Biblical Prophecy

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Discussion by: shortpolock

What is the atheist's answer to Prophecies in the Bible being fulfilled? Does this indicate that God exists? 

For example, Isaiah (Ch's 52, 53) predicted the crucifixion of Jesus several hundred years before it was used as a form of capital punishment (Persians – Darius, 519 BCE). He also names Cyrus the conqueror of Babylon 150 years before he completed the conquest (Ch's 44,45) and details his capture of Babylon (gates being open for him, taking the kingdom without a fight). 

 

181 COMMENTS

  1. Certainly, read William Paley’s “Evidences of Christianity”, and if that will not convince you, then nothing will. Not only that, but with 10,933 Saints on the book, there must have been at least 21,866 miracles wrought by their intercession and endorsed by the sitting Pope, since they don’t even get a look into the canon without performing at least a brace of miracles each.

    But what really baffles the hell out of me is how anyone can read any combination of words in Isaiah and see a Jesus being crucified 722 years after the Assyrian invasion which prompted that book.

    What also baffles the hell out of me is by what miracle can the surrender of Nebu-Na’id, the feeble great-great-grandson of the fabulous Nebu-Kudduri-Usser II (Nebukhednesser the Great) to an army of 70,000 Medes under Qurush Bezri II (Cyrus the Great), be described as a “miracle”, and by what fraudulent trick can this story be described as a “prophecy” when it was inserted by Ezra the Lying Scribe into the Old Testament, many years after the conquest in 539 BC?

    Apart from that, what has the crucifixion to do with Darayavahush (Darius)? It was the form of capital punishment practised by the Romans centuries before Jesus was a glint in YHWH’s eyes, reserved for mutineers and those found guilty, like Jesus, of sedition against the Roman emperor. Thousands were executed in this manner before Jesus or even Cyrus and Darius were born.

  2. What is the Christian’s answer to the prophecy that Achilles, son of Thetis, would either live a long but dull life or a glorious but brief life? Does this indicate Zeus exists?

    Christians appear only to apply critical thinking to the prophecies of other religions and not to their own. The atheist’s answer is usually to apply critical thinking to all prophecies.

  3. I recommend the book Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible by Bart Ehrman. Ehrman was trained as an evangelical minister. He describes what we actually know about who wrote the Gospels. What I’m about to say here is something that any competent biblical scholar will know, even though as Ehrman points out these things are often not communicated in lay bible study classes.

    The men who wrote the Gospels were not who they claimed to be. They did not actually know Jesus and they were writing decades after his death. We don’t know a lot about the actual historical Jesus (some even doubt there was such a person although IMO the evidence doesn’t support that) but what we do know is that his followers were virtually all illiterate. The authors of the Gospels were learned men familiar with Greek (Jesus’s followers all spoke Aramaic).

    The interesting thing is that the intentions of the Gospel authors varied and you can see that reflected in what they wrote. Some of the authors wanted to convert pagans to their new religion of Christianity. For them, it was essential to emphasize things like a divine birth and other ways that Jesus was like Roman demigods. Other authors wanted to convert Jews to the new religion. For them it was essential to tell the story in a way that indicated Jesus was fulfilling Judaic prophesies about the messiah.

    So to get back to your question that is how this atheist deals with the claim that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophesies. Some of the people who told the story of Jesus had an agenda and one of their agendas was to convince people he fulfilled the prophesies for the Jewish messiah and as a result they told the story — and interpreted or fudged facts accordingly — to make it seem true.

    • In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

      some even doubt there was such a person although IMO the evidence doesn’t support that

      Thom Harpur is a famous Canadian Anglican clergyman who wrote a book called “The Pagan Christ”. He says the earliest mentionings of Jesus were the “The sayings of Jesus” which contained no information at all about the life of Jesus. Subsequent documents gradually filled in the details. This suggests Jesus was a fictional character like Superman whose life was gradually fleshed out. There are so many inconsistencies about his early life, including that he reputedly grew up in Nazareth which did not exist at the time. That sounds to me like a detail added much later by someone who did not realise the age of Nazareth.

      • In reply to #24 by Roedy:

        In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

        some even doubt there was such a person although IMO the evidence doesn’t support that

        Thom Harpur is a famous Canadian Anglican clergyman who wrote a book called “The Pagan Christ”. He says the earliest mentionings of Jesus were the “The sayings of Jesus” which contain…

        Ehrman wrote a whole book about the theories that there was no historical Jesus at all called Did Jesus Exist? I remember he dealt with the question of Nazareth vs. Bethlehem. In fact that discrepancy is an example of what I mentioned in my earlier comment. The author who claimed Jesus was born in Bethlehem is one of the author’s that Ehrman claims was trying to slant things toward satisfying messianic prophesies. The Old Testament predicted the messiah would be born in Bethlehem so the story of the Jesus family being recalled because of a census (even though people were never actually recalled to their homes for a census as far as we know) was inserted into his gospel.

        I thought Ehrman’s case for why the hypothesis that there was an actual Jewish teacher named Jesus who was put to death by the Romans was very strong and he demonstrated to my satisfaction that the quality of scholarship on most of the “myther’s” was about the same as for 9/11 truthers.

        I thought Ehrman overstated his case a bit, I think records were so non-existent back then its not possible to say with strong certainty (as he does) one way or another. But I agree with him to the extent we can draw conclusions the conclusion that Jesus existed is the one best supported by an honest evaluation of the evidence. Of course you can believe Jesus existed without believing that he did miracles or was the son of God.

        • In reply to #26 by Red Dog:

          Ehrman wrote a whole book about the theories that there was no historical Jesus at all called Did Jesus Exist?

          Of all the Bart Ehrman books I’ve read, “Did Jesus Exist?” was a great disappointment. It was not up to the usual standard of his work.

          I remember he dealt with the question of Nazareth vs. Bethlehem. In fact that discrepancy is an example of what I mentioned in my earlier comment. The author who claimed Jesus was born in Bethlehem is one of the author’s that Ehrman claims was trying to slant things toward satisfying messianic prophesies.

          Both Matthew and Luke have the Bethlehem prophecy fulfilled, but by different methods. In fact both Nativity narratives are completely contradictory other than the few points to get the prophecy of royal city of David as the birth place and the virgin birth entered into the record (story).

          Both also ridiculous when viewed from the perspective that the virgin birth is mistranslated from the Hebrew word “almah”, meaning “young woman” or “maiden” as per Isaiah 7:14. “therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: a maiden is with child and she will bear a son, and will call his name Immanuel.”…The two gospel authors translates this as meaning a virgin, the rest we say, is history. Ironically, the two genealogies are at odds with one another to get Josephs lineage through to king David. to Abraham in Matthew, and Adam in Luke. Ironic because why would any of that matter if the father of Jesus was God? Interestingly enough, Matthew includes 4 women in his nonsense, for who knows what reason. Neither authors get as far as Josephs father in agreement. There are important omissions and Matthew has 41 begets to Abraham while Luke has 56 begets…so much for biblical inerrancy.

          I thought Ehrman’s case for why the hypothesis that there was an actual Jewish teacher named Jesus who was put to death by the Romans was very strong and he demonstrated to my satisfaction that the quality of scholarship on most of the “myther’s” was about the same as for 9/11 truthers.

          I don’t agree. Ehrmans scholarship was shown to be shoddy and full of unsubstantiated assertions. He was taken to task on this by Richard Carrier among others and failed miserably to refute the criticisms made of this particular work. If you haven’t already read the exchange, and are interested in doing so, the debacle can be read here at Feeethought

          I thought Ehrman overstated his case a bit,

          So did I…and so did many others.

          I think records were so non-existent back then its not possible to say with strong certainty (as he does) one way or another.

          The thing is, should we be less skepitical because of the subject matter.

          But I agree with him to the extent we can draw conclusions the conclusion that Jesus existed is the one best supported by an honest evaluation of the evidence.

          The problem is with the evidence. What evidence? No secular contemporary evidence that seems apparent. And what evidence there appears to be within a generation, is bias Christian writings littered with contradiction, forgery, interpolation, with a politico-religious agenda, which can apply equally well to other hypotheses.

          Of course you can believe Jesus existed without believing that he did miracles or was the son of God.

          Well I think that is the default of the consensus of critical biblical historians…the rest are theological interpretations and they don’t agree with one another either.

          • In reply to #140 by Ignorant Amos:

            In reply to #26 by Red Dog:

            He was taken to task on this by Richard Carrier among others and failed miserably to refute the criticisms made of this particular work.

            This, for me, makes the question of whether or not Jesus fulfilled prophecy a nul point. If the leading scholars of the day cannot agree on whether or not Jesus even existed, debating as to whether not he fulfilled prophesies is irrelevant.

            If Jesus’ existence was not in question, then the next step would be to look at evidence of his miracles, etc. I don’t think you can argue it the other way around; that Jesus fulfilled prophesies and performed miracles, therefore he existed.

            (BTW, to shortpolock I read your point on wealth associated with the church, but I wont respond as I think that debate would be off topic).

          • _In reply to #145 by bobe_s:

            In reply to #26 by Red Dog:
            This, for me, makes the question of whether or not Jesus fulfilled prophecy a nul point. If the leading scholars of the day cannot agree on whether or not Jesus even existed, debating as to whether not he fulfilled prophesies is irrelevant.

            I agree that the question of prophesies is pointless but not for your reason. IMO there really isn’t much debate with the “leading scholars”. Instead what you have are actual scholars (who think there was a historical Jesus) and then a niche industry of people who have an agenda and write things that have the same level of scholarship as conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. To be clear, I think the records from that time are so minimal that we can’t rule out the possibility that Jesus never existed. But by the same reasoning we can’t rule out the possibility that Socrates never existed. He’s only mentioned by two original sources as far as I know, Plato and Aristophenes. It could be that Plato just made up the name and Aristophenes was just going along with the gag. So in that sense we can’t say for sure either Jesus or Socrates existed but there is no compelling evidence and virtually no actual serious scholars that say otherwise.

            But I agree the whole idea of treating prophesies and miracles as if they were recorded facts is nonsensical. I find discussing the “prophesies” interesting because I find the early history of Christianity interesting and understanding why the Gospels were written to fulfill certain prophesies tells us a lot about the motives of the Gospel authors. But ancient texts are filled with exaggerations and tall tales. Any serious scholar knows that and knows that you don’t take stories about people being brought back from the dead any more seriously than you take stories of talking snakes or winged horses.

          • In reply to #146 by Red Dog:

            IMO there really isn’t much debate with the “leading scholars”. Instead what you have are actual scholars (who think there was a historical Jesus) and then a niche industry of people who have an agenda and write things that have the same level of scholarship as conspiracy theories and pseudoscience.

            Would you include Richard Carrier on this list? His books had been on my reading list (along with Ehermans). I was under the impression that his work was pretty well regarded, so if there’s a reason it isn’t I’d be interested.

            Any serious scholar knows that and knows that you don’t take stories about people being brought back from the dead any more seriously than you take stories of talking snakes or winged horses.

            So it’s pretty depressing that a lot of people DO take these stories literally, right?

          • In reply to #147 by bob_e_s:

            Would you include Richard Carrier on this list? His books had been on my reading list (along with Ehermans). I was under the impression that his work was pretty well regarded, so if there’s a reason it isn’t I’d be interested.

            I can’t say. I should be clear I don’t follow this with the same level of intensity I have in other topics such as computer science (something I know a lot about from work) or altruism (something I’m very interested in right now and constantly reading about). All the early Christian stuff is just kind of a side interest, something I go back to when I want a distraction. The main authors I’ve read were Ehrman and Elaine Pagels (she is great but she focuses more on the Gnostic Christians) and then over the years I’ve read a few others such as The Passover Plot and there is one that just came out by Reza Aslan that sounds very interesting and I have on reserve at the library. Aslan focuses more on the political issues, I think his claim may be that Jesus was more of a threat to Rome than people usually give him credit for.. but I haven’t read the book yet so for once I should just shut up until I know what I’m talking about.

            So I don’t know about Carrier. I remember that in Did Jesus Exist? Ehrman was fairly dismissive (but he gave good arguments as to why not personal attacks) on most of the mythers but there were a couple he held out as legitimate and Carrier may have been one of those.

            Here is a link to a Huffington Post article by Ehrman that is a nice intro to Did Jesus Exist?

            So it’s pretty depressing that a lot of people DO take these stories literally, right?

            Yes.

          • In reply to #148 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #147 by bobes:

            Would you include Richard Carrier on this list? His books had been on my reading list (along with Ehermans). I was under the impression that his work was pretty well regarded, so if there’s a reason it isn’t I’d be interested.

            I can’t say.

            I can. I’ve read both authors works. Read both and form your own opinion from the arguments they make bobes. I’m a big fan of Ehrman, which is why I was disappointed by DJE? It was not up to the usual standard and his arguments have been decimated by the likes of Richard Carrier with very poor responses, if any, from Ehrman and his supporters. Again, read for yourself at Carriers blog on Freethought. I’m becoming a big fan of RC and am looking forward to his new peer reviewed book

            I remember that in Did Jesus Exist? Ehrman was fairly dismissive (but he gave good arguments as to why not personal attacks) on most of the mythers but there were a couple he held out as legitimate and Carrier may have been one of those.

            The point is that Ehrman did go on personal attacks…erroneously discrediting Carrier and other mythicist scholars and their scholarly credentials.

            “[He then] repeats his misrepresentation of my credentials, suggesting I don’t know the period in question, or the languages, or the documents or the literature on early Christianity. Which is all false. I am adequately trained in all of these. And it is disingenuous of Ehrman to assume Thompson is not, simply because he has a different specialty than Ehrman.”

            On “Did Jesus Exist?” Carrier made a scathing review on the scholarship in the book itself calling it a travesty…

            “The main problem with the book itself was the sheer number of errors, fallacies, and misleading statements that fill it. It is important to emphasize this: a handful of errors or fallacies would not condemn any book, as every book has a few, and a good book can more than compensate for that by being consistently useful, informative, and on-point in every other respect. But Ehrman’s book was so full of gaffes it is simply unsalvageable, and as I said, it resembles in this respect some of the worst Jesus myth literature, which I can’t recommend to people either, as it will misinform them far more than inform them. (Scholars can also correct their errors. If they are inclined to. Ehrman, so far, does not seem at all inclined to.)”

            “I could not list all the errors, fallacies, and misleading statements I marked up in my copy of his book. There were hundreds of them, averaging at least one a page. This shocked me, because all his previous works were not like this. They are superb, and I still recommend them, especially Jesus Interrupted and Forged. Their errors are few, and well drowned out by their consistent utility and overall accuracy in conveying the mainstream consensus on the issues they address (Interrupted is an excellent primer to get anyone up to speed on where the field of New Testament Studies now stands, and Forged is an excellent summary of why that mainstream consensus accepts that many of the documents in the New Testament are forgeries, and why that was known to be deceitful even back then, despite attempts to claim the contrary).”

            Here is a link to a Huffington Post article by Ehrman that is a nice intro to Did Jesus Exist?

            The HuffPo article was unprofessional hyperbole and very disappointing.

          • In reply to #146 by Red Dog:

            But by the same reasoning we can’t rule out the possibility that Socrates never existed.

            The case for an historical Socrates is by no means watertight, but it is far superior to that of an historical Jesus.

            He’s only mentioned by two original sources as far as I know, Plato and Aristophenes.

            What about Xenophon?

            Multiple attestation is not all it’s cracked up to be, I know, over 70,000 claim to have witnessed the miracle at Fatima and there are numerous independent accounts of all sorts of nonsense from alien abductions through big foot sightings to the Loch Ness monster. I think the coherence and plausibility of an historical Socrates. Regardless of whether or not Socrates was fact or fiction, it is not as important as a fact or fiction Jesus. The virgin birth, crucifixion and resurrection are pinnacle elements to modern Christianity.

            It could be that Plato just made up the name and Aristophenes was just going along with the gag.

            Why? To what purpose? Denigrating a fictional character makes the one doing the denigrating look pretty foolish. Remember, Aristophenes was a contemporary witness, so those reading him would be well aware if the subject matter was real or not.

            So in that sense we can’t say for sure either Jesus or Socrates existed but there is no compelling evidence and virtually no actual serious scholars that say otherwise.

            What constitutes a serious scholar? As has been pointed out, to deny a historical Jesus is to place oneself outside the cadre. I’m all for looking at the evidence or lack thereof and from what I’m reading, the games afoot on the subject.

            Carl Sagan says in “Cosmos”something along the lines that no hypothesis should be dismissed out of hand, no matter how far fetched, until it has been thoroughly debunked.

            “Many hypotheses proposed by scientists as well as non-scientists turn out to be wrong. But science is a self-correcting enterprise. To be accepted, all new ideas must survive rigorous scientific standards of evidence. The worse aspect of the Velikovsky affair is not that his hypotheses were wrong or in contradiction to firmly established facts, but that some who called themselves scientists attempted to suppress Velikovksy’s works. Science is generated by and devoted to free enquiry: the idea that any hypothesis, no matter how strange, deserves to be considered on its merits.”

            The Mythicists have not been debunked. Just saying it is a kook fringe doesn’t make it so, especially as much of the scholarship doing the accusation believe that the same Jesus walked on water, raised the dead and turned water into wine…how kooked out is that?. Take the Myhicist arguments apart or defend against their criticism of the historical Jesus with supportable evidence…like we do with YEC, holocaust deniers, AGW deniers, etc., etc., etc. That’s what I’d like to see and to date I haven’t, especially in Ehrmans DJE? tome.

          • In reply to #150 by Ignorant Amos:

            In reply to #146 by Red Dog:

            But by the same reasoning we can’t rule out the possibility that Socrates never existed.

            The case for an historical Socrates is by no means watertight, but it is far superior to that of an historical Jesus.

            << He’s only mentioned by two original sources as far as I know,…>>

            It might be worth mentioning that Aristophanes (correct spelling) wouldn’t have been READ by his contemporaries, but heard and viewed, being a playwright, of plays that were watched by the entire male citizen population of Athens, (and a fair number of women too, though probably not the respectable ones). One would have thought that these audiences might have noticed that the person being satirized didn’t actually exist, had that been the case. Doesn’t mean that Socrates did or said everything, or even any specific thing, that Plato, Xenophon or Aristophanes said he did, of course, and indeed they portray him very differently, but his actual existence as a famous, indeed notorious, philosopher in a particular place and time is as near to certainty IMO as we’re likely to get about any figure back in those days.

          • In reply to #145 by bob_e_s:

            This, for me, makes the question of whether or not Jesus fulfilled prophecy a nul point. If the leading scholars of the day cannot agree on whether or not Jesus even existed, debating as to whether not he fulfilled prophesies is irrelevant.

            Well, to be honest, the consensus is all for an historical Jesus, but it is an argumentum ad numerum in this case because the evidence that exists can be be explained away. Much of the scholarship is bias for starters.

            Although many biblical scholars agree that Jesus did exist, Joseph Hoffmann has stated that the issue of historicity of Jesus has been long ignored due to theological interests. The New Testament scholar Nicholas Perrin has argued that since most biblical scholars are Christians, a certain bias is inevitable, but he does not see this as a major problem. Donald Akenson, Professor of Irish Studies in the department of history at Queen’s University has argued that, with very few exceptions, the historians of Yeshua have not followed sound historical practices. He has stated that there is an unhealthy reliance on consensus, for propositions, which should otherwise be based on primary sources, or rigorous interpretation. He also holds that some of the criteria being used are faulty. He says that, the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs. Because of this, more than any other group in present day academia, biblical historians are under immense pressure to theologize their historical work. It is only through considerable individual heroism, that many biblical historians have managed to maintain the scholarly integrity of their work.

