Page 87 of 89 FirstFirst ... 37778586878889 LastLast
Results 861 to 870 of 886

Thread: Fine-Tuning Argument vs Argument From Miracles

  1. Top | #861
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    3,843
    Rep Power
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by lumpen
    Is it SPECIAL PLEADING to argue for the miracles of Jesus based on the 1st-century evidence (written accounts)?
    Yes it is, as has been exhaustively detailed for you countless times now, but let's do it again. Everything you just argued can be equally applied to Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard for that matter. Something that has also been exhaustively detailed for you countless times.

    Which necessarily means that you MUST accept Scientology to be factual and Mormonism to be the most factual form of Christianity in existence, because it is the most recent and occurred in modern times under better circumstances in regard to recorded anecdotal testimony, etc., etc., etc.

    You know this. Yet you keep pretending.

    It is approaching clinical psychosis at this point that you keep regurgitating the same horeshit you ate ten seconds ago, while at the same time NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT SPECIAL PLEADING ENTAILS.

    The second you say the witnesses to Joseph Smith's claims are in any way unreliable is the second you are engaging in special pleading.

  2. Top | #862
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    3,873
    Rep Power
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lumpen
    Is it SPECIAL PLEADING to argue for the miracles of Jesus based on the 1st-century evidence (written accounts)?
    Yes it is, as has been exhaustively detailed for you countless times now, but let's do it again. Everything you just argued can be equally applied to Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard for that matter.
    Go on then. Do it.
    Show us the 2000 year old manuscript evidence for L Ron Hubbard performing apparent miracles.


    Something that has also been exhaustively detailed for you countless times.

    Which necessarily means that you MUST accept Scientology to be factual and Mormonism to be the most factual form of Christianity in existence, because it is the most recent and occurred in modern times under better circumstances in regard to recorded anecdotal testimony, etc., etc., etc.

    You know this. Yet you keep pretending.

    It is approaching clinical psychosis at this point that you keep regurgitating the same horeshit you ate ten seconds ago, while at the same time NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT SPECIAL PLEADING ENTAILS.
    Show your workings. Demonstrate how you come to the conclusion that supernatural ability claims made about Joseph Smith are exactly like the long standing claims made about Jesus.


    The second you say the witnesses to Joseph Smith's claims are in any way unreliable is the second you are engaging in special pleading.
    No. That's not special pleading.
    Asserting that the evidence of L Ron Hubbard's supernatural deeds is not as strong as the historical evidence for Jesus' is the opposite of special pleading. Lumpenproletariat isn't asking for a hall pass on one historical claim that he wouldn't grant for another historical claim. He's arguing quite cogently that...'one of these claims is not like the other'

  3. Top | #863
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Searching for reality along the long and winding road
    Posts
    5,230
    Archived
    12,976
    Total Posts
    18,206
    Rep Power
    64
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post

    Go on then. Do it.
    Show us the 2000 year old manuscript evidence for L Ron Hubbard performing apparent miracles.


    Something that has also been exhaustively detailed for you countless times.

    Which necessarily means that you MUST accept Scientology to be factual and Mormonism to be the most factual form of Christianity in existence, because it is the most recent and occurred in modern times under better circumstances in regard to recorded anecdotal testimony, etc., etc., etc.

    You know this. Yet you keep pretending.

    It is approaching clinical psychosis at this point that you keep regurgitating the same horeshit you ate ten seconds ago, while at the same time NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT SPECIAL PLEADING ENTAILS.
    Show your workings. Demonstrate how you come to the conclusion that supernatural ability claims made about Joseph Smith are exactly like the long standing claims made about Jesus.


    The second you say the witnesses to Joseph Smith's claims are in any way unreliable is the second you are engaging in special pleading.
    No. That's not special pleading.
    Asserting that the evidence of L Ron Hubbard's supernatural deeds is not as strong as the historical evidence for Jesus' is the opposite of special pleading. Lumpenproletariat isn't asking for a hall pass on one historical claim that he wouldn't grant for another historical claim. He's arguing quite cogently that...'one of these claims is not like the other'
    So the claim is that because religion has accepted the Jesus miracle claims for 2000 years that they must be true? Since J. Smith's miracle claims are a little less than 200 years old they must be false?

    I guess that means that the claims of the Buddha's miraculous feats must be even truer than the Jesus miraculous claims since they have been around and accepted as truth 600 years longer.

    Or are you going to invoke special pleading that the Buddha's claims are too old?

  4. Top | #864
    Super Moderator Atheos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Heart of the Bible Belt
    Posts
    2,533
    Archived
    5,807
    Total Posts
    8,340
    Rep Power
    61
    It's the principle that holds true, not the specifics of what is claimed. Rational people don't believe "eyewitness" testimony about UFO abductions even though there are literally thousands of them available. We know that people lie.

    But there are people who do believe these testimonies. They believe in spite of the lack of any corroborating evidence that the abductions occurred.

    There is anecdotal evidence of Scientology endowing people with super brain power once they rid themselves of the Thetans that are commandeering their brainpower for their own use. There is sworn testimony (the witness of the 8) that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from ancient golden plates of "ancient origin and curious workmanship."

    And there were people who believed Jesus performed these miracles in spite of the lack of any one making contemporary observations that such marvelous things occurred. Years later there were stories about supposed Jewish leaders who were amazed by these wondrous deeds, but somehow not one of them saw fit to make any note that it happened when it supposedly happened. Not one!

    It only takes a few believers to propagate the belief across multiple generations and keep copying the scriptures long enough to get the ball rolling. It's how Mormonism started. It's how Islam started. It's how Christianity started. Anything else is special pleading. It has nothing to do with how long people have believed bullshit or how many people have been swayed by bullshit. Bullshit is still bullshit.

  5. Top | #865
    Elder Contributor
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Located 100 miles east of A in America
    Posts
    25,057
    Archived
    42,473
    Total Posts
    67,530
    Rep Power
    100
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Show your workings. Demonstrate how you come to the conclusion that supernatural ability claims made about Joseph Smith are exactly like the long standing claims made about Jesus.
    What miracles? That time Jesus ended hunger in Israel? How he cured everyone in Israel?

    Oh wait... you are talking about those fleeting miracles. Such as bringing people back from the dead... and when I say that, I mean, three gospels each mention one different person being raised from the dead.

  6. Top | #866
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    3,843
    Rep Power
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    Go on then. Do it.
    Oh no! A forceful challenge!

    We already have numerous times.

    Show us the 2000 year old manuscript evidence for L Ron Hubbard performing apparent miracles.
    We have FAR BETTER evidence than 2000 year old fairy tales, because as Lumpen illogically argued, evidence that is closer to the events is somehow better.

    Demonstrate how you come to the conclusion that supernatural ability claims made about Joseph Smith are exactly like the long standing claims made about Jesus.
    Joseph Smith lived in more modern times and therefore was subject to far greater informed scrutiny than could ever have been applied to two thousand year old ignorant fishermen, who were all so easily duped that Jesus had to actually admonish them against false prophets.

    Joseph Smith’s claims were verified instantly and by first hand witnesses who gave sworn testimony to what they witnessed. They were the bestest most best best witnesses that could ever have walked the earth.

