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Thread: Fine-Tuning Argument vs Argument From Miracles

  1. Top | #631
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    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy
    How are these written accounts not evidence for the events
    ANECDOTES ARE NOT EVIDENCE

  2. Top | #632
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    If you read it, he is responding with "clear" explanations "directly" related to these particular posts ... individually.
    You are absolutely correct; Although I rather suspect that you are labouring under the delusion that "inverted commas" imply emphasis. In fact they imply eye-rolling disbelief.

    As in: Donald Trump is "stable", and a "genius".

    In traditional English, a word to be emphasised should be underlined, though in the Internet era it has become more common to use bold for emphasis, to avoid confusion with hyperlinks, which are also denoted by being underlined. Italics can also be used for emphasis, or to indicate various other things, such as the title of a work, the name of a person being quoted, or in some cases, parenthetical remarks but without the use of parentheses (also called 'brackets').

    Bold, italic and underline ADD emphasis (as do CAPITAL LETTERS, but those are used today to imply shouting). "Inverted commas" TAKE AWAY emphasis, by either indicating that they are somebody else's exact words (ie hearsay), or by implying that this is the sort of thing other people would say, but which you do not personally agree with.

  3. Top | #633
    Veteran Member Lumpenproletariat's Avatar
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    The more facts = the more EVIDENCE that the Jesus miracles really happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Basically because Mark was the first gospel that the other gospels cribbed their "facts" from.
    This implies falsely that the other 3 gospels were reliant on Mark and had nothing else but Mark as a source. As if they knew no "facts" other than what they "cribbed" from Mark. Yet, almost certainly there was the earlier document "Q" used by both Luke and Matthew, plus all 3 of the later gospels have far more in them than the part taken from Mark. Even Matthew which quotes the most from Mark is mostly non-Mark.

    Even if some of the non-Mark matter contains error or discrepancies, there's no reason to think it comes from the later writer/editors of 80 or 90 AD instead of from their sources. There's every reason to believe they relied on their own individual sources, from earlier, some probably originating back to 30 AD. Where these are consistent with each other, it's reasonable to believe the accounts are reliable for the facts presented.


    It is odd that Paul left us so little details about any of this.
    What he left is consistent with the gospel accounts. He says that Jesus was "handed over," which can only be a reference to the betrayal by Judas, described in the gospel accounts. Whatever confusion there is about this, the betrayal idea does not originate from Mark, because Paul is earlier, so this part of the story is something independent of Mark, indicating something which really happened and which we find reported in these accounts, not fabricated, but presented in 4 different versions probably not totally consistent with each other.

    Paul tells us nothing about what happened earlier than the night of the arrest. He says Jesus and James were brothers, though there's some reason to doubt this. In any case, there was a belief that they were brothers. It's mentioned by Josephus in his remark about Jesus, "who was called Christ" (Antiquities 20:1.9). So this is a detail about Jesus, found in Mark and Paul, but not dependent on Mark.

    So there are many details. We have more documentation and "details" about Jesus than we have for any other 1st-century Jew or Palestinian. With the sole exception of Josephus, but our only information about Josephus is from his own writing. So there is no 1st-century Jew for whom we have more information, from 1st-century external sources, than we have for Jesus.

    The problem is to distinguish the FACTUAL details from the non-factual. And for that, the miracle acts are more supported by the facts than virtually any other "details" about Jesus. Except for the ideology that miracle events can never happen, regardless of any evidence. So, you can fall back on this ideology to refute the miracle stories of Jesus, but that's all you have. There is no other "evidence" against the Jesus miracle acts than this ideology which dictates that no miracle events ever can happen.


    Which strongly suggests there wasn't much to relate.
    No, it suggests Paul wanted only to expound on his interpretation, or to explain the importance of the Resurrection, with no need to discuss the events, or Jesus biographical matter. Explaining the meaning is what was important to him. I.e., the meaning of the Cosmic Risen Christ, who ascended to the right hand of God. Paul wanted to talk only about this, not about the earthly Christ. But the two are the same, so putting the emphasis 99% on the Risen Christ does not negate the earthly Christ in history. Rather, we must have the historical person himself in order for there to be any contact to the Cosmic Christ.

    The "faith" (pistis) is inconceivable without the encounter with the physical Christ in history. E.g., the ones healed by him had this "faith" based on their encounter with him, or their knowledge of him. So there are the facts or "details" about his earthly life, but Paul limits himself to only the death and Resurrection, which maybe is the only essential part to know, but that doesn't mean the rest isn't important.


