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Does Atheism Have A Truly Convincing Argument Yet?


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#101 ikester7579

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 02:35 AM

I always thought faith didn't require evidence.  Or were you saying that faith is the evidence of things unseen? 

Obviously my first statement wouldn't include the Bible seeing as without the Bible then there would be nothing to base a religion on.

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Blind faith is of things that there is "zero" evidence of. If All Christians had blind faith as so many atheist would imply. We would have no Bible. I'll do a thread and prove the Bible is the inspired word of God if you like. But before I do, what would you consider that a book like that should have in it to prove that?

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

What verse three is saying is that the unexplainable under natural laws (things which are seen) is the evidence of things made by things that do not appear (were not made of things which do appear). Like how does matter come from nothing? How does the creation work?

Example:

1) Basics of creating a universe? What are the three things science knows is needed to exist before a universe can be created? It's in the very first verse of Genesis.
2) Should it not also know about the things in space even though no one has peered into it yet?
3) Should it know what causes the seasons to exist?
4) Should it know that movement of things around the sun is a standard for passage of time?
etc...

These things were not known when the Bible was written. So if the Bible is the inspired word of God, should not knowledge, not known yet, be written in it? And how would someone know these things by themselves? If you woke up everyday in the stone age. How would you know these things, when there is really no way to see how they work or what they did?

Then the Bible names several people in the Bible that did things because of their faith. Then it says:

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Being pilgrims means that we do not belong here. We have a country in another dimension (Heaven). And if we remain mindful of it, and not deny it. It is ours to live in.
You see part of the covenant with God is not only that we live by faith. But also know that when we do, he prepares us a place in Heaven for doing so.

So what we learn about faith is that God gives us just enough to see so that we can have faith in the rest. Why not show it all? By faith we are saved.

Luke 7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Luke 18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

For if we see all instead of having faith and turn away for one reason or another. then there is no excuse.

Hebrews 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
3 And this will we do, if God permit.
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

The verses above are speaking of people who have seen all that God has to give upon this earth. Even all the gifts of power etc... And for one reason or another they fell away from believing in God. And because there is no more faith to give them (because they seen all their is upon this earth), they become one of the 7 types of people God can no longer save. But, it's by their choice this has happened to them.

So what does all that mean in more simple terms?

1) Having faith is not blind faith. Because God gives us enough to know He is if we want to know. It is not on our terms of how much.
2) Having faith gives us leeway to make mistakes and sometimes fall away. This is because there is more faith left to draw us back to God.
3) To know it all, and see it all (all that can be seen upon this earth concerning God and all His gifts). Leaves one with no excuse (no leeway) should they fall away for one reason or another. For there would be no faith left to draw them back in because there is nothing left to show them. So to save them Christ would have to crawl back on the cross and die again. He only died once for a one time salvation unto those who choose to have faith.

Those who want to know all and see all don't want what is required to become saved and maintain salvation. God does this so that we are safe in our imperfections because we will always have leeway. But fall away once when you knew it all, and there is no leeway and risk losing salvation forever.

Satan knew this. That is why he made men who want to reject God, to come up with an idea that is supposed to totally require things to be testable and see-able (No faith). In this way they could claim: Our evidence of what we believe is better. All the while not understanding that they are being set up with rules and laws specially made to make them reject God at every turn because through what they have been taught. Faith is for the ignorant and uneducated. When they do not realize that faith is actually the way God protects us from falling away from salvation so far we could never return.

Knowing this, God cannot give a person on earth all knowledge unless their faith is extraordinary (rare faith). To do so to those who are not ready would be God working against Himself because He removes the leeway allowed, so that if they fail, they will end up in damnation forever. God's will is that no one should perish. But because of freewill, man can choose to perish anyway. But it won't be of God's doing. It is made clear what we must do. If "we" choose not to, then who's fault is it?

#102 Ron

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 05:21 AM

What would be the faith of an agnostic?  And what would non-religion be?

