Refutation of “Christ Revealed” docu-series Ep. 3
ROUND 2. FIGHT!
Okay, for Episode 3, we are given a mix of “the power of prophecy” followed with “suspend your rationality for the sake of believing supernatural claims with no historical proof.”
Still waiting for that promised “Evidence” that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there really was a Jesus.
First Interviewee: Amir Tsarfati
Here’s what you need to know about this guy. He was born in a Jewish family in Jerusalem, was given away to a foster family at age 3, went through a “crisis” around age 17, then surprise-surprise he accepted Jesus in senior year in High School (thanks to a bit of narcissism to think that Yahweh publishes newspaper articles just for Amir). Later his foster family kicked him out, he joined the IDF, and now makes a living as a Christian apologist with a boner for prophecies and predicting the End Times.
Is he a Historian? No. He’s just a successful Christian apologist who has an edge in knowledge of Judaism.
The start of the interview goes on and on about Amir’s backstory and how he came to Christ. Apparently after a “crisis” in life, he narcissistic believed that after a prayer, Yahweh published a newspaper Ad just for him the next day telling him about a video by Campus Crusade about Jesus. He went to the video, watching it tell the life of Jesus while showing each of the “prophecies” Jesus fulfilled.
“You can’t really argue with the fact that [Jesus] literally fulfilled every single messianic prophecy regarding being the Messiah.”
Jesus failed ALL the messianic prophecies.
All the criteria must be fulfilled, emphasis on the All, to become the Jewish Messiah.
1) In Gathering the Jewish Exiles: The Messiah will reign as the Jewish King of Israel and gather all the Jews around the world to Israel. (Duet. 30:3; Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:3, 30:27; Ezekiel 11:17, 36:24) But Jesus never reigned as King, nor did he bring all the Jews to Israel.
2) Rebuilding the Holy Temple in Jerusalem:(Isaiah 2:2-3, 56:5-7, 60:7, 66:20; Ezekiel 37:26-27; Malachi 3:4; Zechariah 14:20-21) The Temple was sill standing in Jesus’ day, and destroyed 38 years after his alleged) death by crucifixion, and the temple has not yet been rebuilt.
3) Worldwide Reign of Peace and end of all war (Micah 4:1-4; Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 2:1-4, 60:18) yet since the creation of Christianity, wars have increased. Some fought in the name of Jesus.
4) Embracing of Torah Observance by all Jews: the Messiah will reign as King at a time when all the Jewish people will embrace the Torah and observe God’s commandments. (Ezekiel 37:24; Deuteronomy 30:8, 10; Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:26-27) But not all Jews follow the Torah or the Commandments.
5) Universal Knowledge of God: The Messiah will rule during a time when all the people of the world will come to knowledge and serve the “one true God” of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Zechariah 3:9, 8:23, 14:9,16; Isaiah 45:23, 66:23; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 38:23; Psalm 86:9; Zephaniah 3:9) This has not taken place.
6) From the Tribe of Judah and a Direct Descendant of King David and Solomon: (Genesis 49:10; 2 Samuel 7:12-14; 1 Chronicles 22:9-10). Genealogy in the Bible is only passed down from father to son (Numbers 1:1-18) and there is no evidence that Jesus had this pedigree. The Christian New Testament actually claims that Jesus did not have a birth father (Matthew 1:18-20) from the Tribe of Judah descending from David and Solomon.
All this criteria are found in numerous places in the Jewish Bible. Anyone can claim to be the Messiah, or any group of people can claim that a person is the Messiah. However, if that person fails to meet all the criteria found in the Torah, then he simply cannot be the Messiah. Missionaries and apologists argue that Jesus will fulfill these requirements when Jesus returns during the Second Coming in the future. It is important to understand that this doctrine of a Second Coming is an admission that Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic criteria. This rationalization for his failure provides no reason for accepting him as the Messiah today. Furthermore, the Torah does not have a Messianic installment plan where the Messiah comes, fails in his mission, and then returns thousands of years later to finally succeed.
Missionaries and apologists will claim that Jesus’ performed miracles which indicate that he was the son of God and therefore the Messiah. However we have no real evidence that Jesus performed any miracle. More significantly, even if Jesus did perform miracles, they would not prove that he was the Messiah. The Torah does not say that the Messiah will be recognized for performing miracles, the Torah actually teaches (Duet. 13:2-6) that false prophets can have the ability to perform supernatural miracles.
Luke and Matthew mistook parts of Isaiah, and inserted that mistake into their faith. Isaiah never claimed that the Messiah would come of a virgin birth. The Greek-speaking authors of the Gospels translating the Hebrew scripture slipped up and translated ‘almah’ (young woman) [המלע] into the Greek ‘parthenos’ (virgin). The Hebrew word for virgin would have been ‘betulah.’
This “virgin birth” story clearly indicates that the Greek-speaking authors of the Gospels, while educated, didn’t fully understand Judaism. Why? Because the “virgin birth” is not a criteria for becoming the Messiah. Rather, the “virgin birth” story shoots Jesus’ credibility in the foot (which isn’t so bad considering the bullet would go through the hole in Jesus’ foot. Waka-waka!) The reason why is because the Scriptures make it clear that the Messiah is to be a descendant of King David AND King Solomon, and genealogy in the Bible is only passed down from father to son (Numbers 1:1-18). So when Jesus claims that he did not have a birth father (Matt. 1:18-20) he admits that he has broken the male-to-son genealogy that could link him to David and Solomon. Christian apologists try to claim that Mary connects Jesus to David, but this approach completely ignores the fact that tribal affiliation is patrilineal. Even if we let that slide, there’s another problem. The genealogy from Luke does not include Solomon. Matthew does mention Solomon, but also says Jesus is a descendant of King Jeconiah… whose descendants have forever been disqualified as kings of Israel (Jeremiah 22:24). However you want to slice it, Jesus failed the requirements to be the messiah. These are some of the many reasons why Jews reject Jesus as the messiah (as they should! As we all should).
When Matthew cites Isaiah 7:14, not only does he get the “virgin birth” wrong, he [and all Christian apologists] also misunderstands the name Immanuel. The word “Immanuel” does not mean “God has become a man and walks among us” nor does it mean “God has become flesh and is with us as a man“. Such assertions contradict Scripture. According to God, he isn’t a man, as we find in (Numbers 23:19) “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
Amir says after he saw that film, he went home and told everyone they were sinners, yet Amir admits that he did not read a single verse in the New Testament.
Gullibility at it’s finest folks. His Jewish Holocaust-surviving parents must be proud.
Later on in the interview, Amir shares that he credits his faith for gaining his position as deputy-governor of Jericho because the Orthodox Jewish Governor picked him out of 40 officers because the governor wasn’t traditional and neither was Amir, they both had interesting talks, got along, and thus the Governor picked him despite knowing Amir was a Christian.
Your personality more then anything deserves the credit. You out-shined your co-workers, so either you were the most likeable guy, or the rest of them royally sucked.
Amir shares that he loves to talk about prophecy. For instance, he predicts there will be a time of peace in Israel, but it will be a false one.
Amir goes on to note that what strikes him the most is the “personal relationship people have with the creator of the universe.”
George Harrison, the guitarist for the Beatles was a Bhaki Hindu. He believed in a personal god, and he said that if one chants the mantras with devotion, Lord Krishna would visibly appear and speak to him in an audible voice. Many pagans are similarly convinced of having met their deities too. For example, a cat fancier in Texas insists he began worshiping Bast only after the Egyptian goddess dramatically appeared physically manifest, having personally chosen him to become her disciple.
Amir says later on that he read Isaiah 1 and it says God hates religion, therefore Amir hates religion.
What is Amir reading? Isaiah 1 is about how God is pissed at Sodom, he hates what a sinful place Sodom had become. It mentions children becoming corrupted, people becoming evildoers, and God’s appetite for burnt offerings is full but instead wishes them to cleanse themselves of evil, and those who rebel will be put to death.
