Swing and a Miss: SJ “Twitter-apologist” Responds… and Fails
My last blog, Aron Ra vs. Twitter Apologist – 31 Reasons Aron Ra Was Right All Along, addressed and delivered a cataclysmic blow to a Christian apologist’s malodorous blog post attempting to take on Aron Ra, the Texan Tank. To be fair, her original 31 points fired at Aron Ra were like firing BB’s at an actual tank. But since the sewage had been spilled on the Internet, I took it upon myself to clean up the mess. And after I published the virtual smack-down, my blog was received with wild praises all over social media and by Aron himself.
Well, looks like SJ is back and asking for more punishment. SJ Thomason found the energy to write up a counter-response blog to me titled “When He Cried Wolf.” Oh golly, that line never gets old. In fact, I think it’s high time that society writes a more appropriate story about a real predator that preys on hundreds of thousands of children all around the world every year. To make things worse, these are predators that parents happily introduce their own children to. And when said predator is brought to the light for it’s horrible crimes, powerful organizations and communities protect and shield the predator from the law. Could there be any type of worse predator? I’d like to call it “The Child Who Cried Theist.”
Anyway, when I clicked on the link to read SJ’s response to me, I was more disappointed then Kirk Cameron after creating “Saving Christmas.” I say that because she didn’t even address the 31 points that I made. She only picked 10, and of those ten, the majority of them are tiny snippit lines picked from the lengthy responses. How disappointing. Still, despite only managing to address one-third (more like 1/10) of my blog, I felt obliged to respond anyway.
So let’s get started and see whether SJ can live up to the title of her blog and display even the faintest modicum of honesty, or whether we’re in for just another endless stream of fabrications, misrepresentations and falsehoods.
Before proceeding further, for any new readers who didn’t read my first blog directed at SJ, here is a list of the major things that were included that blew apart her arguments but she failed to address in her response to me:
- Nothing to say about the words Paul used to describe his visions as visions.
- No comment on Paul reporting that the earliest Christians were a collection of people who frequently hallucinated.
- No response to the contradictions in the Bible regarding Jesus and Judas.
- Nothing regarding the laws of the Sanhedrin.
- No defense for Paul after revealing that he was not and could not be an first-hand eyewitness.
- No defense after refuting each of the 9 so-called “secular sources” supposedly providing proof of Jesus.
- Nothing to say about the Bible containing pseudepigraphy (forgeries) including 2 Timothy, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Colossians, Ephesians, 2 Thessalonians, James and Jude
- Nothing to say after refuting the prophesies that supposedly made Jesus the Messiah, such as the “virgin birth.”
- No response to the debunked 10/42 argument.
- Nothing to say about the credibility of Herodotus’s reports of the Persian Wars.
- Nothing to say after being refuted on wars and persecutions of theists by theists.
- No defense for the Christian martyr stories, that were all written by non-eyewitnesses a long time after the supposed events happened.
- No come-back for noting the fact that Christianity has slowed progress.
- When Aron Ra criticized Christianity for male circumcision, SJ tried to defend circumcision all the while John 7 says Jesus was against circumcision.
- She claimed no apologist ever claimed that humans know how to wash their hands because of God…. apparently she’s never heard of Ray Comfort. Nor did she have any defense for Jesus’ stupidity about cleanliness or have anything to say about the Rabbi I cited in a video source explaining why Jesus was wrong in every way about cleanliness.
- Nothing to say about the fact that Old Testament still applying to Christians.
- No comment or rebuttal to pointing out that a competent liar can craft “embarrassing stories” to make their beliefs appear more acceptable.
- She’s been refuted many times about the old lie that “women’s testimony weren’t trustworthy back then.”
- Nothing to say about the reliability of “spirits.”
- Nothing to say about the Bible being completely wrong about Jesus’ birth and the Roman census.
- Not even a word about the video I presented with a Rabbi going over all the key prophecies that the Messiah must fulfill yet Jesus didn’t do any of them.
The list can go on and on, but I think I made my point. After you read the 10 things by me she decided to respond to, and comparing them to the points I raised in the list above, it is obvious she tried to go for the easiest ones of them all, all for the sake of making herself appear capable in front of her fans and likely fall under the false impression that if SJ can refute one-third of my blog, then she beat me and won.
