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Thread: Fine-Tuning Argument vs Argument From Miracles

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    Quote Originally Posted by atrib View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Ok, you say miracle, but Jesus Himself , you must agree has something over the Fairies , Easter bunny and Santa Claus.
    Why should the Jesus miracle stories be treated differently? Because you believe them?
    I expect you to treat them that way, because of the fact "you don't believe them", regardless or what I believe.

    I was curious whether of not Bilby believed Jesus had actually existed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post

    If magic isn't real, why are there so many magicians? Why do people go watch magicians do their thing if magic isn't real?
    It must be because of the dazzling entertainment value, not like going to see a preacher I suppose.

  3. Top | #213
    Raspberry bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by atrib View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Ok, you say miracle, but Jesus Himself , you must agree has something over the Fairies , Easter bunny and Santa Claus.
    Why should the Jesus miracle stories be treated differently? Because you believe them?
    I expect you to treat them that way, because of the fact "you don't believe them", regardless or what I believe.

    I was curious whether of not Bilby believed Jesus had actually existed.
    I have no belief either way with regards to the existence of a man who formed the starting point for the Jesus myth. Perhaps there was one, perhaps the character is an amalgam of many, perhaps the character is entirely fictional. The supernatural aspects of the character are obviously fiction. But there's absolutely no way to know whether there was ever a real person onto whom those aspects were later grafted - and to be honest, I can't understand why anyone would even care. Certainly it's pointless to care, as the evidence is so scant that nobody alive today will ever know.

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    You have a gift , ultra fast reponses , I wish I had that gift (he says going through the threads).

    Nicely done hidden one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post

    If magic isn't real, why are there so many magicians? Why do people go watch magicians do their thing if magic isn't real?
    It must be because of the dazzling entertainment value, not like going to see a preacher I suppose.
    You are selling some of the preachers short. Some of them, specifically the faith healers, put on quite a magic show... a hand on the forehead of a cripple, a scream of "HEEEE-ALLL", the cripple collapses to the floor and twitches for a while then jumps up and dances, completely cured. That is one hell of an entertaining magic show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post

    I expect you to treat them that way, because of the fact "you don't believe them", regardless or what I believe.

    I was curious whether of not Bilby believed Jesus had actually existed.
    I have no belief either way with regards to the existence of a man who formed the starting point for the Jesus myth. Perhaps there was one, perhaps the character is an amalgam of many, perhaps the character is entirely fictional. The supernatural aspects of the character are obviously fiction. But there's absolutely no way to know whether there was ever a real person onto whom those aspects were later grafted - and to be honest, I can't understand why anyone would even care. Certainly it's pointless to care, as the evidence is so scant that nobody alive today will ever know.
    It doesn't matter when someone or some preacher is taken by the spirit and begins to cry JEEEEEEEZUS, JEEEEEEEEEEEEEZUS, and the blind lady starts to see again or stands up from her wheel chair. That slap on the forehead and cry AWAY DEVIL! is great theater. People like that stuff. They cry because they feel the spirit of JEEEEEEEEZUS.

    Get with it, bilby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post

    If magic isn't real, why are there so many magicians? Why do people go watch magicians do their thing if magic isn't real?
    It must be because of the dazzling entertainment value, not like going to see a preacher I suppose.
    You are selling some of the preachers short. Some of them, specifically the faith healers, put on quite a magic show... a hand on the forehead of a cripple, a scream of "HEEEE-ALLL", the cripple collapses to the floor and twitches for a while then jumps up and dances, completely cured. That is one hell of an entertaining magic show.
    Touché! Yes thats quite true , well spotted, forgot about that when posting. Just as dazzling as the gold rings and watches , some of these preachers have.

    (I couldn't sleep)

  8. Top | #218
    Veteran Member Lumpenproletariat's Avatar
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    Is Jesus Christ only one of many reputed miracle-workers of Antiquity?

    Who are the others? Where is the record of them? Where are the reports of their miracle deeds?