            “…the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs…”, meaning it is professional suicide to kick against the establishment. Bart Ehrman said as much in his controversial HuffPo article last year…

            But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.

            If Jesus’ existence was not in question, then the next step would be to look at evidence of his miracles, etc. I don’t think you can argue it the other way around; that Jesus fulfilled prophesies and performed miracles, therefore he existed.

            That is a different debate….many of those in the historical Jesus cadre do not say he was supernatural, nor should they.

            (BTW, to shortpolock I read your point on wealth associated with the church, but I wont respond as I think that debate would be off topic).

            I’m not sure it is OT. In any case, there is plenty good reason why all those that have started religions have done so. You very rarely, if ever, find the wealthy or royal creating religions. Perhaps the Siddhārtha Gautama is one exception if you follow a particular biography.

            Religion creating is the creation the enterprise of those wishing to get something for nothing. Christianity is no different as can be seen by the fact that there is 38,000+ flavours of the bloody thing with a multi-billion £$€ income. Power, control and wealth is the name of the religious game and at the expense of the poor and the gullible. Modern day examples of such abound…Joseph Smith was a convicted fraudster and Ron L. Hubbard was alleged to have said…

            Living is a pretty grim joke, but a joke just the same. The entire function of man is to survive. The outermost limit of endeavour is creative work. Anything less is too close to simple survival until death happens along. So I am engaged in striving to maintain equilibrium sufficient to at least realize survival in a way to astound the gods. I turned the thing up so it’s up to me to survive in a big way . . . Foolishly perhaps, but determined none the less, I have high hopes of smashing my name into history so violently that it will take a legendary form even if all books are destroyed.

            …and…

            *You don’t get rich writing science fiction[working]. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.

            …and…

            “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is!”

            …and…

            THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them.

            Yet the gullible still pitch their money into the pot. With religion, there are those that give and those that take. Granted, religions do put some of their plunder back into the community, but that is the minimum requirement to accumulate even more money. The Holy See has a wealth that is beyond estimate, U.S. evangelists live in mansions and fly in private jets. For those with no scruples, religion is the way to make an easy buck.

            As for early converts and what they may have gained…at a time when everyone was taking, joining a cult that shared must have been pretty inviting. Especially for those that had very little. If one is all alone and feeling poorly, it must have been a bit special for a stranger to call round with some cheer and a bowl of hot broth.

            At the very least, dispensing with having to fork out for temple sacrifice would be enough reason to get some Christ into your life.

    • In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

      …but what we do know is that his followers were virtually all illiterate. The authors of the Gospels were learned men familiar with Greek (Jesus’s followers all spoke Aramaic).

      That might be why Paul’s letters seem to all be dictated to a scribe. There’s quite a simple explanation for how the Apostle John (who may or may not have been illiterate) managed to get his experiences written down.

      But it’s certainly true when you say the authors wrote for different audiences. It seems a stretch to say, though, that they’ve interpreted or fudged facts in their stories to make Jesus fit prophecies. The aim of all 4 gospels is to show that Jesus died so people don’t have to. That’s a fact that none of them come close to fudging.

      • In reply to #31 by MKBW:

        In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

        The aim of all 4 gospels is to show that Jesus died so people don’t have to. That’s a fact that none of them come close to fudging.

        newsflash: people die

      • In reply to #31 by MKBW:

        In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

        …but what we do know is that his followers were virtually all illiterate. The authors of the Gospels were learned men familiar with Greek (Jesus’s followers all spoke Aramaic).

        That might be why Paul’s letters seem to all be dictated to a scribe. There’s quite a simple…

        Paul is irrelevant to what I was saying. Sorry, when I talked about the early followers of Jesus I should have been more specific. I meant the original followers, the people who actually heard Jesus speak first hand. That doesn’t include Paul who (by his own story) came along later and who probably was literate himself. Those original followers of Jesus where illiterate Jews who spoke Aramaic and couldn’t have written the Gospels.

        Ehrman has written a whole book on this topic as well and it is quite an eye opener, I’m surprised it’s not discussed more on this site. It is called Forged: Writing in the Name of God–Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. Ehrman claims that the Gospel authors were actual forgers, claiming to be people who knew Jesus first hand when there is no way they could have. Some of what Ehrman writes in that book is controversial within the scholarship community. It conflicts with most of the other authors I’ve read on the topic such as Elaine Pagels. Pagels takes the standard scholarly position that in ancient times authors frequently used this as a literary technique, to put your words into the voice of someone famous. The most famous non-Jesus example is Plato putting words into the mouth of Socrates. But Ehrman thinks that is just apologetics and that the real story is harsher, the gospel authors were forgers plain and simple and his evidence is pretty compelling.

        But either way no serious scholar that I’ve ever read questions the fact that the people who wrote the Gospels couldn’t have possibly known the actual Jesus first hand and could not have been his apostles. That isn’t controversial its as accepted in the scholarly community as evolution is in biology.

        BTW, one other issue I find fascinating is that the four gospels we think of as THE Gospels were just four of many different versions of the story. The Catholic church decided they were the official ones so they then went out and burned any alternative gospels (and they would sometimes burn anyone found reading them as well) which is why we have only fragments of many of these. Its something I’ve always found fascinating because some of these alternative versions of the story of Jesus show a very different picture and its a Jesus who is much more an ancient hippy who believes in equality for women and that sex is a holy thing. Its not surprising that those Gospels were labelled heresy.

      • In reply to #31 by MKBW:

        That might be why Paul’s letters seem to all be dictated to a scribe.

        But they are not. Seven letters are generally deemed authentic Pauline letters. Of the remainder, three are forgeries, three are hotly debated, but dubious.

        There’s quite a simple explanation for how the Apostle John (who may or may not have been illiterate) managed to get his experiences written down.

        It is generally accepted that the Johanine gospel may have had three authors. Certainly by the time of authorship, none of these would have been the “beloved disciple”.

        It seems a stretch to say, though, that they’ve interpreted or fudged facts in their stories to make Jesus fit prophecies.

        But that is apparent when reading the gospels side by side and comparing alleged events. Take the doubling in Matthews account. Did Jesus simultaneously ride a donkey and a colt of a donkey as stated in Matthew…surely a mistake by the author trying to fudge the Zachariah prophecy? Doubling, pairing and paralleling are rife in the gospels to fudge the stories.

        “In conclusion, Matthew’s utilization of doubling is a metaphorical reminder of his greater point in writing the gospel: to hold together seemingly contradictory things,whether they be Jew and Gentile, new and old, and/or scripture and discourse. The prime example of Jesus riding two donkeys is but one manifestation of Matthew’s effort to hammer home this point. Reference to groups of two throughout the gospel help attune our senses to the instances of doubling and to the overall theme of holding together contrasts”

        A Donkey and the Colt of a Donkey
        The Problem of Doubling in the Gospel of Matthew
        or
        Why Matthew Has Two Asses

        The aim of all 4 gospels is to show that Jesus died so people don’t have to.

        Since when did people stop dying? If you meant for the sins of man, how did that work out. Apparently we all still require baptism to cleanse away the sins and even then the pulpit is continually declaring we are all sinners. What was the point? If you believe in that nonsense that is. Given that there was no Adam and Eve to fall, the whole deck of cards is constructed on a fondation of blancmange.

        That is theological, not historical in any event…no evidence.

        That’s a fact that none of them come close to fudging.

        The fudging is in how this was portrayed…the stories conflict on key issues depending upon which gospel you read. Example, what was Jesus’ final words?

        Subsequent fudging has commenced by all and sundry in the centuries ever since.

    • In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

      I recommend the book Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible by Bart Ehrman. Ehrman was trained as an evangelical minister. He describes what we actually know about who wrote the Gospels. What I’m about to say here is something that any competent biblical scholar will…I read “Misquoting Jesus: The story behind who changed the bible and why”. It started me on my trip to the fence. “The God Delusion” got me off the fence and to the other side.

  4. If people know the prophesy, they can make it happen. The bible is full of statements of the form “X did Y to fulfill the prophesy.”

    Jesus behaved at his trial to ensure his guilt and punishment. He was on a suicide mission, trying to make the prophesy come true.

    Also recall, there is no corroborating evidence for any of the stuff in the bible. All you are commenting on is self-consistency in a novel.

    If I guess Blackberry stock price on 2014-01-01, and I am right it does not prove I am god, or that there is a god. It just means I am good or lucky at prediction.

  5. That’s the advantage of 1500 years of editing and reediting along with the purging of a great amount of any original text. You give me that long and even I could make Hubbard look prescient.

  6. Even if the prophesies were direct and close to the event (and Isaiah regarding reading the crucifixion is neither) there are huge problems from the persecutive of those outside faith. First, predictions of martyrs to a cause are not only likely to be true for a persecuted nation such as the Jews, there are predictions of many kinds, political, economic that sometimes come off.
    But much worse for christians, other religions do not read the same texts in the same way even while each claim divine inspiration for their interpretation. So Jews utterly reject readings that deduce from Isaiah and others that Jesus was the Messiah, while Muslims reject any readings that Christ was the son of god, as blasphemous, as well as rejecting the supposedly prophesied resurrection.
    It is thus easy to see why fundamentalists of the several religions each insist on children bring taught about faith, but only their own, lest they start to make comparisons and draw the obvious conclusions, namely that if prophesy x is held by religion a to be true, but false by religions b and c, and that this goes for a lot of crucial ponts then someone so where has got it wrong. And since they all contradict each other about remote events that on the face of it are fantastic, maybe they all have it wrong. Which is my thought anyway.

    • In reply to #8 by steve_hopker:

      Even if the prophesies were direct and close to the event (and Isaiah regarding reading the crucifixion is neither) there are huge problems from the persecutive of those outside faith. First, predictions of martyrs to a cause are not only likely to be true for a persecuted nation such as the Jews,…

      Sorry for errors. For ‘persecutive’ read ‘perspective’ and near the end it should be, ‘someone has got it wrong’.

  7. I’d could have being a retrospective update of the old testament.
    It could have being a chance happening.
    The language is general.
    The new testament could have being written to be consistent with old testament prophecies.
    No mention of Jesus being the son of God.

    The problem here is that you are referencing something that you think has a factual basis.

    Ps If Jesus existed he might not even have described himself as the son of god. So I want to be fair to him. The book is written by men who quotes Jesus and others without the luxury of a Dictaphone, well after the event, and well after many rewrites and duplication errors probably. There is quite allot of room for fallacy I’m afraid.

    • In reply to #11 by Pauly01:

      Ps If Jesus existed he might not even have described himself as the son of god. So I want to be fair to him. The book is written by men who quotes Jesus and others without the luxury of a Dictaphone, well after the event, and well after many rewrites and duplication errors probably. There is quite allot of room for fallacy I’m afraid.

      There’s not actually very much room for fallacy at all. The New Testament texts are far and away the most reliable documents from the ancient world we possess – so much so it’s almost embarrassing! If you question the recorded words of Jesus, you have to question every single ancient text.

      I’d say you can definitely judge Jesus on his own words! And he certainly said he was the Son of God. That makes him crazy, a liar, or the Son of God himself.

  8. Even if shortpolock’s mention of Issiah etc. were true, it strikes this atheist as somewhat strange that the **CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE ** would use such an oblique and hidden way of announcing his coming and presence. The Chinese were completely left out of this prohecy, as were any native Americans, Africans or Europeans.

    Let me be permitted to make my own equally nebulous “prophecy”. The winner of the Grand National horse race 2014, shall be a mighty beast, and it shall carry a person of many colours. It will have jumped many fences and outrun all the other horses and its name shall be…..the winner ! (Can’t be named for religious reasons.)

    Fault me if you can !

  9. Sorry about the lengthy quote but maybe just read the last couple of lines about what Jesus said :

    WHAT JESUS SAID
    “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.“ (Matthew 16: 27, 28)

    “Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

    But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

    Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.“ (Matthew 24: 25-34)

    Now what does shortpolock have to say about that false prophecy, from no less a person than God Himself ?

    • In reply to #15 by Mr DArcy:

      Sorry about the lengthy quote but maybe just read the last couple of lines about what Jesus said :

      WHAT JESUS SAID
      “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who a…

      For the Matthew 16 quote, you’d do well to read what comes immediately after that in the text.

      For the Matthew 24 quote, I think that one’s trickier, but the references to the Son of Man coming on the clouds seems to allude very strongly to Daniel 7, where you see the same picture. Daniel 7 is talking about the cross of Jesus. The Son of Man is given all authority, and so the risen Jesus says in Matthew 28 “now I’ve been given this authority, go and tell people about me”. I think, therefore, that Jesus here is probably talking about the cross.

      • In reply to #33 by MKBW:

        In reply to #15 by Mr DArcy:

        Sorry about the lengthy quote but maybe just read the last couple of lines about what Jesus said :

        WHAT JESUS SAID
        “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you,…

        MKBW, with your Biblical predictions you really have it both ways ! You can’t go wrong !

        On the one hand Jesus tells us He will return before this generation has died, and on the other:

        But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[b] but the Father only. (Matthew 24 -36)

        I can only glean that Jesus was not a full card carrying member of the Godhead ! Even He didn’t know when He was due to return, but within the generation anyway. A false prophecy from the Creator of the universe !

  10. The biblical prophecy is actually an ancient astrological explanation of the seasonal changes and the suns relation to the stars, the idea that the sun is dying on the cross i literally a reference to the fact that in that region during the days that the sun is lowest in the sky during the winter it falls directly in front of the crux, or cross constellation. So to say it is a biblical prophecy is in fact not true, in reality it is stolen from astronomical patterns explained by astrologists metaphors. This is actually the origin of the christian symbol of the cross with the circle around it it is actually a representation of the astrological year. Basically the western version of the zodiac.

    Now add in the fact that people in those day in particular but even today in the modern catholic church will take on assumed names based on things they have done or try to do, so as far as predicting who will be the conquerer of what is a simple as the person who conquers to change his name, and for people who believe said prophecy to decide to go to war presuming they will win based on the prophecy and you have a subsequently larger army for that sole reason, and now at this point you have a self fufilling prophecy.

    I would however be more inclined to be surprised by a biblical prophecy if indeed a seven headed dragon arose from the sea and started setting things on fire. If that ever happens, then perhaps i would weigh in to say it has some clout to whatever extent dragon biologists cannot explain that behavior.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=christianity+compared+to+astrology&rlz=1C1CHFX_en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=VEs_UvnVA4TR2QWsk4C4Cw#hl=en&q=crux+constellation+sun+set&tbm=isch&um=1&facrc=&imgdii=&imgrc=PuxmgQrBdGwnwM%3A%3BQJSuOm7R6FtpJM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fi140.photobucket.com%252Falbums%252Fr6%252Fcaspawarka%252Fsuncrux.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Ftheculturecorner.blogspot.com%252F2008%252F02%252Fat-risk-of-causing-offence_15.html%3B474%3B353

  11. Your question should start at “the beginning”: is there a god? But since we have jumped to the contents of a book claiming to be able to see the future, look at it this way: The Bible? During Charlemagne’s time (circa 800 A.D),his top adviser, Alcuin of York, was trying to form a Theocracy in Europe, and was training armies of young monks in the idea of “The End of Time.”. Progress was unnecessary. The Messiah was due soon. The economy crumbled. By taxing those who did function in reality, the monks were able to have easy lives (generally speaking). Monks had no interest in new things. Society stagnated. The only “scholarly” work they did was read the bible…but there were then many versions! And none in the form we would recognize today! Alcuin changed all that. He, not a god, wrote the bible as most would recognize today! His bible became THE bible. His boss paid for the whole, expensive process. Many copies were needed: Think of the thousands of cattle skins needed for the parchment! Alcuin’s enterprise was spurred by the need to “unite humans for the second coming of the messiah”. AND, Europe needed to be united in a religion to fight against a new religion on the block, Islam! In the attempt to unite Europe under one religion, one language and one coin, Alcuin’s boss’s (Charlemagne) insane religious persecutions and wars throughout Europe finally drove the Nordics to launce their dragon ships in retaliation. Their first target was Alcuin’s monastery at Lindisfarne. This was where Alcuin’s bible had been made and reproduced! he had been in the area just a few days before the raid! The only thing taken that we know of, was the young scribes, the monks in training. It was like hitting Microsoft, and taking their best programmers. The Vikings knew from where the troubles of Europe sprang: the monasteries. It was a psychological hit that worked: Due to that raid, and others that followed, Europe realized that no god was on Charlemagne’s side, and rose up in rebellion against his plan for a theocratic society. I have just finished a book on this period, “The Time When Hell Began! A journey into the fiery crucible of holy war” Before this period there was no wide-spread belief in a Hell. The idea was created to scare people into freely giving 10% of everything to the Church, the church that Charlemagne was military ruler of. Thanks to Charlemagne and Alcuin, the idea of Hell was beaten into the consciousness of Europe through relentless terrorism, both physical (Charlemagne) and metal, Alcuin’s bible.. THAT is your Christian history! Now ask yourself: who wrote the prophesies; and were these “prophesies” written AFTER an event took place but the writing was claimed to be very ancient? Now remember: Alcuin edited the bible in the form anyone would recognize today. Oh, there is no bible in existence today older than circa 1000 A.D It is in Moscow, but is a copy of Alcuin’s work of 800 AD!- That Moscow copy is the oldest version in existence, 1000 A.D. Prophesies? From Babylon? I could write that and stick it in a book, bury it it in a cave and hope no one finds it for 2000 years. Cheers!

  12. What is the atheist’s answer to Prophecies in the Bible being fulfilled?

    Irrelevant for me even if 100% verifiable. I side with Christopher Hitchens’ position that if the Christian heaven exists, I want no part of that celestial dictatorship. I couldn’t in good conscience choose to go there if given a choice. It sounds positively awful.

    Mike

    • In reply to #18 by Sample:

      What is the atheist’s answer to Prophecies in the Bible being fulfilled?

      Irrelevant for me even if 100% verifiable. I side with Christopher Hitchens’ position that if the Christian heaven exists, I want no part of that celestial dictatorship. I couldn’t in good conscience choose to go there…

      Revelation 21 – “Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:
      Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.”

      Yeah, sounds really awful.

  13. I am a prophet. I will now show you how much power I have. Tomorrow, i will wake up and go to work. I will also have some laughs with my colleagues over an awesome lunch. Then, i will get home and my wife will be making our family a delicious chicken dish (she is the best cook in the world and we have chicken EVERY Monday night) — Her parents will be over (as they are every Monday night…

    This is how much “prophet power” you have to have in order to make sure you are “telling the future”… oh, and BTW, these “writers” could also erase and rewrite all their facts…. And they still have a bit of a problem with contradicting themselves.

    Can you fucking imagine??? They have full control over the entire story and it is “WRITTEN BY GOD” and it is so rife with contradiction that a kindergarten aged child would raise objections……

  14. I am often surprised at how often this comes up. As an ex-preacher, I’ll explain why this ‘prophecy’ nonsense makes no sense.

    Lets say that I prophesy, in the name of god, that all Christians will be afflicted by financial lows in 10 years. I give the reason as being from persecution.

    Firstly, this is a prophecy that is easy to warp. Everyone faces financial lows in their life. Those who reach a low, despite still being wealthy, will assume it’s true just as much as those who go bankrupt. It is a prophecy that is easily interpreted by all financial classes independently.