The only mental gymnastics I can make of this to where Amir thinks this is against religion is the part where burnt offerings are no long satisfactory to God, nor the sabbaths, new moons or assemblies, because God now longs for righteousness. Hey Amir, this isn’t a call for an end of religion, it’s a “clean yourself up, then come back to religion” call. But Amir skips that last part, and thinks it’s a “clean yourself and have a relationship with me” call.
Isaiah in general is a story where God is going to do a major clean-sweep of not just the neighboring nations but of Israel itself. Christian apologists love to cite Isaiah 7:14, but if God hates religion as Amir thinks he does, why would a prophetic requirement for the Messiah to rebuild the Temple, bring all the Jews to Israel, return to following the old laws of Yahweh and bring about an age of universal knowledge of the Torah?
Amir notes that he was amazed when he saw a “relationship” between people and God, such as when people close their eyes in prayer, talk to him, “with the full confidence that he is there, listening and answering.”
The only relationship these people are having is with their own imaginations.
And that’s not some snobbish smack-talk, it’s a serious answer.
Indeed, findings in neurological science are pulling back the curtain in religious moral thought. In a revealing study by Nicholas Eply (Eply, N. et al 2009, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 106), Christian volunteers were asked to report their own views, the views of their deity, and the views of others on a range of controversial issues (such as legal euthanasia) while having their brain activity scanned. Results show that thinking about divine views activated the same brain regions as thinking about their own views, indicating that when believing themselves to be consulting the divine moral compass, theists may instead be doing is doing what the rest of us do: searching their own conscience. An idea further supported by the finding that manipulating the subjects beliefs consistently influence their views about divine beliefs. As Eply put it, “Intuiting God’s beliefs…may serve as an echo chamber to validate and justify one’s own beliefs.”
The human brain is such a marvelous, yet bizarre, machine. Did you ever find it strange that people can talk to their gods as if they are really there?
Amir is impressed with the “little things” like God answering his prayers when he lost an item. Amir brings up that he is reminded of the relationship God had with David.
Praying and having an item returned to you…. you could get the same exact results if you prayed to a milk jug or your left shoe.
As for the relationship between God and David…. there are many things I could mention, but I’ll shave it down to 2 of my favorites: 1) God sent an evil spirit to possess a man with deadly intent, the possessed man nearly killed David twice and 2) God killed David’s child after causing the child to suffer for seven days in unbearable pain, all just to punish David.
Who would want to have a relationship with a being that exhibits behavior you’d expect from the Devil?
“I have never seen God failing to show up at the right time and the right place when I really needed it.”
Arrogant dick thing to say for someone descendant of Holocaust survivors now living in an age where 9,000,000 children die every year before they reach the age of 5.
Amir says that he was intrigued by prophecy given his immense knowledge of world politics. He notes that when he reads Ezekiel, it speaks of a Russian, Iranian invasion into Israel. Then he looked at what’s happening in Syria. “For the last 2800 years, there was no presence of a Russian or Iranian soldiers around the borders of Israel. Never. Today there is. Ezekiel is more accurate then yesterdays newspaper or tomorrow’s newspaper. Everything around me says “get ready.”“
First of all, Ezekiel was wrong before. (I’ll get to that in a second)
Second of all, Ezekiel does not mention Russia. Christian apologists love to think that Magog represents Russia, but this cannot be accurate. “Magog” simply means “the land of Gog.” In Akkadian ma means land, so in Akkadian Ma- gugu means “the land of Gugu,” which becomes our Ma-gog. (Just as the Assyrian eponym for the land of the leader called Zamua is rendered as Ma-zamua). Magog is an eponym for the ancient nation of Lydia that was in the westernmost part of Asia Minor.
Ezekiel predicted (26:7-14) that Nebuchadnezzar will destroy that city of Tyre. Yet even by the prophet’s own later admission, the prophecy failed (Ezekial 29:17-20).
It specifically said that King Nebuchadnezzar would be the one who destroyed Tyre. Here is the full prophecy;
“For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee. And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers. By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach. With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground. And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water. And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard. And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.”
In this block of text God states quite blatantly that Nebuchadnezzar would sack and destroy completely the city of Tyre. However the events given in this passage never did come to pass. After a 13 year siege Nebuchadnezzar withdrew his forces. Tyre survived quite prosperously after that for another 240 years until it was done away with by Alexander the great.
The additional prophecies Fales links to Alexander are not prophecies, rather it is something called literacy analysis, where one can connect a event with that mentioned in a text to make them seem linked. Rather, the supposed “prophecies” and Alexander are two unrelated events. Fales does not even mention where in Scripture did it prophecized the death of Alexander the Great. The death of Alexander is not a impressive prediction, since he is a mortal man and commander of an army – so he was likely to be killed in combat, or gather a large sum of enemies on his road to power.
Finally, the prophecy regarding Jesus predicting the destruction of the Temple is another example of an inevitable outcome. Given Israel’s history and growing number of enemies, the destruction of the Temple is a likely ending.
What about the obvious failed prophecies not mentioned? Ezekiel 30:10,11 said Egypt would be completely destroyed and then in verse 12 predicts the Nile River will dry up. Neither of these ever happened.
“Jesus never contradicted any Old Testament prophet.”
He contradicted all the prophets. The prophets said that the Messiah will be a kingly warlord who will rule Israel, rebuild the Temple, and bring all the Jews to Israel. Jesus fulfilled none of those, while parading himself as the Messiah by claiming that he was right and the prophets were wrong. While the prophets predicted a warlord, Jesus preached that the Messiah wasn’t meant to rule or rebuild the temple, rather the messiah was always meant to be a wandering hermit/hippy. Where the prophets claimed that the Messiah was meant to rebuild the Temple, Jesus and his follows claimed that the prophets were wrong and that the human body was the “Temple” Jesus rebuilt and blessed with his
flesh and blood crackers and wine.
Amir then quotes 2 Peter. “2 Peter 1:20-21 that Bible prophecies is no private interpretation of anyone. Bible prophecy is actually wholly men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
Oh delicious irony.
There is a class of books called by scholars pseudepigraphy (literally “false writing”) characterized by pseudonymity (“false name”) in which the author deliberately tries to present his writing as originating from someone else. Another word we use to describe something like this: FORGERY.
We all know there are many religious writings outside the Jewish and Christian canon that are pseudepigraphical. 2 Peter is unanimously considered to be pseudonymous, with most scholars also lumping 1 Peter into the same category.
So when Amir quotes 2 Peter to make the case that prophecies are when men of God speak for God, Amir is literally quoting a liar and fraud.
“I don’t think Ezekiel understood what he said about Gog and Magog. I don’t think he realized that Russia is Russia and Persia is Iran. I don’t think Isaiah realized when Damascus will be destroyed and has never been destroyed in history, and what we see today. I don’t think he realized that it’s going to happen this way. We live in unbelievable times, unprecedented times in history. We as a generation saw more prophecies fulfilled then any other generation since the time of Jesus Christ.”
B) By what criteria does he determine that “this generation” has seen more fulfilled prophecies then ever before? Because last I check, I’ve lived through several predicted dozen doomsday events, and we’re still here!!
There are several mundane ways in which a prediction of the future can be fulfilled:
- Retrodiction. The “prophecy” can be written or modified after the events fulfilling it have already occurred.
- Vagueness. The prophecy can be worded in such a way that people can interpret any outcome as a fulfillment. Nostradomus’s prophecies are all of this type. Vagueness works particularly well when people are religiously motivated to believe the prophecies.
- Inevitability. The prophecy can predict something that is almost sure to happen, such as the collapse of a city. Since nothing lasts forever, the city is sure to fall someday. If it has not, it can be said that according to prophecy, it will.