As you’ll read her responses to mine, it’s clear that all her efforts were half-assed and missed the mark. Even more embarrassing, several times she pulled a Ray Comfort — she repeated the very same lines I responded to in the first place and threw it right back at me, thinking by doing so magically makes such responses worth a damn. Many of her counter responses to mine are so short, she desperately needs to lay off the Twitter because that 140-character bullcrap must be going to her head.
Anyway, here are the 10 out of 31 “points” she could be bothered to reply to. My “lines” she’s responding to will be in BOLD, followed by hers in normal font.
1. Even the claimed eye-witness testimonies in the New Testament differ, in HUGE ways about Jesus’ figure and life.
“The most striking feature one notices in comparing Matthew, Mark, and Luke is their similarity. Approximately ninety-one percent (c. 601 out of 661 verses) of Mark’s information appears in Matthew or Luke, and usually in both. An additional 235 verses appear in some form in both Matthew and Luke but not in Mark” (Green, McKnight & Marshall, 1992, pp. 294-295).
The authors of the Gospels recount the Gospel events using a device known today as the “critical incident technique.” The critical incident technique is a set of procedures for collecting direct observations of human behavior that intentionally excludes opinions, traits, and biases. Instead of developing the “characters” in the Gospels, as would have been done to be consistent with prevalent story telling in Greco-Roman literature, the authors do not offer their own insight and opinions on Jesus’ appearance and personality characteristics. They only reveal the facts that contribute to the substance of the message.
From Jesus’ ministry, we can make our own deductions about His character as a humble and obedient, yet knowledgeable teacher who forgave people and offered His own interpretations of Old Testament laws. He worked in the pits and not the pedestals as He spent time with and exalted tax collectors and other sinners within the greater Judea region. All four Gospels speak of His miracles, His teachings, and His love for humanity.
In summary, the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ life do not differ in “HUGE” ways about Jesus’ figure and life.
“The most striking feature one notices in comparing Matthew, Mark, and Luke is their similarity. Approximately ninety-one percent (c. 601 out of 661 verses) of Mark’s information appears in Matthew or Luke, and usually in both.”
First of all, it’s called COPYING. When you have 2 sources copying from 1 that doesn’t mean you have 3 sources, you have 1 source. What this line leaves out is that Matthew and Luke have more then just 661 verses. No, they have more, especially more stories about Jesus. And THIS is where the depiction of Jesus begins to differ among Mark, Matthew, and Luke… all the while truth is Christian apologists love to exaggerate the “91% similarity” argument to claim that the Bible portrays a consistent picture of Jesus. This is simply not true.
- For one, Mark doesn’t go into where Jesus was born. But Matthew and Luke do. Matthew has Jesus and his family appear like refugees who had to flee to Egypt to escape the terror of Herod. Luke doesn’t like that, so later on he rewrites the story and doesn’t make Jesus or his family look like outlaws but rather law-abiding Jews who obeyed the law and went to the Temple like Jews were supposed to (after all, you can’t do that if you’ve fled to another country).
- Mark’s Jesus is a fallible, suffering human who loves to travel near water (We don’t know who the author of Mark is but we know he was an educated Greek, likely not a local, and from what we’ve seen in his work, his Jesus stories have influences from the greatest story of the age, Homer’s epic of Odysseus.) Mark doesn’t bother sharing Jesus’ miraculous birth story, rather he focuses more on making Jesus very human. His Jesus gets angry and loses his temper with people and inanimate objects (fig trees); his Jesus uses traditional pagan magic techniques (spit and magic words) to heal the blind and deaf (but not always successfully); he expresses fear, distress and agitation in the garden of Gethsemane; and Mark’s Jesus tells his followers that he will return in their lifetimes.
- Matthew’s Jesus is an improved version of Mark’s. While he does copy a lot from Mark, he doesn’t copy verbatim and rather upgrades Jesus by correcting Mark’s mistakes. He makes Jesus very Jewish (wearing a prayer shawl tasseled with tzitzit (9:20-22), observing the Sabbath (12:1-8), teaching, worshiping and healing in synagogues as well as the Temple) and Matthew cut-and-pasted prophecies from the Old Testament into the story (and a sloppy one at that, he even includes some that were never prophecies to begin with). Contrary to Mark’s Jesus, Matthew’s Jesus doesn’t say that he will return any moment now. Instead his Jesus says he will come back … some day.