    Despite his claims to have visited James and the surviving disciples of Jesus.
    You're implying maybe he didn't really visit them. Or perhaps he had almost no contact with them, and his teachings are totally independent of them, or even contrary to what they thought.

    Even if that's true, what he tells us confirms that they existed and that the Christ he is teaching is the same one they knew. In fact, it's all the more reason to believe the miracle stories, especially the Resurrection. Because if these did not really happen, then what point is there in the connection of Paul to James and the disciples? You can't say there's no connection, because Paul mentions them and says he gained their approval for his mission. Even if Paul lied in saying this, still you have to explain what is the connection of Paul to them. Why did he claim to have contacted them? What's the point, except that his Christ and their Christ were the same person? And what person was this, if not the one who resurrected? the same one described in the gospel accounts?

    So who was this same Christ person being followed by both Paul and the disciples? Since they disagreed on what the teachings were, what was it in common between them? How was Paul's Christ the same as the Christ followed by James and the others? It must be the Resurrection which was in common. This common point of agreement tells us what Christ was essentially. Whatever else he was, he was the resurrected one. And if Paul had some squabble or friction with this Jerusalem church community, what they were squabbling over was the one who resurrected. No matter which faction had a better understanding, what we know for sure is that it was this one who resurrected about whom they were squabbling.


    Who likewise didn't have much to write about.
    We don't know what they wrote which perished. 99% of all writings from that time are lost. (There's no way to know the exact percent, but nothing survived which was not copied several times. If it was copied only 2 or 3 times, it probably perished.)

    And, 99.999% of humans didn't write anything. And 99.9999% of all the events happening were never written about. Or 99.9999999%. And that's probably an UNDerestimate.

    Virtually all the reporting of events in 1st-century writings are of the wars and power struggles among the political elites. There's virtually nothing else. That we have these 4 documents, the Paul epistles and others, and also non-canonical writings, all focused on this one Christ event, makes this event by far the most important event of the century not connected directly to the political power elite.

    There is far more written about this event than can be explained, unless it was something "extraordinary," meaning we have "extraordinary" evidence here. The extent of writing on this event is vastly out of proportion to anything normal, and so we must look for an equally disproportionate event to explain this.


    All of which hints that the gospel tall tales were just that.
    There are "tall tales" from every generation, from every period. Why in this case only is there documentation of miracle acts, near the time of the alleged events, in 4 (5) sources? There must be something different which produced these "tall tales" which separates them from the normal tall tales encountered everywhere in every generation in every century. That the miracle events actually happened best explains this. No one can offer any better explanation.


    The people at Jerusalem who lived through all of this and followed Jesus had no great tales to relate.
    The gospel accounts are evidence that many of them witnessed the Jesus miracles and did tell about it. Obviously they didn't write anything, as 99% of them were illiterate. But the evidence is that they passed on these reports orally, and some written accounts eventually appeared.


    This tells us a lot.
    The "This" has to be something we know, not a conjecture. That they "had no great tales" is a conjecture, not a fact. The fact we have is the 4 documents or sources attesting to the Jesus miracles, 5 attesting to the Resurrection. These documents, this existing tangible evidence, is the only "this" from which we can draw any conclusions.


    After James was executed, and the "Ebionites" abandoned Jerusalem, nobody cared to ask them, "What really happened?"
    We don't know that. It's just more conjecture. You have to start with what we know, not a conjecture about what did not happen, about what someone might not have asked. You don't know what they didn't ask.


    Or maybe they did and it was rather disappointing.
    Or maybe they believed and started spreading the "gospel" as they understood it. We have more indication of the latter than of someone being disappointed.

    There are plenty of maybe's. What we need to start with are the facts. Which is that we have recorded accounts, in writing, from the time, attesting to the Jesus miracles and Resurrection. No one yet is explaining how this evidence exists if those events did not really happen. All anyone offers as an explanation is that the events could not have happened because our dogmatic ideology preaches that no miracles can ever happen. That's all the evidence anyone can offer that it didn't happen.


    Jesus lived, was executed, and his disciples were waiting for his return as a messianic King.
    And why were they doing that? Why did they do such a thing? or think such a thing? Why didn't they also wait for the return of Hillel or John the Baptist or any number of other guru figures? Again, there's no answer. Just more and more outbursts: But it couldn't be the miracles. No! Never!
    Miracles can't ever happen -- it's against our religion!