    They all said they saw these things and others have lied about them and tried to destroy their credibility because they knew it was the truth and the devil always tries to destroy anything Joseph Smith said and they were the bestest best bestie best first hand eyewitnesses because of proximity and it’s all uncontested and we have the original transcripts of what they swore to that have never been changed!

    The second you say the witnesses to Joseph Smith's claims are in any way unreliable is the second you are engaging in special pleading.
    No. That's not special pleading.
    Yes, it is because the EXACT SAME ARGUMENTS apply to all of the thousands of unknown changes made over the centuries to the NT claims.

    Asserting that the evidence of L Ron Hubbard's supernatural deeds is not as strong as the historical evidence for Jesus' is the opposite of special pleading.
    Asserting anything is anything isn’t the problem; it’s the support behind the assertion that’s the problem.

    Lumpenproletariat isn't asking for a hall pass on one historical claim that he wouldn't grant for another historical claim.
    Yes, he is doing exactly that. He is arguing, for example, that proximity of a certain number of years between an alleged event and someone writing an account of said alleged event has any relevance when it does not. If it did, then, again, Joseph Smith’s claims must all be the best possible claims as we have testimony of his claims that came within DAYS of them, not sixty to seventy years after like with the NT.

    He's arguing quite cogently that...'one of these claims is not like the other'
    So have at it then. Why doesn’t proximity support Joseph Smith’s claims, but it somehow does support NT claims?

    He asserted that we know JS’s witnesses were unreliable. We don’t even know who claimed anything at all about Jesus, other than the confession from Paul that he never knew the guy and everything he “saw” was the result of a “vision,” which we know to be utterly worthless full stop. At best, we have one guy who never met Jesus and then one story—written at least forty years after the death of Jesus—that was likewise not written by an eyewitness and then his story gets revised a couple times decades later by others who were likewise not eyewitnesses.

    We don’t know who any of these people actually were to any degree of certainty and we know that the first one’s story—“Mark”—has at least been tampered with (the ending) or otherwise changed.

    We know too that thousands of copyists and counterfeiters have changed unknown dozens of things about the claims over the centuries.

    And we know that people are fucking morons and will literally believe anything—such as the claims of an admitted science fiction writer who set about to deliberately make up a religion—so why in the world would ANY such claims be accepted for any reason at all? Emphasis on “reason.”

    In short, ALL claims of fantastical beasties and miracle cures are identical to one another because they are all uncorroborated ANECDOTES. So, no matter what Lumpen writes, it he says THIS person’s anecdote is better than that person’s anecdote, he is engaging in special pleading.

    All such claims are equally worthless and can only “evidence”—AT BEST—that someone saw something that they could not readily explain. It does NOT however prove that what they claimed to have seen actually happened.

    It’s not possible for an anecdote to prove itself. Anyone claiming otherwise is engaging in special pleading.

    Here, I’ll do it again since you’re such a disengenuous cult member, I claim that I am Jesus.

    My claim proves I am Jesus.

    5,000 people have all witnessed the miracles I performed yesterday.

    Proximity and number of eyewitnesses proves my claim.

    I am therefore Jesus.

    Absolutely nothing about the above can be disproved by you or Lumpen and any attempts to do so are driven by the devil, thus further proving that I am your god.

    There. I have just provided IDENTICAL EVIDENCE to the NT claims, only mine is better because of everything Lumpen argued.

  7. Top | #867
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    3,843
    Rep Power
    12
    What's more--and this is truly the most despicable thing about all of this--is that both you and Lumpen unquestionably know we're right, yet you keep desperately trying to defend your asinine beliefs. It's transparent and pathetic.

    The truth of the matter is that you just want to believe whatever the fuck you want to believe. ALL of this blather is completely unnecessary, so, once again, it can only truly evidence the fact that you both have serious doubts and are just throwing up walls of text to prove something to yourselves or to otherwise reinforce your denial.

    The whole point of religious faith is to believe in spite of the evidence that contradicts it.

    So exactly who are you trying to convince? It ain't any of us.

  8. Top | #868
    Veteran Member Lumpenproletariat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    ^ Why don't I get any pretty jewels? Waaaaa!
    Posts
    1,620
    Rep Power
    22

    The SPECIAL PLEADING rebuttal -- What about all those other "messiahs" who did the same miracles Jesus did?

    The example of Sai Baba -- and L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, other modern comparisons

    The example of Apollonius of Tyana -- and Buddha, Hercules, other ancient comparisons



    (continued from previous Wall of Text)


    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post

    Your entire response boils down to nothing more than special pleading.
    He must be right, because my rebuttal to this is longer than his one-liner. And the longer statement is always wrong, which is the best argument that I'm wrong and he's right.

    Is it SPECIAL PLEADING to argue for the miracles of Jesus based on the 1st-century evidence?

    "Special Pleading" -- blogger debunks Christ-belief "argument from miracles": http://www.jefflewis.net/blog/2019/0...other_pur.html

    With Koyaanisqatsi giving us no example of another miracle-worker to compare Jesus to, we have to go in search of someone else making this "special pleading" retort, to determine if there is a "special pleading" fallacy going on. But it's not enough to just name someone in the abstract, or give a laundry list of names (of supposed miracle-workers). One must provide the particular example of the "miracle" performed by the alleged miracle-worker:

    Comparing Jesus to Another Purported Holy Man

    In discussing religion with Christians, there seems to be this blind spot about the vast array of different religious beliefs out there. Many seem to see religion as a dichotomy - either Christianity is true, or religion in general is false. In many of their arguments, they just don't seem to even consider other religions (Pascal's wager is an obvious example of this blind spot). It results in many of their arguments being special pleading, but since they seem to be so unaware/dismissive of other religions, I'm not sure they even realize it's special pleading. But the end result is still that the arguments aren't particularly persuasive.
    So, for some context, let's consider a different purported holy man besides Jesus. This man began a ministry and attracted many followers. According to his followers, he was prophesied in scriptures, and was God in the flesh. They claim he performed many miracles, including healings, levitation (somewhat similar to Christ's walking on water), making objects appear, changing water into other drinks (very similar to turning water into wine), . . . There are many claimed eye-witnesses to his miracles and these visions, and a written account of his life, including many of the miracles he performed.
    "he was prophesied in scriptures"

    (Let's get this out of the way first.)

    There's a problem with this messianic claim for Jesus as being divine or superhuman. Here there might really be a "special pleading" fallacy committed, but not in the argument from miracles. The most famous Jesus prophecy fulfillment seems to be the Bethlehem birth, found only in Matthew and Luke, fulfilling Micah 5:1. This is very difficult to maintain without requiring the truth-seeker to accept the doubtful Matthew and Luke birth stories as divinely inspired, and infallible. Which is not necessary in order to establish that he performed miracle healings or that he resurrected -- for that it's only necessary to recognize the Gospel accounts as normal human writings, reporting observable facts in history, with normal elements of error mixed in with the historical fact. Also, the author of John believed that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem (Jn 7:41-43), so the prophecy-fulfillment argument is weak.

    There might be similar problems connecting Jesus to the other Jewish prophecies. In most cases it seems necessary to accept the infallibility of scripture as a prerequisite to these prophecy-fulfillment claims.