- Luke says HIS story of Jesus is the real story, and even though 50% of Mark appears in Luke (often in identical wording) his Jesus is more serene. He amazes even his parents when they find him in the Temple at age 12 schooling everyone; Luke’s Jesus never expresses fear or doubt. Jesus is surprised to be unable to work miracles in Mark 6:5-6; Matthew says he was unsurprised and able but just unwilling (13:58); Luke’s Jesus tops them both. Not only is his Jesus not surprised, he even anticipates all this difficulty, and then effortlessly breezes out of the clutches of a lynch mob for good measure (4:16-30). In contrast to the distraught anguish of Mark’s Jesus (and Matthew’s copycat Jesus), Luke’s Jesus is as imperturbable as a Japanese geisha in Gethsemane. Unlike them, he doesn’t feel the need to take Peter, James and John along for any moral support. Nor does he become distressed or agitated, or “sorrowful unto death.” He doesn’t collapse to the ground but simply kneels (22:41) and prays just once (not three times), asking God politely, if he would be willing, to please remove the cup (22:42). While Mark’s Jesus dies in anguish and despair, Luke’s Jesus exits with composure and acceptance. Luke dispenses with the words of the 22nd Psalm altogether and takes his Jesus’ parting line from Psalm 31:5: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (23:46). And contradicting Mark’s Jesus, Luke repeats Matthew’s (or Q’s) parable, in virtually identical language, that the Lord will NOT be right back during his followers’ lifetimes after all (12: 42-46).
2. We have no evidence that there were five hundred eyewitnesses to begin with! All we have is Paul’s say-so.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul makes it clear that five hundred people were eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus. If five hundred people did not see the risen Jesus, the fact that His ministry grew into the millions over the first three hundred years after His resurrection (c.f., Wawro, 2008, pp. 84) is even MORE remarkable as fewer people would have attested to His resurrection.
Did the story about the 500 Nazi’s fly over her head?
In another blog published on August 1, 2017, SJ responded to “the Atheist codex.” When addressing testimonial evidence, SJ noted the following: “Of course, the collection of multiple testimonies is important, which is why the courts collect more than single depositions in court cases. Joseph Smith and Muhammad are examples of single sources of a claim. ”
Note that she dismisses Joseph Smith and Muhammad because they are “single sources” but also note her bias: she disregards Smith, but not Paul. Paul is the only source in the New Testament who claims there were 500 witnesses, so even if we assume for the sake of argument that the 500 people were real, this still makes Paul a “single source” for the claim that 500 people saw Jesus rise from the dead.
Also, hiding behind the excuse that “if there were no 500 witnesses, that just makes the rise of Christianity more remarkable” doesn’t mean squat. It may be “remarkable,” but not impossible. When you have a group that claims to have 500 members, it’s much easier to get the ball rolling and quickly swell your ranks, ESPECIALLY if you manage to convert those in high places of power. The main reason Europe mostly adopts Christianity can be largely credited to one converted man of power: Emperor Constantine. He, and his successor, practically made Christianity the law of the land in the largest Empire in Europe. It’s no wonder then that Christianity got a major foot-holding in history.
For more elaborate and convincing explanations of how Christianity flourished, I highly recommend “Not the Impossible Faith” by Richard Carrier.
3. Wow…. she cited J Wallace. For those of you unaware of who he is, he’s an ex-cop. He has exactly zero degrees in any relevant subject and has never published a single paper or book on this at any peer reviewed venue.
Through the centuries, God has often empowered and exalted the least among us. Consider Moses’ humble beginnings and the way he initially protested to God in Exodus 4:10:
Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Consider those whom Jesus chose as His disciples: fishermen, a tax collector, a tent-maker, and other men and women of humble means.
Consider John Bunyan (1628-1688), who was barely educated, yet authored numerous books including Pilgrim’s Progress. He acknowledged his humble birth when he said, “my father’s house being that of the rank that is meanest and most despised of all the families in the land.”