- Denial. One can claim that the fulfilling events occurred even if they have not. Or, more commonly, one can forget that the prophecy was ever made.
- Self-fulfillment. A person can act deliberately to satisfy a known prophecy.
There are no prophecies in the Bible that cannot easily fit into one or more of those categories.
Given that it is SO EASY for a vague poetic man-made prophecy to be interpreted (or misinterpreted) and applied to just about anything because prophecies are designed that way, it’s no wonder that every single generation can cheer over and over that they’ve witnessed prophecies come true.
After Amir praises Israel for being fertile, technologically advanced, home to research centers for Apple, and being praised by the Indian Prime Minister for it’s desalinization plants, Amir says “Israel is a miracle that cannot be explained.“
Are you high?
Every single one of those things you praised Israel for can ALL be explained. Israel is “technologically advanced”…. due to technology. Seriously, the answer in the damn description Sherlock!
Fertile? Thank humanities genius ingenuity in water irrigation systems. Desalination plants? Again, thank human ingenuity.
Home to Apple’s research center? Thank trade and business deals.
Amir says that “West Point in America” will not teach the 6 Days War because “it cannot be explained” even from a military strategic position because “it was all miraculous.”
How did the Brits win against the Zulu’s at the Battle of the Little Big Horn?
How did the Finns win at the battle of Tolvajärvi?
How did the Roman Empire fall despite having the world’s greatest army?
Act in awe and pretend it’s a “miracle” as much as you like, there still exists certain elements in war where victory is achieved despite the overwhelming odds against larger forces.
Here’s a short condensed version of the 6 Days War…. you be the judge whether if any part of this even comes close to “miraculous” (ie. something that cannot be explained by physics or science)
Later on, Amir starts to go over the “signs of the End.” Jesus said there would be wars and rumor of wars. Ethnic groups against ethnic groups. Pestilence. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. And Amir says Jesus said a parable about a fig tree which meant Israel.
#3 of the 5 common prophecy themes that I shared above. #3 is inevitability. So long as the Earth is made of plate tectonics, there will always be earthquakes. So long as the Earth spins and has this thing called CLIMATE, there will always be hurricanes. Not to mention since ALL of human history, there has always been wars or fights over resources, territory, tribalism, conquest, politics, religious causes and more. It’s a sad fact, but humans will always behave this way. Even during times of peace, the moment resources go low, we resort to our basic instincts and fight over it. So this isn’t a prophecy, it’s a “ugh DUHHHHHH” statement.
“I believe with all of my heart that America was born to spread the gospel all around the world and be the home of the free — but what is home of the free? Home of the free means Free from persecution on religious grounds. Because Protestant Christians were persecuted in Europe at that time.”
Amir claims that he believes with all of his heart that America was born to be the land free of persecution….. yet he is painfully unaware that when the first colonists arrived in America, one of the first things they did was started to persecution heathens AND persecute each other. Puritans against Catholics. Protestants against Catholics. Four Quakers were hanged in Boston just for standing up to their beliefs. Persecution took place all across the colonies and frontier. This is why the Founding Fathers formed America to be a secular country, which flies in the face of the other half of Amir’s pipe dream of America being born to “spread the gospel.”
Amir near the end of this interview bashes people who try to “rewrite” history as “the enemy”… what does that make Amir when he rewrites History with his ignoramus fantasies of America?
“I’m not a religious person. Actually, I’m against religion, I’m for a relationship. I believe that God hates religion.”
If Christ (Amir’s God) hated religion, did Amir forget Jesus’ famous line “upon this rock, I will build my church”? What’s the purpose of a church? It’s a house of worship, a place for mass prayer, church leaders, sermons, Eucharists, baptisms…. in other words, a house of religion.
Amir says that Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the religion of the time by saying one thing but doing another.
I think more accurately, if there was a Jesus at all, he made an ass of himself.
Get a load of this mental gymnastics:
“God wants a relationship with you. And there is no way, no truth, no life but through Jesus. And therefore you can be a Muslim. You can be a Hindu. You could be a Buddhist. But if you want to believe and follow and be accepted and experience God, you must forsake whatever it is and follow Jesus.”
In other words, “listen up fuckers! You all got it wrong, so drop your false religion and convert to my faith cuz I’ve got the right one.”
Second Interviewee: J Wallace
Oh boy, here we go again. May I remind my audience that Wallace is NOT a historian. He has ZERO relevant degrees in the field he is pretending to be an expert in (or at least what the docu-series is pretending he is an expert in).
I don’t get why Christians love this guy. The best explanation I have for why Christians take the word of a cold case detective playing historian is because he, apparently, “brings a unique perspective” to the historical investigation.
Newsflash: “Unique” is not synonymous with “accurate” or “honest.”
Keep that in mind as we go along.
When asked what is the biggest obstacle for the Resurrection, Wallace answers that a lot of people do not accept the gospels are reliable sources. Wallace says if they reject it because it includes miracles, he says that is a bias that you will have to “suspend for a season” as you look at this.
In other words, suspend the burden of proof for the supernatural and assume that it’s all true before you or anyone have proven it’s true to begin with.
If you were told a story that elves make shoes, and wanted to know how 100 shoes were made over a single night with no machinery, would you find it reasonable to “suspend your doubt of fairy magic” in order to explain away that 100 shoes were therefore made by magic because you’ve already granted it’s possibility before validating such a possibility is possible?
Wallace says the most powerful objection he had heard regarding the transmission is from Bart Ehrman. Ehrman noted that we don’t have the original manuscripts of the gospels, in fact we don’t have the original copy of the copy of the copy. And when you compare the manuscripts that we do have, they have thousands of variations. Ehrman pointed out that Jesus originated like a wise sage who wasn’t born of a virgin or did miracles, but as time went on and more was added and piled unto to the story over the years, we eventually got the Jesus we are not familiar with. Hearing this, Wallace investigated. Wallace tries to sound all detective like and touches on altered evidence and “chain of custody.” Wallace questions if we find a manuscript that was slightly altered, does that change it’s validity? Wallace says that John had 3 students and they wrote what John wrote about, and one of those students was Ignatius, and Ignatius had a student Irenaeus . Wallace says when you look at each of these students reports on John to see if anything changed, we could then tell if the gospel of John was altered or not. Wallace claims “it never changes. Everything from the miraculous virgin birth, to all the miracles, to the resurrection, to the ascension in Heaven, to the orthodox version of the deity of Christ, all these things are not late editions.” Wallace claims these were the first stories, they didn’t change.
Thankfully this docu-series decide to keep this nugget that shares that we don’t have the original manuscripts, just copies of copies. But Wallace tells us not to worry because the gospel of John wasn’t altered during the time of Ignatius to Irenaeus. Here is EVERYTHING wrong with Wallace’s argument:
1) From Ignatius to Irenaeus is a small window period of time. How do we know that the “copies of copies” altered the earlier copies before the time of Ignatius?
2) Hearsay is NOT a “chain of custody.” A detective ought to know hearsay is not admitted in courts. Only someone who actually held the original can testify it was never meddled with, but we don’t have the original and neither did Ignatius or Irenaeus. This is why detectives shouldn’t play Historian.
3) We KNOW that the manuscripts of John were meddled with. Do you recall that story of Jesus and the soon-to-be adulteress and Jesus said “let he without sin cast the first stone”? Well guess what, that story does not appear in any of the oldest manuscripts that we have. In fact, it doesn’t even appear in any of the two oldest complete Bibles in history. Rather, it doesn’t appear for nearly 400 years AFTER the gospel of John was supposedly written.
4) Even if the gospel of John was not meddled with… John is still not an eyewitness to Jesus.