    But no infallibility of scripture is needed to establish the Jesus miracle acts as credible, and thus there's no "special pleading" fallacy in believing Jesus did miracles, showing his unique life-giving power and superhuman status. So even if there might be some logical fallacies, or flaws, or factual errors in some of the christology traditions/doctrines, this isn't so for the basic fact of the miracle acts, for which we have real evidence not dependent on any religious belief or premise other than basic science and normal historical documentation.

    Of course within all the thousands (millions?) of Christ-belief factions, mysticizings, spiritualizings, theologizings, evangelizings, and offshoot sects and crusades, there's bound to be a few errors and contradictions and fallacies committed (like maybe a billion or so).

    But for the miracle claims, it's "Just the facts, ma'am," so to make the "special pleading" case, our debunker must show us another example of a reputed miracle-worker for whom we have legitimate evidence, such as we have for Jesus in the Gospels. We're told here that Sai Baba is such a case, and some others are also named, but the evidence is not provided.

    It's not enough to just give us a name (or many names) of someone said to be comparable to Jesus in the Gospels. We have to know what claim is being made, specifically, of their miracle deeds, and see the original source making the claim. The "special pleading" accuser always stops before that point, without giving us the examples of the miracle-worker's great deeds. Probably because he knows they are ludicrous and are not really comparable to Jesus in the Gospels.


    Now, lest you think I'm referring to some ancient figure whose reputation grew legendary over generations, this man was born in 1926, and he . . .
    But his reputation grew legendary over a period of 50 years or longer, through a long public career of preaching and displaying his charisma directly to thousands of disciples, and indirectly through modern technology to millions -- a modern advantage which he shares with several other popular gurus and celebrities, even demagogues, all of whom had talent and knew how to take advantage of the modern media. It is easy to explain how miracles were attributed to him by his intoxicated devotees, over his long career, even if the reports were fictional.

    Such a popular celebrity cannot be compared to Jesus in the 1st century whose public life was only 1-3 years and had no modern media to establish a wide reputation.

    . . . born in 1926, and he only died in 2011. His biography was written while he was still alive, and many of the eye witness testimonies are available on the Internet (such as https://www.quora.com/Has-anyone-fel...aba-personally ).
    There is no serious "miracle" claim at this link. There are many subjective feel-good experiences reported by the devotees, but nothing comparable to an ability to instantly heal the blind or the lame or lepers. Why can't the "special pleading" debunker cite one example of a real "miracle" claim here?


    His name was Sathya Sai Baba, and he still has devoted followers.
    Notice (above and below) that he doesn't cite any text or report or original source for any miracle act, meaning something which normal humans cannot do. Whenever these alternative miracle-workers are cited, we're never provided with the original reports. Instead we always have to rely on the debunker's paraphrase of what the Jesus parallel -- the "holy man" -- supposedly did. Why can't they ever give us the original source for the claim? i.e., a reported real miracle act seen by witnesses? for just one such claim?

    It's not true that there are other examples of reported miracle-workers if you're not willing to give us the example, naming the particular miracle deeds they did, including the original source making that miracle claim.

    Not L. Ron Hubbard, not Joseph Smith, not -- you name the guru -- if you refuse over and over to give us the original source, the text, the publication, QUOTE IT -- quote the text relating what the guru did, which witnesses saw and believed -- if you keep refusing to do this, then you cannot claim there is any SPECIAL PLEADING fallacy being committed. Until you give us that information, quoting the source for it, you have not shown that there are any other reported miracle-workers who are comparable to Jesus in the Gospels.

    When will you finally cut the B.S. and give us that information about your alleged miracle-worker example/comparison?


    Let's divide the examples into 2 categories, the modern and the ancient cases.

    1) Modern cases (after 1500 AD): Sai Baba, also L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, TV evangelists, etc.

    2) Ancient cases other than Jesus in 30 AD (before 1500 AD): Apollonius of Tyana, also Gautama Buddha, and many others.


    1) modern cases

    It's not good enough to just mention "miracles" but never give any example or tell us what is claimed to have happened or give the original source for it. A link, such as the above for Sai Baba, giving hundreds of feel-good testimonials, like promotionals for a multi-level marketing rally, does not give us examples of miracle acts comparable to that of Jesus raising the dead or giving sight to the blind.

    The modern Sai Baba example:

    https://www.quora.com/Has-anyone-fel...aba-personally lists many "miracles" experienced by his devotees. 99% of his "miracles" are these personal vibes miracles, where disciples felt something from his presence, or also had something nice happen to them which they're sure he must have caused, although he was not present. In many cases they prayed to him for something, and then something happened which was an answer to their prayer, they thought. But it's all just their feeling that he must have done something, not an observable act which he performed.

    Don't claim this character also did miracles, according to witnesses, without looking at the particular examples or listening to the disciples making these claims. You can't seriously claim these are similar to Jesus in the Gospels if you actually read them or listen to them. Read the claim first, or listen to it. These recorded testimonies are about subjective personal feelings only, not an actual unusual act being performed by the miracle-worker and witnessed by various observers.

    This personal feelings phenomenon is obviously the main driving force behind the Sai Baba miracle claims, being a product of his charismatic effect on the disciples. But there might also be a few testimonials somewhere of claimed healing experiences, where they claim he did something, and then they recovered from an illness (perhaps instantly? like the ones healed by Jesus?). Maybe a "miracle" happened in this or that case? i.e., an observable act he did which cannot be done by normal humans?

    If so, these are a tiny fraction of the total reported "miracles" of Sai Baba and are hard to find because they're drowned out and submerged under the vast flood of personal feelings "miracles" which totally dominate all the stories of him. Can someone provide a serious miracle claim? We have to keep an open mind about the possibility, but whoever claims those "miracle" acts happened and were witnessed has to give us the particular example, or the published report telling what happened.

    Obviously there are millions of psychic-type claims which cannot be refuted (and maybe billions of others which can be refuted). But it's easy to explain miracle claims about a guru who has a longstanding reputation, developed over decades of preaching to his disciples and impressing them with his charisma. That alone can easily explain the claims (serious claims) even if the "miracle" never really happened but is only an illusion or fiction. But it cannot explain the case of Jesus in 30 AD.


    What if someone other than Jesus also did a miracle?

    If a miracle really did happen, a real act of power, like an unexplained medical miracle-recovery, that's fine -- there's nothing wrong with it -- it doesn't disprove the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. Out of the millions of miracle healing claims in many cultures, over many centuries, maybe a small number are real -- maybe 1%, or .1%. There's probably no way a researcher could investigate all the claims, or a thousand of them, and confirm them -- proving some and disproving all the others -- by checking all the claimed facts, checking with all the possible witnesses, etc. But if they have evidence as strong as what we have in the Gospels, reporting the events, maybe the claim is true in that case. So let's have the particular case of a real miracle event, a superhuman act someone witnessed, and proceed from there. Why is no one offering any such example?

    In general such claims can easily be explained as having been produced by the impact of the guru and his charisma, influencing his disciples over a long period of 20 or 30 or 40 years, and being publicized and promoted in the media -- even if the claimed miracle event per se is really fiction.

