Was Jesus a Pathological Liar?


This is as close to a general resurrection as Christians will ever see!

No matter how many times I have quoted John 14: 13 -14: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” Christians turn a deaf ear and simply ignore Jesus’ promise of help. Yet Christians are convinced they will go to Heaven and have salvation when Jesus NEVER gave a plan of salvation in the Synoptic Gospels and one is hard pressed to even find one in the Gospel of John.

However, despite this very vague and strange soteriology of Jesus, Christians are convince they will go to Heaven and they are equally convinced the unsaved will go to Hell.

But just how many lies of Jesus and the Gospels can simply be ignored and Christians can still be confident that everything Jesus states is true?!

So here is my challenge to the Christian community: Since the Gospel of John is generally consider the last Gospel written and contains a more fully developed Christology (such as the famous verse of John 3:16), I want any Christian to prove that neither Jesus nor the Gospel writers are pathological liars.

Lets start with one verse from John’s Gospel and I want any Christian to prove this statement of Jesus is true and correct based on the Canonical 66 book Biblical text.

“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8: 44

A. Please prove from the Biblical text where Satan EVER killed or murdered anyone!

B. Please prove from the Biblical text where Satan EVER told a lie!

Christians, if Jesus is everything you claim he is (God in flesh, the living sinless Word of Truth and the only hope for eternal salvation) this should be easy for you to do.

On the other hand, if you can't give direct proof text examples, how can you trust anything Jesus or the Gospels text tell you? How can you remain a Christian in spite of known Biblical lies?

Get your priest or preacher involved here. Tell him to earn his money!

34 comments:

Rover said...

I know you will probably call me an idiot but didn't he lie in the garden and "murder" in a sense Adam and Eve?

missivesfrommarx said...

Hehe. Two thumbs up!

Harry McCall said...

Rover, thanks for your reply and honest question.

The Genesis Garden of Eden story is a common theme where a wise talking serpent (noted in anceint Near Eastern text and Greek text for its wisdom such a the Greek medical symbol of the snake on the staff carried by Asclepius, the god of medicine) is in tghe Garden. In the ancient world, snake were thought to be wise. Even Jesus in the Gospel Matthew 10:16 beleived so:

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” and in Gen. 3:1a “The snake was more clever than all the wild animals the LORD God had made.”


If you read the text of Genesis carefully, you’ll find that the serpent did not lie:

A. The Tree of Knowledge did open the eyes of Adam and Eve, just as God feared. “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Thus, Gen. 3: 4 which is totally true in what the serpent said.


B. The serpent told the truth about death: God in Genesis 2:16 - 17: “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Now notice the serpent statement again: 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

The Hebrew word for day is “YOM” and facts show that they did not die neither the day, week nor year they ate of it, but die of natural causes many centuries later “All the days that Adam lived were nine hundred thirty years, then he died.” Genesis 5:5.So even in Genesis, God is the one who lies about “for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” while Satan is always truthful!

Finally, this story of the talking smart serpent was only identified as Satan and evil in late Judeo-Christian tradition in apocryphal text as legends about Adam and Eve grew in fold lore such as the text The Secrets of Adam and Eve.

So, even if we were to assign the late tradition of the wise serpent as the character of Satan, my claims remain the same: The truth was told by the serpent and the lie was told by God!

Steven Bently said...

Actually the premise of Christianity is not built at all upon honesty. It's based upon metaphorical lies!

Examples of popular expressed metaphorical lies:

Invite Jesus into your heart, it cannot be done.

Love Jesus with all your heart, it cannot be done.

Jesus is knocking on your "hearts door", your heart has a door?

Turn the rudder of your heart towards Jesus, your heart has a rudder?

My heart aches for Jesus?

My heart weeps for Jesus?

Jesus is tugging on your heart strings?

You have a heavy heart?

God bless your heart?

Your heart has grown bitter towards god?

Your heart has waxed cold for Jesus?

God hardened Pharaoh's heart, what 10 times or so?

Open the eyes of your heart?

Christianity is based upon an appeal to emotional dishonesty, self-deception and willful ignorance.

That's the reason Christians need faith to over ride their own intellect telling them it's all a freakin lie.

Yet, if it were not for the fear of a hell, you could not get one person to step into a church, nor to give someone you have absolutely no allegiance to, your hard earned money, and the Bible writers knew this.

Here's a message I saw lately on a church billboard on the front lawn.

"God sends us faith, so that we can believe in him."...um...doh?

By this, I presume God sends us down little faith packets into our hearts, so that we can believe in Jebus....lol

What are we all born yesterday, are we all just plain stupid and will fall for anything?

That's the reason people need to go to church every Sunday, to be re-convinced that the lie they are trying to believe, is true.

They think, surely that many people could not have been taken for a fool and believe in a flat out blatant lie?

Just as a billion Muslims believe they too have found absolute truth.

A consensus of people does not constitute an absolute truth, but Christians and Muslims, Hindu's, etc. think it does.

edson said...

Dear Harry,

You seems to me to be a very fanatic atheist such that I dont take it seriously anything you post here. By declaring Satan innocent and truthful in this Adam and Eve scenario goes to show how militant and dishonest you are in your business to discredit anything biblical or christian for that matter.

However, I tend to agree with you that God is also responsible for anything that happened in the Garden of Eden and thereafter. Isn't He the same God that created Satan? Or why did He create a human being at first place to be deceived by Satan? But in you declaring Satan truthful by giving some asinine intrepretatinon of day = yom or anything similar to that, man you really have serious and problematic stuff going in your brain.

