The Best Antidote to Brainwashing: Demanding Good Evidence

This is what I need to believe: good evidence along with good arguments. This is what the Christian needs when it comes to the other religions he rejects: good evidence along with good arguments. If a Muslim argues that the Christian simply refuses to believe in Allah because of a hardened heart, the Christian will scoff at the suggestion just as I do when a Christian says I refuse to believe in Jesus because of a hardened heart, so let’s just dismiss this as any kind of explanation for why I don’t believe, okay? We all need good evidence along with good arguments to believe, and all of us claim this to be the case. But we also must admit some people are brainwashed into believing. The best and only antidote to delusional beliefs is good evidence along with good arguments.

I’ve already articulated some of the kinds of evidence I need to believe: just click here. But this evidence does not exist. What good evidence is there to believe Christianity, the particular local one you believe in, Christian? There is no external evidence that shows any miracle occurred. There is no archaeological evidence for the Exodus or the Canaanite conquest. There is no external evidence for Noah’s flood. There is no external evidence that Daniel was saved from the lion’s den. There is no external evidence that Jesus was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. There is no external evidence that Jesus was transfigured before the eyes of his disciples. There is no external evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, either, nor can such evidence be found in the Turin Shroud. There is none as in N-O-N-E!

The Christian claims that evidence of the universe’s complexity points to a designer. But even if so, and there are good reasons to doubt this, what reason can be found for not thinking this universe is the result of the last act of some god as he was dying in which he merely started the quantum fluctuation that produced this universe? And even if this universe was designed by this god, or some other god like Allah, why is there so much unintelligent design found in it, including so many natural disasters? The supposed fall of Adam and Eve in the garden is pure myth, but even if true, it does not account for what we see in this so-called designed universe for so many reasons I don’t know where to start, except to say that the designer must be blamed for not providing them the needed evidence to believe him, otherwise they would never had sinned in the first place! And it is sheer barbarism to punish all of the children who suffer in this world for the sin of Adam and Eve.

The Christian claims he has the evidence of morals that point to a moral lawgiver. But again, if there is a moral lawgiver, then this does not show us that Yahweh exists over Allah or some other god. And there are good reasons to doubt this anyway, given the Euthyphro dilemma and the fact that it does absolutely no good to say there is a moral law when Christians cannot provide any agreed upon specifics about what that so-called moral law is when it comes to the myriad disputes they themselves have had over what God requires of them down through the ages.

The Christian claims there is good evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But this evidence is mainly internal to the canonized New Testament texts and gospels which were redacted from oral story-telling and various non-inspired written accounts of the life and death of Jesus. This Jesus is best thought of as merely another failed Jewish apocalyptic doomsday prophet, and nothing more. And so upon his shocking crucifixion his disciples had visionary experiences of him and concluded just like the Millerites, the Jehovah’s witnesses, and other similar religious groups that their God was providing a new direction for their cult. In the case of the early disciples they concluded from these visions that Jesus was still alive and that the end of the world (the eschaton) would come very soon in their lifetime. Besides, historical evidence is very poor evidence to believe in extraordinary claims like Christians must believe in anyway.

Lastly, but probably not exhaustively, Christians will claim they have a religious experience which counts as good evidence for what they believe, like an inner witness of the Holy Spirit. This is so bogus of an argument it’s hard to even start. Every religious believer of almost every particular religious faith will claim they too have had veridical religious experiences to support what they believe, so religious experiences are entirely untrustworthy to decide which religious truth claims are the correct ones. I’ve already provided a way to test these experiences right here, and I critiqued William Lane Craig’s defense of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit in several places, the links of which can be found in this last post.

Apart from the design argument mentioned above, what about the other arguments for the existence of the Christian God? Suffice it to say that at best, if they all work, they only conclude that a deist god exists, and that kind of God is so far removed from the triune God believed by Christians in the Bible that it’s like trying to fly a plane to the moon…it cannot be done. But in fact none of these arguments can give any good reason for why the Christian God does not have the same problems with regard to how he himself exists as a fully formed 3 in 1 eternal being who has never learned anything new because he supposedly knows all things, and so forth. Where did he come from? It is a nonanswer to merely parrot back to me that "he always has existed." That's a mere language game I don't buy into. Explain it. If you can't do this then the simpler brute fact excludes such a complex being by virtue of Ockham's razor.