    There are millions of personal-feelings "miracles" reported in testimonials to gurus like Sai Baba, and these are not about any observed "miracle" act but just that the guru made them feel good or gave them good vibes. Why do the disciples want to obscure the legitimate miracles, if they exist, with all these personal private feelings "miracles" which have nothing to do with anything observable or objective which a neutral observer could witness if it really happened?


    What "miracle" do they say happened? Let's have the particular example.

    Not just a general claim that so-and-so did "miracles" -- but the original source telling what happened in at least one particular case. This information about one case only is better than a sweeping claim about 100 or 1000 miracles that happened but no details of what happened.

    So, anyone claiming there are "miracles" comparable to those of Jesus -- whether it's devotees claiming it, or a skeptic debunking all such claims -- must provide the particular examples, in which case they could still be right. But they must do better than just give their usual Jesus-debunk rhetoric. They must provide real examples of what happened, i.e., the original reports from the witnesses or those claiming the "miracles" happened. What we need is 2 or 3 specific examples of the miracle claims, telling us what the claim is, from those closest to the actual event, what exactly they claim to have seen or heard, from the original source. So far we are not getting any such examples.

    And modern Christians also make similar claims of personal experiences. Or, just religious believers generally. Obviously there are modern claims made about Jesus doing "miracles" today, according to this or that believer, usually connected to their praying and their local church community, where they pray for each other, even do a healing ritual, and sometimes seem to get an "answer" which couldn't be a coincidence, they think. The same happened at the Asclepius temples in 400-300 BC, where worshipers practiced the prescribed rituals, and sometimes they got a good result which they thought the ancient god must have caused. In some cases they report a bizarre miracle happening.

    So, if the evidence is provided, and the claim cannot be explained as mythologizing by the disciples who were influenced by the guru's charisma over 10 or 20 or 30 years of preaching, then maybe the claim is true. We need to see the particular example, the report of what happened. But those making these claims don't give us that information. Debunkers first have to make the case that these reported "miracles" really happened -- are reported to have happened -- before they claim there's a "special pleading" fallacy.

    The possibility of a comparable miracle-worker cannot be ruled out, if those claiming it produce the original source for the claimed "miracle" event. The Sai Baba believers could provide this evidence if they choose. And yet they don't seem interested in doing this. They just like saying that the miracles do happen, and even that the evidence is better than for Jesus in the Gospels, but they stop there without going further to give any example.

    Or, Gospel-debunkers insisting that evidence exists for other cases could produce the evidence, if it exists, give the example, cite the claim by witnesses, telling what they saw. But they never produce this evidence, quoting the source for it.


    Ancient miracle tradition as the source for modern miracle claims

    Generally what we see in all these cases, including also modern Christ-believers, are worshipers who went to their priest/evangelist/prophet/guru as devout believers, convinced that their prayer would be answered, persuaded by the popular religious tradition established over many centuries, transmitted down through hundreds of generations by their ancestors, promoted by their hierarchy or priesthood ordained through the ancient rituals or institutions. None of these reported miracle claims are about a recent "messiah" unconnected to the ancient religious institutions and rituals. They're always about a credentialed ordained prophet or priest acting according to the prescribed ancient established religious procedures.

    Thus being rooted in the ancient religious traditions, it's clear what causes the belief in the modern miracle claims of gurus and televangelists and others performing before their audience of believers -- claims of being healed or getting some other answer to their prayers, even though it could all be fiction, as the belief is a result of normal mythologizing.

    This is not what happened in the case of Jesus in 30 AD, who does not fit this standard pattern: the victims he healed were not his disciples who already believed in his power or in an ancient ritual he was performing on them. Though in some cases the victims had heard of him and hoped he would heal them, it was not through an ancient religious tradition that they acquired their belief, but through local rumors that he had exercised this power and had healed someone, perhaps even a large number at a gathering. They were not inspired by his charisma over some period of hearing him preach, but from rumors circulating about him, and they hoped these rumors were true.


    Sai Baba: Historical religious teacher is turned into a miracle-worker.

    Jesus Christ: Historical miracle-worker is turned into a religious teacher.


    He had no longstanding reputation, such as Sai Baba did, but was only a recent figure, appearing a few days or weeks or months earlier, in the local region, with no established recognition, unconnected to any particular religious cult we can recognize in the accounts, except that various conflicting ideological and religious and philosophical ideas became attached to him in the later written accounts, ideas which he may or may not have spoken.

    There's no clear connection of him to any specific religious tradition distinct from any others, especially nothing to do with miracles or healing gods, like all the other miracle healing claims are tied to a specific established religious miracle healing tradition. Had he been attached to some such ancient Jewish god or hero or teacher, it would have been Yahweh or Moses or Elijah or Solomon, which he would have named as his power source.

    You can't claim he had any exclusive connection to the ancient Jewish god anymore than to an ancient Egyptian or Greek god or to the Gnostic gods (except that he was in a Jewish location, putting him closer to Jewish ideas than to these others). Ancient Jewish prophets are sometimes mentioned or quoted, but nothing showing any dependence on them for his miracle power. Some Greek and Egyptian and Gnostic symbols can also be found in the Gospel accounts.

    This absence of any exclusive dependency on a particular ancient religious tradition makes it impossible to explain how people believed in his power if the described miracle acts never happened but are fiction. The common fiction claims in religion and mysticism can be explained as tied to a particular ancient miracle god, such as Krishna in the case of Sai Baba, who performed his acts in the name of those ancient Hindu deities. Here is a web page in which a Sai Baba seeker says he has to be convinced that Baba is not only LIKE Krishna, but actually IS Krishna. http://media.radiosai.org/journals/v...am-Krishna.htm -- He has to go through a questioning phase before he finally becomes a whole-hearted believer, when he becomes convinced that BABA IS KRISHNA HIMSELF -- the very same entity.

    This is typical of the various prophets and gurus and "messiah" figures who are believed to do miracles. They must first establish their connection to the ancient miracle deity in whose name they act. Without this the worshipers would not accept them as genuine and believe the miracle claims. But the case of Jesus is different: there is nothing in the miracle stories requiring any such identification with a particular ancient miracle god.


    Various symbols got attached to Jesus.

    The label "messiah" and other Jewish symbols became attached to Jesus in order to explain who he was -- to satisfy the local population which was mostly Jewish. But his power was recognized first, and then explanations were sought from the ancient scriptures to try to explain his place in the context of the ancient beliefs.

    The ancient beliefs don't really explain the reported miracle acts, which are not made a prerequisite in the earlier traditions/scriptures. Though Jesus the Teacher can be connected to earlier Judaism, Jesus the miracle-worker actually had little resemblance to the "messiah" figure described in the ancient Hebrew prophecies. Early 1st-century Jews creating a "messiah" figure would not have produced something like the miracle-worker Jesus of the Gospels -- Jews from this period had no interest in miracle claims -- nothing in the Dead Sea Scrolls, nothing in Philo the Alexandrian, nothing in any Jewish writings going back 200 or 300 or 400 years. And especially they would create no "Messiah" who ends up getting crucified, which was not supposed to happen to the Messiah.