Rover said...

Harry,

Thank you for your explanation. You are always thought provoking.

Harry McCall said...

Steven, you are so right about the heart as the seat of emotion in Christian thought!
As for as a history of lying in the Judeo-Christian religious, that’s just pare for the course!

Harry McCall said...

With no Christian yet able to prove Jesus not to be a lair as pointed out in my post, I’d like to quote a verse for all the believers who claim salvation in Christ:

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.2 Thessalonians 2:11

Torcant said...

Edson,

It's not enough to just *say* that it's dishonest to declare Satan truthful. You have to give a reason.

Harry McCall said...

My grandmother used to say: "Tell the truth and shame the Devil.”


But, in light of my post, she would now have to rephrase it and say: “Tell the truth and shame Jesus!”

Jeff said...

Harry, if I remember correctly, didn't Satan kill Job's family (his sons and daughters, and possibly his servants as well)? I mean, some of that was done by bandits and such, but the text is clearly meaning to identify those events with Satan's doing. So just being honest here - Satan did kill some people. Still nowhere near the body count that God is at, though.

Harry McCall said...

Thanks for the question Jeff.

In Job 1 and 2, the Hebrew noun satan is used with the definite article and it is thus not a proper name. As such hassatan is part of God’s divine council and this Accuser is directly under Yahweh’s total control just as he is in Numbers 22; a personal messenger (in the English text, an angle after the LXX) who does God’s bidding.
One must be careful as to just how satan is used in the Hebrew Bible. For example, in I Samuel 29: 4, David is called a satan or an Accuser of King Saul.

If one gets a Hebrew concordance, one can see just how the term satan is used of earthly people and even four passages which refer to heavenly satans.

Though the term hassatan occurs in Job 1 - 2, this accuser NEVER kills anyone, but Job’s children and wealth are taken away when God removes his protection from around his. Job 16 tells us that fire fell from God and destroyed Jobs animals. In verse 19, wind causes the house to fall on Job’s young people and, just with the fire from Heaven, God controls all of nature.
Since the Book of Job deals with suffering or why the Innocent suffer (in that no one can understand why people suffer), The Accuser or hassatan is simply a figure who acts like Gods evil twin.
You must remember, in the final prose section of Job clearly states in 42: 11 that it was God who did all the harm to Job, his wealth and his family: Then came there to him all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought on him.
This is backed up by Job’s statement in 1: 21: He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD."

Uruk said...

I think a better challenge to Christians is hinted in the picture at the top of your post.

What are all those coffins doing there? What's in those coffins? What is left for Jesus to resurrect, anyhow?

How is Jesus going to resurrect fossilized hominids from millions of years ago? Or will he even bother with that? Probably not. Maybe they don't count.

I think the whole idea of a resurrection is the biggest lie of all.

Your original challenge to prove from scripture that Satan was ever a liar or murderer probably wouldn't have phased me during my former fundie days. I bet many Christians would think that it seems obvious that Satan was deceptive and lied to Eve; thus bringing about the eventual, mandatory death of all people as punishment for the curse of sin.

Of course, today, I see the whole story as a myth. But too many people still take that story quite literally.

Harry McCall said...

Uruk:
It's so sad that the story of Adam and Eve is preached over and over by Christians to erroneously prove Satan is the liar and the reason fall the fall when the text plainly shows God is the lair (just as I pointed to in my comment above) and God knowingly tempted these two beyond their control.The Garden of Eden story is like a parent bakes fresh batch of nice hot chocolate chip cookies and leaves them out on a dish in front of two innocent small kids knowing full well what will eventually happen, but a parent needing an excuse to attack these children physically.

If Christians could just see the text of this story for what it is, they would see a monstrous God who abuses his own creation! But, just as I point out in the story of Job above, Christians love this abuser God too much to see the real truth!

Despite what the Biblical text really says, Christians continue to see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe.It’s little wonder there are over 20,000 Christian sects and cults in the world and one is ONLY consider SAVED within the context of one's own sect or cult!

Uruk said...

>> The Garden of Eden story is like a parent bakes fresh batch of nice hot chocolate chip cookies and leaves them out on a dish in front of two innocent small kids knowing full well what will eventually happen, but a parent needing an excuse to attack these children physically.

I think that's a very sound point.

I also read over your previous comment. I admit to not reading the post as closely as I should have. Sorry about that.

Even as an atheist now, I find it hard to separate "Satan" as a "person" from the idea of satan as simply being an accuser of "god's people". That also is a very interesting point.

Very interesting so many Christians claim the book of Job soothes their minds in the time of trouble. Yet for us as non-believers, we read Job and see a mythological god being depicted as malevolent being.

You've given me something to think about. Thanks!

Harry McCall said...

edson,

Did you read the Genesis 3 account without Christian theology? You must not have since you think the Hebrew day is not from sun up to sundown. Either way, you never offered a proof text to prove my post wrong!

If you want to twist the facts that the Genesis writers did not see YOM as one day, then you need to address the late Semitic scholar James Barr’s lecture on the subject. He addressed people like you in his University of London Ethel Wood Lecture: Biblical Chronology: Fact or Fiction.

Since this is now out of print, his summation can be found here.

Andre P. Llewellyn said...

Harry, I think your challenge is quite reasonable but it still has some problems.