5) Also, regarding those “letters,” I bet this is something “detective” Wallace didn’t consider: are those letters authentic? Surprise surprise, scholars doubt whether most of those letters are authentic. (See Timothy D. Barnes, ‘The Date of Ignatius’, Expository Times 120 (2008), pp. 119-30; Roger Parvus, A New Look at the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch and Other Apellean Writings (New York: iUniverse, 2008); L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christianity (San Francisco, CA: HarperSan Francisco, 2004), p. 346 (with n. 50 on p. 480). These (and other scholars they cite) date the ‘middle recension’ of the Ignatian letters to the 140s or 160s ce (everyone agrees the ‘longer recension’ dates to the fourth century and that the ‘shorter recension’ of a few of them, which we have in Syriac translation, is an abbreviation of the middle recension, despite some scholars once having argued those were the original versions). Even most other scholars now agree the original Ignatian letters could have been written anytime between 105 and 140 ce: see survey in Richard Pervo, The Making of Paul: Constructions of the Apostle in Early Christianity (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010), pp. 134-35 (esp. p. 329 nn. 130 and 135). Pervo himself dates them at the end of that range; entertaining similar thoughts (and citing additional scholarship on the subject): David Sim, ‘Reconstructing the Social and Religious Milieu of Matthew: Methods, Sources, and Possible Results’, in Matthew, James, and Didache: Three Related Documents in their Jewish and Christian Settings (ed. Huub van de Sandt and Jürgen Zangenberg; Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008), pp. 13-32 (17-18).)
Wallace says the main objections to the claims in the gospels boils down to one of two motives: and the main reason why people would object to this is because they don’t want there to be miracles or they don’t want their to be a god because they want to be god. Wallace says he once-upon-a-time would have called these rational responses, but now calls them deep-seeded volition. “Because if you could test this, it’s going to pass this test.”
Except Wallace never demonstrates any “tests.”
If Wallace wasn’t wasting time projecting falsehoods unto the evil atheists, maybe he could find an ounce of humanity to speculate that maybe people don’t subscribe to the belief in the Resurrection because they genuinely looked at the evidence and simply remain unconvinced. Do people not believe in Santa Claus because they want to be their own judge of who is naught or nice, or that they don’t want miracles like flying reindeer to exist?
Then later Wallace goes on to describe what happens to a body after death and argues that it would be very noticeable for the disciples who handled the body of Jesus.
This is all under the assumption that there was a Jesus and there was a body.
But during his talk about identifying dead bodies, Wallace says this: “Is it possible [the disciples] missed it? Sure. But it’s not reasonable. And the only thing that I care about is what is reasonable. Possible doesn’t matter.“
David Hume wrote: “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless that testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.”
Is it more reasonable to claim that the story is just a legend then the laws from biology to physics were broken in all of human history and a body miraculous came back from the dead? The answer is Yes it’s more reasonable to conclude it’s just a legend story.
Wallace then touches on the “hidden science” of John, particularly when Jesus was crucified then stabbed in the side by a spear, his body released blood and water. This part wasn’t understood by the earliest church leaders, but Wallace points out that if a person suffers of cardiac arrest and plural diffusion, water can collect in a person’s lungs. So when Jesus is stabbed in the side, it could be possible that blood and water would spill out. Wallace asks “what if John is just writing what he saw, he’s not trying to make it spiritual or draw an analogy, he’s just writing what he saw?”
A) John is not a god damn witness. How many times do I have to kick this dead horse? He never claims to be an eyewitness. We know that he wasn’t.
B) For all we known, maybe the “water” in reference to this story is Jesus pissing himself after getting stabbed, and John’s trying to edit things to make it look less embarrassing. Did John know that water can be stored in the lungs? Likely not, that’s why he called it a “miracle.” Sorry, if something has a natural cause, it’s not a miracle.
C) Maybe John WAS trying to make a spiritual analogy with this particular detail. Ever wonder why this detail of the crucifixion is only in John? Because John inserted it in. Of all things, you may be wondering, why include water? Because John is trying to make Jesus go out with the same miracle he started with (turning water to wine) by turning water to blood — which, simultaneously, making Jesus a re-run of Moses’ greatest hits, particularly Moses’ miracle of turning water into blood in Egypt. The miracle of the water and blood at the cross occurred ‘so that you may believe’ (John 19:35), exactly as God told Moses would happen. In just the same fashion, from the water miracle at Cana ‘the disciples believed in him’ (John 2:11), therefore so should you.
Next Wallace addresses the explanation “it’s all a lie.” Wallace then goes back to his old claim that all motives boil down to these three: sex, power, or money.
Wallace doesn’t address anything in this piece. I’m not joking, he literally skips that and instead of disproving the “it’s all a lie” option, he decides to speculate the motives of people who subscribe to this option. Did he ever consider that people subscribe to this option because that’s the evidence (and the lack thereof) points to? It’s like hearing that there are people who are skeptical that Elvis is not dead, and instead of looking at the proofs and arguments that convince people that Elvis is in fact dead, rather he would spend his time speculating on why people would prefer Elvis to be dead.
Wallace, a lot of us Mythicists were drawn to Mythicism because the lack of any concrete historical proof of Jesus is quiet unexpected considering we are talking about the so-called most important man in history!
Negative Evidence Principle: “A person is justified in believing that p is false is (1) all the available evidence used to support the view that p is true is shown to be inadequate and (2) p is the sort of claim such that if p were true, there would be available evidence that would be adequate to support the view that p is true and (3) the area where evidence would appear, if there were any, has been comprehensively examined.”
Even if we didn’t rely on the NEP, there are good reasons not to believe the stories attributed to Jesus. We have evidence that the gospels were not eyewitnesses; we have proof that parts of or whole entire gospels were forged; we have no contemporary secular sources or even unbiased sources; many of the stories in the gospels do not match what we actually know about history; we can even see that elements of the Jesus story was heavily influenced by nit-picked parts of the Old Testament as well as famous Greek stories (look into Mark and Odysseus); we know that the mystery cult leaders had a motive to create a messiah;
Wallace suspects people flock to the “it’s all a lie” explanation because Americans love conspiracies, but Wallace says he worked conspiracies, prosecuted conspirators and claims “it’s really difficult to pull off a conspiracy.” Wallace says a conspiracy needs 5 things: smallest number of co-conspirators; keep it for the shortest possible amount of time; excellent communication between co-conspirators; familial relationships makes it easier to get away with things; lastly, no pressure — makes it easier to get away with a lie.
Watch as Wallace crashes and burns….
Wallace says he look through these with the disciples and found “conspiracy” unlikely. He notes there were at least 12 disciples, and then Wallace notes there is a report of 500 people witnessing the Resurrection and Paul challenges to the Corinthians to go out and talk to these 500 witnesses. “So that’s a large group. You’re suggesting that 500 people were part of a conspiracy?“
We have no evidence that there was five hundred eyewitnesses to begin with! All we have is Paul’s say-so. Ask yourself, who were these 500 people, and doesn’t it seem like an odd number? Why didn’t Paul name them; or tell us where they came from or where they went; or record their age; were they sober; why didn’t they write anything or tell a scribe; nothing of this “500 witnesses” report tells us anything of value. Either this is a great example of piss-poor journalism, or – and this is most likely – it’s a fake number used to bolster the mystery cult’s ranks, to give them more credibility on their mission to convert.
When I was in college working toward my BA in History, I used to volunteer at the Museum of Tolerance twice a week. Half the time I would provide tours for the public, the other half working in the Library and Archives with Holocaust survivors. Before permitting anyone to provide tours, the Museum always dedicates about 3 to 4 months making sure we knew European history as well as how to engage people, essentially prepping us to be sure we knew how to answer as many questions presented to us by the public. During the lectures addressing the commonly asked question on “how did the Nazi party” gain momentum to win control of Germany, there are a lot of reasons on how this happened, but I recall a very interesting story. The Nazis were a fringe group of racist radicals, but they were small and insignificant. So what did the Nazis do to be taken more seriously? They boosted their own membership ranks by 500, and when new recruits signed up to join, they were given a number. Example, if Hanz signed up and was Member #576, in reality he was the 76th guy to join. Why do this? Because a group of at least 500 members is taken more seriously then a small group with a dozen members.