Christian, since you and I believe there are many people in the world today who are deluded by their religious beliefs, including brainwashed people in the so called “cults” that need “deprogramming," how do you know that you are not one of them having been brainwashed by the very culture you were brought up in? How do you know? You must consider this a possibility for it’s a fact that brainwashed people do not know they have been brainwashed. It matters not how many people believe as you do in your own culture. They may be brainwashed with you, just like you think the more than one billion Muslims have been brainwashed. You need to clearly think about these sorts of things. Read my links. Think about them. My claim is that you are brainwashed. I’m here to help you. Demand good evidence along with good reasons for why you believe, or cease believing. It’s that simple. You do it with everything else you accept. Do the same here.

I honestly think that I was brainwashed by the Christian culture I was raised in. Now I demand evidence to believe along with good arguments. I adjure the Christian believer to do likewise. Do not believe upon insufficient evidence or poor arguments. Do not believe just what you were taught to believe, for again, as far as you know the people and the culture who taught you what to believe may be brainwashed as well, just like you claim this of the Muslims, the Mormons, and the Hindus who were all raised in their own particular religious cultures.

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I know there are many Christians who read this Blog who refuse to get and read my book that offers a sustained critique of Christianity. It's getting some pretty good reviews. To test whether or not you are one of the brainwashed ones you owe it to yourselves to get and read it.

38 comments:

kiwi said...

"We all need good evidence along with good arguments to believe and all of us claim this to be the case."

Not Plantinga and countless of others.

But surely you know that already?

John W. Loftus said...

Plantinga apparently does think he needs good arguments though, something I'm disputing here.

Jason said...

As an ironic comparison, after the Israelites had witnessed the plagues and were ultimately led out of Egypt to witness even more miraculous events, they soon questioned whether or not God was with them (Exo 17:7). They had plenty of 'good evidence' and 'good arguments' but they still doubted. Why? There's obviously more to it then possessing just these two elements as reason for belief. This is where a measure of faith comes in - something that's noticeably missing from the original post.

Steven Bently said...

"The Best Antidote to Brainwashing: Demanding Good Evidence"


Bravo - Excellent Post!

I agree 100%


Jason, The word faith is the definitive brainwashing tool.

No amount of faith can be measured, and according to Jesus, no one had as much faith as he did, but yet he never moved a mountain, nor did he even move a mustard seed.

It's so easy to orally claim something is possible without evidence.

John asked for evidence, he did not ask for a measure of faith, because he knows faith is just a conceptual word used to instill a possible claim without any evidence, he also knows people are gullible enough to believe that faith is a viable object.

Faith is the tool of the master deceiver, (brainwasher, pastor, preacher, priests, etc. )

John asked for biblical evidence and you bring out faith, neither one exists.

Try reality, you might like it!

Joe Staub said...

John,

This was a very well stated and succinct argument against any faith. It serves as a great starting point for the unthinking religious mind - to get the "thinking juices" flowing. Having said this, I am disappointed that you deleted Jason's rebuttal about the Israelite's having evidence and arguments and yet still questioning God once they experienced hardship in their wilderness wanderings. I would like to read your response to that line of reasoning.

John W. Loftus said...

Steven and Joe, thanks for your compliments.

Joe, Jason's posts are automatically deleted since he was previously banned per our comment policy. Most of the time I come around and then personally delete them but since you commented I'll leave it up. People who choose to comment can read it.

John W. Loftus said...

Oh, and Joe, Read Jason's comment closely. He's assuming the very beliefs I'm questioning. One cannot assume the beliefs in question and then use them to make an argument about faith. There was no Exodus and there was no Canaanite conquest. So any illustration about the faith of the people in Moses's day based upon the very beliefs in question is bogus reasoning and cannot be used to make a point about faith.

ahswan said...

John, according to your evidentiary standards, you apparently reject much of history.

I find the evidence for the resurrection, for example, to be difficult to ignore. Unfortunately, they failed to videotape the event or do dna testing. However, the historical documentation is there.

