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Author Topic: Atheist Penelope  (Read 169879 times)

JonSnow

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #150 on: 31 Dec 2008, 18:38 »


How do you even know He even wants a relationship with you, or wants your prayer or worship?  And next: what do you actually know about Jesus?  Where does that information come from?  Can you double-check it?  This is one of those things that seems to all unravel once you start pulling at the threads.  [Extension question: if you use the Bible is a historical document proving these supernatural relationships, would you *also* accept other equally-supported ancient documents with supernatural claims?]


1) Jesus, yes.

2) Ultimately, the bible.

3) What do you mean 'double-check'? There are four of them, and they agree on the important parts.

4) I don't think there are any equally-supported ancient documents.

So you're saying that the information on God and Jezus comes from one not all that reliable book, that consists of 4 parts that were selected because they resembled eachother the most.
you could go doublecheck in the four different gospels, and come to the conclusion that they must be right. But I could write four stories of snow white and the seven dwarves, put that in a book, wait a 1000 years. and people might just start the religion of the holy snow white, her divine prince, and the seven gracious dwarves. Cause the four stories tell the same story, only written by a different person.

I am quite sure there is plenty of Roman literature from that time that depicts the events involving Jezus (if he was that important the Romans will have noticed him too).

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What about:
Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Philip, Gospel of Eve, Gospel of Mani, Gospel of the Saviour (also known as the Unknown Berlin gospel), Gospel of the Twelve, Gospel of Bartholomew, Gospel of the Seventy, Gospel of the Four Heavenly Realms, Gospel of Perfection, Gospel of Marcion, Gospel of Basilides, Gospel of Andrew, Gospel of Apelles, Gospel of Cerinthus, Gospel of Bardesanes, Gospel of the Encratites, Gospel of the Gnostics, Gospel of Hesychius, Gospel of Lucius, Gospel of Longinus, Gospel of Manes, Gospel of Merinthus, Gospel of Scythianus, Gospel of Simonides, Gospel of Tatian, Gospel of Thaddaeus and Gospel of Valentinus?

and I can get you more, really dont question my knowledge of the Bible and stuff that the Catholic Church excluded when it's Canon was decided. You will never find a single Gospel written by a woman that is approved by the Church. (change might be coming though)

As I recall, the books included in the cannon were the ones that the early church used. From the Case for Christ, there were tree criteria. The book had to of been written by an apostle or a follower of an apostle. Second, it had to agree with what was in practice. Finally, the book had to of been in used by the church for some time.

I think those are pretty good rules.

Well the only apostle I think too have actually written a gospel that is included is John, but lets just say matthew, mark, ... are followers of an apostle, pretty much everybody who would write a book about Jezus' life was a follower of an apostle. So this rule would imply 80+% of the gospels available (also this doesnt explain why the Gospel is Mary is not viewed as a valid gospel, she followed Jezus just as much as his apostles). The second rule actually is the biggest flawed one it purely states: if the Gospel doesnt agree with us (us being the papal college at the time), it's wrong. This coming from a religion that tolerated witch burning, trying to bribe god to get into the afterlife and that didnt even bother upholding the values it stood for at the time. (The Church at that time was pretty much the wealthiest most powerful force on planet earth, though they preached that one doesnt need earthly power or wealth if one has the solace of God) and the final argument only states further that, if we dont accept it, it's not true.

I'm sorry but that is seriously biased decision making when it comes down to it. And your entire religious vision is based on these choices (or so it seems with people that keep holding the Bible as the greatest truth about God)

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And do you honestly believe that a story written 115years after the estimate birth of Jezus a man who lived to be in his 30's so roughly 80years after his estimate dead is realistic representation of events? Even if they were written by a person who travelled with Jezus (which they werent) you try and write down correctly what happened when you were ten years old?
A story that is told from mouth to mouth grows in each telling. Yes Jezus was a great man and he did good things, there is no denying that, he may even have performed miracles, but those miracles need not be taken so literally.


If I remember right, Jesus was crucified around 33 A.D., and the books started to be recorded around 70 A.D.? That's not enough time for legends to develop... people who actually saw the miracles happen would of still been around to counter any legendary growth.

dating at that time was incredibly bad, most researchers on the fact now believe that Jezus was born in the spring and not even christmas. It's commonly accepted that he died in his early 30's. The first gospels on the other hand did not even start appearing till 115 AD (and not 70AD) that's half a lifetime for us. Concidering that people in those days were lucky to grow older then 60years that's even an entire lifetime. The second problem is, that these gospels were copied and copied and copied before finally being officially entered into the Bible. Every copy keeps adding flaws to it. Try taking a picture of yourself and put it on a photocopier, then take the photocopy and photocopy it again. Keep doing this 10 times and then put it next to the original picture, it will in no way be the same. The same goes for stories copied manually, or do you believe humans would copy better then a machine?


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I do wonder if you're one of those people that say Jezus and Mary Magdalena never had intimate relations :), Jezus was sent by God to be one of us, he was a man like every one of us, and seeing as how God stands for love, I would find it highly unlikely Jezus could not feel nor express the emotion love. One most keep an open eye on every angle to get a complete view, holding the Bible as the one and only truth severely hampers your view. Just the same as saying I dont believe in anything severly hampers your view.

Well Jesus was much more driven by the spirit than we are... love is not lust, remember.

God only knows what being fully divine and fully human did to Him.
nowhere do I use the word lust, I say love and intimitate relations. If you get lust out of that, well that's just you.
Jezus was human, he was not divine in the way god is, God would even punish him if he put himself on too high a pedestal.

In the most basic way you could say Jezus was a jew that saw flaws in the Jewish beliefs and expressed how he saw a better way. just like franciscaner monks saw a flaw in the christian church and expressed how the thought it should be fixed (by taking distance from worldly riches, a point for which a lot of monks were killed as heretics)

But every way you look at it Jezus was human, with human emotions and human needs. Or do you think he didnt need to go take a leak every now and then? He is part of the holy trinity yes which is god the father, god the holy ghost and Jezus. But to call him a divinity would require you to call all the saints divine, even jolly old saint nick. He may have been the saint of saints but to ignore his humanity would be to ignore everything he stands for
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ShideKnight

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #151 on: 31 Dec 2008, 20:00 »


How do you even know He even wants a relationship with you, or wants your prayer or worship?  And next: what do you actually know about Jesus?  Where does that information come from?  Can you double-check it?  This is one of those things that seems to all unravel once you start pulling at the threads.  [Extension question: if you use the Bible is a historical document proving these supernatural relationships, would you *also* accept other equally-supported ancient documents with supernatural claims?]


1) Jesus, yes.

2) Ultimately, the bible.

3) What do you mean 'double-check'? There are four of them, and they agree on the important parts.

4) I don't think there are any equally-supported ancient documents.

So you're saying that the information on God and Jezus comes from one not all that reliable book, that consists of 4 parts that were selected because they resembled eachother the most.
you could go doublecheck in the four different gospels, and come to the conclusion that they must be right. But I could write four stories of snow white and the seven dwarves, put that in a book, wait a 1000 years. and people might just start the religion of the holy snow white, her divine prince, and the seven gracious dwarves. Cause the four stories tell the same story, only written by a different person.

I am quite sure there is plenty of Roman literature from that time that depicts the events involving Jezus (if he was that important the Romans will have noticed him too).

Josephus, a Jewish scholar who did not follow Jesus, mentioned him, and that he worked miracles. That was a bit latter though, if I remember right. I don't think any Romans wrote about him.

The thing is, you have four different stories that come from four different sources, that all say basically the same thing. They're put in the same book now for convenience I suppose, but they really are different accounts.

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What about:
Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Philip, Gospel of Eve, Gospel of Mani, Gospel of the Saviour (also known as the Unknown Berlin gospel), Gospel of the Twelve, Gospel of Bartholomew, Gospel of the Seventy, Gospel of the Four Heavenly Realms, Gospel of Perfection, Gospel of Marcion, Gospel of Basilides, Gospel of Andrew, Gospel of Apelles, Gospel of Cerinthus, Gospel of Bardesanes, Gospel of the Encratites, Gospel of the Gnostics, Gospel of Hesychius, Gospel of Lucius, Gospel of Longinus, Gospel of Manes, Gospel of Merinthus, Gospel of Scythianus, Gospel of Simonides, Gospel of Tatian, Gospel of Thaddaeus and Gospel of Valentinus?

and I can get you more, really dont question my knowledge of the Bible and stuff that the Catholic Church excluded when it's Canon was decided. You will never find a single Gospel written by a woman that is approved by the Church. (change might be coming though)

As I recall, the books included in the cannon were the ones that the early church used. From the Case for Christ, there were tree criteria. The book had to of been written by an apostle or a follower of an apostle. Second, it had to agree with what was in practice. Finally, the book had to of been in used by the church for some time.