    Second, when ten years have elapsed, those Christians who have not faced financial difficulty will forget the prophecy. Those who have will attest to its veracity.

    In your example, were I to prophecy some details about a single individual, who would lose money, be a martyr, etc, it would be very easy for someone to identify someone who embodies the prophecy. Look up the Lubavitch sect of orthodox Judaism and their ‘almost messiah’ Rebbe Schneerson.

    Likely, after having 700 years of unfulfilled prophecy, a biblical author may ‘interpret’ or, academically speaking, fabricate events, to mimic the prophecy they became enthralled with. Read about biblical scholarship from Richard Carrier (atheist) or Bart Ehrman (agnostic) or Hector Avalos (liberal/nominal Christian). These folk do a wonderful job explaining how absolutely fabricated most biblical books are.

    Those who studied at seminary such as myself know most prophecy books were written during or after the events they seek to prophecy. Especially Daniel. Their facts are almost always dubious or historically inaccurate. Perhaps they didn’t ‘lie’ per se, writing a book that was never meant to be literal, but certainly they were extremely dishonest. These inconsistencies helped push me out of theism.

    Take a look at the writers I mentioned, it will help you to form your own opinion. If the books were fabricated, then we needn’t have a response.

    -J

  15. People going out of their way (to the point of getting themselves crucified) to “fulfil” supposed prophesies (actually propaganda fabricated by Ezra) is completely and utterly irrelevant, as are “prophesies” written after the fact (again Ezra) and events invented to fulfil “prophesies” which never actually came to pass. Seriously do some actual research before you start making unsupportable claims.

  16. How many thousands of people where crucified?

    Ultimately though I disbelieve because this does not constitute good evidence when much better evidence would be available to the creator of the universe. Eg. The Earth moves around the Sun, The Earth is not the only planet going around the Sun, the stars are suns, the universe is made of small things and specify exactly how small the smallest is. There are organism that live in and on us some cause disease and some help up, if you wash your hands with fat mixed in ash from fire after warming and letting cool and set for a few days this will if you do it before meals reduce the amount of suffering. Instead we get vague predictions, inconsistencies and many things that are just incorrect – wildly so.

    So what am I to conclude? If god exists he doesn’t want me to believe in him or simpler he very likely does not exist at all.

  17. The obvious thing to point out, of course, is that neither Isaiah 52 nor 53 make no mention of Jesus, or of the ‘anointed one’ (‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’ depending on your preference for Hebrew or Greek). Nor does it mention crucifixion – or even execution. Pity that, because you might find it easier to argue your point if it did.

    What it does include is a number of phrases that are familiar to Christians from New Testament accounts of the crucifixion. ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ reminds us perhaps of the Paschal lamb, for instance. But the writers of the Gospels were themselves familiar with Isaiah and keen to show how prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. So what do you think they would have written? Which is more likely to have been the case (1) the writers of Isaiah made a (very vague) prophesy that was later miraculously fulfilled by people who knew nothing of the prophesy? Or (2) later writers constructed their accounts so that it would appear that a well known prophesy in a well known book was fulfilled? (Even though they didn’t make a good job of linking the two, since it’s all so vague.)

    As for Cyrus, well there’s nothing to say this was the same Cyrus. The passage in Isaiah was most likely written in 537 BCE, not 681 as is sometimes claimed – it’s a later addition added about two years before Cyrus conquered Babylon, and during a time when he may have been known to the writers. (Cyrus is actually called the Lord’s ‘anointed’ in Isaiah 45:1, which in Hebrew is ‘Messiah’ and in Greek is ‘Kristos’ or ‘Christ’.) The passage never mentions Babylon, but just that Cyrus will subdue the nations.

    Perhaps it was all about Miley Cyrus, anyway.

  18. I predict there will be wars and rumours of wars. I predict there will be terrible droughts and floods. There will be earthquakes even bigger than Fukushima, and volcanoes even bigger than Mount St. Helens. I predict a terrible dictator will arise who name begins with H. I predict the fishes will die and the seas will fill with poisonous jellyfish. I predict most of the water on earth will be unfit to drink. I predict the rich will get richer and the poor poorer. I predict North Americans will get fatter and more sedentary. I predict a vaccine for malaria and a chemical to make humans effectively invisible to mosquitoes. I predict the USA will no longer be the #1 superpower. I predict some of your descendants will learn Mandarin. I predict the polar bears will go extinct. I predict driverless cars will very rapidly replace driver cars once they get started. I predict most elderly people will have a robot companion to talk to them and to feed and care for them. I predict we will see Nobel prize winners living in Africa. I predict the Catholic church will wither away, far sooner than the other Christian churches. I predict Afghans and Iraqis will seek revenge on the USA.

    So wait a while, and tell me if I am god.

  19. since there is nothing in the bible that can be verified (no real evidence jesus even existed so his method of death is neither here nor there) there’s no way it could provide any evidence.

    the thing about all prophecies is they tend to be explained after the event. beforehand they tend to be nebulous verses (for example it wasn’t until well into the late 1980s that anyone realise Nostradamus had correctly predicted the 5th gear option on the mini metro).

    whatever you read in the bible can only serve as evidence the bible exists

    btw, just had a read of those chapters. no mention of crucifixion

  20. I think we are being a bit hard on poor old YHWH-Shu’a (i.e., “Saved (by) YHWH”) corrupted to Isaiah, who has had many things attributed to him falsely, especially by the “Christians”, and particularly by Handel, although I love his music in the “Messiah” with Mozart’s instrumentation.

    There was this poor sod Isaiah, helplessly watching his northern countrymen (and women) invaded in 722 BC by a huge army from Assyria, the most powerful empire in the region at the time, led by prince Sin-Harib, the brutal son of king Sharu-Kin II (Sargon). I won’t go into the reasons for the Assyrian invasion of Northern Palestine, because that would be too long and perhaps off topic.

    What would you do if you were a soothsayer in this hopeless situation?
    Fer krisake read the Book of Isaiah, not the second-hand fables, to get the answer.

    There – there – there, says Isaiah to his people, never mind, keep a stiff upper lip, grin and bear it, our mighty god will deliver us from this calamity, it won’t be long, YHWH will have a young woman (Isaiah never used the word “virgin”) bear a son called Yemanu-El (Emmanuel, i.e., “God beside him”) who will be anointed with a dab of oil (i.e, made a Hebrew Mushih, a Greek Xristos or an English Christ) to become a military king of the Jews who will lift the invader’s yoke off our necks.

    According to Isaiah, that Emmanuel was born and he spoke to him back in the middle of the 8th century BC and vanished from history without becoming a Mushih, a “Christ”, a military leader of the Jews who would defeat the Assyrians. Isaiah “prophecy” or not, they were defeated, not by a Jewish army led by a “Christ”, but by the Persian army.

    Time passes, and the Jews were still waiting for their Messiah to rid them of the invading Persians, but nothing happens. More false Messiahs are stoned to death, and – Isaiah “prophecy” or not – the Persians were defeated by a Macedonian army, not by a Jewish “Christ”, and more false Messiahs were stoned to death.

    Time passes and the Greco-Macedonians – Isaiah “prophecy” or not – were defeated by the Romans under Gnaeus Pompeius, not by a Jewish Messiah, and more false Messiahs are stoned to death. Now picture the situation in Palestine in 33 AD. The paranoid Tiberius is in Rome (or on the island of Capri) ruler of the empire, and king of every Roman colony.

    Here comes a soothsayer called YHWH-Hanan (corrupted to John) who was anointing (baptising) everybody in sight, including his cousin YHWH-Shu’a (corrupted to Jesus), with a dab of Jordan water. John put into his cousin’s head that being a male, first-born, direct descendant of King David, was THE “wiped one”, THE “Messiah”, THE “Christ”, THE genuine military “King of the Jews”.

    Forget about Isaiah and his Messiah who would lift the Assyrian yoke off the neck of the Israelites, we have moved on seven and a half centuries, and here is Jesus, according to his cousin, the genuine article, the “Christ”, the “King of the Jews” who would lift the ROMAN yoke off the necks of the Jews.

    But the job of baptising a king with a dab of holy oil on the head is the duty of the Chief Rabbi and the Sanhedrin (in England it is the Archbisop of Canterbury), not the business of any Tom, Dick or Harry, done with river water, otherwise we could end up with the ridiculous situation of me anointing my cousin’s head with a dab of Nene water to make him King of England who would lift the Yankee yoke off the necks of the Brits.

    Caiaphas, the Chief Rabbi, was perfectly aware of the danger of rising against the Roman empire, yet he might have tolerated John’s usurpation of his authority, if this young man Jesus looked the part and acted like a “Christ” instead of going around telling his countrymen to turn the other cheek and pay their taxes to Caesar. What kind of a pseudo “King of the Jews” is this?

    Not surprisingly, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin wanted to get rid of Jesus for being a trouble-maker who wanted to make some minor changes to Mosaic laws. They had heard rumour that some silly fools were going around claiming Jesus to be the son of YHWH. This was, of course, an unforgivable blasphemy punishable by stoning to death. Great. Jesus was tried by the Chief Rabbi, but he denied ever saying such a stupid thing. Curses. He can’t be stoned to death, but Caiaphas still needed to get rid of him for being a damned nuisance.

    Caiaphas found a way to get shot of Jesus by asking the Roman Procurator to try him for sedition against Tiberius, on the grounds that it was rumoured, that he was supposed to have claimed to be a “Messiah”, a military “King of the Jews”, which, under Roman law was punishable by being nailed to a cross until death, as they had done before, thousands of times.

    Pontius Pilatus, the Roman Procurator, tried Jesus for sedition, but the crafty Jesus absolutely refused to admit that he ever said such a stupid thing. Jesus, nevertheless, kept being evasive during the trial (read Matthew chapter 27 verse 11), which was good enough reason for the Procurator to sentence him to death by crucifixion, with the accusation (not proclamation) “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum” nailed on his cross. He was not crucified for claiming to be the son of a god, because not only the Romans couldn’t care less about that, but because the accusation would have read “Iesus Nazarenus Fili Dei”.

    Lucky for Jesus that it was getting dark that Friday evening and approaching the start of the Jewish Sabbath, so he was brought down from the cross, drugged and in a faint but not quite dead. The rest is history, forged by the gospellers whose scam was set in stone at Nicaea under the aegis of a sun-worshipping Roman emperor.

    I am sorry to disabuse all those so-called “Christians” who have been labouring for 2000 years under a fraud, because Jesus was neither anointed as a “Messiah” by the only authority allowed to do that honour (or curse), nor could he have been a direct male descendant of King David, AND, at the same time, like Romulus, be the son of a god.

    I say “so-called” because although the adherents to the teachings Jesus (if there are any) may call themselves “Jesuits” or “Nazarenes”, but they should not call themselves “Christians”, because Jesus was NEVER baptised a “Mushih” (Messiah) or “Xristos“ (Christ). Period. There were other genuine “Christs” who were properly anointed by Chief Rabbis, such as Shim’on bar-Kokhba and others, and all met their deaths, fighting like proper “Messiahs” on the battlefields.

    Another six centuries went by, and still no “Christ” to lift the yoke. The defeat of the Byzantine Romans came at the hands of Muhammadan Arabs, the despised cousins of the Jews. More centuries go by and Palestine finds itself under a Turkish yoke, without a “Christ” in sight; instead, the defeat of the Turks came at the hands of Lawrence of Arabia, and the Arabs and Jews swapped the Turkish yoke with a British collar.

    We all know what happened in 1948. The Jewish Haganah, Irgun Zvai Leumi, and Stern (Lehi) without a “Christ”, turfed the British out. At last, the contract with YHWH was fulfilled (without any help from Him) after 3,300 years of sojourning in one Diaspora or another. Isaiah? Don’t make me laugh.

      • In reply to #54 by Mr Greene:

        In reply to #37 by ZedBee:

        Ahem; Field Marshal Allenby

        But my dear Mr Greene, if you accept what is said in the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, you will probably agree that Lawrence and his Arab friends didn’t need “General” Allenby to turf the exhausted Turks out of Palestine and Syria, although a brace of Rolls-Royce armoured vehicles would have done nicely to expedite the conquest. It seems to me that the General was desperate for two things, first, not to allow the Arabs (and Lawrence) deprive the British Army from finishing the job and putting the final touch on the conquest of Palestine, and secondly, it seems that he wished to fulfil Richard Coeur de Lion’s words to Saladin, “I shall return” as he departed Palestine 725 years earlier. I used a bit of shorthand history on Palestine in 1917 because I didn’t want to go into detail about the conquest, as my article was long enough without. Be that as it may, it is still a wonder to me why the General stopped short of riding a donkey through the Jaffa Gate :)

        • In reply to #56 by ZedBee:

          Be that as it may, it is still a wonder to me why the General stopped short of riding a donkey through the Jaffa Gate :)…

          Allenby himself my have refrained from the time honoured practice of donkey riding into Jerusalem, so beloved of certain previous characters. However several regiments of British and Imperial troops did indulge.
          Allenby himself was probably more preoccupied with preparations for the final battle at Meggido, creeping artillery barrages and squadrons of Handley-Page bombers don’t organise themselves, what… ;)

          • In reply to #61 by Mr Greene:

            Can we at least agree that by the end of 1917, the Ottoman empire was a busted flush, needing but a little push to clear it out of the Middle East, with or without Lawrence, with or without Harris. The time was ripe for the new kid on the block to take over :)

          • In reply to #65 by ZedBee:

            In reply to #61 by Mr Greene:

            Can we at least agree that by the end of 1917, the Ottoman empire was a busted flush, needing but a little push to clear it out of the Middle East, with or without Lawrence, with or without Harris. The time was ripe for the new kid on the block to take over :)

            I think the Ottomans were somewhat past their best, though that was clear in Crimea and may rather understate the efforts of the Hindus who did most of the fighting during the campaign. Of course I may be somewhat biased in that assessment as my Great Grandfather led a unit of Rangoon Sappers on the east bank of the Jordan.

            that said I think we agree on the important points. ;)

          • In reply to #70 by Mr Greene:

            Thank goodness for that :)

            I thought for a minute we were going to bicker about Raglan, Omar Pasha and Tzar Nicholas :)

  21. Hello everybody. The originator here. Thanks for all your input into this discussion. I hope other people whose ideas haven’t shown up yet are posted. I waited about a week, if that helps.

    I believe someone referred to the idea of a Deutero-Isaiah. If this is true then why does Jesus refer to Isaiah as the sole author of his book?

    Jogre: I think you are referring to the theory that Daniel was written around 167 BCE. But this is unlikely since it was translated into greek circa 270 BCE. The discovery of the dead sea scrolls contains a copy of Daniel, and have been dated to sometime before the Maccabean Era.

    Red Dog said that not many uneducated men would have known how to write in greek, but there were a lot of hellenistic jews then, as the above example of Daniel suggests. Saying that Jesus’ followers all spoke Aramaic only (implied) is like saying all the Jews in Israel today only speak Hebrew.

    Someone said that Alcuin inserted prophecies into scripture. Someone else said that the scribes inserted prophecies into scripture, someone else even intimated that the writers of scripture were inserting scripture into scripture, or twisting scripture for varying audiences. Some say that Jesus existed but would not have claimed to be the Son of God This is easily refuted. Jesus said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” in addition to other quotes
    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son_of_God#Jesus.27_own_assertions ).Some say Jesus did not exist at all, which most scholars and archaelogists would not even entertain. No one seems to have a clue what they are talking about. Most of these arguments fall by subjectivist fallacy.

    What is the Christian’s answer to the prophecy that Achilles, son of Thetis, would either live a long but dull life or a glorious but brief life? Does this indicate Zeus exists?

    Now that is playing the odds, isn’t it? Not only relative in meaning, but vague, and has at least a 50/50 shot. More so, actually. If one leads a dull life he/she will not face as many risks and therefore live longer, most likely.

    Zeus, why not? You have to start somewhere. First believe in Zeus and then read Acts 17, where Paul quotes Aratus’ Phaenomena.

    There is no prophecy outside of the Bible which contains the accuracy of the Bible.
    For instance, the triumphal entry, which takes place on the day that the Paschal lamb was to be inspected, a week before passover, was foretold by Daniel and is exact to the day. Read Sir Robert Anderson’s “The Coming Prince”.

    Concerning Acts 17, Paul was not saying Christ was like a Roman demi-god, but the God who created the Heavens earth and everything in it, including the ability to make demi-gods.

    Will, yes, no bibles earlier than 1000 – but over 24,000 New testament Manuscripts in greek, Latin Vulgate, and earlier (MSS). And the Dead Sea Scrolls which pre-date the Maccabean Era. There was the penalty of death for adding to or removing scripture. There was an elaborate process, even wash rooms, of cleansing before copying scripture. Mistakes, such as accidental ink blots, negated the entire manuscript.

    Then there is the presence of gematria throughout the scriptures, which still works. It works because the scriptures are written geometrically. For instance the lineage in Matthew seems odd and full of absences until you realise he was spelling out “House of David” in 14 characters.

    There is one lineage. The other lineage traces Christ through Mary to Nathan the priest, brother of Solomon, son of David. This is in Luke.

    Zedbee, What is the evidence for your claim against Ezra? site? book?
    Jesus was not baptised by the Rabbinic/Talmudic priests because they were practicing a form of Judaism which was outside of and contradictory to the Mosaic Law. There were some prophets and teachers (John and Simon respectively), who were awaiting the “suffering servant”, not the warrior king. Jesus was properly baptised as the Messiah by a prophet who hated the Talmud and an adherent of the Mosaic law, the Nazarene John the Baptist.

    Someone says Paul was illiterate? He was educated by Gamaliel, of the school of Hillel. He was a the top classmate along with Jochanan ben Zakkai, who escaped the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD (also foretold by the Jesus who apparently didn’t exist) by hiding in a a funeral casket. Now let’s look at Isaiah 52, 53…

    • In reply to #38 by shortpolock:

      Where have I said, “Jesus was not baptised by the Rabbinic/Talmudic priests because etc, etc. etc.”? But even if I did say the words in your second box, then why should I spend years reading the Old and New Testaments, both Talmuds, the literature on Ecumenical Councils, and dozens of books on the life and ministry of Jesus, and on the Christian Project in general, then go back on demand looking for juicy morsels to lay on a plate for anyone who is not prepared to do the same?

      • You said:

        I am sorry to disabuse all those so-called “Christians” who have been labouring for 2000 years under a fraud, because Jesus was neither anointed as a “Messiah” by the only authority allowed to do that honour (or curse), nor could he have been a direct male descendant of King David, AND, at the same time, like Romulus, be the son of a god.

        Jesus’ point was that the Talmud is not inspired of God, but just man’s traditions and opinions.

        In reply to #40 by ZedBee:

        In reply to #38 by shortpolock:

        Where have I said, “Jesus was not baptised by the Rabbinic/Talmudic priests because etc, etc. etc.”? But even if I did say the words in your second box, then why should I spend years reading the Old and New Testaments, both Talmuds, the literature on Ecumenical Counc…

        • In reply to #43 by shortpolock:

          1) You have not answered my question regarding your false accusation that I had written the words in your second box (see #38 and #40)

          2) What on earth had Jesus to do with the Talmud? The Talmud Yerushalmi was compiled more than 400 years after Jesus was born, and the Talmud Bavli compiled some 50 years after that.