For one, even if we were to agree that John presents a more developed Christological portrait of Jesus I see no logical relationship between that and establishing the truth or the falsity of the gospel writers or the claims of Jesus. In any event, how does ‘proving’ the inaccuracy of one text or claim in the bible falsify the entire Bible? All it does is demonstrate that the text or claim in question may not be true.

What about your questions? Firstly, they educe an equivocation of terms. In other words, if one critically exegetes the context of the text it will be apparent that the sense in which Jesus uses the terms ‘lie’ and ‘murder’ is different from the sense in which you are using these same words in your questions.

Secondly, they set up a simplistic and jarring criterion of authenticity/ proof. Serious practice of New Testament scholarship would scoff at the idea that giving examples of Satan murdering or lying are necessary and/or sufficient conditions of authenticating Jesus’ claim in John 8:44 or/and the accuracy of gospels. Simply, unsuccessfully answering your questions wouldn’t substantively prove anything.

Thirdly, your questions do not present even prima facie evidence to establish a proposition that would warrant me or any Christian to bear the burden of proving that:

1.Jesus is not a liar2.Jesus’ comments about Satan in the said text are untrue.

If you don’t provide us with good reason to disbelieve Jesus then the burden of proof is your cross to bear, especially because a. the gospel documents have for the most part been affirmed as accurate by New Testament Scholars, and b. there is the common courtesy that an eyewitness’ account (in this case John) is presumed true unless proven otherwise.

Further, what Jesus says here acts as a significant part of the biblical meta-narrative of who Satan is. It is your responsibility to make a formidable argument that would prove Jesus’ as a liar or that the gospel writer(s) were lying.

“Christians, if Jesus is everything you claim he is (God in flesh, the living sinless Word of Truth and the only hope for eternal salvation) this should be easy for you to do.”What sort of logic is that? It really could be that Jesus is who he claimed to be while at the same time it is not ‘easy’ for me to successfully respond to your challenge - due to the lack of clarity, or the absurdity of your challenge, my own intellectual limitations, the evidence at hand, etc.

Additionally, it is ludicrous to suggest that my inability to comprehensively explain a belief I maintain (the resurrection, gravity, or the existence of rooms beyond the room I presently occupy) negates the veracity of that belief.

Jeff said...

Harry, I'm familiar with the whole accuser vs. ultimate evil contrast. But you claim that my example of Satan killing people in Job is not really "Satan", but then you use Genesis and the serpent as an example where Satan is telling the truth? For God sake, man, be consistent! At least my text MENTIONS the word satan. Genesis just talks about a snake that was later interpreted to be Satan, just as my passage was.

I think that ultimately this argument is a dead end. If you're arguing against current Christian theology, it doesn't matter what the Bible says about Satan - he's still seen as a liar and murderer, just like Jesus says. If you're arguing against the Biblical passages that specifically mention Satan as an evil force, though, I don't think there's even enough material to form an opinion on the guy and whether he's truthful or not. There's so little to go on.

Harry McCall said...

Jeff: but then you use Genesis and the serpent as an example where Satan is telling the truth? For God sake, man, be consistent! At least my text MENTIONS the word satan. Genesis just talks about a snake that was later interpreted to be Satan, just as my passage was.

Jeff, here’s what I wrote in my first comment to rover:

Finally, this story of the talking smart serpent was only identified as Satan and evil in late Judeo-Christian tradition in apocryphal text as legends about Adam and Eve grew in fold lore such as the text The Secrets of Adam and Eve.

So, even if we were to assign the late tradition of the wise serpent as the character of Satan, my claims remain the same: The truth was told by the serpent and the lie was told by God!


So just where are you coming from! I NEVER said Satan told the truth in Genesis,(as my comment above so CLEARLY states.

Secondly Jeff, you fail to understand the Hebrew in that it is hassatan in Job and NEVER satan as you claim. Here’s the Hebrew: הַשָּׂטָן as used in Job 1 - 2!

Harry McCall said...

Andre, here’s the points in my post:

John 8:44 b, c, d.

b. θελετε ποιειν εκεινος ανθρωποκτονος ην απ αρχης (εκεινος is a demonstrative pronoun used in the absolute pointing back to θελετε and when used with ανθρωποκτονος (a rare word used the New Testament) to mean brother killer as in the case of Cain killing Able.

c. εν τη αληθεια ουκ εστηκεν οτι ουκ εστιν αληθεια εν αυτω (I don’t follow your logic here. I know of no text in the Bible to back this up with. Yet Jesus is so certain that he states it twice much like a Semitic Parallelism. Again, I find no proof of this ever in the Biblical text!)

d. οταν λαλη το ψευδος εκ των ιδιων λαλει οτι ψευστης εστιν και ο πατηρ αὐτοῦ (Here Jesus counters αληθεια ουκ εστηκεν with ψευδος and then ends it with the devil (Satan) the father of all the lies ever told οτι ψευστης εστιν και ο πατηρ αὐτοῦ. I think this to totally over kill especially with no canonized Biblical text to back it up!)

Rosemary said...

from the biblical text:
paradox is inherent to the framework of understanding this text from a middle eastern sense, how do we re-create this if paradox is not inherent in our framework for understanding the world, if we are reading this from a modern Western perspective (I'd like to know how you can extract yourself from that)

to my understanding the texts from Jesus's mother tongue do not even exist (which is a problem linguistically), so what the heck are you arguing, because everything recorded occurred a thousand or thousands of years after the fact, right???