I think those are pretty good rules.

Well the only apostle I think too have actually written a gospel that is included is John, but lets just say matthew, mark, ... are followers of an apostle, pretty much everybody who would write a book about Jezus' life was a follower of an apostle. So this rule would imply 80+% of the gospels available (also this doesnt explain why the Gospel is Mary is not viewed as a valid gospel, she followed Jezus just as much as his apostles). The second rule actually is the biggest flawed one it purely states: if the Gospel doesnt agree with us (us being the papal college at the time), it's wrong. This coming from a religion that tolerated witch burning, trying to bribe god to get into the afterlife and that didnt even bother upholding the values it stood for at the time. (The Church at that time was pretty much the wealthiest most powerful force on planet earth, though they preached that one doesnt need earthly power or wealth if one has the solace of God) and the final argument only states further that, if we dont accept it, it's not true.

I'm sorry but that is seriously biased decision making when it comes down to it. And your entire religious vision is based on these choices (or so it seems with people that keep holding the Bible as the greatest truth about God)

I remember reading that a bunch of them were written way after the facts, and that they do show signs of legendary distortion, which the included four do not.

By the way, I am talking about pre- Catholicism. No arguments from me that the church did some messed up stuff back then >.<

Biblical cannon was made within the first century, as I recall. It was not the Catholic Church as we know it now. Also, the Gospel Of Thomas has a 200 foot tall talking cross in it, I hear :p

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And do you honestly believe that a story written 115years after the estimate birth of Jezus a man who lived to be in his 30's so roughly 80years after his estimate dead is realistic representation of events? Even if they were written by a person who travelled with Jezus (which they werent) you try and write down correctly what happened when you were ten years old?
A story that is told from mouth to mouth grows in each telling. Yes Jezus was a great man and he did good things, there is no denying that, he may even have performed miracles, but those miracles need not be taken so literally.


If I remember right, Jesus was crucified around 33 A.D., and the books started to be recorded around 70 A.D.? That's not enough time for legends to develop... people who actually saw the miracles happen would of still been around to counter any legendary growth.

dating at that time was incredibly bad, most researchers on the fact now believe that Jezus was born in the spring and not even christmas. It's commonly accepted that he died in his early 30's. The first gospels on the other hand did not even start appearing till 115 AD (and not 70AD) that's half a lifetime for us. Concidering that people in those days were lucky to grow older then 60years that's even an entire lifetime. The second problem is, that these gospels were copied and copied and copied before finally being officially entered into the Bible. Every copy keeps adding flaws to it. Try taking a picture of yourself and put it on a photocopier, then take the photocopy and photocopy it again. Keep doing this 10 times and then put it next to the original picture, it will in no way be the same. The same goes for stories copied manually, or do you believe humans would copy better then a machine?

I believe he was 32... around A.D. 30-33, in any case, yes.

Tracing a paragraph in Case for Christ again:

Acts ends with Paul under house arrest in Rome. Paul's death is not learned about from Acts, which means the book was probably written before he was killed. That means Acts can't of been written later than around A.D. 62. Acts was written before the Gospel of Luke, which gives you a range of between 29 and 32 years after Jesus' death. It is generally accepted that Mark was written earlier than Luke, which means the gospels were starting to be written down earlier than that. I guess I was off when I gave 70 A.D. earlier, too.

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I do wonder if you're one of those people that say Jezus and Mary Magdalena never had intimate relations :), Jezus was sent by God to be one of us, he was a man like every one of us, and seeing as how God stands for love, I would find it highly unlikely Jezus could not feel nor express the emotion love. One most keep an open eye on every angle to get a complete view, holding the Bible as the one and only truth severely hampers your view. Just the same as saying I dont believe in anything severly hampers your view.

Well Jesus was much more driven by the spirit than we are... love is not lust, remember.

God only knows what being fully divine and fully human did to Him.
nowhere do I use the word lust, I say love and intimitate relations. If you get lust out of that, well that's just you.
Jezus was human, he was not divine in the way god is, God would even punish him if he put himself on too high a pedestal.

In the most basic way you could say Jezus was a jew that saw flaws in the Jewish beliefs and expressed how he saw a better way. just like franciscaner monks saw a flaw in the christian church and expressed how the thought it should be fixed (by taking distance from worldly riches, a point for which a lot of monks were killed as heretics)

But every way you look at it Jezus was human, with human emotions and human needs. Or do you think he didnt need to go take a leak every now and then? He is part of the holy trinity yes which is god the father, god the holy ghost and Jezus. But to call him a divinity would require you to call all the saints divine, even jolly old saint nick. He may have been the saint of saints but to ignore his humanity would be to ignore everything he stands for


Meh. Intimate, your implying they got it on whether you mean to or not. I'm not going to argue that Jesus was close to the people around him - He did die for us, after all. I'm not sure if the point has enough weight to bother debating over, really.

As far as humanity and divinity, it's one of those mystery things again. Saying that He is fully human and fully divine isn't ignoring anything.
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ShideKnight

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #152 on: 31 Dec 2008, 20:02 »

I think having some kind of mind boggling problem like that, totally comprehensible to our minds is one of the strong pieces of evidence for God that there is.

Er, why? 

That is a complete non-sequitur, but it keeps getting trotted out...

Because it's a logical block. It proves that there are things beyond our very comprehending, which is exactly what God is a lot of the time.
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BreakAtmo

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #153 on: 31 Dec 2008, 21:38 »

I think having some kind of mind boggling problem like that, totally comprehensible to our minds is one of the strong pieces of evidence for God that there is.

Er, why? 

That is a complete non-sequitur, but it keeps getting trotted out...

Because it's a logical block. It proves that there are things beyond our very comprehending, which is exactly what God is a lot of the time.

Oooooo...kay? Just because there are things we can't comprehend (or just haven't discovered yet) does not auto-prove God. It suggests that we don't know everything, but then, no logical person would claim to know everything.

Hi everyone. I just recently started reading QC and love it, so I decided to register here. Kind of a topical first post, but I have to say that I dislike Penelope's atheist portrayal as well. Especially the "Yeah, but... they're WRONG" strip where she's suggested to be as arrogant about her beliefs as her parents are about theirs, and the fact that Penelope has logic and reason backing up her position is conveniently ignored. I'm a staunch atheist myself, and while I perfectly understand the concept of making humour out of a situation, I still get mad when atheists are wrongly portrayed or characterised in a negative light. Unlike the many Christians who will whine about their supposed oppression whenever someone suggests that their beliefs aren't compatible with logic or reason, atheists actually are an oppressed minority, as things that have already been posted, like the Gallup poll, and the U.S. Census will clearly show. There are many misconceptions about atheists that really don't need to be constantly repeated, even in a comedic context. I like my humour without holes, and if you can only make fun of atheists by ejecting the logical justifications for our non-belief, I'm constantly going to see the holes. It's like that one comedian who jokes about having a 120GB iPod so that he can listen to all different songs on his three-day jog, carrying his 5-gallon water bottle, all I can think is 'That extra space is for video, you dolt'.

Ah well. Just had to give my $0.02, but as I will reiterate, I love QC, and I hope to enjoy the forums.
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psion

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #154 on: 01 Jan 2009, 00:20 »

Man created beer, God created pot.  who do you trust?
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pwhodges

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #155 on: 01 Jan 2009, 01:57 »

Biblical canon was made within the first century, as I recall.

It mostly settled down around the time of Athanasius, in the late fourth century (but remember that even now there are two different versions of the canon in widespread use, and other variations, such as the 151st psalm recognised in the orthodox church).
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JonSnow

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #156 on: 01 Jan 2009, 04:27 »

@ pwhodges: thank you finally somebody who knows what they're talking about.

If you concider the Bible to be a true historical work well, so was the Oddysea by Homer (it starts from the war of Troy, that was a real event, recorded in more then just greek books). You have some people who believe in creationism, cause it is in the Bible, do these people smoke pot too? Cause really God told us too: Genesis 1:11 "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so." , Genesis 3:18 "... thou shalt eat the herb of the field.", Proverbs 15:17 "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.", Psalms 104:14 "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man." ... God even told Mozes to take marihuana with him to burn during religious experience (together with other herbs) and God made a marihuana plant grow on King Solomons grave. So all you extreme believers, get rolling smoking that pot, your God wants you too.
Well the only apostle I think too have actually written a gospel that is included is John, but lets just say matthew, mark, ... are followers of an apostle, pretty much everybody who would write a book about Jezus' life was a follower of an apostle. So this rule would imply 80+% of the gospels available (also this doesnt explain why the Gospel is Mary is not viewed as a valid gospel, she followed Jezus just as much as his apostles). The second rule actually is the biggest flawed one it purely states: if the Gospel doesnt agree with us (us being the papal college at the time), it's wrong. This coming from a religion that tolerated witch burning, trying to bribe god to get into the afterlife and that didnt even bother upholding the values it stood for at the time. (The Church at that time was pretty much the wealthiest most powerful force on planet earth, though they preached that one doesnt need earthly power or wealth if one has the solace of God) and the final argument only states further that, if we dont accept it, it's not true.

