Debate 017: Sarah and Blair debate prophecy

Sarah’s original email was sent to me as a “warning” of end times based on some prophecies and modern prophets. My first reaction to her opening paragraphs were of great interest as I was looking forward to a good debate. Then I ran across the prophecy part and her belief in modern prophets (the Christian word for psychics). My original response was severely facetious and, admittedly, rather insulting. When she responded back I was surprised and decided to give her statements more attention.

 

Sarah Rebuttal #001:

I am Christian that decided to visit your site to make you aware of the future. First of all I do not understand any of your reasoning in why you don’t believe in God. Scientist have developed three main thesis’ on how the universe was formed. It is either eternal, the universe created itself out of nothing, or it was created by a supreme being. Modern science today denies the eternal existence of the universe, they discovered that it has a definite beginning. The other theory which states that the universe was created out of nothing has also been disproved, it clearly contradicts the law of thermodynamics and many other laws that have been created. Therefore the universe was obviously not created out of nothing. The only remaining alternative is that the universe was created by something, or someone.

In the past, atheists suggested that the mind is nothing more than a function of the brain, which is matter; thus the mind and the brain are the same, and matter is all that exists. However, that viewpoint is no longer intellectually credible, as a result of the scientific experiments of British neurologist, Sir John Eccles. Dr. Eccles won the Nobel Prize for distinguishing that the mind is more than merely physical. He showed that the supplementary motor area of the brain may be fired by mere intention to do something, without the motor cortex of the brain (which controls muscle movements) operating. In effect, the mind is to the brain what a librarian is to a library.

From evidence such as that presented here, Robert Jastrow (an agnostic, by his own admission) was forced to conclude: “That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact” (1982, p. 18). The evidence speaks clearly regarding the existence of a non-contingent, eternal, self-existent Mind that created this Universe and everything within it.

Other things that you may not ever be able to explain are the prophecy’s. There were 55 prophecy’s that were made of the coming messiah. Jesus Christ fulfilled every single one of those. According to a group of mathematicians. The odds of this happening is 1 out of every 1 x 10 to the 56th power. I don’t know about you but it didn’t seem like it happened by chance. The bible code that has been discovered also has similar odds. These are a group of words that are found throughout the bible that have predicted many events throughout time. Many of the odds of these phrases appearing in the bible “by chance” is 1 out of a billion times a trillion.

There is so much more that I could say that would prove God exists, as I said I wrote this e-mail to make you aware of the future.

As almost the whole world knows, on September 11th 2001 we were attacked by a group of terrorists. This along with many other prophecy’s were given to our people from the lord in order to warn America. America is going through a great judgment period along with the rest of the world. Our stock market will soon crash and we will also be attacked by Russia and China initiating the beginning of World War III. Our country will be filled with plagues (anthrax, small pox), our water supply will be contaminated, and famine will sweep across America. Soon more terrorist attacks will be filling the country. The reason this is going to happen is not because God doesn’t love us, but it is because he does. He wants us to turn to him, once you do you will be safe from this judgment that will reach the United States. If you still do not believe once you see these things come to pass ask Jesus Christ into your heart and you will be guaranteed eternal life. Trust me it is very strange but I used to be just like you, doubting that any higher power exists. But now I know for a fact he absolutely does, there is just too much evidence in the world to deny it. All of your theories can be refuted, every single one of them. A man once was dying and the hospital nurse was trying to revive him, after a couple times he came back he screamed “Bring me back I was just in hell!” Please take this warning, is it worth giving up eternal life just because you want to stick with “your principles?”

I do not believe it is worth it, if you would like more information about the prophecy’s and/or more proof on the existence of God I will gladly give it to you. After I truly discovered the truth I was thinking to myself how selfish a lot of my friends were from keeping this from me and other people. They had the security of eternal life if they died while I sat there still trying to figure out if there still was a supreme being. I knew I had to share it now that I found out the truth and decided to go to an atheist website and came to yours.

If you still doubt God please try praying and the lord will send you fulfillment so that you will find the truth.

If you do not believe prayer works, scientific studies have proven that prayer in fact does work. If you pray in the name of Jesus Christ you will get whatever you ask for, however God will not tend to your desires such as money, leisure, women or men, he knows what’s best for you but will always provide you with what you need. If you would like more information about the prophecy’s and/or more proof on the existence of God I will gladly give it to you, thank you for taking the time to read this.

 

Response to Sarah #001:

NOTE: This is a reminder that I was really insulting in my initial response. Ready beware…

For a minute there I though we were going to have an intellectual discussion about cosmology and neurology. I was interested and ready to engage in a lively and intellectual discussion about those issues.

Then in paragraph four you strayed from intelligent to unintelligible.

SARAH: “…on September 11th 2001 we were attacked by a group of terrorists. This along with many other prophecy’s [sic] were given to our people from the lord in order to warn America.”

Where were the attacks of 9/11 prophesied at?

SARAH: “Our stock market will soon crash and we will also be attacked by Russia and China initiating the beginning of World War III.”

Where is this prophesied in the Bible? Please provide the exact scriptural reference that says “the stock market will crash” and where it says “Russia and China will attack the United States”. Also provide any reference to scripture in the Bible that clearly says “World War III”. Also, does this so-called prophesy have any dates or are we all to guess?

SARAH: “Our country will be filled with plagues (anthrax, small pox), our water supply will be contaminated, and famine will sweep across America. Soon more terrorist attacks will be filling the country.”

Again, please provide the exact scripture that says “plagues of anthrax and smallpox, contaminated water and famine will sweep across America”. Does your prophecy provide a list of places that will be hit by terrorists or dates the terrorists will attack? Or is it so vague that anyone can find something to fit it? Don’t give me vague statements about the future – really give me a prophecy that will convince me – give me dates, names and places.

SARAH: “He wants us to turn to him, once you do you will be safe from this judgment that will reach the United States.”

Let me get this straight. God loves me, so he’s going to torture me to force me to love him back? Do you love your children? Would you torture them and force them to love you back? Would you purposely make your children sick, burn them, kill them or otherwise make them suffer in order to force them to “turn to you”? Any god that would purposely torture his creation in order to force them to love him is not worthy of any love, much less worship. A parent that did that would be locked away in prison for life. Your version of god is a sick, twisted and perverted belief.

SARAH: “Please take this warning, is it worth giving up eternal life just because you want to stick with “your principles?””

Is it worth not believing in Allah and giving up eternal life? Let’s face it; the one true god is Allah – not Jesus. There were 600-some-odd Christians on board the airplanes and many more in the Twin Towers and Pentagon. All of them prayed to be saved and their prayers went unanswered. There were 19 Muslims onboard the planes that were all praying to Allah to successfully complete their mission.

Whose prayers were answered? Not the Christians – because the Christian god is just pretend. The Muslim prayers were answered. Allah is risen! Repent infidels and come to Allah before he smites thee for worshiping the pagan Christ.

SARAH: “I do not believe it is worth it, if you would like more information about the prophecy’s [sic] and/or more proof on the existence of God I will gladly give it to you.”

Yes, please provide the following information:

  1. Source of these so-called prophecies.
  2. List of all events that are forthcoming.
  3. List of all the dates for said events.
  4. List of all the places where said events are to take place.
  5. List of all the names of key players in said events.
  6. The comic book character you most closely identify with.
  7. Is it possible to read the Bible when doing it doggie style?
  8. A list of all pharmaceutical (prescribed and non-prescribed) drugs that you are currently taking.
  9. The police file or other documentation of the mental abuse that you suffered as a child.

That should do it for now.

SARAH: “If you still doubt God please try praying and the lord will send you fulfillment so that you will find the truth.”

What is it with born-again Christians and this line of horsesh*t? Do you think that atheists were never Christians before or Muslims or Hindus? Do you think we’ve never prayed before? Do you think we’ve never read the Bible before?

God is just pretend. He’s the adult version of Santa Claus. Take a Prozac and call me in the morning when you’re not so delusional and having hallucinations about the end of the world.

SARAH: “…thank you for taking the time to read this.”

You’re not welcome. That was the biggest load of bullsh*t I’ve ever read in my life. Whatever drugs you are taking – throw them away. Whoever brainwashed you with this load of sh*t – slap them in the face. Wake up to reality before these hallucinations take you in so far that you can’t get out. See a psychologist before it’s too late. I mean this with all sincerity.

Although I guess I should thank you for sending it to me – I needed a good laugh today and your email provided it. I’ll be sure to send it to my friends so we can all laugh at you.

Pathetic doesn’t even begin to describe it…

 

Sarah Rebuttal #002:

I just wanted to say that I was only warning you, I told you these so when you see them come to pass then you will know that God does exist.

If you would like to still have an “intellectual conversation” about cosmology and neurology I would like to hear your theories on how the universe was created. If you must know, those were prophesied by many prophets, it does not clearly say it in the bible but if you wish then I will show you where in Revelations it predicts events much like it. I do not mind if you mock me, go ahead and have a good laugh. I did misjudge you however, i know now that you have probably prayed and might have been a religion before. What religion were you before it if you ever were one? I understand that you think I’m pathetic I probably would have found that letter extremely pathetic if I ready it a year ago.

I have a question though, why do you say that the one true god is allah? I thought you did not believe in a god. Isn’t it hypocritical to say that a god is not worth worshiping if he would punish his creation then say allah will “smite” me for worshiping Christ? It seems like three different people wrote this letter.

 

Response to Sarah #002:

We cannot have an intellectual conversation because of your stance on prophecy. I will ask you the same questions. When you can answer them honestly, including intellectual honesty, then perhaps we can continue with other topics.

SARAH: “…on September 11th 2001 we were attacked by a group of terrorists. This along with many other prophecy’s [sic] were given to our people from the lord in order to warn America.”

Where were the attacks of 9/11 prophesied at?

SARAH: “Our stock market will soon crash and we will also be attacked by Russia and China initiating the beginning of World War III.”

Where is this prophesied in the Bible? Please provide the exact scriptural reference that says “the stock market will crash” and where it says “Russia and China will attack the United States”. Also provide any reference to scripture in the Bible that clearly says “World War III”. Also, does this so-called prophesy have any dates or are we all to guess?

SARAH: “Our country will be filled with plagues (anthrax, small pox), our water supply will be contaminated, and famine will sweep across America. Soon more terrorist attacks will be filling the country.”

Again, please provide the exact scripture that says “plagues of anthrax and smallpox, contaminated water and famine will sweep across America”. Does your prophecy provide a list of places that will be hit by terrorists or dates the terrorists will attack? Or is it so vague that anyone can find something to fit it? Don’t give me vague statements about the future – really give me a prophecy that will convince me – give me dates, names and places.

SARAH: “He wants us to turn to him, once you do you will be safe from this judgment that will reach the United States.”

Let me get this straight. God loves me, so he’s going to torture me to force me to love him back? Do you love your children? Would you torture them and force them to love you back? Would you purposely make your children sick, burn them, kill them or otherwise make them suffer in order to force them to “turn to you”? Any god that would purposely torture his creation in order to force them to love him is not worthy of any love, much less worship. A parent that did that would be locked away in prison for life. Your version of god is a sick, twisted and perverted belief.

SARAH: “I do not believe it is worth it, if you would like more information about the prophecy’s [sic] and/or more proof on the existence of God I will gladly give it to you.”

Yes, please provide the following information:

  1. Source of these so-called prophecies.
  2. List of all events that are forthcoming.
  3. List of all the dates for said events.
  4. List of all the places where said events are to take place.
  5. List of all the names of key players in said events.

The reference to Allah was facetious. I’m an atheist – not a Muslim. Let me put it here again so you can re-read it and hopefully understand what I was trying to say:

SARAH: “Please take this warning, is it worth giving up eternal life just because you want to stick with “your principles?””

Is it worth not believing in Allah and giving up eternal life? Let’s face it; the one true god is Allah – not Jesus. There were 600-some-odd Christians on board the airplanes and many more in the Twin Towers and Pentagon. All of them prayed to be saved and their prayers went unanswered. There were 19 Muslims onboard the planes that were all praying to Allah to successfully complete their mission.

Whose prayers were answered? Not the Christians – because the Christian god is just pretend. The Muslim prayers were answered. Allah is risen! Repent infidels and come to Allah before he smites thee for worshiping the pagan Christ.

 

Sarah Rebuttal #003:

Alright I admit that I was being a little out of perspective for writing these prophecies. I can understand why you would be a little annoyed by them considering the fact that you don’t believe in god and that the bible doesn’t even specifically predict these prophecies.

Since you are very familiar with the bible you know that in revelations it states that there will be famine, war, plagues and so on. I don’t believe I need to point these versus out because they are very easy to find. What prophecies I am telling you about are the one’s that are predicted by many prophets that the lord has given through visions and dreams. If you would like to look at the website here it is. You have to download adobe acrobat reader in order to read them. http://www.telusplanet.net/public/tsgibson/bksart.html

Please remember that god does not give specific dates of certain events, he only wishes to warn us. It even states in the bible in Mark 13:32-33 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but the father alone. Take heed, keep on alert; for you do not know when the appoint time is. I am not wishing to give you these prophecies just to make you afraid and turn to him. Although I take comfort in the lord protecting me I have found something very disturbing in one of these prophecies. A man that had predicted the falling of the World Trade Centers has also predicted that a nucleur attack will take place in an American city. The whole city will be annihilated and because of this the U.S. will become almost like a third world country. When I read this I was thinking it was going to be city such as Chicago or New York City, but the city he stated was Phoenix,Arizona. I live about 20 minutes away from Phoenix. Now I cannot say for sure and believe me I do not think that every single prophecy that is told by the prophets will take place. However I do believe many of them will happen, and also have already occurred.

When I saw what you wrote about Allah I was very confused, however I finally came to the conclusion that you were in fact being facetious. As for you wondering about why god would hurt his children in these judgements when he is supposed to be a loving god? I believe that god is not the one doing these things to us, he gave us free will so that we may make our own decisions. We were the one’s that chose to hate and murder, not God. The only thing God has done is taken is hand of protection away from our country because we chose to turn away from him (as with many other nations in the world).

I know you think I’m probably not capable of having an intellectual conversation because of my stance on these prophecies, however I am not the idiot you may think. I have answered with my honest opinion. I must admit I have much more respect for you for writing back with a more sincere reply. I have read what many so called “Christians” have done to you. I would like you to know that many Christians (including I) in no way support these acts of hatred.

 

Response to Sarah #003:

SARAH: “I can understand why you would be a little annoyed by them considering the fact that you don’t believe in god and that the bible doesn’t even specifically predict these prophecies.”

I wasn’t annoyed by the “prophecies”. The simple fact remains that none of the so-called prophecies are actually such. None of them are specific enough to qualify as a prophecy. They are vague and many of them are throwbacks. What I mean by a throwback is that when someone is writing in the future, they have the ability to go back into previous text and find items that they can make fit current events or recently past events that they are writing about.

A good example of this is Nostradamus. Nostradamus’ writings are so vague that no one can say with any certainty that one relates to one event or another. What happens is that as each person goes through them, they find the individual quatrains that they think fit a certain era or event. It is not uncommon to find a single quatrain attributed to several events.

This is the problem that is faced with the NT. The writers at the time knew of the so-called prophecies and they were forced to either make up events to fit them or find vague references that would fit actual events. Even if you read different apologetic books, each apologist attributes different events to different references in the OT. Even Biblical apologists are faced with the same dilemma that followers of Nostradamus are.

You have to consider that the writers of the NT, all five gospels (don’t forget about Thomas), knew of the OT references when they were writing. Why do you think there are so many discrepancies and contradictions in the NT? Each of them wrote with their own agenda and their own nuances and thoughts on the OT references. Why do some of the NT writers not mention events? How many of the gospels actually mention the birth of Jesus and specifically where he was born? Of the ones that do finally mention it, which ones actually agree with each other?