    (continued from previous Wall of Text)


    Quote Originally Posted by Koyaanisqatsi View Post
    There is no miracle tradition in the Jewish or Greek/Roman culture during these centuries having any resemblance to the Jesus miracle healings
    There were many many such "traditions."
    All you offer here is a laundry list of claimed miracle legends, but you make no effort to look at them individually, to confirm that a miracle act is described and attributed to some historical person, or anything resembling Jesus in the Gospels. You just believe your source for this list, without questioning it, and there is no text from any ancient source offered, such as the accounts we have for the Jesus miracle acts.

    The closest example in the laundry list is the case of Asclepius, which I've shown is dissimilar. The miracles of Asclepius for which there is written evidence are all from the inscriptions on temples and statues from about 500-200 or 100 BC. By 200 or 100 BC these miracle claims had died out, and the only inscriptions after then until 100 AD are not about any miracle acts.

    I went through the reported Asclepius miracles in a previous post:
    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post
    Some miracle claims (e.g., the Jesus miracle acts in the Gospels) are more credible than others.
    and I showed there that there are no Asclepius miracles from 100 BC to 100 AD. The list of Asclepius miracles, which shows this gap, indicates a decline in the cult up to about 200 or 100 BC, after which all the miracle claims disappear until 100 AD when there's a revival. During this gap there are a few inscriptions showing some medical treatments recommended, and other indications that this cult was a medical school of some kind, practicing conventional methods with drugs or herbs or concoctions, and probably including some legitimate treatments along with some quackery, many rituals and recommended treatments for ailments. but no claimed miracle cures during this 200-year gap.

    We have no evidence for the Asclepius miracle claims which cannot be explained as normal mythologizing, as part of a normal religious tradition and priesthood worshiping an ancient healing god rather than any recent historical person who did healings.

    Asclepius was not an historical person, during the period of the claimed miracle healings. Rather, he possibly was someone 1000+ years earlier who became a legend. The only performers of the miracles were priests in the temples, and the only ones present were the worshipers seeking to be healed by the ancient deity.

    These reputed miracles are no different than miracle claims today, by clerics who do their healing miracles in the name of Jesus, sometimes praying, or doing a ritual, and in some cases the victim recovers from the ailment, in which case they claim it was due to the praying or healing ritual. The victim is always a devout follower of the cleric evangelist-healer-priest, and is persuaded by this one's charisma, or his authority or priestly status, like the ancient Asclepius priests in the temples, doing their act by invoking the name of their ancient healing god.


    Popularity of the ancient healing rituals, priests, temples

    The ancient gods and traditions get automatic credibility from the masses.

    Jesus did nothing of this kind and was not believed out of such appeal to the ancient legends. He was not a priest or prophet for an ancient healing god, invoking an ancient miracle legend as his source of power. And the victims were not his disciples, but were usually people who did not know him. And the acts were done in public places where non-disciples were present, unlike the Asclepius miracles which were always done in the Asclepius temple accompanied only by Asclepius priests. Only priests and disciples of the cult were present, never any outsiders or non-disciples.

    We can easily explain such alleged miracles done by priests at a temple where only disciples were present, where the victims healed were disciples only, and where an ancient healing god was being worshiped by the victim being healed, i.e., who was a devout disciple worshiping this ancient healer-deity. That kind of miracle event can easily be explained as a product of mythologizing, where the belief already exists in the mind of the victim and priest present, even though usually there is no real healing which happens. But in some cases there is a seeming recovery, or improvement, so it's called a "miracle" and credited to the ancient healing god, out of respect for the ancient tradition.

    Also, at the Asclepius temples there were medical procedures performed, and drugs administered, so some of it was normal medical treatment, unlike anything in the Jesus reported healings. Fiction stories can easily evolve out of this environment where the ancient deity is already believed and everyone wants to promote the cult and the priestly rites being performed. We see cases of this today, and through the centuries.


    Jesus / Asclepius false comparison

    But the Jesus miracle healing events cannot be explained as a product of mythologizing. He occurs suddenly in history, with no ancient healer deity being promoted, no ancient rites being performed, no appeal to any ancient authority as the source of the miracle. So there was nothing to promote the normal belief in the ancient traditions, as in the case of Asclepius rites performed by the priests. I.e., there was no already-established culture of miracle claims, or established god recognized as curing people, with Jesus part of a priesthood (or dynasty of prophets/rabbis) performing the already-established rites instituted over many centuries. No, Jesus was a newcomer with no established recognition for anything, in 30 AD. I.e., he was a nobody when he first appeared, with no status yet.