I'm sorry but that is seriously biased decision making when it comes down to it. And your entire religious vision is based on these choices (or so it seems with people that keep holding the Bible as the greatest truth about God)

I remember reading that a bunch of them were written way after the facts, and that they do show signs of legendary distortion, which the included four do not.

By the way, I am talking about pre- Catholicism. No arguments from me that the church did some messed up stuff back then >.<

Biblical cannon was made within the first century, as I recall. It was not the Catholic Church as we know it now. Also, the Gospel Of Thomas has a 200 foot tall talking cross in it, I hear :p


aah a 200 foot tall talking cross is unlikely, but a man walking on water, bringing back the dead, curing the blind, ... is not? If you take the miracles as literal miracles, well you cant deny the possibility that Jezus made a 200 foot tall talking cross, which makes the Gospel Of Thomas just as valuable as the Gospel of Luke if you ask me.

As to other sources claiming they saw Jezus work miracles. I come home from work and my girlfriend can work miracles on my tight shoulders ... most likely that's what happened, + translating texts a few times will always cause mistakes to enter them


@ Breakatmo: I dont think Jeff really wanted to pick on atheïsts, he just wanted to pick on people with extreme views that wont tolerate other views. Which Penelope obviously doesnt. So ok she may have logic behind her, but if you check in this topic you will see that most atheïst uphold the same arguments, as fervently believing there is no God, as a religious man believes there is one. It's never good to tilt too much in one way.

If you ask me, on a global scale, there are more atheïst, or people with a view that doesnt conform with any of the major religions, then there are people who ate believers in the purest sense of the word. Ok in the USA there are a lot more devout christians, but did you ever try taking a look over the ocean? This is the first time ever that I saw an atheïst pull the minority card, and the minority card is the weakest card to pull in my opinion. Not believing in anything doesnt make you stronger, it actually makes you less human if you cant have faith in something without having seen it. How do you love your partner, and believe that your partner will love you? There is no physical proof of it, your partner could be toying with you.

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TheReaper

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #157 on: 01 Jan 2009, 05:35 »

Why's Jeph raggin' so hard on crazy atheist Penelope? As an atheist myself it kinda bothers me, especially since the whole "fundamentalist atheist" thing is a big farce. Atheism is about skepticism, not absolutism. I understand that they're just characters and dialogue, but it all comes from somewhere, and I don't like the way some of her views are being treated in the comic.

I know I shouldn't complain and just be happy that Jeph makes such a great comic, but I can't help but be bothered by the latest few Penelope strips. I'm not making a big deal about it though, I just want to see what a few other people think. Are you bothered by it? Or does it seems like a fair portrayal of atheists that you met? Or am I just a crazy person who gets offended by nothing?

Discuss.
Okay, I have commited the sin of not reading anything EXCEPT THIS POST.
But let me pose to you a question:
Have you noticed that everyone in QC is a little...off?
Marten has less backbone than Choo-Choo Bear from Something Positive.
Dora has SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP ISSUES OMG.
Faye is...just really fucked up.
Sven is a massive, massive slut, and not in the good way.
Steve was last seen talking to beer bottles that he dressed up, if I'm not mistaken.
Wil speaks like...well, like a Large Ham poet. (TV Tropes will tell you what large ham means, if you don't know.) That bespeaks of issues.
Raven is either very, very thick, or very, very intelligent and just as devious.
...As an athiest, Pene doesn't bother me much.
Because every other character is just as messed up, if not moreso, than she is.
For instance, I doubt that all people with OCD are worried about their PSYCHIC CLONE BABIES BEING ABORTED.
...So yeah.
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Jackie Blue

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #158 on: 01 Jan 2009, 09:46 »

The Gospel of Thomas is the most "legitimate" of the non-Canon Gospels, in terms of age and how it matches with the others.

Also, it's the best one, and many believe it's the truest representation of Jesus' teachings.
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Surgoshan

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #159 on: 01 Jan 2009, 12:40 »

Isn't Thomas the one that shows Jesus as a child doing crazy shit?
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JonSnow

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #160 on: 01 Jan 2009, 13:18 »

the gospel of thomas is an infancy gospel yes
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jtheory

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #161 on: 01 Jan 2009, 15:32 »

I think having some kind of mind boggling problem like that, totally comprehensible to our minds is one of the strong pieces of evidence for God that there is.

Er, why? 

That is a complete non-sequitur, but it keeps getting trotted out...

Because it's a logical block. It proves that there are things beyond our very comprehending, which is exactly what God is a lot of the time.

Oooooo...kay? Just because there are things we can't comprehend (or just haven't discovered yet) does not auto-prove God. It suggests that we don't know everything, but then, no logical person would claim to know everything.

This is a very common approach, though -- at heart, it's changing the definition of "God" while discussing how probable God's existence is.
This is also why it's important to discuss what we as individuals actually believe, instead of talking about what "some theologians believe" or "some religious people state that", etc..

It's pretty useless to lay out reasons to believe in a God who is just another word for "love", or an abstract way to refer to order in the universe (or mystery in the universe)... and then suddenly use that to justify beliefs in a God who has a personal relationship with human beings, who should be worshiped and prayed to (and who might intercede in human affairs), who sent a representative in the form of Jesus (who worked his own supernatural miracles), who sent down rules for us to follow that were recorded in the bible, etc. etc..  All of that stuff must be justified separately, one step at a time, or there's no reason to believe it.

It's important to just keep going back and looking for the leaps that were completely unjustified, and fixing the definition of God under discussion.
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Jackie Blue

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #162 on: 01 Jan 2009, 17:38 »

Isn't Thomas the one that shows Jesus as a child doing crazy shit?

No, that's one of the Dead Sea Scroll gospels - I forget which one - but yes, in it, the child Jesus kills someone for mocking him, and after being admonished by Joseph, brings him back to life.

The Gospel of Thomas is just a series of sayings attributed to Jesus, and written down by his literal or figurative brother, Jude.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Thomas

http://www.goodnewsinc.net/othbooks/thomas.html
« Last Edit: 01 Jan 2009, 17:41 by Jackie Blue »
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Man, this thread really makes me want to suck some cock.

BreakAtmo

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #163 on: 01 Jan 2009, 19:38 »

I think having some kind of mind boggling problem like that, totally comprehensible to our minds is one of the strong pieces of evidence for God that there is.

Er, why? 

That is a complete non-sequitur, but it keeps getting trotted out...

Because it's a logical block. It proves that there are things beyond our very comprehending, which is exactly what God is a lot of the time.

Oooooo...kay? Just because there are things we can't comprehend (or just haven't discovered yet) does not auto-prove God. It suggests that we don't know everything, but then, no logical person would claim to know everything.

This is a very common approach, though -- at heart, it's changing the definition of "God" while discussing how probable God's existence is.
This is also why it's important to discuss what we as individuals actually believe, instead of talking about what "some theologians believe" or "some religious people state that", etc..

It's pretty useless to lay out reasons to believe in a God who is just another word for "love", or an abstract way to refer to order in the universe (or mystery in the universe)... and then suddenly use that to justify beliefs in a God who has a personal relationship with human beings, who should be worshiped and prayed to (and who might intercede in human affairs), who sent a representative in the form of Jesus (who worked his own supernatural miracles), who sent down rules for us to follow that were recorded in the bible, etc. etc..  All of that stuff must be justified separately, one step at a time, or there's no reason to believe it.

It's important to just keep going back and looking for the leaps that were completely unjustified, and fixing the definition of God under discussion.

It's rather like the whole 'God of the Gaps' thing you see creationists constantly pulling - "We don't know how this works, therefore, Goddidit". Drives me nuts, I tells ya.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #164 on: 02 Jan 2009, 05:30 »

The Gospel of Thomas is the most "legitimate" of the non-Canon Gospels, in terms of age and how it matches with the others.

Also, it's the best one, and many believe it's the truest representation of Jesus' teachings.

It's important to define "many", you know.  If *you* believe it, then you should be able to explain why you do (and if you don't, likewise).  If you just refer to an anonymous "many", we can't have much of a discussion about it.  I know it wasn't included in my (Roman Catholic) religious instruction.