God chooses people of varying backgrounds to share His message in ways that appeal to groups not captured by the traditional apologists in Christian ministries. J. Warner Wallace, as a former homicide investigator, offers a unique perspective on the investigation into Jesus’ ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection.
In addition, Wallace’s books reference and have the support of a variety of Christian apologists who are well-published with terminal degrees. At the outset of his book, Cold Case Christianity, supporting comments from Craig J. Hazen, J.P. Moreland, Paul Copan, Rick Warren, and Sean McDowell are provided.
“Consider Moses’ humble beginnings“…. you mean his rip-off beginnings. And by rip-off, I mean copied from the pagan story of king Sargon being placed in a basket as a baby and released into the river.
Even if we ignore that, mentioning Moses won’t help your case. Why? Because Moses is also just a legend.
What can John Bunyan bring to this discussion? How is he relevant?
“God chooses people of varying backgrounds to share His message“… sharing a message is far different from proving a message. Any unqualified uneducated schmuck can share the messages of a holy book (look no further then the buffoons Ken Ham, Kent Hovind, and Ray Comfort).
“J. Warner Wallace, as a former homicide investigator, offers a unique perspective on the investigation into Jesus“… unique is not synonymous with accurate or honest.
4. The rules of the Sanhedrin were violated, so the crucifixion must not have happened.
The Jewish Talmud, which refers to the writings and discussions of ancient rabbis, refutes this assertion. “Jesus practiced magic and led Israel astray” (b. Sanhedrin 43a; c.f., Shabbat 11.15, b. Shabbat 104b). “Rabbi Hisda (d. 309) said that Rabbi Jeremiah bar Abba said, ‘What is that which is written, “No evil will befall you, nor shall any plague come near your house?” (Psalm 91:10)… “No evil will befall you” (means) that evil dreams and evil thoughts will not tempt you; “nor shall any plague come near your house” (means) that you will not have a son or a disciple who burns his food like Jesus of Nazareth’” (b. Sanhedrin 103a; c.f., b. Berakhot 17b).
“It was taught: On the day before the Passover they hanged Jesus. A herald went before him for forty days (proclaiming), ‘He will be stoned, because he practiced magic and enticed Israel to go astray. Let anyone who knows anything in his favor come forward and plead for him.’ But nothing was found in his favor, and they hanged him on the day before the Passover” (b. Sanhedrin 43a).
The passages above were quoted in J. Warner Wallace’s Cold Case Christianity (2013, pp. 199). From these passages, we know that Jesus was not merely a myth, he had magical powers, and he was hanged the day before the Passover.
Luke 23:2, 5 provides the only explicit record of the charges brought against Jesus: “We have found this man subverting our nation, opposing the payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying of himself that he is the Christ….He stirs up the people throughout Judea by his teaching.”
Pilate’s question to Jesus, which was reported in all four Gospels (Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; and John 18:33) is also unambiguous, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus responded with: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
And here is my case (no pun intended) and point why you should stick to people qualified in the field of history when examining history.
SJ thinks that Wallace did his homework, because he found Jesus mentioned in the Talmud…. did Wallace and SJ check to see if 1) the Talmud is a contemporary historical source and 2) that Jesus mentioned was Jesus Christ or someone else?
To answer both questions: No, they did not. Grade “F.”
1) The Palestinian Talmud didn’t come into existence until the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion. At best it can only serve as a controversial Christian or Jewish legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.
2) Turns out, it’s not about Jesus Christ. The character in person mentioned in the Talmud is “Yeshu” who according to scholars depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus or it may refer to Yeshu ben Pandera, a teacher of the 2nd century CE.
5. Paul never met Jesus in his entire life. Paul is a man whose entire ministry rests on a man he never met, only relying on “visions” and “revelations” he had about a figure he credits to be Jesus.
Throughout the Book of Acts and Paul’s Epistles, Luke (Acts) and Paul have chronicled the beatings, snake bites, harsh conditions, and imprisonments Paul endured in the name of Jesus over decades. Given the fact that his vision of Jesus completely changed his life from a Christian persecutor (Saul) to one of Christianity’s most persecuted, one must consider the power of the vision and the fact that he fought to spread Jesus’ message for years.