The burden of proof is on the one making the positive claim. If there were 500 witnesses, where’s the independent verifiable proof? No one has to disprove something that hasn’t been proved to begin with. Besides, how can the Corinthians verify Paul’s statement if he didn’t name any of them? Paul didn’t even name the time and place where these 500 witnesses were. Paul must have known it would be virtually impossible to disprove such a claim, considering the primitive means of communication of the age.
Also consider, why is an incident of this magnitude not mentioned in any Gospel or the book of Acts? And how could there be five hundred men at this appearance when the book of Acts (1:15) tells us that there were only around 120 believers total at the time of Jesus’ ascension? Either Paul or Luke (or both) is wrong about these figures, but they can’t both be right.
Wallace holds onto the 500 witness story as a fact, and moves on to his second point. He finds it unlikely that 500 people will keep their story silent for six decades and never recant.
There were no 500 witnesses. Wallace continues to operate under false premise.
If Wallace thinks this story resurfacing after 60 years with 500 witnesses makes it “reasonable” to accept, then he should have no problem believing the reports of Herodotus the Halicarnassian. 50 years after the Persian Wars ended in 479 BCE Herodotus asked numerous eyewitnesses and their children about the things that happened in those years and then wrote a book about it. Though he often shows a critical and skeptical mind, sometimes naming his sources or even questioning their reliability when he has suspicious or conflicting accounts, he nevertheless reports without a hint of doubt that the temple of Delphi magically defended itself with animated armaments, lightning bolts, and collapsing cliffs; the sacred olive tree of Athens, though burned by the Persians, grew an arm’s length in a single day; a miraculous flood-tide wiped out an entire Persian contingent after they desecrated an image of Poseidon; a horse gave birth to a rabbit; and a whole town witnesses a mass resurrection of cooked fish!
Next Wallace examines the “family ties.” While some of the disciples may be brothers, none are related to Jesus and therefore have little to gain. Wallace only mentions Matthew, being a tax collector then recruited into the discipleship and writes “without even flinching.”
Wallace is assuming Matthew the tax collector is the same author of the Gospel of Matthew.
What. A. Freaking. Amateur.
We don’t know who the author of the Gospel of Matthew is because it was written anonymously, but we definitely know that the author was not Matthew in the story. If it was, the author of the Gospel of Matthew would have said he was an eyewitness, but does not even once nor show any sign that he was an eyewitness. Rather, he says that he got the information based on hearsay. Does that sound like the guy Matthew who walked and talked with Jesus directly?
Next Wallace address the communication and pressured parts. Wallace says that these co-conspirators were “all over the Empire. Some in India, North Africa, Italy, Asia Minor, and Jerusalem. They’re separated, and they’re being pressured — that’s the next one. They’re being tortured. Yet no one recants?”
A) Does Wallace think that Jesus was a teleporter? That Jesus jumped from Italy to India, meeting these guys “all over the Empire” for tea and crackers before teleporting to Asia Minor to meet Disciple #8? Did Wallace miss that these “co-conspirators” were all together in the same city? Or did Wallace suddenly come down with a case of short-term memory loss and forgot that he believes these guys supposedly witnessed a Resurrection?
Seriously, the mental gymnastics of these Christian apologists can make your head spin.
Even if Wallace is trying to argue that Christianity cannot be a “conspiracy” because when the disciples traveled around, their beliefs and talking points were air tight…. what do you expect when these guys are literally preaching from their own gospels? If they encounter an objection to their faith or a series of question, all they have to do is open the gospel they subscribe to (this was before the collection of gospels were all bound together to form the Bible) and read a passage that addressed each of those. So when a disciple in Italy and a disciple in India encounter a similar objection to their faith, the disciples are reading from the same book that gives the same response. Ergo, no shit that their “communications” is air-tight, because they are literally parroting from the same source.
B) We have no evidence that these guys were tortured. All we have is the hearsay reports from decades or hundreds of years after the event took place. We have no independent unbiased sources from non-Christians to verify that these guys were imprisoned, tortured, or even if they recanted or not.
“Is it possible that it’s all a lie? Sure, it’s just not reasonable.”
It may seem unreasonable to believers like Wallace who are operating under a series of historical falsehoods and misinformed premises. Wallace ate the hook, line, and seeker of there being “500 witnesses” without verifying if they existed. He hasn’t verified if the early Christians were martyred or found any independent sources that say they didn’t recant. Hell, he fucking thinks that the gospel authors were eyewitnesses, something NT scholars know for a fact is not true!
This guy’s knack for History is as good as David Avocado Wolfe’s knack for understanding mushrooms. (Wolfe thinks that mushrooms are literally from outer space)
Next Wallace goes onto to address his “top 3” objections to the Gospel’s Resurrection account from an “atheistic perspective”: Jesus didn’t really die, it’s all a lie, or they imagined it because they wanted it.
Wallace says he could see that Mary, James and Peter wanted to see Jesus, by why would Paul? Wallace can’t think of a reason, therefore he dismisses it.
Wallace himself claims he was an atheist and didn’t want it to be true, yet he ended up believing anyway. And from everything he’s shared about how he ended up there is because he sucks at (maybe even lie about) History.
Christian apologists LOVE to share stories about how people converted. If you look through them, you’ll find some who didn’t want to believe, yet had a spiritual experience they couldn’t explain, and then became a believer (a Christian by chance, there are others who become pagan or Muslim or Buddhist or something else). If it’s so easy for Christian apologists to wave these conversion stories around like a flag, why is it so hard to believe that Mary, James and Peter wanted Jesus to be alive and Paul joined the band by chance because he had an episode. As I pointed out earlier in the blog, the words Paul uses shows us that he didn’t see Jesus, he just has a vision that he couldn’t explain and credited it to Jesus.
What caused this episode? Hard to determine. But what we do know about Paul is that that episode on the road to Damascus was not his only hallucination. Paul had multiple seizure-like episodes, as noted from his letter to the church in Corinth 22 years earlier where he described multiple visions and called his illness a “thorn in the flesh” and from Satan.
“My wealth of vision might have puffed me up, so I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to rack me and keep me from being puffed up; three times over I prayed to the Lord to relieve me of it, but he told me, “It is enough for you to have my grace; it is a weakness that my power is fully gel.” (2 Corinthians 12:1-9)
Interpretation of parts of the epistles of Paul suggest his facial motor and sensory disturbances were coming after ecstatic seizures and that his religious conversion recurred as a result of ecstatic visions associated with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.
Wallace brings up that groups of people saw the same thing, which rules out group dreams or hallucinations. He notes that three women were at the tomb, several people “at the lake,” ten people in the room until Thomas shows up, eleven on the mountain, and finally Wallace ends with stating that 500 people witnessed the Ascension.
The dead horse has been kicked into minced meat by now. There were no 500 witnesses.
Each of these “group witnesses,” where do the sources for these claims come from? Oh, that’s right, HEARSAY. Do I have to revert back to Herodotus reporting that a whole town witnessed a mass resurrection of cooked fish?
“You could very easily falsify this. Just run back to the tomb. If you are imagining this, there should be a body in the tomb.”
A) Where is this “tomb” if it existed at all? How do we know that Jesus was stashed there? Do you have the burial records?
B) Run back to find a 50-60 year old body to disprove an extraordinary claim? What do you expect to happen, find a few bones and claim “this is the body of Christ, he didn’t resurrect” only to have the followers respond with “how do you know that’s the body of Jesus. I say it’s not, because people claim they saw him alive again.” After all, Jews didn’t have forensic science back then, how does going to find a 50-60 year old corpse meant to disprove anything if you can’t prove that the body is in fact Jesus himself?!?!