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Agnosticism as defined, comes from two Greek words (a, “no”; gnosis, “knowledge”). The term agnosticism was coined by T. H. Huxley, and it literally means “no-knowledge,” the opposite of a Gnostic. Thus, an agnostic is someone who claims not to know (a negative proposition). As applied to knowledge of God, there are two basic kinds of agnostics, those who claim that the existence and nature of God are not known, and those who hold God to be unknowable.

The weak form of agnosticism simply holds that God is unknown. This of course leaves the door open that one may know God and indeed that some possibly do know God. As such, this agnosticism does not bump up against Christian theism. The stronger form of agnosticism is mutually exclusive with Christianity. It claims that God is unknowable, that God cannot be known.

Now another distinction must be made then, and that is this: There is unlimited and limited agnosticism. The former claims that God and all reality is completely unknowable. The latter claims only that God is partially unknowable because of the limitations of human finitude and sinfulness.

This leaves three basic alternatives with respect to knowledge about God with regard to the agnostic:
1. We can know nothing about God; he is unknowable.
2. We can know everything about God; he can be exhaustively known.
3. We can know something, but not everything; God is partially knowable.

The first position is agnosticism; the second, dogmatism, and the last, realism. The dogmatic position is untenable. One would have to be infinite in order to know an infinite being exhaustively. Few if any informed theists have seriously held this kind of dogmatism.

However, it can be argued as though partial agnosticism is also wrong. The form this argument takes is that agnosticism is wrong simply because one cannot know something is unknowable about reality without having knowledge about that something. But this is faulty reasoning. There is no contradiction in saying, “I know enough about reality to affirm that there are some things about reality that I cannot know.” For example, we can know enough about observation and reporting techniques to say that it is impossible for us to know the exact population of the world at a given instant (this is unknowability in practice). Likewise, one may know enough about the nature of finitude to say that it is impossible for finite beings to know exhaustively an infinite being. Thus, one holds a controversy only against the complete agnostic who rules out in theory and practice all knowledge of an infinite God.


Complete agnosticism reduces itself to the self-destructing (and self refuting) assertion that “one knows enough about reality to affirm that nothing can be known about reality”. This statement is self-falsifying. One who knows something about reality cannot affirm in the same breath that all of reality is unknowable. And one who knows nothing whatsoever about reality has no basis for making a statement about reality. It will not suffice to say that knowledge of reality can only be purely and completely negative, that is, knowledge can only say what reality is not. For every negative presupposes a positive; one cannot meaningfully affirm that something is not and be totally devoid of a knowledge of the “something.” It follows that total agnosticism is self-defeating. It assumes knowledge of reality in order to deny all knowledge of reality!


The understanding that there are two kinds of agnosticism brings us to the following conclusions: limited agnosticism’s acknowledgment of finite knowledge for the unlimited (or infinite) is tenable and yet, if they willingly remain static, and they do so to keep from said knowledge (And they do so on faith alone). Unlimited agnosticism, however, is self-destructive from the onset; it implies knowledge about reality in order to deny the possibility of any knowledge of reality. Unless it is impossible to know the real, it is unnecessary to disclaim the possibility of all cognitive knowledge of it or to dissuade men from making any judgments about it.

Unlimited agnosticism is a form of dogmatism. In completely disclaiming the possibility of all knowledge of the real, it stands at the opposite pole from the position that claims all knowledge about reality. Either extreme is dogmatic. Both are must positions regarding knowledge as opposed to the position that we can or do know something about reality. And there is simply no process short of omniscience by which one can make such sweeping and categorical statements.

Agnosticism is negative dogmatism, and every negative presupposes a positive. Hence, total agnosticism is not only self-defeating; it is self-deifying. Only an omniscient mind could be totally agnostic, and finite men confessedly do not possess omniscience. Hence, the door remains open for some knowledge of reality. Reality is not unknowable. Therefor Agnosticism defended is a religion, and there is really no such thing as Non-religion, just negative propositions (that still require evidences) promulgated.

