Richard Carrier v. William Lane Craig Debate the Resurrection of Jesus

62 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

I see Craig changed his opening statement to talk about the existence of God and background beliefs. This is an improvement. I also noticed how Craig marginalized Carrier's scholarship because Carrier thinks Jesus didn't even exist. That was a nice debate strategy since at that point Carrier would no longer have any credibility in the eyes of the Christians there, even though that wasn't the topic of the debate.

John W. Loftus said...

I also learned from Darrin at this debate that Craig said he would not debate his former students. Hmmmm. What? I guess that cuts me out and, what shall we say, hundreds of others who no longer believe and want to debate him!? ;-)

That's convenient. I am now classed in a group of people, i.e., the people comprising his former students. And Craig says he will not debate anyone in this class. Hmmmm. Why doesn't he just come out and say "I will not debate John W. Loftus." That's the only member of this class of people who wants to debate him.

Matthew said...

That's one of the worst performances by an opponent of Craig I've ever seen.

Honestly, he should debate L├╝demann again.

Steven Carr said...

So Craig produced no evidence for an empty tomb or Barabbas, or the existence of Joanna, Salome, Joseph of Arimathea , Nicodemus (also allegedly there)....

I wonder why Craig does not want to debate Loftus....

Steven Carr said...

Which of Carrier's arguments did Craig refute by producing evidence?

Anthony said...

I also noticed how Craig marginalized Carrier's scholarship because Carrier thinks Jesus didn't even exist. That was a nice debate strategy since at that point Carrier would no longer have any credibility in the eyes of the Christians there, even though that wasn't the topic of the debate.

Also called the Poisoning the Well logical fallacy.

Eric said...

"I also noticed how Craig marginalized Carrier's scholarship because Carrier thinks Jesus didn't even exist."

Craig didn't marginalize Carrier's scholarship here; Carrier's position *is* a marginal position *at best*. A former professor of mine, Jay Harris -- not exactly an evangelical! -- said the same thing when a student in class asked him about those who think (like Carrier) that Jesus probably never existed: it's very much a marginal view among contemporary historians.

"Also called the Poisoning the Well logical fallacy."

First, as I wrote above, what Craig said was true. But more importantly, fallacies are by definition defects in *arguments*. For example, insulting someone during a debate isn't an instance of the ad hominem fallacy (though it's often mistakenly thought to be so) as long as it's not part of an argument. Craig didn't mention Carrier's position as part of his argument for the resurrection of Jesus, or as part of an argument against Carrier's position, but to show the different positions from which they both *begin* their arguments about Jesus' resurrection. By definition, therefore, it cannot be characterized as a fallacy.

Anthony said...

Eric: Craig didn't marginalize Carrier's scholarship here; Carrier's position *is* a marginal position *at best*.

Yes, the position is a minority one, but Craig did attempt to marginalize Carrier by "poisoning the well." This allowed the Christians in the audience to basically dismiss or ignore Carrier's case. If he wasn't attempting to poison the well then why even bring it up?

Darrin said...

Both of these guys were caught off-guard.

Craig was likely expecting Two-Body. I have to ask Richard if Craig wanted his opening statement, but I have the feeling Craig was caught off-guard throughout all of this. He answered a few key points of Richard's, though, and Richard missed some key points of Craig's, so even though the debate was a messy one, I'd have to say that Craig won.

Carrier is not an official mythicist BTW. He his adopting the mythicist view as an *hypothesis,* and has clearly stated that if it fails scholarly scrutiny, he'll go off of it. Craig's had his go, since I think the case Carrier presented is his basis for the myth theory ... it's time for a secular debate now with a historicist. Ehrman v. Carrier?

John W. Loftus said...

I didn't think Carrier did badly although I do question why he focused on that which he did.

Still, even if Dr. Craig won this debate as some have said, what does that show? Nothing that I can tell, at least not to me. Craig is a formidable debater having started out by being on a High School debate team. And Craig is very knowledgeable on these issues having written or contributed to many books on these topics. One would guess there isn't anything an opponent could say that Craig hasn't already considered before. And given his huge advantage as a skilled debater his opponents don't have much of a chance to win.

But Craig is wrong. Jesus did not rise up from the dead. Craig is merely giving answers to beliefs he adopted in his teenage years for less than intelligent reasons. Dead people do not rise up from the grave. They can't. Such a thing is fairy tale wishful thinking unbecoming of what best represents scholarship. He has a presumption in favor of that which he seeks to defend. He marshall's together all of the confirming evidence based upon conjecture after conjecture, and he discounts all of the disconfirming evidence. I'm not saying this is intellectual dishonesty, but if anyone is actually persuaded by his historical case then I have a piece of property on Mars I want to sell him. Such a person is deluded.

There can be no historical confirmation of such an event that would ever persuade an intellectually honest person. One must first be able to cross over Lessing's Broad Ugly Ditch, which cannot be done with historical evidence. Hence Craig's case is doomed. He even admitted so in a Q & A about Lessing's ditch. So the rest is a shell game, a charade, a sham. He's like an emperor with no clothes on smiling at the crowds as he parades down the streets where everyone pretends not to notice he's naked. He is naked. I can see this plain as day, and it's very embarrassing.

Debate skills don't prove anything to me. Even having the knowledge he has doesn't prove anything to me. People can have a great deal of knowledge more than I do on a topic and be dead wrong about their conclusions. That describes Craig. He's a deluded man--a brainwashed man from his youth. A likeable man, no doubt, for I like him a great deal and consider him a friend. But he desperately needs an intervention soon.

quine said...

In general, I would say that winning an individual debate, or even several debates, would not indicate the superiority of Craig's position. But this is getting ridiculous for atheists. As the author of commonsenseatheism.com points out:

"As far as I can tell, he [Craig] has won nearly all his debates with atheists. When debating him, atheists have consistently failed to put forward solid arguments, and consistently failed to point out the flaws in Craig’s arguments.
I’m not the only one who thinks Craig has won nearly all his debates. For some atheists, it is rather maddening."

After dozens of humiliating defeats for atheists at Craig's hands, the pattern of defeat begins to itself become evidence against the atheist position. I mean, if the case is as obvious and clear-cut in favor of the atheist position as John Loftus says above, shouldn't the atheist prevail in at least, say, 20% of the debates with Craig? These are major atheist scholars and polemicists going up against Craig, and they are getting embarrassed. Indeed, Craig's debates have created what you might call a "Broad Ugly Ditch of Defeat" which atheists will need to cross by a series of debate victories before they can regain plausibility.

Eric said...

"Yes, the position is a minority one, but Craig did attempt to marginalize Carrier by "poisoning the well." This allowed the Christians in the audience to basically dismiss or ignore Carrier's case. If he wasn't attempting to poison the well then why even bring it up?"