The gospel of Thomas also seems to read much more like parts of the Tao Te Ching than any of the four "accepted" gospels, with some proverbs I recognize, but also stuff like this:
Quote
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you
make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside,
and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the
female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the
female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye,
and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and
a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter [the
Kingdom]."

Plus things which are definitely counter to mainstream Christian teaching, like that the end times have already come, and that the dead will never be physically resurrected.

It's definitely useful to study this stuff, but from my perspective it just shows more clearly how the current bible was constructed over time out of many disparate sources.

Especially when the earliest of them wasn't written until, what was said above?  40 years after his death?  (I don't study this stuff in any depth myself).
Imagine first that you're living in a time when miracles are considered fairly commonplace -- Jesus wasn't the only one thought to be working miracles at the time.
Now imagine you're in one of a few small groups of early Christians who aren't writing anything down, just trading stories back and forth.  You're also actively trying to convert people, so there would be a pretty strong motivation to:
* "fix" any seeming logical holes and inconsistencies in the stories
* include more "proof" that Jesus was great and worthy of being followed
If you bend the truth a tiny bit -- well, it's for a good cause (you just got 2 new followers!), and hey, if Jesus could feed 20 people with just one loaf and one fish, that's a miracle, and he could just as easily have fed 50 or 100.
Okay, let 40 years of that go by before anyone decides the current "canon" should be written down... then it's no surprise that you have a wide diversity of tales, philosophies, theologies, all ascribed to Jesus -- such that even after centuries of punishment of death from the (now powerful) church for possessing or distributing any non-approved "heretical" version, there are still some odd versions about (entire populations of people were exterminated for heretical beliefs, after all... it couldn't have been easy to keep the variants around).  The chosen few still aren't consistent with each other, but after a point were probably copied pretty faithfully, since they had become the sacred "Word of God".

I'm perfectly comfortable with people trying to dig down to figure out the most faithful representations of what Jesus' teachings might have actually been.  I doubt that it's possible to know very much about what he actually said, but some kind of a philosophy can be pieced together from the various clues.  It's interesting to read just like Lao Tzu and Aristotle are interesting to read (though we have much more reliable access to what those philosophers actually said -- they were literate, had literate followers, etc.).

Where I get lost is where people decide to swallow on faith the whole kit and caboodle of a personal God, worship, prayer, souls, afterlife, heaven/hell, Jesus = God, miracles = fact, and so on, using the flimsiest of reasons (like "there are things we don't understand in the universe... hence God must exist and all the rest of this follows").

*edited for mangled idiom: the expression is "kit and caboodle"; why'd I put "kitten"?  Quoted below (and so preserved for all eternity) but at least I can fix it in the original....*
« Last Edit: 02 Jan 2009, 10:35 by jtheory »
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #165 on: 02 Jan 2009, 05:55 »

The Gospel of Thomas is the most "legitimate" of the non-Canon Gospels, in terms of age and how it matches with the others.

Also, it's the best one, and many believe it's the truest representation of Jesus' teachings.

It's important to define "many", you know.  If *you* believe it, then you should be able to explain why you do (and if you don't, likewise).  If you just refer to an anonymous "many", we can't have much of a discussion about it.  I know it wasn't included in my (Roman Catholic) religious instruction.

The gospel of Thomas also seems to read much more like parts of the Tao Te Ching than any of the four "accepted" gospels, with some proverbs I recognize, but also stuff like this:
Quote
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you
make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside,
and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the
female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the
female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye,
and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and
a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter [the
Kingdom]."

Plus things which are definitely counter to mainstream Christian teaching, like that the end times have already come, and that the dead will never be physically resurrected.

It's definitely useful to study this stuff, but from my perspective it just shows more clearly how the current bible was constructed over time out of many disparate sources.

Especially when the earliest of them wasn't written until, what was said above?  40 years after his death?  (I don't study this stuff in any depth myself).
Imagine first that you're living in a time when miracles are considered fairly commonplace -- Jesus wasn't the only one thought to be working miracles at the time.
Now imagine you're in one of a few small groups of early Christians who aren't writing anything down, just trading stories back and forth.  You're also actively trying to convert people, so there would be a pretty strong motivation to:
* "fix" any seeming logical holes and inconsistencies in the stories
* include more "proof" that Jesus was great and worthy of being followed
If you bend the truth a tiny bit -- well, it's for a good cause (you just got 2 new followers!), and hey, if Jesus could feed 20 people with just one loaf and one fish, that's a miracle, and he could just as easily have fed 50 or 100.
Okay, let 40 years of that go by before anyone decides the current "canon" should be written down... then it's no surprise that you have a wide diversity of tales, philosophies, theologies, all ascribed to Jesus -- such that even after centuries of punishment of death from the (now powerful) church for possessing or distributing any non-approved "heretical" version, there are still some odd versions about (entire populations of people were exterminated for heretical beliefs, after all... it couldn't have been easy to keep the variants around).  The chosen few still aren't consistent with each other, but after a point were probably copied pretty faithfully, since they had become the sacred "Word of God".

I'm perfectly comfortable with people trying to dig down to figure out the most faithful representations of what Jesus' teachings might have actually been.  I doubt that it's possible to know very much about what he actually said, but some kind of a philosophy can be pieced together from the various clues.  It's interesting to read just like Lao Tzu and Aristotle are interesting to read (though we have much more reliable access to what those philosophers actually said -- they were literate, had literate followers, etc.).

Where I get lost is where people decide to swallow on faith the whole kitten caboodle of a personal God, worship, prayer, souls, afterlife, heaven/hell, Jesus = God, miracles = fact, and so on, using the flimsiest of reasons (like "there are things we don't understand in the universe... hence God must exist and all the rest of this follows").

You're 100% right, but the sad thing is Christianity (and more specifically the catholic church, and you protestants were still part of the catholic church at the time this happened) edited out all the stories that didnt match up, all of this to get a unified vision. Now there are people who believe in the Bible literally, who claim they know the word of God and every word of it, but have never heard about banned gospels...  If you calculate in the banned gospels, and how they vary so much in between them and the 4 'legit' gospels, well it sheds a whole lot of doubt on the authenticity of the bible. To a devout Christian this is unacceptable, hence the heavy replies on it, by devout christians.

As to what is God, you should concider what religion was first used for, the same reasons as philosophy. To get answers on the deeper questions of life: who are we, why are we on this earth, how do we need to live our lives towards ourselves and others and where are we going after our time here is done. If you try and use religion for anything else but trying to answer these questions, you're going to get it wrong. I wont use mathematics to help me figure out what the meaning of life is, pure and simple cause mathematics wont be able to solve it for me. But I dont expect religion to help me discover how we got on this planet, cause that's something science is for. If you cant keep those things seperate well you're just as much a nutbag as those muslims that blow themselves up to get into heaven. your religion just doesnt approve the blowing up yourself part
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #166 on: 02 Jan 2009, 08:50 »

Why's Jeph raggin' so hard on crazy atheist Penelope? As an atheist myself it kinda bothers me, especially since the whole "fundamentalist atheist" thing is a big farce. Atheism is about skepticism, not absolutism. I understand that they're just characters and dialogue, but it all comes from somewhere, and I don't like the way some of her views are being treated in the comic.

I know I shouldn't complain and just be happy that Jeph makes such a great comic, but I can't help but be bothered by the latest few Penelope strips. I'm not making a big deal about it though, I just want to see what a few other people think. Are you bothered by it? Or does it seems like a fair portrayal of atheists that you met? Or am I just a crazy person who gets offended by nothing?

Discuss.
I thought a big factor of Atheism was supposed to be Apathy? You're offended, but when she talks about Christians in that light, they're not supposed to be? Why? Because you're right?
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #167 on: 02 Jan 2009, 11:08 »

I thought a big factor of Atheism was supposed to be Apathy? You're offended, but when she talks about Christians in that light, they're not supposed to be? Why? Because you're right?

I think this thread has gone full circle now.  This was discussed in depth back on page 1.  Atheists are actively discriminated against -- why in the world should apathy be part of atheism?  Here was my comment that tries to address why an atheist might protest seeing another atheist depicted as "religiously passionate": http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,21952.msg748005.html#msg748005

Also, "who's right" is not meaningless, particularly when you have one group claiming "we know X" and another group simply saying "no, we don't".
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #168 on: 03 Jan 2009, 03:20 »

What about:
Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Philip, Gospel of Eve, Gospel of Mani, Gospel of the Saviour (also known as the Unknown Berlin gospel), Gospel of the Twelve, Gospel of Bartholomew, Gospel of the Seventy, Gospel of the Four Heavenly Realms, Gospel of Perfection, Gospel of Marcion, Gospel of Basilides, Gospel of Andrew, Gospel of Apelles, Gospel of Cerinthus, Gospel of Bardesanes, Gospel of the Encratites, Gospel of the Gnostics, Gospel of Hesychius, Gospel of Lucius, Gospel of Longinus, Gospel of Manes, Gospel of Merinthus, Gospel of Scythianus, Gospel of Simonides, Gospel of Tatian, Gospel of Thaddaeus and Gospel of Valentinus?
Gnostic writings penned quite after the fact by people who were not eyewitnesses. Marcion should have clued you in on that.