    There were plenty of other "messiah"-types who should also have been worshiped and anticipated for their "2nd coming" -- how do you explain that only this one got published, and in 4 (5) written sources from the time? and no others? Why not any others? Until you answer this, the most reasonable answer is that he must have done those miracle acts described in the accounts. Whatever best answers the questions is usually the right explanation.


    The remaining Ebionites were later adjudged as Jewish/Christian heretics. They left no writings.
    Let's assume the following describes the Ebionites accurately:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites
    Ebionites (Greek: Ἐβιωναῖοι, Ebionaioi, derived from Hebrew אביונים ebyonim, ebionim, meaning "the poor" or "poor ones") is a patristic term referring to a Jewish Christian movement that existed during the early centuries of the Christian Era. They regarded Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah while rejecting his divinity and his virgin birth and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish law and rites. They used only one of the Jewish–Christian gospels, the Hebrew Book of Matthew starting at chapter three; revered James, the brother of Jesus (James the Just); and rejected Paul the Apostle as an apostate from the Law. Their name suggests that they placed a special value on voluntary poverty. Ebionim was one of the terms used by the sect at Qumran who sought to separate themselves from the corruption of the Temple.
    If this is accurate, what conclusion should we draw? One conclusion would be that Jesus must have performed those miracle acts. Because otherwise there's no explanation why they regarded Jesus as the Messiah. It seems almost that their stronger devotion was really for James, not Jesus. And yet they regarded Jesus as the Messiah. Why?

    It's probably because he performed the miracle acts and rose from the grave, as the gospels say he did. Even if the Ebionites rejected much of what's in the gospels, still they thought Jesus was the Messiah. What was so special about him that they thought this?

    So again, as we consider the facts more and more, it becomes more evident that Jesus must have done the miracle acts described in the gospel accounts. Every question that comes up is answered by this. Without the miracle acts as real events, it's impossible to explain the Jesus person we see being revered by the Gospel writers and Paul and the Ebionites and others. Also the Gnostics. What drew all these different factions to this one Jesus person as being someone special?

    These various Christ believers were not all the same, or of the same frame of mind. There were strong antagonisms between them. Even to the point of hate and violence toward each other in some cases, as they condemned each other and accused the opposing groups as heretics or apostates. As the above wiki page says the Ebionites condemned Paul, which is only one example of Christ believers condemning other Christ believers.

    Yet they all came together around this one Christ Messiah person, each group worshiping him in some way, each with its own Christology or its own catechism, etc. What was it about him that such conflicting groups all identified with him and claimed him as their authority?

  4. Top | #634
    Cyborg with a Tiara
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post

    Even if some of the non-Mark matter contains error or discrepancies, there's no reason to think it comes from the later writer/editors of 80 or 90 AD instead of from their sources.
    Why do you think there is “no reason”? There are plenty of them. #1: people embellish existing tales all the time, and still do ti today. See “She said Yes,” the embellishment of the Columbine victim fabricated from the mind of the author and published as fact despite the witness saying it is not true.

    There's every reason to believe they relied on their own individual sources, from earlier, some probably originating back to 30 AD. Where these are consistent with each other, it's reasonable to believe the accounts are reliable for the facts presented.
    “Every reason”? You just state that and declare it is so and then use that to try to support the next sentence?
    Feels like a house of cards...

  5. Top | #635
    Veteran Member Lumpenproletariat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post

    Even if some of the non-Mark matter contains error or discrepancies, there's no reason to think it comes from the later writer/editors of 80 or 90 AD instead of from their sources.
    Why do you think there is “no reason”? There are plenty of them. #1: people embellish existing tales all the time, and still do ti today. See “She said Yes,” the embellishment of the Columbine victim fabricated from the mind of the author and published as fact despite the witness saying it is not true.
    You're right.

    I should have said: there's no reason to think ALL of it comes from the later writer/editors of 80 or 90 AD etc.

    Probably some is later, but also some is from earlier.

  6. Top | #636
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post
    Probably some is later, but also some is from earlier.
    Lumpy, whoever taught you English did you no favors.
    'Probably' is not a contraction of saying 'what i want to believe, so i will pretend the conclusion is supportable.'