Anthony, you missed the all important point I made about the very nature of fallacies. Fallacies are, by definition, arguments; if X isn't an argument, X can't be fallacious. When Craig mentioned Carrier's position on the historical Jesus, he wasn't making an argument, but making clear the presuppositions from which each of them went on to formulate their arguments. Carrier's position didn't operate as a premise in *any* of Craig's arguments, either for his position or against Carrier's position. No argument, no fallacy -- again, *by definition*.

Now, you might want to claim, as John suggested, that it was a tactic (not a strategy!), and that's fine; but there's a world of difference between a tactic as such and a fallacy as such (though sometimes, of course, tactics can make use of fallacies, *but only where the tactic comprises an argument* -- again, by definition). Now, we can discuss Craig's intentions when he mentioned it (though I'm not sure how far that would get us), but it seems clear to me that there's no debate to be had about whether it was fallacious.

Finally, Carrier's case didn't rest on Jesus' existence. In fact, in part of the debate, Carrier clarifies his position on the existence of Jesus and explicitly says that, for the sake of argument, he's granting Craig that Jesus existed (inter alia).

Eric said...

"I mean, if the case is as obvious and clear-cut in favor of the atheist position as John Loftus says above, shouldn't the atheist prevail in at least, say, 20% of the debates with Craig?"

Quine, I'm not sure I'd agree with this. If we had debaters of equal skill and knowledge addressing a subject a number of times, then what you're saying is plausible; however, what we have, on almost every occasion with Craig, is a great scholar/debater versus a great scholar. In other words, while Craig and his opponents may be equally knowledgeable, they're rarely, if ever, equally skilled, and, since the outcome of a debate is determined largely by both knowledge and skill (and other factors), we would probably expect Craig to win the vast majority of the time, whether his position is the stronger one or not. (Incidentally, I do think that Craig's position is the stronger one; however, I don't think that this is the only reason, or even the primary reason, he generally wins his debates.)

quine said...

Eric,

In general I would tend to agree with you; but no matter how good a debater Craig is, if his position is as implausible as John Loftus says above (such that only a "deluded" person would be persuaded), then that implausibility would constitute a tremendous handicap for him going into a debate. His overwhelming pattern of victory (even when burdened with this supposed handicap) is so one-sided that it now constitutes evidence in itself for the Christian position, such that a burden is now placed on the atheist which must be overcome. (I guarantee you that if the results tilted the other way--with an atheist scholar overwhelmingly defeating his Christian debate opponents--the atheists would be quick to see this as evidence for the substance of their position; and they would be correct).

Anthony said...

Eric: Anthony, you missed the all important point I made about the very nature of fallacies. Fallacies are, by definition, arguments...Now, you might want to claim, as John suggested, that it was a tactic (not a strategy!), and that's fine; but there's a world of difference between a tactic as such and a fallacy as such..."

Eric, come now, although poisoning the well may not be technically called a "logical fallacy" but it is usually classified as such. See below on the nature of "poisoning the well." And Craig is still guilty of poisoning the well.

_______________________

Exposition:

To poison the well is to commit a pre-emptive ad hominem strike against an argumentative opponent. As with regular ad hominems, the well may be poisoned in either an abusive or circumstantial way. For instance:

1. "Only an ignoramus would disagree with fluoridating water." (Abusive)

2. "My opponent is a dentist, so of course he will oppose the fluoridating of water, since he will lose business." (Circumstantial)

Anyone bold enough to enter a debate which begins with a well-poisoning either steps into an insult, or an attack upon one's personal integrity. As with standard ad hominems, the debate is likely to cease to be about its nominal topic and become a debate about the arguer. However, what sets Poisoning the Well apart from the standard Ad Hominem is the fact that the poisoning is done before the opponent has a chance to make a case.

Exposure:

Poisoning the Well is not, strictly speaking, a logical fallacy since it is not a type of argument. Rather, it is a logical boobytrap set by the poisoner to tempt the unwary audience into committing an ad hominem fallacy. As with all forms of the ad hominem, one should keep in mind that an argument can and must stand or fall on its own, regardless of who makes it.
_______________________

Source: Fallacy Files

Anthony said...

Quine: In general I would tend to agree with you; but no matter how good a debater Craig is, if his position is as implausible as John Loftus says above (such that only a "deluded" person would be persuaded), then that implausibility would constitute a tremendous handicap for him going into a debate.

Quine don't flatter yourself. A public debate tends to be very restrictive in what is covered and how much time you have to deal with specific arguments. There is also the issue of the knowledge of the audience that the debater must keep in mind.

His overwhelming pattern of victory (even when burdened with this supposed handicap) is so one-sided that it now constitutes evidence in itself for the Christian position, such that a burden is now placed on the atheist which must be overcome.

Yes and I'm sure Duane Gish and most other young earth creationists thought the same thing with all of the debates that he was credited with having won. Now if you hold to YEC then you probably will miss my point, but if you reject it then I think you should understand.

Eric said...

"Eric, come now, although poisoning the well may not be technically called a "logical fallacy" but it is usually classified as such. See below on the nature of "poisoning the well." And Craig is still guilty of poisoning the well."

Anthony, at least we're now agreed that Craig committed no logical fallacy.

Let's move on to your claim that he 'poisoned the well' in some tactical sense.

First, you'll have to provide evidence that Craig intended to discredit Carrier by pointing out his position on the historical Jesus, and that he was not in fact merely stating the different presuppositions each was bringing to the debate (as he claimed to be doing). To do that, you'll have to show that the fact that Carrier doesn't believe Jesus existed is irrelevant as far as the question of Jesus' resurrection is concerned, and that it would no more affect one's approach to the resurrection than, say, the presupposition that god exists would (remember, poisoning the well is a 'fallacy' of relevance!). That's a tall order!

Also note that Craig didn't simply say, 'Carrier approaches this debate with marginal position X'; he also made it clear that he, Craig, approaches the debate with the presupposition that god exists, and with the presupposition that mainstream scholarship is right with respect to certain facts about Jesus' life. This is evidence for my claim, to wit that Craig was delineating their presuppositions; also, the obvious relevance of these presuppositions (both Carrier's and Craig's), whether they actually served as premises in any of the arguments for or against Jesus' resurrection that night, is evidence for my position; in addition, the fact that a historical case for the resurrection rests on the acceptance of certain 'facts' about Jesus which are not very likely to be the case if Jesus never existed; and finally, the fact that Carrier's position is no secret, that he openly and unabashedly asserts it, and that it is in fact marginal, is evidence for my position. (Although one can poison the well with true claims, one isn't poisoning the well when those claims are both true *and* relevant -- again, relevant with respect to the presuppositions with which they approach the subject, not necessarily with respect to the arguments each presented).

You have yet to produce anything beyond an assertion that Craig was poisoning the well. Not only have you adduced no evidence whatsoever, you've not even provided an argument! All you've done is pose this question: "If he wasn't attempting to poison the well then why even bring it up?" Craig answered that question -- to make Carrier's presuppositions clear to the audience. And, as I said, the fact that Craig brought up his own presuppositions as well (I'm sure that by claiming to approach the question of the resurrection with the presupposition that 'god exists,' Craig effectively poisoned his own well as far as skeptics are concerned, which is yet more evidence for my position); and that Carrier's presuppositions were relevant, whether they played any role in the debate as premises in Craig's arguments against Carrier; and that Craig's remarks were true, all supports this answer.