Quote
and I can get you more, really dont question my knowledge of the Bible and stuff that the Catholic Church excluded when it's Canon was decided. You will never find a single Gospel written by a woman that is approved by the Church. (change might be coming though)
Um, OK? So?

Seriously, how do you think canon was formed? Ever seen the writings of Athenasius, who listed what became the canon over 100 years before it was decided? Ever seen earlier listings which are nearly as complete?

Sir,I will most confidently question your knowledge of the Bible.

Quote
And do you honestly believe that a story written 115years after the estimate birth of Jezus a man who lived to be in his 30's so roughly 80years after his estimate dead is realistic representation of events? Even if they were written by a person who travelled with Jezus (which they werent) you try and write down correctly what happened when you were ten years old?
115 years, really? You're being quite selective in your choice of historians, I fear.

Try this one on for size: the first Gospel written was Mark, at the latest 65AD or so (though an earlier authorship is not out of the question). Following that, and based upon Mark's framework for memorization purposes (remember that the printing press was 1,500 years in the future) was Matthew's Gospel. Luke-Acts followed that, then John.

The problem with this 115 year idea is that there is a fragment of John that is younger than that. Unless the early church fathers had a time machine, your assertion is impossible. Sorry.
Quote
A story that is told from mouth to mouth grows in each telling. Yes Jezus was a great man and he did good things, there is no denying that, he may even have performed miracles, but those miracles need not be taken so literally.
If the Gospels were penned by eyewitnesses, as I assert, this is a nonsequitor.

Quote
And finally I'm quite shocked you would think I draw my theories from Dan Brown. I really dont like the writer and his books just paste together loose facts and theories to shape a view that he believes is true but shows serious flaws.
Becasue your arguments and his arguments are remarkably similar. See the following as an example:

Quote
I do wonder if you're one of those people that say Jezus and Mary Magdalena never had intimate relations :), Jezus was sent by God to be one of us, he was a man like every one of us, and seeing as how God stands for love, I would find it highly unlikely Jezus could not feel nor express the emotion love. One most keep an open eye on every angle to get a complete view, holding the Bible as the one and only truth severely hampers your view. Just the same as saying I dont believe in anything severly hampers your view.
I don't care if Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. It changes nothing. However, there is no contemporary evidence for this, so it is an unneccesary argument.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #169 on: 03 Jan 2009, 06:01 »

Quote
If the Gospels were penned by eyewitnesses, as I assert, this is a nonsequitor.

Anyone still alive 40 years after the death would have been either quite old at the time of the writing or quite young when the events occurred.  And after forty years... memory gets a little fuzzy.  Think back to your 8th birthday party and tell us the names of everyone you invited.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #170 on: 03 Jan 2009, 06:57 »

Try this one on for size: the first Gospel written was Mark, at the latest 65AD or so (though an earlier authorship is not out of the question).

I've also read that most scholars agree that the earliest gospel written was the Gospel of Mark. There are questions regarding when it was written; a source I've read gives AD 70 as its approximate date of composition1. However, it, like all books of the bible, were subject to constant, small-scale revision by copyists down the centuries2. The results of this are that we don't know what the original author / editors of the gospels-- or of any part of the bible-- actually wrote.

What are your sources regarding the Gospel of Mark as being written by the actual Mark? I've heard (but cannot source at the moment) that there are serious questions regarding the actual authorship of the gospels. I might have to take a trip to the library today to find out more....

1. Armstrong, Karen. 1993. A History of God: the 4000 year quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ballantine Books, 460p
2. Ehrman, Bart D. 2005. Misquoting Jesus: the story behind who changed the bible and why. Harper Collins, 244p.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #171 on: 03 Jan 2009, 07:07 »

Most biblical historians, as I'm aware, agree that the gospels were not written by the apostles. 
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #172 on: 03 Jan 2009, 09:37 »

Most biblical historians, as I'm aware, agree that the gospels were not written by the apostles. 

This is true.

People, at least use wikipedia before you post.
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jtheory

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #173 on: 03 Jan 2009, 12:50 »

Most biblical historians, as I'm aware, agree that the gospels were not written by the apostles. 
This is true.

So after Jesus' death the apostles went out to spread the word and convert people.  Then *they* died -- it seems doubtful that any of them were still alive 40 years later, if you assume they were adults at Jesus' death -- and other followers started writing things down, so possibly third-hand info (Jesus -> apostles -> next generation followers), but quite possibly further removed, particularly for the later gospels.

Is this plausible and/or probable?  Not my field of expertise....

Leaving out (since it's my interpretation only, but seems pretty logical) that the efforts to convert and convince people, to answer questions without Jesus present, etc. would seem to be a strong force modifying and extending the stories and associated interpretations as time went on.  I think I discussed this earlier in this thread.

If you're going to pick a holy book to follow, it seems to me like the Qur’an (dictated directly from Mohammed, and with no significant variations known) is a better choice.  Or possibly the Book of Mormon, which is even more recent and not so clouded by the mists of history at all (though you may have some doubts about the prophet... quite a lot is known about Joseph Smith since he's relatively recent, and it's not all encouraging).
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #174 on: 03 Jan 2009, 16:35 »

Most biblical historians, as I'm aware, agree that the gospels were not written by the apostles. 

This is true.

People, at least use wikipedia before you post.

Two of them were.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #175 on: 03 Jan 2009, 16:42 »

Most biblical historians, as I'm aware, agree that the gospels were not written by the apostles. 
Two of them were.

(Tweaking quote order, so it's clear you aren't saying that two people used wikipedia before they posted.)

You already know what people are going to ask you, given a flat statement like that, don't you?  Why wait for the question before answering it?
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #176 on: 03 Jan 2009, 16:49 »

Just stirring the pot, I guess.

Part of my difficulty is that I don't have (like JReynolds) single sources for my statements. I have several, since theology and history are both hobbies and hazards of my profession.

I've read the "theologians" who late-date the gospels, I've seen the claims that redaction and editing occurred. The argument against redaction is the sheer volume of manuscripts at our disposal. Even if redacted, said redaction would be overwhelmingly obvious and easily countered. As to the late dating, I've addressed that, iirc.

And if Mark was 70AD (unlikely, since both Mark and Matthew do not mention the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy in re the temple), it isn't like a 40-year-old remembering their eighth birthday. Even leaving out the spiritual argument, it's someone recalling the single most important event of their existence. Big difference.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #177 on: 03 Jan 2009, 18:37 »

But it's not a single event they're recalling.  It's recalling the names, faces and details of a metric shitload of events... 30-40 years after the fact.  And also the genealogy of the people involved... which might explain why two of the gospels got them wrong. 

Which two, by the by?
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #178 on: 03 Jan 2009, 21:02 »

Part of my difficulty is that I don't have (like JReynolds) single sources for my statements. I have several, since theology and history are both hobbies and hazards of my profession.

Early Christian thought is a hobby of mine, too-- could you guess?

The late-dating of the gospels and other parts of the New Testament isn't just from one or two sources; the books I noted above I happen to own and so could easily quote. Other sources exist, including Surpassing Wonder by Akenson (1998); I've also seen this in many other places, too ("many other places" is not a convincing argument, I know-- but the library is closed now, and this is a subject that wants more than Wikipedia-reliable sources to discuss).

As for errors creeping in by accident: this very much did happen. Before the printing press, books had to be copied by hand, a letter at a time. This was at best a long and painstaking process, which meant that books were not mass produced. Scribes could introduce differences by a slip of the pen (like skipping a line). Also, scribes did not always understand what they were copying, which made accurate copying more difficult. From Ehrman (p.48)

Quote
One of the problems with ancient Greek texts (which would include all the earliest Christian writings, including those of the New Testament) is that when they were copied, no marks of punctuation were used, no distinction made between lowercase and uppercase letters, and, even more bizarre to modern readers, no spaces used to separate words. . . . The words godisnowhere could mean quite different things to a theist (God is now here) and an atheist (God is nowhere); and what would it mean to say lastnightatdinnerisawabundanceonthetable? Was this a normal or a supernormal event? . . . Obviously, if you don't know what you're reading, the possibilities of making mistakes in transcription multiply.