#103 Flatland

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 02:20 PM

Agnosticism as defined, comes from two Greek words (a, “no”; gnosis, “knowledge”). The term agnosticism was coined by T. H. Huxley, and it literally means “no-knowledge,” the opposite of a Gnostic. Thus, an agnostic is someone who claims not to know (a negative proposition). As applied to knowledge of God, there are two basic kinds of agnostics, those who claim that the existence and nature of God are not known, and those who hold God to be unknowable.

The weak form of agnosticism simply holds that God is unknown. This of course leaves the door open that one may know God and indeed that some possibly do know God. As such, this agnosticism does not bump up against Christian theism. The stronger form of agnosticism is mutually exclusive with Christianity. It claims that God is unknowable, that God cannot be known.

Now another distinction must be made then, and that is this: There is unlimited and limited agnosticism. The former claims that God and all reality is completely unknowable. The latter claims only that God is partially unknowable because of the limitations of human finitude and sinfulness.

This leaves three basic alternatives with respect to knowledge about God with regard to the agnostic:
1.  We can know nothing about God; he is unknowable.
2.  We can know everything about God; he can be exhaustively known.
3.  We can know something, but not everything; God is partially knowable.

The first position is agnosticism; the second, dogmatism, and the last, realism. The dogmatic position is untenable. One would have to be infinite in order to know an infinite being exhaustively. Few if any informed theists have seriously held this kind of dogmatism.

However, it can be argued as though partial agnosticism is also wrong. The form this argument takes is that agnosticism is wrong simply because one cannot know something is unknowable about reality without having knowledge about that something. But this is faulty reasoning. There is no contradiction in saying, “I know enough about reality to affirm that there are some things about reality that I cannot know.” For example, we can know enough about observation and reporting techniques to say that it is impossible for us to know the exact population of the world at a given instant (this is unknowability in practice). Likewise, one may know enough about the nature of finitude to say that it is impossible for finite beings to know exhaustively an infinite being. Thus, one holds a controversy only against the complete agnostic who rules out in theory and practice all knowledge of an infinite God. 
Complete agnosticism reduces itself to the self-destructing (and self refuting) assertion that “one knows enough about reality to affirm that nothing can be known about reality”. This statement is self-falsifying. One who knows something about reality cannot affirm in the same breath that all of reality is unknowable. And one who knows nothing whatsoever about reality has no basis for making a statement about reality. It will not suffice to say that knowledge of reality can only be purely and completely negative, that is, knowledge can only say what reality is not. For every negative presupposes a positive; one cannot meaningfully affirm that something is not and be totally devoid of a knowledge of the “something.” It follows that total agnosticism is self-defeating. It assumes knowledge of reality in order to deny all knowledge of reality!


The understanding that there are two kinds of agnosticism brings us to the following conclusions: limited agnosticism’s acknowledgment of finite knowledge for the unlimited (or infinite) is tenable and yet, if they willingly remain static, and they do so to keep from said knowledge (And they do so on faith alone). Unlimited agnosticism, however, is self-destructive from the onset; it implies knowledge about reality in order to deny the possibility of any knowledge of reality. Unless it is impossible to know the real, it is unnecessary to disclaim the possibility of all cognitive knowledge of it or to dissuade men from making any judgments about it.

Unlimited agnosticism is a form of dogmatism. In completely disclaiming the possibility of all knowledge of the real, it stands at the opposite pole from the position that claims all knowledge about reality. Either extreme is dogmatic. Both are must positions regarding knowledge as opposed to the position that we can or do know something about reality. And there is simply no process short of omniscience by which one can make such sweeping and categorical statements.

Agnosticism is negative dogmatism, and every negative presupposes a positive. Hence, total agnosticism is not only self-defeating; it is self-deifying. Only an omniscient mind could be totally agnostic, and finite men confessedly do not possess omniscience. Hence, the door remains open for some knowledge of reality. Reality is not unknowable. Therefor Agnosticism defended is a religion, and there is really no such thing as Non-religion, just negative propositions (that still require evidences) promulgated.