    The symbols attached to Jesus come from everywhere, not just from Jewish scripture. They come from Greek philosophy and from Egyptian mysticism and from apocalyptic literature, like Enoch and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The belief in his power came first, and then there occurred a need to find something ancient to attach him to, in order to give him an identity people would accept, rather than seeing him as an alien entity of some kind. And so those symbols became attached to him -- after he became identified as a miracle-worker, which happened first. This explains why other ideas than only Jewish ideas got attached to him. If he was only a Jewish hero, there's no way to explain why Greek-Roman-Egyptian-pagan symbols also got attached to him.


    And I chose Sai Baba rather arbitrarily, because I've just happened to learn of him recently. There are many other purported holy men I could use for comparison, such as Ram Bahadur Bamjan, believed by some . . .
    This is an outrageous example to offer -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Bahadur_Bomjon -- showing the depraved mindset of those who are desperate to find Jesus parallels from among the eastern mystics. The Sai Baba example has some respectability, or wide recognition, but this Bahadar example is a disgrace to include here. Why does a debunker-crusader have to sink to this level?

    . . . believed by some to be the reincarnation of the Buddha; Sun Myung Moon, who claimed to be a messiah continuing Jesus's work and who wrote new scriptures (i.e. Exposition of the Divine Principle); Joseph Smith, a prophet who claimed to have visions of Jesus and visits from angels and who wrote his revelations into new scriptures (i.e. the Book of Mormon);
    There are virtually no serious miracle acts reported about these figures in the literature. Whatever you can dig up will be more ludicrous than serious, but if you claim there's something serious, let's see the original source for it, quoting the original text here, rather than just giving a link. Why does no one ever do this, offering real examples?

    Don't retort that there was such a source offered 3 years ago in a previous post -- those were debunked at the time -- give it again here, quoting the exact text relating the miracle event in question. (The Joseph Smith links provided earlier, 2 or 3 years ago, were of lengthy text walls which did not include the specific text for the particular miracle claim, or which obscured it within walls of text 10 times longer than anything I've posted. -- And cut out the silly nonsense about someone seeing a golden tablet! A golden tablet with goofy marks on it is NOT A MIRACLE! Stop it! Get serious! If you can't come up with something better than this, you're admitting that the Jesus miracles are the only ones for which we have serious evidence. -- So to be serious you must copy/quote the particular text relating the claimed miracle act, and only then can you claim to have cited something comparable to the Jesus miracle acts, for which particular original text is provided, reporting what happened in particular cases.)

    Note that all the above examples are of gurus who first had to identify with an ancient miracle deity of some kind, in whose name they performed their acts. No one believed any of the miracle claims about them without first having this religious identity established, to connect him to the ancient traditions.


    Stop the pretense, give real examples of miracle claims, citing the source!

    As usual there are no examples offered of any of the miracles performed by these alleged miracle-workers. When no examples are given, but just a name, or list of names, it's really just a way to say: "See, there are other Jesus-like 'messiahs' also -- Jesus isn't unique!"

    Thus the only purpose of giving these parallel "messiahs" is not to show that there is any evidence for them, which there is not, but ------ Oh, there IS evidence? -- but then why is none ever offered? Why do the debunkers only give the list of names but never give a particular example of the evidence, quoting the text reporting what miracle was performed by the prophet or teacher or "messiah" they're offering for comparison? ------ No, the only purpose is to express their hate toward the one case in 30 AD for which there really is evidence.

    The truth here is that our "special pleading" debunker hates the fact that there is serious evidence for the Jesus miracles and virtually no evidence for any others -- he can't stand it that there is evidence in this one case only. If there really was evidence for the other ones he names, he would give the evidence for at least one of them, quoting the original source -- i.e., citing the source AND quoting the critical text relating the miracle act.

    The "special pleading" outburst is just the debunker's frustration and whining at being unable to find other cases for which there is evidence similar to what we have for Jesus in the Gospels -- and it drives him NUTS!

    He wishes there were other examples, but he can't find them because there aren't any. If there were any others he would give them, providing the source, quoting the text which reports the miracle claims. But if he does that he will only embarrass himself, because they are so silly. If there are other serious cases, let's see the example, from the original source, instead of the usual meaningless laundry list of names.

    Which is all the Sai Baba example is -- Just one more name on a meaningless laundry list. You can see from the video page https://www.quora.com/Has-anyone-fel...aba-personally what virtually all the Sai Baba "miracles" are --- just emotional outbursts from devotees expressing their subjective feelings. And admittedly there are many Christ-belief "miracle" claims too, of this same kind. All of them are based on a devotion to an ancient miracle tradition, to which the modern believer wants to add their personal feelings.

    But the miracle claims about Jesus occurred without any connection to an ancient established miracle tradition, inspired only by actual events which happened at around 30 AD, with nothing earlier to explain them.


    Ancient religious tradition, not evidence, is usually the source for miracle claims.

    Devotion and subjective feelings toward the ancient traditions are not evidence either for modern miracles or for the ancient claims. We have real evidence for one ancient claim, Jesus in about 30 AD, reported in writings from the time. Though we can't rule out other possible cases of an unexplained happening, 99% of miracle claims are lacking serious evidence because it's too easy to explain them, or the evidence for them, as inspired more by the ancient tradition rather than actual miracle events happening. Possibly a psychic phenomenon investigator could gather evidence, question witnesses, etc., and actually make a good case that this or that reported miracle really happened or did not happen.

    So for a serious case, similar to Jesus in the Gospels, we need a reported miracle-worker who appears from nowhere, not part of an ancient religious tradition, and not requiring many years of preaching in order first to inspire his devotees who then start claiming he did a miracle. A miracle-worker claim is far more credible in a case of someone doing his miracles without reliance on an ancient religious deity in whose name he performs his miracle, and without reliance on his charisma inspiring his disciples over many years. When those factors are so obvious, as they usually are, that explains the belief of the devotees, even though there was no real miracle act.

    But if there are witnesses or reports saying it, and there's no other way to explain it as fitting the normal pattern, then -- who knows? maybe the only explanation is that the reported miracle really did happen.


    Yes, there could be other credible cases of miracles.

    But let's see the evidence, instead of the constant whining that Jesus can't be the only one.

    And it's appropriate again to name here the one example from 100 years ago, of Rasputin the mad monk, for whom there is evidence that he healed a child from a blood disease -- or rather, brought relief to that child, who otherwise seemed to be dying, and who could not be helped by mainline medical doctors. There is evidence in this one case, from the historical record, which cannot be denied. It's documented that this case is real, based on standard historical records, but there is no consensus on what Rasputin did, or how he caused the child to recover -- and no consensus that it was "divine" or a "miracle" etc. There could be a medical explanation, but no one knows what it is, and there was no recognized medical science used in this case. This is an example of a legitimate case, of an apparent "miracle" act done in the case of one victim with a physical affliction. So the historical record here does not confirm that a "miracle" really happened, but rather, that something happened which cannot be explained and which cannot be ruled out as being a "miracle" of some kind.

    There's nothing about the Jesus miracles in the Gospels which says there can be no other miracles or miracle-workers except this one case only. If there's good evidence for any others, then it's reasonable to believe them too. There could be some explanation from the realm of psychic phenomena in some cases, which might even explain the Jesus miracles -- it can't be ruled out. But it doesn't matter how it's explained. What matters is whether it really happened, and whether that same power could also produce eternal life, as claimed in Paul's epistles and John's Gospel. Though those two sources differ very much, they both agree that Christ's power included an offer of eternal life to believers. This is a reasonable hope if he actually did have that power, i.e., demonstrating it in the miracle acts. And this hope is not diminished by the possibility that similar acts elsewhere may have actually happened. But we know that in most cases such claims are fiction, based on false hope rather than evidence, because there are so many charlatans with charisma and power to deceive the gullible.