Now, if you have a stronger case than this to make that Craig instead was poisoning the well, then, by all means, make it.

Eric said...

"(I guarantee you that if the results tilted the other way--with an atheist scholar overwhelmingly defeating his Christian debate opponents--the atheists would be quick to see this as evidence for the substance of their position; and they would be correct)."

Quine, I agree that many atheists would count this as evidence for their position, but I'm not sure I agree that it would in fact be evidence. At best, it would be very weak evidence, since it is entirely consistent with the falsity of the position it is supposed to support. However, I'm of course dealing with it in isolation here; it may be a small part of a much larger cumulative case, perhaps, but a very small part at best, IMHO.

"no matter how good a debater Craig is, if his position is as implausible as John Loftus says above (such that only a "deluded" person would be persuaded), then that implausibility would constitute a tremendous handicap for him going into a debate."

Quine, I suppose that depends on the audience! Apparently, John thinks that the vast majority of us are as deluded as Craig is, so perhaps it's not a handicap to advocate a delusional position, but an advantage! (Of course, I think that the notion that nearly everyone is deluded in any meaningful sense is incoherent, especially if physicalism obtains: if nearly all people are deluded, then their mental states are, by definition, the norm, not delusional; and, given physicalism, which admits no final causes or universals, it's hard to see what, other than the norm that in fact obtains, can adjudicate between mental health and mental illness. Now, if John is using the term 'delusional' in the weaker sense of 'mistaken,' then his argument loses force, since it's much easier to see why 'deluded' people aren't persuaded by an obvious case than it is to see why 'mistaken' people aren't!)

Steven Carr said...

CARR (then)
So Craig produced no evidence for an empty tomb or Barabbas, or the existence of Joanna, Salome, Joseph of Arimathea , Nicodemus (also allegedly there)....

CARR (now)

Guess what?

All these Craig-supporters are totally unable to watch a Craig debate and then tell atheists what evidence Craig produced for the existence of an empty tomb or Barabbas, or the existence of Joanna, Salome, Joseph of Arimathea , Nicodemus (also allegedly there), Mary Magdalene, the other Mary....

Where's the beef?

Anthony said...

Eric: First, you'll have to provide evidence that Craig intended to discredit Carrier by pointing out his position on the historical Jesus, and that he was not in fact merely stating the different presuppositions each was bringing to the debate...

Eric, I am not going to belabor this issue with you. It is very simple Craig is addressing what most concede is largely a Christian audience where he states that Carrier takes an "extremist position that Jesus of Nazareth never even existed, that there was no such person in history. This is a position so extreme to call it marginal would be an understatement that it does not even appear on the map..." Now, if all Craig wanted to do was to state Carrier's presuppositions, he could just as easily stated that Carrier questions the historicity of Jesus, but no, Craig emphasizes how extreme and marginal this view is and that it isn't even on the map of biblical scholarship. If this is not poisoning the well, then I do not know what is.

Although I do not know specifically what the audience thought about the statement (since I wasn't there), I can get an idea from the Christian blogosphere where one states in response to Carrier's view that it "almost makes him not worth listening to on any point..." I'm sure a number of Christians in attendance thought the same thing.

Eric said...

Here's an intelligent assessment of the new atheism by Baggini. I'm linking it because it's relevant to the 'delusion' issue I discussed earlier when responding to Quine. Here's the relevant quote:

"A second feature of atheism is that it is committed to the appropriate use of reason and evidence. In order to occupy this intellectual high ground, it is important to recognise the limits of reason, and also to acknowledge that *atheists have no monopoly on it*. The new atheism, however, tends to claim reason as a decisive combatant on its side only. *With its talk of “spells” and “delusions”, it gives the impression that only through stupidity or crass disregard for reason could anyone be anything other than an atheist*. “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence,” says Dawkins, once again implying that reason and evidence are strangers to religion. *This is arrogant, and attributes to reason a power it does not have*.

This is most evident when you consider the poverty of the new atheism’s “error theory”, which is needed to explain why, if atheism is indeed the view evidence and reason demands, so many very bright people are still religious. *The usual answers given to this are not good enough. They tend to stress psychological blind-spots and wishful thinking*. For instance, Dawkins says “the meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.”

*But if very intelligent people are so easily led astray by such things, then shouldn’t the new atheists themselves be more sceptical about the role reason plays in their own belief formation? You cannot, on the one hand, put forward a view that says great intelligence is easily over-ridden by psychological delusions and, on the other, claim that one unique group of people can see clearly what reason demands and free themselves from such grips. Either many religious people are not as irrational as they seem, or atheists are not entitled to assume they are as rational as they seem to themselves*."

That last paragraph especially is spot on!

quine said...

In line with John's praise for "commonsenseatheism.com" in his latest post, note the following comment by the atheist author there on "What William Lane Craig is right about:"

"The case for the Resurrection doesn’t depend on inerrancy or even the general reliability of the gospels. The case for the Resurrection of Jesus is stronger than any case that could be made for other ancient miracle claims (that I know of). The number and quality of the sources is much greater. And the case for the Resurrection is a historical one that can be made without appeals to Christian doctrine. The case can be made using either of two competing (and widely accepted) approaches to historical method: (1) the Bayesian path (which Craig rejects, but with which others have argued persuasively) and (2) the argument to the best explanation (ala McCullagh), which is the strategy used by Craig, Licona, and others."

kiwi said...

"The case for the Resurrection doesn’t depend on inerrancy or even the general reliability of the gospels."

It does depend on the general reliability of the gospels. If the Gospels are not reliable, then some of Craig's "facts" vanish.

Steven Carr said...

Still Craig-supporters watch debates by Craig and even after watching them, they cannot tell us what evidence Craig produced for the existence of an empty tomb or Barabbas, or the existence of Joanna, Salome, Joseph of Arimathea , Nicodemus (also allegedly there), Mary Magdalene, the other Mary....

Do you want to watch it again, and tell us what evidence Craig produced for the existence of Nicodemus, one of the people alleged to have buried Jesus?

Watch it more closely so you can see the evidence (you may have to put it on freeze-frame to spot it)

At least, Craig-supporters concede that we atheists are entitled to write reports of Craig debates that are not reliable, and they will raise no objections if we say that Craig did this , this and this, based on unreliable reports of his debates....

Dave Huntsman said...

You guys are being way too nice to Craig. He out and out called himself a historian - which, I guess, makes me a brain surgeon instead of a space engineer. (Oh, wait; the brain surgeon and I both deal with reality, so it doesn't apply).

The man is also dishonest; poisoning the well by attacking Carrier as an atheist who wouldn't even consider god if there is evidence, which I don't think correctly describes Carrier at all; and I think he knows that.