“Why do we have six or seven explanations [for the resurrection of Jesus]? Because people know they don’t work.”
Or, as American patriot Thomas Paine in The Age of Reason noted: “Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course; but we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time; it is, therefore, at least millions to one, that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.”
Wallace says none of these new “alternative possibilities” stick to the wall. Wallace says the only one that fits requires you to “surrender your naturalism. You have to surrender–honestly, anyone who thinks seriously about their position already will have to admit that there are some places in their own understanding of the universe where they have already surrendered their naturalism. There has to be something more, something that starts all of this that can’t be space, time, or matter. If you think carefully, you already have–the only question left is: is that First Cause personal or is the First Cause an impersonal force?“
Just when he was about to show us where the “Naturalists” suspend their Naturalism in certain areas, he fails to mention when and where.
“Now the difference between Jim the atheist and Jim the believer was that Jim the atheist believes there was a cause that started the universe (that cause itself was uncaused) but that cause was an impersonal force. Something we don’t quiet understand yet, but we will someday, and that impersonal force kick starts everything in the universe. Now, as a believer on this side, I still believe in that force, but that force is not impersonal because it turns out the best explanation for moral obligations, for the intelligent information that we see in DNA, for the appearance of design that we see in biology, for the fine-tuning of the universe… these things require a personal agent.”
As we’ll about to see, the “believer” side is not the more reasonable side. The only way it can is if you deny parts of reality.
Why does Wallace think that a “personal agent” best explains these things? After going on about how to make a profile for a suspect, Wallace applies that to his beliefs: “We are looking for a being that is powerful enough to blink everything into existence from nothing, and is therefore not part of the something that it is creating. It’s not spacial, temporal or material.“
What does that even mean?
Why must the being that creates something must therefore be totally different from the properties of the thing it created? If I created a chair, does that suddenly make me immaterial?
“It’s Uncaused — by the way, everyone is looking for the first uncaused cause, not just the theist. If you think that there is a multiverse generator, then you probably believe that multiverse generator is uncaused. So to ask “who created your creator?” is no better then asking “what caused your uncaused multiverse generator?” We’re all in that same boat, so we are looking for something uncaused that’s non-spactial, non-temporal and immaterial.”
Why must the answer be a non-spacital, non-temporal and immaterial?
Where is Wallace’s evidence that the Uncaused cause is a single God and not a team of Gods? Can Wallace disprove the claim that the universe is the result of when an advance race of aliens created a machine that when activated it simultaneously created the universe and wiped out all traces of the machine and the aliens?
Ever consider Occam’s Razor? The simplest answer is likely the correct answer. Saying that the multiverse does not have a cause is a simpler answer then saying that a magical God created the multiverse, because the “God” answer raises way more questions more questions then it answers.
But is also concerned with an end goal, and has therefore fine-tuned the universe in just a certain way that allows for life to emerge. It doesn’t have to be this way. So we are looking for something that appears to be purposeful and has the ability to fine-tune the elements and conditions in such a way.
The fine-tuning argument, or the Anthropic Principle, is complete bunk. The Anthropic Principle is a straw man, weakened by the fact that it is basically a tautology. It can be eliminated altogether by multiple universes, quantum mechanics and M-theory. The Anthropic Principle cannot be relied upon to prove that God exists.
Is the world fine tuned for life? Let us ignore all the lions, bears, tigers, and sharks that would eat us. Let us ignore all the bacteria and viruses that want to infect us. Lets ignore all the poisonous snakes, fish, plants and mushrooms that would kill us. Lets ignore the forest fires, blizzards, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, avalanches, earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes that can also kill us. Lets ignore the fact that a fall from a height greater than 10 meters, or submerged underwater for over 10 minutes we would surely die.
Yes, let’s ignore all that and assume that the earth is a perfect place to support life. Lets for a moment wrap ourselves in a blanket of ignorance and arrogance and assume that the earth, and the universe, were designed clearly just for us. Unfortunately, most of the earth is off-limits to allow human life. Take us above 8,000 meters above sea level and we will slowly die from a lack of oxygen. Going below 2,000 meters below sea level, and we will slowly cook from the heat of the earth’s interior. It turns out that less than one-half of 1 percent (0.46%) of the earth’s total volume is capable of sustaining human life. Meaning, even if we manage to imagine that the earth is the Eden, we know it is not. More than 99.54% of it would kill us rather quickly.
But this is just earth; perhaps the solar system around us would be more suitable for us. Actually, the answer is no. Go out outside of the earth’s atmosphere and you would quickly die in a vacuum of space. And if the 0 pressure did not get you, the scorching heat in the sun, the freezing cold in the shade, or the cosmic radiation would kill you quickly.
What about all those other planers. Well, you would burn on Mercury. You would freeze on Pluto. You would suffocate, and then freeze on Mars. There is no place to stand on Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune or Uranus. On Venus, you would be cooked and crushed to death in short order.
So no, nowhere else in the solar system is hospital for sustaining human life. And it gets worse. Let’s assume everything for a moment despite everything modern science has been able to tell us about extra solar planets, that every single star in every single galaxy has an earth-like planet orbiting it. Also, ignore the giant cosmic voids that found between clusters of galaxies, even with these gross assumptions, it turns out that less than 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000073% is habitable for human life. Or to put it in another way 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999937% of the universe is not habitable for life. Kind of takes the wind out of the sails for the fine-tuning argument.
If the universe was fine-tuned for us, surely a bit more of it would be habitable. The numbers are so absurd that it defies comprehension. It is equivalent to a person after exploring 1.6 BILLION rocks like our Moon and finding one single virus particle on only one of the moons and collectively they are fine-tuned for life. Or having six MILLION Olympic-sized swimming pools that can collectively hold no more than a single molecule of water, yet claiming they are fine-tuned for water storage. Or claiming that a hard-drive the size of the earth that can only store one bit (1/0), or a hard-drive the size of Jupiter hold cannot even hold a single tweet on twitter is fine tuned for storing data. Or claiming that 2 MILLION 50 ton cranes that cant collectively hold more than a single proton are fine tuned for lifting. Or claiming that a plane at full speed travels less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the diameter of a proton over 10 billion years is fine-tuned for speed.
If you think these examples are ridiculous, then you would agree that so too is the argument that the universe is fine-tuned for life. It does not take a genius to realize how absurd and flawed this argument truly is.
If this is a best it could possibly be, if this is the best environment using the natural laws of the universe could allow human life, then it seems that the creator is not as all-powerful after all.
Let us also ponder the enormous waste of matter. The hundred billion galaxies, each with on the order of a hundred billion stars, are composed of “atomic matter,” that is, chemical elements. The portion that is luminous, that is, visible to the eye and optical telescopes, constitutes just one-half of one percent of all the mass in the universe. Another 3.5 percent of the matter in galaxies is of the same atomic nature, only nonluminous. Just 2 percent of atomic matter is composed of elements heavier than helium. One-half of 1 percent of this is composed of carbon, the main element of life. That is, 0.0007 of the mass of the universe is carbon. Yet we are supposed to think that God specially designed then universe so it would have the ability to manufacture, in stars, the carbon needed for life?
Still-unidentified “dark matter” makes up 26 percent of the mass of the universe, while the bulk of the universe, about 70 percent, is “dark energy,” which also remains unknown in nature but possesses no known miraculous properties. From this breakdown of mass, we see that 96 percent of the mass of the universe is not even of the type of matter associated with life.
Energy is wasted, too. Of all the energy emitted by the sun, only two photons in a billion are used to warm Earth, the rest radiating uselessly into space.