Furthermore, Paul did not merely claim he had a vision. He claimed in 1 Corinthians 15 that he saw the risen Christ. Jesus’ form was not merely a vision or a spirit, but flesh-like, as He ate fish with the apostles and showed Thomas the nail marks in His hands. Jesus remained in this form with His disciples for forty days after His resurrection. During this time He “did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:18).
It’s like watching SJ trying terribly to play dealer in a game of “Find the Lady.” She quotes 1 Corinthians 15 about Paul “seeing Jesus” and then noting that Jesus couldn’t be a “vision” because he ate food and had people touch him….. those last descriptions of the “risen” Jesus do not come from 1 Corinthians, they came from Matthew and Luke. 1 Corinthians, as I already pointed out in my last blog, only reveals that Paul had a vision. That’s all. No eating. No touching.
The claim that Jesus ate food and had people touch his body came elsewhere, and not from Paul. In fact, Paul didn’t see any of this happening either, he only heard about it.
If we examine the claims of 1 Corinthians 15 as it stands on it’s own, we learn that the verb ophthe simply expresses Paul’s claim that Jesus “appeared” too them. The use of ophthe within the context of Paul’s statement is significant. Paul’s use of ophthe in expressing both his own visionary experience and those allegedly seen by the disciples is significant because his supposed encounters with the risen Jesus are never with a tangible form. In claiming the same experience for himself as experienced by the disciples, Paul is relating that “what was seen” by the disciples is also a visionary experience devoid of any physical component.
In Acts 22:17-18 it is said that Paul “saw” (idein) Jesus while in a “trance” (ekstasei) in the Temple. The word ekstasei is a combination of stasis, “standing,” and ek, “out.” It suggests the idea of standing out of oneself, that is, the nature of a trance. In this description, Paul uses a different verb for seeing the apparition then he uses when describing the experiences of the disciples.
For his and the disciples’ experience, Paul used the word ophthe (“appeared to“). Yet, when he described his vision while in a trance in the Temple he used the word idein (“saw“). “Have I not seen [heoraka] Jesus our Lord?” Paul asks rhetorically in 1 Corinthians 9:1.
In summary, according to Paul, both his experience and that of the disciples were respectively not with a material bodily form. So according to Paul himself, did Jesus really rise from the dead? Or, as Richard Carrier noted here, perhaps Paul and the disciples believed that Jesus was not a historical person but a celestial being like an archangel.
6. Also, do we have evidence that James is real? And which James are we talking about?
James, John’s brother, was put to death with the sword by Herod in Acts 12:2. James the Just, Jesus’ half-brother, to whom the Book of James is attributed, was reported by Josephus to have been stoned to death and by Eusebius to have been thrown from the top of a temple and beaten to death with a club.
Okay, we have two James. One where the anonymous author of Luke / Acts claiming that John’s brother was killed by Herod.
As for James the Just reported by Josephus, we have reasons to expect this was a forgery as well. Here’s the passage: “Festus was now dead, and Albinus was put upon the road; so he [Ananus, the Jewish high priest] assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, him called Christ, whose name was James, and some others. And when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned….”
Here’s why we have good reasons to think this too is clearly forged.
1) Josephus was writing for a Roman audience. A Roman audience would not have been familiar with Jewish beliefs concerning the Messiah. Indeed, they probably wouldn’t even have known what the word “Christ” meant. To throw such a description in without any explanation would have confused the readers.
2) Why would Josephus mention Jesus before the person that the passage is actually about? On the other hand, if this were a Christian interpolation it would make sense to have Jesus’ name be in the place of status.
3) The original Greek wording of the passage itself is extremely similar to Matthew 1:16 For an Othodox Jew this would be extremely unlikely.
4) After reading the rest of the text of this passage we find that the Jews were so angry about the stoning of James that they they demanded that King Agrippa fire Ananus. Why would the Jews be angered over the killing of a Christian, since Christians were seen as heathens by the Jews?