    The only way Jesus could have gained any status as a recognized healer, at this time, within 30 or 40 years, was if he actually did perform the miracle acts described. It's not possible for the miracle fiction to suddenly become established in popular belief overnight. It required centuries for Asclepius to gain his miracle reputation, and the priests gained their recognition only by identifying with the already-established ancient healing god.

    Once the tradition or the cult or the legend has become recognized, then it's possible for miracle claims to be believed, as done in the name of the established miracle belief system. Or, if a charismatic charlatan succeeds in persuading some followers, like Alexander the false prophet might have, this requires years of preaching and winning disciples. But this charlatan was not taken seriously by any educated person who recorded the events. For the claims to be taken seriously and recorded, like the Jesus miracles were, there has to be some serious evidence to persuade the educated person.

    So the Asclepius miracle stories can be explained as fictional events which resulted from the mythologizing process, while the Jesus miracle stories cannot be explained this way.


    Where's the ancient source for your reported miracle-worker?

    Why is no text ever cited for such claimed comparisons to Jesus in the Gospels? Why only a meaningless list of names? For Jesus we have 4 sources (5 for the resurrection), all near to the time of the reported events. There are no other such serious examples of any reported miracle-workers in antiquity.

    Your laundry list of reputed miracle legends (Asclepius and others) gives no serious examples of any miracles performed, such as we have with Jesus in the Gospels. They can all be explained as normal cases of mythologizing, while Jesus in the Gospels cannot be. Of course you can always just retort: Aaaaaa, people make up shit!, and thus dismiss anything you don't like as being fiction. The "people make up shit!" outburst is the catch-all universal argument against any miracle claim you want to dismiss no matter how much evidence there might be that it's true.

    So, you have to do better than just cite a website with a laundry list of alleged miracle-workers. You have to show the evidence for each case you're claiming as a serious example of a miracle act which happened, showing how there is no way to explain the alleged miracle as a normal product of mythologizing. As the Jesus reported miracles cannot be explained. All the examples in your laundry list can be explained as fiction.

    But also, the stories in the Book of Acts, of the apostles performing miracles, can be explained as due to mythologizing, derived from the Jesus miracles as the inspiration for them. There's only this one source for them, rather than 4, and they are easily explained as copycat stories based on the earlier Gospel accounts, which set the stage for them. Whereas prior to the reported Jesus miracle acts there is nothing to explain or set the stage for such miracle claims popping up in the mid-1st-century.


    There are many pieces of evidence pointing to the Jesus miracle acts as real events in history, unlike other miracle legends of the period.
    No, there is really only one, GMark (and he . . .
    You discredit your case when you have to fall back on this falsehood. There are 4 (5) sources for the Jesus miracle acts, not just 1 or 2. The other 3 Gospel accounts are not the same as GMark. Just because 2 of them quote from Mark does not make them identical to Mark. We have 5 sources for the Resurrection, and 4 for the healing miracles of Jesus. (We even have 6 sources for the Resurrection, if we include the epistle of Clement, from about 95 AD.) All 5 documents do exist, from the 1st century. You cannot arbitrarily dismiss something as non-existent just because you don't like it and wish it didn't exist.

    . . . and he confirms that Jesus granted his disciples healing powers).
    In one isolated verse he says this. But it's so easy to explain how this fiction could have got started. If it's so easy to explain it as something normal, then it's better to accept this normal explanation rather than the miracle claim. There's almost no mention of this in the 4 Gospels -- one isolated verse each in Matthew and Mark and Luke. There is no reason why the Gospel writers should play down this important fact (the disciples performing miracles) if they really believed it. It was obviously added, as an afterthought, in response to the original miracle events, and out of a wish that the miracles ought not end with the departure of Jesus.


    A small Elite dominates the early cult of disciples, after Jesus.

    That the apostle/disciple miracles are fiction is suggested by the fact that in Acts these miracles are not done by a large number of believers, but rather only by a few chosen Apostles, who are depicted as having some special powers not granted to average believers. And so most of the believers are depicted as dependent on the leaders, the few elitists, who are superior to "the flock" and impose their authority onto them. Their alleged miracles are so easy to explain as normal human mythologizing rather than anything which really happened.