Craig also refuses to debate the real questions with Carrier, as Carrier noted. Craig is not interested in intelligent discussion to find the truth; he's a propagandist.

Carrier is far from being alone in thinking that the historical Jesus may not have existed at all. In fact, in his good blog writeup on the December Jesus Project seminar, he noted how he came out of the seminar surprisingly more tending to believe that the historical Jesus didn't exist than before he went in.

Scholars I respect, like Bart Ehrman and Dom Crossan - real historians - both believe that a historical Jesus existed. (Ehrman said this a few weeks ago at a talk at Otterbein College several of us from Cleveland Freethinkers attended). However, neither Ehrman or Crossan, at least in their books, give the same rigor to support that assertion as they do for the remainder of their analyses. In short, I still don't know whether a historical Jesus, on which the later Christ mythologies were based, really existed. If there is any 'bias' among real historians as to whether a real historical Jesus existed, in other words, that bias seems to be in the pro-Jesus-existed direction, not the other way.

Carrier also agreed with Craig that not only was there a general historical consensus that a Jesus existed; but that their is agreement that Jesus died and was buried. I don't think that's true; Crossan goes out of his way to point out that if you were crucified, you were not supposed to be buried, by anyone; that was one of the points of crucifixion. It was deliberate state terrorism, destroying the individual both physically and otherwise. Crossan points out that, of the many thousands of people the Romans crucified right outside the walls of Jerusalem in those couple of decades, only one - a single individual - has been found, with a nail through his foot. That is the exception that proves the rule, I think. And even that individual was almost certainly was not taken down the very night that he died. Crossan goes farther, laying out the chronological 'trajectory' of the death and burial story of Jesus. ie, he starts with the one actually written first - which was the simplest; and shows that each new version written over the next century got more and more elaborate - never less elaborate. Looking at that trajectory; and then folding in the historical facts of that era that said burial was generally not allowed for crucified criminals - which has been backed up by the evidence (or lack of same) - and it's pretty clear there was no burial, unless and until a crucified body with a sword wound in his side is found after rolling back the stone on a tomb. Of course, if that happens (the subject of an Antonio Banderas movie, by the way, called The Body, available on Netflix), would disprove that 'Christ' rose from the dead; meaning Christianity is simply wrong.

Also, the 'majority of new testament scholars' Craig talks about otherwise, almost - from the names I recognize, anyway - seem to all be theologians - NOT historians. Why didn't Carrier point that out?

BY THE WAY, John, it really was great of you and your wife to travel all the way to Cleveland and back Friday night to be at our 2nd-Anniversary Cleveland Freethinkers Meetup. All of us really appreciated your being there.

Dave

Eric said...

"The man is also dishonest; poisoning the well by attacking Carrier as an atheist who wouldn't even consider god if there is evidence, which I don't think correctly describes Carrier at all; and I think he knows that."

Where exactly in this debate did Craig say that Carrier wouldn't
even consider the possibility of god's existence if there were evidence for it? I seem to have missed that part.

Also, if calling Carrier an atheist is poisoning the well, then what are we to make of Craig's admission that he approaches the historical study of the resurrection as a theist?

"Now, if all Craig wanted to do was to state Carrier's presuppositions, he could just as easily stated that Carrier questions the historicity of Jesus, but no, Craig emphasizes how extreme and marginal this view is and that it isn't even on the map of biblical scholarship. If this is not poisoning the well, then I do not know what is."

Let's suppose that Craig approached the resurrection issue with the presupposition, 'aliens exist, and they are god's agents.' Now, Craig's historical argument for the resurrection is consistent with this presupposition: it would alter none of his four 'facts,' and it wouldn't affect his inference to the best explanation. All it would do is expand the proposition, 'god raised Jesus from the dead' (the only conclusion Craig had to defend) to 'god used aliens to raise Jesus from the dead' (which would be how Craig would view the resurrection, though Craig would've been under no obligation to defend this expanded proposition in a debate about the historicity of Jesus' resurrection). Now, suppose Carrier had mentioned this in his opening speech, and had said that this position is sui generis to Craig. Would he be poisoning the well, or pointing out the relevant fact that Craig approaches the resurrection with a dubious presupposition? Or, less fantastically, assume that Craig presupposed that the synoptic gospels were all written independently of one another within months of the resurrection. Would Carrier be poisoning the well if he mentioned this presupposition and explained how no one but Craig accepts it, and elucidated how it would affect Craig's approach to formulating and analyzing historical arguments for the resurrection? If it is a fact that a view is marginal, and if it is a fact that said marginal view will affect one's approach to the subject being debated, then it is decidedly not 'poisoning the well' -- which, as a variant of the ad hominem fallacy, is a 'fallacy' of ****relevance****, remember! -- to reference such information, especially in the context of laying out one's own presuppositions as well.

John W. Loftus said...

Dave, we were in Ashland, Ohio, that day and invited up to Cleveland so we came to your 2nd Anniversary Meet Up. You have a great group of people there! We need more and more of these groups around the country.

Joe Staub said...

"There can be no historical confirmation of such an event that would ever persuade an intellectually honest person."

This is quite a claim. Were you intellectually dishonest all those years as a believer and pastor? I think you are showing a lot of bias here, John. There is nothing dishonest about accepting an historical record that claims Jesus did rise from the dead. And, just because you haven't seen a resurrection does not mean, logically, that it can't or didn't happen.

John W. Loftus said...

Joe, that's what I think since I think believers are brainwashed into believing in a Christian dominated culture. I do not impugn the honesty of believers but their intellectual honesty. I maintain they cannot allow themselves to be honest about the arguments because they are brainwashed, and this takes place on a subconcious level. While I have no hopes of convincing believers this is the case, I think this is ineed the case.

Joe Staub said...

But John, whether it happened or not, you made the claim that it was intellectually dishonest. I think you are just wrong with your assessment. We accept a lot of things on the basis of historical record. The Gospel's claim to be historical record or eye witnesses testimony (Read Bauckham, "Jesus and The Eyewitnesses"). The documents are strongly attested by both liberal and conservative scholars. Let's be "honest" and admit that you just don't "accept" the record while others do. Also, to compare faith in Jesus and his resurrection with god concepts like, "The Flying Spaghetti Monster", as many like you are doing, doesn't go anywhere except with those looking for reasons not to believe. Christianity is an historically based religion. Whether you accept the historical account or not is the question.

John W. Loftus said...

Joe, check out Lessing's broad ugly ditch, and see where Craig admits he cannot leap that ditch apart from religious experience. I maintain that leaning on religious experience is an intellectual cop out, plain and simple.

Joe Staub said...

I agree that to rest on experience would be a cop out. But, the way Craig sees it is that the historical documentation, the testimony of the the church and the personal experience of the resurrected Jesus "combine" to allow for reasonable faith. I mean, if we are talking intellectual honesty. It's a hard sell to say that the gospel accounts are merely mythological or legendary regarding Jesus. With all due respect, John, by your standards it would be intellectually dishonest to claim that the gospel records communicate the "legend" of Jesus.