You would think that the birth of the Messiah was a significant enough event to warrant mention in all of the gospels, especially since it was supposed to fulfill some vague prophecy from the OT. Yet not all of them mention it. When it is first mentioned, it is the wrong city. The next gospel then corrects that “mistake” and places the birth in the city that actually matches the vague OT prophecy. Three strikes you’re out – and the NT writers struck out.

There’s a reason that the Jews rejected Jesus: he didn’t fulfill the prophecies. This is why a “Second Coming” was necessary for the NT writers to invent, which of course meant they had to invent a method for the “Second Coming”, which is the resurrection. The Messiah was supposed to come with swords blazing and free the Jews from Roman oppression. The Messiah was supposed be “the sword of G-d” that would help the Jews revolt against the Romans. There were many other prophecies that the Jews considered not to be fulfilled.

SARAH: “Since you are very familiar with the bible you know that in revelations it states that there will be famine, war, plagues and so on. I don’t believe I need to point these versus out because they are very easy to find.”

Yes, there are references to such events. But they are all vague and provide no data or dates. Also, if you consider the Jewish/Aramaic use of numerology at the time, the book of Revelation has nothing to do with the “Second Coming” of Jesus, but of Nero. The numbers 666 are the numerological translation for Emperor Nero. The Jews were scared to death that he would come back. Any good Biblical scholar will tell you that, especially a Jewish scholar that knows the use of numerology in sacred texts, such as Revelation and the Torah.

Perhaps you can explain the Biblical statement, “Know that a generation shall not pass before the Kingdom of God is established” (variations thereof depending on translation used)? Jesus was telling the disciples that they would see the “Kingdom of God” in their lifetime; the “Second Coming” would be before they die. They all thought it was going to happen soon. When it didn’t happen it became necessary in a later gospel to say, “No one but the Father shall know the time and place”.

SARAH: “What prophecies I am telling you about are the one’s that are predicted by many prophets that the lord has given through visions and dreams. If you would like to look at the website here it is. You have to download adobe acrobat reader in order to read them.http://www.telusplanet.net/public/tsgibson/bksart.html

I didn’t have the opportunity to view the “visions and dreams” of prophets. What I can tell you, though, is that anyone can say they received a vision from God. Visions of Armageddon are not prophetic, they are natural nightmares. We all dream about the end of the world, but that doesn’t make us prophets. Where is the proof of their so-called visions? Do you not require them to prove that they are a vessel of God before accepting their visions? Why do you accept their statements so arbitrarily without asking if they are authentic or imposters?

SARAH: “Please remember that god does not give specific dates of certain events, he only wishes to warn us.”

What’s the point, then? Why bother to warn us at all if there is no timeframe? If you knew exactly when and where your kids were going to be killed, wouldn’t you tell them when and where and how to avoid it? Or would you just tell them that at some point in the next fifty years they are going to die? Would you be vague with the ones that you loved?

SARAH: “It even states in the bible in Mark 13:32-33 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but the father alone.”

I’ve already addressed that issue, haven’t I? That was added in order to account for the misinformation provided in an earlier gospel about a generation not passing before the Kingdom of God was established on Earth. It was the earliest form of apologetics – only they forgot to change the original. Modern apologists are still trying to explain that one without admitting that the Bible is contradictory.

SARAH: “I am not wishing to give you these prophecies just to make you afraid and turn to him.”

You wouldn’t be able to make me “turn to him” out of fear. After all, any deity that says he loves you and then threatens to burn you for eternity in a lake of fire unless you worship him is not worthy of worship in the first place. Would you worship a King that threatened to kill you if you didn’t worship him? What makes your God impervious to such?

SARAH: “A man that had predicted the falling of the World Trade Centers has also predicted that a nucleur [sic] attack will take place in an American city.”

Please give me the exact statements from this so-called prophet that predicted the demise of the World Trade Center of 9/11 at 8AM in the morning. I also need to know the exact date and time that this prediction was made. Can this man provide that information or did you find out about it after the fact?

SARAH: “The whole city will be annihilated and because of this the U.S. will become almost like a third world country.”

This is highly unlikely, even if the prophecy is true. Certainly a nuclear explosion in a major economic area such as Los Angeles would have a devastating effect, but not in a way to make us a third world country.

SARAH: “When I read this I was thinking it was going to be city such as Chicago or New York City, but the city he stated was Phoenix, Arizona.”

There is absolutely no way that a city-wide destruction of Phoenix would turn the US into a third world country. Phoenix is big, but in the overall scheme of things, it is a drop in the bucket economically as far as the US goes. We’d see similar effects after 9/11 where the economy dives for a bit and then starts to recover. This would be no different than a major 8.0 earthquake in a major city.

SARAH: “As for you wondering about why god would hurt his children in these judgements when he is supposed to be a loving god? I believe that god is not the one doing these things to us, he gave us free will so that we may make our own decisions.”

So you admit that God is not omni-benevolent and omnipotent?

SARAH: “We were the one’s that chose to hate and murder, not God.”

Perhaps you should read the OT again. God is the perpetrator of mass genocide, even on a global scale (Noachian flood). Murder is murder, regardless of any reasoning some deity has to do it.

SARAH: “The only thing God has done is taken is hand of protection away from our country because we chose to turn away from him (as with many other nations in the world).”

Do you not see your contradiction here? You say that God is not “doing it”, but at the same time you say that he let it happen by “removing his hand of protection”. Would you allow your child to be killed if you knew about it ahead of time just because your child was a little disobedient? Are your children, whom you supposedly love, worth the sacrifice just because of disobedience? If God let it happen then he did do it. If God removed protection from the intended target, then he is guilty of murder through negligence and association. If God knew the terrorists were going to kill 3,000 plus people and let it happen, then he is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.

SARAH: “I know you think I’m probably not capable of having an intellectual conversation because of my stance on these prophecies, however I am not the idiot you may think.”

I don’t think you’re an idiot. What I do think is that you have been improperly misled into believing a bunch of bologna. You have been misled either because you needed to believe it or because you are ignorant of the information out there debunking such nonsense.

SARAH: “I have read what many so called “Christians” have done to you. I would like you to know that many Christians (including I) in no way support these acts of hatred.”

Thank you.

 

Sarah Rebuttal #004:

BLAIR: “They are vague and many of them are throwbacks. What I mean by a throwback is that when someone is writing in the future, they have the ability to go back into previous text and find items that they can make fit current events or recently past events that they are writing about.”

The NT text has already created many theories on what the actual end times entail as described in the bible. The decisions based on their research has been almost unanimous among biblical scholars today. I believe only time will tell as to if these prophecies will be fulfilled including the new world order, a world wide religion that will be imposed on most of mankind and so on.

BLAIR: “There is absolutely no way that a city-wide destruction of Phoenix would turn the US into a third world country. Phoenix is big, but in the overall scheme of things, it is a drop in the bucket economically as far as the US goes.”

I very much hope that you are right about this.

BLAIR: “Do you not see your contradiction here? You say that God is not “doing it”, but at the same time you say that he let it happen by “removing his hand of protection”. Would you allow your child to be killed if you knew about it ahead of time just because your child was a little disobedient?”

I cannot pretend I know everything about god therefore I cannot answer this question very effectively.

I believe I could make an effective argument towards Christianity but I would rather like to revert the debate back to cosmology and other subjects. I have deleted my proceeding e-mails so I do not remember the subjects I brought up with you in my first e-mail. If you would like to bring up any new subjects or even cease this debate since you are very busy I will not be offended.

NOTE: I have not yet responded to Sarah. I wasn’t going to respond because her last email was not worth any response. However, her call to go back to her original email before the “sidetrack” of prophecy may be worth it. I’m still considering…

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Debate 014: James and Blair debate biblical inerrancy

I love it when I get people that insist on the inerrancy of the Bible. All I offer them is a little Bible study directly in the New Testament. It all boils down to 12 questions about the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s the new 12-step program. Of course his inerrancy question was just a lead-in for proselytizing; but I like to have a little fun, too.

 

James Rebuttal #001:

Your website states:

BLAIR: “No matter how you cut it, the Bible cannot be used as proof of God. The Bible is not exceptional proof, it is full of errors, inconsistencies, contradictions and its source is highly questionable (at best).”

I am curious as to why you attacked only the origin (source) of the Bible when it is but one of four things you mentioned. I would like to see some of these things “errors, inconsistencies and/or contradictions” from a King James Bible.

Also, there is a reason that you don’t understand the Bible and seem to find fault in it… “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:14 You probably can’t understand that verse either, but in the verse it states why you can’t. Basically, because you are unsaved and have no relationship with Jesus Christ, you are blinded to the truth that lies in the Bible (i.e. you can’t figure it out). I hope to receive a response or a reply on your website. Thank you for your time.

 

Response to James #001:

JAMES: “I am curious as to why you attacked only the origin (source) of the Bible when it is but one of four things you mentioned.”

Because the contradictions, inconsistencies and errors are obvious. I also discuss these problems in several of my debates, so the information is available. Biblical scholars recognize such as well, so this point is not in contention except with apologists that make up some of the funniest things in order to rationalize these contradictions.

JAMES: “I would like to see some of these things “errors, inconsistencies and/or contradictions” from a King James Bible.”

Let’s do a bit of Bible-study, shall we? I will leave this up to you so that you can see the contradictions for yourself and more importantly, identify them on your own. Below is a list of questions. Answer each question with information from all four gospels. Do not leave out any information or try to blend answers. Leave the answers as they are stated in each gospel. We’ll look at the resurrection of Jesus just for starters:

  1. What time did the women visit the tomb?
  2. Which women visited the tomb?
  3. Was the tomb open when they arrived?
  4. Who was at the tomb when they got there?
  5. What did the messenger tell the women?
  6. Did the women tell what happened?
  7. Did Mary know Jesus had resurrected when she returned to the tomb?
  8. When did Mary first see the resurrected Jesus?
  9. After visiting the women at the tomb, whom did the resurrected Jesus visit next?
  10. Where did the resurrected Jesus first appear to the disciples?
  11. Did the resurrected Jesus stay on Earth or depart that same day for Heaven?
  12. Where did the ascension take place?

Answer those 12 questions and get back to me.

JAMES: “Basically, because you are unsaved and have no relationship with Jesus Christ, you are blinded to the truth that lies in the Bible (i.e. you can’t figure it out).”

Funny, that’s what the Muslims say about you and your inability to understand the Qu’ran.

You’re initial assumption that I was never a Christian is wrong. Every sacred religious text is basically the same when it comes to exaggerations, interpolations, mythology and other nonsense. The only reason that you’re a Christian is because you are a victim of geography. If you lived in India you would be telling me that I can’t understand Vishnu through the Verdi because I’m “blinded”. If you lived in Saudi Arabia you would be telling me that I can’t understand Allah through the Qu’ran because I’m “blinded”. If you lived in Jerusalem you would be telling me that I can’t understand Yahweh through the Torah because I’m “blinded”. The list goes on and on.

You’re a Christian not because of any Biblical truth, but because you were raised in a mostly-Christian environment. You are a victim of geography.

JAMES: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 1 Cor 1:18-19″

Don’t you find it odd that wisdom, intelligence and knowledge are frowned upon in the Bible? It starts at the “tree of knowledge” and is perpetuated from there. I’ve read the Bible many, many times and I’ve yet to find a single verse that embraces intelligence and knowledge. Why is it that your god (read priestcraft) wants you to be dumb?

 

James Rebuttal #002:

Just wanted to thank you for your quick response. I will be happy to get back to you regarding the Bible study as soon as I get time to do it (I’m in the Navy, going to Bible school and trying to raise a family-which all keep me pretty busy). 2 things I’d like to address right now though…if you’re saved, great.

The Bible (which I know you don’t believe) says even if we deny him, he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. So if the Bible is right I’ll see you in Heaven and there will be more debate. Also, God does not want us to be dumb, but when a person thinks they’re too smart for God…they’ve learned too much. The verse I quoted was in reference to what I just stated. There are many, many intelligent Christians as I’m sure you can’t deny.

I hope you have a great day and will get back to you regarding the “Bible study.”

 

Response to James #002:

JAMES: “The Bible (which I know you don’t believe) says even if we deny him, he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. So if the Bible is right I’ll see you in Heaven and there will be more debate.”

Thanks for pointing out another contradiction. The Bible also states that only those that accept Jesus as The Christ can get into Heaven. Which is it? Does God let all in that are faithful, or just those that accept Jesus as The Christ? They are not the same. There are lots of faithful in the world that do not accept Jesus as The Christ and there are many faithful that do not even believe that Jesus ever existed.

JAMES: “Also, God does not want us to be dumb, but when a person thinks they’re too smart for God…they’ve learned too much.”

Personally, I think you’re wrong about this. There are many references in the Bible that make derogatory remarks about knowledge or the quest for knowledge. You are somewhat correct in saying that some of this is about learning more about God, but not all of them, put into correct context, are talking about learning about God.

What was the Fall of Man about? The very heart of Christian theology is about the repercussions for gaining knowledge. Jesus died for the sins of man because man was inherently sinful since the Original Sin. Adam & Eve gained access to the same knowledge that the gods had and that pissed the gods off. The fact that man had knowledge was abhorant to the gods and so they expelled Adam & Eve from paradise and put in them shame, pain, suffering and humility. God punished them like a child throwing a temper-tantrum (as my daughter once put it).

The very foundation of the Christian faith is the godly wrath over the gaining of knowledge and the punishment suffered because that knowledge was gained.

James never responded.

Debate 011: Travis and Blair debate Creationism & Jesus

Travis Rebuttal #001:

just want to comment on monogenes quickly. you are accurate in saying that it means “one of a kind” or “unique.” that is the correct translation from the Greek. however, i have to take issue with your comment, “Bet they don’t teach you that in Church!” this is an incredibly incorrect statement. i have taught from the pulpit of my own church that monogenes is translated “only begotten” incorrectly in the King James Version, and that the NIV’s rendering “The One and only” is much more accurate. manuscript evidence, of course, points to the fact that this phrase is calling Jesus “the one and only God,” therefore being a strong statement of His deity.

but i just wanted to make you aware that Christian scholarship is up to date on the meaning of monogenes, and that it is being taught in church and Christian organizations. just thought you’d want to be as accurate as possible in your presentation of facts, given that you’re defending such a difficult position.

Response to Travis #001:

Thank your for contacting me via Atheism Awareness. I’m glad to hear that your church is teaching the numerous mistranslations in the KJV. I assume you are also covering the numerous mistranslations in all translations because of all the variants and of course the lack of original manuscripts.

Christian scholarship has been up-to-date for a long time. The problem has not been the scholarship – but disseminating that scholarship to the “flock”. That is why the Jesus Seminar received so much slack for publishing its work. Conventional scholarship faculties were upset that this knowledge was being given to the public.

It’s nice to hear that some churches are teaching Biblical scholarship and criticism.

Travis Rebuttal #002:

thanks for your response. it seems that type of thing happens often, where the rest of the world does not catch up with scholarship. for example, many of the world’s leading evolutionists (now former evolutionists) have said that evolution is the greatest myth ever invented, and that the only thing we really know about evolution is that it should not be taught in schools. yet obviously the schools have not caught up with the scholarship of science.

As for the Jesus Seminar…i’ve got to be honest: to even use the word “scholar” in association with that group seems absurd. it is not only Christian scholars who are up in arms about the findings of the Jesus Seminar. Even non-Christian scholars find their methods to be unscholarly and untrustworthy. (I could provide information on all of this if you’d like).

And yes, there are quite a few textual issues to deal with concerning Scripture. however, i would like to note that if there is any document from antiquity in existence that has enough textual support to make it a reliable text, it is the New Testament. i’m sure you’ve heard the staggering number of NT texts that have been found…somewhere up over 5,000. compare that to Homer’s Illiad, the text from antiquity which comes in second for number of texts, for which we have somewhere over 600. it never ceases to amaze me that we trust things like the historian Tacitus; his Annals is used often as a reliable historical record from the first century, yet the only copy we have of it is dated to the 8th century.

anyway, thanks for your thoughts and your pleasant correspondence. it is good to be able to discuss these things without jumping down each other’s throats.