          Are you on a fishing expedition or just shortpollocking?

          • You said:

            because Jesus was neither anointed as a “Messiah” by the only authority allowed to do that honour (or curse),

            Who was allowed to do that honor?

            Apologies. Jesus could not have been baptised by in the Pharasaic tradition. Pharasaic Judaism is a forerunner to Rabbinic Judaism. Pharasaic Judaism is a fulfillment of Jeremiah 2:18, a hewn well, broken, that holds no water. I made the mistake of saying Rabbinic/Talmudic. The Pharasaism based on tradition instead of scripture was what Jesus referred to as the synagogue of Satan. It was from these teachings that the Talmud was created after the fall of Jerusalem.

            Not fishing, just being me. That may be less than incredible :)

            In reply to #57 by ZedBee:

            In reply to #43 by shortpolock:

            1) You have not answered my question regarding your false accusation that I had written the words in your second box (see #38 and #40)

            2) What on earth had Jesus to do with the Talmud? The Talmud Yerushalmi was compiled more than 400 years after Jesus was born, and…

    • In reply to #38 by shortpolock:

      No one seems to have a clue what they are talking about.

      Hi, one of the ignorant atheists here.

      Since you appreciate directness you’ll be happy to now directly reply to my question about how it can be that the same texts, such as those ‘Messianic’ passages in Isaiah, are proclaimed by Christians to be prophesies of Jesus as the Messiah: and yet that Judaism emphatically does not share that reading and does not recognise Jesus as any such thing.

      In a similar vein, Christians assert that Christ was the Son of God, again claiming that as a truth revealed by God. Whereas, with at least equal vehemence, Muslims assert that Jesus (while born of a virgin and a great prophet) was definitely not the Son of God. Maybe I am too ignorant to understand that all these God-given Truths are all real and, being from the One God, mutually compatible. Maybe my inability to grasp such mysteries (of things at once being and not being true) is clear proof that I am not saved.

      I don’t know much about the latest in hermeneutics, shortpolock, but at least I know things like ‘yes’ is not ‘no’ and that ‘up’ is not ‘down': and I trust that you do too. I appreciate that you are looking at your beliefs from the ‘inside’. But can you even slightly understand why others not in the religion tent find these manifest contradictions at best confusing, in general ridiculous: and, given how many religious have killed each other and so many others over such nonsense, potentially terrifying?

      PS I once was a Methodist Local Preacher.

  22. Some say that Jesus existed but would not have claimed to be the Son of God This is easily refuted. Jesus said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” in addition to other quotes ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SonofGod#Jesus.27ownassertions ).Some say Jesus did not exist at all, which most scholars and archaelogists would not even entertain. No one seems to have a clue what they are talking about. Most of these arguments fall by subjectivist fallacy.

    All due respect you are quoting text that you equate to fact. I can see what the text says, but it does not make the text , true or accurate. How on earth can an accurate transcription of what Jesus said , be made , so long after the event. Do you honestly believe that there was someone writing down what he said verbatim and real-time.

    In reply to #38 by shortpolock:

    Hello everybody. The originator here. Thanks for all your input into this discussion. I hope other people whose ideas haven’t shown up yet are posted. I waited about a week, if that helps.

    I believe someone referred to the idea of a Deutero-Isaiah. If this is true then why does Jesus refer to Isaia…

  23. In reply to Pauly01:

    All due respect you are quoting text that you equate to fact. I can see what the text says, but it does not make the text , true or accurate. How on earth can an accurate transcription of what Jesus said , so long after the event. Do you honestly believe that there was someone writing down what he said verbatim and real-time.

    With all due respect, the same could be said for atheism and evolution, which came with no written record, the former of which is simply a response to what already was in existence. And perhaps someone was taking notes, why not? If not, they were written down within 20-25 yrs after the resurrection. Do you believe history books?

    • In reply to #44 by shortpolock:

      If not, they were written down within 20-25 yrs after the resurrection. Do you believe history books?

      Would you trust the finer details of a football match report from somebody who wasn’t actually there, and decided to write one decades after the event?

      And I’d check your dates vis-à-vis the canonical gospels.

    • In reply to #44 by shortpolock:

      With all due respect, the same could be said for atheism and evolution, which came with no written record, the former of which is simply a response to what already was in existence.

      With regard to the evidence for evolution, we have the fossil record. As for a written record of evolution, we have DNA, genetics and molecular biology.

  24. With all due respect, the same could be said for atheism and evolution, which came with no written record, the former of which is simply a response to what already was in existence. And perhaps someone was taking notes, why not? If not, they were written down within 20-25 yrs after the resurrection. Do you believe history books?

    In terms of the history books , it depends , to be honest it does not bother me too much. I don’t worship history.

    Non belief does not come with a manual – its about looking at evidence and drawing rational conclusions.

    Micro evolution has being proved 100%. In terms of Macro Evolution the fossil record shows an increasing amount of complexity as the years progress from the dawn of life. It’s a logical conclusion that this was facilitated by reproduction and inheritance. This is all underscored by DNA. It is remarkable that a scientist when presented with DNA samples from multiple organisms, including a chimpanzee , and when looking for the closest resembling Genome to humans , by pure mathamical and compuational parsing and interpertation , blind to which one is the chimp , will , 100% of the time , select the chimp as our closest relative.

    • I wasn’t asking you to worship history, just whether you believed any history that has been written, even of recent? Do you believe any facts related to John F. Kennedy, or Bill Clinton?

      In reply to #45 by Pauly01:

      With all due respect, the same could be said for atheism and evolution, which came with no written record, the former of which is simply a response to what already was in existence. And perhaps someone was taking notes, why not? If not, they were written down within 20-25 yrs after the resurrection….

      • In reply to #49 by shortpolock:

        I wasn’t asking you to worship history, just whether you believed any history that has been written, even of recent? Do you believe any facts related to John F. Kennedy, or Bill Clinton?

        Actually no. By that I mean if you are asking do I believe everything I read in the paper or Time or if I still had a TV saw on CNN about JFK or Clinton the answer is no I don’t. I don’t take anything anyone says at face value, well with some personal exceptions, I always ask myself “what is the agenda/bias of the author” and think through what is written with that in mind.

        So getting back to what I said earlier the guys who wrote the gospels had agendas like no body’s business. They were looking to convert people to their new religion. Not to mention the fact that its impossible to treat the Gospels or the bible in general as unquestioned history because there are so many contradictions within it. Here are some of them: Skeptics Annotated Bible: Biblical Contradictions sorted by name

      • In reply to #49 by shortpolock:

        I wasn’t asking you to worship history, just whether you believed any history that has been written, even of recent? Do you believe any facts related to John F. Kennedy, or Bill Clinton?

        I find this unreal. We know Kennedy and Clinton existed. There is a huge amount of evidence from multiple sources to show that. Exactly what evidence we require to believe any particular fact depends on the fact. Kennedy and Clinton were both male; I accept that and wouldn’t need proof of it. They were both married; again, not a startling claim, and I wouldn’t require proof – if they lied about it, that’s interesting but hardly devastating. I accept that Kennedy went to West Germany and made his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech (we have films and news reports of it). I’m (vaguely) interested in what he meant by that, and there are plenty of things I can read to help me decide. But if it were alleged that Kennedy was an alien from the planet Zog, or that Clinton was a reincarnation of an Aztec priest, I’d want a huge amount of evidence – and not from one source either. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

        Going back in time, I accept Henry VIII existed, because there are so many contemporary records from people who liked and disliked him. We have his body, too. A claim that Henry VIII never existed and that someone else was buried in his place would require a huge amount of evidence, probably from different sources.

        But when it comes to the Bible, its claims are almost never supported by independent evidence yet we are expected to swallow it whole. Jewish slaves in Egypt who rebelled, fled, and caused the death of the Pharoah? No evidence of this among the Egyptians (or anyone else) but it’s in the Bible so it’s true. Jesus? No independent evidence of any prophet named Jesus until many years after his death (in fact in the second century) – and then the reports only repeat what the Christians are saying anyway – hearsay evidence at best. Jesus was born in the reign of Herod (d. about 6 BCE)? Is he the same one born when Quirinius was Governor and ordered a census? But that was not before 6 CE, ten years after Herod died (we have independent records of when Herod was king and Quirinius governor).

        Yes, I accept that Kennedy and Clinton existed, as well a Henry VIII (probably Herod and Quirinius too) but when it comes to the Bible claims real, independent evidence just isn’t there.

      • As said before

        We have news reels , audio and video and a semblance of journalistic integrity. It differs completely from the times you speak of. You can’t compare.

        In reply to #49 by shortpolock:

        I wasn’t asking you to worship history, just whether you believed any history that has been written, even of recent? Do you believe any facts related to John F. Kennedy, or Bill Clinton?

        In reply to #45 by Pauly01:

        With all due respect, the same could be said for atheism and evolution, which came…

        • Yes, you can compare. Editing is a marvelous tool for propaganda. There is no ceremonial cleansing for taking up the task of videography. There is no real deterrent to adding or omitting footage.

          In reply to #53 by Pauly01:

          As said before

          We have news reels , audio and video and a semblance of journalistic integrity. It differs completely from the times you speak of. You can’t compare.

          In reply to #49 by shortpolock:

          I wasn’t asking you to worship history, just whether you believed any history that has been written,…

          • In reply to #60 by shortpolock:

            Yes, you can compare. Editing is a marvelous tool for propaganda. There is no ceremonial cleansing for taking up the task of videography. There is no real deterrent to adding or omitting footage.

            Are you seriously suggesting that JFK is a fiction, or at least no better than documented than Jesus???

            I note you have not deigned to reply to my questions about how the same biblical text – ‘prophesy’- is read in profoundly contradictory ways by differing groups all claiming Gods’ backing (Jesus was and was not the Messiah, etc) and that many lives have been lost in the ensuing rows.

            I presume that amongst the many things you know, one is that my argument is irrefutable. Well, I say ‘my argument’, but it has been made many times down the years – and ignored down the years, many times.

            We already know that fundamentalists want to spread their superstitious propaganda, often based on their particular Biblical readings, to inflict their vicious intolerance as far as possible (http://carnalnation.com/content/40170/10/american-roots-ugandan-anti-gay-law). And from refusals to answer such as here we know how they run away from real opposition.

            Cowards as well as bullies.

            And you wonder why atheists get angry???

          • My reply is #89

            In reply to #63 by steve_hopker:

            In reply to #60 by shortpolock:

            Yes, you can compare. Editing is a marvelous tool for propaganda. There is no ceremonial cleansing for taking up the task of videography. There is no real deterrent to adding or omitting footage.

            Are you seriously suggesting that JFK is a fiction, or at least no bet…

  25. The problem with the question (as already mentioned) is that you use a book to prove that other parts of the same book are true. As a non-believer, what the Bible says is not any more relavent than saying that Star Wars is true because it was predicted in the movie that Luke would bring balance to the Force and he did. Vague predictions in a VERY old book were “proven” true by other unvarifiable events in the same book. Hardly telling by any stretch. The New Testiment books were all written quite some time after the death of Jesus (if he lived at all) and were simply the writting down of stories that had been handed down verbally. If you want to prove something is true and I already know you believe in the Old Tesiment, why wouldn’t I learn it and edit my story a little to make sure it fits the predictions you believe in?

  26. Context, context, context! Go to the old testament when Jesus supposedly forefilled a prophecy and read around it. Often the interpretation is flawed or twisted completely out of context. When faced with this fact e.g. The supposed “a virgin will conceive and bear a child” one evangelical author replied that any sentence in the old testament could be a prophecy. Rather desperate and self-serving to say the least. But why stop with Old testament prophecies? What about those of Jesus? The multiple claims he would return in the lifetimes of those who witnessed his first coming? The prophecy that his followers would perform miracles? If these prophecies were true he would have retuned in the first century while that generation was still extant, the chief priest was still alive etc. The new testament says if any two Christians come together and pray about any one thing it will happen. When was the last time your prays emptied a hospital ward? Why haven’t you and a co-religionist fallen to your knees and demanded every homosexual be made straight given this offends you so much?

    Another contributors remarks are highly relevant I feel, you are confronted with a book written and transmitted by those you have never met, describing events you have never witnessed. All you may well be doing is discussing the internal cocnsistency of what is little different from a Grimms Fairy tale.

    • As long as you take a tract! One of the cartoonish ones.

      In reply to #55 by goddogit:

      STOP IT!!! YOU’RE KILLING ME!!!!

      And you must know – I mean from laughing!

      When I start selling swampland in New Wingnuttania, I’m heading to YOUR door first!

  27. Well, that was written a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

    Actually I’m using a collection of books written over thousands of years seamlessly verifying that Jesus is the Messiah. This indicates authorship from outside our timeline.

    So one book, such as Psalms, (which is a collection of poetry spanning 1,000 yrs.) has a Psalm 34, written in 1012 BC which prophecies that no bones will be broken when the Messiah dies. This predates Isaiah 52, 53 by about 300 years. Isaiah clarifies events before and during the crucifixion, and states the reasons for the crucifixion. Zechariah, writing about 200 years later, specifies a piercing of his body. He even specifies that the Jews would offer 30 pieces of silver for Jesus’ capture. He even specifies that those 30 pieces of silver would be thrown in the temple. In Psalms alone are over 100 various, specific prophecies concerning the life and death of Christ.

    Now, let’s say Jesus self-fulfilled all those prophecies to paint Himself as a Messiah when He was really just a carpenter’s son. He would have to have had supernatural powers to convince the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Roman Empire to fulfill all the prophecies concerning Him which they had to fulfill, in order for Him to be the Messiah. Which makes Him the Messiah, which makes him God. This is the point.

    Here is another site stating the odds of fulfilling only a few, let alone all, of those prophecies

    (http://christiananswers.net/q-aiia/jesus-odds.html)

    Here is a helpful page listing all 300+ Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah and the part of the New Testament where they were fulfilled.:

    (http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Miscellaneous/messianic_prophecies.htm)

    In reply to #46 by bcwest619:

    The problem with the question (as already mentioned) is that you use a book to prove that other parts of the same book are true. As a non-believer, what the Bible says is not any more relavent than saying that Star Wars is true because it was predicted in the movie that Luke would bring balance to t…

    • In reply to #62 by shortpolock:

      …Psalm 34, written in 1012 BC which prophecies that no bones will be broken when the Messiah dies…

      No it doesn’t. As before, the psalm doesn’t mention Jesus or the Messiah. Nor does it mention crucifixion or execution, “Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Roman Empire ” or any other idea that might link it to Christianity.

      The Messiah was a Jewish term (meaning ‘the anointed one’) for a person who would deliver Israel and rebuild the Kingdom of David – not (most definitely not) for an executed criminal. In an earlier post (no. 23) I drew attention to the fact that Cyrus, whom you cite yourself, is called “the Lord’s ‘anointed’ in Isaiah 45:1, which in Hebrew is ‘Messiah’ and in Greek is ‘Kristos’ or ‘Christ'”.

      Again, you quote an example of a religious text that would have been well known to the writers of the gospels, who were no doubt keen to show that their dead ‘Messiah’ had fulfilled prophesies.

    • In reply to #62 by shortpolock:

      Well, that was written a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

      So one book, such as Psalms, (which is a collection of poetry spanning 1,000 yrs.) has a Psalm 34, written in 1012 BC which prophecies that no bones will be broken when the Messiah dies. This predates Isaiah 52, 53 by about 300 years. Isaiah clarifies events before and during the crucifixion, and states the reasons for the crucifixion. Zechariah, writing about 200 years later, specifies a piercing of his body. He even specifies that the Jews would offer 30 pieces of silver for Jesus’ capture. He even specifies that those 30 pieces of silver would be thrown in the temple. In Psalms alone are over 100 various, specific prophecies concerning the life and death of Christ.

      I don’t understand how you can continually ignore the blindingly obvious liklihood that the ‘facts’ which in your mind confirm these prophecies may be complete fabrication.

      Using your own example of modern history, when we read an account of something we know, as rational, intelligent people, that the author may have an agenda, or a bias, or they may have been deliberately misled into reporting an event in a certain way.

      Therefore, historians use multiple sources to confirm an event. The more precise the event, the more detailed the historical evidence needs to be.

      Someone used the example of Henry VIII. A good example, as historical records in various forms exist to tell us about his life, and to corroborate each other. But if I was to read a quote from him, which had only a single source and had extreme implications, I would need an extraordinary amount of evidence to believe it.

      So if you want us to examine what Jesus was supposed to have said as historians, we’d need a lot better evidence than a single source 2000 years old. I’m sure you understand this.

    • In reply to #62 by shortpolock:

      Psalm 34…prophesies that no bones will be broken when the messiah dies

      This is a blatant misrepresentation, and I quote Psalm 34:19,20:

      “The righteous person may have troubles, but the Lord delivers him from from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken”

      This chapter DOES NOT refer to Jesus, it refers to ANY righteous person. In fact, this chapter is written in acrostic poem and often labelled: ‘When [David] pretended to be insane before Abimelek’. This verse is akin to Paul saying poisonous snakes won’t hurt you. This verse is contradicted by the beatings and persecution the early church faced – weren’t they righteous people? How come god let their bones be broken?

      He even specifies that those 30 pieces of silver would be thrown in the temple.

      Of course, you are only listening to 1/4 of the gospels here… Only Matthew says that the silver was returned, and that the Pharisees bought a field. Luke, in Acts, states that Judas kept the money and bought the potters field. Clearly Luke didn’t believe in that prophecy. Whom is correct here? Why do you believe Matthew is correct, and Luke is incorrect? Do you beleive in biblical inerreancy?

      Isaiah 53, despite Christian claims to the contrary, does not clearly refer to Jesus. When read in the context of the previous chapters and text as a whole, the message seems to refer to the nations surrounding Israel repenting for their iniquity – i.e. Causing the Jewish nation harm/persecution. This falls in line with Isaiah’s entire message, to interpret as prophecy for Jesus takes this chapter entirely out of context with the rest of Isaiah’s message.

      How have you determined that Isaiah wasn’t speaking of Jesus in other chapters, but was speaking of him here? Church tradition? The indexes in your bible? Pastor? Priest? Why wouldn’t he have used historical events as allegory? Did he? What method have you used to determine whether the story of Jesus as written by Matthew (the Gospel writer that bends much of his history to conform to ‘prophecy’).

      • In reply to #67 by Jogre:

        In reply to #62 by shortpolock:

        Psalm 34…prophesies that no bones will be broken when the messiah dies

        This is a blatant misrepresentation, and I quote Psalm 34:19,20:

        “The righteous person may have troubles, but the Lord delivers him from from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of th…

        The entire Psalm is Messianic, according to Bonhoeffer.

          • No, I would defer to Jesus on that. He stated in Luke 24:44

            “This is what I told you when I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

            In reply to #91 by Pabmusic:

            In reply to #88 by shortpolock:

            In reply to #67 by Jogre:

            The entire Psalm is Messianic, according to Bonhoeffer.

            And he is the ultimate authority?

          • In reply to #95 by shortpolock:

            No, I would defer to Jesus on that. …

            So why quote Bonhoeffer? (And I do regard him as a brave person, by the way.)

            No, I would defer to Jesus on that. He stated in Luke 24:44

            “This is what I told you when I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

            Your problem is that nothing at all is clearly written about Jesus. You have simply ‘spun’ it to suggest it is.

          • Were you going with the Jesus-does-not-exist line of argument?