Harry McCall said...

Rosemary,

The ONLY voice Jesus has today and the ONLY way he can exist is via the Greek text.

As to your suggestion of Aramaic, we have nothing Jesus said present in this Semitic language.

And as to your claim that we can’t understand Jesus because we live in a Western modern mind set, tell that to the Evangelical Christian who use Jesus’ first century mindset as the bases for modern conversion and salvation!

Erick said...

Harry,

This is my first comment here, so allow me to introduce myself. My name is Erick Eggleton, and I am a former Christian. I used to run a militant fundamentalist Christian web site, but I discovered through studying the Bible that it is a work of fiction. Now, I just enjoy life.

Anyway, about your post: You are correct when you supposed that "Satan" (aka, the Devil, Lucifer, etc.) never told a lie. After studying the Bible for most of my life (and now for different reasons), I can't find that the character ever did tell a lie.

And your other challenge: In the book of Job, chapter 1, you will find that Satan did in fact kill a number of people, either directly with fire from heaven, or indirectly through his influence on local thugs. Of course, he did ask for the Lord's permission to do this, but he did it none the less.

And not to beat you to the punch, but yes; I am aware that the book of Job most likely isn't an original Jewish text. It probably came from the Greeks, but it is in the Bible, so there. :)

Have a nice day.

Andre P. Llewellyn said...

Harry, it is not enough to say that Jesus or the gospel writer(s) are pathological liars because there aren’t any other ‘proof’ texts showing examples of Satan being a murder or actually lying. As I said in my last response, it is not a necessary or sufficient criterion.

Secondly, the questions you are asking of John 8:44 are irrelevant in view of the stylistic nature of the passage. Take Luke 14:26 as an example - “If anyone comes to me and does not HATE his own father and mother… he cannot be my disciple.” Should we try to validate or invalidate the authenticity of Jesus’ statement in this passage by digging up scenarios from the gospels to see if those who Jesus called his disciples really hated members of their family, spouses, and themselves?

Like Luke 14:26, John 8:44 (despite the N.T. Koine Greek context) reflects Hebrew idiomatic expression common to Biblical Jewish Greek. More importantly, the type of Semitic styles found in the said passage is referred to as Synthetic Parallelism – a rhythmic or poetic expression in which the idea expressed in the 1st line is reiterated or repeated in the second with equivalent but different words [1] e.g. Psalm 22:18. How is this important in dealing with your contention? Well, it would mean that:

a.The apparent repetition, Jesus ‘saying it twice’, is not intended to show certainty (as you imply), nor does it necessitate ‘backing up’ (as you suggest) anymore than verse 40 of the same text - “If you were Abraham’s children…you would do the things Abraham did”. What we find in 8:44 is simply a Semitic manner of speaking and writing; textually, a Hebrew idiomatic peculiarity present in the Greek translation. E.g. John 1:1-2

b.Jesus didn’t ‘counter’ αληθεια ουκ εστηκεν with ψευδος as you intimated. Rather, we observe a contrast between words/concepts specifically employed to establish one coherent thought. Therefore, what Jesus says in 44b; “[Satan] not holding to the truth….” is supplemented by (and equivalently to) what he says in 44c; “when he lies, he speaks his native language…” Additionally, Satan referred to as the father of lies is no overkill, it is a stylistic crescendo to the point he has been making from verse 40. The parallel thought of John 8:44 are consistent with 1 John 3: 8-10.

Bless up!

[1] Richard N. Soulen, R. Kendall Soulen, Hanbook of Biblical Criticism (Westminster John Knox Press; 3 edition 2001), p. 134.

Harry McCall said...

Andre states: “Harry, it is not enough to say that Jesus or the gospel writer(s) are pathological liars because there aren’t any other ‘proof’ texts showing examples of Satan being a murder or actually lying. As I said in my last response, it is not a necessary or sufficient criterion.

Andre, this is simply circular reasoning.

Remember, Jesus used the Devil (aka: Satan) to attack the Jews and it is a major thorn in John’s Gospel among Jews today and 8:44 was a major anti-Jewish statement and one Martin Luther use to get Christians to kill Jews and burn their synagogues.

If this section that I used was as vague and unclear as you claim it is, many, many Jews in Luther’s Germany would not have been killed!

Have you not read my last post on where I said Jesus got his theology from? If not, please check it out.


Andre: “Secondly, the questions you are asking of John 8:44 are irrelevant in view of the stylistic nature of the passage. Take Luke 14:26 as an example - “If anyone comes to me and does not HATE his own father and mother… he cannot be my disciple.” Should we try to validate or invalidate the authenticity of Jesus’ statement in this passage by digging up scenarios from the gospels to see if those who Jesus called his disciples really hated members of their family, spouses, and themselves?

The Jews certainty said Jesus hated God (who was Jesus’ father), and the fact that Luke 14; 26 is not theology, but family social relationships is like comparing apples to oranges!As to your final points that what Christians, such as Calvin and Luther (along with millions of latter Christians read over the centuries (especially Nazi Germany)), is not what it really meant after all, is like closing the barn door after the horse is out!

Well, lets say that even if your points are right; that does not change the damage of 2,000 years Christians used this verse in atttacks on the Jewish people!

Its too little too late, and what’s so odd about this is that you are saying Jesus can’t really be taken at his word.