And John, I reject the claims of Islam because it can clearly be traced to one man's vision in the 7th century, after which he rewrote Jewish history.

Joe Staub said...

John,

I understand and agree with you about Jason's reference to an event that didn't occur. But, the point can be taken as a universal instead of a particular. The point being that experience is "normally" used by people to help them make a decision about whether or not to be a "follower" or "believer", which you also addressed in your statment. I would suggest that experience is a very hard temptation to overcome when making decisions about truth claims.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John W. Loftus said...

Jason, you are banned from DC and yet you still comment here. As a Christian you have no integrity. Don't talk to me about faith or commitment or integrity. I'm not listening. Your behavior does not match your claims.

Deist Dan said...

The argument that even if non-Christians had all the proofs in the world (e.g. like witnessing the 10 plagues poured out on Egypt, the sea being parted) they still would stubbornly lack faith is ridiculous.

Christians act as if the proof for the bible being "the word of god" is as obvious to non-Christians and as equally sufficient evidence as it would be to witness Jesus walking on the see, or turning water into wine.

The biblical stories telling of the Israelites turning on God after witnessing such events, or the Jews of Jesus' day stubbornly refusing to believe in him after witnessing these miracles simply prove the stories are made up.

No one who witnessed such miracles could possibly reject his claim to be the messiah (not god), and no group of people could possibly be so stupid as to worship a golden calf after witnessing the miracles surrounding the supposed exodus.

The stories were clearly made up as a warning to the Israelites (aka Canaanites)to reject the polytheism that they had always practiced in favor of the new monotheistic god that the priestly class had adopted.

Believe it or not Christians, people often reject Christianity because of the utter lack of evidence that exists to support it, and people would gladly believe and receive it if such evidence could be provided!

Harry McCall said...

Well put Deist Dan! Great logic!

John, thanks for keeping Jason banned.

When I wrote: But, in the end, there are more programmed brain dead literalistic Christians out there then I care to fight. I had Jason in mind.

ahswan: I find the evidence for the resurrection, for example, to be difficult to ignore. Unfortunately, they failed to videotape the event or do dna testing. However, the historical documentation is there.

Might it even have occurred to you that this is why the Bible story is based in an ancient world who swam in a sea of faith?

Jesus’ resurrection would and could not have occurred today because of the news media and cameras on cell phones. In fact, a digital camera is the worst thing both faith and God could have even wanted.

Jason Long said...

Most people who leave a religion for skepticism will agree that society conditioned them to think the way they thought (all built upon presupposition). This, added with what John said (that conditioned people do not know that they've been conditioned), is the nail in the coffin for anyone thinking freely, objectively, and unemotionally.

Andre said...

Couldn't agree more John.

Yesterday my friend told me that his daughter asked him some questions that he never noticed or thought about before. She came across them during her grade 9 religion assignment on Genesis. She noticed in chapter 1 the let "us", like "us", and "our" image issues. Her conclusion was either God had a wife, (or something else I can't remember right now) since he(or they) created male and female in their likeness, therefore "us" must also be male and female. Not to get into this too much as it is confusing, "He", God, is talking to people not named God, and it also contradicts the creation account in chapter 2 where female was made for a different reason.

The point is a 14yr old girl noticed something someone over 40 never had, and she's not just believing whatever her priest, teacher, or parent says about God. Her father believes Genesis to be literal, but his daughter is wise enough to see that there's something wrong, something doesn't add up, even if her conclusion is not spot-on. Another example is with regards to the flood. She assumes that maybe Noah just landed in the ocean and had never seen a body of water that large before. She believes the story is not plausible in a literal sense, but her dad does.

When he told me this, I couldn't help but point out what I think is typical of christian thinking. I told him that what happens with most people is that since they already believe in God, all the unbelievable acts of God and miracles in the bible are not impossible because God can do anything. Basically, what would normally be considered nonsense, if you take away God from the Bible, is not nonsense because it is written about this God. The only reason why Christians believe all this bible stuff is because of brainwashing. Even if it's right in front of their eyes, they feel it's blasphemy to question their "free will" to think for themselves. Again, it just shows how people will believe in foolishness because of their belief in God. This is what happens when you tell people to have faith, they have more faith in more nonsense.