    Debunkers who give us the laundry list of parallel miracle-workers -- Joseph Smith and Sai Baba and others -- never offer any examples of the miracles reportedly done by these other "messiah" figures. When the debunker is embarrassed to offer even one example of such a miracle claim, it's a clear indication that the particular miracle claims are probably ludicrous, and would be laughed at rather than taken seriously.

    You can't get around this without finally breaking down and digging out the examples, doing the research, finding the alleged miracle event reported in the sources, about Sai Baba or Joseph Smith or Sun Myung Moon, and the others. As long as the debunker only says: Here's our laundry list of messiahs -- they also claim to have done miracles without giving any example and quoting the original source, then they are only expressing their exasperation at the evidence for the Jesus miracles and lack of evidence for the others. They are offended that there's evidence in this one case but a lack of evidence for the others. So when they insist that there must be others also, they are just throwing a tantrum, demanding EQUALITY of all miracle claims, because it's just NOT FAIR that there's only this one case of a miracle-worker and not any others.

    No? -- Well then cut out the phoniness and give the other examples. The real "special pleading" is to keep claiming there are other examples and yet not to offer one, giving the source for it, so we can see for ourselves what "miracle" someone claimed happened.

    That Jesus in the gospels is a singular case -- the only one for whom there is evidence -- is the only explanation as long as they continue to not offer the other examples, presenting the miracle claim, from the original source saying what miracle act was done by this or that Swami or Rama What's-his-name, Baba-Bagwan Bami-Shazami-Wowie-Ramjami. We know there's a long list of fancy Wiz-bang names -- Enough with the phony lists! let's have the particular reported miracle event itself, from the original source, telling us what they claim happened.


    (this Wall of Text to be continued)
    Last edited by Lumpenproletariat; 12-11-2019 at 10:55 AM.

  9. Top | #869
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    3,843
    Rep Power
    12
    It's not special pleading because of all of these specially plead reasons.

    Got it.

  10. Top | #870
    Veteran Member Lumpenproletariat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    ^ Why don't I get any pretty jewels? Waaaaa!
    Posts
    1,620
    Rep Power
    22

    The SPECIAL PLEADING rebuttal -- What about all those other "messiahs" who did the same miracles Jesus did?

    The example of Sai Baba -- and L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, other modern comparisons


    The example of Apollonius of Tyana -- and Buddha, Hercules, other ancient comparisons



    (continued from previous Wall of Text)


    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
    Your entire response boils down to nothing more than special pleading.
    Is it SPECIAL PLEADING to argue for the miracles of Jesus based on the 1st-century evidence?

    "Special Pleading" -- blogger debunks Christ-belief "argument from miracles": http://www.jefflewis.net/blog/2019/0...other_pur.html

    With Koyaanisqatsi giving us no example of another miracle-worker to compare Jesus to, we have to go in search of someone else making this "special pleading" retort, to determine if there is a "special pleading" fallacy going on. But it's not enough to just name someone in the abstract, or give a laundry list of names (of supposed miracle-workers). One must provide the particular example of the "miracle" performed by the alleged miracle-worker:

    Comparing Jesus to Another Purported Holy Man

    In discussing religion with Christians, there seems to be this blind spot about the vast array of different religious beliefs out there. Many seem to see religion as a dichotomy - either Christianity is true, or religion in general is false. In many of their arguments, they just don't seem to even consider other religions (Pascal's wager is an obvious example of this blind spot). It results in many of their arguments being special pleading, but since they seem to be so unaware/dismissive of other religions, I'm not sure they even realize it's special pleading. But the end result is still that the arguments aren't particularly persuasive.

    Let's divide the examples into 2 categories, the modern and the ancient cases.

    1) Modern cases (after 1500 AD): Sai Baba, also L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, TV evangelists, etc.

    2) Ancient cases other than Jesus in 30 AD (before 1500 AD): Apollonius of Tyana, also Gautama Buddha, and many others.


    1) Modern cases -- this category was dealt with in the previous Wall of Text.


    2) ancient cases

    Apollonius of Tyana, a contemporary of Jesus whose paragraph long mini biography is practically identical to Jesus's, but substituting Roman gods for the Jewish God (of course there are plenty of differences in the details);
    Again -- for the 100th time -- there's ONLY ONE SOURCE for this 1st-century "messiah," and it's written 150 years later than the events reportedly happened. So this fails the test for miracle claims, which requires more than only one source, and that the sources be dated near to the time of the alleged events.

    The same can be said of miracle claims about the Buddha and virtually all reputed ancient miracle-workers. BUDDHA lived around 500 BC, but there are no reported miracles in the writings until about 200 or 100 BC. The shortest possible time gap between the alleged events and the first written reports of them is 200 years. Of course the same is true about Hercules and Apollo and Zeus and Asclepius, and Krishna -- and all the others, about whom there is nothing for at least 1000 years after they lived, if they did live in history.

    Apollonius of Tyana is an example of the explosion of miracle stories appearing in the literature after 100 AD. Before this there were virtually no miracle claims in the literature having any resemblance to this one (except that of Jesus in the Gospels which is a glaring contrast to all the others).

    . . . and countless others (there's . . .
    No, there's no "countless others" resembling anything like the Apollonius of Tyana example, which itself is mostly a copycat version of the Jesus miracle-worker in the Gospels written 100+ years earlier.

    . . . (there's also a long list of people claiming to be the second coming of Christ).
    Nevermind what they CLAIM "to be" -- what matters is what they did. Where is the evidence, or the reports of their miracle acts, from the original sources? Obviously there are millions of wackos "claiming" to be this or that. Both ancient and modern.


    And let's not forget about urban legends, such as those found on Snopes, to show how untrue stories can spread very quickly to become believed by large numbers of people.
    "large numbers"? This has to mean a million or more today, to be comparable to the number of Jesus believers in the 1st century. And there was no written account denying the miracles of Jesus at that time to offset our 4 (5) sources saying he did do the miracle acts. So all the published claims were that the miracles did happen, with no written account contradicting them, such as Lucian contradicts some charlatan miracle claims in the 2nd century. What modern case of this is there? What urban legend is there of a modern miracle-worker healing the blind and lepers and raising the dead, or similar miracle acts, and believed by a million people, and yet not denied in any sources, as there were no sources in the 1st century denying the Jesus miracle acts?


    Now, if you're like me, you probably don't believe the miraculous claims about Sai Baba or any of these other purported holy men (or the urban legends on Snopes).
    But there's a REASON not to believe those claims:

    there's no evidence for them, or no serious evidence. If it's only disciples claiming it or witnessing it, who were influenced by the guru's charisma over many years, that is not serious evidence.


    There are far more likely explanations to their claimed miracles than actual divine powers.
    It doesn't matter what the "explanation" is if the claimed "miracles" didn't really happen but are only fiction. As they probably are if the needed evidence is lacking. Give us the examples, showing the evidence, from the original source for the claimed "miracle" event. Only then do we have anything requiring an explanation.