Response to Travis #002:

I’m friends with several of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists, paleontologists and paleobotanist and have yet to meet any of them that are “former evolutionists”. I’m interested in meeting a few of these ex-leading evolutionists. Could you provide me a few names so that I can contact them? Keep in mind that an ex-leading evolutionist is not someone that just used to agree with evolution, but was an actual scientist with a degree in biology, evolutionary biology, biologic ecology or other related scientific field.

Have you read any of the Jesus Seminar’s material? They are quick to point out their methods and how the votes are carried out. They leave the final decision to the reader. Every member of the Jesus Seminar is a Biblical scholar or theologian. So I fail to see how you can consider it not to be scholarly. I’ve met several of the scholars from the Jesus Seminar. The findings of the Jesus Seminar conclude that Jesus did exist. You’d think the Christians would flock to anything that says Jesus really existed. I agree with most of their findings but disagree with other findings. That’s what makes scholarship fun, I guess – everyone disagreeing and the debates involved with those disagreements. The difference between casual debate and scholarly debate is that the scholars have to prove their idea with evidence – not just speculation.

Yes, there are over 5,000 manuscripts in the Septuagint. However, there are also over 76,000 variations of those 5,000 manuscripts – and none of them are original. The Dead Sea Scrolls identified in Qumran cave #4 only added to the confusion because they found several variations of canon – including texts that were not in the Bible. As variations and manuscripts increase – the odds of identifying the “true” original decreases. Of course the difference between the canon and Homer’s Iliad is that no one claims the Iliad is the word of any God.

Travis Rebuttal #003:

I’m sorry this has taken so long to get to you. i’m still missing some documentation, but i’ll get that to you if you want it. here’s some scientists, most former evolutionists, and many who have turned creationists, who see major issues with evolution.

Dr. S. Lovtrup: “Micro mutations do occur, but the theory that these alone account for evolutionary change is either falsified or else it is an unfalsifiable, hence metaphysical theory. I suppose that nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this is what happened in biology…I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens, people will pose the question, ‘How did this ever happen?'”

Dr. Stephen J. Gould: “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms…indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”

Evolutionist and paleonotologist, Joseph Weiner sums up the study: “It is quite obvious that modern man could not have arisen from any ape, let alone monkey, at all similar to those of today…it is ridiculous to describe man as “naked” or any other kind of ape.”

Ph.D. Wolfgang Smith agrees with the following statement: “On the fundamental level, it becomes a rigorously demonstrable fact that there are no transitional types, and that the so-called missing links are non-existent.”

Dr. Wilder Smith (chemist and former evolutionist) said: “It isemphatically the case the life could not arise spontaneously in a primeval soup from its kind.”

Evolutionist Frederic B. Jueneman: “The age of our globe is presently thought to be some 4.5 billion years, based on radio-decay rates of uranium and thorium. Such ‘confirmation’ may be short-lived, as nature is not to be discovered quite so easily. There has been in recent years the horrible realization that radio-decay rates are not as constant as previously thought, nor are they immune to environmental influences. And this could mean taht the atomic clocks are reset during some global disaster, and events whih brought the Mesozoic to a close may not be 65 million years ago, but within the memory of man.”

Dr. Harold Slusher, astrophysicist/ geophysicist: “There are a number of indicators that seem to indicate an age of no more than 10,000 years, at the very most, for the solar system and the earth.”

The following example demonstrates the folly of giving unqualified endorsement to the different “clocks” that are reputed to require an aged earth:

1. Studies on submarine basaltic rocks from Hawaii, known to have formed less than 200 years ago, when dated by the potassium-argon method, revealed “ages” from 160 million to almost 3 billion years old.

2. The shells of living mollusks have been dated at up to 2,300 years old!

Dr. Thomas Barnes, one of the most respected magnetic field physicists in the world:“If we went back about 10 thousand years, the Earth’s magnetic field would have been as strong as the field in a magnetic star. A magnetic star is like our Sun; it has a nuclear power source. Surely our earth never had a nuclear source like the Sun. Surely our earth never had a magnetic field stronger than that of a star. That would limit the age of the Earth to 10 thousand years.”

For those who think petrified objects are proof of an old earth: Mr. H.G. Labudda of Kingary in Southeast Queensland (Australia) specializes in the collected of petrified objects. Among the articles of his collection is a perfectly petrified orange. Oranges were not raised in the area until 1868.

Dr. George Wald, Professor Emeritus of Biology as Harvard; Nobel Prizewinner in Biology in 1971: “There are only two possible explanations as to how life arose: spontaneous generation arising to evolution or a supernatural creative act of God … There is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. but that just leaves us with only one other possibility…that life came as a supernation act of creation by God, but i can’t accept that philosophy because i don’t want to believe in God. Therefore, i choose to believe in that which i know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution.”

Dr. Wolfgang Smith, again: “A growing number of respectable scientists are defecting from the evolution camp … moreover, most of these ‘experts’ have abandoned Darwinism, not on the basis of religious faith or biblical persuasions, but on strictly scientific grounds, and in some instances, regretfully.”

Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist for the British Museum ofNatural History, one of the world’s leading evolutionists and regarded as the world’s foremost fossil scientist, spoken to the American Museum of Natural History, Nov. 5, 1981: “The explanation value of the evolutionary hypothesis of common origin is nil! Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, it seems to convey anti-knowledge. How could i work on evolution 10 years and learn nothing from it? Most of you in this room will have to admit that in the last ten years we have seen the basis of evolution go from fact to faith! It does seem that the level of knowledge about evolution is remarkable shallow. We know it ought not be taught in high schools, and that’s all we know about it.”

Here’s some former evolutionists turned creationists that i could alsoprovide several quotes from:

  • Charlie Lieberts (chemist)
  • Dr. Gary Parker (Biologist)
  • Dr. D. Russell Humphreys (Physicist)
  • Dr. Alan Galbraith (Watershed Science)
  • Dr. Donald Batten (Agriculturist)
  • Dr. David Catchpoole (Plant Physiologist)
  • Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith (3 Doctorates and a NATO 3-star General)
  • Dr. Robert V. Gentry – (Physicist)

hope this is informative and helpful.

Response to Travis #003:

I’m currently working on a response but I need to know one thing. What is your source for these quotes? A book? A document? Creationist web pages?

Travis Rebuttal #004:

the quotes came from a Christian magazine, i believe…i’ll get you the actual source as soon as possible. the last part of the list, the few names there, came from a Christian web site.

Response to Travis #004:

Just a fair warning – I’m having a lot of fun with this rebuttal. It’s so easy that it’s almost like taking candy from a baby…

That’s not your fault, though – that’s the fault of the sources that didn’t give you all the information.

I’ve got your interest peaked now, don’t I? Is the suspense killing you? Can’t wait for my rebuttal? ;-)

I’m almost done. I’ve got to go to bed and I’ll finish it tomorrow night or Thursday night. Tomorrow night I have to attend a function down here in Florida to help a local group get organized.

Travis Rebuttal #005:

i’m definitely interested in your response. a fair warning to you…i’m not a scientist. of the three discussion topics we decided to tackle, this is the one i’ll be able to discuss the least with you.

Response to Travis #005:

Let’s go over each scientist individually:

Dr. Soren Lovtrup: The biggest user of Lovtrup’s “micro mutations” quote is Focus on the Family. However, the most often-used quote from Lovtrup that I encounter in debates is this one,

LOVTRUP: “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. (1987)”

The problem is that the human eye is not that great. Squid have better eyes than we do. How does this explain eyes that only differentiate light and dark? The basic problem with the argument of intelligent design when talking about humans is that it forgets about the other animals on this planet. Our ego and anthropocentric approach forgets that man is not the only animal. If you’re a Creationist then didn’t God create the earthworm, too?

The earthworm has a terrible eye – all it does is differentiate light and dark – that’s it. Throughout the animal world there are examples of eyes that are different degrees of our eyes. Our eyes are an evolutionary build-on. They came about as simple eyes were modified and that modification stayed because of environmental conditions.

So what’s the big deal about Dr. Soren Lovtrup? He has issues with some of Darwin’s evolutionary thoughts (NOTE: Since Darwin first proposed a mechanism for evolution, it has been modified and expanded significantly as new data and material have been found, so you can technically say that all scientists have issues with some of Darwin’s evolutionary thoughts.) and some issues with current evolutionary theory, but he clearly states in his book, “Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth” (Croom Helm ISBN 0-7099-4153-6) that he accepts and believes that evolution does occur.

Dr. Lovtrup’s biggest problem was with Darwin himself and how Creationists started a phenomenon of counter-attack by evolutionists. He proposed that this counter-attack mode by evolutionists, triggered by Creationists, caused a lot of myths and misinformation to enter evolutionary thought and ultimately into textbooks.

LOVTRUP: “I discovered that the history of evolutionary thought, as it is told today, contains a large number of mistakes and misrepresentations – to express it fairly mildly – all of them aimed at adulating Darwin and debunking his opponents. (1987)”

Dr. Lovtrup was an embryologist, not an evolutionary biologist. Dr. Lovtrup’s problem was with Darwinism – not evolution. Dr. Lovtrup accepts that evolution occurs, he just disagrees with the mechanism of evolution, which Darwin coined, “natural selection”. Dr. Lovtrup seems like a bad choice for Creationists to use because of this. He agrees with evolution and also concludes that evolution, as an event and occurrence, is a fact. His disagreement is with the mechanism, or the how, of evolutionary theory.

Of course Dr. Lovtrup fails to mention in his book that most scientists today are still trying to prove Darwin wrong. What? Did I just say that? Of course I did. Science is the process of testing and re-testing in order to prove a hypothesis or theory wrong. If a scientist ever proves Darwin wrong he’ll win a Nobel Prize. As scientists try to prove a theory wrong, two results come out from those tests: 1) the theory is shown to be wrong or a small part of it is shown to need a modification, or 2) the theory is strengthened and new evidence is found to brace that theory up.

The problem is that the backbone of Darwin’s proposed theory has been braced up during this testing and trials. There have been modifications to the theory and add-ons as new evidence and data were collected.

Also keep in mind that Dr. Lovtrup wrote his book in 1987 – prior to the massive amount of genetic information that we now have, before the human genome was mapped and before studies were completed on genetic variations that, as predicted by evolutionary theory, showed more variations in older species and less variation in newer species (older and newer in context to a geologic timescale, of course).

Dr. Stephen J. Gould: The quote you provided me was,

GOULD: “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms…indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.”

This one is used and abused. Just for fun I ran a search on Google for a snippet of his quote, “fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms” and every page (140 plus of them) was a Christian web page. I thought that was pretty funny. So how come the evolution and science pages aren’t quoting Gould?

They aren’t quoting it because Gould is discussing the rate of evolutionary change. When he made this quote (in a book printed in 1977) he was looking at punctuated equilibrium. Gould is not disputing evolution – he’s one of evolutionary biology’s biggest proponents. What Gould was talking about was how most species seemed to “jump”. After he mentioned this he then went on to talk about the rarity of fossils and that these “gaps” were being filled in as more digs were being completed and more species were being identified.

A lot of progress has been made since 1977.

Of course the biggest reason that Creationists quote Gould is because Creationists have a fondness for the “argument from authority”. Religion thrives on authority (authority of God, authority of priestcraft and sacred texts). This means that if they can get a scientist, any scientist, to make a statement that even remotely appears to agree with them – they use it. They say, “See, a scientist, an authority, disagrees with evolution!”

The problem is that science is not a process run on authority. Science has no Pope. Arguments are won on their quality – not the popularity, fame or even quantity (just because you say it over and over again doesn’t make it true).

I would recommend reading a book by Dr. Gould that is more recent. I wonder why Creationists don’t quote anything else from Dr. Gould? Dr. Gould has written tons of books, made thousands of speeches, appeared on hundreds of television shows, documentaries and newscasts – and they can only find one quote from him to “discredit” evolution? That tells me that Dr. Gould was and still is an evolutionary biologists and one of evolution’s biggest proponents.

Dr. Joseph Weiner: The quote you gave me was,

WEINER: “It is quite obvious that modern man could not have arisen from any ape, let alone monkey, at all similar to those of today…it is ridiculous to describe man as “naked” or any other kind of ape.”

This is absolutely hilarious! This quote comes from a period after Dr. Weiner (he was an anthropologist, by the way – not a paleontologist) worked with Dr. Kenneth Oakley and Dr. Le Gros-Clark on the Piltdown Man. They released their report on November 20, 1953. After their report several questions were fielded over the course of a few years and during his comments he said what you quoted.

The three scientists proved Piltdown Man was not only a fake, but a deliberate hoax. It was this team of scientists that figured out why Piltdown Man didn’t figure into human evolution. Other finds of the time contradicted Piltdown Man and many scientists were becoming increasingly skeptical of Piltdown Man.

The Piltdown Man skull was found to have been the skull of an orangutan that was somewhat deformed. The teeth of the orangutan had been deliberately ground down to look more human. The Piltdown Man skull made it look like Homo sapiens had actually come from apes instead of alongside apes.

Dr. Weiner made his comment based on the evolutionary thought of the time (which has been reinforced with additional finds since the 1950’s) that Homo sapiens and modern primates shared a common ancestor. We didn’t evolve from any ape, let alone a monkey – at all similar to those of today, we evolved alongside today’s apes – each from a common ancestor.

Quoting Dr. Weiner’s comments as anti-evolutionary is intellectually dishonest. It would be like me quoting Pat Robertson when he said, “Of course God didn’t actually write the Bible”.

Because I’m intellectually honest I will follow up that quote and tell you that Robertson was talking about how God inspired men to write the Bible. He said that God didn’t actually pick up a pen and do it – he provided the inspiration to the authors.

Creationists crack me up sometimes – I can’t believe they are using that as an anti-evolution quote.

By the way, Dr. Weiner remained an anthropologist and an avid evolutionist. Once Piltdown Man was discounted and proven to be a hoax by him and his counterparts the evolutionary path of Homo sapiens fit the predicted path based on evolutionary theory.

Are you beginning to notice a trend here? Not only are we dealing with major “out of context” quotes, but several intentionally deceiving quotes (What happened to “Thou shalt not lie?”) and ones that are, in scientific thought, very old.

Dr. Wolfgang Smith: The quote you provided me is irrelevant. Dr. Smith is a mathematician and has nothing to do with evolutionary biology. He is a devout Catholic and speaks out against what he calls “scientism”. Dr. Smith concerns himself more with the defense of Catholic Orthodoxy then he does science. Dr. Smith hasn’t performed any real science in a long time because he has concerned himself mostly with writing three books on Catholic Orthodoxy and articles slamming “scientism”. I doubt he would even recognize a lab anymore.

Dr. Wilder Smith: The quote you gave me was,

SMITH: “It is emphatically the case the life could not arise spontaneously in a primeval soup from its kind.”

The odd part about this quote is that it is not against evolutionary biology. Evolutionary biology has nothing to say about the origin of life and everything to do with the origin of species. Evolution concerns itself with how life evolved after it was formed (created if that word suits you better). It is for this reason that many theists accept the science of evolution because God could have created life and then used evolution as a way to “create” humanity through the ages.

Dr. Smith was not an evolutionary biologist. Dr. Smith received a degree in organic chemistry in 1941 and in pharmacological sciences in 1964.

Creationists like to use Dr. Smith because of the “argument from authority”. I’m glad science doesn’t work from authority.

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic, but didn’t you say you were going to send me a list of former evolutionary biologists? If you didn’t say that I know I clarified it for you in my first email – that a former evolutionist was not just someone that once “believed” in evolution – but actually held a degree in evolutionary biology or similarly related field.