            Bonhoeffer because I was making an irrelevant appeal to authority, truthfully, but didn’t think hard enough to catch it at the time. Then I found the Scripture in Luke.

            In reply to #98 by Pabmusic:

            In reply to #95 by shortpolock:

            No, I would defer to Jesus on that. …

            So why quote Bonhoeffer? (And I do regard him as a brave person, by the way.)

            No, I would defer to Jesus on that. He stated in Luke 24:44

            “This is what I told you when I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that…

          • In reply to #100 by shortpolock:

            Were you going with the Jesus-does-not-exist line of argument?

            I thought so! You simply haven’t read my previous posts.

            In post 87 I specifically say that Jesus may well have existed (we can’t really be sure because there’s no independent or contemporary evidence). But your version of Jesus (I’m assuming here that you’re a Pauline Christian) didn’t appear until it was obvious that Jesus’s own prophesies would not be fulfilled.

          • Now I remember, there are a few of us here. From where did this version appear? I will get back to you tonight

            In reply to #102 by Pabmusic:

            In reply to #100 by shortpolock:

            Were you going with the Jesus-does-not-exist line of argument?

            I thought so! You simply haven’t read my previous posts.

            In post 87 I specifically say that Jesus may well have existed (we can’t really be sure because there’s no independent or contemporary evidence…

          • In reply to #105 by shortpolock:

            Now I remember, there are a few of us here. From where did this version appear? I will get back to you tonight

            You do that. But remember, if you are right, you will need to show that Pauline Christianity held sway throughout and that the Ebionites (headed by James, the brother of Jesus) didn’t exist.

            [By the way, don’t worry if there’s a delay. It’s already night here.]

          • I have spun nothing. No bones were broken according to those who were closest to the source. Jesus said that all had to be fulfilled. He was apparently not in control of who did or did not torture him. Thus, he said it all had to be fulfilled, it was fulfilled beyond his control, it is purely prophetic. There is no possible temporal reinforcement for trying to make a conspiracy like this. Using Mr. Occam’s Razor, which is helpful in debunking conspiracy theories, simply make an x/y list of all that is necessary to maintain a two thousand year conspiracy, and all that is necessary to fulfill prophecy genuinely.

            Dunno if I gave this to you, but here it is again

            (http://christiananswers.net/q-aiia/jesus-odds.html)

            are these quicklinking for you?

            In reply to #100 by shortpolock:

            Were you going with the Jesus-does-not-exist line of argument?

            Bonhoeffer because I was making an irrelevant appeal to authority, truthfully, but didn’t think hard enough to catch it at the time. Then I found the Scripture in Luke.

            In reply to #98 by Pabmusic:

            In reply to #95 by shortpolock:

            No,…

      • In reply to #73 by Tyler Durden:

        In reply to #68 by Graham1:

        Didn’t Jesus himself say he would come again soon? Well, two thousand years later he still hasn’t.

        Any day now…

        Allegedly (according to the unknown author who wrote “Matthew’s” Gospel) Jeebus thought he would return in the first century CE (Common Era):

        Matthew 24:34 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

        Wrong! Next!

    • In reply to #68 by Graham1:

      Didn’t Jesus himself say he would come again soon? Well, two thousand years later he still hasn’t.

      Not just soon, he was more specific, he said he would return while some of the people he was talking to were still alive.

      “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.“ (Matthew 16: 27, 28)

      • In reply to #74 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #68 by Graham1:

        Didn’t Jesus himself say he would come again soon? Well, two thousand years later he still hasn’t.

        Not just soon, he was more specific, he said he would return while some of the people he was talking to were still alive.

        “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glor…

        Perhaps he meant his Transfiguration, Resurrection, Pentecost or Ascension – just a thought.

        • In reply to #75 by Lancshoop:

          Perhaps he meant his Transfiguration, Resurrection, Pentecost or Ascension – just a thought.

          To be honest, I’m surprised that no-one yet has pointed out that these ‘prophecies’ are so vague that any situation, real or imagined, can said to be evidence of their fulfilment.

          Oh…. wait…..

          • In reply to #76 by BenS:

            In reply to #75 by Lancshoop:

            Perhaps he meant his Transfiguration, Resurrection, Pentecost or Ascension – just a thought.

            To be honest, I’m surprised that no-one yet has pointed out that these ‘prophecies’ are so vague that any situation, real or imagined, can said to be evidence of their fulfilm…

            Just like Nostrodamus or the horoscope.

  28. I admit, I’m ignorant about the Bible, so I became curious; I read Isaiah (Ch’s 52, 53). There was nothing about the crucifixion in them.They were about a person suffering and being the scapegoat for other people’s actions, but that is a very general description of events. Those stories can apply to hundreds of people, even today. Point is, one can write many stories, and eventually they will describe some events. Those chapters do not mention the crucifixion specifically. And even if they did, how hard would it be for a deranged person to read them and make them happen afterwards? If there was an old prophecy about a messiah arriving in a great ball of fire, and I would have mental issues, I might run around preaching that I’m the messiah and finally set myself on fire. Some people might see that as the prophecy being fulfilled.

  29. I admit, I’m ignorant about the Bible, so I became curious; I read Isaiah (Ch’s 52, 53). There was nothing about the crucifixion in them.They were about a person suffering and being the scapegoat for other people’s actions, but that is a very general description of events. Those stories can apply to hundreds of people, even today. Point is, one can write many stories, and eventually they will describe some events. Those chapters do not mention the crucifixion specifically. And even if they did, how hard would it be for a deranged person to read them and make them happen afterwards? If there was an old prophecy about a messiah arriving in a great ball of fire, and I would have mental issues, I might run around preaching that I’m the messiah and finally set myself on fire. Some people might see that as the prophecy being fulfilled.

  30. Doesn’t matter what the ‘bible’ says, it is all fiction made up by the catholic units of the Roman military that was in charge of controlling the slaves, after a hundred years or so of experimenting with ‘religion’ to subdue the slaves. They finally talked Constantine I into making their ‘religion’ the official and enforced state religion around 313AD after they were satisfied with it’s effectiveness as a control organization for the slaves. They wrote the ‘bible’ after that date.

  31. Hey hey hey ….. there are clear winners and clear losers. Both clear here. I am reminded of OJ Simpson’s Defense and the group of shitheads who bought it. It was Jamaican drug lords….yeah, that’s it…. drug lords… they wanted to send a message to the drug customers in the area… yeah…. Nicole owed them money… yeah…. and instead of collecting they wanted to send a message to the other drug customers in Brentwood…. yeah…..

    AND Loyal old trustworthy OJ went looking for the murderers on EVERY GOLF COURSE IN AMERICA. He’d still be looking if he wasn’t guilty of a second round of hateful behavior….

    Clear as a crystal. All the double talk in the world cannot hide the bullshit; what can obscure it, however, is faith. Do you have faith in OJ?

  32. What is the atheist’s answer to Prophecies in the Bible being fulfilled?

    You beg the question that they have been fulfilled.

    What is the atheist’s answer to Prophecies in the Bible being fulfilled?

    No, but it could be used to support an argument, if the prophecies were actually proven to be fulffilled. To immediately leap to an agency is in error. For instance, if I gave an uncanny description of your life and what you are wearing now, if I claimed this was because of the blessings of Xenu, that might not be the case. I might have psychic powers from Jesus, Zeus, or maybe the NSA is using my brain to process PRISM data and I experienced data leakage. Cult recruiters do parlor tricks, and in the absence of a known agency they provide one (the guru who one should worship).

    The big problem is Jesus never existed and was never crucified. One fictional story is corroborating another fictional story; the details of the prophecy inform the writing of the next story. So what? How do I know Jesus never existed? People can’t fly, not Padre Pio and not Jesus. That Jesus certainly never existed.

    Assuming you consider the prophecy fulfillment compelling, you should reconsider your definition of what evidence is.

    • In reply to #86 by This Is Not A Meme:

      …That Jesus certainly never existed…

      I agree with the thrust of your post, yet it is a more rational position to accept that someone called Jesus probably existed, preached the end of the world and was executed for it. Applying Occam’s razor (which is all we can do as there are no contemporary records at all) it is more likely that Christianity is based on something than that it’s completely fabricated (but of course the Mormons managed that!). The problem for Christians is that what most of them believe now really is made up.

      Here’s a view that is at least consistent with the history of the gospels:

      Jesus was the central figure in a Jewish sect that preached the coming of an earthly Messiah who would drive the Romans out and establish the Kingdom of God (that is, Israel) again as it had been under David. This is consistent with all previous uses of ‘Messiah’ and ‘Kingdom of God’. This Jewish sect became the Ebionites or Church of Jerusalem, but they were firmly within Judaism.

      However, the ‘Messiah’ was put to death quite quickly and there was no sign of the Kingdom of God being established in the lifetimes of Jesus’s followers (which he had prophesied). No-one had ever expected a dead Messiah before, and other sects grew up around attempts to rationalise this. The one that succeeded was that based around Paul (we are now at least 30 years after Jesus’s death) that abandoned Judaism and gathered converts from among the gentiles. It preached a metaphorical interpretation of the oral traditions that converted the Messiah from an earthly man to a divine being (yet also, paradoxically, and earthly one – and God too) and explained all the disappointments and unfulfilled prophesies in terms of metaphor. “All these centuries you’ve been expecting an earthly Messiah? Well, you got that wrong, didn’t you? It’s all completely different.” [Note, for instance, that the only reference to what might be the Trinity is in the last gospel to be written – John – which dates perhaps from 90 CE.]

      Pauline Christianity won the race to be top, largely because it reached Rome where the Emperor converted. Then it declared the other Christianities (like the Ebionites) as heresies.

      Almost all Christians now are Pauline, accepting doctrine that was ‘spun’ to get over the embarrassment of Jesus’s prophesies not having come true.

      • In reply to #87 by Pabmusic:

        In reply to #86 by This Is Not A Meme:

        …That Jesus certainly never existed…

        I agree with the thrust of your post, yet it is a more rational position to accept that someone called Jesus probably existed, preached the end of the world and was executed for it. Applying Occam’s razor (which is al…

        Trinity in the old testament is generally regarded to be somekind of personal plurality

        http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/rogers/ot_trinity.html

        Paul himself died in Rome under … Nero, I think. I hardly think this is winning. Under Constantine is where the Church pretty much died to what they had been previously. His conversion was political, from what I understand.

      • Still researching Ebionites… sorry about the wait. Here’s a free drink ;-)

        In reply to #87 by Pabmusic:

        In reply to #86 by This Is Not A Meme:

        …That Jesus certainly never existed…

        I agree with the thrust of your post, yet it is a more rational position to accept that someone called Jesus probably existed, preached the end of the world and was executed for it. Applying Occam’s razor (which is al…

  33. n reply to #60 by shortpolock:

    Yes, you can compare. Editing is a marvelous tool for propaganda. There is no ceremonial cleansing for taking up the task of videography. There is no real deterrent to adding or omitting footage.

    Are you seriously suggesting that JFK is a fiction, or at least no better than documented than Jesus???

    No, of course not. But we have the advantage of infrastructure and a distance in time of only a few decades. In two thousand years JFK, if not Abe Lincoln may also be seen as characters loosely based on reality but were important as useful allegories. I think that scenario is logical.

    I note you have not deigned to reply to my questions about how the same biblical text – ‘prophesy’- is read in profoundly contradictory ways by differing groups all claiming Gods’ backing (Jesus was and was not the Messiah, etc) and that many lives have been lost in the ensuing rows.

    For that I apologize stevehopker, I have meant to get back to you since you were very evenhanded and welcoming in an earlier post,
    but at the rate at which all these replies came I found myself very much on my toes with all the good questions and comments, however “bashed about” my opinion has been, to quote another kind user.

    To answer, foremost, it is a fallacy to think that Jesus is not who He said He is because some who nominally claimed His redemption in actuality were using His Name to spread violence in pursuit of their own pleasures. Where were his followers directed to kill in His name? Which Apostle or congregation of the 1st century church ignited revolt? In fact, the Nazarene Christians underwent tremendous persecution for their refusal to join the Bar Khokba revolt. Does anyone blame Moses for the Israeli treatment of Ethiopian Jews? No, that’d be silly. Darkening the doorway of my church doesn’t make me christian anymore than … wait, you’ve probably said this before in your previous life… Steve Green? McDonald’s?

    Second, both Judaism and Islam, like Atheism, sustain themselves on the rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah and God. Pull that pin out of their respective dogmas and their party tent crashes (sorry, but evolution is dogma for the atheist, IMO). So why wouldn’t they see a need to reject the prophecies? Hierarchy of Need, IMO.

    I presume that amongst the many things you know

    I have said quite the opposite. I don’t feign to be on the same intellectual level as the majority of people here.

    one is that my argument is irrefutable. Well, I say ‘my argument’, but it has been made many times down the years – and ignored down the years, many times.

    Pointing up my ignorance, I’ll just respond with a resounding “Huh?”

    We already know that fundamentalists want to spread their superstitious propaganda, often based on their particular Biblical readings, to inflict their vicious intolerance as far as possible (http://carnalnation.com/content/40170/10/american-roots-ugandan-anti-gay-law). And from refusals to answer such as here we know how they run away from real opposition.

    I don’t need to visit the page to guess that it is opinion based upon some fact or behavior of some faction which may or not be acting in accordance with the teachings of Christ. Beyond that I don’t know how to respond to this.

    Cowards as well as bullies.

    Are you saying I am the coward as well as bully for not responding to you? I will not apologize for living life beyond this site.

    And you wonder why atheists get angry???

    No, I don’t. IMO, denying the existence of God leaves one with tenuous hope in whatever pops out of the dirt next. That sort of existential crisis would piss anybody off. I wonder if atheists wonder why atheists get angry. Evolution should have bred that emotion out of us by now ;-)

      • Just kidding… sorta.

        In reply to #90 by Pabmusic:

        In reply to #89 by shortpolock:

        I n reply to #89 by shortpolock:
        … Evolution should have bred that emotion out of us by now ;-)

        Which only demonstrates how very little you understand it.

    • In reply to #89 by shortpolock:

      n reply to #60 by shortpolock:

      (sorry, but evolution is dogma for the atheist, IMO).

      Rubbish. Evolution is irrelevant to atheism, for starters.

      “Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true”

      No scientific principle conforms to this due to the principle of falsifiability.

      Do you set out to be deliberately dishonest, or do you lie to yourself too?

      • Do you wonder why you are here? Do you read the posts on this site? If not evolution for our existence, then what?

        In reply to #92 by bob_e_s:

        In reply to #89 by shortpolock:

        n reply to #60 by shortpolock:

        (sorry, but evolution is dogma for the atheist, IMO).

        Rubbish. Evolution is irrelevant to atheism, for starters.

        “Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true”

        No scientific principle…

        • In reply to #94 by shortpolock:

          Do you wonder why you are here? Do you read the posts on this site? If not evolution for our existence, then what?

          None of those questions are anything to do with what you said originally, or with my reply.

          You don’t have to be an atheist to understand evolution, and you were fallaciously conflating the two.

          Unless you’re saying that you deny evolution and present your god as the only viable alternative, in which case you should read posts on this site and think about them a little.

          • Do you believe in evolution?

            In reply to #101 by bob_e_s:

            In reply to #94 by shortpolock:

            Do you wonder why you are here? Do you read the posts on this site? If not evolution for our existence, then what?

            None of those questions are anything to do with what you said originally, or with my reply.

            You don’t have to be an atheist to understand evolution, a…

          • In reply to #104 by shortpolock:

            Do you believe in evolution?

            No.

            I have examined the evidence and it seems that the balance of probabilities is that life on earth is as we see it as a result of evolution by natural selection. No other theory/hypothesis is supported by anywhere near the quality and quantity of evidence.

            I therefore hold evolution to be true as it is the most likely possibility.

            Now you can explain why that is in any way relevant to the OP, or my questions to you. Thank you.

          • _In reply to #107 by bob<em>e_s:</em>

            In reply to #104 by shortpolock:

            Do you believe in evolution?

            No.
            …I therefore hold evolution to be true as it is the most likely possibility.

            Now you can explain why that is in any way relevant to the OP, or my questions to you. Thank you.

            Not quite sure why you said “no” when you mean “yes”. but there you are…

            I therefore hold evolution to be true as it is the most likely possibility.

            Perhaps the linking of atheism to evolution stemmed from your post 44, where you seem to (how shall I put it?) link atheism and evolution.

          • In reply to #109 by Pabmusic:

            In reply to #107 by bobes:

            Not quite sure why you said “no” when you mean “yes”. but there you are…

            I said no to draw a distinction between accepting something is true to evidence and belief in something without, and to avoid the trap that shortpolock was hoping I’d fall in.

            I agree with the mods that is completely off topic which is why I asked him why it was relevant.

          • In reply to #111 by bob_e_s:

            Apologies. I’ve become confused. I thought I was answering someone else who’d asked the specific question: “Now you can explain why that is in any way relevant to the OP, or my questions to you?”

          • In reply to #112 by Pabmusic:

            In reply to #111 by bobes:

            Apologies. I’ve become confused. I thought I was answering someone else who’d asked the specific question: “Now you can explain why that is in any way relevant to the OP, or my questions to you?”

            Yes, I did. I thought that was a reasonable question to shortpolock, after they brought evolution into the debate. Have I missed something?

    • In reply to #89 by shortpolock:

      In reply to #60 by shortpolock:
      We already know that fundamentalists want to spread their superstitious propaganda, often based on their particular Biblical readings, to inflict their vicious intolerance as far as possible (http://carnalnation.com/content/40170/10/american-roots-ugandan-anti-gay-law). And from refusals to answer such as here we know how they run away from real opposition.

      I don’t need to visit the page to guess that it is opinion based upon some fact or behavior of some faction which may or not be acting in accordance with the teachings of Christ. Beyond that I don’t know how to respond to this.

      Thanks for getting back, I see you have been very busy and I withdraw the cowardice remark.

      However, the ‘bullying’ refers to the well documented Christian attacks of homosexuals, of which the Ugandan laws are but the tip of the iceberg. I don’t think the Catholic Church could be described as a ‘faction’, but the previous Pope considered that love was a major global threat – that is, if it was the ‘wrong’ kind (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1100422/Homosexuality-great-threat-rainforest-destruction-says-Pope.html) . Again, bans upon expressions of same sex affection was praised by senior clerics in Nigeria (http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/nigerias-bishops-praise-ban-on-public-expression-of-homosexuality/). Were the Pope and these bishops unaware of Christ’s teaching? No: I think these instances and many others show that larger Christian organisations have a consistent record of condemning homosexuality, even while knowing the level of homophobic violence.

      I cannot quickly find first hand evidence of official mainstream US church links to promoting violent anti-gay sentiment, but here is a Washington Post report.

      “More recently, there’s another trend that appears to be worsening homophobia in the sub-Saharan: the influx of evangelical and pentecostal preachers, often from the United States, which has spurred an increasingly competitive contest for African worshipers. … conservative American Christian groups “send missions and help fund local churches that share their brand of Christianity. … Often, these sermons play up the supposed threat of homosexuality to Africa’s culture and its children. As in the case of Uganda, which has spent years debating a “kill the gays” bill to punish homosexuality with death, ever-harsher political rhetoric and social attitudes can follow. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/06/27/from-colonialism-to-kill-the-gays-the-surprisingly-recent-roots-of-homophobia-in-africa/)

      From my perspective, this is bullying – though to be fair to Christians, they are hardy the only hate preachers in town:

      “In Islam, capital punishment is only reserved for the most grievous crimes which hurt society as a whole. Some jurists view homosexuality in that light, particularly in countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen.’ (http://islam.about.com/od/islamsays/a/homosexuality.htm)

      Why wouldn’t I get angry with religion?