  7. Top | #637
    Super Moderator Atheos's Avatar
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    Lumpenproletariat, you are eager to support your arguments with appeal to documents and witnesses you cannot produce and are not in any way inferred from the gospel narratives. Yet you chide those of us who appeal to solid evidence of earlier myths which formed the inspiration for the Jesus myths. You tend to deflect the witness of Justin Martyr when it comes to this very subject. You use Texas Sharpshooter fallacies to exclude similar examples of Joseph Smith, J.Z. Knight, Marshall Applewhite, etc. You demand original source documents for Asclepius, Perseus, Hercules, (e.g., the "Sons of Jupiter" to which Justin Martyr referred), yet fabricate pre-Markan gospels with a virtual wave of the hand.

    You've been challenged on this before and continue preaching these gish gallop posts that do little else besides repeat the same baseless assertions over and over. There is no reason to believe that any source documents describing Jesus's life existed before GMark. "Q" (if it existed at all) could easily have come between GMark and GMatt/GLuke.

    And even if such source documents did exist, they mean nothing when weighed against the deafening silence of any adversarial reaction to the alleged incredible claims made about this man. Not one critical scribe living around Jerusalem saw fit to write even a single sentence about this person who was causing all of this commotion. And you deny that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, something that means you have no common ground with me. I don't believe UFO abduction tales for the same reason I don't believe Jesus myths. Both are extraordinary claims and both are only supported by a handful of people claiming they happened with no physical evidence. At least with the UFO abduction stories we actually know who the people are making the claims. We have no clue who wrote the gospels. None.

    That said, I applaud the fact that you occasionally author posts such as the one above, which actually are attempts at discussion rather than preaching. More of that and less of the other, please.

  8. Top | #638
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atheos View Post
    ... snip ...

    And even if such source documents did exist, they mean nothing when weighed against the deafening silence of any adversarial reaction to the alleged incredible claims made about this man. Not one critical scribe living around Jerusalem saw fit to write even a single sentence about this person who was causing all of this commotion.

    ... snip ...
    Yes, given that the Romans were anal about recording events, the fact that there is no record of a rabble rouser performing miraculous feats, for the Earth splitting open and the dead rising from their graves and walking the streets, etc. (except in the gospels) makes it difficult to accept as fact. More in line with Roman tactics is the theory offered in the Flavian Jesus story... just good war propaganda. The gospels paint the Jewish leadership as the evil group to be opposed and it was the Jewish leadership that Rome wanted to quash.

    For example; the bible paints the Jewish leadership as the ones responsible for Jesus' crucification... Then too, Jewish leadership resented paying tribute but Jesus said give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. etc.
    Last edited by skepticalbip; 07-20-2019 at 11:17 PM.

  9. Top | #639
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Atheos View Post
    ... snip ...

    And even if such source documents did exist, they mean nothing when weighed against the deafening silence of any adversarial reaction to the alleged incredible claims made about this man. Not one critical scribe living around Jerusalem saw fit to write even a single sentence about this person who was causing all of this commotion.

    ... snip ...
    Yes, given that the Romans were anal about recording events, the fact that there is no record of a rabble rouser performing miraculous feats, for the Earth splitting open and the dead rising from their graves and walking the streets, etc. (except in the gospels) makes it difficult to accept as fact. More in line with Roman tactics is the theory offered in the Flavian Jesus story... just good war propaganda. The gospels paint the Jewish leadership as the evil group to be opposed and it was the Jewish leadership that Rome wanted to quash.
    Why would they want to invent an anti-roman-gods flavious Jesus? Or a King of Kings above Caesar?

    For example; the bible paints the Jewish leadership as the ones responsible for Jesus' crucification... Then too, Jewish leadership resented paying tribute but Jesus said give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. etc.
    Jesus would be against worshipping and giving tribute to other gods, but you must pay your dues if you live by their governance (Romans) because they have ways if you don't, if you know what I mean.


    (Post #632 acknowledged Bilby. Sorry Lumpy, wasn't meant that way)

  10. Top | #640
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    Why do you think there is “no reason”? There are plenty of them. #1: people embellish existing tales all the time, and still do ti today. See “She said Yes,” the embellishment of the Columbine victim fabricated from the mind of the author and published as fact despite the witness saying it is not true.
    .................................................. .....................


    “Every reason”? You just state that and declare it is so and then use that to try to support the next sentence?
    Feels like a house of cards...
    It looks like you're stating and declaring in the top quote, you must know which part is embellished or fabricated. But I think its in your opinion which is fair.
    Last edited by Learner; 07-21-2019 at 06:03 AM. Reason: rephtasing

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