These kinds of errors happened all the time. One of the things I found most interesting about Ehrman's book was that the Catholic Church's Latin Bible (translated from the original Greek, with additional opportunities for error) didn't become completely standardized until the late 16th century. Even with a 1000+ year old hierarchy in place that wanted a homogenous Bible, the fact that bibles had to be locally copied by hand meant that standardization was impossible. Only after the printing press came in could the Catholic bureaucracy compare each of the many variants and decide which was the one that was correct. The Bible in English didn't become standardized until the King James Version in the early 17th century; in both cases, it required a centralized authority to say 'this is the right version, and you will use this version, or else.' I don't have any information about German Protestant bibles, but I wouldn't be surprised if they also had local variants based on simple transcription error.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #179 on: 03 Jan 2009, 21:15 »

Part of my difficulty is that I don't have (like JReynolds) single sources for my statements. I have several, since theology and history are both hobbies and hazards of my profession.

Early Christian thought is a hobby of mine, too-- could you guess?

The late-dating of the gospels and other parts of the New Testament isn't just from one or two sources; the books I noted above I happen to own and so could easily quote. Other sources exist, including Surpassing Wonder by Akenson (1998); I've also seen this in many other places, too ("many other places" is not a convincing argument, I know-- but the library is closed now, and this is a subject that wants more than Wikipedia-reliable sources to discuss).
So you'll quote people influenced by liberal higher criticism, and I'll quote people influenced by conservative higher criticism. Yours still doesn't explain that early fragment of John, does it?

Quote
As for errors creeping in by accident: this very much did happen. Before the printing press, books had to be copied by hand, a letter at a time. This was at best a long and painstaking process, which meant that books were not mass produced. Scribes could introduce differences by a slip of the pen (like skipping a line). Also, scribes did not always understand what they were copying, which made accurate copying more difficult. From Ehrman (p.48)
Which issue is addressed by, as I said before, the sheer number of manuscripts avaliable to us. Not all hand-copiers made the same mistakes. Thus by comparing manuscripts, the errors become obvious and are corrected.

Quote
One of the problems with ancient Greek texts (which would include all the earliest Christian writings, including those of the New Testament) is that when they were copied, no marks of punctuation were used, no distinction made between lowercase and uppercase letters, and, even more bizarre to modern readers, no spaces used to separate words. . . . The words godisnowhere could mean quite different things to a theist (God is now here) and an atheist (God is nowhere); and what would it mean to say lastnightatdinnerisawabundanceonthetable? Was this a normal or a supernormal event? . . . Obviously, if you don't know what you're reading, the possibilities of making mistakes in transcription multiply.
This is, of course, assuming that people who read and communicated in Greek weren't involved in the reading of the manuscripts and in the development of writing which separated words. You and I might have a hell of a time figuring it out; this does not mean that the copyists of the period had the same difficulty. And again, where mistakes may have been made, the plethora of manuscripts allow us to find and correct them.

Quote
These kinds of errors happened all the time. One of the things I found most interesting about Ehrman's book was that the Catholic Church's Latin Bible (translated from the original Greek, with additional opportunities for error) didn't become completely standardized until the late 16th century. Even with a 1000+ year old hierarchy in place that wanted a homogenous Bible, the fact that bibles had to be locally copied by hand meant that standardization was impossible. Only after the printing press came in could the Catholic bureaucracy compare each of the many variants and decide which was the one that was correct. The Bible in English didn't become standardized until the King James Version in the early 17th century; in both cases, it required a centralized authority to say 'this is the right version, and you will use this version, or else.' I don't have any information about German Protestant bibles, but I wouldn't be surprised if they also had local variants based on simple transcription error.
OK, so what is the argument here? Or did you not know about the translations which have been made, not from the Latin or form the KJV's Textus Recepticus, but from the many manuscripts available?
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #180 on: 03 Jan 2009, 21:25 »

OK, so what is the argument here? Or did you not know about the translations which have been made, not from the Latin or form the KJV's Textus Recepticus, but from the many manuscripts available?

... um... I'm pretty sure the argument is that many manuscripts were/are available.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #181 on: 03 Jan 2009, 22:22 »

OK. This is bad in exactly what way?
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Surgoshan

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #182 on: 03 Jan 2009, 22:53 »

I was thinking you were arguing just the one... I apologize.  I've had a few this evening.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #183 on: 04 Jan 2009, 00:06 »

No problem. Honestly, I wish I could say the same.
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diablo_man

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #184 on: 04 Jan 2009, 01:51 »

man people got pretty riled up on like the one comic where jeff makes fun of athiests, were in several different comics he show that he isnt exactly to inline with christianity either(hard to know either way, but the pope, priest, catholic jokes are there)
yeeesh, let the guy pick on the idiots on both sides a bit okay?

"yeah, but my view is the right one" is what he was really getting at. and you see that way of thinking among the ignorant on both sides of this fence.

not to tar everyone with the same brush, but on the odd occasion that i end up discussing faith with an athiest (i wouldnt call myself really religuous or anything, but i am definitely not an athiest) the other guy seems like he has to "save" me from the evils of faith of any kind. like a dog with a bone, just not letting go.
at this point they become like that really evangelical, bible thumping shouting dude on the street corner, i dont give a shit if you think you are right, i dont particularily care one way or the other, get the hell out of my face about it!

being somewhere in the middle, i get that from both sides, and i cant say that either one ends up looking good when it is "marketed" that way.
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JonSnow

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #185 on: 04 Jan 2009, 04:07 »

OK, so what is the argument here? Or did you not know about the translations which have been made, not from the Latin or form the KJV's Textus Recepticus, but from the many manuscripts available?

... um... I'm pretty sure the argument is that many manuscripts were/are available.
OK. This is bad in exactly what way?

Because of the plethora of manuscripts, and all of them different on multiple instances doubt is shed on the events described in the manuscripts. You're saying we find errors by looking at the other manuscripts that are available. A manuscript with a copying error was also copied, taking the errors along and adding more errors every time it was copied. The possbility of there being more faulty manuscripts then correct one is greater. So the errors they removed might actually not be errors.

If every physics manual had a different way of presenting Newtons laws of physics they would never been used. So why use the Bible, a book that describes supernatural events and has more possible interpretations then any other book in the world... A book which has had more revisions then it has stories in it, another example like this would be the stories of the Brothers Grimm, the original stories are quite gruesome and dark, right now we know them as fairytales like snow-white, cinderella, sleeping beauty,... these stories hardly show any resemblance to the original except for maybe a rough plotline and character names. Of the fairy tales there also was a plethora of manuscripts available yet still the originals are lost to mainstream public. The stories of the brothers grimm were written down roughly 1800 years after the Bible and was still that susceptible to change...


« Last Edit: 04 Jan 2009, 17:59 by JonSnow »
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jtheory

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #186 on: 04 Jan 2009, 08:15 »

If every physics manual had a different way of presenting Newtons laws of physics they would never been used. So why use the Bible, a book that describes supernatural events and has more possible interpretations then any other book in the world...

I think an even more important point is that this is a physics book that is nearly 2000 years old (some of it much older).  And it was written in a time when people had very different standards for accepting "truth" and very different ideas of what might realistically happen vs. what should be examined more closely before accepting it as true.

Let's simplify this whole discussion a bit, actually.  The accuracy of copies is a distraction, anyway.  The gospels could be completely consistent, no conflicts could exist, copies could all be perfect, and STILL it need not be any more convincing than the Book of Mormon or the texts on the wrappers of Dr. Bronner's soap.

tragic_pizza, even if you are personally convinced that the Gospels are an accurate representation of what a couple of the apostles were telling people....
Well, if those guys were here in front of you, today, telling you their personal experiences with this miraculous Jesus guy, how would you respond?  Would you say "you both agree... that's pretty convincing.  Let's go spread the good word!"

The only difference I can see here is that in the case of Jesus:
* whatever did happen, happened a very long time ago
* a lot of people still believe in the stories about Jesus
I don't understand how either of those supports the truth of the stories, though.  The "long ago" aspect just makes it impossible to verify any of it.  The best you can do is say "well, if it convinced a bunch of fishermen in Ancient Rome", as far as I can think (I'm guessing you'll have some response to this).

It seems more likely that the philosophy was interesting and timely, some people were convinced, and the whole thing snowballed.
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AngelofShadows

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #187 on: 04 Jan 2009, 10:30 »

is hoping something exists the same as believing? I hope that there is some sort of afterlife, a higher power above all this who does have some notion of a plan that we can't fathom. Otherwise, our existence is nothing but a long string of coincidences and accidents, and when it's done, it's done. Game over, out of quarters, and your mom is to bitchy to give you more to keep going, even though you were at the last fucking level, and you had it beat.