    This is illustrated clearly in the bizarre story of 2 disciples struck dead by Peter (Acts 5:1-11), showing that now Peter and perhaps 1 or 2 other leaders became successors to Jesus, as being superior and having life-and-death control over the others, who were inferior and to be intimidated by these elitists now having the power. This is a mythologizing process taking place, where fiction stories now become introduced in order to solidify this new forming group into a cult dominated by a few in control of the others.


    And then GMatthew--about 15 years later--aggrandizes those powers.

    Hey, what do you know? We have a directly applicable example of how one writer--"Mark"--says the disciples have only healing powers and then a later writer embellishes that detail to now include the ability to resurrect the dead.

    And that only within about fifteen years of each other. Imagine that.
    That's a reasonable inference, all of which is easily explained if the original Jesus miracle acts really did happen. But if not, then none of this can be explained. Claiming that the disciples gained this power makes no sense, unless they first believed the power really existed because it was demonstrated by someone earlier. If such power really was demonstrated, that lays the groundwork for then exaggerating this to extend the power to his disciples. But where did the original miracle claim come from, which was believed? What explains how the original Jesus miracle claims came about, if the events did not happen? There was nothing earlier to explain what got the Jesus miracle stories started. But it's easy to explain what got the later stories started (about the disciples also doing miracles).


    So which author is correct? And which one embellished? Or did both?
    Both embellished, based on the earlier established fact of the Jesus miracle acts. Nothing about embellishment casts doubt on the original reported Jesus miracle acts, but actually the opposite: the embellishment points to the fact of the earlier Jesus miracle acts, which then explains where the embellishment came from. There had to be something there originally for them to do the embellishing to. It's easy to explain how an original miracle claim would become embellished into a bigger claim. But no one yet can explain how the original claim (Jesus miracles) got started.


    The reliable and neutral sources, or those exterior to Christianity, say nothing about the Jesus miracles, and almost nothing about Jesus generally.
    Which should likewise tell you everything you need to know, . . .
    It tells us he was not a rich and powerful political figure or anyone with connection to those in power. It tells us he didn't lead armies to conquer and subdue nations, or serve in the ranks of such leaders, nor did he lead uprisings against those in power or organize a mass movement to overturn the establishment. Nor did he come to the attention of historians by means of a long career teaching and influencing and recruiting disciples with his charisma or by serving in the established learning centers or writing long dissertations on philosophy.

    He had no status that chroniclers should notice him, or wide recognition other than what slowly developed 50-100-200 years after his death. If "his fame spread" abroad (Mark 1:28), it was limited to the Galilee-Judea-Syria region, and there is no explanation what "his fame" could have been caused by other than something extreme and of abnormal impact, and something felt locally rather than far away.

    . . . but then, again, we also have at least two authors that talk explicitly about those miracles--at least in regard to granting powers to the disciples--that show a clear embellishment.
    OK, but there can't be an embellishment without first having something to embellish. What was it that they embellished?

    The only answer so far is that there were reports of this person doing miracle acts, and apparently enough so that the reports were credible. They investigated the matter and wrote accounts of it, as best as they could determine the facts, and they added interpretation (their own or someone else's), such as to connect him to ancient prophecies, needing to provide some context for him. And 3 of the 4 Gospel writers chose to include an obscure comment about Jesus granting miracle power to the disciples, but only this one brief comment, with no narrative of the disciples performing such powers, showing that the writers attached very little significance to this minor embellishment, and likely doubted the truth of it.

    But the original story being embellished must have had great significance. There's no point in embellishing something which was not important. What was the original story they embellished, and why did they think it was important? Why did these 4 (5) writers seize upon the reports of this person and publish their version of it, adding some interpretation and theology and embellishment?


    I'll leave it there for now so that you can explain all of these contradictions.
    The historical record is full of "contradictions" needing to be explained. Far more "contradictions" than you've listed here.
    Last edited by Lumpenproletariat; 05-22-2019 at 08:28 AM.

  9. Top | #219
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    OK, but there can't be an embellishment without first having something to embellish. What was it that they embellished?
    What everyone always embellishes; the fantastical parts and always in escalatory fashion. Nobody embellishes mundane elements, like, "and then he brushed FIVE of his teeth!"