Steven Carr said...

STRAUB
The Gospel's claim to be historical record or eye witnesses testimony....

CARR
The earliest Gospel has zero indicators that it was meant to be historical.

Luke plagiarised it, changing whatever did not suit his personal agenda.

Meanwhile, Christian converts in Corinth were scoffing at the whole idea of their god choosing to raise corpses.

I repeay my challenge to Craig-supporters ...

All these Craig-supporters are totally unable to watch a Craig debate and then tell atheists what evidence Craig produced for the existence of an empty tomb or Barabbas, or the existence of Joanna, Salome, Joseph of Arimathea , Nicodemus (also allegedly there), Mary Magdalene, the other Mary....

Where's the beef?

Joe Staub said...

Obviously, this is a poor forum for debate, but I would suggest a couple of things.

1. Read someone like Bauckham on the gospel records. He is fine scholar and seems to be fair about the avaiable information, even though he is a conservative. At the very least he casts doubt on the kind of evaluation you are giving of the gospels here. I don't think your outright dismissal of the gospel records as unhistorical does justice to current scholarship on the gospels. Have you read Bauckham or NT Wright on this subject? You should do that at least. They are far more in depth than Craig.

2. What evidence beyond the gospel records would you expect a Christian to give to support a belief in the resurrection? There isn't any smoking gun. It is true that Christians are just restating the same old arguments. Unless some archaelogical discovery is found to further establish the gospel records as history that is all anyone has to go with. Christians are not claiming that evidence "alone" will seal the deal, and they never have. John knows this because he accepted that for many years of his life.

I am not trying to be obnoxious here, just fair.

Dave Huntsman said...

"There is nothing dishonest about accepting an historical record that claims Jesus did rise from the dead."

Joe, I know of no such historical record. I haven't found anyone who does.

Craig maintains that the NT stories are 'biographies" (his word). And since he declares them to be biographies, and some of them talk about an empty tomb (some don't - the oldest ones), etc. etc. that therefore that proves the resurrection. That's silly.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. And there isn't one; there isn't any direct evidence that a historical Jesus even existed; it's mostly indirect. Minute by minute 'biographies', as Craig claims, simply don't exist; and since they include things that we normally would consider impossible, the standard needed to show them is high indeed.

Have you even read things Ehrman's latest books; like Misquoting Jesus (an easy, relatively short read); or his very latest Jesus, Interrupted? This latest one picks up where the previous one left off, in a sense. But he also shows - convincingly, in my view - that the 5 main 'authors' of the NT aren't even talking about the same god figure; and that that fact has been hidden all these years by those who have mashed what really are separate stories - and separate worships - improperly together.

It is not possible to read the works of real historical scholars like Crossan and Ehrman and come away thinking that the current "Bible" contains 'biographies'. Please.

It's a hard sell to say that the gospel accounts are merely mythological or legendary regarding Jesus.

On the contrary.... those that claim such things depict historical fact, especially when they are non-credible historical facts, it is up to them to prove it. I don't have to 'prove' there are no pink unicorns on Earth. Those who believe in them are required to prove they do exist....or else, I'll ignore them. Same with resurrections. Put the burden of proof where it belongs, please; whether it be cold fusion, or miracles.

Have you read Bauckham or NT Wright on this subject?

er....those are both theologians, who start of saying "Christ is the risen Lord"; they aren't historians, searching for the truth, even if it challenges their own basic assumptions.

Christians are not claiming that evidence "alone" will seal the deal, and they never have

That is exactly what Craig (falsely) claimed during the debate; and what most Christians are told in church, every week. That is, in fact, one reason Ehrman gave for his latest book, Jesus: Interrupted: that he knows that almost all seminaries teach, correctly, what is not correct in the bible; that they aren't accurate stories, etc. (just as he was at Princeton Theological Seminary); but then, those who enter the pastoral in all of their churches, refuse to teach what they know, and instead teach the dogma they know is not true. And he asks, Why?

Dave

Steven Carr said...

I have read Bauckham.

He claims the Gospel of Mark is based on the eyewitness testimony of Peter. The proof of this is that Peter is the first named disciples in the book and the last named disciple in the book.

This is not even an argument. It is not even rational.

Not one person in history ever named himself as seeing Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Lazarus, Bartimaeus, Simon of Cyrene, Barrabas,Rufus, Alexander,Joanna, Salome.

Not one person in history ever named himself as meeting a named person he claimed saw Mary Magdalene, Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Lazarus, Bartimaeus, Simon of Cyrene, Barrabas,Rufus, Alexander.

The Gospel of Mark is anonymous and has such absurdities as the Romans allowing a convicted criminal to be set free each year at Passover.

And this convicted criminal, being set free, is called 'Son of the Father' while the real 'Son of the Father' is on his way to being killed, although innocent.


Meanwhile, Simon Peter protests then Jesus says people have to carry their cross, and then Simon of Cyrene literally picks up the cross and carries it. (unlike the other Simon who deserts Jesus...)..

Just how much does the author have to signal that this is myth?

It is just a myth as John Bunyan's 'Pilgrims Progress' with its people called Mr. Worldly Wiseman , Mr. Legality and his son Civility in the village of Morality....

Not even Christians like Paul, or the authors of Hebrews, James, Jude, 1,2,3 John show any knowledge of these Gospel characters.

They just don't exist in church history until anonymous authors start writing about them in works laced with Frauds and Lies

Eric said...

"Craig maintains that the NT stories are 'biographies" (his word)."

Craig almost always uses the modifier 'ancient' to distinguish them from modern biographies; the two are quite different, as he also makes clear.

"Minute by minute 'biographies', as Craig claims, simply don't exist..."

This isn't at all what Craig claims. See what I wrote above.

"er....those are both theologians, who start of saying "Christ is the risen Lord"; they aren't historians, searching for the truth, even if it challenges their own basic assumptions."

Do you realize the large number of legitimate, highly respected historians you've just reduced to 'theologians' with that remark? And do you realize that the scholars you mentioned would completely disagree with you if you ever tried to tell them that Wright and Bauckham, or any believing Christians doing historical work on Jesus (look at your criterion) are 'theologians,' not historians?

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

This too frequently repeated standard trades on the ambiguity inherent in the term 'extraordinary.' An extraordinary claim is one that posits an improbable event; it doesn't have to be supernatural, only rare or unlikely. The standard, in other words, is objective. Extraordinary evidence, however, refers to what it would take to persuade someone that an extraordinary event took place; the standard here is subjective. So, the saying amounts to little more than, "I won't be persuaded that a rare event has occurred until I'm persuaded that a rare event has occurred." It's an empty proposition.

"Have you even read things Ehrman's latest books; like Misquoting Jesus (an easy, relatively short read); or his very latest Jesus, Interrupted?"