    • In reply to #89 by shortpolock:

      n reply to #60 by shortpolock:

      … both Judaism and Islam, like Atheism, sustain themselves on the rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah and God. Pull that pin out of their respective dogmas and their party tent crashes (sorry, but evolution is dogma for the atheist, IMO). So why wouldn’t they see a need to reject the prophecies? Hierarchy of Need, IMO….

      This is precisely my point. You might be – probably are – right that Judaism and Islam ‘need’ to reject the interpretation of Isaiah (etc) as pertaining to Jesus. Why? because of the ‘need’ fro their beliefs to be supported by the ‘infallible’ scripture and so make the reading they ‘need’ to.

      But exactly the same point could be made – probably is made – by Jewish and Islamic theologians about Christian interpretations of Isaiah etc – ie that Christians ‘need’ to have these prophesies and so make the reading they ‘need’ to support their beliefs.

      It seems that religious arguments invoke revelation and faith as being needed to accept the claimed truths. In other words, many believers accept that archeology, history, science, etc only goes so far – that to accept Jesus as Lord, or Mohammed as the Greatest Prophet, is in the end a personal act of faith ie one that goes beyond immediate evidence. But without being able to refer to external evidence, and with reference to the same scripture, what gives one interpretation of prophesy authority over another – surely not the accident of birth into (say) a Christian or a Muslim culture?

      Is it possible for believers to at least briefly consider what those in other faiths might think, when those others might have just as much conviction of their readings as they do of theirs? How can these difference be resolved rationally without a climb down – or can they only be decided by missiles or suicidal jihaad? And what are agnostics or atheists to make of these several incompatible and often violently asserted claims? Can your God make us unbelievers another planet to shelter on while the religionists ensure the prophesy of Armageddon?

  34. To answer some questions, there is an inverse relationship between hermeneutics and soteriology: the more liberal your hermeneutics, the less seriously one takes their salvation in Jesus. I believe this is the case for most (not all) former Christians.

    Judas Iscariot Contradiction: Matthew 17 and Luke 24. Refer to Jeremiah 32:6-8 and Zechariah.

    See here for a very thorough explanation of the alleged contradiction.

    (http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/masihiyyen/judas_death.html)

    The rebels Theudas and Judas of Galilee being given alleged backwards places in History by Gamaliel in Acts 5:
    “meta” also means “with, among” as well as “after”. There is also this explanation:

    (http://christianthinktank.com/qtheudy.html) – in short a revolt by a Theudas.

    Isaiah 7:14: “Virgin” is also translated “maiden. In this case the exclamation “Behold” would be anticlimactic to the everyday occurrence of a young woman giving birth, so “virgin” is the accepted translation, indeed miraculous, and is in keeping with the prophetic consistency of Genesis 3:15 “her seed”. It is not possible for a woman to “spread her seed” as it were, that is biologically the job of the man. But God uses this phrase to point out that the “seed” He is talking about is the Messiah.

    Isaiah 52, 53:

    There is some confusion and I accept the blame as to the specificity of the crucifixion. The crucifixion event and immediate environment are foretold. However it is worth looking at Isaiah 52:13,14:

    13 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men.…

    Three descriptions of height – high, lifted up, and exalted. There is the term lifted up, which is often a physical description of bearing, carrying.

    the three words can be found in this lexicon

    high – (http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/7311.htm)
    lifted – (http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/5375.htm)
    exalted – (http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/1361b.htm)

    This cannot be allegorical of Israel the nation, because people cannot die for their own sins.

    The time between the crucifixion of Christ and the prophecies before it are about 400 years. There are 39 separate books before it all which prophetically detail the birth, life, and death of Christ. Other details in other books predating the crucifixion of Christ add to the veracity of the text.

    Here are some detailing the piercing, etc.

    Psalm 22 – the piercing of hands and feet, casting of lots,
    Zecharaiah 12:10 – “they will look on me whom they have pierced”

    Verse 14 goes on to describe the marring of his appearance, which happened during the crucifixion. Isaiah describes the entire event Christ endured centuries before the method was even used, and still other writers detail the method.

    I realize that this cross and prophecy business is foolishness. I do not think that there is a way to reason someone into belief. But, as Penn Gillette stated, I would have to hate people an awful lot to keep my mouth shut when I believe there are dire consequences. Bear with this last tidbit, please. Why is prophecy so hard to unwind, so seemingly vague and random?

    Well, if I wanted to preserve a message such as a secret code over thousands of years, and it’s uniqueness and totality, and I knew that there was opposition to it, I would not publish it in a narrow bandwidth but a broad bandwidth. I would not publish the details in one book but in many books. Not in one time but throughout time. Not sequentially but randomly. Not easily found, but with work. Not available to even those who hated me, but only to those to whom I had given the right, because of their friendship with me. If I could, not with tangible artifacts to unlock the meaning, but by daily renewing the minds of those who trusted me.

    • In reply to #93 by shortpolock:

      Bear with this last tidbit, please. Why is prophecy so hard to unwind, so seemingly vague and random?

      Because it then allows the likes of yourself to hang any, or every, event, resolution or random act of happenstance upon said prophecy.

      When NASA predicts the return of Halley’s Comet, does it do similar?

      You’re seeking prophetic fulfillment where none exists; and using every ounce of confirmation bias to do so. It’s akin to those reading their daily horoscope seeking same.

      See: [Tricks Of The Mind] (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tricks-Mind-Derren-Brown/dp/1905026358) by Derren Brown for a thorough debunking of such wishful thinking.

      • How is explaining gaps in understanding confirmation bias? There have been a ton of claims to the errors of prophecy and flaws in chronological descriptions of events in the scriptures. Information which explains those apparent contradictions as misunderstandings is not only confirming my own beliefs, but clarifying for you. If I am using every ounce of confirmation bias, then where in the response was I illogical, or where were the authors I posted illogical? What seems out of sorts is to reply without specific critique and paint a broad brush stroke across everything you don’t agree with. At this juncture for you and I there seems no possible answer I could give which would satisfy you.

        In reply to #116 by Tyler Durden:

        In reply to #93 by shortpolock:

        Bear with this last tidbit, please. Why is prophecy so hard to unwind, so seemingly vague and random?

        Because it then allows the likes of yourself to hang any, or every, event, resolution or random act of happenstance upon said prophecy.

        When NASA predicts the retu…

  35. Moderators’ message

    Please keep posts on the topic of the OP, as required by our Terms and Conditions. There is no shortage of threads where evolution will be on topic, but this is not one of them.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  36. shortpolock, in making the claim that Biblical prophecies are correct, you have a lot of ground to cover. I won’t fault you for trying, but really you are claiming that one part of a story book confirms another part. So bloody what ? As many other have pointed out the Biblical “prophecies” are meaningless in real terms.

    Did NeverNever Land exist because Wendy and Peter Pan flew over the chimney pots? Your claims are in the same league.

    • As I said before, it is not one book I am speaking of but 39 books written over thousands of years. Again, it is unfair of you to make a blanket statement with no real critique. I have cited plenty of sources and given evidence to supposed contradictions and failed prophecies. If you are claiming, as others have, that Christ did not exist you are arguing a point I don’t wish to bother with. Plenty of very intelligent people a lot closer to the events of the 1st century verify His existence.

      In reply to #118 by Mr DArcy:

      shortpolock, in making the claim that Biblical prophecies are correct, you have a lot of ground to cover. I won’t fault you for trying, but really you are claiming that one part of a story book confirms another part. So bloody what ? As many other have pointed out the Biblical “prophecies” are mea…

  37. very intelligent people a lot closer to the events of the 1st century verify His existence.

    In response to #119

    How do you know the observers were very intelligent? If such contemporaries even existed, who’s to say they were intelligent or accurate?

    • I did not say observers, but the fact is is that those who did observe his death have had their writings last for thousands of years, where as anything you or I write will probably never see the light of day. The intelligent people I was talking about were ancient historians. Here is a site which posts 3 or 4 for us to see.

      http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/nonchristianaccounts.html

      I assume they were intelligent because their writings have withstood time and critique, and other intelligent people use them for reference.

      In reply to #120 by Nitya:

      very intelligent people a lot closer to the events of the 1st century verify His existence.

      In response to #119

      How do you know the observers were very intelligent? If such contemporaries even existed, who’s to say they were intelligent or accurate?

  38. Let me pose an entirely new scenario:

    If I were to read Chinese fighting manuscripts 500 years old, that said: “There will be one who can punch through wood, whose fists are like shot, arms like rods, and comes in the name of Zuan” There are a host of ways I could interpret this:

    Devotionally – The ability to split wood refers to wisdom. He will be able to cleave falsehood in half and know the truth. Iron shot fists refers to being a disciplinarian, being heavy handed on injustice. The arms like rod clearly refers to the rods which hold up signs on the road – therefore he will be signpost to the ‘way’.

    Literally – A figure will pop up who is able to break wood, have fists made of iron, arms like steel, and have a name: Zuan.

    A devotional story would hinge on his ‘spiritual’ attributes, when the literal would hinge on his physical attributes. The problem with reading prophecy is – How have you interpreted your prophecies: Literally or Figuratively? And how did you decide whether it was literal or figurative?

    Now, if I were in a martial arts group who subscribed to this Chinese manuscript, it would seriously be in my interest for me to write about finding Zuan. I could find someone who embodies these characteristics and promote him, although in a tiny geographical range that might be difficult, especially when there are other people who might want to meet this fantastic warrior.

    So, 50 years later, I could either write about someone who actually existed and exaggerate their deeds, even alter their name so that they fit the bill, e.g. “It says Zuan, but that sounds like John, and in fact Ivan is Russian for John – therefore the manuscript mentions he would be Russian, not Chinese.” and come up with a composite warrior who fits the bill. Without any direct access to the original group, my claim could continue uninterrupted. The problem with corroborating my story would be the primary sources have dwindled.

    I could also follow suit and simply invent somebody up and tell everyone that Zuan already fulfilled the Chinese manuscript but did so 50 years ago. And is already dead. And no one is alive who knew him. This could also keep my story alive.

    • If the text revealed in several spots that Zuan would be poor, single, not handsome, would live in a certain city though he be born in another certain city, that he would die by a right hook, a crescent kick, and a stomping of his head, that the referees would cast lots for his shorts, that he would, although poor, be buried in a borrowed tomb from a rich man… and then several sources at the fatal fight or directly related to the fight, which was adjudicated and recorded in the Emperor’s records, said “Zuan was here, Zuan died here” I’d be inclined to believe Zuan was there. It would then be incumbent upon me to know what I was reading about when I read “fists of iron”. That could be a symbol of authority. Splitting wood might well be both literal and figurative.

      The problem with reading prophecy is – How have you interpreted your prophecies: Literally or Figuratively? And how did you decide whether it was literal or figurative?

      Straightforwardly. I do not believe that I am engaging in cannibalism when I take communion and “do this, in remembrance” of Him. But I do believe that the blood of Christ’s sacrifice and the torture he received have redeemed me from the consequence of my sin. Daniel 7 relates the history of the middle east and Southern Europe up to the Romans. The scene of the animals defeating one another is a chronological picture of each kingdom. There was never a giant goat swiftly defeating a giant ram.

      On the last point, you could simply believe in Zuan, and just wait til history proves Zuan existed.

      http://www.icr.org/article/531/

      What would be the benefit of running the longest scam in the world? Piety? Persecution? I think that the principle of parsimony would lend doubt to anyone being able to run a scam like this for longer than it took to talk to anyone on the block.

      In reply to #121 by Jogre:

      Let me pose an entirely new scenario:

      If I were to read Chinese fighting manuscripts 500 years old, that said: “There will be one who can punch through wood, whose fists are like shot, arms like rods, and comes in the name of Zuan” There are a host of ways I could interpret this:

      Devotionally – Th…

      • In reply to #123 by shortpolock:

        On the last point, you could simply believe in Zuan, and just wait til history proves Zuan existed

        So that’s it: faith is credulity writ large. Rather than common sense questioning, just believe the story you hear. Indeed assume it is true, ”wait until history proves”. If only I could found a Zuan Glass Church, Zuan Family First Foundation, Zuanist Theology College – boy could me and my friends get rich.

        http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/03/08/wealth-of-roman-catholic-church-impossible-to-calculate/
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/19/best-paid-pastors_n_1214043.html#s621424title=Franklin_Graham

        • If I had a nickel for every time I heard that. I was being a shite, but things still keep cropping up suggesting the Bible is true.

          In reply to #125 by steve_hopker:

          In reply to #123 by shortpolock:

          On the last point, you could simply believe in Zuan, and just wait til history proves Zuan existed

          So that’s it: faith is credulity writ large. Rather than common sense questioning, just believe the story you hear. Indeed assume it is true, ”wait until history pro…

        • Claiming the exception as the rule, then. Yes, yes. I was reading the median income for a pastor is comparable to a unionized teacher. They are Rollin’ in the pennies, sure are. Especially when they mortgage their propeties to pay the bills at their church. Yup.

          In reply to #125 by steve_hopker:

          In reply to #123 by shortpolock:

          On the last point, you could simply believe in Zuan, and just wait til history proves Zuan existed

          So that’s it: faith is credulity writ large. Rather than common sense questioning, just believe the story you hear. Indeed assume it is true, ”wait until history pro…

        • In the first century? What financial benefits were there? 2nd? For well over a hundred years there was not much to be gained materially, and it wasn’t a safe thing to be a Christian in that time either. Do you have evidence to the contrary regarding the first and second century churches?

          In reply to #126 by bob_e_s:

          In reply to #123 by shortpolock:

          What would be the benefit of running the longest scam in the world?

          Enormous financial benefits for the clergy and control of the behaviour of the masses.

    • In reply to #102 by Pabmusic:

      In reply to #100 by shortpolock:

      Were you going with the Jesus-does-not-exist line of argument?

      I thought so! You simply haven’t read my previous posts.

      In post 87 I specifically say that Jesus may well have existed (we can’t really be sure because there’s no independent or contemporary evidence…

      Rest easy, here is evidence of Jesus’ existence, pure and without version or denomination.

      http://www.icr.org/article/531/

      • In reply to #124 by shortpolock:

        In reply to #102 by Pabmusic:

        Rest easy, here is evidence of Jesus’ existence, pure and without version or denomination.

        http://www.icr.org/article/531/

        No. Again, you leap on anything that supports your view and call it evidence. Assume it is real. What does it tell us? That the box contains the bones of someone called James who was the son of someone called Joseph and the brother of someone called Jesus. That does not narrow it down with certainty. But even if it did, it does not say anything about the divinity of Jesus or whether the biblical accounts are true. And in any case, there’s good reason for doubting the authenticity of the inscription on the box:

        http://www.truthbeknown.com/ossuary.htm

        • Well, I believe the researcher makes a good point that the Jesus mentioned is the Jesus of the Bible. The principle of parsimony would suggest that the simpler explanation would not be that the researchers happened to find the ossuary of the son of a Joseph, who happened to be named James, who happened to have a brother named Jesus so important he wanted it inscribed on the box. Rather, the chances of finding some other James, brother of a famous Jesus, and son of Joseph. The box was actually considered a fake for 10 years while the Israel Antiquities Authority sued the procurator of the box for forgery. In the end the IIIA did not have enough evidence to support that claim and the box is now considered authentic. One thing is certain is that the people mentioned on the box were real people. But, as usual, there is of course not enough material evidence to say wha-la!

          Here is an interesting link:

          http://ingermanson.com/mad_science/james_ossuary

          There is also an interesting tidbit on the Ebionite Gospel and James. The main problem I see with this logic is that you are clinging to a document so far removed from the initial events that that fact alone makes it a poor source. Yet you are rejecting gospels written amongst or shortly after the events, based on criteria that juries would consider unsubstantial. This seems to be a double standard. The Gospels included in Scripture were chosen for their degree of removal from Jesus. Twice removed was too far to be included in the New Testament. You can see that as the distance in time grew, the more spiritualized the non-canonical gospels became. Where as John states in verse 2 of 1 John 1 that he and the Apostles had empirically observed the data they were writing. Thomas, in fact, tested it.

          I realise there is a category error which cannot be bridged for you. I hope you will take a look at this site

          http://carm.org/atheist-error-asking-for-material-evidence-for-god

          describing why the atheist’s demands for material evidence will always prevent them from discovering anything outside material reality. Take the Isaiah prophecies. Because you seem hold to materialism, your position on Jesus fulfilling the prophecies, whether the book was a Deutero-Isaiah or not, will always be a contentious one, rather than an open one. In declaring the wisdom of grasping for contradictions and rejecting explanations, materialistic reductionism closes off any opportunity to learn anything new, unless it upholds materialism. Anyway, just my opinion. If the jury couldn’t convict OJ, what good is reason ;-)

          In reply to #138 by Pabmusic:

          In reply to #124 by shortpolock:

          In reply to #102 by Pabmusic:

          Rest easy, here is evidence of Jesus’ existence, pure and without version or denomination.

          http://www.icr.org/article/531/

          No. Again, you leap on anything that supports your view and call it evidence. Assume it is real. What does…

          • In reply to #142 by shortpolock:

            The main problem I see with this logic is that you are clinging to a document so far removed from the initial events that that fact alone makes it a poor source.

            Who decides how far is too far removed? Why stop at four gospels of different ages removed from the time? Why not stick to one? Or maybe two for corroboration? Why not just the three synoptic’s? Why muddy the waters with the theological nonsense in John constructed at least two generations after the age being written about? (Rylands P52 is the earliest piece of NT scripture in existence and is about the size of a credit card with recent comparator hands dating it to the later part of the second century). Bearing in mind these decisions were being made in the fourth century, where we the first existent full copies of any gospel appearing. That’s centuries of scribal error, mistranslation, interpolation, pseudepigrapha and who knows what other redaction and subterfuge.

            Yet you are rejecting gospels written amongst or shortly after the events, …

            Which gospels are those then?

            …based on criteria that juries would consider unsubstantial.

            WRONG, juries would not find hearsay accounts written by anonymous authors and at least a generation after the alleged incidents, and for which we don’t have a complete copy of which is less than three centuries removed and has not been bastardized by numerous scribes and redactors. They would disregard such evidence at the drop of a hat as untrustworthy.

            This seems to be a double standard.

            Yep, but whose double standard. I’m assuming the gospel of James was presented as an example of the reams of New Testament Apocrypha being circulated in the first three centuries and used by the numerous sects of the Christian cult? You must be aware that each sect followed their own book of many Christian books during the infancy of the religion. Much of those texts later destroyed as heretical, we only know of their existence through reference in other Christian references.

            The Gospels included in Scripture were chosen for their degree of removal from Jesus.

            That might be right, but it is well understood that there must have been earlier accounts that do not exist today. I wonder why that is? I wonder why more contemporary accounts from the early church were not preserved. I wonder why no one at the time of all these wondrous events didn’t take the time to make note for posterity, either from within the cult or from the secular arena.

            Twice removed was too far to be included in the New Testament.

            Obviously not. A number of the New Testament books are at least twice removed…John being one. Some of the NT books are downright forgery.