Dr. Frederic B. Jueneman: Dr. Jueneman was a catastrophist and often gives lectures and speeches on catastrophism.

Dr. Jueneman was also involved in the false story about a whale skeleton found standing upright through several strata in California. I was unable to ascertain how significant of a role he played, but I have to question his ability to practice science because he was taken in by this false story. A simple check into the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History and through the California Division of Mines and Geology would have quickly revealed that the story was false and he would have disassociated himself from it. A scientist that accepts something without checking into it first is not doing very good science.

I don’t mean this to be ad hominem, but it plays greatly into his credibility to make any statements whatsoever into the age of the earth, evolutionary biology or anything else scientific.

The other thing that bothers me about Jueneman is that he is a devout follower of Velikovsky. You can find out more about Velikovsky at: http://www.bearfabrique.org/Velikovsky/biovel.html (article no longer available on the web).

Jueneman believed that men and dinosaurs lived together at the same time – that the dinosaurs died in a catastrophe and man lived.

I was unable to ascertain exactly what Dr. Jueneman was a doctor of, but he was not an evolutionary biologist. He is often quoted on anti-fluoride sites for stating that soft tissue absorbs fluoride just as much as teeth do. Somehow I don’t think an evolutionary biologist would be working on fluoride concentration and absorption in teeth and soft tissue.

Dr. Harold Slusher: I’m not even going to mention the quote you gave me because it is irrelevant to our discussion. Dr. Slusher was a co-founder of the Creation Research Society. So what is Dr. Slusher a doctor of?

He claims to have received his doctorate from Columbia Pacific University. CPU is an unaccredited diploma mill in California (I used to get emails from them saying they could get me a doctorate in Divinity for only $100). They are so bad that the California Department of Consumer Affairs ordered them to shut down.

You can read the CDCA’s press release on the CPU at: http://www.dca.ca.gov/press_releases/990210.htm (article no longer available on the web).

I can’t believe that he’s even claiming to be an astrophysicist and geophysicist. As a Creationist I assume he is also a Biblical literalist. Apparently he doesn’t take the Ten Commandments very literally. I hate to be facetious here, but they make it so easy to be facetious.

Dr. Thomas Barnes: I’m trying to figure out who told you that Dr. Barnes was one of the most respected magnetic field physicists. Dr. Barnes is used as an example of how not to conduct science in physics classes today. During my physics classes in high school we discussed Dr. Barnes figures and how he should have done his research and properly extrapolated his data. My physics teacher used him as an example of bad science.

Dr. Barnes conducted his research in 1973 and made huge mistakes in his data and his extrapolations. He used only a few core samples and did not take into account the north-south switch that we have now identified through “banding”. He also only measured the magnetic field squarely between the north and south poles instead of across the entire spectrum. He also assumed that the decay of the magnetic field proceeded at an exponential rate instead of a fluctuating rate.

He used his data incorrectly by extrapolating it out based on his small curve. This gave him a magnetic reading at about 20,000 BC, making the Earth no older than 22000-years-old. The problem is that when you take a larger data collection and look at the “banding” then the Barnes Magnetic Curve is not curved anymore and is straighter. When you take that data and extrapolate it, correctly with control data, you get around 100 million years or so.

Of course even the new data doesn’t provide an accurate age of the Earth because there are events that greatly affect the magnetic field of the Earth. Large impacts from extra-terrestrial objects (comets, asteroids, et al) and polarity switching can influence magnetic fields. There are events that also intensify a magnetic field – making it appear younger than it is.

Dr. Barnes is another example of the Creationist’s insistence upon “argument from authority”. How come the Creationist web pages and books don’t mention that Dr. Barnes was proven wrong within a couple of years and that non-exponential magnetic field influences were identified? How come the Creationist web pages and books don’t mention that Dr. Barnes is used as an example in physics classes on how not to conduct scientific research?

OSGOOD: “For those who think petrified objects are proof of an old earth: Mr. H.G. Labudda of Kingary in Southeast Queensland (Australia) specializes in the collected of petrified objects. Among the articles of his collection is a perfectly petrified orange. Oranges were not raised in the area until 1868.”

This information was taken from an article called Rock Hard Orange by John Osgood in Ex Nihilo magazine (Volume 10, No. 1 – Dec. ’87 – Feb. ’88).

The problem is that Ex Nihilo means “without God”. The article was not proving that the Earth was young – it was talking about a so-called petrified orange found in Australia. The conclusion was that the object was, in-fact, not an orange. There’s that intellectual dishonesty again and failing to follow at least one of the Ten Commandments.

Of course petrified objects don’t necessarily denote an old Earth – just volcanic activity.

Dr. George Wald: The quote you gave me is,

WALD: “There are only two possible explanations as to how life arose: spontaneous generation arising to evolution or a supernatural creative act of God. There is no other possibility. Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others, but that just leaves us with only one other possibility, that life came as a supernatural act of creation by God, but I can’t accept that philosophy because I don’t want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation leading to evolution.”

This quote doesn’t fit very well with the “former evolutionists” because in the end he does say that he’s still an evolutionist.

Dr. Wald did not win his Nobel in biology – he won it in medicine/physiology in 1967. Dr. Ward had a degree in medicine. He was Higgins professor of biology at Harvard, as you indicated.

Prior to Dr. Wald’s death he was an outspoken opponent of genetically altered foods. He stated about genetically altered foods,

WALD: “Up to now, living organisms have evolved very slowly, and new forms have had plenty of time to settle in. Now whole proteins will be transposed overnight into wholly new associations, with consequences no one can foretell, either for the host organism, or their neighbors.”

The problem is that again we are not talking about evolutionary biology. Dr. Wald is talking about abiogenesis – not evolution. Evolution doesn’t deal with the origin of life – it deals with the origin of species.

The other problem with this quote was that he made it in 1954. Creationists love those quotes from the 50’s and 60’s, don’t they? Why do they like those old quotes? Because the old quotes don’t include all the new evidence and information that has come about.

The biggest problem with the quote is that it doesn’t finish Dr. Wald’s statement. The quote comes from the August 1954 edition of Scientific American. The Jehovah’s Witnesses yanked the quote out of that magazine initially and they included it in “Life: How did it get here?” from 1985. After that every other Christian magazine and web page seemed to pick up on it.

So what’s the big deal? The very next sentence in his quote is, “It will help to digress for a moment to ask what one means by ‘impossible’.” Dr. Wald then went on for another page to explain the difference between the word ‘impossible’ in the scientific context and the colloquial.

Dr. Walk was creating a problem in order to launch into his explanation of that problem. The quote is not from him, per se, but is from a paper he did.

One on of my web pages the first sentence says, “Atheists are all immoral.” If someone only quoted that one line from me it would appear that as an atheist, I agreed that all atheists were immoral. However, the next sentence says, “At least that’s what a lot of people mistakenly think.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses misled people in their article and quoted something written by Dr. Wald that came from a piece and not from his own personal views. They quoted not what Dr. Wald personally thought – but his lead-in to an entire article on the differences between scientific and colloquial use of different words, specifically ‘impossible’.

I’d recommend reading the article from the 1954 Scientific American if you can get a copy of it – it’s a rather good article that clearly supports evolutionary biology.

Is the deceitful nature of Creationists becoming clearer for you now? They live on deceit, misdirection and faith – leaving science completely out of the picture. They rely on emotionalism – not science. They use outdated quotes because new quotes that include new evidence don’t adhere to their standards.

Several Creationist web pages state emphatically that if the evidence contradicts the Bible then they completely ignore it. How is that science?

Anyone can find evidence to back up his or her ideas – the trick is to ensure that ideas are not contradicted by any of the evidence. Creationism can’t do it – so they claim that contradictory evidence is “of the Devil”.

Dr. Wolfgang Smith (again): As I said before, Dr. Smith was a mathematician and not an evolutionary biologist, so he really doesn’t matter. He is a good example of Creationism’s appeal to authority instead of quality. The specific quote in this case is,

SMITH: “A growing number of respectable scientists are defecting from the evolution camp … moreover, most of these ‘experts’ have abandoned Darwinism, not on the basis of religious faith or biblical persuasions, but on strictly scientific grounds, and in some instances, regretfully.”

As we can tell by this list alone, Dr. Smith is simply full of it. The majority of scientists accept the scientific validity of biologic evolution. If there are a “growing number of respectable scientists” that are jumping ship, then the rest of us aren’t noticing. The most respected Christian schools even teach evolution and hire evolutionary biologists to teach those classes. The young Earth Creationists are a dying breed.

Most old-timer Creationists are not being replaced by the newer generation (with a few exceptions, of course). This is because the newer generation is learning better science and understanding that a young earth is impossible – the evidence is too overwhelming to accept anything other than an old earth. The only young earth people that remain are those that attribute the evidence to “Satan” and those that are ignorant of the evidence – just as people that believed in a flat earth still existed for hundreds of years after it was proven that the Earth was elliptical.

What we are seeing now are old Earth Creationists stepping forward. Even Creationism is evolving. The young pups accept the science of an old Earth and even accept the science of evolution – they just insist that there was a Creator. That’s fine, of course, because evolution doesn’t deal with the origin of life – just the origin of the species. I know I’m repeating that a lot, but it is an important issue that most Creationists don’t understand.

Dr. Colin Patterson: The quote you provided was,

PATTERSON: “The explanation value of the evolutionary hypothesis of common origin is nil! Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, it seems to convey anti-knowledge. How could I work on evolution 10 years and learn nothing from it? Most of you in this room will have to admit that in the last ten years we have seen the basis of evolution go from fact to faith! It does seem that the level of knowledge about evolution is remarkable shallow. We know it ought not be taught in high schools, and that’s all we know about it.”

This quote supposedly comes from a speech given on November 5, 1981 that he was giving before other evolutionary scientists. The speech was given at the American Museum of Natural History in New York to the monthly Systematics Discussion Group. Systematics, by the way, is the science of classifying forms of life.

Apparently this quote comes from a creationist that was in the audience and secretly taped Patterson’s speech. The creationist then distributed a severely flawed transcript, which is where this quote comes from.

However, Patterson did say some of it. You have to have heard the context of the speech and the method of the speech to understand what Patterson was getting at.

Patterson was talking about cladistics during this speech. He was referring to a group of schools that used evolution as a given in their systematics diagram instead of using the logical relatedness of species (as Patterson’s school does). He was arguing that it was important to not use one of your assumptions as one of your conclusions.

Contrary to what the text attempts to portray, Patterson is a huge proponent of evolutionary biology and considers his work in cladograms to be further evidence of evolution.

Charlie Lieberts (chemist), Dr. Gary Parker (Biologist), Dr. D. Russell Humphreys (Physicist), Dr. Alan Galbraith (Watershed Science), Dr. Donald Batten (Agriculturist), Dr. David Catchpoole (Plant Physiologist), Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith (3 Doctorates and a NATO 3-star General) and Dr. Robert V. Gentry – (Physicist)

Not a single one of those scientists are evolutionary biologists. I don’t think it is necessary for me to continue with any more scientists that you’ve provided. I think I’ve already shows that the list of scientists that you got from your source is inaccurate at best and deceitful and intentionally misleading.

Creationists must rely on the “argument from authority” and deception in order to convince their followers that they are accurate. They can get away with this because most followers are used to taking orders and not doing the research on their own. How many individuals in a congregation actually know about the faith they profess – other than what their clergy has told them?

The facts that Creationists are using these deceitful tactics should you give you pause before trusting any of your sources. It should also give you pause as to the “truth” of Creationism. If a self-described theory relies on lies, deception, misinformation and intentional misleading then it should certainly not be followed or believed in.

Travis Rebuttal #006:

excellent work, i must say.

for the first time, i’m debating someone who does their research. normally sending along a few quotes is enough to get people thinking and questioning, because they haven’t even begun to do the research.

those quotes came from a magazine, i don’t even remember which one now, and were sent along to me by someone else.

your attack on “out of context quotes” is true and necessary. in all fairness, however, you’d also have to check the context in which creationists use some of those quotes. just because an scientist has not left evolution does not mean a Creationist cannot use their quotes to come against some still misunderstood scientific concepts.

again, i’m not a scientist and it would take me some time of research to be able to respond to your rebuttal. so this topic is certainly not my specialty whatsoever.

a few questions…

are we done with the debate about the textual support for Scripture?

have you any interest in exploring some other areas of evidence for the Christian faith? seeing as i’m discussing this stuff with someone who does their research, and seeing as i’m not a scientist and could not possibly at this point continue a debate on creationism vs. evolution, i would like to search out some other issues like archaeology and other historical evidence.

BLAIR: “Evolutionary biology has nothing to say about the origin of life and everything to do with the origin of species. Evolution concerns itself with how life evolved after it was formed.”

so the obvious question is, how was it formed? where did it come from?

BLAIR: “The basic problem with the argument of intelligent design when talking about humans is that it forgets about the other animals on this planet.”

then you use the example of the earthworm, saying it has terrible eyes. the obvious response here from the creationist is that God intended that; the earthworm doesn’t need the eyes of humans, nor does the human need the eyes of a fish, nor does the bird need the eyes of a human. all creatures were given what they need, and just because there are similarities between eyes doesn’t prove evolution or creation, nor do differences. if God created as He willed, then similarities and differences between species were up to Him.

Response to Travis #006:

The “out of context” is only an issue when the meaning of the quote is used in a way inappropriate to the original intent of the person saying it. I have no problem with Creationists quoting scientists. The problem is that when they do quote them, they do not include the entire text or mislead the reader into thinking the person is an anti-evolutionist.

I think this is clearly meant to deceive the reader and is, plain and simply, a form of lying. I have personally been a victim of this misleading on the part of Creationists and when a friend of mine told me about I was furious. Even after I explained it to the person perpetuation this misinformation, he refused to remove the quote or provide the next couple of sentences. He said, “If it helps to convince Creationists that evolutionists question evolution – then that is all that matters.”

What he was quoting from me was, “Yes, there is evidence for creation. The Cambrian explosion is certainly evidence for creation – not evolution.”

What he failed to quote was the entire text of my conversation, “Yes, there is evidence for creation. The Cambrian explosion is certainly evidence for creation – not evolution. However, there is much more evidence that contradicts creation. The Creationists have to come up with a theory that explains all the evidence – not just the bits of evidence that happen to support their wishful thinking.”

We were talking about the scientific method and how all evidence must be considered and a theory must not leave out any evidence – contradictory or not. If there is evidence that contradicts the theory – then the theory fails.

Of course the Cambrian explosion does not contradict the theory of evolution because it is one piece – not THE piece. However, the geologic strata and failed sifting of the fossil record are just two examples of evidence that contradicts creation. However, all I need is one piece of evidence that contradicts creation to show that it is false. Not necessarily 100% false – just false in its present form.

As far as the context of use by the Creationists of these misquotes, I’ve visited ever Creation page I can find and even have the major ones in my Favorites folder in IE. I’ve debated several “professional” Creationists (the ones that have gone to the trouble of getting a diploma mill doctorate). I’ve seen and heard it all. What ‘wins’ for Creationists is not science – but tactics and a plea to authority and emotionalism.

Just to prove a point about how easy it is to get a doctorate – I decided to get one last year. I got a doctorate in divinity from a diploma mill – it cost me $75. I also became an ordained minister just to prove a point, as well. So technically I’m the Rev. Dr. Blair Scott. While they were done as a joke and as a means of proving a point, I do take my ordainment seriously (admittedly I didn’t initially) and have performed two weddings so far.

I am working on the rebuttal to the textual discussion. I haven’t been home in over four months except every other weekend. And when I’m home I spend the time with my kids – not my computer. My references are too bulky to bring with me on the road, so I’m doing a little bit at a time, as I have time on those weekends that I’m home and can access my library.