So, did Jesus really talk about salvation or can we safely assume that since the world did not end in his day ("Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom." Matt. 16: 28)we can rewite what the sated as not really what he meant? That is, we just need to explain away salvation as the first century Christians understood it?

In the end, my challenge remains: Based on the Hebrew text and it alone:

1. No one has yet proven to me Satan is a liar!

2. No one has yet proven to me Satan is murder!

Andre P. Llewellyn said...

Harry, sorry for the delay in responding to you I was on vacation in Negril, then was bugged down by work. Anyway, regarding my point that your criterion lacks a necessary condition:

The way your challenge and questions are worded suggests that condition A: an e.g. from the biblical text where Satan ever told a lie is a necessary condition to prove condition B: that Jesus or the Gospel writers are not pathological liars so that the non-occurrence of condition A would disprove condition B.

But what if there really is a non-occurrence of condition A (a biblical text showing Satan telling a lie), does it mean that we cannot determine or guarantee condition B (Jesus is not a pathological liar)? Of course not! Statement/condition B can be true or occur without condition A. For example, without finding any biblical text where Satan tells a lie (condition A), I could make a case that Jesus is not a pathological liar (condition B) by providing ‘proof texts’ revealing the validation of a most or all of Jesus’ claims as true (lets call this condition C). Note I am not arguing for the sufficiency of condition C, I am making a statement indicating the non-necessity of condition A.

Further, because of space limitation, I will use one simplistic version of The Criterion of Consistency and Coherence (a criterion more credible than yours) to show that even if there is no ‘proof text’ revealing Satan telling a lie, one can STILL make a case that Jesus was indeed speaking truth in John 8:44. (Based upon the exegetical nature of you challenge this is a legitimate approach).

Jesus’ reference to Satan as liar and murder is consistent, corresponds, and fits in well with other textual motif of Him (Satan) as ‘the evil one’ (Mt. 6:13; 1 John 5:18) whose constant malevolent activity is ‘from the beginning’ (1 Jn. 3:8). This motif is substantively educed by:

a. The etymological significance of some Greek terms such as διαβολος slanderer, Ἀβαδδὼν destroyer, used in reference to the Devil.

b. Multiple references to his deceitfulness (Rev 20:10; Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 11:3), and adversarial activity against the righteous (or righteousness) (Rev. 20:10; 1 Peter 5:12)

c. The falsehood and evil characteristics and thoughts of individuals (such as those who are deceitful, and those who tried to kill Jesus) are consistently attributed and often predicated on the diabolical nature of Devil (Lk. 22:2-4; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 John 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:26; 2 Thess. 2:9)

Regarding my point that your criterion lacks a sufficient condition: Even if I could find a ‘proof text’ revealing Satan telling a lie it wouldn’t be sufficient in proving that Jesus is not a pathological liar; it could just prove that what he says about Satan in John 8:44 is true. Let me be the Devil’s advocate, what if someone through form-critical work (not like what you have attempted) proves that Jesus told a number of lies? One could then possibly conclude that both Jesus and the Devil are liars – this scenario indicates why your criterion of proof lacks a sufficient condition.

Andre P. Llewellyn said...

The following is a continuation of my last response.

To be honest I was really disappointed that you introduced something that is soo unrelated to your initial challenge – the use of John 8:44 as a tool for anti-Semitism throughout history. I will refrain from taking it up here.

On a final note, to put it plainly, your challenge has been tumbled in light of my comments in this and previous responses:

1.I have proven that the assumption of your challenge/questions do not present even prima facie evidence to establish a proposition that would warrant me or any Christian to bear the burden of proving that: 1.Jesus is not a liar
2.Jesus’ comments about Satan in the said text are untrue.

Thus, the burden of proof is still on you, especially because a. the gospel documents have for the most part been affirmed as accurate by New Testament Scholars, and b. there is the common courtesy (practiced by historians and biblical critics) that an eyewitness’ account (in this case John) is presumed true unless proven otherwise.

2.Without being circular, and by utilizing the concept of Necessary and Sufficient Conditions, I have proven that your questions set up an insufficient and jarring criterion so that even if one did not or did find a ‘proof text’ where Satan told a lie it wouldn’t prove that Jesus is or is not a pathological liar.

3.Finally, using a simple version of The Criterion of Consistency and Coherence I proved that even if there is no ‘proof text’ revealing Satan telling a lie, one could STILL legitimately make a case that Jesus was indeed speaking truth in John 8:44. Using this criterion with other criteria one could begin to make a cumulative case substantiating the eyewitness presumption/report of the gospels that Jesus is, and speaks truth.

All the best!

Harry McCall said...

Part 1
Andre,

Thanks for the input, but, in light of that the rest of the New Testament is based a lot on Intertestamental / extra Canonical literature, the tradition of Satan as a liar and a murder is fully developing at the time of Jesus.

Plus, either Jesus meant exactly what he said in John 8:44, or it’s an allegory.

Jesus told the Jews, that they were like their father who was the Devil (Satan). Thus Jesus believes myths:

The Palestinian Targum tells us that only Seth was Adams’s son and that Eve had born Cain who was not like Adam.

Later additions to this Targum expand on this idea and explicitly claim that the evil angel Sammael had sex with Eve and thus Eve born Caim by him, and not Adam.

Jesus, was a either a liar or a superstitious man who got all his information from the myths of his day and used these myths to claim the Jews were born of Satan.