Let me also point out that his daughter is being brought up in the christian faith by a family of believers. She is not being skeptical because she's wants to live a sinful life, as some people like to accuse people of, she is being honest and sincere in what she's coming away with from reading the bible, nothing more, nothing less. Who can blame her?

Scott said...

The biblical stories telling of the Israelites turning on God after witnessing such events, or the Jews of Jesus' day stubbornly refusing to believe in him after witnessing these miracles simply prove the stories are made up.

I think the stubbornness depicted in the Bible isn't based on a disbelief in supernatural forces as a whole, as Gods were thought to influence a wide variety of phenomenon that was unexplained at the time. Instead, the question was, which particular God was behind these events and would ultimately give them the most benefit.

Before the Apocalyptic view became popular, I think the tendency was to follow the God they thought provided the most benefit in their current situation. (Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right.) As such, events were exaggerated or manufactured in an attempt to depict the Abrahamic God as the supernatural being who you should fear and worship in the short to mid term.

For example, in several instances, the Abrahamic God introduces himself to ensure he is not confused with other Gods and associates himself with people who have benefited or been punished by him in the past.

Genesis 26:24That night the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham."

Exodus 3:6Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

If this is the case, Biblical miracles appear to be designed to give the Abrahamic God street creed though the exploitation of human superstition. Those who side with the Christian God are depicted on the winning team, while those who worship other Gods lose.

Once the Apocalyptic view gained prominence, reward or punishment could be pushed off into the coming age. God became Mr. Right instead of Mr Right now, which resulted in less promiscuous worship and required less miraculous events providing short term benefits.

strangebrew said...

In communities where Christianity is the be all and end all of existence..the last thing they want to listen to is either evidence and good argument...

Point in case is..

'I find the evidence for the resurrection, for example, to be difficult to ignore. .... However, the historical documentation is there.'

That is the mind set..

There is no evidence..even Roman records...which were anal in their precise nature failed to mention anything about this so called execution...nothing zilch nada...and they certainly documented other executions faithfully...if Jeebus were condemned to die the records would have mentioned for sure...there is nothing...
There is no absolutely no historical documentation...only in the believers make believe world!

The main crucifixion accounts were written...

St John~100-200 years after the supposed event ...in fact the actual authorship is unknown!

St.Mark! 70 years after the supposed event and obviously 2nd hand...

St Matthew~80 and 100 years after the supposed event...

St Luke~around 70~years after the supposed event

In fact scholars tend to the view that several of these gospels were actually copied from each other and added to for sensationalism...and audience!...none were contemporary and no actual witnessed written account exists anywhere...!


The actual death chronology of jeebus on a cross has been refuted by the actual physiology that reacts to this manner of death...many facets reported are just not possible and seem more embellishment then eye witness account!

But argue that in front of a xian and it will be fingers in the ears and loud lah lahing!

Xians...well the majority anyway... do not have a need for evidence or counter argument...they don't want rationality..they want their sky daddy and jeebus...cos from a very early age that is the indoctrination they are used to!
That is the nexus to impart argument and evidence...at the early formative years in a child...not years later when brain washed clones actually fear questioning!

I have seen on other fora the mind set of evangelical bunnies and even quotes they proudly display from their preachers pastors and priests that actually condemn reading books about science or history ...which apparently are written by god-hating atheist scum!

Argument will not work....pointing and laughing... unfortunately is the only choice left...especially at the rabid...who are probably mentally ill anyway...so maybe even that choice is dubious!

Endiana.com said...

Thoughts...

• A five year old needs no evidence; only the affirmation of authority figures.

• If "Christian" is defined by moral character and kindness, then some of the finest Christians I know are atheists.

• CS Lewis wrote of "oughtness" as the compelling argument that persuaded him to accept Christianity. (I prefer to call it "oughtism.")

Early human social structures that applied altruism would have increased their survival rate. That, in turn, would reinforce the altruistic "gene" that accounts for our predilection toward a sense of morality.

feeno said...

"Brew
W'dup Kidda

Atheists used to tell me I couldn't trust the 4 gospels because there stories didn't jive. Now your telling me they borrowed from one another. Way to cover your bases.