The evolution one was easy because I’ve memorized a lot of it and have also put a lot of the information I need in an online database for my use on the road. Some other parts of it are already online and I just knew where to get the information that I needed. Getting ancient texts online is a little more difficult.

I am responding, but it will take time because of the constraints on me with my travels and my children. Nothing is more important to me than spending time with my children when I am home. If you’re willing to wait – you will get it. If you’re looking for something a little faster then let me know and I’ll delete it and we can discuss other issues that don’t require so much access to research (I’ve already done the research – I just didn’t memorize all the necessary information – so I have to have research access).

TRAVIS: “so the obvious question is, how was it formed? where did it come from?”

There are several hypotheses for abiogenesis, but no theory. Bottom line is that we just don’t know, yet. However, there is promising research with protocells. Some hypotheses, just to give you a sampling of ideas from all areas, are:

  1. Alien intelligence planted the seeds of life on this planet.
  2. A meteorite or comet impact provided the correct “cooking pot” to create amino acids and protocells that combined – ultimately evolving into complex proteins.
  3. Black smokers have recently gained a lot of attention because no one ever thought life would be there – and not only was it there – but it was thriving. Tiny protocells all the way up to complex organism. Science is now leaning more toward the Black Smokers hypothesis right now – but it is not a theory.
  4. Divine help or special creation (Intelligent design). It’s important to note that Intelligent Design doesn’t prove the Christian god – it just proves an intelligent creator. On that same note – disproving evolution does not prove intelligent design – it just disproves evolution.
  5. Primordial pizza. This is almost the same concept as the old “primordial soup” (which, by the way, is no longer seen by most scientists as a viable hypothesis) but on a land settings or underground setting instead of a water setting.

That’s just a few of them. Perhaps one day we will know for sure…

TRAVIS: “the obvious response here from the creationist is that God intended that; the earthworm doesn’t need the eyes of humans, nor does the human need the eyes of a fish, nor does the bird need the eyes of a human.”

Yes, that is usually the Creationist response. However, the original argument is that the complexity of the human eye denotes intelligent design. The earthworm eye is not complex – so does that denote unintelligent design or no design at all?

Usually the point of bringing up the vanity of humans is to ultimately lead into a lesson on the evolution of the eye, which has been superbly documented in the fossil (living and dead) record.

TRAVIS: “if God created as He willed, then similarities and differences between species were up to Him.”

This is what is called the “God of the gaps”. People that believe in the “God of the gaps” often find their god getting smaller and smaller and his box closing in as science advances. People used to believe that it was the will of God that made the Earth the center of the solar system and made the Earth flat. People used to believe that it was the will of God that allowed demons to possess us and make us sick.

It was science that discovered the Earth was elliptical instead of flat – removing that gap and making god just a bit smaller. It was science that understood the heliocentric solar system and not the geocentric system – removing that gap and making god just a bit smaller. It was science that discovered germs and viruses and proper sanitation – suddenly people weren’t getting as sick and exorcisms and demon possessions seemed to fade away – making the god of the gaps just a bit smaller.

Putting god in places where the answer to our questions is, “I don’t know” is not a good practice – because we have a stubborn habit of finding out sooner or later – pushing god out – making him smaller.

There’s only one reason that Creationists are fighting evolution. A little background will help here. When it was discovered that the Earth was not flat – there was a large outcry of heresy and blasphemy. If it were not for the Queen of Spain then Columbus would have been burned at the stake for heresy. Twice the church had already arrested him – a third time would have been his death. It took the church and the general public almost 400 years to finally accept that the Earth was not flat. Even to this day there are a few people that still believe the Earth is flat.

When it was discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun (heliocentric) instead of the Sun revolving around the Earth (geocentric) it took the church just over 400 years to finally accept this fact. Many astronomers were burned at the stake – the most famous being the Italian, Bruno.

Evolution was only introduced about 150 years ago. We still have 250 years to go before the church finally accepts it. The God of the gaps, which the church embraces, gets smaller all the time.

But here’s the real issue in modern times – original sin.

If evolution is correct – then there was no Adam & Eve. If there was no Adam & Eve then there was no serpent, tree of knowledge, no Garden of Eden and most importantly – no original sin. If there was no original sin then Jesus died in vain on the cross – he died for a cause and belief that never existed.

Evolution encroaches upon Christianity in such a way as no other scientific discovery has – it smashes the very foundation of the Christian Faith – the concept of original sin. This has a lot of people in the Christian faith up in arms. Any religion that has a literal creation account has Creationists – including the Muslims, Hindus and others. But the Christians are the biggest opponents of evolution because their theology is threatened the most because of the New Testament and the suffering and death of Jesus for the sins of man – sins that mean nothing without original sin.

I don’t blame people for reacting the way they do. What I do blame them for is denouncing evolution at their every whim without knowing a thing about it. Research it and learn about it before you dismiss it. There’s a difference between an opinion and an educated opinion.

 

Travis Rebuttal #007:

of the five possibilities you brought out, only one of them has any chance of answering the question, how was the world formed? where did it come from? and that is number five, the idea of intelligent design. the other four all assume previously existing things. an intelligent creator, of course, exists in and of Himself.

as for the earthworm eye, no, an uncomplicated eye does not necessarily mean that there was no intelligent design. on the contrary, God designed the worm just as it needed to be designed. and i would not point only to the human eye as evidence of intelligent design, but the eye of the earthworm, and the eye of every living thing, and the rest of creation.

your statements on “the god of the gaps” certainly deserves a reply, but i will get that to you in a few days. certainly the doctrine of original sin needs to be dealt with.

 

Response to Travis #007:

TRAVIS: “just out of curiosity, what do you know about names such as Dr. Henry Morris, Ken Ham, Dr. Duane Gish, and Philip Johnson? have you debated any of these?”

I know all of these men. Ken Hamm (two M’s) is a really strange person. He’s the one that is opening up the Creation Museum in Kentucky. I’ve met Duane Gish twice in the last two years. Both times he was slaughtered during the debate (not by me – I was attending). You should know that “Dr.” Duane Gish also got his doctorate from a diploma mill (paid about $150 for it) and he also got an honorary doctorate – which is meaningless. Gish is a strange breed of Creationists. He’s still using data from the 60’s in his debates and refuses to admit that he’s been defeated.

NOTE: It should be pointed out that my information in the above paragraph is incorrect. Dr. Gish did in fact get a Ph.D in biochemistry from Berkeley in 1953. During my response I was thinking of Kent “Dr. Dino” Hovind and confused the two in my response. It should be noted, however, that a degree in biochemistry is meaningless in the discussion of evolutionary biology. As an analogy, a biochemist is like a modern car mechanic. They go to school to learn about modern engines and are concerned only about the workings of modern engines. They do not know the evolutionary path of the combustible engine. A biochemist concerns himself with the workings of biochemicals – not with the origins and evolutionary paths of said biochemicals.

During several debates he was shown to be lying and he just pretended that it didn’t happen. He once said, “Show me a snake with legs and I’ll believe in evolution.” Last year a snake with legs was discovered in the fossil record and another snake with leftovers of legs under the skin (leg bones were there but were under the skin and not used) was also found. Also a legless lizard was found, as well. Gish just made excuses and still refused to believe in evolution. Of course “belief” is really the wrong word to use when discussing evolution.

Philip Johnson has recently tried a new tactic. Instead of attacking evolution he is attacking outdated evolution text in biology books across the US. Apparently he thinks that if he can show that if biology books are flawed then so must evolution. Johnson isn’t a scientist, though – so he’s rather useless when it comes to debating.

TRAVIS: “beyond that, i’d eventually like to get to issues like the resurrection of Christ and all the absurd excuses non-Christians come up with to explain that away”

I don’t mind waiting until after the textual discussion, but this comment intrigued me. Why would non-Christians need to explain the resurrection? It would seem that Christians should have to explain the resurrection – not non-Christians.

 

Travis Rebuttal #008:

thanks for your replies on the creationists i asked about.

BLAIR: “Why would non-Christians need to explain the resurrection? It would seem that Christians should have to explain the resurrection – not non-Christians.”

I agree. and so my basic question which would prompt this discussion would be: “What do non-Christians do with the evidence?” how does one explain the empty tomb?

BLAIR: “However, they can safely assume the world existed because, it does, in-fact, exist.”

This misses my point. i’m not concerned so much about abiogenesis as i am about where the heck did all of this come from?

i definitely want to view the PBS series on evolution. know where i can get a copy?

 

Response to Travis #008:

Where “all of this came from” is a question that science is still looking at. The Big Bang theory is certainly gaining a lot of evidence – but it is still not 100% conclusive (and perhaps never will be).

Just like the religionist, atheists would also like to know where all this came from. Unlike the religionists, atheists aren’t putting God into the gaps of knowledge that we have.

You should be able to get a copy of the evolution series from the PBS web page at http://www.pbs.org.

TRAVIS: “”What do non-Christians do with the evidence?” how does one explain the empty tomb?”

What evidence? There is no evidence for the resurrection. If there is an empty tomb that could clearly be shown to be the actual resting place of a man named Jesus then all it would prove is that some time during the past 2,000 years or so the tomb was made empty. An empty tomb doesn’t prove the resurrection any more than an empty cookie jar proves that someone ate all the cookies. The cookie jar may have always been empty or no one ever made any cookies. The cookies may have even been stolen – or the cookie jar is not really a cookie jar at all – just a jar that someone at one time claimed to be full of cookies.

An empty tomb only proves that the tomb is empty – it doesn’t prove anything was there in the first place.

I’ve been to Jerusalem and have visited the church that covers the cave where they think Jesus was buried. The guides are quick to inform everyone that enters that they THINK it is where Jesus was buried – they don’t know for sure because there is no evidence whatsoever.

 

Travis Rebuttal #009:

Again, the “big bang” theory still supposes that there was something there. my question is, where did anything come from? this is a point that evolutionists avoid over and over and over. i ask where did everything come from? “well, the Big Bang.” well, where did the stuff that caused the big bang come from? and never have i been given a sufficient answer. this leads us, of course, to the issue of contingency. something must exist in and of itself, since everything we know of is contingent upon something else for its existence.

“religionists” aren’t putting God in a gap that knowledge doesn’t fill yet. i’ll get to the “God of the gaps” theory soon enough. Christians make the logical conclusion that since God exists, He is the source of knowledge. of course, we haven’t spent a lot of time debating the existence of God either. in fact, there’s a lot of things that need to be discussed even before that, such as the nature of proof and of evidence. as for now, if we’re going to postpone the textual discussion, then i’d like to focus on our other conversation, the resurrection of Christ.

BLAIR: “If there is an empty tomb that could clearly be shown to be the actual resting place of a man named Jesus then all it would prove is that some time during the past 2,000 years or so the tomb was made empty”.

Wrong. as early as the 30’s there was controversey over what happened to the body of Christ. the one thing that every party involved agreed on was that the tomb was empty. Romans, Jews, and disciples of Christ all agreed that the tomb was empty. there was never a denial of the claim that the tomb was empty.

BLAIR: “An empty tomb only proves that the tomb is empty – it doesn’t prove anything was there in the first place.”

Do you hold to the “wrong tomb” theory?

the truth is that whether or not we can find a place that is definitely the empty tomb of Christ has no bearing on the issue. right after Jesus was crucified and buried, there was an empty tomb. how did it get empty?

 

Response to Travis #009:

TRAVIS: “my question is, where did anything come from? this is a point that evolutionists avoid over and over and over.”

I think you’re confusing lack of knowledge with avoidance. I’m not saying that some cosmologists (not evolutionists, because evolution has nothing to do with the Big Bang) don’t avoid the topic.

The reason you’re not getting a satisfactory answer is because there is none. We can only go back to 10(-43) seconds after the Big Bang. Before that we hit not only a physical singularity, but a mathematical and physics singularity. A mathematical singularity is a point where our current knowledge of mathematics reaches its limits – we do not have the science or the knowledge to go any further back. We reach a point of ignorance – a singularity of knowledge and capability.

What happened before the Big Bang? What was there? What caused it? We simply do not know. We can look forward to the day when those questions are finally answered. Will I see those answers in my lifetime? I don’t know – but it sure would be nice to know.

Of course the reality of the issue is that it is irrelevant to the serious dogmatic. Let’s say that we find the answer to your question and find the evidence to say where the Big Bang came from and what caused it. Then the dogmatists would simply say, “Yeah, but what came before that? Where did that come from? Surely there was a creator!”

It’s a never-ending cycle. We find knowledge and they retreat back a few steps only to take the same stance – just in a smaller box. The box is getting smaller and smaller and sooner or later the box will collapse on itself or religion will realize its potential and teach humanity instead of dogma, teach about the ethic of the prophets instead of the dogma of egocentric religions.

Until then, we play the same game. We get knowledge, their god gets smaller, they claim the same thing from inside a smaller box, and we make the box smaller – repeating the process. The God of the gaps is a very weak god.

TRAVIS: “something must exist in and of itself, since everything we know of is contingent upon something else for its existence.”

Read your statement again. Even you have acknowledged the limitation we have, “since everything we know of…”

You’re exactly right. Everything that we currently know is based upon a contingency. What about what we don’t know? Even your god doesn’t have a contingency, and therefore violates the same rule you are trying to force science to use.

If you insist that science stick to a ‘action-reaction’ or ‘something-to-something’, then you must also stick to that. Where did God come from? If you say that God is eternal and infinite then you have violated the very code that you demand science stick with. You can’t have it both ways. Either there is a contingency or there is not. Is God infinite or is he simply another pawn in a string of gods that have created each other? Which one? Be careful which one you choose because whatever it is you will make the same decision for science.

TRAVIS: “Christians make the logical conclusion that since God exists, He is the source of knowledge.”

That seems rather ironic since God tried to prevent humans from gaining knowledge. If it wasn’t for the serpent we’d have no knowledge. Remember that we were forbidden from the Tree of Knowledge.

I suppose the call it apologetics because they keep having to apologize for a theology that is full of more holes than a warehouse of Swiss cheese.

TRAVIS: “if we’re going to postpone the textual discussion, then i’d like to focus on our other conversation, the resurrection of Christ.”

Very well. Please provide evidence for the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

TRAVIS: “Wrong. as early as the 30’s there was controversey over what happened to the body of Christ. the one thing that every party involved agreed on was that the tomb was empty. Romans, Jews, and disciples of Christ all agreed that the tomb was empty. there was never a denial of the claim that the tomb was empty.”

You’re going to have to back that up with some serious evidence. Since there is no documentation of any kind dating back to the 30’s, there is much to be desired about your statement of controversy.

An empty tomb still proves only an empty tomb. It does not prove that Jesus was in it, it does not prove that Jesus existed and it does not prove a resurrection. A bunch of empty cars doesn’t prove that the rapture has happened. It just might prove that you’re standing in a parking lot full of empty cars. :)

TRAVIS: “Do you hold to the “wrong tomb” theory?”

No, I do not hold to that idea (I wouldn’t call it a theory), but it is certainly a possibility (as is anything). I could argue that Jesus never existed and win that debate. There’s not point in it though, because I happen to personally believe that a man named Jesus did exist. If he was crucified by the Romans he would have been buried in a common pit with other criminals – not a special tomb set aside. It is even possible that his body was allowed to be ravaged by dogs, as was a common practice at the time.

The tremendous amount of contradictions between the gospels about the death and supposed resurrection and ’empty tomb’ lead me to believe that the story never happened and was invented in order to make Jesus just like every other god-figure at the time. Every other god-figure at the time was killed or sacrificed and all of them resurrected. In fact, the resurrection ceremony for the pagans was called Ester (you know, what the Christians call Easter). The resurrection is mythology, but that doesn’t mean that the man was.

You might be interested in my article, Did Jesus Exist?

TRAVIS: “Right after Jesus was crucified and buried, there was an empty tomb.”

How do you know that the tomb was empty? All we have is hearsay and major contradictions within that hearsay.