Yes, and Ehrman makes it clear that nothing in it necessarily leads to a rejection of the Christian faith; that friends of his, who are also scholars, are much more learned and intelligent than he is, yet they remain Christians; and that he rejected Christianity not because of what he learned about a naive reading of the bible, but because of the problem of evil.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

John,

"Such a thing is fairy tale wishful thinking unbecoming of what best represents scholarship. He has a presumption in favor of that which he seeks to defend"

John YOU have the presumption of antisupernaturalism. Peopl come back from the dead through efforts of the medical profession John. So to die and to come back to life IS NOT beyond even a naturalistic world view. Your problem is that these events took place without aid of science, and over a 3 day period of time. That's what we'd expect dealing with a God who claims to have power over life and death.

So, your blindness to the reality of an open continuum is really amazing.

You also said, "There can be no historical confirmation of such an event that would ever persuade an intellectually honest person"

There can be no historical confirmation of many things that happened TODAY. That doesn not mean they did not occur. Your application of historical methodology is biased toward your worldview. Under normal circumstances, your criteria for evidence only rests upon the types of evidences needed to satisfy the case. You want evidence BEYOND all reasonable doubt, but YOU KNOW that there is NO evidence for ANY history that has that. All history is based on certitude which you gladly accept for non-supernatural events, but for you supernatural events rise to a special level and answeres no matter what they may be in history, are never satisfactory for you.

Dave Huntsman,

You use Crossan as a source. Crossan also said that "Dog's ate the body of Jesus" Now, I hate to steal your thunder but that idiot is an idiot all on his own and NO scholar of any repute would agree with his assessments in any form. That's simply NOT how it was done historically. Besides he embellishes and overstates his case and that's no secret.

and Steven Carr you're still yet full of garbage and misinformation as I see that some things truly NEVER change.

Later.

Dave Huntsman said...

Here's the debate last year - on this same subject - between Craig, and Ehrman. You can see from this, why Craig picks on someone like Rick Carrier to debate these days; ; ie, an extremely studious, serious - and, extremely young and inexperienced - historian. After what happened to him with Ehrman....

Ehrman makes clear Craig is not a historian; that the people he keeps quoting and depending on are not historians but theologians; and that Craig doesn't understand the context in which ancient texts are written. (And many other things).


Dave

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=rftools_de_creatione_1

Eric said...

"I have read Bauckham."

I highly doubt it. If you did, you obviously didn't understand him. How do I know this?

"He claims the Gospel of Mark is based on the eyewitness testimony of Peter. *The proof of this is that Peter is the first named disciples in the book and the last named disciple in the book.*
This is not even an argument. It is not even rational."

It's also not his 'proof.'

Here's a small quote from the beginning of chapter 7, "The Petrine Perspective in the Gospel of Mark"

"We have seen that Mark's Gospel has the highest frequency of references to Peter among the Gospels, and that it uses the inclusio of eyewitness testimony [this is what Carr was referring to] to indicate that Peter was its main eyewitness source. *Can we go further than this, on the internal evidence of the Gospel itself, in detecting features that relate it closely to Peter*? Is there any sense in which the stories are told from a Petrine perspective? Does Peter have an individual significance within the narrative, or is he merely representative of the disciples of Jesus in general?...Here we will offer arguments purely from the internal evidence of Mark's gospel. From this Gospel's use of a *Petrine inclusio* of eyewitness testimony we already have reason **to be open to recognizing** further indications of Peter's special connection with this Gospel. **The evidence presented in this chapter *suggests* that such a connection *deserves to be given serious consideration* again**."

Chapters 7 and 8 deal with this internal evidence, while chapter 9 deals with Papias and Mark (and Matthew).

So, Carr, were you lying about having read Bauckham, or did you *completely* misunderstand him? As my quote above makes clear, he *starts* with the inclusio, then goes on to examine internal and external evidence, and ends not with a 'proof' that Mark's gospel is based on Peter's eyewitness testimony, but with the weaker claim that we need to take the notion of direct Petrine influence more seriously. So, you got his argument entirely wrong -- both his premises and his conclusion.

Dave Huntsman said...

Mr. Burnett,

Dave Huntsman,

You use Crossan as a source. Crossan also said that "Dog's ate the body of Jesus"


Actually, what he said is that in those days crucifixion was not just an execution; after all, that would just take two seconds with a sword. It was deliberate state terrorism. The crucified were put outside the city...often on one of the roads leading in, so they could be seen....and one thing they generally were not allowed to be done, is to have family take them down that very evening. Kind of defeated the whole point of doing it. And archeology backs him up: out of the several thousand crucifixions outside Jerusalem between 4 BCE and 40 CE, only a single crucified skeleton has ever been found. The animals - starting with the birds - were supposed to have their way with you first, publicly. Out of all the burial boxes found, all the graves dug up - only the one. Kind of the exception that tends to prove the rule.

Out of all the bones you could have picked with Crossan, that is probably the most inane; I don't know of a single historian who would disagree with his description of what crucifixion was in the middle east, what it's purpose was, how it was handled, etc.

Dave Huntsman

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Dave Huntsman,

How many cricifixions were done because the JEWS requested it historically?

Certainly there would have been a different standard for a Roman criminal or someone whom had trespassed against Roman law or defied the state of Rome...What was Pilate's declaration?

There was NO FAULT in him (Jesus) (Lk. 23:4 & 14, Jn. 18:38, Jn. 19:4 & 6) Jesus wasn't deserving UNDER ROMAN LAW of the normative treatment of a Roman criminal or someone who was defecting against the state of Rome.

I haven't even dealt with the obtuse historical assumptions of Crossan and rogue historians, but certainly Jesus didn't exactly fit being "an example' according to the Romans.

Later

Steven Carr said...

'*Can we go further than this, on the internal evidence of the Gospel itself, in detecting features that relate it closely to Peter*? Is there any sense in which the stories are told from a Petrine perspective? Does Peter have an individual significance within the narrative, or is he merely representative of the disciples of Jesus in general?'

Wow!

I guess Harry Potter was the main eyewitness source for the Harry Potter books.

And Dr. Watson was the main eyewitness source for the Sherlock Holmes books.

Sorry for forgetting Bauckham's 'arguments' , as I didn't realise Bauckham intended such things to be taken seriously.

It is a measure of just how much the Gospels fail the a-historical texts that Bauckham has to resort to such ad hoc special pleading , using methods that would be laughed at if he applied them to 'Alice in Wonderland'.

Or even to any of the Gnostic Gospels, which Bauckham dismisses without even thinking about it.....

Where's the beef?

Now perhaps Craig-supporters can give us one person who named himself as seeing the BVM, Mary Magdalene,the other Mary, Judas, Lazarus, Nicodemus, Bartimaeus, Thomas, Joanna, Salome, Joseph of Arimathea, Simon of Cyrene, Alexander.


Now perhaps Craig-supporters can give us one person who named himself as meeting anybody who he named as seeing the BVM, Mary Magdalene,the other Mary, Judas, Lazarus, Nicodemus, Bartimaeus, Thomas, Joanna, Salome, Joseph of Arimathea, Simon of Cyrene, Alexander.