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All the agnostics I have ever met are unsure if god exists. In fact, that's the entire premise of agnosticism. Being unsure of something require no faith; none whatsoever.

#104 A.Sphere

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 06:00 PM

And atheism is attempting to steal from agnosticism because they have no answer.


Very wrong. Agnosticism is a statement concerning knowledge while atheism is a statement concerning belief. Therefore, it is quite possible, and in fact common, for an atheist to be an "agnostic atheist" and a theist to be an "agnostic theist".

Agnosticism in not a third choice between atheism and theism. I would imagine that most atheists on this board are "agnostic atheists" meaning that they are without belief in gods but they do not claim ultimate knowledge about reality; they most know before they believe. In other words, a lack of belief in gods is not the same as believing that there are no gods.

This is the brand of atheism that I would label myself as. If you don't want to call it atheism...then we can call it nonreligious but in essence you are playing semantics and when it comes down to it you are just defining a label in a convenient manner for you to deconstruct (strawman).

#105 Ron

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 07:45 PM

All the agnostics I have ever met are unsure if god exists.  In fact, that's the entire premise of agnosticism.  Being unsure of something require no faith; none whatsoever.

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I see you still don't get it (or are in complete denial). Being unsure of something requires faith to be unsure in that thing. Just as it requires faith to not believe in something.

#106 jason78

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 06:33 PM

Being unsure of something requires faith to be unsure in that thing. Just as it requires faith to not believe in something.

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Can you illustrate these two points for us Ron?

#107 Ron

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 05:17 AM

Can you illustrate these two points for us Ron?

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A cursory reading of post 102 illustrates the points quite nicely Jason.

#108 A.Sphere

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:29 AM

I see you still don't get it (or are in complete denial). Being unsure of something requires faith to be unsure in that thing. Just as it requires faith to not believe in something.

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So...being unsure that there is an invisible immaterial unicorn standing next to me requires faith? I certainty do not believe that the unicorn is there...but at the same time I cannot perform any tests to confirm that it is or is not there. Therefore I am an atheist because I do not have belief in the invisible immaterial unicorn, but I am agnostic because I don't claim to know that the invisible immaterial unicorn does not exist. This is how the terms atheist and agnostic apply in a classical sense.

Tell me, what physical tests can you perform that yield data concerning a god's existence? If there aren't any, then one cannot claim to know anything about a god's existence. You say that an agnostic is basically saying:

“I know enough about reality to affirm that there are some things about reality that I cannot know.”


And then you proceed to deconstruct this using an example that considers physical observation techniques on physical data. Your next example does not contain knowledge in the way in which it is defined in the case of agnosticism. Knowledge, defined appropriately for a discussion on agnosticism, must be attainable by demonstrating or observing a physical phenomenon. If God is a metaphysical entity then we cannot demonstrate or observe his existence in a physical way. If God can be observed in a physical way then we must change the definition of God from a metaphysical one to a physical one which requires an adjustment of the agnostics position because the nature of God's existence become knowable.

So perhaps a more proper definition of agnosticism is that the truth value of certain claims are unknowable until a physical methodology becomes available to consider them. That is certainly how I would describe my own agnosticism.

#109 jason78

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:05 PM

So...being unsure that there is an invisible immaterial unicorn standing next to me requires faith?  I certainty do not believe that the unicorn is there...but at the same time I cannot perform any tests to confirm that it is or is not there.  Therefore I am an atheist because I do not have belief in the invisible immaterial unicorn, but I am agnostic because I don't claim to know that the invisible immaterial unicorn does not exist.  This is how the terms atheist and agnostic apply in a classical sense.

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From what I understand of Rons argument, your belief that the invisible immaterial unicorn standing next to you doesn't exist presupposes that an invisible immaterial unicorn standing next to you does exist.