    And we must not rule out the possibility that there might really be a few legitimate cases of an unexplained "miracle" event, having no explanation in science. In a few such cases there might really be evidence, but then in that case it actually offers some corroboration to the Jesus miracle power as something which is actually possible, perhaps happening in an isolated case here or there, and also happening on a large scale in the case of Jesus in the 1st century. So finding a rare exception somewhere doesn't serve the purpose of the debunker who insists dogmatically that no miracle events can ever happen, despite reports or evidence that they did happen in an exceptional case.


    But it provides context for the early Christians. All these holy men did exist.
    But for 99.9% of them there was no "miracle" act, but only the charisma of the holy man. This and other factors explain why they were believed and why fictitious miracles were attributed to them, in a mythologizing process, e.g., Gautama Buddha whose miracle myths evolved over a 200-year period or longer. Unlike Jesus in the Gospels who cannot be explained as a product of mythologizing.


    Their followers did and still do sincerely believe the miraculous stories and claims.
    But then why does no one ever quote for us the original source for the stories or claims? WHAT "stories and claims" do they believe? How do you know there are any "miraculous stories and claims" if you can't tell them to us, quote the source for them, give us the "stories and claims" themselves? You can't just keep repeating that there are "claims" just like those about Jesus, and yet continually withhold from us the "claims" themselves.

    What's the reason/evidence for their belief? like the written accounts we have for the miracle acts of Jesus? If there's real evidence for the "miraculous stories and claims," they should be able to provide that evidence, publishing it for us, and quoting it so others too can believe it. We can easily explain why those indoctrinated mesmerized disciples "sincerely believe" the claims, as a normal response by the devotees to his long career of preaching and inspiring them. Where's the evidence for it, the reports or testimony to what happened, from someone claiming knowledge of it or having seen the evidence, who can tell us what happened and provide us the source for it? including sources indicating that there were non-disciples also present?


    Their scriptures have been preserved faithfully.
    Then why can't you quote from them to show what the claim is, so we can see the evidence? Why do you have to hide the evidence for it if those claims are being made and are published for everyone to read? Tell us what "their scriptures" say about the miracles, or what miracle event they claim happened. It's not true that there's evidence in "their scriptures" if you're not willing to quote from those scriptures and show us that evidence.


    Jesus is just one of many such holy men.
    Then quote for us at least one reported miracle act those other "holy men" did, so we can see that Jesus is "just one of many" who did such things. Why do you have to be led by the hand to show us the evidence, the example, of the reported miracle claim? What do we have to do to get it out of you? E.g., the following is an example of a reported miracle act:

    (Mark Ch. 2) -- 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your pallet and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he said to the paralytic-- 11 "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." 12 And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
    You see -- here's a reported miracle act, from the ancient written record -- so the "special pleading" debunker-crusader must give us something also reporting a miracle act, from the time of the claimed miracle, reporting what happened. What's the problem with giving us such an example, if there are supposed to be so many of them?

    So if Jesus is "just one of many" who had such power, let's see a reported case from those "many" others, similar to the above, showing the report of it. How long will they continue to just claim it without giving any example, or any evidence, giving the original source for the claim? How many times must we ask them for the example before they finally break down and do a little homework? Are the examples there or not?


    As one more bit of context, consider the religious landscape at the time Christianity was getting started.
    Yes, let's consider that landscape: it was DEVOID OF MIRACLE STORIES in all the literature of the time. There was NO interest in miracle stories at that time. You can't find one in all the literature leading up to 30 AD. Not in the Dead Sea Scrolls, not in the Jewish writings after 300 BC -- nor in the Greek and Roman literature either. In Jewish writings you have to go way back to 600 BC to find any miracle claims. So, how is it that in a context of NO miracle claims we get this sudden rash of miracle stories about Jesus, out of nowhere, at a time when nothing of miracle claims can be found in the large body of religious literature?

    In the Greek-Roman culture all the miracle inscriptions about Asclepius have disappeared by 200 BC, putting a total end to any new miracle claims from the pagan sources.

    So there's the "religious landscape" at the time the Jesus miracle claims appeared --

    no reported miracles anywhere

    -- and yet suddenly we see the most extreme onslaught of miracle stories ever, popping up from nowhere, in this one case only. Why?


    The early converts to Christianity would have been Jews or Roman pagans. Many Jewish people already believed in the God of the Old Testament and in prophecies of a coming Messiah, so the challenge in their conversion would have been convincing them that Jesus was the fulfillment of these prophecies.
    But he really was not such a fulfillment, for 99% of Jews, because the "Messiah" was supposed to successfully overthrow the existing power structure and replace it with a new structure. And Jesus did not do this, so he evidently was NOT the "Messiah" the Jews were expecting. They did not expect any "Messiah" who would be crucified. So we cannot explain why Jews would convert to Jesus. And yet something happened which caused many of them to proclaim him "Messiah" and also "Savior" and "Son of God" or "Son of Man" and other titles, and also to anticipate his return and establishment of the new Kingdom. How can this be explained? It cannot be. ---- Unless he resurrected and did the other miracle acts -- in which case there is an explanation for it.


    The Roman pagans already believed in many gods and miracles, so the challenge in converting them would have been limiting them to believing in one God.
    There's no reason to believe that Jesus or his followers had any power to cause any such change in their beliefs (if Jesus did no miracle acts). So here also there's no explanation how any Romans or Greeks would have been converted to believing anything different. I.e., without the miracle acts done by him there's nothing about him that would have converted any of them.


    The early Christians wouldn't have been trying to win over skeptical atheists and agnostics, or people who doubted the supernatural in general.
    Some of them would, or did. The Apostle Paul tried to win over some skeptical Athenians, according to Acts 17:

    [conclusion of Paul's sermon]: 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." 32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We will hear you again about this." 33 So Paul went out from among them. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionys'ius the Are-op'agite and a woman named Dam'aris and others with them.
    This sermon reported in Acts, even if it's a Luke composition, is credible as reflecting how Paul tried to win over Greeks who were skeptical of supernatural claims. Some scoffed and others were convinced by him.

    It's a reasonable possibility that some such skeptics were won over because of his claim that Jesus had resurrected. If this was believed by many, and if Paul could show some evidence for it, from oral reports circulating, or from witnesses or from those close to the event, this could convince some who otherwise would not believe such a claim. This indicates that there were many reports of this event to the point that some skeptics found it difficult to disbelieve the claim.


    For someone who grew up believing in the labors of Hercules, it wouldn't have been too difficult to believe that someone else walked on water or turned water into wine.
    Yes it would have been very difficult to believe some recent miracle-worker did any such thing if it was only fiction. The only reason anyone believed in the miracles of Hercules is that this was an ANCIENT legend based on centuries of mythologizing. Virtually no one in the Roman culture believed in instant "messiah" - type miracle-workers popping up here or there. All the charlatans were rejected and ridiculed by the general population, including by the poor masses. They believed only in the ancient gods and heroes, not in any recent charlatan "god-man" popping up and claiming to do miracles. They found it very difficult to believe such claims and regarded them as hoaxes. But in the case of Jesus many of them did believe, which can be explained if there was real evidence in this case which made it different from the others.