Also, the book of Acts shows no knowledge of this event. And it is nigh impossible for a Christian of the time to know less than Josephus about the fate of ‘James the brother of Jesus Christ’ (particularly a Christian claiming to have researched the history of his church: Lk. 1.1-4). In fact Luke makes a point of always depicting the Romans protecting or rescuing Christians from the excesses of Jewish persecution or other dire fates (e.g. Gallio: Acts 18.12-23; Lysias and Festus: Acts 23– 24; Roman guards: Acts 16.19-40; 16.19-40; 27.42-44), and of depicting some among the Jewish elite as being less negatively disposed toward Christians (Gamaliel: Acts 5.34-42; even Herod Agrippa: Acts 25– 26). In its present form, Antiquities 20.200 has all of this. Indeed it hands Luke a rhetorical coup: Romans (and Herod Agrippa himself) punishing Jews for persecuting Christians. There is no possible way Luke would have passed up an opportunity to include this in his account. The only explanation for why he didn’t that has any probability is that this event never happened— yet it is wholly improbable that Josephus would fabricate it. In fact, as Luke appears to have used Josephus as a source (Chapter 7, § 4), Luke could not have found any story about James ‘the brother of Christ’ in Josephus. Therefore, it wasn’t there.
7. The Godless Wolf questions the authenticity of Josephus’ account.
Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews (18.3, 63-64) contains the “Testimonium Flavianium:”
“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared” (Trans. L.H. Feldman, Loeb Classical Library. In Green, McKnight, and Marshall, 1992).
This statement was known as early as the fourth century when Eusebius twice quoted it (Hist. Eccl. 1.11; Dem. Ev. 3.5, 124). Origin also knew of Josephus’ other references to John the Baptist and James the Just (Jesus’ half-brother).
Bible scholars have debated whether the above passage was distorted slightly by later Christians and some, such as S. Pines (1971), produced slightly different variants based on Arabic translations less likely to be modified by Christian authors. S. Pines’ version is as follows:
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations have become his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”
Despite the controversies, Josephus provides important historic information about first-century Judaism. Furthermore, aside from Josephus, we have 9 secular and 32 other Christian sources within 150 years of Jesus’ crucifixion that provide support for the New Testament accounts.
“This statement was known as early as the fourth century when Eusebius twice quoted it“… shouldn’t that be the first clue that that the Josephus quote is a forgery? If Josephus did write that quote, that would’ve been the first “evidence” the earliest of Christian preachers would have used, yet it was never mentioned or noticed by anyone for ~400 years?
I wrote 7 valid and lengthy reasons why the passage from Josephus is a forgery, but all SJ can do is try to use a re-worded version of the same FORGED passage written by someone in the 1970’s? What is going on in SJ’s head to think that this re-worded quote can magically make a centuries-old forged passage no longer forged? Seriously SJ, what dream-world did you slip into?
“Despite the controversies, Josephus provides important historic information about first-century Judaism.” Not arguing that, but that’s irrelevant to the case at hand: the forged passage of Josephus, used as “evidence” by Christian apologists to justify their belief that Jesus was real. Even if Josephus gave us a great insight of Judaism during 1st century Roman-occupied Israel, that doesn’t magically mean that the forged passage is not a forgery.
“Furthermore, aside from Josephus, we have 9 secular and 32 other Christian sources within 150 years of Jesus’ crucifixion that provide support for the New Testament accounts.” I already went over each of those “sources” in my previous blog and revealed why they amount to absolutely nothing. They are all based on hearsay, some of them don’t even mention Jesus by name and only mention Christians as the group.
9. Christians are fools for Christ’s sake. They accept improbable claims with insufficient evidence. 1 Corinthians 4:10 “We are fools for Christ; you are wise in Christ” (in Greek: hemeis moroi dia Christon, humeis de phronimoi en Christo). The word translated here as “fools” is related to the English word “moronic.”
God does make reference to fools in the Bible in Psalm 14 (1-3): “The fool says in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
That’s a line that would give ISIS a wicked hard-on. It’s pure prejudice.
Not only is it prejudice, it is a fine example of how religions reverse the meanings of words. This is something Aron Ra has made a presentation on.