TRAVIS: “How did it get empty?”

Of course your question assumes it was full in the first place. Just for S&G, let’s make that assumption and look at the possibilities that I can come up with in a few seconds:

  1. It was never full.
  2. Grave robbers.
  3. The wrong tomb was opened.
  4. Followers removed his body before others got there.
  5. He survived the crucifixion and fled.
  6. Spontaneous combustion.
  7. A cave-in covered his body but left enough of the cave exposed to appear as if he had disappeared.

That took all of twenty seconds to come up with seven possibilities. I’m not arguing for the validity of any of those and there’s no reason to debate such. I’m offering alternative possibilities to the supernatural. Hell, even other supernatural possibilities could explain it – not a resurrection. What if he was teleported out by an alien race? What his matter began rapid decay and turned into dark matter? What if a fairy came by and sprinkled pixie dust on him and made him float away to Never Never Land?

Do you see what I’m getting at here? You only see one viable possibility because you already have the dogma for it. You aren’t looking for proof – you are looking for a validation of your faith. Why do you need to validate your faith? Is it not strong enough? I don’t mean to be personal or appear demeaning or sarcastic here, that’s not my intent, so please do not take it that way.

There are literally thousands of possibilities and millions of combinations from any of those possibilities. What makes your possibility any greater? More importantly, what are the probabilities of each one?

 

Travis Rebuttal #010:

i know our topic of conversation is going to focus on Jesus and the gospels for a bit, but i promised a response to the “God of the gaps,” so i’m sending this along. It was science that discovered the Earth was elliptical instead of flat – removing that gap and making god just a bit smaller. It was science that understood the heliocentric solar system and not the geocentric system – removing that gap and making god just a bit smaller.

BLAIR: “It was science that discovered germs and viruses and proper sanitation – suddenly people weren’t getting as sick and exorcisms and demon possessions seemed to fade away – making the god of the gaps just a bit smaller.”

so when science discovers something, God gets smaller? i don’t think this is a fair conclusion to the matter. the view of God got no smaller in anyone’s eyes when it was finally accepted that the earth was elliptical. people realized they were mistaken. God remained every bit as big in the eyes of the church; the church (as well as the rest of the world) was simply incorrect. God isn’t any smaller because people were wrong. all the attributes of God remained the same when these discoveries were made.

BLAIR: “Putting god in places where the answer to our questions is, “I don’t know” is not a good practice – because we have a stubborn habit of finding out sooner or later – pushing god out – making him smaller.”

Agreed. when i don’t know something, i don’t need to have an answer.

but what happened, i think, was not that these people put God in a place where the answer was “i don’t know.” what happened was that people believed the earth was flat; they believed that the earth was geocentric; they were wrong. but since faith in God was a constant for them, then of course they would naturally believe that God designed it that way. granted, it took time for stubborn people to accept that they were wrong, because humans have a tendency to be dogmatic about personal preferences that they have held on to for a long time. but this didn’t make God smaller; ultimately, it just made us realize that God did not do things the way we once thought he did.

Your examples provided concerning Columbus and Bruno are fair, and i am in complete agreement with you that the church at the time was stupid. this doesn’t make God smaller, and Christian belief today still thrives regardless of the fact that the church once made mistakes about how God worked in His creation.

This applies again to today. if evolution is proven to be true, perhaps it will take time for the church to accept it because of pre-conceived notions that we’ve held for years (and, i believe, because of some textual issues in Genesis 1). however, that still will not threaten Christian theology nor make our God smaller. evolution does not negate original sin. the language in Genesis 1 could be taken as allegorical; it fits the allegorical style, and our interpretation may be wrong. (though i am personally persuaded, at this point in time, against this view).

but if God decided to use evolution to bring this world about (there are many theistic evolutionists out there), then it is still just as possible that mankind could fall from good standing with God, and so bring sin into the world, once God established relationship with human beings when the time came for Him to do that. (this especially fits well with the “Seminal headship” theory of original sin).

So again, the scientific discoveries that are made do not threaten the size of God or the theology of Christianity. scientific discoveries simply open our eyes to the way in which God did things that we don’t have records of in Scripture. and just because the church took longer than it should have to recognize that science had made these discoveries and that they were true doesn’t mean our God has gotten any smaller, nor does it mean that God doesn’t exist. we haven’t changed our view on the character and attributes of God one bit. we have only changed our view on how He chose to do some things.

It’s interesting though, that you bring this theory up, because the same thing has been happening with archaeology, only the other way around. biblical critics challenged Scripture all the time, based on things they did not know. it was once believed that Moses couldn’t have possibly written the Pentateuch because there wasn’t writing back then. Archaeology has proven that wrong. biblical critics once believed that the Bible’s account of the Hittites existence at the time of Abraham must have been false, because we had no record of that. again, they were wrong; archaeology has found plenty of evidence for the Hittites. and this isn’t even scratching the surface of all the things that biblical critics have been wrong about.

does this mean we should thrown out the whole idea of biblical skepticism, because it’s “getting smaller”?

BLAIR: “I don’t blame people for reacting the way they do. What I do blame them for is denouncing evolution at their every whim without knowing a thing about it. Research it and learn about it before you dismiss it. There’s a difference between an opinion and an educated opinion.”

Agreed. i, as well as you, am tired of irresponsible “scholars” and uneducated opinions. John F. Kennedy once said, “Many people enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thinking.” absolutely.

this, of course, is why i’ll be ordering a copy of PBS’s evolution series as soon as i get the chance.

The tremendous amount of contradictions between the gospels about the death and supposed resurrection and ’empty tomb’ lead me to believe that the story never happened this type of reasoning against Christianity has always amazed me. of the story of Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps, we have three different accounts, and all of them contradict themselves worse than the gospels ever do (if they even do); yet no one argues that because of that, the event never took place.

BLAIR: “You might be interested in my article, Did Jesus Exist? So What? It is available at Atheism Awareness.”

already read it. i was hoping it would come up, because it is full of errors.

BLAIR: “Why do you need to validate your faith? Is it not strong enough?”

actually, no. my faith stands firmly regardless. i just figure that if what i believe is actually true, and it is, then there should be some evidence to back it up. the possibility of the resurrection (and probability of it) seems very high when one considers the claims Jesus made about Himself. if Jesus was (and is) God, then the idea of a resurrection not only becomes a possibility, but a probability, and gives us reason to rule out silly things like aliens and pixie dust.

furthermore, if the gospel records are to be taken seriously (and we have every reason to believe they should be), then ideas such as disciples stealing the body seem absurd. obviously, if you know anything about crucifixion, then the “swoon theory” is also absurd. no one survived crucifixion.

it sounds to me like the root issue here is going to be whether or not the gospel accounts are trustworthy. and now we’re back to textual issues. why don’t we procede from here with a discussion focused on the gospel texts? then we can hit on textual and historical issues, as well as dealing with the Jesus Seminar, which is bound to come up.

admittedly, it will be difficult to deal with evidence for the resurrection without dealing with the trustworthiness of the gospel texts.

 

Response to Travis #010:

TRAVIS: “all the attributes of God remained the same when these discoveries were made.”

Not true. The whole point of the geocentric solar system was that man, as god’s creation, was special and was the center of god’s attention. When the heliocentric system was introduced it was viewed as heresy and people were burned at the stake. After the heliocentric solar system was finally accepted the apologetics had to change and man’s place in god’s universe was altered. The centering of humanity had to be altered to fit the new view of the solar system.

God was attributed with creating a geocentric solar system, a flat earth and everything else that a literalist insists upon. When those attributes are shown to be false then the literalists’ definition of god becomes smaller – or excuses have to be made. They call it apologetics for a reason – it is an apology for false doctrine or theological errors and inconsistencies.

TRAVIS: “i think, was not that these people put God in a place where the answer was “i don’t know.” what happened was that people believed the earth was flat; they believed that the earth was geocentric; they were wrong.”

It wasn’t the people that were arguing for a geocentric solar system or flat earth – it was the church. They church based its conclusions on god’s creation from the Bible. The church burned people at the stake for saying the earth was elliptical or round or that the earth was not the center of the solar system. The people weren’t wrong – they were just ignorant and following what the church told them. The church was wrong not because of failed science – but because it used the Bible as a reference point for its “science”.

The beliefs of the time came straight from the Bible and anyone that disagreed was a heretic and often burned at the stake or tortured. It took the church almost 400 years to finally (officially) accept the heliocentric view and the elliptical earth.

Sickness was attributed to demons and possessions, as it says in the Bible (hence the phrase, “God bless you” when sneezing). It took almost 400 years for the church to accept germ theory, psychology and mental illness as causes instead of demon possession. It will probably take just as long for the church to accept evolution. Of course the Vatican learned its lesson with geocentrism, flat-earth and demon possession – they officially accepted evolutionary theory in 1994.

TRAVIS: “it just made us realize that God did not do things the way we once thought he did.”

If that is the case then it only places emphasis on the point that the Bible is not “god-breathed”, “god-inspired” or “the word of god”. If either of those were true then there would be no scientific inaccuracies, no contradictions, no inconsistencies and no errors.

TRAVIS: “…and Christian belief today still thrives regardless of the fact that the church once made mistakes about how God worked in His creation.”

Yes, Christianity is still here – but it has evolved as science has advanced. Christianity has been forced (although not all adherents change) to alter its dogma, doctrine and beliefs on several issues because of scientific advancement.

Evolution may be a different issue, though. Unlike previous scientific discoveries this one goes straight to the heart of Christian theology. But we’ve already discussed the concept of Original Sin and how it relates to the theory of evolution.

TRAVIS: “however, that still will not threaten Christian theology nor make our God smaller.”

For liberal Christians that will hold true. For the Biblical literalists that insists that God created the Earth in six days, created Adam & Eve and used the Tower of Babel to form races and languages – this will certainly make God smaller as well as the idea that man is God’s special creation.

TRAVIS: “evolution does not negate original sin. the language in Genesis 1 could be taken as allegorical; it fits the allegorical style, and our interpretation may be wrong.”

Since the majority of Christians (last survey indicated 84%) accept the science of evolution then I would say that for most Christians this already holds true – that they see Genesis as an allegorical story or an attempt by man at the time to explain origins without the scientific knowledge that we have today. That is why Creationism has evolved into Intelligent Design – they know that belief in a literal creation, based on Genesis, is not believable and contradicts everything we know about biology, seismology, geology and most other -ologies.

The Intelligent Design proponents cannot profess a literal belief in Genesis and still claim to be scientific. They are forced to use science to promote their religion – so they have to adhere to the science standards (thought they rarely do). Young Earth Creationism is almost dead. Old Earth Creationism is dying. Intelligent Design is about mid-way through its life and dying quickly. Its last bastion of belief (in quantity) is America – but even here the fastest growing “religion” is non-religion.

TRAVIS: “but if God decided to use evolution to bring this world about (there are many theistic evolutionists out there), then it is still just as possible that mankind could fall from good standing with God, and so bring sin into the world, once God established relationship with human beings when the time came for Him to do that.”

Sure, it’s still possible – anything is possible. However, if this is what happened then again it shows the fallacy of the Bible and the fact that God, as we know him/her/it, is not the actual God that is possible. Defined gods are too easy to tear down. When religions resort back to the undefined impersonal gods then they will have an easier time selling themselves.

So again, the scientific discoveries that are made do not threaten the size of God or the theology of Christianity.

Perhaps you misunderstand what I mean by, “God gets smaller as we fill in the gaps”. What I mean is not that he gets smaller in size, adherents, spiritual connectedness or similar. What I mean is that his defined characteristics get smaller and his necessity in explaining things gets smaller. We no longer say, “God did it” to earthquakes, volcanoes, lightning and other natural phenomena. We’ve identified the science behind it. The Church was furious when the workings of the rainbow were discovered. They were mad because the rainbow was supposed to be a sign from god – not a natural phenomenon that would occur before god supposedly created the rainbow.

The laws of physics would have applied before the Noachian flood – unless light failed to refract at all before it (meaning there was near darkness all the time).

We know the Noachian flood on the scale in the Bible didn’t happen. This means that God didn’t do what he was said to have done. Does this mean he doesn’t exist and man invented the stories? Perhaps. Does this mean he didn’t write the Bible or inspire it? Perhaps. Does this mean that the defined god is too easy to pick apart and that he has gotten smaller (less needed as an explanation) because of scientific discoveries? Yep.

TRAVIS: “does this mean we should thrown out the whole idea of biblical skepticism, because it’s “getting smaller”?”

Of course not. What it means is that people were doing what they were supposed to do – being skeptical until something could be proven. We’ve already talked about the difference between an exceptional claim and a regular claim – the same standards apply here. The Bible making the exceptional claim and has to prove itself.

Of course actual scientific archaeologists have contradicted a lot of the claims by Biblical “archaeologists”. Many of the finds have been retracted. It may behoove you to read more current documentation from an actual scientific source instead of a Christian apologist source. That is not to say that some cities have been identified as historic – that is not in contest.

We know the people that wrote the Bible were trying to write about history. The problem is that they threw in the supernatural for things that they couldn’t explain. They did their best, based on the knowledge they had at the time. The blamed God for the destruction of cities when we know the area was (and is) active in both the seismic and volcanic areas. In the lat 80’s a Biblical “archaeologist” claimed to find Sodom and Gomorrah – only to be discredited and discounted in the 90’s. Yet, Christian apologist books continue to quote the information from the 80’s – neglecting to tell readers about the findings in the 90’s and his rejection by the scientific community. That happens a lot in the Christian literature of today.

I have no problem accepting something from a Biblical scholar or archeologist as long as they can prove their data and use the same scientific rules and principles that actual scientists follow. Instead of speculating from one find or one site – keep digging and find out for sure. Most scientific archaeological reports state something along the lines of, “A recent find may be…” or “It is possible that the city…” They are careful not to make positive claims until enough evidence is gathered and the data has been peer-reviewed.

TRAVIS: “this, of course, is why i’ll be ordering a copy of PBS’s evolution series as soon as i get the chance.”

I’m glad to hear that. The program’s last section discusses the evolution versus creationism issue. I was a little disappointed with the program – but that is because it is public television and its funding is dependent upon the public – so they had to “walk on eggshells” on many issues. Even so, the program is one of the better ones because it uses layman terms and actually states the science behind the conclusion. Too many evolution shows are guilty of stating conclusions and not stating why that conclusion was reached. I think it is in the best interest of the public to know why certain conclusions were made and what the evidence is.

TRAVIS: “this type of reasoning against Christianity has always amazed me. of the story of Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps, we have three different accounts, and all of them contradict themselves worse than the gospels ever do (if they even do); yet no one argues that because of that, the event never took place.”

There’s a big difference between a resurrected God-figure and a marching army of a king. If I tell you that I have a poodle at home, do you have any reason to doubt me? Not really, because poodles are common and many people own poodles. If I tell you that I have a pink poodle that is psychic and flies, do you have any reason to doubt me? Of course you do – psychic and flying poodles are an exceptional claim.

If I tell you the next day that I have a maltepoo at home, do you have any reason to doubt me? A little bit because I told you a poodle yesterday. However, a maltepoo is a cross between a Maltese and poodle, so while there is a minor contradiction – the premise remains. The biggest issue here is that there is no exceptional claim.

If I tell you the next day that I have a green poodle that is psychic, flies and is visited by alien intelligence, do you have a reason to doubt me? Of course you do because the exceptional claim still exists but now I have added two contradictions/inconsistencies that give credence to the doubt.

The doubt is there regardless of the contradictions because of the exceptional claim and lack of evidence. The doubt is bolstered because of the contradictions. The contradictions don’t cause doubt – they just help it along.

Just for clarification purposes, the book I have about Hannibal mentions the contradictions in the stories. Does the Bible mention its contradictions?