            You can see that as the distance in time grew, the more spiritualized the non-canonical gospels became. Where as John states in verse 2 of 1 John 1 that he and the Apostles had empirically observed the data they were writing. Thomas, in fact, tested it.

            The consensus of scholars is that John has no value historically. The author[s] of John were not eyewitnesses.

  39. Forgive the backroad tour: I was trying to be thorough.

    However, the ‘bullying’ refers to the well documented Christian attacks of homosexuals, of which the Ugandan laws are but the tip of the iceberg.

    Well, many dispensationalists are viciously homophobic. Does that make me a homosexual hating Calvary-ite? My handy logical fallacies bookmark says, No. My job as a Christian, as I understand it from the scriptures, is to get the gospel out to people, first with my mouth, then by my conduct.

    There was an instance at my former church right after Hurricane Katrina when a lay pastor announced from the pulpit that the hurricane had been sent to punish homosexuals and ruin Mardis Gras. I don’t have to tell you how insanely ignorant that statement was. I left, disgusted. Yet it was met with resounding applause. I asked myself in that moment whether Jesus would have applauded. When did he ever row those who were ignorant of him? He always saved the attacks for those who should know better.

    I feel like I am being fed the implied question, what is your take on homosexuality? Not surprisingly, I can’t agree that homosexuality is not sin. Still, _hetero_sexuality can be a sin in many more ways than it is not a sin, save one. Masturbation can be as well, depending on where the mind goes. The manner in which we use our minds is or is not sinful. My outward behavior is symptomatic of my mind.

    To segway into my next point, I said earlier that basing opinions on a Christian, Christians, or God based on the actions of that baptist church with all the “God hates” slogans, or by the politics of Uganda, or by any child molester with a cross tattooed on their forearm, is illogical. Their outward behavior gives us a glimpse at the condition of their heart. In those instances, I believe they think they are being righteously angry, or vengeful, but I wonder if in reality it is the bully in all of us that they are failing to control. I find it reprehensible that any Christian would kill another for their sin. God is perfect, and is the giver of agape. Christ said to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s, which left little or nothing for the believer. Paul, Peter, and James begged their followers to follow the laws and live peaceably. Not one of Jesus’ immediate followers mounted political insurrections.

    I was surprised to see Rick Warren’s face on the article. I thought he would be very welcoming of gay people. However, he is held in derision in many denominations and churches (although those numbers are shrinking). His brand of extra-biblical Christianity (new age-ism, Chrislam) has turned off many of the more conservative fundamentalists. Even the gay conservative writer says he lies. Go figure.

    I don’t think the Catholic Church could be described as a ‘faction’,

    It was not the intended model for the church.

    but the previous Pope considered that love was a major global threat – that is, if it was the ‘wrong’ kind (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1100422/Homosexuality-great-threat-rainforest-destruction-says-Pope.html)
    I remember that.

    Again, bans upon expressions of same sex affection was praised by senior clerics in Nigeria (http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/nigerias-bishops-praise-ban-on-public-expression-of-homosexuality/). Were the Pope and these bishops unaware of Christ’s teaching?

    Such as the Shema and the Golden rule, I think you mean.

    No: I think these instances and many others show that larger Christian organisations have a consistent record of condemning homosexuality, even while knowing the level of homophobic violence.

    I and many others don’t condemn it. That is God’s call (John 3:18 and Romans 1). Homosexuality is in the same boat as all the rest of the “large” and “small” sins I commit on a daily basis.

    I cannot quickly find first hand evidence of official mainstream US church links to promoting violent anti-gay sentiment, but here is a Washington Post report.

    “More recently, there’s another trend that appears to be worsening homophobia in the sub-Saharan: the influx of evangelical and pentecostal preachers, often from the United States…

    This has been going on for centuries. It is not a recent development or an influx.

    which has spurred an increasingly competitive contest for African worshipers. … conservative American Christian groups “send missions and help fund local churches that share their brand of Christianity. … Often, these sermons play up the supposed threat of homosexuality to Africa’s culture and its children.

    In an HIV ridden continent such as Africa, I can assure you that a lot, if not most of these sermons play up the threat of sexual immorality entire.

    As in the case of Uganda, which has spent years debating a “kill the gays” bill to punish homosexuality with death, ever-harsher political rhetoric and social attitudes can follow. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/06/27/from-colonialism-to-kill-the-gays-the-surprisingly-recent-roots-of-homophobia-in-africa/)

    From my perspective, this is bullying

    from Christ’s it is murder (plank in the eye, angry at a brother without due cause is murder)

    … both Judaism and Islam, like Atheism, sustain themselves on the rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah and God. Pull that pin out of their respective dogmas and their party tent crashes (sorry, but evolution is dogma for the atheist, IMO). So why wouldn’t they see a need to reject the prophecies? Hierarchy of Need, IMO….

    This is precisely my point. You might be – probably are – right that Judaism and Islam ‘need’ to reject the interpretation of Isaiah (etc) as pertaining to Jesus. Why? because of the ‘need’ fro their beliefs to be supported by the ‘infallible’ scripture and so make the reading they ‘need’ to.

    My point was that these religions are, or have become, simply an antithesis to Christ’s claims, not simply Isaiah. The point is that they all share a central desire to “dethrone” Jesus, and have a special distaste for Christians. On the other hand, Christians should not have a distaste for any man. The Christian should recognise that they do not wrestle against flesh and blood.

    But exactly the same point could be made – probably is made – by Jewish and Islamic theologians about Christian interpretations of Isaiah etc – ie that Christians ‘need’ to have these prophesies and so make the reading they ‘need’ to support their beliefs.

    Concerning Isaiah and needing the fulfillment: but the plain fact is that they were fulfilled. Certain things were written down well in advance, in peace and persecution, the math of the textual analysis of Isaiah still checks out. Jesus was physically lifted up, his visage marred, whipped, he didn’t open his mouth. As I keep telling people, there was no reward worth having to conspire this Jesus to be a fulfillment when he wasn’t. They were all killed for it, as Jesus predicted. Besides to keep the conspiracy going would be a superhuman feat, would it not?

    It seems that religious arguments invoke revelation and faith as being needed to accept the claimed truths. In other words, many believers accept that archeology, history, science, etc only goes so far …

    Have you ever read The Coming Prince? Biblical history and prophecy has and is being verified. If there is a prophecy which hasn’t been fulfilled it is an end times prophecy, seeing that Israel has been gathered back in the land for the third time, as prophesied. Please tell me what nation has ever accomplished that. My faith is reasonable and logically sound.

    that to accept Jesus as Lord, or Mohammed as the Greatest Prophet, is in the end a personal act of faith ie one that goes beyond immediate evidence. But without being able to refer to external evidence, and with reference to the same scripture, what gives one interpretation of prophesy authority over another – surely not the accident of birth into (say) a Christian or a Muslim culture?

    I’d say what you would about your facts: Consistency and evidence. I have given many explanations and addresses to other sites.

    Islam has neither as it pulls from religions and pagan traditions which predate it by thousands of years.

    Is it possible for believers to at least briefly consider what those in other faiths might think, when those others might have just as much conviction of their readings as they do of theirs? How can these difference be resolved rationally without a climb down – or can they only be decided by missiles or suicidal jihaad?

    Homey, they ain’t my missiles. And I know the ending, but how would you believe me?

    And what are agnostics or atheists to make of these several incompatible and often violently asserted claims? Can your God make us unbelievers another planet to shelter on while the religionists ensure the prophesy of Armageddon?

    Armageddon never happens. But He will make believers out of non-believers.

    In reply to #115 by steve_hopker:

    In reply to #89 by shortpolock:

    n reply to #60 by shortpolock:

    … both Judaism and Islam, like Atheism, sustain themselves on the rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah and God. Pull that pin out of their respective dogmas and their party tent crashes (sorry, but evolution is dogma for the atheist,…

    • In reply to #127 by shortpolock:

      Armageddon never happens. But He will make believers out of non-believers.

      Unwarranted assertion.

      According to Zoroastrianism prophecy, Azi Dahaka will eat one-third of humanity itself. But only if one were to believe in the Zoroastrian apocalypse, and take the Zoroastrian religion seriously. I don’t. In the same way I don’t take your religion seriously.

      Do you not see the gross ineptitude of your position?

    • In reply to #127 by shortpolock:

      I cannot fault your thoroughness – thanks for your efforts.

      I’m intrigued but a bit puzzled by:

      Well, many dispensationalists are viciously homophobic. Does that make me a homosexual hating Calvary-ite?

      Does this means you are or are not dispensationalist? (I gather that being the belief that God’s covenant, the mutual contract between humankind and God, can change). Either way, I note and am heartened by your distaste for ‘vicious’ homophobia. I see though that you still regard homosexuality as a sin, albeit not the worst or only one. I wish that those preachers who, like yourself, still take a biblically critical view of people like me were more outspoken in condemning hate preaching. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope have both made some noises to that effect, but those could be louder.

      …when a lay pastor announced from the pulpit that the hurricane had been sent to punish homosexuals and ruin Mardis Gras. … I left, disgusted.

      Well done – you are clearly principled and no coward.

      that baptist church with all the “God hates” slogans,… Their outward behavior gives us a glimpse at the condition of their heart.

      I agree. But as above I think then somehow those believers who think homosexuality is a sin but don’t read hatred from scripture need to challenge such hatred. And I think the argument ‘hate the sin but not the sinner’ is hard to sustain when the ‘sin’ is held by the ‘sinner’ to be part of their nature, ie not a choice.

      I was surprised to see Rick Warren’s face on the article. I thought he would be very welcoming of gay people. However, he is held in derision in many denominations and churches.

      Division, sometimes bloody warfare, is endemic within most faiths, perhaps Christianity more than most – though with modern weaponry the Sunni-Shia struggle might overshadow even the darkest episodes in the Protestant-Catholic wars of religion or the anti-heretical Crusades (Albigensian and Byzantine). But saying that some parts of Warrens’ beliefs are not truly Christian and thus imply that his views do not reflect badly on Christians generally resembles the ‘No True Scotsman argument’ (Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.” Person B: “I am Scottish, and put sugar on my porridge.” Person A: “Then you are not a true Scotsman.” – Wikipedia).

      So as above, I think that people calling themselves ‘Christians’ (or Muslims etc) who do not agree with other ‘Christians’ (etc) must be aware of the implications of not speaking out. So I’m glad you are doing that here – and that you walked out of that Church. In the sense that religion looks set to stay around for a while yet, Christendom needs more believers like yourself.

      In an HIV ridden continent such as Africa, I can assure you that a lot, if not most of these sermons play up the threat of sexual immorality entire.

      If that’s true, that is welcome in that a great deal of HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa is heterosexual. But there is good evidence that homophobia dissuades gay men coming for tests and treatment ( eg if to do so they risk arrest or worse) (http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2009/january/20090113msmlatam/)

      …As in the case of Uganda, which has spent years debating a “kill the gays” bill to punish homosexuality with death…
      From my perspective, this is bullying

      from Christ’s it is murder (plank in the eye, angry at a brother without due cause is murder)

      Here we agree.

      But exactly the same point could be made – probably is made – by Jewish and Islamic theologians about Christian interpretations of Isaiah etc – ie that Christians ‘need’ to have these prophesies and so make the reading they ‘need’ to support their beliefs.

      Concerning Isaiah and needing the fulfillment: but the plain fact is that they were fulfilled

      But here we don’t. I appreciate you are inevitably reading the Bible from your perspective. But there is the perspective of an atheist or agnostic, who sees the various and conflicting assertions by several religions or denominations each claiming absolute truth. This I think is why religious factions quarrel so much and at times with such violence. For without an externally verifiable evidence base to appeal to the differences are all too often, perhaps inevitably, resolved by the strength of the various convictions, ie the strength of faith is given (testified) as the evidence for it being true. But when contesting the strengths of the rival convictions does not give a mutually agreed resolution, the guns might come out.

      Armageddon never happens.

      No, it will never happen, IMO. But others anticipate and seemingly look forward to it:

      “Today He waits patiently seated on His throne in Heaven. Waiting while His offer of grace is extended to all peoples and nations on Earth. There is a day, we are told, when God’s patience (“long-suffering”) with a world filled with sin, violence, and arrogant unbelief will end, and the door of escape will be closed . . .” (http://www.alphanewsdaily.com/Warning%2016%20The%20Coming%20Apocalypse.html).

      Given the desire by some (all?) Fundamentalists to control the levers – and nuclear buttons – of power, I for one do not sleep more soundly when I hear such religious triumphalism.

      (Footnote: we nearly had the world’s most powerful nation (with the most potent nuclear arsenal) led by someone who might have a very detailed expectation of the End: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Coming_(LDS_Church)].

      • In reply to #133 by steve_hopker:

        I appreciate you are inevitably reading the Bible from your perspective. But there is the perspective of an atheist or agnostic, who sees the various and conflicting assertions by several religions or denominations each claiming absolute truth.

        It must look pretty sad to see Christians quarreling amongst Christians, disputing prophecies, questioning the salvation of others, etc. Moreover claiming it missionary work to go blow up the cities of other people indirectly associated with terrorism. Not a one of Christ’s immediate Apostles, including Paul, advocated war or insurrection. Very much the opposite.

        …various and conflicting assertions by several religions or denominations each claiming absolute truth.

        This is the greatest failure of the modern American church. It is very monistic, and there is no unity or vibrance. People come and go as they please. If the pastor has a different opinion about the price of gas folks get all up in arms and cause divisions. We as a body need to agape as Christ said and did. There doesn’t have to be such division. Take the harpazo (harpz, rapture), for example. Five different variations, but each alluding to the hope we have. Hope, but we are divided over it. Who cares, IMO. Potter and the vessel. Ignorance is bliss, in many cases.

        I agree with most of what that author said in your link, but have trouble with the “repent and believe” comment. There is no other work to do besides the simplicity of believing Christ. Everything else, salvation, repentance, imputed righteousness, etc. is the fruit of that belief, and is the work of the Spirit. This way I cannot brag about piety, about preaching, yadayada.

        I’m intrigued but a bit puzzled by:

        Well, many dispensationalists are viciously homophobic. Does that make me a homosexual hating Calvary-ite?

        Does this means you are or are not dispensationalist?

        I am a dispensationalist, and a Calvary Chapel attendee. But myself and other of my friends would agree that vengeance is the Lord’s. If homosexual behavior, unrepentant anger, lust, etc. is worth more to the individual than redemption, there is nothing for me to do beyond open my mouth in love. This is why I question the pursuits of debunking evolution, blocking the homosexual agendas (so long as our children are left out of it, like in California). Render to Caesar and so forth. It is not Caesar’s statutes we have fallen short of, not Calvary Chapel’s, but God’s. He is the one who decides which person he is done with. We cannot read hearts, and we should approach people in the place where we once were with love. Otherwise what’s the point? I cannot make anyone choose Him. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is very troubling to hear of pastors who repent of their faith. I can only say that I cannot say what I wish in this forum. Just encouragements. Hope I don’t lose my account for that. I tried to dance as best as possible.

        • In reply to #134 by shortpolock:

          In reply to #133 by steve_hopker:

          I am glad you have an idea about the impression religious dissent gives and are dismayed by it. But, I still assert that the dissent is not random but rather almost inevitable as it relates to the reliance of conviction about beliefs that are built on texts. This is fundamentally different to scientific disputes over evidence which – though not uncommonly bitter – can be resolved over time with repeated observation etc. Perhaps theological differences are a bit more like historical arguments, but even there new evidence can come to light in ways that for the large part is impossible in theology (what new evidence for or against the Assumption or transubstantiation could there be?).

          I am a dispensationalist, and a Calvary Chapel attendee.

          I’ve looked up both dispensationalism and the Calvary Chapel on Wikipedia.

          [To the uninitiated dispensationalist jargon seems almost as intimidating as quantum mechanics, and it may be that here, as in QM, my amateur grasp may be off beam: yet as ever that won’t stop me trying :) ]

          But I think I grasped that dispensationalism is belief that God’s relationship with humans, and thus revelation, was progressive over the period from OT to NT times. To me this raises an obvious question as to why revelation changed in only that time. Even for Young Earth Creationists that leaves about 3-4 thousand years or so when revelation has not changed – even though during the whole time there have been many changes in human societies the world over. Why should revelation by the eternal Lord of the universe adapt to the changes in Middle Eastern society for about a thousand years, but in no other places over no other periods?

          My point is that dispensationalism appears to be on the verge of saying, ‘The older scriptures cannot now be read as they were, the literal meanings they had then do not apply in the same way now’. That would seem to admit the possibility of going a fair way towards moral – possibly even scientific – progressive modernisation. After all, the structure and knowledge base in the Roman Empire was vastly different to the early farmers that the Abraham stories might be a distant memory of.

          But of course, it seems to be held that revelatory progression stopped by 1st or maybe 2nd century AD, as I presume that is the view when new texts could no longer enter the canon and this gain canonical authority. Yet wasn’t that ‘closure of the doors of prophesy’ (to borrow a phrase) something that by definition is not backed by scripture (as it came after the last accepted scripture) and was arguably due to politics in the Church and Empire? Can Calvary-ites discount the suggestion that the early Church, now in cahoots with the Imperial authorities authorities, used the idea of a canon to to maintain power by suppressing any further revelatory progression – sometimes with historically recorded terrible persecutions and generally with the threat of them? How well does that kind of violent (and wearily familiar) authoritarianism sit with the Calvary Chapel ethos?

  40. What is the atheist’s answer to Prophecies in the Bible being fulfilled? Does this indicate that God exists? For example…Jesus…

    People who believe Jesus or Thor really existed, while renouncing their dads Yahweh and Odin as being mythical, are very nearly atheists.

    If they think Thor existed but Jesus was mythical, they’re just one god away from being authentic.

  41. To all rational thinkers, please listen to my grevience and have the courage to support me, or if you feel my complaint has no merit, tell me why.

    The author of the discussion “the nature for miraculous claims”, “achromat666″, first had my account deactivated, then when I created a new account he had my ip blocked. I can only assume he complained of spamming or harassment, both of which are baseless accusations. Read the thread and you decide whether I was simply having a rational back and forth (meaning he was responding to me and so I responded to his response) or if I was spamming nonsensical posts with total disregard for rational discussion. Unfortunately, achromat666 also manipulated the thread by deleting several of my posts, which ofcourse does nothing to help his argument, but only shows his lack of respect for truth and debate. How is this not like the religious who resort to anger towards any challenges to their perspective. My point to archomat666 was to offer him a fresh perspective on the common assumption and claim made by many like him that evidence will convince him of the truth of a supernatural claim, which is the same as saying I don’t believe in the supernatural explanation for phenomenon x because there is no evidence. The perspective I was offering him was this:
    The unique property that real things have (which is the potential ability to be proven true or false because evidence and reason is capable of acting on it) should not be surrendered to irrational views and claims like the supernatural, which by very definition (one that is as intellectually vacuous as the definition of the trinity) claims that the validity to the truth of itself is outside of reason and evidence. What a fancy way to say made up purely from imagination. Are the convinced by the philosophical hogwash that anything imagined must possibly exist in reality? Aren’t we easily capable of stringing words together to conceptualize things that are completely irrational?
    Basically, asking for evidence for the supernatural reinforces the notion that rational evidence can act directly on their claims, thus affording the supernatural the possibility of truth and the weight of reality. What evidence can act on the supernatural claim that, for example, an old shroud somehow contains the physical spirit and healing powers of an ancient man-deity. How can we say, without denying everything we know about reality, that we have to wait for the evidence to decide if its true or not. Is that really a rational stance?
    I understand it is a fine line that separates the two perspectives, but it an important distinction to understand because much like how the general acceptance of faith by even the nonreligious undermines rational criticism of religion, the general acceptance that the supernatural could, with evidence, be true, undermines science by creating skepticism towards its position as the only method to understanding truth. If we allow for an alternative reality outside of scientific understanding, first its not a coherent concept, but more importantly we disempower truth and reason from claiming the unique status they deserve.