That's kinda depressing to think about. So I hope that when my life here is over, there is something beyond, some next chapter of a journey I didn't know I was apart of until I was was already to far in.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #188 on: 04 Jan 2009, 12:09 »

It seems more likely that the philosophy was interesting and timely, some people were convinced, and the whole thing snowballed.

Unfortunately, to the point where most modern Christians don't practice half of what Jesus actually suggested.
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JonSnow

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #189 on: 04 Jan 2009, 12:56 »

is hoping something exists the same as believing? I hope that there is some sort of afterlife, a higher power above all this who does have some notion of a plan that we can't fathom. Otherwise, our existence is nothing but a long string of coincidences and accidents, and when it's done, it's done. Game over, out of quarters, and your mom is to bitchy to give you more to keep going, even though you were at the last fucking level, and you had it beat.

That's kinda depressing to think about. So I hope that when my life here is over, there is something beyond, some next chapter of a journey I didn't know I was apart of until I was was already to far in.

Nothing is wrong with hoping there is an afterlife, I would even call this believing in an afterlife. But dont just believe blindly, keep an open mind on other opinions, and act out your beliefs, otherwise you'll always be a hypocrit in my eyes
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #190 on: 04 Jan 2009, 16:53 »

OK, so what is the argument here? Or did you not know about the translations which have been made, not from the Latin or form the KJV's Textus Recepticus, but from the many manuscripts available?

... um... I'm pretty sure the argument is that many manuscripts were/are available.
OK. This is bad in exactly what way?

Because of the plethora of manuscripts, and all of them different on multiple instances doubt is shed on the events described in the manuscripts. You're saying we find errors by looking at the other manuscripts that are available. A manuscript with a copying error was also copied, taking the errors along and adding more errors every time it was copied. The possbility of there being more faulty manuscripts then correct one is greater. So the errors they removed might actually not be errors.
This is why manuscripts are colleted into "families": groups of manuscriptmcopies with similar features. For example, iirc there is a family where the phrase "the mote in your brothers eye" is "the fruit in your brother's eye." That's a rather obvious copying error, and since the overwhelming majority of manuscripts (many dated earlier than these) say "mote," we can with confidence correct when translating.

As a general rule, the more difficult reading of any passage is most likely to be the correct one. The oldest one is most likely to be the correct one.

You know, it's interesting that you cite the Brother's Grimm. I challenge you to find out how many manuscripts exist for the Grimm tales, and the dating of those manuscripts, and compare that number to the number of manuscripts, and the dating of the manuscripts, for Christian Scripture.
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #191 on: 04 Jan 2009, 17:38 »

Aaaargh.
Too. Many. Letters. On. The. Page.
Like it.
Hmm...browsing through this topic, just a few thoughts:
Bible was written 2000 years ago, so of course it shouldn't be taken literally. I mean - long time after that people were burning on stakes (or whatever) for saying that the earth is round.
Jesus (as described in Bible) was pretty cool dude, saying "nonsense" like "We should all be nicer to each other" and "We should generally be, like, good", so, where's the fault in doing what he told, and letting the people who are bored to theorise? Stuff like burning bush (heh, I'm not quite sure if that's the correct term, so - I mean that scene on the mountain with Moses), building-the-world-in-seven-days story and feeding hundreds of people with almost no fish and bread are less important. The point is presenting the message that the book displays , right? (which is - don't be arseholes (quote form someone))

I mean, don't get me wrong, discuss away, but the man themes that people fight about are politics, religion and music. I don't like when fights go bad (and, in few years, will have a postcount which will make peoples take my posts seriously).
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JonSnow

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #192 on: 04 Jan 2009, 18:10 »


As a general rule, the more difficult reading of any passage is most likely to be the correct one. The oldest one is most likely to be the correct one.

You know, it's interesting that you cite the Brother's Grimm. I challenge you to find out how many manuscripts exist for the Grimm tales, and the dating of those manuscripts, and compare that number to the number of manuscripts, and the dating of the manuscripts, for Christian Scripture.

the more difficult reading of a passage. Translate this too the less understandable it is for the common man...

and why would I need to look up the number of manuscripts? The brothers Grimm's fairytales were edited and re-edited due to CENSORSHIP, and this over a small period of time even.
The Church was pretty quick to censor during the times the Biblical Canon was finalized. As stated somewhere before in this topic one of the rules for being accepted in the Canon was, the gospel has to agree with what we are saying (We being the heads of the church at the time), this is a biased rule, cause everything that doesnt agree with your opinion is concidered wrong, even if it was written by a more believable source.

but just to please you, here's a small history of the brothers grimm's fairytales.
Quote
In 1812, the Brothers published a collection of 86 German fairy tales in a volume titled Kinder- und Hausmärchen ("Children's and Household Tales"). They published a second volume of 70 fairy tales in 1814 ("1815" on the title page), which together make up the first edition of the collection, containing 156 stories.
They wrote a two volume work titled Deutsche Sagen which included 585 German legends which were published in 1816 and 1818. The legends are told in chronological order of which historical events they were related. Then they arranged the regional legends thematically for each folktale creature like dwarfs, giants, monsters, etc. not in any historical order. These legends were not as popular as the fairytales.
A second edition, of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen, followed in 1819-22, expanded to 170 tales. Five more editions were issued during the Grimms' lifetimes, in which stories were added or subtracted, until the seventh edition of 1857 contained 211 tales. Many of the changes were made in light of unfavorable reviews, particularly those that objected that not all the tales were suitable for children, despite the title. They were also criticized for being insufficiently German; this not only affected the tales they included, but their language as they changed "Fee" (fairy) to an enchantress or wise woman, every prince to a king's son, every princess to a king's daughter. (It has long been recognized that some of these later-added stories were derived from printed rather than oral sources.)

you see how censorship can change a work of literature that was purely meant as research on folk tales?

how heavily susceptible would the Bible, a book that presents your point of view (if you're the church at the time) completely? Quite a lot more, even a 5year old could make that logical deduction. This censorship is proven by the leaving out of gospels.

Add error of copying (did you copy your picture over and over again already? just copy it and copy the copy... until you do it 10 times, and look at the picture and the final copy) to this censorship and the validity of the bible, beyond anything than a lesson in morals, is lost forever.
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jtheory

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #193 on: 04 Jan 2009, 18:17 »

I challenge you to find out how many manuscripts exist for the Grimm tales, and the dating of those manuscripts, and compare that number to the number of manuscripts, and the dating of the manuscripts, for Christian Scripture.

Why is it all so important?  Would you believe the authors themselves if they were standing in front of you, 40 years after Jesus' death (or just long enough that any possible physical evidence of miracles was long gone)?
This seems like a very relevant question, though interestingly I don't think I'd thought of it in these terms before this conversation (nifty).

is hoping something exists the same as believing? I hope that there is some sort of afterlife, a higher power above all this who does have some notion of a plan that we can't fathom. Otherwise, our existence is nothing but a long string of coincidences and accidents, and when it's done, it's done. Game over, out of quarters, and your mom is too bitchy to give you more to keep going, even though you were at the last fucking level, and you had it beat.

That's kinda depressing to think about. So I hope that when my life here is over, there is something beyond, some next chapter of a journey I didn't know I was apart of until I was was already too far in.

I've never found it depressing, though I've now had a long time to get comfortable with the idea -- I actually get energy from the idea that this world is what we make of it, and that there *is* no correct God-given answer to any question.  We have to make a lot of decisions without knowing the outcomes, and the awareness that "this what I know... the best I can do is to decide based on this, then hope it works out" is very freeing.  I've seen a lot of people thrashing around, desperately looking for a sign from God... if you know it's not coming, you can move forward and be comfortable in the knowledge that you're doing what you can.

Death also is pretty unintimidating, outside of the natural fear of pain.  I have some things I'd like to get done before then, but I'm comfortable at least that when it comes, I'll be "done" no matter what, and will have no regrets ('cause... I'll be dead).  I think more about the effects my death would have on my wife, family, etc. when I avoid risks (well, that and I would prefer to avoid crippling injuries...).

I can really give myself a shiver, star-gazing -- we're so small and fragile and alone, it's mind-boggling -- but I like the feeling.  I actually live out in the countryside where I can see a whole lot of stars on cold winter nights; it's awesome (in the old sense of the word).  It's also a perverse comfort to know that the world has no guiding intellect behind it.  I am reassured by the knowledge that suffering is not a message or a warning -- it's shit that happens, a very nasty result of complex systems that we can comprehend and work to alter ...and we might be able to avoid a lot of it in the future.  When people do bad things to each other, I don't get tangled up in concepts of original sin, Heaven/Hell, or what hints might be found in the Bible to fight evil.  Instead I learn about human psychology, impulse control, trauma reactions, studies on effectiveness of different approaches to law enforcement, rehabilitation, imprisonment, social stigma, etc. etc. -- I want to understand the system, know what works, and at what cost.  We are the only ones here to manage our behavior.  Etc..  I could go on, but I'm overall pretty happy with my worldview.