#110 Ron

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 04:45 AM

So...being unsure that there is an invisible immaterial unicorn standing next to me requires faith?  I certainty do not believe that the unicorn is there...but at the same time I cannot perform any tests to confirm that it is or is not there.  Therefore I am an atheist because I do not have belief in the invisible immaterial unicorn, but I am agnostic because I don't claim to know that the invisible immaterial unicorn does not exist.  This is how the terms atheist and agnostic apply in a classical sense.

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So you are denying historical evidences if this “invisible immaterial unicorn” standing” next to you then? Have you heard testimony of this “invisible immaterial unicorn” doing miraculous deeds, and these testimonies come from unimpeachable eye witnesses that would rather die horrific torturous deaths rather than deny what they saw personally?

You would posit a “invisible immaterial unicorn” instead of actually argue against the facts then?

At some point you will need to refute the argument, instead of skirting it at building a straw man to hide behind.

#111 Ron

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 04:46 AM

From what I understand of Rons argument, your belief that the invisible immaterial unicorn standing next to you doesn't exist presupposes that an invisible immaterial unicorn standing next to you does exist.

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And at sometime you will need to quit hiding behind the same lame arguments of other as well.

#112 A.Sphere

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 07:35 AM

So you are denying historical evidences if this “invisible immaterial unicorn” standing” next to you then? Have you heard testimony of this “invisible immaterial unicorn” doing miraculous deeds, and these testimonies come from unimpeachable eye witnesses that would rather die horrific torturous deaths rather than deny what they saw personally?

You would posit a  “invisible immaterial unicorn”  instead of actually argue against the facts then?

At some point you will need to refute the argument, instead of skirting it at building a straw man to hide behind.

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Eyewitness testimony written 2000 years ago doesn't constitute knowledge in the sense defined in agnosticism. Knowledge must come from observation of evidence. We have supposed eyewitness testimony of hundreds of alien abductions, UFOs, big foot, and other religious mythologies that contain stories of gods and prophets. I can neither confirm or invalidate these testimonies. Just as I can neither confirm or invalidate the testimonies of the disciples of Jesus. Because I cannot, as of yet, come up with a way to confirm their claims I am without belief in their claims. Because I cannot, as of yet, come up with a way to invalidate their claims I am agnostic with regards to their claims.

#113 Ron

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 09:39 AM

Eyewitness testimony written 2000 years ago doesn't constitute knowledge in the sense defined in agnosticism.  Knowledge must come from observation of evidence. 

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Eyewitness testimony written 2000 years ago, or two years ago, does in fact constitute knowledge whether or not you choose to accept it.

We have supposed eyewitness testimony of hundreds of alien abductions, UFOs, big foot, and other religious mythologies that contain stories of gods and prophets.  I can neither confirm or invalidate these testimonies.  Just as I can neither confirm or invalidate the testimonies of the disciples of Jesus.  Because I cannot, as of yet, come up with a way to confirm their claims I am without belief in their claims.  Because I cannot, as of yet, come up with a way to invalidate their claims I am agnostic with regards to their claims.

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In other words; in the face of the historical evidence which you cannot not refute, and therefore dismiss out-of-hand, and attempt to ridicule as “Elvis” or “Big Foot” sightings due to a priori beliefs, you are proclaiming yourself an agnostic on the subject.

Which, of course, proves my point.

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:00 AM

Eyewitness testimony written 2000 years ago, or two years ago, does in fact constitute knowledge whether or not you choose to accept it.

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Straightforward source criticism renders the New Testament unreliable. That remarkable public events in Judea such as Herod massacring infants around Bethlehem, the dead rising from their graves after a crucifiction and a resurrected figure appearing to 5000 are not corroborated by any contemporary non-Christian Jew or Roman indicates that there is some fictional element in the NT.

#115 falcone

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:00 AM

Eyewitness testimony written 2000 years ago, or two years ago, does in fact constitute knowledge whether or not you choose to accept it.
In other words; in the face of the historical evidence which you cannot not refute, and therefore dismiss out-of-hand, and attempt to ridicule as “Elvis” or “Big Foot” sightings due to a priori beliefs, you are proclaiming yourself an agnostic on the subject.