The Bible is theology and it is not philosophical logic as taught in secular universities today. Yet, Christians attempt to bank their entire life on Jesus' promises; that they are true and accurate.

So if Jesus is the all knowing eternal word of God (The logos of John 1), then either he knowingly lied or he’s just the average John Doe who has no more insight into the future than you or I.

Lets don’t stop with John 8:44 as a lie, but let take 3 more verses where Jesus lies:

Mark 13:2:
Lie: "Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down."

Fact: Jews pray daily at the Wailing Wall, but Jesus said no stone would be left one on another, but yet the Wailing Wall is the very wall of the Temple in Jesus’ day…still standing one stone upon another!

Matt. 16: 28:
Lie: “Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom."

Jesus NEVER came back and all are dead just as the Epistle of 2 Peter 3: 4 knows full well: “and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."

John 14: 13 -14:
Lie: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
Jesus said he would grant anything asked in his name…good or bad (he did not qualify it!)
So why does not Jesus openly answer requests in his name? Christian people (children, babies) die daily with either they or their parents crying out to God in the name of Jesus to heal them.

Are these lies from an all knowing God man or just the empty promises of a failed religion?

Harry McCall said...

Part 2:

Let’s look at the murders done by God At Jericho as he commanded the Israelites to do his murderous bidding:

Thus, all life, both human and animal life of the city of Jericho, is ritualistically slaughtered and then Yahweh can feast on the smoke from the blood and bodies of the victims, the city is “שָׂרַף בָּאֵש” or burnt with fire.}

The cultic magical elements flow full and free in Joshua 6 - 7. But the victory is short lived due to hidden sin! Unknown to Joshua, Yahweh is denied his full booty; not the precious lives of the non-combatant: All the innocent women, children, babies, the unborn and animals (which Yahweh again equates the innocent human life), but Yahweh greed is for the material metal wealth; that is the gold, silver, bronze and iron that could be used in his tabernacle is valued over and above the innocent live of women, children and babies.

Andre, even the wildest tells about Satan / the Devil in the Hebrew Bible can not match the murders of Yahweh!

You stated: “Thus, the burden of proof is still on you, especially because a. the gospel documents have for the most part been affirmed as accurate by New Testament Scholars, and b. there is the common courtesy (practiced by historians and biblical critics) that an eyewitness’ account (in this case John) is presumed true unless proven otherwise.”

Mormons at Brigham Young University claim the same facts about the Book of Mormon as you do about the new Testament. If you open the preference section to the Book of Mormon, you have tow sets of eyewitness testimony that the things Joseph Smith claimed are true. Even after many of these people left the LDS Church or were excommunicated, they NEVER denied their testimony in the Book of Mormon!

Again, Andre, theology and philosophy do not mix. Theology tries to use philosophy to justify its facts, but theology WILL always be second rate to philosophy and deficient.

If you could use objective philosophy to prove the theological points you try to do about Jesus, then you could also prove ONLY Christianity 9out of all the world’s religions) is the ONLY one true and that ONLY your brand of Christian sect is correct out of more than 20,000 sects and cults of Christianity today.

Regards,
Harry

Andre P. Llewellyn said...

Part 1:

Harry, waz up?

Despite the great importance of this discussion I unfortunately don’t have the time to respond to your comments immediately, so please bear with me. In this two part response on this page I will treat the 'lighter' points you made and deal with the weightier issues (the four passages you raised)under your other post One Final Thought on Whether Jesus Did or Did not Lie. I think that would be more appropriate seeing that I already responded to your original challenge you placed in this post "Was Jesus a Pathological Liar?"

You said: Mormons at Brigham Young University claim the same facts about the Book of Mormon as you do about the new Testament. If you open the preference section to the Book of Mormon, you have tow sets of eyewitness testimony that the things Joseph Smith claimed are true.

How does this refute my argument that the person who discredits the eye witness report as consistent, without error, or historically authentic must assume the burden of proof? If we were debating the authenticity of holy books and I argued that the Book of Mormon is not historically reliable or that it holds many inconsistencies then I would need to bring substantive arguments to prove this (thereby assuming the burden of proof). But that’s not what is being discussed here, so it’s kind of funny that you raised this.

You said: theology and philosophy do not mix.

I won’t respond to the exactness of your statement but only to its essence or the ‘what’ I think you are saying based upon the ‘occasion(s)’ that led you to say it. The metaphysical branch of philosophy is valuable to theology as a tool that helps to unveil the theological concept of theology proper. Additionally, it (philosophy) holds epistemic and rhetorical worth (as revealed on this blog) when utilized as a scalpel or surgical needle in discussing/debunking/defending theological arguments or statements, judging inferences, premises and/or propositions that directly or indirectly relate to the Bible and/or Judeo-Christian tradition, etc.

From a theological perspective I see no reason to believe that mixing the two is ‘unbiblical’, and if a line of theological argumentation lends itself to the features of philosophical thought and logic then why should I or anyone else treat them as exclusive clubs.

Andre P. Llewellyn said...

Part 2:

Your point about Jesus using mythic information as the base for all his teaching will only hold water when you prove that, in specific or all instances, He was ACTUALLY quoting from mythic literature. Note, even the coherence between Jesus’ teaching and the Targum in their expression of motifs, while notable, is not in itself probative of any relationship between the two [1]. One major reason for this is because both his statements and much of the Targumic tradition are influenced by a common denominator i.e. Hebraic heritage.