Matthew, Mark, Luke all were martyred for their belief of what they wrote. John somehow survived some gruesome attempts on his life. I get these facts from "non inspired writings." The only 2 apostles deaths recorded in the Bible are Judas and James. And their stories as well are backed up by non-canonical writings.

Really, our pastors and priests are condemning us for reading history and science books? "And us Christians are brainwashed?"

Good hearing from you again. Peace out, feenoilizes

John W. Loftus said...

Feeno, you don't actuall know these early disciples died for their faith. See this.

feeno said...

Big John'

All that is coming up is a big blue screen? But when it comes up I will read it. Good luck in your Ohio debate.

Late, feeno

Endiana.com said...

freeno,

I taught apologetics; researched the "disciples died for the faith" argument; discovered the accounts of their martyrdom were fanciful at best; at least one had conflicting accounts of his death.

BTW...

Anyone else noted that Jesus never claimed to be God? Son of God, yes. God the son; never.

feeno said...

Endiana

Could you please teach me the meaning of John 10:30

Peace out, feeno

Harry McCall said...

Feeno,

As a spin off on my reply to Christopher Price on whether Josephus' account of Jesus can be trusted, I will post excerpts from a lecture given by the famous Classical and Second Temple Jewish scholar, Louis Feldman, on why the Gospel accounts can not be trusted.

If you want to be taken seriously, please respond to my post tonight (I will post by 8:00 pm 2/27/09).

I will expect some very tightly reasoned textual logic from you as to why Dr. Feldman is wrong.

If you fail to give objective responses to defeat Dr. Feldman’s facts about the un-trust worthiness or untruthfulness of the Gospels, then I will expect an equally tightly reasoned and objectively astute explanation (based on the same texts Dr. Feldman uses) as to why you remain a Christian.

This will be an excellent chance for you to vindicate the historical objectivity of your faith in Jesus Christ before all here at DC.

Regards,
Harry McCall

feeno said...

Harry,

Why didn't you just call me out at "high noon." But thank you for the opportunity to vindicate my faith to all of you here at D.C.

I'm sure I will read what the good Doc has to say and will respond with something. I always at least try.

But as far as your deadline is concerned, I have a date tonight with an all you can eat fish fry, so when I get a chance to read his stuff, I will. And then I will respond.

Have a nice weekend, Peace out, feeno

Harry McCall said...

Thanks for your reply, feeno.

There is no "dead line" to responded, but just that I would like you to respond as Christianity to me seems to be founded upon 98% faith and 2% historical fact.

Anyway, I love Cod, fires and cold slaw myself.

Feast away!(And, contra to St. Paul, it one time to make your belly your god!)

Harry

Endiana.com said...

feeno,

I'm not sure why you're asking, but the meaning of John 10:10 is self explanatory.

The fact that the deity of Jesus has to be deduced indicates the writers did not view Jesus as God nor did those to whom they were writing.

If you were to hand the gospels to a person unfamiliar with the Christian teaching, ask him to read the gospels then summarize who Jesus was, his answer would not be "God."

The doctrine of Christ's deity may have developed early in the church, but was absent when the gospels were written. Likewise, it can only be deduced from epistles; (Titus 2:10 and Hebrews 1 included).

strangebrew said...

'ows it 'anging feeno?

"Atheists used to tell me I couldn't trust the 4 gospels because there stories didn't jive. Now your telling me they borrowed from one another. Way to cover your bases."

No they don't...nor do the chapters 2 & 3 of Genesis...so whats new!

I said....

ahem!...'In fact scholars tend to the view that several of these gospels were actually copied from each other and added to for sensationalism...and audience!.."

Meaning that basic pattern was followed but with flights of fancy added to some and not others!
They were written to influence the audience that each successive gospel was aimed at... and that required certain literary tailoring to demand!
They are not a perfect fit...and considering they are the vanguard of xian apologetic argument...they should be...but of course xians are vague as to time line of the gospels and prefer to offer them as contemporary and accurate accounting...and they are not!

'Matthew, Mark, Luke all were martyred for their belief of what they wrote.'

Apparently nonsense!

'John somehow survived some gruesome attempts on his life.'

'King Herod was so delighted with her dancing, he granted her a wish. Salome discussed this with her mother, who told Salome to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter.

'When Salome told the king her wish, the king was anxious but he had sworn an oath that she be granted her wish. He ordered John to be beheaded in prison. St John's head was later brought on a platter and presented to Salome, which she then gave to her mother.

The martyr's disciples were allowed to take John's body to give him a proper burial.'

I also get these facts from "non inspired writings...what ya gonna do ;-)

http://wsgfl.westsussex.gov.uk/ccm/content/topics/08/beheading-of-st-john-the-baptist.en?page=3

Not nice but shit happens...honestly women.... ya can't live with ya can't live without!

The only 2 apostles deaths recorded in the Bible are Judas and James. And their stories as well are backed up by non-canonical writings.

As for Judas...There are two different canonical references to the end of Judas' life..
In Matthew...
Judas returned the bribe to the priests and committed suicide by hanging himself.
or...
In The Acts of the Apostles..
It says that Judas used the bribe to buy a field, but fell down, and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

As for James...
Written around AD 150 it seems a tale was was interwoven with several accounts...ending in stoning to death...but that is what you get for promoting ridiculous fairy stories as truth...seems just to me...(geddit.. 'Just' ...as in 'James the Just'?..sorry could not resist the devil in me)...but no one knows where his burial was...

Depending on attitude and severity of the rapture ya takes ya choices!

'Really, our pastors and priests are condemning us for reading history and science books?

In the evangelically fundamentalist quarters this is the least of it...'no brains required' is their buzzword!
And certainly no knowledge that tends to cause uncomfortable questions!

"And us Christians are brainwashed?"

Absolutely otherwise they would git rationality a tad quicker then at present!

'Good hearing from you again.'

And you brother...may the force be with you... :-)

Deist Dan said...

Feeno,

You must realize that in 3 of the 4 gospels Jesus is distinguished from God repeatedly and explicitly. Jesus is the Messiah (anointed one) and Son of the living God, neither of these titles had anything to do with deity.

Also the book of Acts is utterly embarrassing to the idea that Jesus was God, since the disciples explicitly distinguish him from God in their preaching (acts 2:22,2:36,3:13,5:30,10:38,10:42,17:31).

In John, aside from the prologue, Jesus is also repeatedly and explicitly distinguished from God.

You said you believe John 10:30 is evidence of Jesus being God, yet look at how Jesus responded to that mistaken idea. Jesus said in verse 34 "is it not written in your law, i said you are gods?"

Notice Jesus did not say, yes i am God, instead he backs away from that idea by pointing to the psalms where the judges of Israel were called gods(elohim). Jesus then says well if it was ok for them to be called that, and it was because "the scripture cannot be broken" then why are they calling him a blasphemer for merely claiming to be the Son of God, especially since Jesus was uniquely sent and sanctified by God (by his virgin birth).

Jesus also said that his disciples can be one with him and the Father

Joh 17:21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Joh 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
Joh 17:23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Jesus says this oneness is a unity or purpose, not a unity of essence or substance as trinitarians claim.

As a former believer in the deity of Christ who turned into a heretical "biblical unitarian" Christian, i am meticulously aware of every argument used to say Jesus is God and i also know how to systematically dismantle them.

The reality is the "deity of christ" was a development over the decades after the events in question and eventually evolved into the trinitarian doctrine a few hundred years later.

The original "jesus" if there was one, was viewed as the messiah (a human being) perhaps of divine origin as the first adam was, but a human nonetheless.

strangebrew said...

'The reality is the "deity of christ" was a development over the decades after the events in question and eventually evolved into the trinitarian doctrine a few hundred years later.'


Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D and the resulting Nicaean Creed seem to be the point in history when man decided to define their Abrahamic sourced god!

Just whose image is made in whose image?

feeno said...

Endiana

John 10:30

You said Jesus never claimed to be God.

Peace, feeno

feeno said...

'Brew

Good to hear back from you, I agree with your facts for the most part. But were you suggesting John the Baptist wrote the book of John? None the less I will try to answer as many as these questions I can on Harry's Post about the gospels.

Look for me over there in the next day or so.

Live long and prosper. feeno

feeno said...

Dan

I never said that John 10:30 was proof that Jesus is God. (tho he is) Endiana said that Jesus never claimed to be God. I just wanted his explanation on what he thought that verse meant.

I wanted to get back with everyone, and will go into further details on Harry's Post very soon.

And then you can "dismantle away"

Peace out, feeno

strangebrew said...

Hi feeno,

'But were you suggesting John the Baptist wrote the book of John?'

No not really but it seems doubtful that John actually wrote anything unique..

"Many scholars believe that John could not have written the fourth gospel because, as an account of the life of Jesus, it is unhistorical and as such is incompatible with having an eyewitness origin.
The gospel is dated to around 100 CE, was written in Greek, and little is obvious on its geographical origin. While it is sometimes conceded that some events described in the gospel have an historical basis, many scholars hold that the Johannine discourses are historical fabrications, reflecting the theological views of the anonymous community that produced it."

It is just as possible that the discourse was reworked from earlier works...including the Baptists!

But confusion in early attempts to chronicle vague and unsubstantiated claims to this and that unerringly got it wrong..and dealing in faked documents never really detracted from the early christian goal!

His death is not widely known or commented on...so one John's death is as good as anothers! ;-)

Wilson said...

I was wondering how you justify considering Allah to be a different God. Even Arabic-speaking Christians use the word "Allah" for "God", since it's simply the word for God in the Arabic language (and the only one). This, coupled with the fact that the Qur'an repeatedly identifies the God that it's talking about with the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others, makes this a bit hard to accept. Sure, there are theological differences between Islam and Christianity, but ditto for Judaism, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, etc...but do you believe they all believe in different Gods? On the other hand, many (but certainly not all) Muslims prefer to use the word "Allah" for "God" even when speaking English (and other non-Arabic languages) since they mistakenly believe that the word "God" inherently implies Trinitarian and other Christian theological views which they find offensive. Obviously this kind of linguistic bigotry is based on ignorance, pure and simple, but that's no reason to return the favour. My desire here is not to defend Islam, but to make your critique of theism, regardless of the flavor, seem less shallow and more informed.

I'll also point out that the Aramaic word that most people in 1st century Palestine would have used for "God" was "Alaha", but I've never heard anyone claim that they were referring to a different God than people who used the word "Theos" or, much later, "Deos", "Gott" or "God".

In my view, as a former Christian and ex-Muslim turned atheist (yes, it's been a long, hard slog, but I finally managed to pull my head out of my arse), I think a lot of this type of thinking comes from simple bigotry coupled with an often linguistically-challenged and narrow English-only view of the world. Radical Islam, and possibly Islam in general, is without doubt a threat to our Western way of life. Due to this, the shallow knowledge that is often shown regarding it, especially in an age where there's plenty of quality information available, needs to be corrected. Unfortunately, I have to admit that most writings on Islam (from a theological, not security threat point-of-view) that I encounter these days tend to be misinformed and superficial.

You might enjoy reading On Befriending the Ex-Muslim, which is written by a fellow Muslim-convert-turned-apostate friend of mine who, like me, lived in the Middle East for years.

Overall, I enjoy your website, so keep up the good work!

Cheers,

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

I would begin by saying that some people are “brianwashed” into unbelief too. It’s all too common that non believers make their decisions on what’s called a “snowball” of bad information and unreasonable argumentation that only offer a facade of truth. Sometimes people connect with others who have been disappointed by the church then next you know, everything and everybody is wrong within Christianity…go figure…If we followed that same dictum in all matters of life we’d get nowhere in a hurry…

You place a lot of weight on "miracles" in the article claiming:

What good evidence is there to believe Christianity, the particular local one you believe in, Christian? There is no external evidence that shows any miracle occurred.

Miracles (which are merely supercessions of natural law which among natural laws occur regularly) are only ONE type of evidence and since historical medical records cannot be examined we only have accounts that can be multiply attested too both by biblical and non-biblical sources.

You also make the a fallacious argument for types of evidences and take the whole thing to a subjective realm for the acceptance or rejection of evidences. For the audience who shouldn’t be deceived by this tactic, everyone knows there is a different or varying burdens of proof in any court or society in general. There is a difference between “reasonable doubt” and “burden of proof” arguments.