You stated, “If they even do”, concerning contradictions in the gospels. Have you not noticed them? Let’s participate in an exercise to help you identify the problems that exaggerate the existing doubt because of the exceptional claim and repeated legend/myth:

Using all the gospels answer the following questions:

  1. What time did the women visit the tomb?
  2. Which women visited the tomb?
  3. Was the tomb open when they arrived?
  4. Who was at the tomb when they got there?
  5. What did the messenger tell the women?
  6. Did the women tell what happened?
  7. Did Mary know Jesus had resurrected when she returned to the tomb?
  8. When did Mary first see the resurrected Jesus?
  9. After visiting the women at the tomb, whom did the resurrected Jesus visit next?
  10. Where did the resurrected Jesus first appear to the disciples?
  11. Did the resurrected Jesus stay on Earth or depart that same day for Heaven?
  12. Where did the ascension take place?

TRAVIS: “already read it. i was hoping it would come up, because it is full of errors.”

Care to discuss the errors that you see? I’m always open to constructive criticism – provided you can back your claims up, of course.

TRAVIS: “i just figure that if what i believe is actually true, and it is, then there should be some evidence to back it up.”

Correct, if it is true then there should be evidence. Problem is that there is no evidence.

TRAVIS: “the possibility of the resurrection (and probability of it) seems very high when one considers the claims Jesus made about Himself.”

The problem is that you are using the Bible to prove the Bible. Before you can use the Bible as evidence you have to prove that the Bible is accurate and viable as evidence. You have to show that there is no contradictory information contained therein and other criteria for valid evidence. That will never happen – just answer the 12 questions above and you’ll see that.

TRAVIS: “furthermore, if the gospel records are to be taken seriously (and we have every reason to believe they should be), then ideas such as disciples stealing the body seem absurd.”

I have every reason to believe that the gospels should not be taken seriously. The disciples stealing Jesus’ dead body is not an exceptional claim and is therefore more probably than a resurrection. That is not to say it is true – just more probable. I agree that the probability of surviving the crucifixion is slim, but it is also more probable than a resurrection.

They are more probably and the gospels are not taken seriously because of other resurrection myths prior to Jesus. Jesus is not unique in any way. Before Jesus there were messiahs in other religions. They were all born of virgins. They all were crucified, buried and resurrected. Several of them parallel the story of Jesus so closely that the plagiarism is blaringly obvious. All of this information, lack of evidence, exceptional claims, duplication of myth, contradictions, archaeology and other sciences and other material all lead me and many others to the conclusion that the New Testament is nothing by fantasy with a twist of politics and discussion of the times (each gospel addresses their own agenda based on the social context and political environment of the time).

TRAVIS: “it sounds to me like the root issue here is going to be whether or not the gospel accounts are trustworthy.”

Trustworthiness is not the issue. They are trustworthy in the perpetuation of myth and messiah complex religions. What is at issue is the very historicity of Jesus based on other religions before Jesus and the obvious plagiarism and incorporation of pagan rituals and beliefs into the Jesus myth. That is not to say that a rabbi named Yeshua didn’t exist. What that does say is that people altered the stories of Yeshua after the fact and embellished them with aspects that would sell to a pagan-oriented society. How could they sell the concept of Jesus to the pagans if Jesus couldn’t compete with them? If Mithras was born on December 25th (as he was) and was crucified, buried and resurrected in three days (as he was) and performed miracles (as he did) then Jesus had to do the same in order to convert the followers of Mithras.

It has nothing to do with trustworthiness or authenticity and everything to do with salesmanship.

TRAVIS: “why don’t we procede from here with a discussion focused on the gospel texts?

Very well. Start by answering the 12 questions above and proving there are no contradictions, inconsistencies and errors. We can then discuss other textual issues after you’ve at least acknowledged that the gospels are full of holes and full of sh…

TRAVIS: “it will be difficult to deal with evidence for the resurrection without dealing with the trustworthiness of the gospel texts.”

With or without the trustworthiness the resurrection is still difficult to deal with. The claim is that a man was born of a virgin that was raped by a deity and then went on to walk on water, heal sick people, turn water into wine, die at the hands of Rome and resurrect in full form and rise to heaven. That’s hard to swallow – period. Do you believe in the trustworthiness of other accounts of resurrection from gods and prophets preceding Jesus? Why do you give the gospels more validity than other accounts?

There is a story of a man born of a virgin with a carpenter for a father. He was the Son of God and spoke on parables to teach morality and lessons to the people. He was ultimately crucified between two thieves and resurrected three days later whereupon he ascended to heaven. He is the “way, truth and light” and no one gets to Heaven and the Father except through him. Who is this person? Chrishna of Hindu is this person – a god worshiped 1700 years before Jesus.

 

Travis Rebuttal #011:

i’m working on the research, but i’m going to need to check your references. what are your sources for your information on Mithras and Chrishna?

 

Response to Travis #011:

References for Christ myth:

  • The Christ Myth by Arthur Wells
  • The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy by Dennis McKinsey
  • The Jesus Myth by George Wells
  • Remedial Christianity: What Every Believer Should Know About The Faith, But Probably Doesn’t by Dr. Paul Laughlin
  • The Quest for the Historical Jesus by Dr. Albert Schweitzer
  • The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus by Acharya S

References for Mithraism

  • Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Religions
  • Paganism Today by Graham Harvey and Charlotte Hardman
  • Christmas Unwrapped: the History of Christmas by The History Channel (documentary)
  • The History of Christmas by The History Channel/BBC (documentary)
  • Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries by David Ulansey
  • Mysteries of Mithra by Franz Comut
  • Mithraism in Ostia Mystery Religion and Christianity by S. Laeuchli
  • Mithras by Reinhold Merkelbach

This is not an all-inclusive list. I’ve only listed the major references and not the minor references. Needless to say, I have an extensive library behind me on my bookshelves. ;-)

NOTE: Travis never got back to me.

Debate 009: Francis and Blair debate the Bible

Francis Rebuttal #001:

I would like to know when the bible came into exixtance. I am told by a friend recently that the bible was created in the 3rd century during a series of meetings held by the Vatican council. Could you give me some authentic light into this. [sic]

Response to Francis #001:

Your friend is somewhat correct. The canon, as we know it today (66 books), was debated on at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. The Roman Emperor Constantine, who followed the pagan religion Mithraism, convened the Council. Constantine convened the council of bishops because Christians were killing each other over dogma and doctrine. He wanted peace restored to the streets.

Later Constantine converted to Christianity, but he killed his wife and son because they refused to convert.

According to Eusebius, the vote for the current canon was off by 5. Had five bishops voted differently the Bible would be composed of different books. The books that were not voted in are known today as the Apocrypha.

I discuss the Council of Nicea briefly here as well as an article about the Council of Nicea here.

Hope this help.

Francis Rebuttal #002:

Thank you for your reply. I request you to give some clue for the folowing queries.

1. If the Bible and the christianity was accepted by constatnine in 327 AD. How could the christianity survived from persecution and inquisition all these 300 years. [sic]

2. History says, the disciples of christ have gone to the various parts of the world with the message of christ after his death. For example, St. Thomas has come to India and the christain relegion evolved. Similarly christainity has evolved at different parts of the world.

My question is, all these people carried and passed on the same message – of christ, which proves that a single individual Jesus existed, and not a story was given flesh during the council of Nicea.

Response to Francis #001:

FRANCIS:”If the Bible and the christianity was accepted by constantine in 327 AD. How could the christianity survived from persecution and inquisition all these 300 years. [sic]”

Actually, they almost didn’t. If not for Constantine convening the Council of Nicea and later making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire then Christianity would have died and today Mithraism would be the major religion in the world.

Christianity gained its first foothold (remember – they didn’t call themselves Christians until the late 100’s) until 70 CE. In 70 CE the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. This removed the hierarchy of Judaism. Up until this point the Christians were nothing more than a sect of Judaism. The fall of the temple, while starting Christianity on its own, also enabled it to place itself in harm’s way.

Once Christians were unchecked by Judaism they began to expand rapidly – bringing attention to themselves. It is often portrayed that Christians were persecuted because they were Christians, but this is a misnomer. Christians were executed and persecuted not because of who they were – but because of whom they were not. By failing to adopt the official religion of Rome (Mithraism), they were arrested and executed (by many methods) for, in a sense, treason against Caesar and Rome.

Later many Christians were arrested and executed for crimes against other Christians. We have this image of Christians being fed to the lions and this awful persecution, but most of the executions and gladiator-style killings were not because they were Christians – but because they were criminals. They had committed murder against other Christians or were organizing an attempt to overthrow the Roman Empire.

We look back now upon the Roman Empire and her actions against Christians (regardless of reason) as criminal – but even today most Christians embrace the death penalty. How does that make them any better than the Roman Empire for its embracing of the death penalty?

Christianity was a dying religion across the Roman Empire because of its internal conflict and criminal element. Constantine grew tired of the bloodshed and he felt that this internal revolt of Christian versus Christian was destroying the Roman Empire and what she represented. He convened the Council of Nicea in hopes of ending this bloodshed. It helped, but there were still dissentions even after the vote.

The Council of Nicea officially elected the trinity – but many left embracing a Unitarian approach. The Council of Nicea officially made Jesus the Son of God instead of just a prophet – but many left embracing the prophet Jesus instead of the divine Jesus. The Council officially changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday – but many left still celebrating the Sabbath on Saturday – refusing to give up their Judaic roots.

It wasn’t until Constantine converted to Christianity and declared it the official religion of Rome that Christianity’s dogma and doctrine began to congeal. There were at least two more councils convened. The largest was the Council of Trent in 397 CE. However, the influence of Christianity and its internal struggles led to the ultimate fall of Rome. Christianity desolated Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) in a bloody war over dogma and doctrine.

Christianity survived, in mass, because it changed itself – morphed – in order to gain converts. For example, it changed the celebration of Jesus’ birth from April to December. They did this because the pagan religions had huge parties on the Solstice. By moving the celebration of Jesus’ birth to December they were able to compete with the pagan party, effectively being able to say, “We have a big party, too.” Those that continued to celebrate Jesus’ birth in April ultimately became known as April’s fools (now you know where that came from).

By altering doctrine, dogma and holidays Christianity was able to convert people more easily. Of course the sword ultimately became the greatest conversion tool for Christianity – just like the Roman Empire.

Ironically, you can basically say that the founder of modern Christianity is Constantinople – a pagan emperor of Rome.

FRANCIS: “My question is, all these people carried and passed on the same message – of christ, which proves that a single individual Jesus existed, and not a story was given flesh during the council of Nicea. [sic]”

Yes, it is possible that these stories point back to an authentic and historic Jesus. It is equally possible that these shared stories point back to a single person starting a story around a campfire – just as many of modern urban legends are born. Common stories only indicate a common source – but it does not designate a specific source.

The apostles certainly did not carry the same message. There are many contradictions among them. Paul was the first heretic of Christianity because he convoluted and distorted the message of Jesus from earlier sources. Each apostle edited and altered the story to fit their cultural, societal and political makeup at the time.

I think that a man named Yeshua actually existed. There’s no proof of this and no evidence for a historic Jesus. However, every legend has an ounce of truth. For example, there is no evidence that Braveheart existed – but there’s no reason to discount that William Wallace is a total fabrication. Obviously some aspects of the Braveheart legend are bogus and greatly over-exaggerated. Legends are made of .5% truth and 99.5% exaggeration. The same thing can be said of the Jesus legend.

If you really want an interesting read on Jesus – I recommend the Gospel of Thomas. For some reason the writing of Thomas never made it into the Biblical canon.

NOTE: Francis never responded back to me.

Debate 007: Jan and Blair debate ‘Pure Truth’

Jan Rebuttal #001:

I am very interested in your emphasizing “the road less traveled.” I have nothing against traveling on a different road, as long as that road doesn’t have a curve in it leading to confusion or untruth.

I beg to GREATLY differ with you that religion and science do not go hand in hand. If something is based on scientific fact, it is the truth. Just as if one is to base true, pure religious facts on the truth, that is also truth.

TRUTH, whether it be religion or science, IS TRUTH. Truth doesn’t change at the drop of a hat or because someone has a different viewpoint. TRUTH IS ALWAYS AND ALWAYS WILL BE THE TRUTH.

Please take this premise and just think about it for a moment.

Response to Jan #001:

The great thing about the “road less traveled” is that if a curve leads one to confusion, it is confusion made by one’s self and not by someone else. When I come across something that is confusing, it forces me to investigate even further.

Religion and science do not go hand-in-hand unless one makes concessions that are not scientific or religious. Science deals with “how” and religion deals with “why”. Science looks at the evidence to find the conclusion and religion looks at a conclusion and tries to find evidence to support their conclusion. Religion is completely contradictory to scientific inquiry.

Religion is not about truth. While there may be some elements of truth in the foundation of a religious belief, the belief itself, and the organization thereof, have absolutely nothing to do with the truth. We see this every day in the real world. Religion could care less about the truth – they emphasis is on faith in light of the truth. That is why so many still believe in creationism and the church still endorses the Shroud of Turin even though the Pope said it was a fraud and had a letter from the artist back in the 1200’s. Where is the truth? There is none because it is all about faith in light of the truth.

Religion may have truths in it, but it is not about the truth. Science is about the truth, even if we may never find it. Science constantly questions itself and is skeptical of its own ‘members’, if you will.

There is no religious truth. Truth is often perceptive. How many people profess that God is the truth even though they have never seen or touched God? Where is the truth in that? The ‘truth’ is an illusion. In reality, you can say that science deals not with the pursuit of truth, but the pursuit of facts, facts based on the reality that we perceive.

Truth changes all the time because our perceptions change. Zeus throwing lightning bolts from the clouds was the truth for a long time. The Sun revolving around the Earth was the truth for a long time. The difference between science and religion is that religion speaks “the truth” based on ‘why’ and science speaks “the truth” based on ‘how’.

Jan Rebuttal #002:

I thank you for your polite and honest response. We certainly have different perceptions, but I greatly disagree with you that truth is perception. Truth doesn’t change just because someone else thinks that they have found a new discovery creating a new perception. Pure truth will always be truth.

You mentioned Zeus, the sun revolving around the earth, etc. How can you say that these were true at one time? These ideas were NEVER true at any time in history. These were merely people who had misconceptions and didn’t have the technology at that time to know any different. Just because someone felt that the sun revolved around the earth, and people accepted this idea, does not make it true. It was NEVER true to begin with.

You mentioned the Pope. I cannot comment on what he says, believes, has found or feels. I do not have Catholic beliefs.

I KNOW that there is a loving God. I DO have proof, because I have FELT the spirit tell me that this is true. Why can I read the scriptures and feel so calm inside—It’s the Holy Ghost letting me know that these things are true. I have prayed to know what I should do about certain situations in my life, and the answers have come to me when I was ready to receive the answer. I could credit myself with knowing what to do (many people do that), but these thoughts and feelings are those tiny miracles in my life that lets me know that there is a God.

There is only one truth. Either there is a God or God does not, nor ever has existed. I challenge you to be a real truth seeker. You can know for yourself that God does exist. Do those things that will bring you closer to him, and you too will know the Truth. Truth is found by really wanting to know what the truth is and where to find it. Truth cannot be found by arguing, because the truth is the Holy Ghost.

Do you really want to know? Invite the spirit into your home and family. I challenge you to get down on your knees, and pray. If you REALLY want to know the answer to the question, it will be answered if only you have a particle of faith. I know this from real live experience.

You appear to be a nice guy with lovely children. How can you see them, go through life with them, and not know that there is a God?

Response to Jan #002:

JAN: “I thank you for your polite and honest response.”

I think there is a common misconception among many theists that atheists are hateful or spiteful, and while that may hold true for a few individuals (just as it does for all beliefs or lack of beliefs), I think you’ll find that most of us are rather pleasant people. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be facetious at times and often cynical, but that’s my human nature and has absolutely nothing to do with my atheism. I will do my best to continue to be polite, and more importantly, honest, as we continue this discussion.