    All that being said,
    Please understand that I have to post this to discussions other than the one this is about because the author has proven that he does not have the courage nor ethical conviction to deny himself from acting on the urge to silence and reshape arguments that hurt his ego. Please consider again, whether I was spamming his discussion or engaging in a rational debate with the author. (Please forgive this one spam) Also, if anyone thinks I am misunderstanding his position please let me know how. I’m always open to rational debate as thinking rationally is more important than shielding my ego from the devastatingly shattering blow of being wrong.

    I’m not asking for a march or boycott, just please show support or tell me why you won’t. I just want to quiet that fear that any rational thinker has, that I am obliviously making some illogical leap in my reasoning that completely discredits my argument. If you have the power, please ask administrators to review the complaints of achromat666 towards me.

    Hey crookedshoes, notice how your post in support of my stance on the supernatural was deleted. I hope you or anyone else that is here to have a rational discussion, never has to feel the disappointment of being forcefully silenced by a site that champions free thought and debate.

  42. This is very late, but I hope someone will respond. Since the story of Christ is regarded by everybody to be mainly if not completely allegorical, what would recent history prophesied in scripture suggest? I’m speaking of the return of the Jews to Israel, foretold twice in the Old Testament in numerous passages. This is an allegedly unprecedented event in history, and prophesied by scripture.

    • In reply to #156 by shortpolock:

      This is very late, but I hope someone will respond. Since the story of Christ is regarded by everybody to be mainly if not completely allegorical, what would recent history prophesied in scripture suggest? I’m speaking of the return of the Jews to Israel, foretold twice in the Old Testament in numer…

      Exiles have returned to their lands on a regular basis throughout history. Plus, how can ‘prophesy’ of return be distinguished from ‘hope’.

      BTW – maybe you missed my recent post about Calvary-ism?

      • Which exiles were returned to their land without decree, after near extinction, and from all over the globe?

        I read your post about the Calvary Chapel movement and probably should have just stated that I don’t want to be posting about it forever. There are many misunderstandings, variances within the movement, and so on. There are implications in it I probably don’t fully agree with, and am closer to covenant or new covenant theology on those issues. So let’s say I agree that line by line, precept by precept is done well in my particular Calvary, that I am mostly dispensational, but 100% believing in the supremacy of God and His triune nature revealed in His Word. We cannot grasp it all , which is why He made Salvation so simple. We are as Chether Lau said in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, “like well cared for children”, though he was being caustic. As I said before He does as He pleases.

        I think I can speak to your main thought, which seems to be that there is too much conflict, violence, and lack of peace for any of these religions to be claiming they are peaceful religions, let alone the one way to God. I can only say that … well, they are wrong and Jesus is right. The Jews denied Him, and Islam adopted a version of Him that is not Him. Two things: Talmudic Judaism is not Mosaic (fulfilling Jeremiah 2:13, just before the exile to Babylon), and Islam, formulated seven centuries after Christ’s birth, by many accounts is updated worship of a moon god. Therefore I think the Kingdom of heaven parables speak to your question, especially the mustard seed parables. Birds do not produce but only consume and defecate on the tree. They are a type for sin and those who enjoy the fruit of the branches, the home in the tree, but do nothing to propagate it’s growth.

        In reply to #157 by steve_hopker:

        In reply to #156 by shortpolock:

        This is very late, but I hope someone will respond. Since the story of Christ is regarded by everybody to be mainly if not completely allegorical, what would recent history prophesied in scripture suggest? I’m speaking of the return of the Jews to Israel, foretold t…

  43. Forget for a moment what atheists think about predictions. I found this alarming bit of Christian prophesy on a FB feed I happened to follow (I don’t know the person, they found my business page and shared one of my announcements).

    Today I was given a application for Obama Care at work. Yay
    The world is ending!!

    Is this really the mindset out there of many Christians? Her alma mater was BYU and another specifically Christian academy before that.

    Religion poisons everything.

    Mike

    • SHe was probably joking…? Not my mindset, really. I dunno when the world is gonna end.

      In reply to #159 by Sample:

      Forget for a moment what atheists think about predictions. I found this alarming bit of Christian prophesy on a FB feed I happened to follow (I don’t know the person, they found my business page and shared one of my announcements).

      Today I was given a application for Obama Care at work. Yay
      The wor…

  44. The poor Christian God (all three of Him), can’t announce His magnificent presence to the world as its Saviour, except to an obscure group of Jews living in the Roman Empire. The rest of the world was left out, and here we are arguing about scraps of paper and who wrote what when.

    Only puzzle solvers shall enter the kingdom of heaven ?

  45. Cheeses! What tiresome bullshit, and drawn out to such length!

    What’s duller, Xian comedy (intended) or Xian Rock?

    NEITHER! It’s when a Xian, like shortpolock here, pretends to be an intellectual, willing to debate ideas from evidence and pretending that ANY of this evidence could ever, ever, ever change his fixed little mind about the smallest invented “fact.”

    Let me be open and honest with this guy: it’s simply that he’s wrong and dishonest about something that doesn’t matter at all to anyone but another member of the Jesus Fan Club.

    He’s a silly bore, and in real life I’d have stopped being polite after greetings were exchange – he doesn’t understand or deserve civility.

    Let me be even more direct: shortpolock, goodbye and may I never run across you or your ideas again. Fuck off, you tiresome,untruthful, and dumb clown.

  46. If I write a book of fiction where it is predicted in the first chapter that it will rain marshmallows in the 7th chapter, and in the 7th chapter I write that it is raining marshmallows, does this make it believable?

  47. The easier response would be to use another religious claim that does actually debunk this. Islam says Jesus (Isa) wan not killed not crucified.
    This can be found in 19. Surah Maryam (Mary in Arabic)

    If monotheistic religions pray to one god – then most likely it’s the same god. Which means this god should contradict his message or messengers. However there are endless contradiction between religious scriptures.

    It’s important to present them with the term – Religious Skeptiscm. It does not mean atheists are skeptical – it means religious followers skeptical of other religions followers and books. This is an age fight. They will never agree yet pray to ‘one’ god.

  48. It’s called retconning the narrative. If you have a so-called ‘prophecy’, you can rewrite your story to fit it. Try Robin-Lane Fox’s ‘The Unauthorised Version’ or Paula Fredricksen’s ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’. The Christians even tried to turn cooking instruction for the Passover lamb into a crucifixion prophecy!

  49. Isaac Newton wrote that when Prophecies that were made long before the Event really happened, that was to be evidence of Divine Providence. Also Christopher Columbus wrote a book at the end of his life, about how his discoveries of new lands fulfilled Bible Prophecies.

    • In reply to #166 by queridia:

      Isaac Newton wrote that when Prophecies that were made long before the Event really happened, that was to be evidence of Divine Providence. Also Christopher Columbus wrote a book at the end of his life, about how his discoveries of new lands fulfilled Bible Prophecies.

      If I wrote a thousand page book on predictions I’m sure a few of them will come true.

      • In reply to #167 by Jigger:
        As you must know, the specificity not the generalization is where facts are potentially available. Columbus wrote that he’d fulfilled biblical prophecy in finding new lands. He did find new lands. At the end of his life he’d become experienced in many ways, life does teach and illustrate what a person is, its a process.

        Jesus fulfilled biblical prophecy specifically referencing past prophecies many times, not the same thing as just tossing out some generalizations. He referred to ancient ideas often enough to prove that in some way he knew the past, he recognized Judas and knew what was his future. He knew the future, so did Judas, although how they knew may be that the body is 0,1, and in some cases 2, material.

        My favorite fact which is generally ignored, is that no other religious leader told us there is a kingdom of heaven and that it is within you. And He defined the Kingdom within as his Father. Time as we live it was not linear, if it exists at all except as a convenience to ‘us’.

        Also if there is an intelligence other than our own that ”is within you’, that implies we are not alone in the cosmoses. Where were all of the galaxies we know about today, thousands of years ago? Time travel, well we do that all day, if your mind is like mine, memory beyond my life exists partly, and only partly because of religious texts, all of them, not one, Its been an event filled life, but what’s happening now, was prophesized in science fantasies! It was all imagination!!!!

        In reply to #166 by queridia:

        Isaac Newton wrote that when Prophecies that were made long before the Event really happened, that was to be evidence of Divine Providence. Also Christopher Columbus wrote a book at the end of his life, about how his discoveries of new lands fulfilled Bible Prophecies…

        • In reply to #172 by queridia:

          Jesus fulfilled biblical prophecy specifically referencing past prophecies many times, not the same thing as just tossing out some generalizations. He referred to ancient ideas often enough to prove that in some way he knew the past, he recognized Judas and knew what was his future. He knew the future, so did Judas, although how they knew may be that the body is 0,1, and in some cases 2, material.

          Even assuming that the words and actions ascribed to Jesus really did fulfill specific prophecies in the Old Testament (and it’s not just a matter of trying to fit things after the fact), the central objection remains that all we could say for sure is that Jesus is said to have fulfilled those prophecies, not that he actually did fulfill them. The only evidence we have regarding what he actually said and did is a book that was written about him, with zero third-party confirmation apart from that one book.

          I could write a book about my neighbor and describe all the things that he has said and done that specifically fulfill numerous prophecies made by Nostradamus. I could even add language to my book stating that every single word of it is true and that I, the author, am completely infallible and unable to lie about anything. That doesn’t mean my neighbor actually said or did those things, however, or that he actually fulfilled any prophecies whatsoever. Or that he even exists or is my neighbor, for that matter. It simply means I wrote a book.

          The Bible states that it was written/inspired by God and that God cannot lie. Therefore, the argument goes, everything in the Bible must be true. This ignores the possibility, however, that God was lying about not being able to lie in the first place (what other evidence is there that God cannot lie and couldn’t an all-powerful being lie if he wanted to?). It also ignores the much more likely probability that somebody just made the whole thing up as a work of fiction and there is no God.

          Seriously, though, you have just got to meet my neighbor, Bob…

  50. shortpolock is basically doing a Peewee Herman impression of his famous “listening to reason” bit,… except that was intentional comedy… and actually funny.

    This kind of Christian might be otherwise a decent enough person, like some sorts of Star Trek nerds can be, but he really thinks, as Christians almost always do, that his obsessions have something to do with reality. That is where, like here, he turns into a fucking bore who it’s impossible to even pretend to respect.

    Change the subject and I’ll revert to civil, but still honest, mode, even with him or his kind.

  51. “He will see his offspring and prolong his days” Okay, if this was Jesus, he got married and had kids? Or did he just have kids and not bother with a wedding? Just because someone got treated badly and stabbed once, that means it was a prophecy of Jesus? It’s like every prophecy, 20/20 hindsight and don’t mention the parts that don’t fit.

  52. It is very easy to make a prophecy come true in a fictional story. It’s easy to make it come true when you can write whatever you want and you know what what the prophecy is hence what you need to write to make it come true. Its like being impressed when there is an unlikely coincidence in a fictional tv show.

    Prophecies in the bible are no more evidence that the bible is true, than correct predictions in the scripted show Medium are proof that the woman Medium was based on was actually psychic. There are probably people who think the show Medium is actually proof of her psychic powers just as people think the bible is proof for its own claims, but we have absolutely no reason to believe either or take claims of either seriously.

  53. Isaiah 49-52,53 is what is referred to as the Song of the Servant. I believe Chapter 49 will tell you the servant spoken of is Israel. Read Isaiah 49:3 and then read the following chapters. Also read 43:11, beside me there is no savior. Also read 45:5, there is no God besides me. Read verse 7, I make peace and create evil. In reading Isaiah, I have found no reference to Jesus.

  54. Also the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are things that had already happened, I think. Jesus message was to the Jews, he came to save the Jews. The Jews rejected him. Read Mark 9:1. People expected Jesus to return shortly after his death. Also Matt. 16:28.

  55. I must have a bad translation (NIV). The words “cross” nor “crucifixion” do not appear in Is 52,53. But if we want to test the prophetic power of this verse let’s start with:

    “Put on your garments of splendor,
    Jerusalem, the holy city.
    The uncircumcised and defiled
    will not enter you again.

    Unless I’m very much mistaken Jerusalem has been conquered many times since then. The overall passages certainly speaks of “my servant” who is clearly reviled, and somehow a martyr or scapegoat. The passages is voiced in part by God though some of it may be voiced by a narrator. That could be more clear. The servant may be the servant of the narrator or of God. But it doesn’t even hint that the servant may be God himself, God incarnate, God made flesh nor the son of God. Even with cherry picking, bias and delusion it is ridiculous to claim this predicts the son of God or a figure who “pays it all” for mankind.

    But what about Cyrus? Do any research on who wrote the Old Testament and you’ll find it had at least four authors/editors. It is unlikely that any of these were a single person. Revisions and redactions happened. It is more likely that it was changed later either before the conquest to inspire Cyrus or later to claim him. But even if the original version of Isaiah truely said:

    who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”‘“

    …it took over 150 years? How many children would have been named Cyrus in that time? And the reference says he’s going to help build the city (which was already free in Isaiah 52) and found the temple. It would have been more impressive if upon conquering Babylon Cyrus had proclaimed: your card was the queen of hearts! Or maybe tomorrow Miley Cyrus will tweet soemthing about building Jerusalem and founding a temple? That would certainly convince me of the bible’s prophetic power.

    The idea that Isaiah predicts Jesus is equally delusional. However, when we consider that the author of Matthew was familiar with the Old Testament it’s not surprising that the Jesus character would bare some resemblance messiah prophesies, especially of the love and peace variety.

    The predictions offered are vague and still only somewhat similar to their “realization.” Desperate bias might make them look like impressive prophesies. But it’s like guessing two numbers right on your lottery ticket and saying “See, I told you so.”

  56. I must have a bad translation (NIV). The words “cross” nor “crucifixion” do not appear in Is 52,53. But if we want to test the prophetic power of this verse let’s start with:

    “Put on your garments of splendor,
    Jerusalem, the holy city.
    The uncircumcised and defiled
    will not enter you again.

    Unless I’m very much mistaken Jerusalem has been conquered many times since then. The overall passages certainly speaks of “my servant” who is clearly reviled, and somehow a martyr or scapegoat. The passages is voiced in part by God though some of it may be voiced by a narrator. That could be more clear. The servant may be the servant of the narrator or of God. But it doesn’t even hint that the servant may be God himself, God incarnate, God made flesh nor the son of God. Even with cherry picking, bias and delusion it is ridiculous to claim this predicts the son of God or a figure who “pays it all” for mankind.

    But what about Cyrus? Do any research on who wrote the Old Testament and you’ll find it had at least four authors/editors. It is unlikely that any of these were a single person. Revisions and redactions happened. It is more likely that it was changed later either before the conquest to inspire Cyrus or later to claim him. But even if the original version of Isaiah truely said:

    who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”‘“

    …it took over 150 years? How many children would have been named Cyrus in that time? And the reference says he’s going to help build the city (which was already free in Isaiah 52) and found the temple. It would have been more impressive if upon conquering Babylon Cyrus had proclaimed: your card was the queen of hearts! Or maybe tomorrow Miley Cyrus will tweet soemthing about building Jerusalem and founding a temple? That would certainly convince me of the bible’s prophetic power.

    The idea that Isaiah predicts Jesus is equally delusional. However, when we consider that the author of Matthew was familiar with the Old Testament it’s not surprising that the Jesus character would bare some resemblance messiah prophesies, especially of the love and peace variety.

    The predictions offered are vague and still only somewhat similar to their “realization.” Desperate bias might make them look like impressive prophesies. But it’s like guessing two numbers right on your lottery ticket and saying “See, I told you so.”

  57. What is the atheist’s answer to Prophecies in the Bible being fulfilled? Does this indicate that God exists?

    Why would I believe anything written in a book ? Just because somebody says something is true it does not mean that it is true. The problem with calling the bible a “historical account” is that even historical fact is often called by historians “A story we all agree to believe”. Just because a historian writes something does not make it true, and since hardly anyone in Britain thinks the bible is historically accurate then I do not for one second take anything it tells me to be true. If a scientist tells me the Bose Higson particle exists, just for the sake of not having to get a degree in particle physics, mathematics, and whatever other ics I need, then I let them get on with their beliefs and wish I could see the data for myself, infact when I do see the data I rarely understand it without the help of a “Bose Higson For Beginners” book that spells it out to me in letters 9 foot tall. I am fairly confident, however that many thousands of people on planet earth are qualified to understand the science behind the Bose Higson Particle, and I have no reason to mistrust them on that However I have examined the bible in great detail and I can with authority say “its rubbish, historically inaccurate, and is telling lies, most of it”, and what is more the religious maniacs are simply trying to say “believe what we believe, we offer no proof but believe it and oh by the way dont join other religions they are rubbish”. Religion is weak, it is crumbling

  58. I suspect the ‘Higgs Boson’ reference was deliberate, a kind of tongue twister to make a point, that’s how I read it. Funny and honest.
    Religion is about personalized life experiences, and what is personal is really personal. I’d like to suggest a book , Greek Historical Thought, its a selection of quotations from Greek historians, gathered by Arnold J. Toynbee. It was published several decades ago. I read it about 5 years ago, and was surprised many times at how much information they, Greek historians knew without the means to know it.

    There were some who wrote that the Earth is a point in vast space. (From which space exploration is well under way now.)

    The idea that there is a kind of fact in myths, in stories was well known in Ancient Greek lives. But the parables in the bible are that kind of ‘fact’, conveyed in a story.. A ‘fact’ that anyone who grew up reading science fantasies stories as I did knows: most of our current technology was once fiction. It was imagined first.

    The bible is not to be read literally but some mindsets experience the ‘word’ as literal, meaning exactly what it says. Does ‘Thou shalt have no graven images.” mean exactly what the words say or does it mean ‘Thou shalt have no fixed unchangable ideas.’ ?

    I’ve known several different mindsets myself, one of them was hearing literally, with self reference added to events as well as to words, a kind of psychological change. and it seems likely this mindset informed some of them, its a strange change. I wrote to several authors, Wilson van Dusen was one of them, about whether this mindset is part of a natural life process and he answered that it is/was.

    There are phases in a life, that psychologists and artists and ordinary people CAN possibly ‘read’ in a different mindset. Behind the mindset is a chaos of information, imo. My search for an explanation of certain changes in my own mind and body about 33 years ago have led me to stories in Bibles. The parable of the good seed, described something that is not literal, an experience, a pattern.. More later….

    Its quite a good book. It was a surprise to me to read that the Ancients knew so much about cycles in time for example, when they had none of the tools ‘we’ have today. “In Essence the historical experiences which wrung these thoughts out of Greek souls are akin to the experiences through which we ourselves have been passing, He wrote that some historians don’t describe events accurately

  59. Isaiah chapters 48 and 49 will tell you Israel is the servant. Isaiah 49:3. The next few chapters are called “Song of the Servant”. Isaiah has nothing to do with Jesus or his suffering. I have studied Isaiah and I have a commentary. Also, Isaiah is poetry.

    Elsie

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