Which, of course, proves my point.

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But the point is that he can't confirm it either (yet), and is therefore agnostic on the matter.

#116 Ron

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:30 AM

Straightforward source criticism renders the New Testament unreliable.

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That is not only incorrect, but it is misleading (fallacious) as well. Much of the New Testament is corroborated contemporaneously. And, the more we study subjects such as archeology and historical documentation, the more we find validation for the New (and Old) Testaments.

That remarkable public events in Judea such as Herod massacring infants around Bethlehem, the dead rising from their graves after a crucifiction and a resurrected figure appearing to 5000 are not corroborated by any contemporary non-Christian Jew or Roman indicates that there is some fictional element in the NT.

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Just because contemporary writers do not corroborate portions of the New Testament, doesn’t relegate the eyewitness testimony as bereft of truth and accuracy they claim (and to make your claim, you need to provide evidences directly opposite of their claims. Otherwise you are merely speculating and promulgating spurious opinion). The absence of refutation of the time is telling as well. And even a cursory reading of the Talmud’s rendering of the times refutes your assertion.

Also, before you make such assertions, I might also suggest you read the writings of of Carius Cornelius Tacitus, Clement of Rome, Suetonius, Flavius Josephus, Polycarp of Smyrna, Pliny the younger, Papias, Ignatius of Antioch, Lucian, Quadratus of Athens, Thallus, Celsus, Eusebius of Caesarea, Mara Bar-Serapion, Tertulian, Hegesippus, Tertulian, and many other non-Christian (i.e. pagan), Christian, and Jewish writers from the first two centuries A.D. All of which wrote about the historical Jesus and/or His followers. But the bigger question is the fact that you don’t accept the writings of the New Testament authors (and eyewitnesses) even though you cannot impugn their testimony. You may be greatly surprised at the corroborations for the New Testament writers.

#117 Ron

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:32 AM

But the point is that he can't confirm it either (yet), and is therefore agnostic on the matter.

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There is a big difference between the inability to confirm, and the decision to "not want" to confirm. There is a plethora of historical data (evidence) that confirms, and very little (sans current opinion) data that opposes.

#118 A.Sphere

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:42 AM

Eyewitness testimony written 2000 years ago, or two years ago, does in fact constitute knowledge whether or not you choose to accept it.


It only provides evidence that Jesus and his disciples may have existed. It does not confirm that he actually performed miracles or that mythology that considers him to be a messiah is true. Unless I can see Jesus perform the miracles today, test the miracles for fraud, or unless his miracles left some sort of physical imprint that I could analyze and somehow (though how is beyond me) attribute it to a miracle then I cannot accept hearsay as knowledge of Christian metaphysical claims.


In other words; in the face of the historical evidence which you cannot not refute, and therefore dismiss out-of-hand, and attempt to ridicule as “Elvis” or “Big Foot” sightings due to a priori beliefs, you are proclaiming yourself an agnostic on the subject.


I don't see the difference. There are 100's of eyewitness accounts of bigfoot. There are books about it, magazine articles, and documentaries that make up a mythology (no different than a religion). Those eyewitness accounts only give knowledge that there are people who believe in big foot but they do not provide knowledge of bigfoot's existence. Likewise, you have a book that is also mythology. It mentions a human named Jesus who was supposedly the son of God and performed miracles. We can only infer from this hearsay that there may be evidence that the man Jesus existed...whether or not the claims of his miracles and the mythology that he supports is true cannot be inferred.

#119 Ron

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:13 AM

It only provides evidence that Jesus and his disciples may have existed. 

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Historically, with this kind of evidence, it does far more than “provides evidence that Jesus and his disciples may have existed”. Unless you just want to simply dis-believe the evidence. And that, my friend is a “faith statement”

It does not confirm that he actually performed miracles or that mythology that considers him to be a messiah is true. 