JAN: “Truth doesn’t change just because someone else thinks that they have found a new discovery creating a new perception. Pure truth will always be truth.”

The problem is, who decides what the “pure truth” is? Each of us establishes our own truth. Even if that truth is a known falsehood, people can still embellish it. There are still people to this day that believe the Earth is the center of the Solar System and other that insist the Earth is still flat. There are others that deny the existence of dinosaurs and claim they were “put here by God to test our faith”. While we perceive those conceptions as false, they perceive them as true, and no matter how much discussion takes places, the chances are they will never see any other “truth” in the matter.

I agree, that in its ‘purest’ form, the truth is unchanging, if one goes by the inherent definition of truth in regards to the ultimate knowledge. Truth is the conformity to fact or reality, in its ‘pure’ form. The problem is that many people do not seek the truth in its inherent form, but in a sense that conforms to their perceived reality.

Perhaps we are simply playing the semantic game. For clarification, let’s differentiate the truth that many hold to be true and the inherent truth, discovered and undiscovered. When we talk about the discovered and undiscovered truth, then there is no doubt that regardless of what one feels, thinks, or wishes – the truth remained unchanged. When it comes to the perceived truth of our realities and what we want to be true, the issue takes on an entirely different hue and tone.

JAN: “You mentioned Zeus, the sun revolving around the earth, etc. How can you say that these were true at one time?”

They were true based on the realities and gained knowledge of the individuals that believed them to be true. They had no knowledge of the ultimate truth and were limited to their own reality in gaining knowledge. As human beings become more aware of the actual reality, vice the perceived reality, the knowledge of ‘pure truth’ and the ability to detect it and inquire about, become more precise, available, and ultimately, more knowledgeable. Then this knowledge becomes instrumental in dispelling myths and superstition.

JAN: “These ideas were NEVER true at any time in history.”

They were very true in history. They were not true in the ultimate scheme of things, but as history they were very true. I sense a difference in semantics while discussing this issue. I hope that my first response helped to eliminate the semantics and allow both of us to understand where each is coming from. I see two forms of truth in the world, that which we perceive as true, and that which we know as true (often the can intertwine and more than often they conflict).

JAN: “I KNOW that there is a loving God. I DO have proof, because I have FELT the spirit tell me that this is true.”

This is exactly what I am talking about. You feel that God is true because you have “felt the spirit”. Is not feeling the spirit a form of perception? You perceive God to be real because you have “felt him” – perceived him. Feeling a spirit, which medical science has researched and come up with some amazing results, is a perceptive quality and is not “pure truth”, but only perceived truth.

JAN: “Why can I read the scriptures and feel so calm inside—It’s the Holy Ghost letting me know that these things are true. I have prayed to know what I should do about certain situations in my life, and the answers have come to me when I was ready to receive the answer. I could credit myself with knowing what to do (many people do that), but these thoughts and feelings are those tiny miracles in my life that lets me know that there is a God.”

All of these are perceptions. You perceive a greater being as a guiding hand during prayer (a form of meditation). When I read the scriptures (of all religions) I get a good laugh because I see the fallibility and, often, lunacy of the texts. Each of us perceives the scriptures in a different way and each of us feels something different. If God were “pure truth” then everyone would feel as you do when they read the scriptures, pray, etc. There would only be one religion in the world instead of over 30,000. There would be one Christian denomination instead of over 3,500. Each denomination, each religion, perceives their god in a different light and some do not perceive a belief in god at all. That is because there is no God that is “pure truth”, but only a god of perceived truth.

JAN: “There is only one truth. Either there is a God or God does not, nor ever has existed.”

There are other choices, as well. You are basing that statement on your perceived truth of whatever God you have chosen to believe in and/or worship. Many people believe in a god that created the Universe then kept on walking. Their god could care less what we do and has absolutely no interest in us whatsoever. The creator cares not for his creation. There are others that believe that our gods are alien intelligence. There are others that believe in many gods. There are others that believe the Universe itself, as an energy form, is god (why they call it god is psychological – why not just call it “the energy of the Universe”?)

I personally have concluded that the defined gods of humanity definitely do not exist. It is human vanity that attributes their gods with human characteristics and it is human vanity that builds a hierarchy of ‘leaders’ to control the believers. I cannot say with 100% certainty that the deist god does not exist, but I can conclude, based on the available evidence that such a god has a 99.999% chance of not existing.

If there was a god that created the universe and could care less about us, then worship of that god is superfluous and completely irrelevant, is it not?

JAN: “Do those things that will bring you closer to him, and you too will know the Truth.”

I hope you are not assuming that I have never searched for a god or have never been a believer. What things exactly bring one to know “the truth”? Prayer? Reading the Bible? Joining the church choir? Animal sacrifices or tithes? Which God should I seek? Hindu, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Gaia, Thor, Jehovah, Yahweh, Shaman, Mother Earth, Baal, Mithras, Ra, or others? Should I seek the best representation of ‘paradise’?

JAN: “Truth cannot be found by arguing, because the truth is the Holy Ghost.”

Truth is found through search and discovery of facts and evidence. What facts and evidence support your claim that the Holy Ghost is “pure truth” and not perceived truth? Evidence of “how I feel” or “how I sense” is not fact or evidence, but perception. Others that feel that way (even I have felt it, and I know the medical reasons behind it) attribute it to different things.

JAN: “Do you really want to know? Invite the spirit into your home and family. I challenge you to get down on your knees, and pray. If you REALLY want to know the answer to the question, it will be answered if only you have a particle of faith. I know this from real live experience.”

I already do know. I used to be a Christian a long time ago before I found out the real truth instead of the perceived truth. Since I have already been on my knees and prayed, I challenge you to explore your world and discover the real truth based on facts and evidence. I challenge you to learn the history of your religious beliefs, be they Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or whatever. The key word is faith. Faith, in and of itself, is a perceived quality. Faith is the belief in something without evidence, facts, or knowledge. Faith is admitting that the “real truth” is not known and that one must have faith that what they believe is true, and not solid facts and evidence in support of pure truth.

JAN: “How can you see them, go through life with them, and not know that there is a God?”

It is not a matter of not knowing there is a god. It is a matter of knowing there is no god. Even if there were a god, I would give him a little more credit than a single father that wrote a book, killed the entire planet, and really cares about who wins football games and who wins the lottery.

I teach my children that life is precious and that we should embrace each day as a gift. That we should try our best each day to learn something new and enhance our lives in many ways. I teach my children about ALL religious beliefs. My children were ridiculed and harassed at school because they were not Christians. Is this Christian behavior supposed to bring people to the church or force them away because we see people for whom they really are? I bring my children to a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship where they will learn to use their minds, learn about all religions, and most importantly, learn that what people believe is unimportant as long as what comes out is decent behavior and kindness towards others.

Jan Rebuttal #003:

I believe that you zeroed in when you spoke of some of this discussion as semantics. I understand your definition of “perceived truth.” However, my discussion and definition of truth is “truth in its purest form.”

The sun does travel around the earth or the earth travels around the sun. Yes, at one time it was THOUGHT TO BE TRUE (perception) that the sun revolved around the earth, but never has there been a time when this has ever happened; hence, untrue. That is true with the world being flat, Zeus, etc. These are perceptions that people have had or may be still have, but this is not truth. Thinking that one knows the truth doesn’t make it true.

There is a God or there is no God. The truth is that there is a God who is our Loving Heavenly Father. He loves all of us. I am so sorry that your children are being teased by children who claim Christian beliefs. Of course this is not Christ-like behavior. As you stated earlier, there is good and bad in every walk of life. I know that Heavenly Father appreciates your doing what you feel is correct for your children. He wants us to educate our children, he wants us to be kind of others, and he wants us to make this world a better place. He doesn’t want us to belittle others, be dishonest or unkind.

I was gone for the weekend to a friend’s house. She gets a lot of different channels on her T.V. set so I was fortunate to be able to listen to the BYU channel. I thought about when I told you that pure truth is also going to go hand in hand with science. The professor (on T.V.) was explaining that he had taken a trip and was asked if DNA could be extracted from the parchment of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He thought for a moment, and then realized that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written on skins of animals. He told them that he wasn’t sure if it could be done, but he’d look into it. He returned home, and any thing in his house that was made from animal skin (wall hanging, rug, leather tennis shoes, etc.), he tested if he could extract the DNA from them.

It worked. He was given a few small pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls (that had no handwriting on them), and he was able to extract DNA from them. Hecould tell what animal was used (sheep goat, etc.) as parchment. He could use the DNA to locate which piece went with which sheet of parchment. He said that it is like trying to put a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle together without the picture on the box lid.

Of course the pieces do not fit together perfectly like they would in a jig saw puzzle so this is much more difficult. My point, truth in its purest scientific form goes hand and hand with the purest religious truth. This is still a work in progress, but it is happening.

I know that God lives, and that Jesus is our savior. This is not perception, but truth in its purest form.

You can know this too.

Response to Jan #003:

JAN: “I believe that you zeroed in when you spoke of some of this discussion as semantics. I understand your definition of “perceived truth.” However, my discussion and definition of truth is “truth in its purest form.””

That being said, we can never truly know if we have learned of truth in its purest form. That is what makes science better than religion. Religion assumes that it knows truth in the purest form, even when there is no evidence to back it up. Science, even with the evidence to support the truth, assumes it does not know the pure truth and continues to seek the truth. We have to assume that regardless of what we know and regardless of what evidence we have, that there is more information to either concrete the ideas we have or change the ideas we have.

JAN: “That is true with the world being flat, Zeus, etc.”

How do you know that the god you “feel” is not Zeus?

JAN: “Thinking that one knows the truth doesn’t make it true.”

Very true. Have you applied that statement to yourself and what you think is the truth?

JAN: “The truth is that there is a God who is our Loving Heavenly Father.”

How do you know that it is true? Are you sure it isn’t Allah, Zoroastrian, Mithras, or Krishna? What evidence do you have to support that God is “pure truth”?

JAN: “I am so sorry that your children are being teased by children who claim Christian beliefs. Of course this is not Christ-like behavior.”

That’s not true. Christ routinely called his enemies “Vipers” and “dogs”. He was clearly teasing and name-calling, and definitely not “loving his enemies”.

JAN: “He wants us to educate our children, he wants us to be kind of others, he wants us to make this world a better place. He doesn’t want us to belittle others, be dishonest or unkind.”

You do realize of course that these “moral standards” were established long before Christianity and Judaism, don’t you? The oldest religion in the world is Shamanism, which is 27,000-years-old. Hammurabi’s Code established this code long before the Ten Commandments were even thought of. In my view, as a humanist, I want to educate my children so they are capable citizens of humanity and can contribute to humanity. I want to be kind to others, as long as they are kind to me (revenge is necessary sometimes). I want to make this place a better world for my children, humanity, and myself. I don’t want to belittle others (even though it becomes necessary at times) and I strive to be honest, but as adults we know that dishonesty is often necessary in a society.

JAN: “My point, truth in it’s purest scientific form goes hand and hand with the purest religious truth.”

Your anecdote has absolutely nothing to do with religious beliefs. The individual used scientific methods, which “pure religion” despises, in order to devise the animals skins used to write the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a great discovery because they show that the Bible is severely flawed. The caves and Qumran near the Essenes establishment provided an in-depth look at the lives of the Essenes and they had copied a few pieces of the Torah. These copies shows several flaws in the Bible, or the Bible showed several flaws in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Either way, one or the other is not true.

Science and religion are separate. Science may be used to test religious artifacts or to test religious history, or to show that “miracles” are faked, but it cannot affirm or deny anything metaphysical. Science could care less about the metaphysical because science deals with the natural world. The Dead Sea Scrolls, regardless of the religious content, are of the natural world.

Religion uses science only when it works to support religion in one way or another. For example, when science (archaeology) found the city of Ur the religious groups congratulated science and reviled in the “relationship” between science and religion. When science said the Shroud of Turin was a fraud, religion turned its back on science and remarked that they were “biased” and “did not know God”. When evolution and creation go head-to-head, where is the hand-in-hand there? Religion and science conflict 99% of the time. That is because they address completely different issues. Religion addresses “why” and science addresses “how”. Science can address the “how” of religion and religion can address the “why” of science (such as the recent lashing out of the human genome project by religionists asking “why” about “playing god”).

JAN: “I know that God lives, and that Jesus is our savior. This is not perception, but truth in its purest form.”

How do you know that God lives? Have you seen him?

If it is not perception then you have sound scientific evidence to prove that god exists? If it is truth in its purest form then how come everyone does not see this pure truth? If truth is pure, vice perceived, then it is equal across the board and available for all. Your god is not and therefore your god is a perception and not truth.

JAN: “You can know this too.”

Again, you are still assuming that I was never religious. I felt what you do. Now I know the medical and scientific “how” of what that feeling is. There are many beliefs as to how one can “know this”. What path do you recommend that I take to know your version of god?

Jan Rebuttal #004:

From where I am coming from, I was a little lost when you discussing science and religion as not supporting each other. ANYTHING THAT IS PURE TRUTH WILL SUPPORT ANYTHING ELSE THAT IS PURE TRUTH. It only makes sense that pure scientific truth supports pure religious truth.

I do believe that the Bible is the word of God as long as it has been correctly translated. When man first began to write the Bible, I am sure that it was true. But over time and many many many years, other people have decided to make changes to the Bible. That doesn’t mean that it’s all false or all true. That isn’t truth in its purest form.

Go back and read what I learned about DNA from my last e-mail. That is science supporting religion.

Response to Jan #004:

JAN: “ANYTHING THAT IS PURE TRUTH WILL SUPPORT ANYTHING ELSE THAT IS PURE TRUTH.”

How and why? How does the “pure truth” of the Earth revolving around the Sun support the “pure truth” that the sky is not blue but every color but blue?

JAN: “It only makes sense that pure scientific truth supports pure religious truth.”

If it “only makes sense” then you should have an easy time relaying that. You have only offered perceptions and speculation. You have yet to offer any evidence, data, or anything else for that matter that backs up your claim of religious truth. You must first understand that there is no such thing as pure religious truth. There may be scientific truth within a religion, but religion, in and of itself, has no pure truth (otherwise there wouldn’t be 30,000 different religions).

JAN: “When man first began to write the Bible, I am sure that it was true.”

Your assurances do not make it “pure truth”. There are over 200,000 variants of some 5,000 manuscripts. Not a single on matches any of the other. Unfortunately, we can never know if the manuscripts were deliberately changed to “add my thoughts” or to “add missed text”. We’ll never know because there are absolutely zero originals anywhere in the world. Original manuscripts do not exist. We now know that Matthew and Luke did not write Matthew and Luke. We also know that Ezekiel, as it appears in the Bible, is a fake. Exodus was more than likely not written by Moses.

JAN: “Go back and read what I learned about DNA from my last e-mail. That is science supporting religion.”

I read your DNA story and commented on it. The story was superfluous. That was not science supporting religion. How was science “supporting” religion? That was science, using its known discoveries, testing religious artifacts to determine what animals were used to make the skins. The scrolls, while they have a religious tone about them, are archaeological artifacts first and religious artifacts second. It took many years before theologians got a hold of them. When they did they were surprised to find many contradictions. They had hoped the Dead Sea Scrolls would pour concrete into the basis of the Bible. Instead the scrolls chipped away at the foundation of the Bible.

Science can be used to test artifacts and events within religion, but it cannot be used to test religion itself. We can test aspects of it, such as the medical reason why people “feel” the Holy Spirit or why people pass out when they are “healed”. We can test artifacts, such as the Shroud of Turin or the Dead Sea Scrolls, and determine if they are faked, such as the Shroud of Turin, or how old they are, or who made them, etc. Usually the test results go against the religion but support the anthropological aspect of the religious beliefs. Many people often confuse the two aspects, but they are different.