Babinski's Web-icles, A Short List

Please forgive me for not posting often. I read far more than I write these days, and have plenty of other things that fill up my time. However, if anyone would like to catch up on some of my past web-icles that explain in detail why I doubt Christianity, below is a short list.

Let me preface the list with a statement found in a work edited by Bruce Metzger, a textual scholar who is held in high esteem by many of his fellow Evangelical Christians. Note that Metzger was one of the main editors in the reference work I cite that admits that none of the four canonical Gospels featured the names of their authors when they were first composed. They were originally anonymous works and only many decades after they were written did they receive their “names” such as the Gospels of "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke" and "John."

For instance, the Gospel of Luke, does not name "Luke" as its author, and only names the person for whom that Gospel was allegedly written, i.e., "Theophilus." Likewise the Gospel of John is anonymous and says in chapter 20 simply that "we" testified/wrote it, while chapter 21 says it was the "beloved disciple" who was its author/testifier. Note that chapters 20 and 21 of that Gospel feature their own ending verses as if to suggest that the Gospel may have originally ended with chapter 20, and the unsatisfying claim that an unnamed "we" wrote it, so another chapter arose and was added to lend the Gospel individual apostolic authority but still of an anonymous nature since the "beloved disciple" was not named.

At any rate, note the admissions below in a standard scholarly Biblical reference work edited by at least one Evangelical. We certainly are not speaking of inerrant claims as to who wrote the Gospels, and that alone should make one wary of attempting to squeeze unquestionable dogmas or unquestionable history out of them:

“Not only did Jesus himself write nothing, but the attribution of the gospels to his disciples did not occur until the late first century at the earliest. . .

‘Matthew: Written by an unknown Jewish Christian of the second generation, probably a resident of Antioch in Syria.

‘Mark: [There is] confusion in the traditional identification of the author . . .

‘Luke: Possibly written by a resident of Antioch and an occasional companion of the apostle Paul.

‘John: Composed and edited in stages by unknown followers of the apostle John, probably residents of Ephesus.’

--Kingsbury, J.D., “Matthew, The Gospel According to,” in Metzger and Coogan, eds., The Oxford Companion to the Bible [Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1993], pp. 502-506

To learn more about my reasons for leaving the fold, especially reasons for doubting "the resurrection" stories, I include a list of links below. I also consider the many dubious "prophecies" in the New Testament another good reason to doubt the veracity of the Bible.

Letter On The Resurrection Written to Apologist Dr. Gary Habermas of Liberty University (An Evangelical friend agreed I had raised some "knotty problems," while Habermas asked an Evangelical publisher about possibly publishing a dialogue between us--though the publisher's response was 'No.')

Letter I Received From Producer of Lee Stroble's "Faith Under Fire" And My Response Concerning Historical Criticism of the Bible

Scholars Comment on N.T. Wright's Resurrection Arguments

Additional Reviews of N.T. Wright's Resurrection Book by Scholars

The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus [article by Dr. Robert M. Price]

Literary Criticism and Historical Accuracy of the Gospels, Including a Discussion of the Alleged Words Spoken by the Resurrected Jesus That Grew In Number With Each New Gospel, Or That Were Simply Added As in Mark's Three Additional Late Endings

C.S. Lewis’ “Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism”

The "Born Again" Dialogue In the Gospel of John [a point made by Bart Ehrman]

Newsweek Defends Resurrection as History in Newsweek's Easter issue, March 28th, 2005

Agnosticism: Reasons to Leave Christianity

What Happened to the Resurrected Saints?Raising doubts not saints.

More About the Resurrected Saints

The Christian Think Tank's Response to Questions Concerning "The Many Resurrected Saints"

The Lowdown on God's Showdown

The Fabulous Prophecies of the Messiah [not by me, though I suggested some books the author employed in his research and for which he thanked me]

Not One, But Mutiple Views Of Biblical Writers On The Afterlife

The Former Popularity among Christians of The Abominable Fancy, or, A Heaven that only "Snuff Film" Aficionados Could Love

Is the Book of Revelation a Literary Patchwork Quilt? (Including a Discussion of the First Book of Enoch)

Or read Dr. Price's Beyond Born Again (a sort of warm up book to be read before the rest of Price's writings, written while he was still a liberal Christian)

Leaving my own work for last, Leaving the Fold.



Vytautas said...

“In that chapter of John, Nicodemus says he is puzzled by Jesus' statement that "Ye must be born again," because as Nic asks, "How can a man reenter his mother's womb?" The entire conversation in that late Gospel is in Greek, and Nic's puzzlement can be attributed to the fact that the Greek word translated as "again" is a word with a double meaning in the Greek language, because it can also mean "again" or "a second time" or "from above." Dr. Ehrman then points out that the Jews in that day and age spoke Aramaic, not Greek, and in Aramaic the word would NOT have had a double meaning and Nicodemus would not have been puzzled, nor had to ask "how can a man reenter his mother's womb." That raises questions as to the authenticity of that late appearing dialogue.” -The "Born Again" Dialogue In the Gospel of John by Edward T. Babinski

Here Dr Ehrman says Nicodemus should not be puzzled because the meaning of born again does not have a double meaning in Aramaic of which he and Jesus would be speaking. However, there is another reason why Nicodemus would ask a question.

“That is, because Nicodemus understands the term "born again" as referring to a second
birth, and because it appears he takes this in a purely physical sense, his response is to
wonder incredulously as to whether a person can enter into his mother's womb, and then
be physically born for a second time. The issue for interpretation is whether Nicodemus
could really be so spiritually dull, and if not, then a superficial reading of his response
would tend to produce a misrepresentation of his perspective.” – Born Again by Vincent Cheung

Nicodemus is not puzzled because of the double meaning of a Greek word of which he does not know which meaning it is but he is spiritually dull. Jesus took the word he used in the language he was speaking in and meant something other than physical rebirth. He used the phrase, so is every one that is born of the Spirit, meaning a spiritual birth. But Nicodemus still says, how can these things be? Jesus said to him, are you a master of Israel, and do not know these things? It shows spiritual dumbness, and not confusion of what a word means because Jesus further explained himself.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Dear Vytautas,
Did you miss Ehrman's point about the language that was spoken in Jesus's day? It was a language called Aramaic, and not the Greek tongue at all. The Gospel of John was written in Greek, not in Aramaic. In other words the Gospel of John was not written in the language of Jesus's day, not in the language spoken by preachers, fishermen and priests.

And in Aramaic, the phrase did not have the double meaning of "entering your mother's womb again." Therefore there is reason to doubt that such a conversation ever took place in first century Aramaic-speaking Jersualem.

And there are added reasons besides to question much that appears in the last written, fourth, Gospel.

Vytautas said...

My answer does not depend on the double meaning of the Greek language. My point was Nicodemus was dull concerning spiritual matters. It is not the case that he did not know which way to interpret Greek because we both recognize that they spoke Aramaic.