    Nobody gives a shit about a story where the protagonist is just an ordinary guy and nobody tells a story about a protagonist that is just an ordinary guy. And the reason the embellishments occur is in order to elevate the ordinary into the extraordinary, so that people are impressed and pay attention to your story.

    The most logical assessment in regard to Jesus is that he was the leader of a small, but effective insurrectionist movement who got ratted out by one of his own (hence the sequence where Judas has to kiss Jesus in order to tell the Roman soldiers there to arrest him, which one was the actual leader of the group). Jesus was then publicly tried, tortured, mocked as a pretend King seditionist--by the Romans in front of the Jewish crowd in order to teach them all a lesson--and then nailed to a cross to rot (like all seditionists) throughout the "festival" as a further warning to all.

    His men scattered as instructed and slowly, after a few years, started to regroup and reform their earlier seditionist movement and along the way they would tell martyr stories about their fallen leader, probably just as a reminder of his bravery and teachings for a better world once the Roman occupiers are overthrown and then more as a recruitment mythology. You know, like precisely what is done and has been done in that region for centuries up into today?

    Those stories--of his cunning and leadership and religious outlook for a new kingdom on earth--then get embellished. The one time he managed to feed a small group of gatherers with nothing but a few loaves of bread and some fish gets turned into feeding a huge group of people with loaves and fishes that never ended. The one time he turned to summon Jehovah to stop a storm that just coincidentally started to abate right at that moment gets turned into him having the power to command nature. The one time he gently brushed the cheek of a dying child, who seemed to get a little bit better at his touch, becomes a healing power that could cure the blind and lepers. Etc., etc., etc.

    Ordinary becomes extraordinary and powers start to grow and transform, exactly in the same manner that in one book Jesus grants those healing powers to the people who are telling those stories initially (the "disciples") that in turn in the next retelling of the story ten or so years later they not only get healing powers, but now they get powers to raise the dead.

    If you're going from having the power to heal to having the power to heal and raise the dead in just ten or so years, then simply extrapolate backwards from the version of the story that was told ten years prior (which was itself a version of the story told some forty years after the alleged facts). It's not rocket surgery.

    From he touched a sick child that seemed to get better from his touch to he can heal the sick! to he granted us his powers to heal to we have powers to heal and raise the dead. All in a forty to fifty year game of telephone.

    And think of the people we're talking about. Not exactly critical thinkers. Look at Paul. The ONLY reason he is even a topic of discussion is because he claimed to have a "vision." That's it. That was the full extent of their critical acceptance. Oh, ok, well, if you say you had a vision, then of course, it must have been true so come on in.

    And don't forget that Paul is alleged to have been the one to basically say that anything claimed in regard to the "good news"--even lies--are ok because of the importance of the word.

    We literally see exactly this kind of escalatory embellishment all over the place in history and just every day stories. It's what "embellish" means ffs.

    Look at what you are doing. You are so desperate to establish the ludicrous notion that Santa Clause is real that you are abandoning all rational thought in an ironic attempt to apply rational thought to a belief that is inherently and deliberately irrational.

    Faith is supposed to be in spite of the evidence that contradicts it. Yet you are doing the exact opposite by trying to ground your faith in facts, no matter how tortured they have to be in order for you to make your case for yourself.

    All of us see right through what you're trying to do, so it's sure as shit not being done for our sake. You are right now turning reality into fiction in order to fit your beliefs. And you don't even see it. Or, worse, you do and don't care.

  10. Top | #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by atrib View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Ok, you say miracle, but Jesus Himself , you must agree has something over the Fairies , Easter bunny and Santa Claus.
    Why should the Jesus miracle stories be treated differently? Because you believe them?
    I expect you to treat them that way, because of the fact "you don't believe them", regardless or what I believe.
    My question relates to why YOU find the Jesus miracle stories to be convincing.

    In case you forgot, this was the question:

    Can you explain why it would be reasonable for us to believe that Jesus performed miracles? What is the evidence, and what makes you conclude that a supernatural creator bending the laws of nature is the best explanation for the miracle stories in the gospels?
    Is it really that hard to articulate a good reason for why you believe the Christ mythology?

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