza shop and says "Can you make me one with everything?"