Copernican Principle. The Copernican Principle is the opposite of the Anthropic Principle and states that humans do not occupy a privileged place in the universe. Successive astronomical discoveries seem to support this principle. In the middle Ages it was assumed that God created man in his image, and such, man and the earth were at the center of the universe. Copernicus and Galileo abolished the illusion that the earth was the center of the solar system and put the sun in its rightful heliocentric place. It was then found that the sun was not at the center of our galaxy, and Hubble showed that our own galaxy, the Milky Way, was not at the center of the universe. Finally, the multiverse concept suggests our universe may be just one of many constantly sprouting new universes, further diminishing the Anthropic Principle conclusion that the universe is here just for us. The Anthropic Principle emphasizes the rarity of life and consciousness while the Copernican Principle forces us to realize it was not all done just so we could exist.
“We are also looking for something that accounts for the origin of life and the key ingredient to that is the genetic code. We see information in the genetic code, we have no way to explain the information in the genetic code by our common experience or any scientific process from purely physics. You could get some kind of information from physics and chemistry, but you can’t get the kind of information we see in DNA. That’s a very high level of information that we can only in our common experience and can attribute that to intelligence. We are looking at a personal intelligent being because that agent is deciding between alternatives — that is what information is, it is the selection between alternatives.”
By that standard, ALL of matter is information. After all, all of matter is made of atoms, and atoms are arranged and rearranged all the time under the laws of chemistry and biochemistry. So literally EVERYTHING is made of information.
Wallace credits a “intelligent being” for “selecting between alternatives” to form life…. but we already have a natural mindless selector between alternatives. It’s called Natural Selection.
“Then you are looking for the appearance of design. Well now we are looking for something that has the ability to design. The I.D. movement banks on this idea of a Intelligent Designer.”
Appearance of “design” is not evidence of design.
“So now we are looking for 4 characteristics, plus it appears to be a mind that is creating in it’s own image, which is why we get an account for something more than our brain, we account for our immaterial consciousness. If there is a conscious being that is designing in it’s image, then that might explain why we have consciousness.”
How does an immaterial mind do anything?
The fact that the universe can apparently be understood by a mind does not imply that it was created by a mind.
Is god rationally intelligible? If so, does that imply that god must have been created by a mind? If god is not rationally intelligible, then why would he create a rationally intelligible universe? If he is rationally intelligible but did not need to be created, wouldn’t that mean that rational intelligibility can exist without needing to be created?
Furthermore, what does it mean to be “created” in the “image” of a unknown immaterial, non-temporal, non-spactial being? If we were made in that image, why are we not non-spactial, non-temporal, or immaterial beings? (if such a thing can exist, let alone make sense)
Since we are not immaterial or non-temporal or non-spactious, does Wallace therefore think that “created in it’s image” means his God has some form after all?
The idea that our bodies bear any physical resemblance to an all-knowing all-powerful omnipresent Creator is one relative few folks seem keen to defend these days. As our knowledge of biology and physics increased, we’ve come to appreciate that the physical form of a being is intimately connected to the specific environmental conditions it inhabits. Wings come in many shapes and sizes, but we’ve learned that those shapes and sizes are constrained by factors like drag, thrust, lift and weight. And we’ve realized that some of the mythical winged characters that humans have dreamt up over the centuries, from Icarus with his wings and wax to the Biblical six-winged Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2) would simply never get off the ground. Likewise, we now appreciate the absurdity of a vast naturally humanoid god possessing depth perceiving two forward facing eyes with nothing external to see. Stereo perceiving ears with nothing external to hear. Agile limbs with no external space through which to move. And so on. The most common view I’ve encountered from folks in posing a mythical Creator is that “it has no physical form at all”… so why do we? Expanding on those four words, why do we have a physical form that can be damaged or destroyed by other humans, predators, microbes, poisonous materials and natural disasters? The body frequently attacks itself with debilitating and deadly cancers. And the body quickly perishes without inadequate food, water and oxygen, or if it’s core temperature rises or falls by just a few degrees Fahrenheit. A form that, if it survives these hazards, can look forward to incapacitation and decay before it’s inevitable death. Why are we subjected to these sufferings by a Creator that is immune to them? When I was a Christian, I was told that human suffering was a result of being endowed with the most precious gift from Yahweh: the gift of free choice.
The reasoning went like this: Yahweh created us with free choice to do bad or good. That meant people had to be allowed to bad things, even if they ended up hurting or killing countless others. Preventing them from doing bad things would take away their free choice. In effect, they would be forced to be good against their will. So Yahweh couldn’t interfere. Either by restraining an abuser, or protecting the abusers target, the meager consolation offered to us was that all abuse would eventually be punished. N regard to the other hardships we endured (diseases, predators, natural disasters) these were all presented as extensions of the same principle. The first humans had been given a paradise to live in, but because they had disobeyed their Creator, they were expelled to the world we now live in with all of it’s dangers. So, even these forms of suffering, were all ultimately down to human free choice.
When I was a Christian, I found this reasoning persuasive for a time. It didn’t stop me from resenting the suffering we endured, but I could appreciate that the alternative of forcing everyone to be good was also extremely undesirable. In fact, the lack of freedom entailed by forcing people to be good could itself be seen as a form of suffering. Given the option of “free choice + suffering” or “no free choice + no suffering,” I could see the appeal of option 1. I later realized that I had fallen for a false dichotomy. The presentation of two alternatives as the only alternatives when in fact other exist. The clue that this was a false dichotomy was staring me in the face, all be it in a non-physical way. It was Yahweh. And this demonstrates another parallel with abusive human relationships, in that we spend so much time absolutely focused on these celestial dictators, and yet not seeing them at all. Here was supposedly a being that enjoyed the option “total free choice + no suffering.” Totally free choice with full knowledge of good and evil, but experienced no suffering. It was impossible to harm this being, in so doing would diminish it’s greatness in some way, violating it’s divine incorruptibility. So free choice and suffering were never inevitably paired. You didn’t have to either accept both or reject both, not if you were incorruptible. So why weren’t we created in this incorruptible image? Why are we down here in these bizarre fragile bodies being infected, beaten, starved, raped, tortured and murdered while this supposed Creator enjoyed free choice devoid of all suffering?
“AND we have free agency. We’re sitting here thinking about this right now. It is not predestined for us to make our conclusions, we can actually change our minds, but you can’t chance your brain. that would be a series of events that are entirely physical. You arrived at this conclusion because your neurons have fired in this way, and that started in the beginning of the universe and all those dominoes have been falling in a certain way all that time, and you don’t even have free agency because that’s why people who are consistent like Sam Harris (a consistent atheist who is a neuroscientist) he denies free agency of this kind because he knows that it would have to be a series of physical events in your brain. But we seem to experience free agency. If there is a mind that can choose freely and design (like what we see in biology) and creates in it’s image, we might also posses minds that can choose freely. Again, we have a better explanation.”
Re-read the response I wrote right before this one regarding Yahweh having free-will yet being incorruptible whereas he decided to create humans with the intent to make humans suffer.
“And there’s last two things: objective moral truths. We believe there are some objective moral–it is never okay to torture babies for fun. That’s an objective claim that doesn’t chance no matter where you are in history or anywhere you are on the planet. Even if there is a Star Trek universe, it is not okay to torture Klingon babies for fun. This is an objective transcendent moral obligation. We know that all obligations are between persons, so now we are looking for that source as an objective moral person. Again, a personal explanation is better then a impersonal explanation.”
If it is objectively immoral to torture babies for fun, then why does God say “ye shall he be who casts thy babies against the stone?” Context: God wanted the Israelites to kill the Babylonians, including the children. Ergo, thus saith the Lord, have fun killing little Timmy.
That verse from Psalms is an example of encouraging torturing and killing babies, and if that makes a person happy, surely that means they find it pleasurable. If killing babies is pleasurable, then to an extent, it’s also fun on some levels. Ergo, Yahweh is an advocate of having fun killing babies.
Even if we ignored the Psalms and avoid the drama of apologists whining “context!” there is still another story that is undeniable and indefensible: the story killing David and Bathesheba’s child.