Why do Christians have to resort to such pathetic arguments as Bauckham's that if a book mentions person X a lot, then person X was an eyewitness for that story.

Anthony said...

(Sarcasm ON)

You go Harv! Preach your righteous indignation against us atheists, agnostics, and skeptics. Bring down the ire of God's wrath on us apostates....

Do you feel better? Now, start thinking with a little objectivity. And no, Harv, using CAPITAL LETTERS isn't an argument and neither is the amount of moon dust evidence of a young universe...

(Sarcasm OFF)

Steven Carr said...

BARNETT
Steven Carr you're still yet full of garbage and misinformation as I see that some things truly NEVER change.

CARR
I would dispute that.

But supposing it were true.

Suppose I am not generally reliable, just for the sake of argument.

So what? How would that affect what I say?

I can even now hear Craig mocking the idea that the Gospels have to be generally reliable before using them.

Why, Craig says Generally Reliabe Gospels 'But a case for the historicity of the specific events underlying the inference to Jesus' resurrection doesn't depend on establishing the general historical reliability of the Gospels.'

Gosh, even Burnett can see the folly of this, as he accuses me of not being generally reliable, while Craig mocks the idea that he has to show that the Gospels are generally reliable before using them.

But believer's apply the Outsider's Test to other people, and never apply it to themselves.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Carr,

You're in another world. There has been NOT one shred of evidence out of the the over 25,000 pieces of archaeological evidence that has overturned any biblical passage. Neither form nor textual criticism has dispelled any claim made by Christianity, and those studies have continued with fervor for hundreds of years...

With all of that said, NONE of you give any reason that the gospels, or NT in general is not reliable. All you say is that you "don't like it"...

So WHAT? Cry on...There's no convicted criminal that likes the evidence levied againt him/her in court...

Pay the fine pal...do the time...evidence that you don't like is still evidence that speaks eternally...

Anthony, one thing you're gifted with is speaking and saying nothing, that evidence is available from your left over Christian writings too. (SARCASM OFF)

Later

Steven Carr said...

I think what Burnett is trying to say is that no archaelohgists have ever found a town called Arimathea.

Ari = superior.

Mathea is based on disciple.

The 'superior disciple' buries Jesus while the other disciples clear off.

Just how much does the author have to signal that this is myth?

It is just a myth as John Bunyan's 'Pilgrims Progress' with its people called Mr. Worldly Wiseman , Mr. Legality and his son Civility in the village of Morality....

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Steven,

Here we go withthese word associations and conspiracy theories again...That's ok, you're entitled...

So far as the myth theory is concerned, we shouldn't have to argue that every time, 'cause you John and others have gone round and round with that, but I will only say the evdences don't speak in favor of the mythicist hypothesis. (no matter which one)

There is not only biblical confirmation of the crucifixion but extrabiblical confirmation from at least 5 sources. even Crossan agrees that there was a cricifixion, although he scambles like crazy to reclassify it.

The Christian claims are early, especially relative to historical studies, contain embarrasing elements, whice are not prevalent elements of myth, as well as multiply attested pieces which can't be made out of "whole cloth" when others who have no interest in Christianity are confirming certain aspects of it. Then there are conversions of known skeptics who such as yourself, refused to believe if NOT for a resurrection that they saw for themselves.

I guess what I'm saying is, narrow it down to a point or two that you think is damaging and let's deal with those points. The "buckshot" is not only confusing it's a wast of time because no point is really settled. I'd like to see at least ONE attempted to be settled here on DC.

Later

Joe Staub said...

John W. Loftus, Dave Huntsman wrote, "those who enter the pastoral in all of their churches, refuse to teach what they know, and instead teach the dogma they know is not true."

As a pastor for many years did you knowingly decieve your congregations, as Dave seems to claim ministers must do in order to teach the Bible as truth?

John W. Loftus said...

Joe, no. I was deceived just like everyone in my churches. The brainwashed preaching to the brainwashed.

But churches are groups of people, and in any kind of group there is something called "groupthink" going on. This is the demand for conformity. No, I did not teach or preach everything I knew. If I did I would get fired. No one but the founder of any church can say everything he thinks, and even then he needs to curtail what he says in the interests of attracting people.

Joe Staub said...

John,

You seem to be saying two separate things: 1) You were brainwashed, 2) You concealed what you knew to be true.

Having been seminary trained as you were, I know that the first claim that you made is not true. You knew the different approaches to the understanding of Biblical transmission and so did you when you preached and taught. Just as Ehrman did. What I am taking exception to here is Dave Huntsman painting pastors with the broad brush of "Elmer Gantry's". When I was a pastor I told people about the different approaches. I had no intention of decieving people or misleading so that I could attract them. And, I do not have any friends in the ministry that would do that. I would agree that there are some ministers who just don't know and probably don't want to know and then there are the Elmer Gantry types, too. But I did want to know and I enjoyed be able to compare and contrast with my people and let the chips fall where they may. Yes, I had my view and I supported that view, but not deceptively. I think I was in the norm as a pastor.

Anthony said...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett : With all of that said, NONE of you give any reason that the gospels, or NT in general is not reliable. All you say is that you "don't like it"...

Here is part of the problem. Even if I was to grant, for the sake of argument, that there is a lot of historically reliable information in the New Testament, that does not guarantee that the miraculous claims are also true and reliable. After all there has been plenty of historical novels written that have a lot of historically reliable information in them.

The more serious issue is the problem of the historical reliability of the Old Testament. You see Christianity has its basis in the OT and if it is found to be untrue in its essential claims then Christianity has nothing to root itself into, no foundation. Some of the problems of historicity include the creation account (your YEC not withstanding), Adam and Eve, the fall, the flood, the Exodus, and pretty much most of the historical events and people have little to no evidence for them and in some cases there is plenty of contrary evidence. If the prophecies of the OT have been demonstrated to not be true predictions, most being written after the event, then what basis for the OT? If its shown that the early Christians completely misinterpreted the Messianic prophecies and that none of them pointed to Jesus then again, what basis is there for the NT.

Let me offer you a challenge in all sincerity, would you carefully read and objectivity consider the arguments presented by Kenton Sparks in his book God's Word in Human Word's published by Baker Academic? I would gladly read and evaluate anything that you would suggest.

John W. Loftus said...

Joe, I did not purposely try to deceive people as a minister, so I agree with you. I was brainwashed. I'm not saying two different things here for the record. But there are some things I believed that I wouldn't speak. They might split the church, you know. My cousin preaches in Las Vagas, I know he's against gambling, He thinks its a sin. But he won't preach it since nearly all of his parishoners are paid from the gambling industry there. As a pastor I didn't dare say what I thought about women in leadership since I believed women could be elders. There are other things. One needs to speak on that which helps not divides. And I could not teach or preach abou the synoptic problem lest someone misunderstand me, for without a lengthy discussion of the issue I would be misunderstood.

Cheers.

Joe Staub said...