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Unfortunately, for those who blindly dis-believe the evidence, they will never allow themselves to view the evidence subjectively, and weigh that evidence against the contrary evidence (in this case, there is no “contrary evidence”. Therefore, the evidentiary disbelievers then are relying on their “faith statement’s” to see them through the mountains of historical evidence, in order to deny that evidence.


Unless I can see Jesus perform the miracles today, test the miracles for fraud, or unless his miracles left some sort of physical imprint that I could analyze and somehow (though how is beyond me) attribute it to a miracle then I cannot accept hearsay as knowledge of Christian metaphysical claims.

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The “physical imprint” is the mountains of historical evidence that has been thoroughly “analyzed” with absolutely no contemporaneous disparagements against it.


I don't see the difference.  There are 100's of eyewitness accounts of bigfoot. 

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How many have given their lives by horrendous, torturous and savage deaths (thrown in boiling oil, crucified, burned alive, sawn in half etcetera) rather then recant what they eye-witnessed? In other words, who would go through that, if they knew it was a lie?

Are there any eye-witness of Big Foot, Elvis, UFO’s (etcetera), that you know of, that were willing to do that?

It takes a lot more than hearsay to cause someone to die for what they know is a lie.

And your blatant denial of all the evidence cannot wash that away…

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:33 PM

Just because contemporary writers do not corroborate portions of the New Testament, doesn’t relegate the eyewitness testimony as bereft of truth and accuracy they claim (and to make your claim, you need to provide evidences directly opposite of their claims. Otherwise you are merely speculating and promulgating spurious opinion). The absence of refutation of the time is telling as well. And even a cursory reading of the Talmud’s rendering of the times refutes your assertion.


Absence of corroboration detracts from the credibility of a source describing extraordinary public events. One would not expect independent record of a miracle preformed in relative privacy (Wedding at Cana) or a plausible public event (Sermon on the Mount). However, it seems strange that no non-Christian mentions the excitement that would have been generated by the dead rising from their graves or a reseurrected apparation being witnessed by 5000. This casts doubt on whether the NT constitutes a genuine chronical.

Lack of refutation at the time suggests a lack of interest in Judea.

Also, before you make such assertions, I might also suggest you read the writings of of Carius Cornelius Tacitus, Clement of Rome, Suetonius, Flavius Josephus, Polycarp of Smyrna, Pliny the younger, Papias, Ignatius of Antioch, Lucian, Quadratus of Athens, Thallus, Celsus, Eusebius of Caesarea, Mara Bar-Serapion, Tertulian, Hegesippus, Tertulian, and many other non-Christian (i.e. pagan), Christian, and Jewish writers from the first two centuries A.D. All of which wrote about the historical Jesus and/or His followers.


Tacitus wrote in the second century of a crucifiction a century before and Christian persecution in first-century Rome (historically plausible). Joesphus in the Testimonium Flavianum wrote at the end of the first century that Jesus had been the prophesised resurrected Christ. If Josephus wrote this it must be because he believed it and was a Christian convert born after Jesus's death; if like most Jews he did not then he would not assert in such a manner and the testimonium would be a later addition to the Antiquities.


But the bigger question is the fact that you don’t accept the writings of the New Testament authors (and eyewitnesses) even though you cannot impugn their testimony. You may be greatly surprised at the corroborations for the New Testament writers.

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The New Testament writers could only have been eyewitnesses after Jesus began his ministry. Prior to that their testimonies clash, for instance over genealogies and the date of Jesus' birth (Matthew implies 4BC given we know Herod Philip 1 died in AD 33 and 37 years after his father Herod the Great who masssacred the innocents whereas Luke implies 6AD during the census of Quirinius following the application of direct Roman rule in Judea and Samaria).

It is true that the places meantioned are authentic and several characters are corroborated - the Herods, Quirinius, Pilate etc. I do not doubt that people called Jesus and John the Baptist were historically real.

I would not claim to be able refute the gospel testimony. However, uncorroborated extraordinary public events are implausible and detract from the source's credibility (essential if one is to make a leap of faith).




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