The story goes that David committed adultery with Bathsheba, a married woman, so David sent her husband to die in battle to David can have Bathsheba for himself. After they had a baby, Yahweh didn’t punish David — the man who committed adultery, the man who sent another man to die — instead of punishing the sinner, Yahweh decided that the child should die.
Did the the child die quickly? No. Seven days. Seven days the child laid in pain as God tortured it. Until finally on the seventh day, God extinguished the child’s life. Yahweh personally tortured an innocent baby for a whole week, all for the crimes of the father who remained unpunished even after the baby died. The Bible character Yahweh literally tortured a baby to death, and he demands all humans to praise him.
Objective moral truths from Christianity?…. my ass!
This is the same faith where God of the Bible commands at least 7 times for parents to literally EAT their own children.
“Finally, we are looking for a standard of good by which we can all agree, when we see a shadow from the sunlight, it’s evil. You got to have that standard of sunlight we all agree on. Okay, so again we are looking for a source, an objective source of good. And I think Dawkins says it best when he said, “the universe is simply a collection of physical processes, there is no good or evil. just blind pitiless indifference.” Yet we think that there is good and evil in the universe. How do you ground that?”
How do you ground that?….. Wallace literally does not answer, he just moves on.
Newsflash: Christianity is not the sole provider or owner of all the “standards of good” anymore then English is the only provider and owner of grammar.
Wallace is too busy looking up to find answers of where “good” comes from that he’s not looking at humans, which is weird considering that he was a detective and it was his job to investigate humans. The answer to where “good” comes from is determined by humans. Does nature think that it is “good” when a volcano erupts and hot magma spills into a nearby city? No, because Nature doesn’t care, it doesn’t decide what’s good or not. It just does. Nature creates lethal diseases like Ebola, creates huge earthquakes, and devastating tsunamis and hurricanes. It’s us humans that determine what is “good” and “evil,” and we determine that by actions and events that maximize the health, happiness and well-being of people when compared to other actions and events that minimize those things.
“So I looked at that entire collection of evidences, and realized that I need a non-spactial, immaterial, non-temporal being that can fine-tune; intelligent enough to provide information in DNA; could design a conscious mind that can choose freely; that is the source of all moral standards, including the standards of righteousness or anything which we call evil. Well, what am I looking at here? Isn’t that the classic definition of what we have been using for God for eons? Yes!”
By that definition, you might as well proven that Krishna exists. Or Allah. Or Vishnu. Or any of the hundreds of thousands of deities known to humans and other new deities being conjured up by modern day humans.
Notice that what Wallace leaves out of this “definition” is the HOW. How does a immaterial, non-spactial, non-temporal being influence anything in Nature?
So I’ll provide the answer that Christian apologists cower away from admitting: the answer is MAGIC.
“So I realized that the best explanation–now of course, that does not mean Christianity is true! And that is why I spent so much time on the Resurrection. Because if we are looking for the one system that actually gives us a picture of that God, if Jesus rose from the grave, that would change everything. And I have a tendency to believe people rise from the grave.”
There are many other myths of men and gods rising from the dead, is Wallace going to believe those too? 50 years after the Persian War, Herodotus (the “father of History”) went out to interview the locals about what happened during the war. He heard many bizarre things, and often named those he talked to and showed a skeptical mind, yet he reported everything as if he believed all of it actually happened. One of those reports was a whole town witnessed a mass resurrection of cooked fish! Is Wallace going to sink so far into fantasy that he graduates from believing that humans can rise from the graves to believing that cooked food can come back to life?
After hearing Wallace’s arguments, Gentempo notes that this doesn’t appear to be a conclusion reached because it is something that is “felt in the heart, therefore I’m following this path.” Gentempo notes that culturally faith appears to be something that is adopted when people suspend their rationality, but notes that doesn’t appear to be the case with Wallace.
Given how wrong time and time again Wallace has been on History, science, even basic logic, it is crystal clear that Wallace definitely suspending his rationality.
Faith is always when people suspend their rationality. This is why evangelist Kirk Cameron tells his audience of believers that when they go out to evangelize, Kirk tells them “speak to a person’s conscience and circumnavigate the intellect.” In other words, tell people to shut off their brain and play a game of emotions.
Faith is not a virtue. It’s a virus. It’s poison.
Wallace later on notes “I’m not a Christian because it works for me.”
Highly doubtful. Go back and re-read how wrong Wallace is on the natural world. It seems Christianity is for Wallace and people like him who fail to understand how the world works or how to think critically, and are comfortable with answering their questions with “God did it.” It’s an easy path, but it’s lazy and for the most part, intellectual suicide.
Wallace then makes a comparative analogy of a cop wearing a bullet-proof vest about to be shot at. The officer decided in the split second to take the hits and reach for his gun. Wallace says he put faith in that vest because “like me, he had seen that vest stop bullets.” Wallace says that having good evidence made the officer trust the vest, likewise he hopes good evidence will make believers stand calm and confident in their beliefs.
Then I challenge Wallace to name any time he had personally witnessed a resurrection. If he wishes to make a comparative analogy to trusting bullet-proof vests to faith in Christianity, well we’ve seen bullet-proof vests stop bullets (hell, I can test one myself. I know a guy)… when was the last time anyone saw a beaten, crucified and stabbed body resurrect after three days? Or just any normal body resurrect after three days?
Not to mention, between God and an a bullet-proof vests, we can empirically prove that the vest (and the bullets) do in fact exist. Can the same be said for God? No. That’s why belief in God rests on FAITH, and the bullet-proof vest is relied on based on evidence.
And given that every single “evidence” Wallace has presented in this docu-series is either wrong or something we can show to be wrong, his entire confidence is based on a flawed and false belief.
Wallace then credits God for removing an amenity from Wallace, allowing Wallace to examine the evidence fairly for the first time to then walk the path toward becoming a believer.
So God has the ability to make an alleged atheist like Wallace become a believer with a little spiritual tug?
Then why is not every single human being on the planet all all throughout history not a Christian?
The fact that there are billions of people alive today who are not Christians, and billions more throughout history who were not Christians, that means that under Christian theology, God selected and permitted billions of billions of people to die only to then be tortured for all eternity. He had the ability and means to save everyone, but he chooses not to. If Wallace’s God does exist, then it’s an evil God.
Wallace then goes on to address “experts.” He admits he doesn’t have PhDs but when he puts together a case, the jurors don’t have PhDs — in fact, it is preferable to Wallace if he picked a juror who was NOT an expert because said juror would then question the testimonies of the experts put on the stand. And when experts are called onto the stand, the defense attorney examines the same presented evidence and calls for another PhD to examine and counter the claims of the prosecutor’s expert. All in all, it is the non-PhD jurors who decides whats accurate and what’s not. Wallace also notes that both the PhDs disputing the evidence are “honest” yet coming to different conclusions.
Both sides are being honest? For someone familiar with the I.D. movement, he apparently didn’t look into the Kitzmiller v. Dover case — the very case where all the I.D. creationists literally lied on the stand and peddled misleading inaccurate information.
Gentempo asks of Wallace’s thoughts regarding students at college who are beginning to view being Christian as “uncool.” Wallace notes that the pews show that the “Nones” are rising and suspects that the majority of Christians don’t fully get what it means to be a “Christian” and therefore are more likely to behave un-Christian-like or leave the faith, but Wallace suspects the pool of real Christians are not shrinking and therefore is not worried about the pool of the “No-true
Keep on dreamin’ mate. Religion is going more and more out the door. And good riddance.
Wallace notes that he wants to pull people from a blind faith to what he calls a “forensic faith” which he claims is “reasonable.”
Nothing provided by Wallace’s case for Christianity is reasonable. Looking back, it’s all based on false premises and misinformed crap, mixed with a dramatic abandonment of the “burden of proof” in favor of make-believe.