The point is presenting the message that the book displays, right? (which is - don't be arseholes (quote form someone))

I'd be happy if that were the core of Christianity -- people could have weekly meetings to talk philosophy and organize community service, and skip all of the rituals, priests, theology, so on and so forth.  Unfortunately, it does seem like the theology is pretty primary and unavoidable.

@Jon Snow: why is it important to sort out the reliability of the copies of the Bible?  I'd say just let the topic drop unless it's actually important.  If you're interested in the philosophy, it doesn't matter who said it -- either the ideas stand on their own, or they don't.  If anyone believes that a reliable copy is some kind of proof of miracles performed and Godhood, they're barking up the wrong tree anyway, even if the copies are good.  This goes back to what I've been trying to ask tragic_pizza about.
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tragic_pizza

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #194 on: 04 Jan 2009, 18:29 »

the more difficult reading of a passage. Translate this too the less understandable it is for the common man...

and why would I need to look up the number of manuscripts? The brothers Grimm's fairytales were edited and re-edited due to CENSORSHIP, and this over a small period of time even.
The Church was pretty quick to censor during the times the Biblical Canon was finalized. As stated somewhere before in this topic one of the rules for being accepted in the Canon was, the gospel has to agree with what we are saying (We being the heads of the church at the time), this is a biased rule, cause everything that doesnt agree with your opinion is concidered wrong, even if it was written by a more believable source.

but just to please you, here's a small history of the brothers grimm's fairytales.
Quote
In 1812, the Brothers published a collection of 86 German fairy tales in a volume titled Kinder- und Hausmärchen ("Children's and Household Tales"). They published a second volume of 70 fairy tales in 1814 ("1815" on the title page), which together make up the first edition of the collection, containing 156 stories.
They wrote a two volume work titled Deutsche Sagen which included 585 German legends which were published in 1816 and 1818. The legends are told in chronological order of which historical events they were related. Then they arranged the regional legends thematically for each folktale creature like dwarfs, giants, monsters, etc. not in any historical order. These legends were not as popular as the fairytales.
A second edition, of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen, followed in 1819-22, expanded to 170 tales. Five more editions were issued during the Grimms' lifetimes, in which stories were added or subtracted, until the seventh edition of 1857 contained 211 tales. Many of the changes were made in light of unfavorable reviews, particularly those that objected that not all the tales were suitable for children, despite the title. They were also criticized for being insufficiently German; this not only affected the tales they included, but their language as they changed "Fee" (fairy) to an enchantress or wise woman, every prince to a king's son, every princess to a king's daughter. (It has long been recognized that some of these later-added stories were derived from printed rather than oral sources.)

you see how censorship can change a work of literature that was purely meant as research on folk tales?

how heavily susceptible would the Bible, a book that presents your point of view (if you're the church at the time) completely? Quite a lot more, even a 5year old could make that logical deduction. This censorship is proven by the leaving out of gospels.

Add error of copying (did you copy your picture over and over again already? just copy it and copy the copy... until you do it 10 times, and look at the picture and the final copy) to this censorship and the validity of the bible, beyond anything than a lesson in morals, is lost forever.
We've been over this now several times, but here we go again.

The criteria for canonical inclusion:

Apostolic Origin - attributed to and/or based on the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their closest companions).
Universal Acceptance - acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the Mediterranean world (by the end of the fourth century).
Liturgical Use - read publicly along with the OT when early Christians gathered for the Lord's Supper (their weekly worship services).
Consistent Message - containing theological ideas compatible with other accepted Christian writings (incl. the divinity and humanity Jesus).

The "gospels" you keep harping about fail miserably in at least three of the four citeria.

Further,
Quote
The oldest clear endorsement of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John being the only legitimate gospels was written c. 180 AD It was a claim made by Bishop Irenaeus in his polemic Against the Heresies, for example III.XI.8: "It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the “pillar and ground” of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh."

Quote
Eusebius, c. 300, gave a detailed list of New Testament writings in his Ecclesiastical History Book 3, Chapter XXV:

"1... First then must be put the holy quaternion of the Gospels; following them the Acts of the Apostles... the epistles of Paul... the epistle of John... the epistle of Peter... After them is to be placed, if it really seem proper, the Apocalypse of John, concerning which we shall give the different opinions at the proper time. These then belong among the accepted writings."
"3 Among the disputed writings [Antilegomena], which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John, whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name. Among the rejected [Kirsopp Lake translation: "not genuine"] writings must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, and the so-called Shepherd, and the Apocalypse of Peter, and in addition to these the extant epistle of Barnabas, and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles; and besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, but which others class with the accepted books. And among these some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews... And all these may be reckoned among the disputed books."
"6... such books as the Gospels of Peter, of Thomas, of Matthias, or of any others besides them, and the Acts of Andrew and John and the other apostles... they clearly show themselves to be the fictions of heretics. Wherefore they are not to be placed even among the rejected writings, but are all of them to be cast aside as absurd and impious."

I challenge you to find out how many manuscripts exist for the Grimm tales, and the dating of those manuscripts, and compare that number to the number of manuscripts, and the dating of the manuscripts, for Christian Scripture.

Why is it all so important?  Would you believe the authors themselves if they were standing in front of you, 40 years after Jesus' death (or just long enough that any possible physical evidence of miracles was long gone)?
You mean, if they hadn't been talking about, living out, relating and being punished for those things they told me about during those forty years? Probably not. But this is nto the case with the Gospels.
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jtheory

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #195 on: 04 Jan 2009, 18:49 »

Why is it all so important?  Would you believe the authors themselves if they were standing in front of you, 40 years after Jesus' death (or just long enough that any possible physical evidence of miracles was long gone)?
You mean, if they hadn't been talking about, living out, relating and being punished for those things they told me about during those forty years? Probably not. But this is nto the case with the Gospels.

Ah, now we're getting somewhere.  So if they had put enough effort and risked enough for their cause, you would accept *that* as acceptable evidence that they were telling you something that was factually true?

Is that the criterion?

You can probably see where this goes (I'm tipping my hand now either way; I'm not aiming for rhetorical tricks); just because they believed it, even believed it enough to die for it, does not make it factually true.  History does not lack for martyrs to all kinds of causes and beliefs; I'm sure you don't accept them all.
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tragic_pizza

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #196 on: 04 Jan 2009, 19:13 »

Please point out where I said it did.

eta: there is more than a single criterion to the whole canonicity/reliabiltiy question. Limiting it to a single point is not smart.
« Last Edit: 04 Jan 2009, 19:19 by tragic_pizza »
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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #197 on: 04 Jan 2009, 19:53 »

Jesus is just all right with me.
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BreakAtmo

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #198 on: 04 Jan 2009, 22:39 »

man people got pretty riled up on like the one comic where jeff makes fun of athiests, were in several different comics he show that he isnt exactly to inline with christianity either(hard to know either way, but the pope, priest, catholic jokes are there)
yeeesh, let the guy pick on the idiots on both sides a bit okay?

"yeah, but my view is the right one" is what he was really getting at. and you see that way of thinking among the ignorant on both sides of this fence.

not to tar everyone with the same brush, but on the odd occasion that i end up discussing faith with an athiest (i wouldnt call myself really religuous or anything, but i am definitely not an athiest) the other guy seems like he has to "save" me from the evils of faith of any kind. like a dog with a bone, just not letting go.
at this point they become like that really evangelical, bible thumping shouting dude on the street corner, i dont give a shit if you think you are right, i dont particularily care one way or the other, get the hell out of my face about it!

being somewhere in the middle, i get that from both sides, and i cant say that either one ends up looking good when it is "marketed" that way.


This is exactly what I discussed in my earlier post, apparently rather pointlessly. The big difference between a Christian (or any follower of a religion) saying "My religion is right" and an atheist saying "No it isn't, atheism is right" is that the atheist has logic and reason to back up what they say, and the religious person does not. Atheists are just people who apply logic and critical thinking to EVERYTHING, instead of giving religion an undeserved free pass when is comes to logical criticism.
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tragic_pizza

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Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #199 on: 04 Jan 2009, 23:24 »

a bloo bloo bloo.

"ATHEEISTS IS SMART PEEPLES XTIANS IZ NOT."
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