What about your point that He was either a liar or superstitious? Well you would need to show HOW His use of mythic (as you put it) literature makes him a liar, superstitious, or a follower of myths? Should we assume that Paul believed in Greek gods because he borrowed quotations from the Cretan and Cilician poets Epimenides and Aratus in his Mars Hill discourse (Acts 17:28)? Certainly not! Does my reference to Plato’s quote - light is the shadow of God in describing the nature of God mean I ascribe to the Platonic concept of hoi theoi? No.

In the same way, it is unfounded to assert that Jesus’ use of seemingly Targumic formal expression in his dialogue in Jn. 8:44 meant that he held to its ‘mythological’ interpretations. Simply, Jesus (like Paul) appeals to this literary tradition more as a homiletic tool (understood by Rabbis and the Jewish community) to elucidate His point i.e. His testimony is true (v14), His Father bears witness to it (v16-18), and that they don’t believe Him because they really don’t know the Father (v19).

Besides, when one examines the specific Targum that mostly coheres with the New Testament (Targum of Isaiah) one will recognize that it preserves more Jewish monotheistic tradition than ‘mythology’. This is not hard to believe seeing that Targums probably originated from Jewish Synagogues or academies and are Aramaic renderings/translations and interpretive expansions of the Hebrew Scriptures [2].

In light of the foregoing, your representation of Jesus is not a convincing one. Considering the biblical-historical facts, I sincerely challenge you to ask serious questions of your caricature of Jesus vs. the Jesus the Apostles preached. If you take on the challenge as a genuine endeavour then I think you will again come to view Him as truly being the Lord and the Saviour that the Bible present Him as.

1. Bruce Chilton, Craig A. Evans. Studying the historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State Current Research. (Brill. 1998), pg. 307

2. Bruce Metzger. "Important Early Translations of the Bible," Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. 150:597. January, 1993, pg. 35.

Uruk said...

I've been following the conversation . . . I'd like to chime in if you don't mind. My comments are mainly directed to Andre-- just sharing my perspective.

Andre, consider these three possibilities:

1. God exists and the Bible is his inspired word.

2. God exists, yet the Bible is not his inspired word.

3. God does not exist; thus, no religious text can be inspired by any deity anywhere.

That last point explains why scripture often bounces off of the ears of us atheists. Up front, atheists can only see any religious text as myth. Some historically accurate records of events may be within a religious text. But other portions of these same texts will be historically inaccurate.

I think that idea plays heavily into Harry's point. If the scriptures are only myth, there is no possible way Jesus can be speaking truth-- at least, not in the sense that Christians interpret his teachings.

To prove or disprove the validity of the scriptures depends on what sources one trusts.

If you see everything through the lens of scripture, you will have difficulty considering any source that speaks against scripture.

I once saw everything through that lens. But over the years, I have come to see differently.

Textual criticism suggests that the Old Testament was woven together like a quilt. Blocks of text only refer to God by his ineffable name YHWH. Other blocks of text only refer to God as Elohim. It seems that during the Babylonian exile, scribes pieced together these texts and the bulk of the Old Testament finally congealed.

A question bothered me for a while. Why does God tell Moses in Exodus 6:3 that Abraham never knew God by his name, Jehovah (YHWH), but rather Elohim? Remember the name that Abraham gave to the place where he almost sacrificed Issac? Jehovah-jireh. Keep in mind, LORD in the OT is just another translation convention for YHWH. And YHWH is simply the tetragramation of Yahweh. And Yahweh was simply transliterated as Jehovah by German translators.

This may seem insignificant, but everywhere in the Old Testament where you see LORD in caps, the text reads YHWH. People frequently called on that name according to Genesis. How could the "fathers" not know that name by the time he "revels" it to Moses?

How could Abraham not know God by that name if Abraham named a location using that very same name?

Textual criticism shows that different OT authors from different eras had different names for God. Scribes pieced all these works together and reconciled these differences in order to unify the Bible. Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2 make a good example. These chapters are thought to be two versions of the same creation story because they both have different writing styles and authors. And each chapter exclusively refers to God as either Elohim or LORD. This pattern can be found throughout much of the OT.

Consider examining The Hidden Book of the Bible, and The Bible with Sources Revealed. These two books explain this phenomena thoroughly.

Then, there is the problem of archeology. A lot of archaeological finds undermine the historicity of key Bible passages. The Bible Unearthed is an authoritative and scholarly source (in my view) that shows how many archaeological discoveries have suggested that key events such as the Exodus, the wandering in the wilderness, and Joshua's military conquests couldn't have happened as the Bible claims.

Worse, the Israelites appear to have been indigenous to the highlands of Canaan. They didn't conquer the promise land after migrating from Egypt. They evolved from the Canaanites as a separate civilization. They were always there.

So, with that information, you can now peer into the unbeliever's mind and see why Harry says that Jesus was either a lair or at best has a mistaken belief in mythology.

Andre P. Llewellyn said...

I agree with your summation that the 3rd possibility is one of the major reasons why atheist may consider religious texts myths. However, unless the premise (God does not exist) is substantiated as true, the conclusion “no text is inspired by (a) god” still remains only a grand speculation.

Consequently, if Harry was directly basing his claims that Jesus is a liar on the premise that the Bible is a myth, as you imply, then he would need to first sufficiently demonstrate that the Bible and its narratives fit the (typical) genre of mythology. Asserting that certain passages reveal that Jesus is a liar isn’t tantamount to, nor does it presuppose, this premise.