To quote Aron Ra: “Its the old playground game of “I am rubber you are glue, whatever bounces off of me sticks to you.” Its an infantile tactic that is described as the pot calling the silverware black. Its a sort of psychological spin. How else can you defend an indefensible position? You have to twist everything around. That is why the Bible defines the fool as someone who does not believe completely the outrageous claims from the most incredulous sources even without asking for evidence – despite the fact that every other source in the world defines a fool as someone who does all of these things.”
If there are no atheist that “do good” and they are all “vile,” you’d expect the prison populations to be overwhelmingly filled with atheists…. yet it’s the exact opposite.
All it takes to make a statement like “not one non-believer is good” is just one example. I could list a lot of heroes who were and are atheists, but considering that all babies and toddlers are unaware of the concept of God until they are old enough to communicate and understand, I’d say that children are innocent and good — yet this passage implies that not even non-believing babies are good, rather they are “vile” like the rest of the non-believers.
10. If we apply the same methodology that shows Socrates was not real, then so be it. Historians shouldn’t play favoritism, if there is no evidence for a person, then there is none. Even if Socrates turns out to be a legend, what have we lost? Socrates is known for his philosophies that taught us how to think. His philosophies will still stand even if we conclude he didn’t exist. One thing that separates Socrates from Jesus is that Socrates never said, “believe what I tell you or you will be doomed.”
But there is no need to worry about Socrates becoming a non-historical person. Why? Because unlike Jesus, we actually have better evidence proving he was a real historical man. We have the names of over a dozen eyewitnesses who wrote books about Socrates. The books that survived are by Plato and Xenophon, each of whom was an eyewitness and disciple to Socrates, who each recorded his teachings and reported stories and other information about him. From them, we also know the titles of other books about Socrates, and a number of paraphrases and quotations from them survive in other sources. Not only that, we also have a relatively unfriendly eyewitness account of Socrates: The Clouds of Aristophanes.
We have nothing like this for Jesus. None of his Disciples wrote down anything about him or what he taught. Paul doesn’t count because he never met Jesus in his life. Nor do we have any contemporary sources at the time that were critical of Christ and Christians.
In my previous blog, I cited 33 Christian and nine secular sources confirming the validity of the New Testament within 150 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. The Godless Wolf says he has the names of “over a dozen” eyewitnesses who wrote books about Socrates.
Yet in my investigations, I have found that only Plato and Xenophon wrote about Socrates. Socrates himself wrote nothing. I therefore ask the Godless Wolf to provide further information on his claim that there are twelve eyewitness accounts.
See Luis Navia, Socrates: A Life Examined (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2007), pp. 29-31. We have other contemporaries attesting his historical existence in Athens (e.g. Aristotle: Navia, Socrates, pp. 139-58) who knew and cite his personal acquaintances; and we know the names of at least sixteen pupils of Socrates who wrote books about him. Principal examples: Aeschines Socraticus, Ameipsias, Antisthenes, Aristippus of Cyrene, Cebes of Thebes [not the author, however, of the extant Socratic dialog forged in his name], Chaerephon, Crito, Euclides, Teleclides, Simmias, Simon the Cobbler [whose shoe shop we’ve even excavated], Polycrates and Phaedon— see entries for each in the Oxford Classical Dictionary (ed. Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).
Historians also quickly took notice of Socrates and wrote about him (e.g. ‘Idomeneus (2)’, Oxford Classical Dictionary, p. 746, wrote On the Followers of Socrates about a century after Socrates’ death). Even now the surviving attestations and quotations of Socrates and his witnesses fill four volumes: Gabriele Giannantoni, Socratis et socraticorum reliquiae (4 vols.; Naples: Bibliopolis, 1990). See also Luis Navia and Ellen Katz, Socrates: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1988); Thomas Brickhouse and Nicholas Smith, The Trial and Execution of Socrates: Sources and Controversies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); Debra Nails, The People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2002); and Sara Ahbel-Rappe and Rachana Kamtekar (eds.), A Companion to Socrates (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
Jesus scholars could only dream of having this much information about Jesus.
Those “33 Christian and 9 secular sources” fall short in their own rights considering that ALL of them were written by non-eyewitnesses, whereas there are records of Socrates from actual eyewitnesses.