Thanks for the clarification, John. What you say makes sense.

Deist Dan said...

I thought Carrier did a masterful job in his debate against Mike Licona, but this performance was a little disappointing. You can find the Carrier vs Licona debate as well as a whole host of other debates and audio here...

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/audio.htm#WilliamLaneCraig

Father Amadeus said...

Wow, there's really some inside baseball goin' on up in here! Where to start?

First, I'm not a skilled debater or a scholar and I'd be happy to debate Professor Craig anytime so long as the format and topic were appropriately chosen. Any atheist willing to agree to a debate the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus might as well go ahead and seek additional sure loser forums such as debating a Scientologist on whether or not psychiatrists harm people or maybe more to the point, a grand debate with a capable Muslim cleric on the historicity of Muhammad's ascent into heaven. Heck, let's go ahead and debate the Zoroastrians on the historicity of Zoroasters ascent into heaven to receive the Law from Ahura Mazda while we're at it!

The only possible outcome of these silly debates is the equivalent of a good Monty Python sketch, except without being as funny.

Theist: My prophet arose from the dead.

Atheist: No he/she didn't.

Theist: I have very early eye witness accounts promulgated by believers along with lots of very cool hearsay from independent sources.

Atheist: So.

Proceed ad nauseum. The Atheist is always placed in the position of proving a negative -- that something didn't happen, which, of course, is the far weaker debate position.

If you simply flipped the situations and forced the Theist to argue against something, like evolution, then the Creationist is placed in the weaker position and rarely fares very well, regardless of the merits of the positions.

The key to recognizing the futility of these debates is to recognize how similarly the outcomes would be when substituting the superstitious beliefs of other major religions for whatever superstition being debated with a non-superstitious relying on simple logical deduction rather than on fantastic claims supported by dead witnesses.

I was never a student of Professor Craig's, so maybe he'll debate me on the fact that Tom Cruise is the Messiah?

I mean, really -- people arguing about the 2,000 year old "witnesses" is just such a silly exercise. I was just watching a Discovery Channel show on one of the last remaining primitive tribal communities in Africa which believes in all kinds of superstitions. In the show, one of the grass huts burns down and no less than 3 eye witnesses reported seeing a "demon" in the area just before or just after the fire.

As it turned out, a little boy left a fire burning in the hut and left it unattended.

Let's set up a series of debates about the existence of demons who burn down grass huts in the African jungle based upon these living eyewitness accounts!

Where's Eric Idle when you need him?

Dave Huntsman said...

Harvey -
How many cricifixions were done because the JEWS requested it historically?

Certainly there would have been a different standard for a Roman criminal or someone whom had trespassed against Roman law or defied the state of Rome...What was Pilate's declaration?

There was NO FAULT in him (Jesus) (Lk. 23:4 & 14, Jn. 18:38, Jn. 19:4 & 6) Jesus wasn't deserving UNDER ROMAN LAW of the normative treatment of a Roman criminal or someone who was defecting against the state of Rome.


Harvey, the 'scripture' you quote is not historical. As Joseph Campbell, our greatest historian of Earth mythologies, said: the best we can know about the historical Jesus is that he probably had a ministry after John the Baptist; and he probably was crucified. Everything else that has been layered on top of it is mythology, with not only no independent attestation outside the NT; but the NT writings all contradict each other.

One of the reasons Crossan (like Ehrman) believes there was in fact an original historical Jesus, is that the ruckus at the temple money changers would be just the thing to get him immediately crucified. During Passover, Pilate had standing orders for his men to deal with troublemakers - immediately -before the crowds could get out of control. Crossan over and over again emphasizes that few moderns would appreciate the 'casual brutality' with which a troublemaker like that would have been dispatched - without seeing the procurator. No interview, no playing to the crowds for who got crucified, no philosophical discussions - nothing. And he would not have been permitted to be buried afterwards, either. Ironically, that fits in with Paul, who was the earliest writer we have, a couple of decades before the 'gospels' were written anonymously. Here he was, closest to the rumor mill in time - and, unlike the authors of the gospels, actually knew Judea and Galilee and the local language - he never heard of the empty tomb. You really think that that rumor of an empty tomb was floating around then - and yet our earliest (and most important) author, didn't think it was worth mentioning? That's not credible.

Pilate was an unusually brutal procurator - he was removed from his job because of it, by the Roman Governor in Syria; and ordered to Rome for final judgement before the emperor and probable execution. When he arrived in Rome, in disgrace, though, the Emperor had died; and in the confusion, Pilate just melted away.

Steven Carr said...

Craig claims naturalists have to come up with ONE theory to explain his facts.

When people come up with a theory, Craig says in debates that theory X does not explain Fact Y

And wins the debate....

From Evangelical Realism

'One might imagine a Holocaust denier arguing thusly: “The gas chamber theory does not explain why so many survivors report seeing widespread typhoid symptoms.

The firing squad theory does not explain the many gas chambers that were found.

The deliberate starvation theory does not explain all the corpses found with bullets in their heads.

So since all of the Holocaust theories have fatal flaws, we don’t have enough FAITH to believe that Nazis killed Jews.”

But even a Holocaust denier would not try to sell us an argument that bad.'

An excellent article, which can also blow holes in other arguments used by Craig.

Craig claims and keeps on claiming that Jews had no idea that the Messiah was supposed to die.

Yet all of this is claimed to be prophesied!

'Think about it: if David, many centuries before Jesus, had written down a prediction that the Messiah would be crucified and would rise on the third day, would it really have been such a shock for the disciples when the prediction came true?

Over and over again, the Gospels emphasize the point that those who knew Jesus best, and were most familiar with his teachings, had no idea he was going to die, because such a thought was contrary to their messianic expectations. Yet those expectations would have included a crucifixion, had the Jewish nation possessed a clear, ancient prophecy predicting it.'


An excellent article...

bfniii said...

"Why doesn't he just come out and say "I will not debate John W. Loftus.""
yeah, you're right. he travels the world debating the very best scholars in multiple disciplines but he's ducking you.

bfniii said...

"Jesus did not rise up from the dead."
wow. you must not be familiar with habermas or n.t. wright.

"Craig is merely giving answers to beliefs he adopted in his teenage years for less than intelligent reasons."
you mean other than all the historical reasons he gives?

"Dead people do not rise up from the grave. They can't."
unless a supernatural God intervened and you'll have a hard time proving that didn't happen. cue: burden of proof excuse.

bfniii said...

"But this is getting ridiculous for atheists."
i watched allister mcgrath destroy daniel dennett at the greer heard forum. i've seen ravi zacharias hold his own with the very best muslim, hindu and buddhist philosophers. heck, even william dembski can hold his own with scientists and he's been all but excommunicated from academia.

at some point, it's not the person or the debating skill...it's the material.

Anonymous said...

@ quine

Bernard Shaw once said he saw a debate between a flat earther and several other people and he (flat earther) answered every question promptly and more skillful than the opposition.

Do you now see the fallacy in your line of thinking?