Further, I find it appalling that he sought to use the (apparent) non-existence of proof texts from a book that he believes to be mythological as proof in augmenting the thesis of his original challenge.

Regarding your bit on one’s belief - taken on the surface, your comment has merit, thus, I could say: “if you see everything through the eyes of naturalism or evolution by natural selection “you will have difficulty considering any source that speaks against naturalism or evolution…” But IF you are implying that because someone holds strongly to a particular system of belief they are unable to objectively consider other views, then I flatly disagree with you. On that note, I encourage you to ask serious questions of the lenses, plus the scope and clarity of these lenses, through which you NOW view ‘things’.

Uruk, the argument that the OT was woven together like a quilt by scribes is really attributed to some higher critics (specifically proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis) rather than to Textual Criticism itself. It seems that your point about the presence of different divine names in Genesis is premised on this major argument of the Hypothesis, i.e. the multiplicity of divine names is the result of the compilation of fragments by scribes (throughout different eras).

But your position has some glaring problems; 1stly, there is no literary evidence of intermediary ‘works’ or documents [1] proving that these scribes supposedly unified or congealed. 2ndly, deducing that the variety in language and writing styles within a given book(s) suggest that the work is not from one author is weak. Another probable conclusion could be that the linguistic differences are due to the a. artistic features of the narratives and b. the author’s intent to explicate certain distinctive elements of the character of God, other personalities, and/or events.

The latter point best answers the question that bothered you for a while. As you have rightly noted, the idea that the name YHWH wasn’t known to Abraham is not consistent with Gen 4:26, 22:14, etc. But then how do we reconcile this? Well, the distinction that God makes between His appearance to the patriarchs as El Shaddai and their ignorance of Him as YHWH refers not to the existential designation the names assume, but rather to the characteristic actions/attributes lying behind them. I.e., although Abraham knew God by the designation YHWH, God’s, characteristic actions in relation to the Patriarchs could be best identified in terms of the specific meaning or characteristics of El Shaddai [2] and not by the dynamic active presence that Israel came to know of YHWH.

This point is substantiated when one considers the fact that OT occurrences of the verb “to make oneself known” when used with reference to YHWH, shows that the verb doesn’t refer to the announcing of a divine name previously unknown [3], rather it speaks to experiential knowledge of both the person and power of God.

In relation to your concluding point, I simply do not believe that archaeological findings undermine any of the events you mentioned, nor do I see evidence proving the Bible as myth. So on this one, I think Harry and other atheists are mistaken.

Blessings!

[1] Barry Freundel.2003. Contemporary Orthodox Judaism’s response to Modernity. pg.17

[2] [3] J. Gerald Janzen, Exodus.1997. pg.52

Uruk said...

Andrey:

I will agree that unless the premise that God does not exist is substantiated, then the conclusion that follows remains speculation.

However, I submit that the premise that God exists also needs to be substantiated because the conclusions that would follow likewise remain speculation. Also, should God exist we are still left with wondering if there is any text God has inspired. Or if only one God exists as opposed to multiple Gods.

I will say that I personally believe the actual disproving of God's existence does not seem possible with the information we have. But, the ideas that I accept as valid evidence seems to strongly suggest that God does not exist. At the least, God does not seem to exist in the way that ancient texts from various religions declare. I'm sure you gather that I personally do not believe God's existence can be proven, either. Both positions in my view need to rely on inferences that may remain slightly beyond logic's full reach.

As for Harry's original challenge, perhaps I was out of place putting words in his mouth. I suppose I can only say that his augment has stirred up a very interesting discussion and I personally appreciate your part in it thus far.

As for the Documentary Hypothesis, I have to say that I disagree with you. But, that's okay -- I get the sense that we agree to disagree, so no hard feelings. I think textual criticism uncovers the possibility that intermediary works existed. And I think language and writing styles can give evidence that different authors were involved. The books I mentioned in my last post go into the details.

As for the names of God, that idea also points back to the Documentary Hypothesis. Pointing out the way God's various names are used in Genesis and in Exodus (as I mentioned with Moses) are examples. Different writing styles consistently correlate with different usage of God's names from Genesis throughout the OT according to several sources that I've encountered.

The evidence (to me) is enough to prove that the Bible as mythological. But how does that evidence add up to be enough to be proof? I think that again has much to do with the lens though which we look. And in saying that, I don't mean to say that one cannot have strong beliefs and view things objectively. But, achieving this can be tough to do sometimes regardless of which side of the argument one takes. I once had strong Christian beliefs, but here I am. And should something come along later to convince me otherwise, I'll feel no choice but to change my mind again. But, for me personally, that did not come easily. And the constant scrutiny of my own beliefs do not always come easily, either.

I admit to withdrawing from the Christian faith. But, I also admit that I could be wrong. That applies to my stance of atheism as well. Perhaps I should really call myself "agnostic" instead. Regardless, at this point in my life-- this is where I find myself.

In the end, you and I have come to different conclusions about much of the same information.

I'm constantly fascinated as to how that can be. And I don't mean to imply that one of us is totally right or wrong. I'm just genuinely amazed at how people can always have a different view point over the same ideas.

To me, that's not too different from the numerous denominations that form from a single ancient text. Or, the different denominations of physicists that disagree on the more complex issues concerning the physics of the universe (such as string theory, M-theory, and other oddities of quantum mechanics).