When argued in certain courts all it takes is “burden of proof” In others we need to satisfy a higher criteria called “reasonable doubt”. You and most atheists want evidence beyond “reasonable doubt”. That’s a catch 22 because you know that ALL historical data comes with “reasonable doubt” That’s the bunker you forge to pacify your mind and pretend the rationality of your arguments. You know that historical studies only come with Certitude. Your position further would claim as it has previously, that we can only know history based “probability”. What you fail to communicate is that those “probabilities” stand in unison to make a compelling argument for Christianity.

There are a myriad of evidences that make a solid case historically, I'll skim some later. Then finally you make a “special pleading” to mistrust the bible as a written narrative.
This is totally disingenuous. Why treat the bible with suspicion IF you say that you want to examine it as any other book of antiquity???

There yet remains extrabiblical evidences such as Talmud, Josephus, Seutoneus, Pliny The Younger etc, (some of which are totally hostile to Christianity) but they affirm the message of the bible so far as what the early church did, who it followed and in some cases believed. I have always found your arguments in this area to be very obtuse and totally unconvincing.

So far as your naturalist view of origins are concerned, you make an assumption that a quantum fluctuation started the universe. This is totally unexplainable by science to begin with and is a circular argument and every resource I've read from atheists are filled with conjectures and BENT theories held out as fact when they are not.

Then you make a false assumption that abiogenesis occurs and that it’s been witnessed and EVERYTHING I’ve seen from an atheist claiming this is a far stretch and totally ridiculous. Then you make a suggestion that Complexity arises from simple or incomplex, once again, this is the opposite of what your God (science) teaches you. In fact, there has never been macro-evolution only micro-evolution as we would expect to see...

The Christian offers and has an answer to all of these complex issues. The atheist has nothing (literally) to hang his hat on…but FAITH in natural process and future scientific discovery…that’s slim in my book.

One more thing…you place a lot of emphasis on “silence” and make arguments from what you subjectively say is lack of evidence. Look at this. Egypt was built right? We see evidences of the structures today. We see the Pyramids right? Who built many of these structures? Hemienu (sp). In all of what has been found there has never been ONE blue print found for the Pyramids and many of the structures in ancient Egypt. Are we to assume that because there is no extra verifiable record of those blueprints, that they either don’t exist or didn’t have blueprints or plans? To do so is a ridiculous argument.

That’s the argument you make…because you can’t see the “blueprint” but yet the church exists…yet Pliny says that in AD 110-112 they were worshipping “Christus” (his relating Jesus as we know him) as God (which is just ONE argument (an indirect one at that) for the fact that the early church viewed Jesus as deity LONG BEFORE NICEA…

Additionally there are verifications of the Talmud, Mara Bar-Serapion and Tacitus which were not even Jesus friendly sources that bear out certain cultural understanding about Christians who worshipped the founder of their religion.

Look at this and explain to me...I mean the Jews even confirm that he (Jesus) was cricified. Those same Jews had ample opportunity and motive to produce ANY DEAD BODY early on to squash Christianity DID NOT DO SO...

Have you ever though wht this was without doing some mental acrobatic to explain WHY in order to KILL CHRISTIANITY that the Jews simply didn't mark a body and parade it around town since they couldn't find the real one???

John this is more than compelling evidence when your vision is NOT skewed as your is regarding the subject.

I know we could debate for hours regarding this and I’ll take it piece by piece but a blind man can see that there is plenty of evidence for Christianity, the resurrection and otherwise and plenty of scriptural evidence to prove that Christians though of Christ as deity and were communicating that through creeds as early as 3 to 5 years after his death.

You disagree as a philosopher. I will agree on the evidence of Christianity.
Thanks.

John W. Loftus said...

Harvey, my friend, have you read my book yet? It answers you more than sufficiently. When will you actually read it? Surely you're not afraid, right?

Read it and get back to me, otherwise we'll just be going back and forth endlessly and talking past each other. I've read most of the important Christian apologetics books, okay? Now it's your turn.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

Allight my friend. You've been more than fair and I've actually been too busy to make it to the bookstore but yours is one book I PROMISE to read and get back with you on.

Thanks.