    It's one thing to claim to have writings that faithfully represent the beliefs of a religious sect, or even the overall life and times of a religious leader. It's quite another to claim that these writings are completely true, including all the divine claims and miracles.
    They don't have to be "completely true" in order for the reported Jesus miracle events to be credible. These accounts are evidence that those events did happen, regardless if there's also a fictional element in the writings. We can rely on these writings to determine the events, just as we rely on other writings of the time, all of which contain both fact and fiction. We can use the writings to determine what happened even though they're not "completely true" -- because otherwise we'd have no source for determining any of the (ancient) historical facts, and we'd have to toss out half of our known historical record.


    Jesus and Sai Baba can't both be God, so for any arguments about the divine aspects of Jesus and the New Testament to be convincing, you shouldn't be able to turn around and use similar arguments on Sai Baba and his biography, or any of these other religious leaders to prove their divinity.
    You aren't able "to turn around and use similar arguments" because we do not have similar written accounts reporting miracle acts for Sai Baba and the others. If those published written accounts exist, let's see them and see how credible they are. We can explain why Sai Baba's disciples believed he could do miracles, because they were mesmerized by his charisma over many years of being exposed to his preaching, not because they witnessed any real miracle acts. Years of legend-building from his devotees can explain how they acquired this belief in "miracles" done by him, because they already worshiped his god Krishna, because his charisma and magic tricks inspired them over many years of a long career, and because at an early age he proclaimed himself an avatar reincarnation of the popular ancient god and then preached and won over disciples for many decades.

    Nothing like that can explain how Jesus became an instant miracle-worker "messiah" in only 1-3 years of public exposure. So the factors explaining the modern Sai Baba, whose reputation spanned more than 50 years of preaching and inspiring devotees, cannot explain the 1st-century Jesus miracle-worker who had no wide reputation or status in 30 AD when he was eliminated.


    If an argument could be used to claim the divinity of both, then it must be a flawed or incomplete argument (unless you do think they're both God).
    But the argument cannot be used to claim "the divinity of both." The "miracle" explanation applies only in the case where there is no other explanation why anyone believed he had superhuman power or "divinity" or "messiah" status. In the case of Sai Baba we have a normal explanation, based on mythologizing, while in the case of Jesus there is no normal explanation.


    To put it another way, when listening to the arguments from apologists, you would do well to consider how these arguments might sound if being applied to a different holy man like Sathya Sai Baba, and whether you would still find them convincing.
    We should consider that, and when those arguments are applied to Sai Baba they are not convincing because we can easily explain why his devotees falsely believe he did miracles, due to his charismatic impact on them over many decades. The "miracle" stories (assuming they even exist, since no one is presenting any of them for us to consider) can easily be explained as fiction in his case -- or just as emotional outbursts, like in the video earlier -- but not in the case of Jesus in the 1st century, whose public career was only 1-3 years, and who had no widely-recognized status or reputation in 30 AD, and further had no mass media to spread his reputation.

    The evidence about "miracles" is: Jesus must have performed miracle acts which were witnessed by observers other than his disciples, because we have the unusual written accounts from the time documenting these events, and these cannot be explained unless those actual healing acts really happened, including the Resurrection.

    But also: There are reported cases of miracles, throughout history, from many religious believers of different cultures and traditions, Christian and non-Christian, and there's generally no way to corroborate them or demonstrate evidence for them, such as we have for Jesus in the Gospels. Probably 99% or more of the miracle claims are fictitious, but if some are true, that confirms that "miracle" events do sometimes happen, similar to those of Jesus in the 1st century, which is a singular case where a large number of "miracle" events are compressed into one brief historical episode, and there are no other cases of one person doing a large number of miracle acts confirmed with evidence.


    ---

    As a side note, this entry began life as an introduction to a review of Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ. I'm not sure if I'll be able to bring myself to finish the book and the review, but I didn't want this intro to languish in my drafts folder, so I figured I'd adapt it into a stand alone post. Just in case I never get around to a full review, I'll say that Strobel's book isn't very convincing. The apologists he interviews engage in a lot of these special pleading type arguments.
    "a lot" of what? How about an example of just one. So far we've been given no legitimate example of one "special pleading type" argument. Increasing the number, expanding the quantity to many or "a lot" or a million doesn't mean much if we are not provided one single case alone, with the essential details of what the logical flaw is, or the mistake, or the contradiction or fallacy being committed.


    And despite Strobel's touting of his journalism credentials, the book is very biased, with practically no expert rebuttal to the apologist's claims. If you're . . .
    Of course every book on this subject has its flaws and its bias and its selecting of "experts" who confirm the bias. No book ever published on this was without bias and flaws. We're concerned here with one kind of flaw, the "special pleading" fallacy in the argument from miracles, i.e., the Jesus miracles for which we have evidence from writings near the time of the alleged miracle events. But so far no debunker is offering us a serious example of another miracle-worker for whom there is evidence. There is no "special pleading" fallacy being committed unless we have such an example, showing what alleged miracles happened, giving the source for the claim, so we can compare that to Jesus in the Gospels.

    . . . claims. If you're interested, here's a pretty good review on The Secular Web:

    The Rest of the Story, by Jeffery Jay Lowder https://infidels.org/library/modern/...robel-rev.html
    This lengthy review covers a lot, and yet it ignores the important matter of the other reported miracle-workers to be compared to Jesus in the Gospels. So by omitting this essential part of the refutation, it fails to rebut or refute any "special pleading" argument for the miracles of Jesus.

    Again, there is no "special pleading" fallacy being committed unless someone gives a serious example of another reputed miracle-worker, including references to the particular miracle acts someone claims happened. We have to see the original claim, by someone knowing about it, near the time, reporting what was seen or experienced by witnesses.

    There is a repeated failure to give us the other examples, other acclaimed miracle-workers, citing the source, text, publication containing the information describing the alleged miracle acts. As this continues on and on, religiously claiming they exist but never giving us any example, other than a meaningless laundry list of names (of supposed miracle-workers) with no original source, we have to conclude that there are no serious examples. The wish, and dogmatic insistence, that there must be these other examples, but with none ever offered, and only angry outbursts that the examples have been given a million times, can only be taken as further evidence that there are no other examples. If they exist, someone will offer them, and for once cite the original sources.

    Until then, the only fallacy being committed is that of the out-of-control debunker, snorting that the Christ-believer is committing the "special pleading" fallacy.
    Last edited by Lumpenproletariat; 12-12-2019 at 09:51 AM.

Similar Threads

  1. Theological Fine Tuning
    By Cheerful Charlie in forum General Religion
    Replies: 168
    Last Post: 05-09-2018, 09:33 AM
  2. fine tuning argument
    By BH in forum Existence of God(s)
    Replies: 120
    Last Post: 05-06-2018, 05:45 PM
  3. How would you debate this argument
    By NobleSavage in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 59
    Last Post: 10-04-2014, 07:12 AM
  4. Replies: 13
    Last Post: 07-29-2014, 10:05 PM
  5. The argument for eating dog
    By Potoooooooo in forum Political Discussions
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 07-26-2014, 07:25 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •