Washington Post to Christians on Christmas Morning: Jesus Didn’t Exist

Unwrapping some fake news

By William M Briggs Published on December 26, 2017

Early Christmas morning, the Washington Post thought it should stick its thumb in the eyes of those celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Its official “Post Opinions” Twitter account tweeted, “Did historical Jesus really exist? The evidence just doesn’t add up.”

Many commented on the provocative timing. Publisher of Encounter books and author Roger Kimball said that the Post’s tweet was, “Really, all you need to know about that pathetic publication.” Conservative actor James Woods tweeted, “Why is this necessary today? Why insult people of a certain faith on the day they most cherish? It’s not a matter of being right or wrong, it’s a matter of simple courtesy. #Rude”. (He added a ruder hashtag as well.) Many others were affronted.

What “good reasons” does he have? Lataster claims that there are a “lack of early sources” about the life of Jesus. What about the Gospels?

The gibe was deliberate. It’s not like the story the Post touted was new. It contained no “breaking” news of some scholar unearthing new historical evidence. After all, the link in the Post’s tweet was to a three-year old, already-debunked opinion piece they published in December, 2014.

The Doubters

The article was by Raphael Lataster, with subtitle, “There are clearly good reasons to doubt Jesus’ historical existence.”

What “good reasons” does he have? Lataster claims that there are a “lack of early sources” about the life of Jesus. What about the Gospels? He dismisses those because, he says, they

all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity — which gives us reason to question them. The authors of the Gospels fail to name themselves, describe their qualifications, or show any criticism with their foundational sources — which they also fail to identify.

Dismissing Antiquity

Should we dismiss Lataster’s (and, tacitly, the Washington Post’s) argument because he wants to promote atheism? The fallacy is obvious. As is the suggestion that since the authors of the Gospels were not professional historians who knew modern footnoting, they can’t be trusted. If we applied this rule equally, we’d have to toss out nearly all ancient literature.

What about non-Christian, early professional historians, like Josephus and Tacitus? Lataster is equally disparaging. The excuse he uses for casting these men aside is to call their writings “controversial” and to say their work has “obviously been changed by Christian scribes.”

His argument can thus be boiled down to this. If you discount or ignore all the contemporary and near-contemporary eye-witness and other accounts of Jesus’s life, because these sources were biased, then the other evidence like miracles, the lives of the saints, the faith of billions, and so and on can’t possibly be true. Therefore, Jesus never existed.

Carrying Carrier

Lataster does himself no favors by leaning on the wild-eyed arch-atheist and Jesus-denier Richard Carrier. (By the way, Carrier recently “came out” as “polyamorous.”) Carrier’s behavior and litigiousness is so outré it annoys even his fellow atheists.

I once critiqued an argument of Carrier’s in which he claimed Jesus didn’t exist. It had all the coherence and logic of a Hillary Clinton speech. This critique must have stung because he claimed I “defamed” him (without, of course, saying how).

Now Lataster’s and Carrier’s bizarre views aren’t unusual. They’re based on myopic readings of history. But you usually hear them at a bar. You know, where that cranky old man who wears a parka all year round holds forth on how he was abducted by Bigfoot in a UFO (powered by water, a secret the oil companies are hiding from us) and was flown over a flat earth?

Why are such arguments showing up in the Washington Post?

Doubting the Doubters

And why are they appearing when the crank “mythicist” theories printed by the paper have been debunked over and over in scholarly works? A mythicist is one who claims Jesus didn’t exist, as a former appalled professor of Lataster’s explains. Three seconds of searching brings up, “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible” by Lawrence Mykytiuk from the journal Biblical Archaeology Review. This work has “voluminous endnotes,” which ought to please Lataster.

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Mykytiuk concludes, “We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in the New Testament, are corroborated or confirmed by the relevant passages in Tacitus and Josephus.” The first? “He existed as a man.”

The Post’s Mysterious Motivation

Yet, again, the Washington Post didn’t bother to fact check this old story. Instead it chose to re-publicize it on Christmas day. Why?

A clue may be had at the bottom of the main article in the section, “More from PostEverything.” There we find links to similar articles, such as:

Perhaps the Post is eager to promote anti-Christianity?

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  • Putin on the Ritz

    Dare them to try the same tweet on Islam!

    • Hannah

      On the first day of Ramadan. brb, off getting popcorn.

  • Gary Whiteman

    Lots of martyrs for someone who didn’t exist.

    • John Williams

      Lots of confidence for someone asserting a big guess…

  • The problem isn’t some wack job highlighted in the Fake News Washington Post who denies what everyone knows to be a fact, but the lack of trust people generally have in historical knowledge. I read a book recently called The Killing of History by Keith Windschuttle, who shows how postmodernism has come down from on academic high to infect education and the average person’s understanding of history. It’s worse than C.S. Lewis’ chronological snobbery because the assertion is that we can’t know in any objective sense anything that happened in history, and for a faith rooted in history, that is a problem.

  • Paul

    WaPo appreciates all your backlinks… mission accomplished. You got trolled for free SEO juice and publicity.

    • The WaPo was established in 1877. It’s “generally regarded as one of the leading daily American newspapers, along with The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and The Wall Street Journal.” It’s owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who is currently the richest person in the world.

      The WaPo needs SEO (search engine optimization) backlinks and publicity about as much as fish need bicycles.

      Try to do better next time, Paul.

      • Paul

        You think news sites don’t care about SEO? LOL

        You think a news site owned by Bezos doesn’t care about SEO? LLLOOOOLLL!!!!!!!

  • Patmos

    Bezos is a wicked man. I knew that a long time ago. No frets, his humbling will be glorious.

    To see just how wicked, check out the YouTube video “Amazon’s Alexa is a CRAZY SJW LIBERAL! | Louder With Crowder”.

  • Hannah

    I really couldn’t care any less about what some staunch, close-minded atheist has to say about Jesus. Thankfully, His existence isn’t contingent on whether or not someone believes in Him or has “adequate” proof that He lived. He has withstood the critics yesterday and today, and He will still win tomorrow, no matter the controversy or “scholarly findings”. This? This is just annoying, like a mosquito tinning in your ear. Does it concern me? To the extent of knowing the smug atheists will be insufferable for a time. Otherwise, go ahead. No amount of publicity or insistence or distortion of facts will make the truth align with your desperate attempt to ignore your Creator.

  • Leo Chappelle

    It disturbs me that anti-Christianity has such a faddish quality to it. Marx’s idea was not to argue against Christianity but to manipulate believers with the illusion of shared social justice objectives. He thought theism unworthy of an argument. That attitude has had great success, perhaps because a smirk and a sneer are easier to deliver than a defense of a syllogism.

    • Hannah

      It’s fashionable to not need Christ because it promotes a sense of self-sufficiency that exists only in delusional minds. The arrogant of any society will always shout from the rooftops, “There is no God!” What they fail to see in their arrogance is that it’s already been decided, without them, that He is God. Let them sniff at the “small-minded Christian fools” who willingly make themselves weak for an invisible Creator; I worship Him, not the god of “reason” as they know it.

  • Dean Bruckner

    Best bumper sticker ever (ca. 1992): “Every morning I read the Bible and the Washington Post. That way I know what both sides are up to.”

  • jasperparks@hotmail.com

    Debunking the wild and distracted regurgitated fantasies of “Jesus mythicists,” such as that of Mr. Lataster has been going on since shortly after the time of Christ with bifurcation in the narrative here and there. Ultimately, Mr. Lataster, et. al., will obviously find out where his eternity lies when he faces it. Anything from the Washington Pest pertaining to Christ and Christianity, especially now that it’s owned by Jeff Bezos is essentially fodder for landfills. Pet 1:21; Heb 12:1-3; Rom 1:20-23.

  • theGOONIES

    its the wacompost this should be expected

  • Mary Sue Thompson Polleys

    Some of the world’s finest science, art, music, buildings, literature—all inspired by Jesus—will be here long after the Washington Post is gone.

    • davidrev17

      Yes indeed! In fact, “heaven and earth [itself] will pass away, but my [Jesus, THE Word of God] words will never pass away”! (Matthew 24:35, emphasis mine.)

  • davidrev17

    “And so, with [my book] Did Jesus Exist?, I do not expect to convince anyone in that boat.
    What I do hope is to convince genuine seekers who really want to know how we know that Jesus did exist, as virtually every scholar of antiquity, of biblical studies, of classics, and of Christian origins in this country and, in fact, in the Western world agrees. Many of these scholars have no vested interest in the matter.

    “As it turns out, I myself do not either. I am not a Christian, and I have no interest in promoting a Christian cause or a Christian agenda. I am an agnostic with atheist leanings, and my life and views of the world would be approximately the same whether or not Jesus existed. My beliefs would vary little. The answer to the question of Jesus’s historical existence will not make me more or less happy, content, hopeful, likable, rich, famous, or immortal.

    “But as a historian I think evidence matters. And the past matters. And for anyone to whom both evidence and the past matter, a dispassionate consideration of the case makes it quite plain: Jesus did exist. He may not have been the Jesus that your mother believes in or the Jesus of the stained-glass window or the Jesus of your least favorite televangelist or the Jesus proclaimed by the Vatican, the Southern Baptist Convention, the local megachurch, or the California Gnostic. But he did exist, and we can say a few things, with relative certainty, about him.”

    — World renowned New Testament scholar/textual critic, religious skeptic & apostate “Christian,” Bart Ehrman, Introduction, “Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth,”(2012).

    “Facts are stubborn things…”

    • Grn724

      Here is a fact worth noting:
      The thousands, oh wait, millions who have been martyred in the name of Jesus Christ. To lay down ones life for a friend is the highest testament to Christ one can ask for. If Christ never existed, there sure is a lot of against towards him, including so call atheist. How can one call himself an atheist yet be offended by a crucifix, an image of Jesus or even the Ten Commandments? What most of these people seek in some vainglory for the sake of publicity over the most controversial figure in history. Deep down, most of these people will one day realize, probably near death, how wrong they have been. In the meantime, let them rant, because they make no dent in my belief that Jesus Christ has saved my life and maybe yours too.

      • davidrev17

        AMEN & great insight my brother (or sister)!

        Because after all, it’s been wisely noted by New Testament scholars, Dr’s. Gary Habermas & Michael Licona – both recognized experts on the Lord Jesus’ physical/bodily resurrection from the dead “on the third day” – that “liars make poor martyrs”!

        — “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus,” (2004), p. 59.

  • bfast

    I am sooo disappointed that I don’t subscribe to the Washington Post. I would have found pleasure in cancelling my subscription.

    • Dean Bruckner

      The Washington Times is a good newspaper and they have a weekly edition they will mail to you.

  • Southern Xposure

    With preponderance of evidence to the contrary the WaPo provides a major disservice to its readership.

  • Nancy E. Bowman

    “Perhaps the Post is eager to promote anti-Christianity?”
    …D’ya think?
    Rubbish writing aside, their article DOES plainly show a lack of common courtesy. Thanks, James Woods!

  • comit1

    I am disappointed in the Washington post, I suggest that we Christian not ever again read the post, no respect

  • Dhaniele

    The doubters have to face the fact that in the first centuries of Christianity the main opponents of Christianity were the Jews, but they never claimed that Jesus didn’t exist. That should be enough for any sincere doubter.

    • Howard

      Precisely! And that is much more convincing than what Josephus may or may not have said (that passage being much disputed). If someone were to argue that U.S. President Lex Luthor tried to betray the USA to the Iran in the 1980’s, we would not condemn Luthor as a lowlife we never really trusted, nor would we say that he was a fine president who was being slandered; we would object that there never was a U.S. President Lex Luthor.

      • Will

        “That should be enough for any *sincere* doubter” (Emphasis added).

        For anyone sincere, of course that would be reason enough concerning Jesus’ existence (Son of God or not being another matter for another time). For a handful of stupid people in this and other DisQus comment sections (not well read in the relevant history, and parading themselves as experts anyhow), it clearly isn’t.

  • Ray Meiers

    There are a range of rebuttals to Jesus that Satan has in his bag of tricks. Each one appeals to some section of the intellectual scale and he’ll make sure they keep getting trotted out until they don’t work. That Jesus didn’t exist must resonate with the dumbest section of the scale. Under the standard that determines Jesus didn’t exist, what historical figures did exist?

  • Bojaws Dubois

    To understand the doubters, you have to think like they do. They see a world where life is so miserable that millions of refugees risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean in search of a better life. People from Syria, Africa and other parts of the middle east. It’s a world where people like Juan Orlando Hernandez use their power to obtain wealth that is inconceivable for the rest of us while his constituents starve and die of curable diseases. Extrajudicial executions in the Philippines. The Killing Fields. Hitler. Leopold. Child sex trafficking. Drought and famine in the horn of Africa. ISIS going around chopping people’s heads off.

    To common folk, the belief in an all-powerful benevolent God is difficult. If he’s all powerful, then he can’t be benevolent if he can stop these things and doesn’t. Or maybe he’s benevolent, but he’s not capable of stopping these atrocities. People just don’t realize that letting this amount of suffering happen is just another way God shows us that he loves us.

    • Rebecca McGinley

      We are not at the end of time yet. We still live in a sinful, flawed world chosen by the actions of mankind. Prayer is not a quarter in a candy machine. Without faith there is nothing. All of these wrongs will be righted when the end time comes. While waiting we do as much good in this evil world as possible. When Jesus came he was not here to right fleeting worldly wrongs, but to make a path to God for the forgiveness of our sins and our eventual entrance into heaven.

      • Mark Mac Donald

        Faith: Believing without evidence. Also known as delusonal

        • Ken Abbott

          Your definition of faith is in error. This leads you to wrong conclusions.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            faith
            fāTH/Submit
            noun

            strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

            Looks like I’m right, after all.

          • Ken Abbott

            Sorry, but the dictionary is inadequate. The biblical concept of faith is more sophisticated than that. It begins with the notitia, the specific statements or claims, then proceeds to assensus, the acknowledgement or acceptance that the statements correspond to actual truth or reality, and finally arrives at fiducia, trust or reliance upon that truth. A person accumulates knowledge, determines through a careful weighing of evidence whether this knowledge is true, and then acts upon this knowledge or places trust in the one who has provided this truth based upon a decision that it is reasonable and right to do so. Does all of that sound like “believing without evidence”?

          • Mark Mac Donald

            you can try and change the meaning to suit your needs all you want. Bottom line is, faith is based on a lack of evidence. The reason why faith is SO IMPORTANT in your religion, is because it’s the only way the elders could convince you their ridiculous claims are real.

          • Ken Abbott

            In other words (with fingertips stuffed in ears), “La, la, la, I can’t HEAR you!”

          • Mark Mac Donald

            ‘a careful weighing of evidence’
            What is your BEST piece of ‘evidence’ that you carefully weighed?
            Specifically, in determining god is real

          • Ken Abbott

            The empty tomb. The resurrection of Christ is the linchpin, the central truth-claim of Christianity. On it everything depends. Destroy the truth of Christ’s resurrection and you have demolished Christianity. I have found that piece of evidence unassailable.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            how does an empty tomb prove the existence of a god?

          • Ken Abbott

            Are you interested enough to accept a reading recommendation (or two) and actually investigate the matter?

          • Mark Mac Donald

            I did all the investigating I needed to do during my studies in the seminary. When one reads the bible with a completely open-mind, you see how silly the claims are. In fact, a reading of the bible is enough to TURN A NORMAL PERSON AWAY FROM this TERRORIST

          • Ken Abbott

            How interesting. Well, perhaps you’d be kind enough to share your resources with the rest of us. Trust me, you’d be doing all Christians a favor if you can convince us we’ve been depending upon a lie.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            First, I’m not making a claim. You are. You claim the existence of a god to which I said there is insufficient evidence. The burden of proof lies ENTIRELY with you.
            It would be like me asking you to disprove there are fairies living in my backyard. It is not possible. But, since I claimed fairies in my backyard, then I MUST prove it

          • Ken Abbott

            You’re evading the question. Eighteen minutes ago you wrote that “I did all the investigating I needed to do during my studies in the seminary.” I’m just asking for you to share this investigatory wealth with the rest of us.

            You wouldn’t be the first man to lose his faith–or what he thought was faith–in seminary, sorry to say.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            Again, you show your inability to comprehend what you read.
            My evidence?
            Sure. How about adam and eve?
            how about the flood?

          • EC

            Mark, I will make this one more comment to you, because you have finally gotten specific, and it is over rather commonly misunderstood things.

            My guess is that you went to some mega-Evangelical/Baptist-ish seminary where they told you strange things like that the world is 6,000 years old and nonsense like that. That’s unfortunate, because it exposes the Gospel to much ridicule, and unnecessarily so.

            We have to be careful about projecting our kind of historical literature on the historical literature of the Ancient Near East. They were much more interested in aetiology and theological anthropology and morals. Sometimes (not all the time), they are just plain not interested in doing what we call history.

            That being said, more than one ancient culture has a flood story that follows basically the same narrative… Mediterranean, Asian, and even South American cultures have flood stories.

            Adam is indeed central, because he provides the necessity of redemption. Why would God choose to make a world full of bad people? He didn’t, that’s the point, He allowed it to happen to bring something better as a greater show of mercy and power (“o happy fault,” etc.). There has to be a first human… And I think many modern anthropologists (and linguists! – someone must be first to think abstractly) would agree. For more, see Human Generis.

            Peace…
            -EC

          • J B

            Hugh Ross…interesting information! Look him up on youtube.
            Faith…requires eyes to see, ears to hear. What is evidence to us looks like lies to atheists. Do not hold it against them. Someday, maybe they will be blessed with the ability to see and hear. I don’t say this as if we’re special because anyone can participate—-if they search for truth with a humble heart.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            How about them?

          • swordfish

            They aren’t real?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Vass you dere, Charlie?

          • S. Campbell

            The empty tomb is important because Jesus had told His disciples that He would rise from the dead on the third day. Roman guards were posted there, so that the body couldn’t be stolen. But the large stone at the grave had been moved and the grave clothes were left and He was gone. He then appeared numerous times after His crucifixion to not only His disciples, but to many people. Also, at the time of His crucifixion, there was complete darkness in the middle of the day for 3 hours. Then there was an earthquake and the curtain in the temple (which was almost a foot thick) that separated man from the spirit of God was completely torn in two. I’m not sure what kind of proof you’re looking for, but there were many eye witness accounts of all the things I described and they are documented in the Bible. There are many brilliant people who believe in God.

          • EC

            I noticed you put your faith in a dictionary a few moments ago… Someone you don’t know told you about something interesting to you, and you accepted it as true. Strange.

            The world runs on witness and trust. If you want to call a witness bad, you must explain how the witness has become confused or what motivation there is to lie. Perhaps you could consider the stakes in first century Palestine… We are not talking about a friendly place.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            Clearly, you do NOT understand the difference between faith and trust. Faith is believing without evidence. Trust is when you learn to accept a fact based on the results coming back consistently.
            I trust a dictionary because it proves to be accurate. I do not believe in god because there is ZERO evidence to support such a claim

          • EC

            No, guessing and insisting on that guess is “believing without evidence.” If you want to say that trust and faith are different, fine (and in finer points I would certainly agree), but you don’t seem to realize the reductio ad absurdum of your epistemology… My bet is that you don’t live by experience based knowledge much more than anyone else. Even Hume had the sense to see past that when he would quit obsessing over induction for the evening and go play backgammon.

            Re God’s existence: Read Aristotle, read Thomas, read the scholastic tradition following them… Re Jesus (etc.): Read the testimony of the early Church, written in blood by eyewitnesses… But you will read no more replies from me.

            Peace to you…
            -EC

          • Mark Mac Donald

            lmao. If you had PROOF, you wouldn’t need FAITH

            May the flying spaghetti monster hug you with his many tentacles of love

          • Ken Abbott

            This is not an attempt to change the meaning of faith but to correct your mistaken idea of it based on inadequate generic dictionary definitions. A dictionary cannot substitute for a developed theological treatment. On one level this is not your fault, Mark, for this shallow idea of faith is simple (simplistic) and easy to popularize. On the other hand, it is now incumbent upon you to give up reliance on a wrong belief and learn more about the subject on which you want to pronounce.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            so, you have proof. That’s awesome. Where’s your nobel peace prize?

            You can change the words any way you want. Bottom line is: You believe on insufficient evidence. If you had PROOF you don’t need FAITH lmao

          • Ken Abbott

            “lmao.” Or just talking out of it…

            It seems I’m up against invincible ignorance here. Get back to me when your argument amounts to something more substantial than “nuh-uh!”

          • Mark Mac Donald

            Get back to me when you’re ignorance to what evidence is makes sense.
            You claimed knowledge. Something NOBODY has. I’m asking to see it

          • Joe DeAloia

            Would the “faith” of billions of people over the last two millennia be proof?

            What about faith in the fidelity of a trusted friend or spouse? Since there can be no proof of that fidelity, can you trust their friendship or love?

            We have many chances to believe in unseen things. That is the proof!

            “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Heb. 11:1

          • Mark Mac Donald

            Nope . Faith ignores evidence. Your entire religion is based on myth

          • S. Campbell

            My faith is absolutely not based on myth. No one else on the planet has had their existence more historically recorded than Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God, sent by the Father to be the redeemer for all of our sins, so that we can be perfect in God’s sight on our judgment day. That’s how much God loves us! He sent His only Son to die for us! I believe that when I die, I will be in heaven with God and Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I absolutely believe this. But even if I were wrong, there is no downside to my belief. But what if you’re wrong? You will have rejected the Son of God, who died a horrific death as the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins. You will have made the choice to be separated forever from God’s amazing love. There is no turning back from that and eternity is a long time to spend in the wrong place.

          • J B

            Nobel Peace Prize..that’s funny. Who needs to actually accomplish anything to win? You just have to say you’re going to…like Obama. Winner!

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Faith: fides meaning “trust” (from Anglo Saxon “truth”). When John and Mary pledge their troth to each other, they pledge to be faithful, that is, true to each other.

            Belief: From “lief” antique form of “love”. Hence, “believe” = “belove(d)” with the old Anglo-Saxon intensifier “be-” cognate with the German intensifier “ge-” so, “believed” = “geiebt”

            Proof: A logical procedure demonstrating that a conclusion follows from a set of premises. Proofs do not exist in natural science but may be found in mathematics and metaphysics. Example, that an objective physical universe exists cannot be proven, but must be taken on faith. That is, the statement can be taken as trustworthy, but cannot be proven since any natural evidence advanced in its favor already assumes the conclusion, which begs the question.

        • S. Campbell

          There are many believers of the Christian faith and we are not delusional. Of the 60+ books that make up the Bible, there is not one contradiction, even though they were written separately and at different periods of time. The coming of Christ was prophesied centuries before His coming and everything that happened to Him during His life that had been prophesied, came true, right through to His crucifixion, even though when it was prophesied, crucifixion had not even been invented by the Romans.

        • Marian the Writer

          The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
          Faith itself is the evidence…Hebrews 11:3 also says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
          Faith is not delusional. Faith has substance…(In other words, “faith is real…”)

  • MikeW

    97% of historians agree that Jesus existed, which means that skeptics should be prosecuted.

    • Howard

      Prosecuted? No, of course not. Ashamed? Absolutely.

    • Mark Mac Donald

      So what? 97% used to believe the earth was flat, too

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        That’s not true, either; except possibly in China.

    • EC

      37% of statistics are made up on the spot… Where are you getting your numbers?

      People who disbelieve in the historical existence of Jesus are usually very confused in other ways… It is a means to avoid dealing with certain existential problems of their lives, which would be more urgent if the Gospel were the least bit plausible to them.

      So no need to go after the average Jesus-skeptic… But maybe those 3%of historians!

      • Mark Mac Donald

        yes, we are so confused. We don’t believe in an imaginary god either. But, we’re the delusional ones lmao

    • yukonyon

      Hahaha, Mark actually thinks 97% used to believe the earth was flat. Keep clutching those fallacies, Mark. They may not be conducive to psychological health, but maybe you can feel good about ripping crutches out from under people.

  • Mark Mac Donald

    Just like all religious claims made by the bible, none can be verified to be true. There is no proof Jesus existed, There is no proof to any of his so-called miracles. Whether he was real or not is irrelevant. A bigger problem is that god doesn’t exist. So, Jesus’ existence is rather irrelavant then

    • Jacqi V

      What year is it?

      • Mark Mac Donald

        the year to begin making decisions based on facts and not hopes and desires. The year to realize religious beliefs are based on superstitions and zero evidence of the existence of any god

        • yukonyon

          Sure Mark. We should believe that the universe magically exploded into existence with no explanation as to what caused the explosion. We should believe that deoxyribonucleic acids spontaneously formed themselves into complex genetic code, inside rudimentary phospholipid bi-layers because lightning struck ammonia and formed simple amino acids.

          Oh, and let’s not forget that earth was the only planet in the universe in which life occured, and that evolution ceased functioning, and didn’t continue to produce higher, more enlightened species, once homo sapiens had been selected for survival.

          Makes perfect sense.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            When did I claim ANY of that? lmao
            Just because we don’t know, doesn’t mean you can just insert god as the answer.

          • yukonyon

            So you’re now saying absence of evidence does not equal evidence if absence, just that it makes more sense to believe in spontaneous generation than to believe in more intelligent beings. Just so well spoken

          • Mark Mac Donald

            nope. Didn’t say anything like that. You did

          • yukonyon

            No, you did.

            “the year to begin making decisions based on facts and not hopes and desires. The year to realize religious beliefs are based on superstitions and zero evidence of the existence of any god”

          • Mark Mac Donald

            and? lmao

          • yukonyon

            And there’s no need to gaslight. You have no explanation for how we came to exist in the first place.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            So what? That doesn’t mean there’s a god. Are you familiar with the logical fallacy argument from ignorance? You just committed it

          • yukonyon

            Who said anything about me being a Christian? You’re the sort of atheist that gives atheists a bad name. Your arguments are as specious as they are retarded, and your talking points are 30 years behind, Mark.

          • yukonyon

            But hey, declaring yourself an atheist magically imbues you with the brilliance of Stephen Hawking, right?

          • Mark Mac Donald

            Nope. Again. Putting words in my mouth. what a Loser

          • Mark Mac Donald

            Lol and yet my arguments remain valid and true. Age of an argument doesn’t deteriorate the validity of it. I’m betting toy don’t understand that. But I’m a retard. Good argument. Loser

          • yukonyon

            Oh, and since you appear to have an autism impediment, I’m it never occurs to you that the reason you’ll quickly and very selectively remind everyone that absence of evidence /= evidence of absence is because religion stems from an evolutionary trait, and you’re somehow a defective mutation.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            I see. You have no evidence so you resort to name-calling. A true christian! god must be so proud!

          • yukonyon

            Mark, you asserted that God does not exist. Your reasoning behind this stems around the fallacious “absence of evidence”.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            Nope. I claimed insufficient evidence. I never claimed no god. See, religious people don;t know how to comprehend english

          • EC

            Mark has either forgotten about his post from an hour ago (“a bigger problem is that god doesn’t exist”), or he doesn’t care about it.

            Don’t feed the troll.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            I stand by that comment. A bigger problem for you is proving that god exists, not jesus. Makes logical sense

          • ArthurMcGowan

            If Man evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

        • J B

          What a sad outlook. To see the world as it isn’t, rather than how it really is. How else would you explain its miraculous, supernatural existence? Mere humans try so very hard to explain it all away.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            I see. Since I don’t have know all the answers, the ONLY possible answer is god? That is called a logical fallacy known as the argument from ignorance or incredulity. You look like a fool

    • Joe DeAloia

      Just for clarification, the “church” is the “body of believers”. If you will, there were plenty of “witnesses” to the birth, death, and resurrection, of the Christ! He chose twelve to fulfill the “great commission”. Beyond all of that, each of us is given a “measure of faith”, and “freewill” to choose what to do with that faith and the life we are blessed with. I pray that you reclaim that which you were given in the name of He who will redeem you! God bless you!

      • Mark Mac Donald

        Surely you understand those ‘witnesses ‘ can’t be used in an intelligent conversation? Unless you can Cross examine these ‘witnesses ‘ , their testimony is useless

        • Kevin

          Mark Mac Donald, their witness is written down. You either believe it, or you don’t. It’s your choice, and yours alone. When you die is when you’ll know whether you made the right choice, or not.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            apparently you don’t realize that a proper investigation doesn’t involve just choosing to believe someone’s statement or not. It involves investigation and questioning and corroboration. None of which exists

    • A Cater

      Psalms 53:1-3
      [1](To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David.) The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
      [2]God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
      [3]Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

      • Mark Mac Donald

        you do realize your bible holds no merit in the real world?

        • A Cater

          By the “real world” do you mean the Cosmos which is under the control of the Satan, who have deceived folks like you into believing his lie that there is no God? The real world that is full of hatred, ungodliness, debauchery and death, and offers no hope to its inhabitants who are outside of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The world that is “fitted for destruction” and to be ” burned with fire” and whose “elements will melt with fervent heat”. Today, God in His mercy places before you Life or Death, so chose this day whom you will serve, Satan or Christ. God in His mercy offers you a way of escape. I’m honored to be numbered with those who are followers of Christ who have accepted His pardon and His promise of eternal life and already experiences the love joy and peace that accompanies it. May God have mercy on your soul . “Today if you will hear His voice , harden not your heart”

          • Mark Mac Donald

            please prove the existence of satan. Christians are FULL of unsubstantiated claims

          • A Cater

            If you can’t see the evil that exists in this present world, you really are in a pitiful state and totally spiritually blind. If you wilfully chose to reject grace and truth, there’s nothing left but judgment. I have observed that most athiests are living in fear and are actually afraid of Biblical, truth as it exposes their sin wretched lives. Rather than turning to God they prefer to pretend there is no God to justify their unrighteousness. I pray that you will have a change of heart as “fear has torment, but perfect love casts out fear “. Now you still have hope – ” behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him”. “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement “”

          • Mark Mac Donald

            Sorry pal, I don’t see evil in the world. I see that some people do good things and some people do bad things. There is no seperate entity we can call evil (or good). Just because people do god things or bad things doesn’t prove the existence of a god or satan.Now, try and give me some ACTUAL evidence

          • Mark Mac Donald

            surely you are aware your god is the biggest murderer in human history. He even murders children without a thought. But sure, go ahead and blame satan.

  • EC

    The hermeneutic of suspicion strikes again. I wonder what would happen if they ran a piece on Mohammed? The Post and friends by and large begin with their conclusion, which is at the service of their wills, not their intellects. How morally inconvenient would it be for them if they were wrong…

    There are only four options: the witness lies, the witness is deceived, the witness is misunderstood, or the witness tells a truth we understand. There are many problems with the first three in this case…

    • Mark Mac Donald

      there is equal evidence for muslim claims too. ZERO

      • EC

        Ok… So Mohammed did not exist?

        I suppose all religious people are stoopid and tell lies about contemporary non-existent founders and get the immediately proceeding generation to believe those lies at great personal risk.

        Got it.

        For what it’s worth… Mohammed had much incentive to lie, and his followers conquered by violence. Neither is true in the case of Christ and the apostles… It was basically reversed.

        • Mark Mac Donald

          the church elders had EVERY REASON to lie. They became rich by perpetuating this lie

          • Ken Abbott

            They did? Peter, Paul, James, John, and all the others became wealthy by making up stuff about a Jewish messiah? What are your sources?

          • Mark Mac Donald

            lmao, now you are denying the richness of the church? go away

          • Ken Abbott

            Maybe you should go back and explain what you mean by “church elders.” Anyone familiar with the history of the church knows no one got rich from upholding Christian teaching for the first 300-plus years of its existence.

          • EC

            I remember one Apostle who was interested in making money. It didn’t turn out well for him.

          • S. Campbell

            If you’re referring to Jesus’ disciples as the church elders, almost all of them died as martyrs for their faith. They did not end up wealthy. And why would they have died horrible deaths as martyrs for their faith if it wasn’t true? They believed it because they had witnessed Jesus’ miracles before His death and then witnessed Him alive after His crucifixion. Jesus appeared to a large number of people after His death on the cross. This is not a fairy tale, even though many wish that it were. Some people don’t want it to be true because they don’t want to be accountable to a higher power for their life when they die. But they will be, whether they believe it to be true or not. Their disbelief doesn’t change the truth and they will be accountable.

          • Glen Hill

            There are scant details about what happened to the disciples. Show your sources. Moreover, “why would they have died for a lie?” Lots of reasons. (1) It may not have been a lie, per se. It may have been that they were mistaken. (2) They may have been deceived by someone who wanted to perpetuate the myth. (3) They may have had their own agenda, for better or worse.

            Stories of miracles are fairy tales. They involve the suspension of the physical laws of nature. We know of nothing that can do that, and there is no evidence for it. An old collection of written stories, which were sometimes handed down orally first and which were ALL subjected to translation errors and editing problems HUNDREDS of years after they were written, is not reliable, no matter what the subject, but especially if it involves magic that is relabeled as miracles. I would hope that you disbelieve the story of Gilgamesh as mere fiction for the same reason.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Actually, the gospels were written within a shorter time after the events described than most other ancient bioi and well within the lifetimes of probable witnesses. It was common Greek ‘tude not to trust written accounts, since you could not cross-examine a document and words on a page were subject to interpretation; while the ‘living word” (as they called eyewitness accounts) could be questioned. looked in the eye, and their precise meanings ascertained. Hence, most Greek-style bioi were not written until the eyewitnesses had begun to die off or were otherwise becoming unavailable. Porphyry’s Life of Plotinus is an example of this.

            Mark’s gospel, generally regarded as the first written is typically dates to shortly after AD 60, when its source, Peter, was executed by Nero. Mark was Peter’s scribe and secretary, and is supposed to have done the wordsmithing, according to Papias, who was writing about AD 100.

            And [John] the presbyter said this. Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements.

            Mark uses the usual Greek tropes to indicate that Peter was his source.

            The stories of Gilgamesh can be disbelieved for entirely different reasons, the first of which would be to have actually read them.

          • EB

            Most of them were put to death by the Romans, read Paul’s account of the sufferings he endured: “Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; in toil and hardship, through many a sleeplesss night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked. And besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.”
            2Corinthians ll:25-28

            Yes, it sounds like he was living in the lap of luxury alright.

            How do we know he is telling the truth? Because Christians have risked danger to spread the Gospel and been persecuted down through the centuries, as they are today in many parts of the world.

        • retiredconservative

          It’s safe to mock Christians. It is very dangerous to mock Islam or Mohammed.

    • Solo712

      I agree with you that the WP piece is in poor taste as its timing gives the impression of wanting to injure religious sentiments. However, this – by itself – does not argue against a possibility that the Gospel figure of Jesus was a literary creation, a view first systematically probed in the Eaureopean Enlightment. Variations of C.S. Lewis’ “trilemma” (Liar, Lunatic or Lord) such as you present, do not help in solving the great mystery. Despite the oaths, the gospel narratives may yet come to be seen among the best educated an most reasonable folks as refractory “witnessing of the passing of the Lord’s Spirit”, theological (,at the very outset, cultic,) arguments, and moral precepts for the earliest communities of believers. Incidentally, in Greek “hoi paraboles tou Iesou” means both, “parables by Jesus” and “parables about Jesus”.

      • EC

        You seem eager.

        Is it really not problematic that these thoughts only became popular during the Enlightenment? That’s quite a run. What one would expect is to find tons of Roman and Jewish propaganda and history done against the Gospels and the teaching of the apostles and their immediate successors. We don’t find a shadow of it (I don’t mean later polemics, of course), except in the Gospel of Matthew… And there, it is just to cover it up!

        The structure of witness is incredibly important. I disagree strongly with your assessment. People don’t always realize what the options are for evaluating the claims of a witness. It contextualizes the Gospels very well, because there is no reason to lie, there is no chance of being that confused, and it’s clear that we basically understand what is being said. So they are speaking truth.

        I’ve done my Greek studies a time and a half, thank you kindly.

        Peace…

        • Solo712

          No, it is not problematic that the idea that Jesus did not exist historically gained foothold in the Enlightenment. Given the dominance of the Church early, and the Protestants’ use of the New Testament in the High Middle Ages in the orthodoxy duel with the Catholics, it is really not at all surprising. But despite the persecutions of sectarians, we know that even in in the beginning there were people who did not believe that “Jesus” described a person of flesh and blood. We know that from Paul, don’t we ? Why would the apostle feel the need to argue that Jesus was born “of a woman, under the law” ? Evidently, someone thought differently. In a similar vein, 2 Peter 1:16 declares (KJV): “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty”. No-one in today’s academia believes that 2 Peter was written or dictated by apostle Peter. It’s a second century document. And why would the forger need to take on the mantle of Peter, when all synoptic gospels appear to be on the same page in rendering the effects of the Transfiguration story? Who at the time would be accusing the gospels of containing “cunningly devised fables” ? We also have a test in Jesus earthly existence in the New Testament: 1 John 4:2-3 declares “…this you know by the Spirit of God, every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,……” Why would it be a question of spiritual endowment to declare Jesus’ existence in flesh when multiple gospels wrote the story of him as irreducible historical fact ? But then again, those kinds of people would not know where to turn when the earliest gospel, Mark, tells them as readers they don’t have the wherewithal to understand the writing before them unless they are with him when he is alone (4:10-11).

          • EB

            “But then again, those kind of people would not know where to turn when the earliest Gospel, Mark, tells them as readers they don’t have the wherewithal to understand the writing before them unless they are with him when he is alone.” (4:10-11)

            Mark is repeating the words of Jesus to his disciples: “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables” etc. Jesus’ explanation to the disciples must have been made known by the disciples to the early Church, since Mark then goes on to give Jesus’ explanation of the parable. These stories were first told verbally before they were written down. (Read the beginning of Luke’s Gospel).
            Most people at that time would have heard the Gospel told or read aloud in their meetings on “The first day of the week”. (See the Acts of the Apostles). The format for those meetings is recorded in early documents, I think it’s in the Didache, I’m not sure, I’m writing from memory.
            There would have been few copies of the Gospels available at that time since the printing press was not discovered ’til centuries later. And many people would have been illiterate, though certainly not all.

          • Mollie Norris

            “Who at the time would be accusing the gospels of containing “cunningly devised fables” – the Pharisees and Sadducees, whose accusations are now written in the700 AD Babylonian Talmud; the oral Torah and Mishnah which state that the mother of Jesus was an unmarried hairdresser who associated with carpenters, that he was not a descendant of David, and that He was a magician who is now boiling in excrement for eternity. These are the people who enforced religious law and condemned Jesus Christ to death for blasphemy, and were “the Jews” the people feared in the NT.

    • Glen Hill

      EC, what is “wrong” with the witness being deceived or misunderstood, as you put it? Pray, explain yourself. What you are saying is that in support of writings such as the gospels (or ANY chapter of the bible, for that matter), a supernatural figure called God actually communicated with humans to provide a message or story. You have to demonstrate that such a thing happened, that it was communicated and recorded accurately, that it was maintained without change or embellishment in the same language and later through translations (plural). Odds are that some mistake was made along the line. But the starting point itself needs to be demonstrated first if you want people to believe the rest.

  • Anyone who denies the historicity of Y’shua bin Yosaif has ZERO clue about historical research and should be completely ignored until they go out and actually learn something about historical research.

    • Solo712

      Were it so simple as your “ipse dixit”!

      • Go talk to a bunch of real historians, and you’ll discover that there are far more IN my camp than not, so your little Latin epithet is non-sequitur.

        • Solo712

          Well, let’s just say that this would be a terrific argument for flat Earth in the age of Copernicus.

          • Yeah, well go try that one out on a professional, like, maybe, Gary Habermas. See, the reality is that if you were to try that out on ANY real historian you would get laughed out of the entire state, because you do not know what you’re talking about, pure and simple. You know NOTHING.

          • Will

            No, it wouldn’t. Archimedes and others calculated the diameter and circumference of a spherical Earth in the 4th Century BC. No one, and I repeat, no one, thought the world was flat in Copernicus’ time. Or even 2 centuries earlier in Columbus’ time, despite another popular misconception that was once taught as fact in elementary schools.

          • Howard

            Eratosthenes, I think you mean. Archimedes did a lot — he almost invented calculus — but I don’t think he had much to do with measuring the earth.

            Sadly, today we do worse than teach misconceptions. After all, misconceptions usually have a grain of truth, say something about the culture, and provide a starting point for better understanding. Today, though, too many kids are being taught basically nothing at all.

    • retiredconservative

      And the Gospel writers DID identify themselves. Both internal and external evidence support their identities. Jeez, these Jesus deniers reveal just how ignorant and poorly-read they really are.

      • Glen Hill

        Look at the annotations in the NIV of the bible. You’re wrong. Show me the originals of the gospels for the ultimate proof.

        • MadMagyar

          You know very well, as well as most who research the subject, that “originals” have not survived, so that’s a non-valid challenge. But you can find one of the earliest known copies, in Jesus’ own language, Aramaic, at the Norman Yonan Foundation and elsewhere online, or buy an English translation.

  • Alice Cheshire

    Atheists are duty bound to promote their intellectual superiority and will do so at every chance. They believe they hold the only truth out there and to question this is heresy. They preach whenever possible, in the rudest way possible. They are Gods in their own minds. What more would you expect from condescending Gods on Christmas?

    • Glen Hill

      Atheists have no “duty”. Some are intellectually superior to theists, while others are not. They do not seek “truth”; they merely ask for evidence to convince them of theistic claims, otherwise they are LOGIC-bound to not believe them (no matter what the religion). Keep in mind that as a Christian, you Alice, probably are a non-believer in every other god claim, too — just like an atheist. Put your reasoning to use there and turn it inward to your god, if you are an honest and rational person.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        But the only claim in play here is that Jesus actually lived and was executed by the Romans during the reign of Tiberius. That is, the claim is historical, not theological or scientific. It is only mission creep that compels one to extend this to absurdities like “every other god claim.”

      • GPS Daddy

        >>otherwise they are LOGIC-bound to not believe them

        Logic exists within a worldview. The assumptions you bring to the table will dictate the “logic”. Have you ever taken non-euclidean geometry? Its an eye-opener on this topic.

        The foundation of atheism can’t assert anything that is clearly evident. Take justice for example. What is justice on atheism? Atheism asserts that there is nothing but the physical world. Life is nothing more than matter interacting with matter. When we die we are dead like Rover… dead all over. Nothing continues beyond the grave. So for the woman who is raped and then killed what justice is there for her on atheism? None. In fact the atheistic worldview does not even call her rape and murder wrong. There is nothing in the atheistic worldview that condemns such an act. But we ALL KNOW that her rape and murder IS wrong and that Justice must be served.

        • Mark Mac Donald

          lmao Believing in consequences after death doesn’t make it so. And according to your BIBLE, a rapist MUST marry his victim. So, your useless bible doesn’t think rape is even wrong. Logic? Try using it

          • GPS Daddy

            Nice avoidance of the issue I raised with atheism. Can you please explain justice on an atheistic worldview? Remember, your answer must logically flow from that worldview. If your going to claim some moral ground then your going to have to show that that moral ground is grounded logically in atheism.

            For your bible comments I will fully address those once you address the issue I raised with you.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            you clearly have no idea what atheism means. There is no world view. There is no dogma or traditions to follow. An atheist simply states, there is insufficient evidence to prove a god. There is NOTHING more.
            Do you have a world view based on your disbelief in leprechauns? Of course not. You simply don’t believe in leprechauns based on the lack of evidence

          • GPS Daddy

            Ah, yes, the famous “I lack belief” in a god “definition”. This, then, allows you to avoid any responsibility. But that is NOT what atheism means. Rather this is the redefinition of the word by “new atheists” for the express purpose of avoiding having to be responsibility and to shift the burden of “proof”. SO, its time for you to take some responsibility in your life for the things you actually believe. To start, the actual, historical, definition of atheism:

            From dictionary(dot)com: “the doctrine or belief that there is no God”

            This is the historical definition and the only definition that can actually be worked with in discussing worldviews.

            But lets go with your redefinition. Can you explain to me justice on the position of “lack of belief”? Remember, your answer must logically flow from that position.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            lmao, redefining atheism to suit your argument doesn’t make it right. You’re assumptions are so ridiculous I don’t even know where to start.
            I am an atheist and I DO NOT have a worldview based on atheism. So, you are WRONG

          • GPS Daddy

            I am correct that new atheists redefined the word. But, again, your not dealing with what I asked of you. I asked you to explain justice to me on the position of “lack of belief”? Can you do that? I’m mean, really, surely your smart enough to do that!!

          • Mark Mac Donald

            sure, there is ZERO evidence supporting the existence of a god. Therefore, logic dictates I do not believe in things without sufficient evidence
            Are you smart enough to understand that???

          • GPS Daddy

            So your not able to explain justice on the position of “lack of belief”? Ok. Nice talking to you.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            are you really that stupid??? It is not up to me to prove the non existence of your silly terrorist god. That burden falls squarely on your shoulders. If you had PROOF you wouldn’t need FAITH. Now, prove your god’s existence and I’ll show you how RIDICULOUS your evidence is

          • Andrew Mason

            So you resort to insults when the argument doesn’t go your way? The most genocidal regimes in history have been Atheistic and yet you assert that it is the God of the Bible that is a terrorist? That makes no sense at all! Nor is it our responsibility to prove that you’re wrong. We advance our arguments, you can ignore or accept them at your leisure. The reverse should hold true. The fact you insist that you have no burden, that it is everyone else that must prove their position, implies you have no proof, rely on faith, and cannot defend your position.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            so, by your logic, christians are responsible for the holocaust as most nazis were christians. See how asinine you look now?

          • Ryan

            He resorts to insults because he cannot defend his religion. Atheism is a world view, he doesn’t even know that. He is pretty pathetic at that.

        • benevolus

          These God-rejecters don’t even realize that what they themselves call just and right was revealed to mankind by God, by lawgivers such as Moses as one example.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            sure. prove it

      • benevolus

        If you want proof by evidence and logic, forget about it. The only to please God is by faith. He set it up that way to weed you people out of the kingdom, because you are proud and arrogant — things God hates.

      • samton909

        So a man in the year 1600, should believe there is no such thing as electromagnetic waves, because he could not prove their existence? That’s just dumb.

    • Don Wood ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

      Pay no mind to Glen Hill for no doubt the most amusing thing with atheists is the brain damage you afflict upon yourselves fighting against what you cannot prove, that you claim does not exist, about a future you claim will not be. 🙂

  • Linda Collins

    If I’m right and God exists, I die, I win. If I’m wrong, nothing lost or gained. If you’re right and there is no God, nothing lost or gained. If you are wrong and there is a God, I you lose. I think I like my odds and beliefs better. Thank you.

    • Mark Mac Donald

      lmao. First, Pascal’s Wager is not the right reason to believe in a god. Only a christian would think it is. Second, I like my odds MUCH better. There are believed to be about a thousand gods out there. Your chances are 1 in a thousand of being right. I have a one in TWO chance of being right. So, like your belief in a non existent god, your math is non existent too

      • benevolus

        Somehow, just statistically, I doubt you can measure up intellectually to Pascal (which was also a really good programming language back in the day, but I digress).

        • Mark Mac Donald

          If you think you’re insulting me by saying I’m not as intelligent as Pascal, you are wrong. I’m the first to admit I’m one of the dumbest humans on this earth. But, that’s also totally irrelevant to the topic.It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand his wager. Again, only christians use it as a threat

          • Andrew Mason

            Why do Atheists think Truth is a threat?

          • Mark Mac Donald

            lmao, it is truth we search for. It is truth you STOP searching for when you state god is the answer for everything

          • Andrew Mason

            Atheists exclude Truth by default. Recognising God for what and who He is by no means ends your quest for understanding the Truth.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            lmao, you are a f*cken idiot

      • Tim M

        You assume that because thousands of man-made gods don’t exist that there can’t be ANY God that exists. Your odds may be better in your thinking, but your faith in your calculation and that you couldn’t possibly have made the wrong choice may lead to having made the wrong choice.

        • Mark Mac Donald

          the only calculation I used was a preponderance of the evidence. There is insufficient evidence to believe a god exists

          • S. Campbell

            So, just out of curiosity, how do you think this all began? Someone had to start it all. It’s impossible to create something from absolutely nothing. None of the evolutionists have ever been able to explain that. What I do know is that when I look at a newborn baby or the intricacies of all the different species of orchids or a sunset or the incredible beauty of a snow covered landscape, I know that there is nothing that man can create that even comes close. And it strikes me as absolutely ridiculous to believe that such beauty came about from some cells in a muddy bog. And even if that were true, a creator still had to put that into motion, because it is impossible for something to be created from absolutely nothing.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            I haven’t got a clue how we came about. My ignorance on the subject doesn’t allow you to submit a god as the answer. Faith, LITERALLY ends the search for truth

          • samton909

            That is one of the dumbest things ever said. Did saac Newton’s faith end his search for truth? You atheists are getting dumber and dumber

          • Andrew Mason

            Not at all. I could never be an Atheist as I lack the faith required. The notion that chance and time resulted in the reality that we live in is absurd. Not only is it mathematically improbable, and scientifically impossible, it’s also pointless which promotes nihilism. Instead of blind faith in nothing I’d much rather an active faith that searches for Truth and a greater understanding of God.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            your answer shows you do not understand atheism. It takes ZERO faith to analyze evidence and deem it insufficient. That is called rationality and logic.

          • Andrew Mason

            Rationality and logic is why some people are Christian and not Atheists. The preponderance of evidence supports Christianity. Whether a person is prepared to accept that evidence is another matter.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            so, you just claimed you have proof. If that’s the case, what do you need faith for? If that’s the case, you’ve done something NEVER done before. Please, SHARE

          • Andrew Mason

            Proof is always limited. The fact that a textbook says for instance that the Earth is round doesn’t make it so, merely that there is evidence or an argument for that position. I have the option of trusting the claims presented or rejecting them. Christianity is similar.

          • Ryan

            A lack of faith doesn’t even search. You believe truth is relative. Faith believes in truth and has the courage to search for it, relativity doesn’t.

      • samton909

        Why are atheists always morons like this fool? He thinks these are good arguments but they are so damn childish.

      • Jim Walker

        Obviously you number is not called by God.. yet. When the time comes do share your new found faith here in The Stream.

  • John Williams

    Can’t wait for the “Mohammed was a Pedophile and Pederast” headline for Ramadan.

    • benevolus

      Crickets….

    • David Marshall

      Never happen. That one would be true.

  • benevolus

    The print MSM has been doing stuff like this for 30 years. Every Christmas and Easter, they go to their Rolodexes (real or electronic) and look up the name of an atheist at a top mainline Protestant “theological cemetery.” That “scholar” then provides the requisite quotations the MSM “journalist” wants us to hear. They are all a bunch of liars, headed for the lake of fire.

  • bbb

    WaPo is owned by Jeff Bezos who owns Amazon.
    Its philosophy is rooted in communism.
    Communism is anti-Christian because the communist manifesto makes the government a god to be worshiped and served slavishly.
    Communism also hides the dirty little secret that an oligarchy of extremely wealthy sycophants rule with absolute iron fists all people who are not wealthy. It is not a doctrine for the poor, it is a doctrine that assures poverty.
    Christianity is a doctrine, faith, life in Christ that serves the poor and promotes liberty so people can determine their own wealth because they cannot determine their own eternal existence without God.
    Christianity is a religion of truth.
    Communism serves the Father of Lies and sells lies, just as this article attempts to do.
    Bezos has an eternal soul, just like every human being ever born.
    By denying God and Christ a person chooses to live in their soul for all eternity in hell where the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched.
    Sometimes great wealth turns people into very foolish thinkers and that is what has happened in Bezos’ situation.
    Praise God for our eternal salvation and may a great revival and awakening occur in 2018 to save as many as possible.

  • samton909

    Why is it that atheists tend to be “polyamorous” or have some other sort of sexual perversion? This seems to happen a lot.

    • Andrew Mason

      Without defined moral precepts why shouldn’t a person act the way they desire?

      • Mark Mac Donald

        defined by god? Like condoning slavery and rape? alrighty then

        • Andrew Mason

          Yeah you might want to reread the relevant passages there. lol.

          The fact is Atheism gives no grounds to condemn rape or slavery, in fact you can even argue in favour of it.

          • Mark Mac Donald

            no? How come the rapist is commanded to MARRY the victim? Maybe you should re-read them. You might just see what kind of a monster your ‘god’ is

          • Byron

            The biblical requirement of which you speak was for the welfare of the woman. The man marrying her would have to support her; he could . Without that requirement (also a limitation on the man’s actions), the woman would be on the street, with effectively no social support net, begging for scraps.

            Like most “modern” people, you seem to have no actual knowledge of ancient societies and how they worked. You seem to take for granted that the social support and charities established by the Church over time have always been available. They have not. The command of marriage was a command for repentance and personal sacrifice on the part of the man.

          • Ryan

            Your last sentence tells us what the left is totally against. Repentance and sacrifice? the left wants absolutely nothing to do with that, it would mean someone would have to take, “responsibility.”

          • Andrew Mason

            Except they aren’t. Depending on the passage in question rapists merit the death penalty. In Exodus a man who seduces an unbetrothed virgin must pay the bride price but her father can refuse permission to marry. If seduction doesn’t mandate marriage then rape surely does not either.

            I suspect you have a list of verses with Atheist interpretations rather than an actual knowledge of Scripture.

  • bowie1

    Wasn’t the Washington Post founded by the late Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church?

    • Ken Abbott

      Nope. That was the Washington Times.

  • NellieIrene

    Did Confucius exist?

  • “The article was by Raphael Lataster, with subtitle, “There are clearly good reasons to doubt Jesus’ historical existence.””

    The reason we would doubt the existence of a “real” Jesus is the same reason we would doubt the existence of a “real” Spider-man. We assume a null hypothesis (did not exist) and then look for evidence, first for his existence and then for his divinity. In both cases, the evidence falls far short of reasonableness.

    • GPS Daddy

      Do you accept Darwinian Evolution as verified science?

      • No. No one believes “Darwinian Evolution”. This is a rhetorical trick question that you are using because many people recognize “Darwin” as the “father of evolutionary theory” and so assume (when agreeing) that this means the same thing as modern synthesis (evolutionary) theory. The primary principals laid out by Darwin: that species change over time and that those most fit to survive in a environment are the ones who continue existing, are held to be as yet unfalisifed in the scientific community. Also, science isn’t “verified” so much as not yet shown to be false.

        This question, however, is what you would call a non-sequitur. What does evolution have to do with the historicity of Jesus? Are you going to pull out the “you weren’t there” argument? Because if that’s all you’ve got, then let’s let all of the people in jail go because the police and judges weren’t there to see their crimes committed. You can’t have it both ways.

        • GPS Daddy

          >> What does evolution have to do with the historicity of Jesus

          Plenty.

          So, let me rephrase the question. You claim that “The primary principals laid out by Darwin: that species change over time
          and that those most fit to survive in a environment are the ones who
          continue existing, are held to be as yet unfalisifed in the scientific
          community”

          So you think that natural selection on random mutation in an unguided fashion of one species “evolving” into another is a theory that can be falsified?

          • GPS Daddy, Unguided as in there is no specific “agent” guiding the process, then yes. Environmental circumstances sexual selection and mutation are the primary impetuses for evolution. And yes evolution can be falsified by any number of means, none of which have been shown to do so as of yet.

            I’m still waiting for how this explains the historicity of Jesus. I”m familiar with, probably all of, the apologetic arguments for this so I’m interested in where this can possibly go.

          • GPS Daddy

            I’ll let your answer stand showing your bias.

          • Which answer showing what bias? Evolutionary synthesis is the current accepted scientific model for the explanation of the diversity of life on planet earth. This is a falsifiable position, so I don’t hold it to be absolutely true.

            Letting my answer/bias (which is undefined) stand to show my bias does not tie this to the historicity of Jesus in any way. As quoted above by davidrev17, Bart Ehrman, noted biblical scholar and agnostic/atheist who says Jesus was likely a real person, I’ve heard him say in interviews that “of course I believe in modern evolution and scientific theory” when asked. These positions are non-overlapping. I’m still waiting for you to tie the two ideas together to show how your inquisition in my understanding of evolutionary theory has anything to do with this topic. To be fair, though, there are over a billion Catholics in this world, and the codified beliefs of the church are both that Jesus was real and so is evolution.

          • GPS Daddy

            In looking over these posts again I see that you have totally ignored David Marshall. Hilarious.

          • He has just posted responses today to my comments, answering Discus posts are not my preferred activity on holidays, and you have still not explained how your questions about evolution tie back to the historicity of Jesus. Time to put up or shut up, GPS Daddy. You’re wasting both of our time.

          • GPS Daddy

            Wise move on deleting that other post to David. With statements like “Lastly, you seem to conflate followers (I didn’t say followers) with influence when talking about the influence of Jesus. Buddha had a 600 year head start on Jesus and has influenced the two largest population centers in the world for centuries” to a person who has a PhD in Christian thought and Chinese Tradition and an MA in Chinese religions I’d delete that post too if I had written it.

            And I told you before, I’m letting your statement stand because it shows your bias clear as day.

          • GPS Daddy, look, I don’t know what you are on about. I haven’t been on here all day, and I certainly didn’t delete anything to David, who at least has the courtesy to actually make an argument instead of whatever it is you are doing at me. I will , for the sake of humoring you in order for you to get to something resembling a point. I will accept whatever claim you have on me having a bias. I don’t know what that bias is, or how it ties into whatever argument you are making, but there. I am biased. Now what? What argument can you make that will somehow tie the historicity of Jesus to a belief in evolution. As I pointed out before, the Catholics (and some other specifications of Protestant churches who don’t all hold a council doctrine over their denomination) believe both in evolution and that Jesus was a real person (and divine). We are talking MORE than 1.2 BILLION Christians out of the 2.18 billion Christians in the world hold a view that runs counter to the argument you seem to be making. Please, for the love of sponge cake, just make an argument that ties the two things together or go bother someone else. Unless you come back with “my argument is” or some version of that idea, I’m just going to ignore you.

            And you look like a total imbecile right now because I didn’t delete anything, and when I look at the article my comment is still there as of … right now.

            I also don’t care what degrees David has if he is logically incorrect. Being credentialed doens’t make you right any more than being tall does. If you were using that as an argument for belief, that would be a logical fallacy known as an “appeal to authority”. Just like I don’t trust Engineers who tell me that the twin towers fell in their own footprint at free-fall speeds so it must have been an inside job because jet fuel can’t melt steel beams. David is capable of making his own arguments, though I find that they are about as lacking as most Christian apologetics. He, at least, is trying to have a conversation and not acting like a pompous dork looking for attention to score some virtue points for Jesus.

          • Small apology here GPS Daddy. It looks like after I posted this response (to you) my browser refreshed the article page and my reply to David was missing. I checked Discus and the post had been marked as spam, even though there are no links, copied text or advertisements in it. I have attempted to re-post my response to David so that he can respond to it on the article itself. You are not looking like an imbecile for noting that the reply disappeared, though I did not remove it.

          • GPS Daddy

            My comment is not for you. Its for other thinking individuals. You will not see your bias because of your bias. But it is hilarious watching you argue.

          • OK then. Bye.

          • GLT

            “evolution can be falsified,…”

            As evolution cannot be subjected to the scientific method, ie, it is not repeatable, observable and testable, how would it be falsified scientifically? Evolutionary theory is not science, it is a philosophical construct which depends on scientific disciplines to support its narrative. Biology is science in that it can be observed, tested and repeated. Evolution in reference to biology cannot. Evolution needs biology, biology has no need at all of evolution.

            You claim evolution has never been falsified. In that you are wrong, it has been falsified many times but the rubber band nature of evolutionary science just adapts and moves on. The junk DNA fiasco is one example of evolution being falsified, so too the discrepancies found with homologous features and the genome. Animals that should be related by reference to appearance are unrelated in their genomes and vice versa.

        • davidrev17

          “Who is this who darkens counsel, [by] speaking words without knowledge?”

          It’s simply amazing how you self-proclaimed Michael Shermer wannabes et al., are absolutely certain of your wholly faith-based, a priori, thus logically inoherent worldview of “Skepticism”?? Do educate us, please! Just what exactly are you trying to assert here anyway my friend???

          And while you continue to fumble around with trying to frame another powerfully compelling response of intellectual gobbledygook, please allow me to sharpen your overall skeptical worldview with some facts undergirding this truly foolhardy article – notwithstanding your utterly vacuous attempt at distilling said issues – of which Mr. Briggs was kind enough to provide for some no doubt genuine holiday entertainment:

          ☆ ☆ ☆

          “And so, with Did Jesus Exist?, I do not expect to convince anyone in that boat. What I do hope is to convince genuine seekers who really want to know how we know that Jesus did exist, as virtually every scholar of antiquity, of biblical studies, of classics, and of Christian origins in this country and, in fact, in the Western world agrees. Many of these scholars have no vested interest in the matter.

          “As it turns out, I myself do not either. I am not a Christian, and I have no interest in promoting a Christian cause or a Christian agenda. I am an agnostic with atheist leanings, and my life and views of the world would be approximately the same whether or not Jesus existed. My beliefs would vary little. The answer to the question of Jesus’s historical existence will not make me more or less happy, content, hopeful, likable, rich, famous, or immortal.

          “But as a historian I think evidence matters. And the past matters. And for anyone to whom both evidence and the past matter, a dispassionate consideration of the case makes it quite plain: Jesus did exist. He may not have been the Jesus that your mother believes in or the Jesus of the stained-glass window or the Jesus of your least favorite televangelist or the Jesus proclaimed by the Vatican, the Southern Baptist Convention, the local megachurch, or the California Gnostic. But he did exist, and we can say a few things, with relative certainty, about him.”

          — World renowned New Testament scholar/textual critic, religious skeptic & “apostate Christian,” Dr. Bart Ehrman, Professor University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, [Introduction], “Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth,” (2012).

          • • •

          “Facts are stubborn things…”

          • Ooh, gonna pull out Bart Ehrman huh? Shall I counter with some Richard Carrier and let the two authors slug it out in our steads?

            I am familiar with his arguments, but they don’t hold as much water as you think. At the beginning of this process (skeptical and scientific) we must first doubt, and from there build a case that such a thing is true, via evidence. However, as a former Divinity student who still can’t call himself an atheist, I question his possible bias on some level. And looking at his arguments, such things as the gospels contain words that made more sense in Aramaic than Greek, as proof that Jesus was real, I mean, come on.

            But still, this is an appeal to authority and not an argument. Your attempt at a high minded refutation of “skepticism” fails in that it contains nothing more than statements. Skepticism is a process, not a position. It start from disbelief and builds foundations of possible knowledge from evidence. There is no a-priori belief EXCEPT for a lack of certainty in any knowledge.

            But if you have a firmer grasp of skepticism than me, then please, educate me as to what I believe.

          • davidrev17

            You clearly didn’t pay much attention to the gist of Ehrman’s quotation. And on top of that, you’ve certainly paid little, or no attention to this very issue in the published peer-reviewed literature of scholarly journals; otherwise, you wouldn’t be speaking so subjectively (read UN-authoritatively) about this – unless of course, you could point-me to some of your scholarly peer-reviewed work in this particular area of inquiry??

            Other than that, I sense you’d have done a whole lot better in your Divinity studies, had you allowed the Holy “Spirit of Truth” Himself to have “guided” your academic pursuits; as opposed to those largely apostate academic theologians (i.e., Bart Ehrman et al.) – a priori committed to a thoroughly naturalistic/NON-supernatural, thus UNbiblical worldview – of whom curiously seem to fill America’s universities & cemeteries today (I mean seminaries). And the hard-statistics in this area, bear this reality out!

            “Facts are stubborn things…”

          • I have read not only your quote, but a substantial part of the work it comes from, as well as heard him debate the points in several hours of videos online. I’m familiar with his position on the subject as well as his background and Bart Ehrman’s divinity studies at Moody Bible Institute, undergraduate work at Wheaton College, as well as his post graduate work at Princeton Theological seminary. He is currently the head of the Department of Religious Studies at UNC, Chapel Hill, and has ONLY worked in religious studies departments since his first instructor potion in 1985.

            The problem with the historicity of Jesus, and most of the scholars studying it, are Christians. They are people who, for all intents and purposes, are ideologically motivated to prove something they believe to be true. If they don’t do anything to counter their biases in their work then I can suppose, based on their conclusions, that their biases are still present. This is what modern scientific methods attempt to minimize, which is why we can trust it more than certain other methods for discovering knowledge.

            There are plenty of scholars who are equally prominent in the field that disagree with Ehrman, Richard Carrier (as I mentioned earlier, you can find his lectures on YouTube, or his books on Amazon) is one such scholar. I can quote his if you’d like, but it wouldn’t make my point or your point any stronger. Arguing that someone agrees with you holds no more value if the person is educated that if they aren’t. It’s how they believe what they believe that is important. There exist PhD engineers who think that the moon landing is fake and 9/11 was an inside job, but that doesn’t make them correct.

            You don’t know me or my positions on anything OTHER than I think that Jesus wasn’t an historical figure. You are assuming a lot about me based on that. You aren’t necessarily wrong, but you aren’t speaking from a position of knowledge. Your insistence on what I think or believe would be as unfounded as if I were to argue that you are more of a cat person and hate clouds.

            As for naturalism, there is no supernatural. If it exists, it’s natural, as physicist Sean Carrol likes to call it (as opposed to materialism). The bible doesn’t necessarily postulate anything supernatural, but it does say that things happened that are highly unlikely, and without adequate evidence I am under no obligation to believe it.

            Lastly, quantum mechanics is the method by which quantum theory is applicable to the real world. No part of it has anything to do with the bible or the supernatural, and doesn’t line up with it much at all. It’s actually a collection of hypothesis that are used to try and explain how things work on the quantum (sub-atomic) level, mostly dealing with different packets of energy. I have a decent understanding of most of the major principals in the field. None of it has to do with consciousness (in spite of the cherry picked quotes of Max Plank and the tangential musings of Eugene Winger).

            Don’t be disingenuous. Facts are stubborn things, and you don’t seem to have them today. Maybe come back when you get some together. If you are going to argue the bible in a scientific discussion, you have not come prepared.

          • David Marshall

            I don’t think it’s a good idea to cite Ehrman to prove Jesus’ existence. For one thing, I don’t think Ehrman is that good of a scholar. (For reasons I demonstrate in Jesus is No Myth.) He’s essentially a textual critic, not an historian, and he makes many gross errors in his historical work.

            But more importantly, Ehrman isn’t really on our side. He’s an opponent of Christianity, and has talked more believers out of faith, on highly specious grounds, than Carrier ever will.

            Besides, the existence of Jesus simply is not an open question among historians. Who exactly Jesus was, is, and is far more interesting.

          • davidrev17

            David, thank you for taking the time to bring your thoughts to my attention, but I guess I simply assumed that most “Christians” et al. of whom read/contribute on “The Stream,” would immediately recognize the invaluable (or inestimable) sense of objectivity and/or credibility that’s commonly established during historical research; particularly when citing/quoting authoritative scholars, historians et al. that are typically regarded as “unsympathetic” to one’s thesis/cause…aka a “hostile witness” in a matter under consideration.

            This is a principle with which I’d become acutely aware many years ago – and still keep-an-eye-out for its presence in professional journals, articles, books etc. where things biblical are primarily concerned – while studying the works of several distinguished Old/New Testament historians, scholars, and Christian apologists, across a wide academic spectrum in the Body of Christ.

            And the scholarly works of the apostate Christian, Dr. Bart Ehrman, plus his reputation, places him both safely and squarely within this irrebuttably invaluable historical criterion!

            BTW: This is also why a few of the scholars associated with the notoriously apostate “Jesus Seminar,” can usually find their own published conclusions in the scholarly works of their academic adversaries – or my brothers & sisters “in Christ” – when it comes to say, evaluating the published research surrounding the physical/bodily resurrection of the Lord Yeshua/Jesus, “on the third day.”

            And what’s more, these sorts of examples in scholarly journals, books etc. could actually be multiplied ad nauseam. So please forgive me if I “appeared” to be careless, by employing a standard principle in academic research that could very well present a genuine “stumblingblock” to truth-seekers, of whom might not be familiar with this method – as this certainly wasn’t my intention! So I do hope this short explanation allays any concerns you might’ve had in this very important area.

            Thanks again for the response Mr. Marshall!

          • Reposted:

            I have read not only your quote, but a substantial part of the work
            it comes from, as well as heard him debate the points in several hours
            of videos online. I’m familiar with his position on the subject as well
            as his background and Bart Ehrman’s divinity studies at Moody Bible
            Institute, undergraduate work at Wheaton College, as well as his post
            graduate work at Princeton Theological seminary. He is currently the
            head of the Department of Religious Studies at UNC, Chapel Hill, and has
            ONLY worked in religious studies departments since his first instructor
            potion in 1985.

            The problem with the historicity of Jesus, and
            most of the scholars studying it, are Christians. They are people who,
            for all intents and purposes, are ideologically motivated to prove
            something they believe to be true. If they don’t do anything to counter
            their biases in their work then I can suppose, based on their
            conclusions, that their biases are still present. This is what modern
            scientific methods attempt to minimize, which is why we can trust it
            more than certain other methods for discovering knowledge.

            There are plenty of scholars who are equally prominent in the field that
            disagree with Ehrman, Richard Carrier (as I mentioned earlier, you can
            find his lectures on YouTube, or his books on Amazon) is one such
            scholar. I can quote his if you’d like, but it wouldn’t make my point
            or your point any stronger. Arguing that someone agrees with you holds
            no more value if the person is educated that if they aren’t. It’s how
            they believe what they believe that is important. There exist PhD
            engineers who think that the moon landing is fake and 9/11 was an inside
            job, but that doesn’t make them correct.

            You don’t know me or my positions on anything OTHER than I think that Jesus wasn’t an historical
            figure. You are assuming a lot about me based on that. You aren’t
            necessarily wrong, but you aren’t speaking from a position of knowledge.
            Your insistence on what I think or believe would be as unfounded as if
            I were to argue that you are more of a cat person and hate clouds.

            As for naturalism, there is no supernatural. If it exists, it’s natural,
            as physicist Sean Carrol likes to call it (as opposed to materialism).
            The bible doesn’t necessarily postulate anything supernatural, but it
            does say that things happened that are highly unlikely, and without
            adequate evidence I am under no obligation to believe it.

            Lastly, quantum mechanics is the method by which quantum theory is applicable to
            the real world. No part of it has anything to do with the bible or the
            supernatural, and doesn’t line up with it much at all. It’s actually a
            collection of hypothesis that are used to try and explain how things
            work on the quantum (sub-atomic) level, mostly dealing with different
            packets of energy. I have a decent understanding of most of the major
            principals in the field. None of it has to do with consciousness (in
            spite of the cherry picked quotes of Max Plank and the tangential
            musings of Eugene Winger).

            Don’t be disingenuous. Facts are stubborn things, and you don’t seem to have them today. Maybe come back when you get some together. If you are going to argue the bible in a
            scientific discussion, you have not come prepared.

            How about that. Another comment of mine marked as spam, though it contains no links, copied text, profanity, or advertisements (all triggers for automated spam detection). I do not know how many other people’s posts are getting unjustly flagged as such, but I find it curious that two of my responses have been sent up for “review”.

            To be clear, I’m not accusing you davidrev17, or any of the other people who I’m talking to of falsely flagging my comments – that would show a gross weakness in their ability to debate topics and neither you nor David Marshall seem to be short in that area, yet replies to each of you have been marked as spam. If someone is doing it on your behalf, perhaps they should let you handle your own discussion.

          • David Marshall

            A lack of certainty is a pretty strong a priori dogma. What warrant do you claim for it? I mean, if you go beyond “I am unsure” to “everyone else is or should be unsure.”

            I took on both Carrier and Ehrman in my last work, and I believe gave them both a pretty sound thrashing. You can read my take on Ehrman in an article on this site, from a year or so ago. If you find any errors in my arguments, please let me know.

          • No, it’s the default position for any knowledge claim. You do not believe things for which you don’t have knowledge. Let’s do an experiment. There is a small box on my desk that contains earbuds. This is a true statement, but it is one that you did not believe before I told you about it. There was no certainty on your part (a P value of 0) that I had a box, that it was small, on my desk, or that it contained earbuds. Maintaining that P value to as low a number as possible until sufficient evidence is provided to make a justifiable belief claim is that skepticism is about. The a-priori assumption is with that, that there is value in not accepting claims just because you are aware of them. There is no a-priori claim that not having knowledge means I can’t believe something.

            I’m looking for your last piece on Stream. I’ll respond to your other comment once I’ve read it.

          • GLT

            “There is a small box on my desk that contains earbuds. This is a true statement, but it is one that you did not believe before I told you about it.”

            On what basis would you expect me to believe or disbelieve the box contains earbuds if I have no knowledge of the box’s existence or your claims vis a vis its contents? It is not until you tell me of the box’s existence and make a claim as to its supposed contents that evidence concerning those contents becomes a factor. Then the question becomes are there reasons for me to doubt your claim or reasons for me to accept your claim? It is the same with the existence of Christ. If one is not aware of claims regards Christ’s existence, then it follows he would not believe in him. However, if he is aware of claims regards Christ’s existence then he must weigh the evidence and make a determination based on that evidence.

            I know you believe you provided a sound analogy, however, the truth is, it is palpable nonsense.

            “You do not believe things for which you don’t have knowledge.”

            How does this apply to the existence of Christ? Are you seriously going to claim no one possesses knowledge of Christ? You’re referencing him, so therefore you have knowledge of him and the claims about him. So, by your own logic, if you have knowledge of him, which you do, and knowledge of the claims about him, which you do, his existence must be believable.

        • realDEEBEE

          Have yet to be falsified. So as long as I cannot prove your door is not red, it must be.

          • There are two types of hypothesis in science. Those that are shown to be false, and those that are not yet shown to be false. All positions, however, start with the null hypothesis, which says that nothing is true without evidence. So not being able to not show something is not evidence for it’s truth.

          • GLT

            “which says that nothing is true without evidence.”

            Where you’re wrong is in the belief you get to determine what does and does not constitute evidence. On what do you base your claim there is no evidence to support the existence of Christ? In other words. what is your evidence to support your claim there is no evidence for the existence of Christ? If nothing is true without evidence, then your claim that nothing is true without evidence demands you provide evidence to support your claim. You didn’t think that argument through, did you.

    • sc_cannon

      An idiot post. Trying to argue from ignorance, (did not exist), when everybody knows it takes faith to believe. He has the innate ability to know right from wrong whether he wants to admit it or not, if he has screwed that up badly, if he really is such a great thinker, let him consider this. There is nobody of that era that more is known about, whose life is documented by so many writers, and whose legacy has lasted and affected humanity so much as Jesus Christ.

      • I am not making a faith claim, I am making an evidence claim. It is not “ignorance” to not believe a claim, it is your original position on it. If I say to you that it is true that my front door is red, do you believe me or not? If I say I can fly unassisted by any technology for three miles so long as I am not more than 60 feet off the ground, do you believe as well? Why might you have believed one over the other? Did making the second claim make you doubt my first one too?

        An argument form ignorance is saying that since I don’t know another answer, the proposition is therefor true. For example, to say that because I may not have a compelling idea of what created the universe, then it must therefor be God because I don’t have anything “better”. I’m not making that assertion.

        Nobody wrote about Jesus when he was supposedly alive. The earliest gospels weren’t put down until about 40 years after he would have died. They are full of contradictions and incorrect historical facts. We actually know very little about the person called Jesus if we remove all of the contradictory things in the New Testament about him. Paul, for example, did not think that Jesus was a real person, and his revelation on the road to Damascus was with the ethereal embodiment of the spirit of Jesus, not with the flesh and blood person, and he is responsible for most of what the Christians think of as the “teachings” of Christianity.

        I think your last sentence is just Christian hyperbole. There is no accurate way to measure who is “most documented” (I would argue that JFK has more written about him, or Princess Diana) and I don’t have any feasible way to measure the effects of a character on humanity, but I would argue that Buddha, who is older and has had more followers in history than Jesus, had more of an impact. Or Confucius.

        Also, my front door is white, to be completely honest. Which color do you think my front door is now? Does it make sense to not believe claims without evidence? Because you just can’t tell now, can you? It is white though, honest. 😉

        • David Marshall

          Your chronology helps, does not hurt, the case for the gospels. Jesus died and rose when he was not much more than 30: his disciples would have been younger still, and many would have lived to 70, 80, perhaps even 90 AD. (Unless, of course, they were all raptured, as I suppose you may like to maintain.)

          Historical records are always full of contradictions. But the gospels affirm one another on the major facts and on hundreds of details. And they are further affirmed, as I show in Jesus is No Myth, by some 30 characteristics that lend them great historical credibility.

          Paul did think Jesus was a “real person,” which is why he wrote about his death and resurrection so often.

          The last sentence this poster wrote is certainly true. See my recent article on this site on “Oh, Holy Night” for just a few examples of that historical influence.

          No, Buddha has not “had more followers.” There are far more than a billion more Christians in the world today than Buddhists, at least nominally. And real Christians tend to be more deeply influenced by Jesus, than real Buddhists are by Buddha — Pure Land Buddhism, for instance, in practice has little to do with the Buddha’s teaching, usually. Confucius has I think truly been more influential than Buddha, and is also more reliably known (though the Analects is not nearly as strongly supported historically than the gospels). But Confucius’ influence stopped with East Asia, whereas Jesus has touched ALL the world, including China (I live not far from Confucius’ hometown), as I argue briefly in that article.

          • No, the chronology hurts, not helps. If Jesus was 33 when he died, and his youngest follower began to follow him at 16 when he started his ministry, his follower would have been 19-20 when Jesus died. That would mean, that when the first gospel was written down around 70 AD, the writer would be 60 years old, as a poor, uneducated, former apostle living in Judea in the first century AD, when the average life span was… 40ish? But wait, the first gospel was “by” Mark, who wasn’t an apostle. Oh wait, and it wasn’t even written by him, it was written as his story. None of the gospels were claimed to be written by the people we associate with them. Mark wasn’t written by a guy named Mark, Matthew wasn’t written by a guy named Matthew (one of two possible apostles who’s name are on the gospels, but not the other two). That aside though, we don’t see records of these people living into their ripe old ages, do we? Where is it even mentioned that any of these men lived beyond 50? And of his apostles, how many would have had any education? As a tax collector, Matthew might have, but fishermen didn’t have to be able to write.

            Historical records are not full of contradictions. We don’t have five different dates for the Census of Quirinius, we have one, and we have multiple records of that census. What we sometimes have, are only fictional stories that take place around historical events that may not be entirely accurate. This is OK, because it’s about the story, not the history. And sometimes we can try, from our modern perspective, try and use these works of fiction to try and find out if certain events were true. But it would be kind of like using the Spider-Man comics to determine if 9/11 happened along side of the rise of the sentinels and the mutant apocalypse.

            I disbelieve your claim about “known” facts about Jesus that lend any credibility to his historicity, and I’ve been arguing this point for years now. No one has produced any that hold up to even cursory scrutiny.

            Death and resurrection were big motifs to Paul in his writings. Bart Ehrman makes a case that Paul, even advancing the idea that Jesus was born properly as a Jew, that he was seen as almost wholly divine, and not man made flesh. See his blog post from 11, April 2013. For me, it’s a moot point to historicity because Paul isn’t a witness anyway.

            Lastly, you seem to conflate followers (I didn’t say followers) with influence when talking about the influence of Jesus. Buddha had a 600 year head start on Jesus and has influenced the two largest population centers in the world for centuries. Long before the crusades, or the reformation, or the founding of the US, Buddhism was underpinning both Chinese and Indian culture, not to mention Japanese, Korean, Turkish, and even middle eastern cultures. Even in modern day America, in one of the most christian countries in the world we know about meditation, non-violence and karma. But do you think if I go to China or Algeria and sneeze that someone is likely to say “god bless you”? Please. As for Confucius, that was a little hyperbolic maybe, but I could argue similar influences across the world as well, as some principals of Confucianism were integrated into early Buddhist thinking (as the ideologies grew together).

          • No, the chronology hurts, not helps. If Jesus was 33 when he died, and his
            youngest follower began to follow him at 16 when he started his ministry, his
            follower would have been 19-20 when Jesus died. That would mean, that when the
            first gospel was written down around 70 AD, the writer would be 60 years old,
            as a poor, uneducated, former apostle living in Judea in the first century AD,
            when the average life span was… 40ish? But wait, the first gospel was “by”
            Mark, who wasn’t an apostle. Oh wait, and it wasn’t even written by him, it was
            written as his story. None of the gospels were claimed to be written by the
            people we associate with them. Mark wasn’t written by a guy named Mark, Matthew
            wasn’t written by a guy named Matthew (one of two possible apostles who’s name
            are on the gospels, but not the other two). That aside though, we don’t see
            records of these people living into their ripe old ages, do we? Where is it
            even mentioned that any of these men lived beyond 50? And of his apostles, how
            many would have had any education? As a tax collector, Matthew might have, but
            fishermen didn’t have to be able to write.

            Historical records are not full of contradictions. We don’t have five
            different dates for the Census of Quirinius, we have one, and we have multiple
            records of that census. What we sometimes have, are only fictional stories that
            take place around historical events that may not be entirely accurate. This is
            OK, because it’s about the story, not the history. And sometimes we can try,
            from our modern perspective, try and use these works of fiction to try and find
            out if certain events were true. But it would be kind of like using the
            Spider-Man comics to determine if 9/11 happened along side of the rise of the
            sentinels and the mutant apocalypse.

            I disbelieve your claim about “known” facts about Jesus that lend
            any credibility to his historicity, and I’ve been arguing this point for years
            now. No one has produced any that hold up to even cursory scrutiny.

            Death and resurrection were big motifs to Paul in his writings. Bart Ehrman
            makes a case that Paul, even advancing the idea that Jesus was born properly as
            a Jew, that he was seen as almost wholly divine, and not man made flesh. See
            his blog post from 11, April 2013. For me, it’s a moot point to historicity
            because Paul isn’t a witness anyway.

            Lastly, you seem to conflate followers (I didn’t say followers) with
            influence when talking about the influence of Jesus. Buddha had a 600 year head
            start on Jesus and has influenced the two largest population centers in the
            world for centuries. Long before the crusades, or the reformation, or the
            founding of the US, Buddhism was underpinning both Chinese and Indian culture,
            not to mention Japanese, Korean, Turkish, and even middle eastern cultures.
            Even in modern day America, in one of the most christian countries in the world
            we know about meditation, non-violence and karma. But do you think if I go to
            China or Algeria and sneeze that someone is likely to say “god bless
            you”? Please. As for Confucius, that was a little hyperbolic maybe, but I
            could argue similar influences across the world as well, as some principals of
            Confucianism were integrated into early Buddhist thinking (as the ideologies
            grew together).

            Not sure why, but this response was marked as SPAM. Must be some kind of glitch. No links in it, or even copied text, and I’m not selling anything. I hope it’s not someone abusing the reporting system.

          • My replies to you keep getting marked as spam, so I’ll keep it short. First centuries Jews didn’t live to 70 and most were illiterate. The gospels aren’t first hand accounts, and neither Luke nor Mark were apostles. Historical records are typically historically accurate, but fiction stories aren’t. You conflate influence with supporters, Confucianism influenced early Buddhism, and that Buddhism because a strong influence in the two most populous regions in the world centuries before Christendom was out of the failing Roman empire. Everyone knows about meditation, karma and non-violence, even in christian nations, which are core principals of Buddhism, but not many Japanese are saying “god bless you” when you sneeze.

            Anyone can mark comments as spam, but only site mods can take content down, and my full reply to you keeps getting pulled. I’m all for conversation, but that’s not what this is if I can’t actually address your points fully. If this is the intellectual space that this debate occupies, I can see why the “nones” are a growing demographic. I wish you the best, but I’m not going to bother with this any longer.

          • GPS Daddy

            >> but only site mods can take content down

            Nope. This site has some algorithms in place the if your post fails to pass them it will be removed.

            >> If this is the intellectual space that this debate occupies

            Now your showing another bias…

            SkepticalRoot === Very Biased Person.

          • You are correct that the algorithms take down posts. They do so very quickly (a few minutes at best) and based on heuristic conditions. My posts did not meet those criteria, and actually show up for some time on the comments section before disappearing. This indicates interaction by another party.

            Comments sections are spaces to share ideas about the material that was presented. If the conversation can’t be had because people are afraid of the answers they may uncover, then maybe they should stay out of it.

            To quote Inigo Montoya on your use of to word bias: “You keep using that word. I do no think it means what you think it means.”

          • GPS Daddy

            For someone who fancies themselves as the one in the know your sure not. You do not know the architecture of the website. You do not know when those processes run that examines the comments. You do not know if this website is a jee, or php, or C# ASP, or a NodeJS. You have no idea how the algorithms determine what is a acceptable comment and one that is not. Yes. the website gives the guidelines BUUUUUT how that is coded in an algorithm is an ENTIRELY different issue.

            I have had my post disappear after a while on the site. I’ve emailed the site support to ask them why. Have you taken that step BEFORE you decided to show your bias? I know why that happens to posts that look to be ok. You clearly do not.

            Your biggest problem SkeltialRoot is that your all knowing. Hilarious.

          • Huh? What does page coding have to do with heuristic algorithms? It’s a WordPress site, so it likely uses an amalgam of different code bases running on the page. This page source looks like exclusively javascript and html. I might have scrolled past a php call, but oh well. WordPress doesn’t use ASP.NET, so no C# (not that you’d see that in this end anyway). But page encoding has nothing to do with the algorithm, as you yourself pointed out, so good job trying to make yourself look smart there. Anyone can right click and view page source.

            I am familiar with the posting guidelines, I have been using Discus for years, and they manage
            the platform rules. It takes a lot of the pressure off smaller sites who want to have comments sections but don’t want the hassle of managing it themselves. There are posting guidelines, which I’ve read, and complied with. I also know how the system can be worked over if you
            are… less than honest.

            To be clear, I’m not saying that someone is definitely messing with my posts, but it seems that way. The most likely reason they would be getting pulled for spam (specifically) is if someone was flagging them, since they are otherwise compliant and appear to disappear a bit after they are posted. I’m following the evidence, and flagging seems like a likely reason when multiple ones have been taken down. It is entirely possible that I’m somehow inadvertently doing something here, but that’s not the most plausible answer. (like, I used a different word for “messing” in this reply already, and it was immediately flagged, in this case the word was what you do with a Phillips head)

            And again you seem to not understand what bias is. Go look it up in a psychology book. I don’t claim to be all knowing, I’m the one saying that I don’t believe stuff without sufficient evidence
            and you are the one who can’t seem to stop bothering me in an effort to sound important. It’s hilarious how humble you are.

            But you can go bother someone else now. This is stale, off topic, and just plain tedious anymore. You aren’t interesting enough to be a good troll, and you’re not honest enough to make a good argument.

            I’m out. Have a wonderful day.

            Oh, and last post wins, right?

          • GPS Daddy

            Yep, last post wins.

            Yep, got me there. Looking at the source in the browser will tell you somethings. The only way a wegpage is responsive is for it to have javascript.

            Ummm, are you a software engineer? I never, ever said anything about page coding. To go to that place shows a lack of understanding. So, to your question of “What does page coding have to do with heuristic algorithms”? Nothing. But then thats missing my point… a very good skill you have.

            >>I’m not saying that someone is definitely messing with my posts

            Yep, you did: “Anyone can mark comments as spam, but only site mods can take content down, and my full reply to you keeps getting pulled”

            Not only that you looked down your elitist nose that those who hold to a theist view: ” If this is the intellectual space that this debate occupies, I can see why the “nones” are a growing demographic”

            Yet, you can’t see past your own nose to see what life really is.

          • GLT

            “First centuries Jews didn’t live to 70 and most were illiterate.”

            And you know this how? What evidence do you have to support these assertions? Do you have contemporary documents which attest to the fact Jews in the first century did not live to be 70 years old and that most of them were illiterate? Or are my suspicions correct that this is just more rhetoric designed to support your atheistic narrative?

            “Historical records are typically historically accurate,…”

            Then why do you doubt the accuracy of the historical records which constitute the Bible? Is it because you don’t happen to like what they contain that you claim they are, in fact, not historical documents simply because they are considered ‘religious’?

            “but fiction stories aren’t.”

            Wow, you’re a genius! Who would have guessed a fictional story was not true? I am so glad you pointed this fact out for us.

          • According to a website called Early Church History (a .org site) the average lifespan in the first century was about 35 years, which they claim persisted until after the dark ages. From the EWTN Catholic Q&A site, they point out that wealthier Romans tended to live longer because they were cleaner, had better food, and safer living conditions. Which Apostles were Patricians? And according to Columbia professor William Harris (in his book, Ancient Literacy), only about 10 percent of the population could read at all, let alone copy text. According to a site called evidence for Christianity (another .org) they claim that it was common for the other literate person to often be a Rabi in first century Jewish communities.

            The less value a record has, the less likely it is to be fallacious, or, at least, the least impact if will have if found to be inaccurate. Mundane records, like census data, are more readily accepted than the epic of Gilgamesh because there are less assumptions in it being true.

            For example, if my claim was not that I was 12 feet tall, but 6, would you be more likely to believe it without other evidence? Of course, because it doesn’t fall outside of norms and the consequence of it being false are very low. Similarly, telling you that I had eggs for breakfast has a low consequence value if it’s false. On the same vein, that Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down a cedar forest by themselves, by hand, in a couple of days just to piss someone off, would require more evidence because the implications of that being TRUE are much larger. We don’t believe that those things happened because we don’t have anything other than the story to go on.

            There are true things recorded in religious texts. Things that have corroboration in other texts, or are just observable to be true elsewhere.

          • GLT

            “According to a website called Early Church History,…”

            I asked you for evidence from a contemporary source, not a website. You don’t read well. do you. An affliction common to those who simply spout rhetoric.

            “The less value a record has, the less likely it is to be fallacious,…”

            What an idiotic statement, where did you come by that kind of logic? I don’t even know what kind of reasoning would be behind such an argument. That is complete and utter nonsense.

        • GLT

          “They are full of contradictions and incorrect historical facts.”

          How about some examples. We hear this all the time from atheists but all we ever get is the claim, no actual and supportable examples. Are you any different?

          “Paul, for example, did not think that Jesus was a real person,…”

          Really? Care to support this with any thing remotely resembling factual evidence?

          • How many contradictions do you want? Let’s just do Jesus’ birth narrative. Which genealogy do we use? Joseph wasn’t the father (since Jesus was a virgin birth), so why trace his lineage? Was he related to David through 28 or 41 generations? Matthew and Luke diverge as early as Solomon or Nathan. What about the angels message? Did the family flee to Egypt or return to Nazareth? Why did they have to travel for a census? Where is the record of every newborn being killed? The census of Quirinius began on 6-7 CE, while Herod the Great died in 4BCE.

            Those are just off the top of my head.

            Paul never met Jesus, only his ethereal form. Frankly, I don’t care if he thought he was real or not, but Bart Ehrman proposes that he thought Jesus was more of an angle than a man. You can check out his blog post on it from April 11, 2013. The title of the blog post is Paul’s view of Jesus as an Angel. There is no way to be certain what he thought though.

          • GLT

            “Let’s just do Jesus’ birth narrative. Which genealogy do we use?”

            There is no contradiction here as you would know if you made even the slightest attempt to research the situation. One genealogy is based on Mary’s family, the other on Joseph’s. Please, try just a little bit to educate yourself.

            “Joseph wasn’t the father (since Jesus was a virgin birth), so why trace his lineage?”

            Because he would fill the role of his father, that, I would think, is rather obvious.

            Provide references and the translations used for your other examples and I will give you answers.

            “There is no way to be certain what he thought though.”

            But that did not stop you from asserting Paul never met Jesus. Why, if you admit there is no way to know what Paul thought, did you make the claim? In fact it is clear what Paul thought as he spoke of his personal contact with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. An encounter which completely changed his life from a persecutor of Christianity to its most ardent promoter and defender.

            Does it never dawn on you that you really don’t know what you’re talking about and all that you have to offer is baseless rhetoric?

          • OK, you are either attempting apologetic or dishonesty. Both genealogies trace THE FATHERS line, not the mothers. If you had done any research, you would know that the “Mary’s line” is a hand waving at Jewish customs, and still, somehow looses 13 generations of people. Oh, and which one is Mary’s line again? I mean, both genealogies specifically include Joseph as the father of Jesus in the lineages.

            The only lineages that Jews (and most social hierarchical institutions) care about is blood. By Jewish tradition, Jesus would not have been born of David’s line if he were born of a virgin.

            The issue arises in mistranslation of the word almah, which means young women, not virgin, and was used to describe Mary. (Almah and betulah (which means virgin) translate to parthenos in Greek.) To the early Christians, it then made sense to trace the lineage back to David thought the father, as was the proper custom. If they had used Mary’s line, no one wold have cared or thought it was of any value.

            Paul never met Jesus, only the ethereal form of him (read his account of the meeting). Paul had his conversion about 5 years after the resurrection and assention into heaven, so the physical body of Jesus was no longer on earth to meet Paul. People drop acid all the time and talk about how it was a life changing experience, so the fact that he might have had a hallucination that made him think differently doesn’t make Jesus the more plausible answer to what happened to him. It didn’t make Paul a defender of Christendom, it made him a leader of it. He took up a position of such authority in the faith that his writings make up a sizeable portion of the New Testament.

            But since I don’t think Jesus was a real person, it’s not more plausible to me than if he’s met Thor.

            You got what you asked for, and then took to challenge one of the items, ignored the rest, and sit back on you laurels like you made a point. Meh, I can see where this is going. I don’t have enough concern for trying to convince you that you are wrong or that you don’t understand some basic principals about logic and reason, or how the scientific study of history works. I left another reply to you above, and my posts on this page “somehow” are getting marked as spam after they have been posted, and it’s frankly not worth my time to keep trying to argue with those that want to just defend their beliefs and not learn. I’ve been having these discussions long enough to know how this goes.

            Be safe, and enjoy your life, GLT. I’m out of this conversion. I will try and repost my other response to you above, but if it doens’t stick, oh well. I might break into two posts.

      • sc_cannon

        I use to fault Jesus for not leaving something more tangible than the memory of Him but then it occurred to me he wanted to attract people of good spirit who would keep Him strong by faith which may be a great meta force in some other reality. What He said to doubting Thomas would lend credence to this view that those of us who can believe Jesus Christ is alive and without strong demonstrable proof to back that faith up are more blessed than those who cannot. As to your assertion that Jesus did not exist because there are no existing records of His presence until after His resurrection. That is arguing from ignorance, also known as appeal to ignorance or a lack of contrary evidence which is a logical mistake. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not been proven false (or vice versa). In this case you say there was no real Jesus because there is no hard evidence to disapprove that theory, and apparently you reject all circumstantial evidence.

        When you say you are making no faith claim you are wrong, in your passive aggressive way you are trying to chip away at Christ’s faith base, why you want to do this I don’t know, I suspect it is some cry for help, all I can tell you is to stop trying to be a cancerous scornful person and take delight in good things not sad.

        • I don’ t think Jesus is real, so I’m not going to fault him for anything. I am not making any claims at all, faith or otherwise. I am pointing out that I don’t accept the claims as true that he existed, let alone his divinity, because its not demonstrated or demonstrable. You commented to me, trying to convince me I was wrong, I didn’t seek you out.

          I am not interested in being blessed by something that’s not real. Jesus doesn’t say that not seeing is the only way to believe.

          You don’t understand arguing from ignorance.

          And what is it with people on here trying to tell me what I feel or believe? I mean, we are talking here, you could just ask me what I think, you don’t have to speculate.

          I appreciate that you feel some sympathy for what you take as some hurt on my part. It’s a kind gesture. It’s misplaced, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not welcome.

    • Tony Robinson

      The debate during the Apostle Paul’s day was whether or not Jesus was God incarnate. Nobody, whether historian or civil leader, debated Jesus’ existence because it was a verifiable fact that he had lived among us and had been crucified.

      • No, it was not verified fact that he had lived and been crucified. The story was no more true and verifiable than Spider-Man (hence the reference). There are elements of the story that make it sounds plausible to someone who didn’t know better. To the early Christians, it didn’t matter either because there was no authoritative source for the stories about Jesus until the first Nicaean Council in, what 325 CE?.

        • Yeah, Obama’s a Muslim

          This is just an incredibly dumb argument assertion. There is more extant evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ than there is of Plato. Who do you think showed up at the first Nicaean Council, and why?

          You all seem to think that not only the universe sprung up from nothing with no cause whatsoever, but that a religion that survived horrible persecution to become a global multi-millenial organization with billions of adherents did, too. Your “null hypothesis” is just that. Null.

          • No, we have more evidence for the existence of Plato than Jesus. If
            you are going to use ancient Greeks as an argument, at least do it
            correctly. There is more evidence for Jesus than Socrates, not Plato.
            As for who showed up at the first Council of Nicaea, a bunch of early
            Christians, that’s who. You can find a fairly complete list on
            Wikipedia if you want one. Not sure how that makes a point that there
            was a unified doctrine before then, when one of the goals of the council
            was to establish a unified doctrine for the followers of Christ.

            “You
            all”? Who are “you all”? Are you trying to tell me what I believe, or
            should I tell you what I believe? Who do you think would be a more
            authoritative source for my beliefs? You sound like you are just
            parroting talking points you head that sounded good without considering
            them at all.

            The fact that people died for a religion is no more
            proof of it’s validity than the claims that it makes. By your logic,
            there must be some truth to David Koresh’s beliefs because so many
            Branch Davidians died at Waco, or that Heavens Gate was onto something
            because most of their adherents died the last time Hayle-Bopp stopped by
            out orbit, or that the People’s Temple had it right in Jonestown under
            Jim Jones.

            The null hypothesis is simple to understand and has
            nothing to do with anything you’ve said here. You don’t accept claims
            until they are shown to be true. For example, you don’t believe that I
            am 9 feet tall until you see me measuring 9 feet tall. Apply that to
            everything and you are a skeptic.

        • Tony Robinson

          Actually, I was referring to 1st and 2nd century non-Christian sources. They derided claims made about the divinity of Jesus, but NEVER his existence.

          • I know what you meant, you were not ambiguous. You still aren’t correct though. There are no contemporary sources that describe Jesus, and verified references that come in the first two centuries talk about Christians, but not Jesus. And the reason no one “questioned his existence” was because it didn’t matter. There was debate about whether the character was divine, man, or a mixture, but there are also fan theories about why Harry Potter did things too. That’s not evidence of his existence. May early Gnostics taught that none of this happened here, but on a spiritual plane that paralleled our world.

          • Tony Robinson

            So, when people, like Pliny the Younger at the turn of the first century talks about putting Christians on trial for their superstitions, commenting that they sang hymns to Christ as to a god, Pliny was really talking about some other Christ?

            I also notice that you conveniently ignore contemporary writings, such as those of the New Testament as documentary evidence. I would have some respect for mentioning them and then attempting to impeach their testimony than to pretend that they do not count among the possibilities.

            The followers themselves are interesting. There are many who die believing a lie. Not such much as those willing to die defending what they know to be a lie. Most of the believers executed by Rome fall in the category of dying for something they heard from someone else and believed. But the early martyrs who died as eye-witnesses (Paul mentions one group of over 500 from one occasion where most had survived till the penning of letter) either existed or the contemporary culture that referenced them in circulated epistles would have exposed the account as a lie. Instead, the most ardent against the movement remarked of a believe in a superstition of resurrection, not a lie about someone who never existed.

            The last time I checked, I don’t think anyone has suffered persecution and execution for failing to recant an eye-witness testimony claiming Harry Potter as being a real person. Not even for a second hand hearsay claim.

          • No, Pliny talks about Christians, not Jesus. Christ (Christos) is a title, not a name. That’s why Jesus is referred to as “the Christ” or Jesus Christ. It wasn’t his last name.

            There are no contemporary writings for Jesus. The first writings were the Gospel of Mark, who, first, didn’t author it, and wasn’t an apostle. That was first penned 40 years after the crucifixion. Matthew, who may have been the only apostle that needed to be able to read as a tax collector, came next. But again, not his actual writing, and another 10-20 years after Mark. That was around the same time that Luke was written, who again, not his “story” but also not the name of an apostle. These are not contemporary writings.

            Paul never met Jesus, so he makes a horrible witness to his existence. People dying for an idea doesn’t make it true. Are you saying that the fact that members of the Manson family, who think Charles is god-like, are correct because they saw him and still believe? I also, wouldn’t trust Paul’s numbers any more than the Gospels reporting that the dead walked the earth. Most of Paul’s works are likely fiction (written long after he died). Scholars agree that the author called Paul wrote Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon. Most of the rest of his writings show signs of alteration, additions, or just plain aren’t by the same author.

            People do all kinds of stuff for their beliefs, both true and not true ones. You are right, no one has died for Harry Potter yet, and no one may ever. But how many died for their belief in Allah? Or Vishnu? Odin? Zamba? Thoth? Neptune? People can suck, and they do crazy things when they are sure they are right. Certainty breeds authoritarianism.

          • Tony Robinson

            Ah, it would be ignorant to think that Christ was a last name. It is moniker. Monikers are used in lieu of a name (just ask your local street gang). Thank you for pointing out the closenesss of the original manuscripts to the event. The disciples expected Christ’s return in their lifetime, but the breaking of Israel and turning to the Gentiles postponed that return, making documentary records for the next generation an apparent necessity. But what is remarkable is the number of copies and how close they are to the original. When you consider other classic works and the closest extant copy being over a 1,000 years after the original, the manuscripts we have of the New Testament are in themselves a testament.

            The account and testimony recorded as being written by Paul that you ignored is that Paul met Christ on the way to round up Christians. By his own testimony, he was a blasphemer and a threat to early Christians. But I would agree that the Apostle Thomas is among the close associates (along with at least over 500) that spent a time with a resurrected Christ. Convenient that you discount accounts of resurrection. Most that do so act under the notion that since they have not seen such occur, or that it is alleged to occur very rarely, that such cannot possibly true.

            The deaths over Allah are what I use as a reference point: all Muslims of any account have died based of a belief in hearsay. There is not even the hope of an eyewitness. Mormon could also be used, but they are not known for murderous rampages over Joseph Smith.

            Biblical archaeology is still a young science. In the ancient Jewish community of Kefar ‘Othnay in the Megiddo valley, as in Armageddon, a large residential building for soldiers of the Roman army was excavated between 2003 to 2005. The building was in use between the 2nd and 3rd century A.D and it was abandoned around 284. If I were to be gracious, and say it existed until to 325 A.D., this would still be prior to Roman decree making Christianity an official religion. High speed internet had not reached that part of the world during the second century. Even if all the stories of Jesus Christ had been fabricated during 325 A.D. in Constantinople, news of such would not have had time to reach the Megiddo valley before the Roman barracks was abandoned, let alone when the tiles were originally set.

            A corner part of the barracks was a Christian prayer hall. A unique one incorporating Roman solider/Jewish collaboration as Christians. The hall has mosaic tiles that were in place during its use. In the southern panel, an inscription dedicates the church’s dining table as having been donated by a woman named Akeptous. It simply reads, “The god-loving Akeptous has offered the table to God Jesus Christ as a memorial.” Even the Jewish antiquities remarked at how solidly the words ” God Jesus Christ” were written to denote deity to Jesus. Again, biblical archeology is still a young science. There are so many discoveries to be made and many that have been unearthed and yet to be deciphered. Apparently, the Christians in Megiddo of the second century did not receive the memo that the account of Jesus had yet to be concocted.

          • Oh boy.

            Christ isn’t Jesus anymore than king is Arthur. Singing to Christ is not proof of Jesus. Pliny the Younger also wrote in 112 CE, 80 years after the end of the Gospels timeline, and 20 years, maybe, after the writing of John.

            What can stay god’s hand? Gentiles? OK.

            We have few, if any copies of any original manuscripts. The earliest copies of the books of the bible that we have diverge significantly from the dead sea scrolls (for example). Making accurate copies is not a sign of divine origin, only meticulousness. The Koran is more accurate over a similar timeline.

            Paul never met Jesus in the flesh, only an ethereal body who said he was Jesus AFTER Jesus was risen. Paul could write a good story as well as anyone, I suppose. Though, as a tax collector he wouldn’t have had any power to officially persecute Christians. I have always taken it more to be that he hated them and showed bias against them whenever he could, like an racist in the old South. He couldn’t “persecute” them any more than that.

            The fact that people die for a belief is no measure of the truth of a belief. Why is this so hard to understand? You claiming early Christian martyrs doesn’t make Jesus any more real, a point you seem to agree with when talking about Muslims.

            Biblical Archeology has been around for hundreds of years. Why do you call it “young”? Oh, right, because it’s been fairly fruitless. Biblical archeology has bee around longer than anthropology, but we don’t call anthropology “young”, and it has been far more fruitful. Maybe biblical archeology is like.. trying to use archeology to prove Spider-Man.

            I never said Jesus was fabricated in the Council of Nicaea, I said there was no codified doctrine until then. The fact that people in the 3rd to 4th century called Jesus the Christ is, well, unsurprising. I mean, heck, we have from Josephus that Christians were at Megiddo during the Jewish Revolt in 66-70 CE. Finding more of them there two hundred years later, as they’d grown in popularity and neared acceptance by society is not at all surprising. The fact that someone at that time called Jesus god doesn’t make him any more real.

          • GPS Daddy

            Excellent job is showing SkepticalRoot’s bias… one of many.

    • mbabbitt

      Your reasoning is completely insane.

      • I am 12 feet tall. Do you believe me? Why not?

        • mbabbitt

          Still insane. You have an emotional problem with religion/God and no amount of reasoning or evidence will change your mind – at this time. Your anger has you locked down and I am only responding back because you are still made in the likeness of God. May God bless you with what you need.

          • Thanks, I appreciate the sentiment. I would point out that you didn’t answer the question. I am not trying to offend you, but I suspect that it’s because you know the answer and don’t want to apply the same process to your religious beliefs. I don’t care if you do or don’t, I just want you to see that it’s not, actually, insane.

            Why is it that almost everyone that comes to this comment section at me seems to make assumptions about me that they have no way of knowing if they are true or false. But instead of asking me what I actually think they try and assign me thought, ideas, beliefs or emotions?

            I am open to evidence. I set a high bar for most things, religious or otherwise, in order to accept them as reasonably true. For example, I am reasonably familiar with the major quantum theories, but I don’t believe any of them because there is very little evidence that any of them are true. I can talk about them, use them conversationally or demonstratively, but I don’t “believe” them, and I won’t until we can have sufficient evidence that one or more of them may be correct.

            I am not an angry person either. I’m about as angry about religion/god as I would be to Saruman, or Lucius Malfoy, or Kylo Ren. I don’t think the bible is any more true than a Spider-Man comic because, while it shares some semblance to the reality we know, it doens’t appear to match reality as we observe it.

          • Thanks, I appreciate the sentiment. I would point out that you
            didn’t answer the question. I am not trying to offend you, but I
            suspect that it’s because you know the answer and don’t want to apply
            the same process to your religious beliefs. I don’t care if you do or
            don’t, I just want you to see that it’s not, actually, insane.

            Why is it that almost everyone that comes to this comment section at me
            seems to make assumptions about me that they have no way of knowing if
            they are true or false. But instead of asking me what I actually think
            they try and assign me thought, ideas, beliefs or emotions?

            I am open to evidence. I set a high bar for most things, religious or
            otherwise, in order to accept them as reasonably true. For example, I
            am reasonably familiar with the major quantum theories, but I don’t
            believe any of them because there is very little evidence that any of
            them are true. I can talk about them, use them conversationally or
            demonstratively, but I don’t “believe” them, and I won’t until we can
            have sufficient evidence that one or more of them may be correct.

            I am not an angry person either. I’m about as angry about religion/god
            as I would be to Saruman, or Lucius Malfoy, or Kylo Ren. I don’t think
            the bible is any more true than a Spider-Man comic because, while it
            shares some semblance to the reality we know, it doesn’t appear to match
            reality as we observe it.

        • GLT

          If I were to meet you tomorrow would you be twelve feet tall? If I was to meet someone tomorrow who knows you well would they tell me you are twelve feet tall?

          As the obvious answer to both questions is no, your argument is moot. Time for you to do some work on critical thinking, I think.

          • You seem to doubt my claim on how tall I am. Why don’t you believe my claim? The question about whether you believe me or not is rhetorical, the one that needs answered is “Why not?”. I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but the answer to a “why” question is never a “yes” or “no”, it’s probing for understanding of the issue at hand. The two questions are “do you believe me”, which is said is rhetorical because I feel fairly certain that mbabbitt (or you) DOESN’T believe such a claim. The second question “Why not” is the actual point being made here. There are practical and sufficient reasons to not accept such claims, and I want mbabbitt (or you, GLT, since you chimed in) to explain the process of why decided you don’t believe that.

            You seem to be getting there with the first part of your response, but what things are you doing, or evidences are you using to make your point? I am, using the Socratic method, asking YOU (the reader) to apply critical thinking to the claims and explain why my statements are false. These same answers might also be applied to other claims made in reference to this topic, or this article in particular.

          • GLT

            “asking YOU (the reader) to apply critical thinking to the claims and explain why my statements are false.”

            I did, I clearly asked if I was to meet you tomorrow would I find you were indeed twelve feet tall? Obviously the answer is no and your failure to counter my contention is proof of that. Again, your argument is moot and has nothing to do with the question as to whether or not Christ existed. You are simply demonstrating you do not understand the nature of historical research. Historical documents are to be taken at face value unless there is solid evidence to the contrary. Your personal belief being counter to the contents of a historical manuscript does not meet that burden.

          • GLT, do you understand what a rhetorical question is? I asked if the reader believed me for the sake of having the reader get to the last question which is “why?”. “Why?” is the process for deducing the reasons you don’t think I’m 12 feet tall. Your answer was to address the “do you believe me” as if that was the question and not to explain the process that you go through to get to that answer. The critical thinking part, is to critically analyze the process of how you got to a “no”. Not the reasons, but the steps. Like, you heard a claim, you assessed what the claim was saying, made a decision on whether or not the claim itslef has more importance to you if it was true or false, you compared the claim to things you believed to be true, and then you decided on a resultant product of that reasoning.

            If someone else told you I was 12 feet tall, and claimed to know me personally, would that help you accept my claim? What if they wrote it down and you read it? Or they called you on the phone, or met you for coffee?

            I have to stop you there though, since that’s not how historical research works, like, at all. Historical documents are rarely taken at face value. The possible exceptions are what might be called mundane records that show things like the number of camels sold to someone, or census records, or some more tangible facts. They are more accepted as accurate with corroborating records, but there are no legitimate historians looking for Atlantis, which was only mentioned by Plato, ever. He said he’d heard about it from someone else, but no corroborating stories have ever been found to have anyone put any serious research into it. Instead we have wealthy donors funding “research” boondoggles that have never been fruitful.

            Religious texts, by the way, are also not typically considered historical documents, especially not without other documentation. Let me amend that a little bit by saying, not any longer (like 60 years or so). But, for example, after spending 150 years or so looking for evidence of the Exodus and not finding anything, the modern community of archeologists and historians don’t accept that it occurred. Strange how between 600,000 and 2.5 million people could leave Egypt, not devastate the economy or be recorded by the scribes of Egypt for leaving, or somehow not leave a single artifact of living in the desert (as nomads) for 40 years? You are talking about the same number of people as live in metro Washington DC (on the low end) moving around a place the size of New Jersey for 40 years.

            My “personal” belief has nothing to do with how I assess the historicity of Jesus, but my method for arriving at conclusions does.

  • David Marshall

    As someone who has debated Richard Carrier twice, I respect his intelligence and broad reading, if not much else about him. (Though he wished my death by combustion after our last debate, suggesting that it did not go entirely to his liking.) Lataster, one of Carrier’s disciples, is however one of the dimmest creatures on the planet since trilobites went extinct, and I am amazed the Washington Post would publicize his nonsense.

    Last time, Carrier and I were debating my book, Jesus is No Myth: The Fingerprints of God on the Gospels. I suggest my fellow Christians do as I did in that book, and disdain to merely “prove that Jesus lived.” That is not an historical issue at all: no serious historian doubts that fact, nor should they. But the likes of Carrier and Lataster have a habit of raising issues which undercut skepticism about the real historical Jesus — the Jesus of the Gospels, miracles and all — in some pretty interesting ways, in my experience. Let’s not try to bunt on base: let’s swing for the fences.

    • GPS Daddy

      Cool. I will watch them on yourtube.

  • realDEEBEE

    Awaiting similar disquisition on Mohammad, day after Ramadan

    • Mark Mac Donald

      it will make you happy to show all religions are fake?

  • Alfonso Leyson

    At 3 PM Sabbath, May 1st, 28 AD, was the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead. Add 6 for human, multiplied by 11 for confusion, multiplied again by 11 times 1,000 days equal to January 20, 2016, the 7th year of Obama in the White House. Another 6 times 11 times 11 days, it will be January 15, 2018, the 1,001st occurance. January 9, 2018 will be when the moon is in the 7th House (Venus) and Jupiter aligned with Mars. Welcome to the Day of Aquarius.

  • FunkyBillyChin

    Hmm. I suppose that Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln didn’t exist either – based on the same wholesale rejection of the historical record.

  • Marissa Sorensen

    Wow! Rude much, WaPo? You can believe whatever you darn well please, but intentional “up your nose with rubber hose” nastiness is beyond rude. I’d say you were insulting our intelligence, but I doubt you’d recognize an intelligent person if he came up and said, “Boo,” in your face. About all I can think of in response to your deliberate insult is, “And the horse you rode in on, pal!”

  • GLT

    SkepticalRoot,

    “The critical thinking part, is to critically analyze the process of how you got to a “no”.”

    Yes, I know what a rhetorical question is, Do you know what a moot argument is? The point is not how I come to the conclusion you are not twelve feet tall, the point is your analogy does nothing to address the question of whether or not Christ existed. Thus, it is moot.

    “Historical documents are rarely taken at face value.”

    Yes, they are, unless there is compelling reasons to not do so.

    “Religious texts, by the way, are also not typically considered historical documents,…”

    All ancient manuscripts are considered historical documents by their very nature, even if they only pertain to the making of beer. I’m afraid all you’re doing is spouting the usual atheistic rhetoric which has a habit of redefinition to satisfy its particular narrative.

    Biblical manuscripts are historical documents by the very nature that they originate from and describe events which occurred in a particular era of history. That is the very definition of a historical document. To argue Biblical manuscripts are not historical documents because you do not personally like the contents of the documents is palpable and childish nonsense.

    “But, for example, after spending 150 years or so looking for evidence of the Exodus,…”

    There is such evidence, it simply does not fit into the accepted timeline. So you’re wrong when you say no evidence at all exists. Evidence is always open to interpretation based on presuppositions. If one’s presuppositions are in error, so will their interpretation of the evidence be in error. If the accepted Egyptian timeline is in error, so will the interpretation of evidence pertaining to the Exodus be in error.

    As for evidence of migrating people in the Sinai desert, exactly what would you expect to find after 3,000 plus years in a harsh desert environment? Exactly what would you expect a nomadic group of people from 3,000 years ago to leave behind that would exist until today? Perhaps tent pegs, or even the odd tent? Tell me, what would you want to see?

    The truth of the matter is even if considerable evidence was to be found you would not accept it as evidence for the Exodus. You would simply find an alternate explanation which would allow you to continue to claim no evidence exists.

    “My “personal” belief has nothing to do with how I assess the historicity of Jesus, but my method for arriving at conclusions does.”

    That is an outright lie unless you have also rejected the historical existence of Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and virtually every other figure in ancient history. Have you?

    • GPS Daddy

      On the Exodus, have you seen the movie “Patterns of Evidence”? It address in an astonishing way the claimed lack of evidence for the Exodus. It sets the stage with interviews of leading Egyptologists of the claimed lack of evidence and then goes on to show how a likely time error of events in Egypt’s history actually is the culprit in associating evidence that does exist. By the end of the movie it turns the claimed lack of evidence on its head.

      • GLT

        Yes, I have seen Patterns of Evidence and found it very thought provoking. It clearly demonstrates the problem of presupposition when it comes to viewing evidence. Unfortunately historians too often fall into a trap which will not allow them to objectively view the evidence before them. They set up and doggedly adhere to a timeline of events and believe they must fit everything into that paradigm rather than letting the evidence lead the way. I found a few of the comments made by ‘experts’ to be downright laughable.

    • If by moot, you mean that it’s purely academic, then no, it’s an active question to get you to engage in the process of decision making.

      Historical documents are taken at face value with corroborating evidence, not on their own. History is a branch of social science, and uses the scientific method to come to conclusions. It was a long, hard, and expensive road to get there, but it’s been there for about 60 years now. Age doesn’t make something true, or Plato would be considered “true”, and so would Gilgamesh, and the Odyssey, and maybe some plays by Shakespeare at this point.

      Religious texts are historical in that they are old, but not necessarily historical in that they accurately represent history. When we have evidence that what it claimed in religious texts seems to be true, then we can say that that part is true. It doesn’t validate the rest of it, only those parts.

      There isn’t evidence of the exodus though. The entire Egyptian empire at the time of the exodus would have had between 2 and 4 million people. On numbers alone, you are talking about losing, overnight, over 30 percent, to up the entire population of your country. How does no one notice this? Why are there plenty of records of the goings on of the time in Egypt (victories, defeats, famines, etc) but no record of the exodus? You should realize that this story, like much of the old testament, isn’t meant to be literal. Right?

      But I would expect there to be remnants of camps, fortifications. TONS of garbage. Latrines, hunting paths, migration trails, DEAD PEOPLE. And yet, we find evidence for things happening during that time, in the region, but nothing CLOSE to the scale that would indicate that a population LARGER THAN Toledo OH, Tulsa OK, Fresno CA, or Omaha NE, wandering around in a place the size of New Jersey for 40 years. Not to mention that the men could have stood hand to hand and the line would have overshot the target from leaving Cairo to arriving in Jerusalem.

      There is more evidence for Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and many other historical figures. But if it turned out that some of that evidence was false or incorrect, then I wouldn’t accept them as real people either. Few people have an ideological horse in the historicity of Caesar though. But Cesar wrote his own books, we have dozens of contemporary accounts of him, we have the accounts of people who knew him, met him, hated and loved him. We also have coins that were stamped with his image when he was emperor, and statues made in his likeness while he lived. He’s also depicted in Fresco’s, mosaics and other artwork. And no one thought he was god or the son of one (except metaphorically).

    • If by moot, you mean that it’s purely academic, then no, it’s an
      active question to get you to engage in the process of decision making.

      Historicaldocuments are taken at face value with corroborating evidence, not on
      their own. History is a branch of social science, and uses the
      scientific method to come to conclusions. It was a long, hard, and
      expensive road to get there, but it’s been there for about 60 years now.
      Age doesn’t make something true, or Plato would be considered “true”,
      and so would Gilgamesh, and the Odyssey, and maybe some plays by
      Shakespeare at this point.

      Religious texts are historical in that they are old, but not necessarily historical in that they accurately
      represent history. When we have evidence that what it claimed in
      religious texts seems to be true, then we can say that that part is
      true. It doesn’t validate the rest of it, only those parts.

      Thereisn’t evidence of the exodus though. The entire Egyptian empire at the
      time of the exodus would have had between 2 and 4 million people. On
      numbers alone, you are talking about losing, overnight, over 30 percent,
      to up the entire population of your country. How does no one notice
      this? Why are there plenty of records of the goings on of the time in
      Egypt (victories, defeats, famines, etc) but no record of the exodus?
      You should realize that this story, like much of the old testament,
      isn’t meant to be literal. Right?

      • GLT

        “If by moot, you mean that it’s purely academic,…”

        By moot I mean it is without force, quality and of no value whatsoever.

        “Historical documents are taken at face value with corroborating evidence, not on
        their own.”

        What would be used to corroborate the evidence found in historical documents? Yes, genius, evidence from other historical documents. However, based on your logic you could not accept any of them at face value and therefore they could not be relied upon as corroboration for each other. You really must begin to think your arguments through logically before presenting them.

        “Religious texts are historical in that they are old, but not necessarily historical in that they accurately
        represent history.”

        Why would religious texts not represent history accurately, simply because they contain religious aspects? Is the historical narrative of Acts written by Luke inaccurate simply because it recounts the actions of the Apostles after the death of Christ? What kind of logic do you practice?

        “When we have evidence that what it claimed in religious texts seems to be true, then we can say that that part is true. It doesn’t validate the rest of it, only those parts.”

        So what you happen to like in the narrative of a historical text is true and what is found in a historical text that you don’t like, is untrue. What a nice little world of convenience you have built for yourself. Too bad for you real life is just not that convenient.

        “There isn’t evidence of the exodus though.”

        So you keep saying but never supporting with cogent arguments, only credulous appeals to how unlikely such an event would be. Credulous appeals hold no weight in this case because, though the events seem incredible, they are not unreasonable in their scope.

        As for the event going unnoticed, who says it was not noticed? It is known Egypt went through a period of famine and occupation by foreign powers which would lead one to believe some major event had led to it suffering a time of military and economic weakness. The mass exodus of a large portion of the population could be such an event.

        I really think you need to do some honest investigation into these questions and quit relying on rhetoric.

        • Two records talking about a record flood in the Nile delta are more likely to be true than one. Individually, they are not as valuable as when they are collected. Like money, one dollar isn’t as valuable as five.

          When religious texts record an event that didn’t happen, or when they record events in ways that are inconsistent with other records, then we have to decide which ones are to be believed and which ones aren’t. There are methods for doing this (evaluating primary and secondary sources, chemical and carbon dating, archeology, etc). In cases of conflict, the ones with the most narrator bias seem to be the ones discredited first, typically because they are the least well supported.

          If you start from the supposition that Jesus was real, the son of God, and life was accurately recorded in Acts (even the forged ones) then it makes sense to believe them. But you aren’t going to convince someone who doesn’t have that presupposition but does use logical reasoning that those things are true. Religious texts start with narrator bias because they are supposed to be persuasive texts.

          If a historical text records something untrue then I don’t believe it. If it records something I don’t like, but don’t have reason to doubt, I still believe it. It’s an open system, not a closed one.

          Credulous and logical arguments are all we have in lieu of evidence. Neither one can produce knowledge, but they can dismiss things as unreasonable. It is entirely unreasonable to think that 600,000 (men over 20, mind you, plus their kids, wives, livestock and some other assorted non-jews) could have left an area of about 3 million people and NOT BEEN NOTICED but the scribes of Egypt? Would not have devastated the economy from lost labor, from lost goods (that the Israelites took with them) from lost food stores and the economics of buying food and feeding and housing that many people? Seriously, look at what happened in Detroit, over DECADES when that many people left. And this supposedly happened all at once.

          And IF you are going to argue that this is “metaphorical” then you are just agreeing with what I said, that this wasn’t supposed to be a literal event. Why would you argue with it then? This was l just an example of how things in the text aren’t always exactly what they claim to be.

          • GLT

            “Like money, one dollar isn’t as valuable as five.”

            True, and also like money, one historical document is more valuable than none. The lack of a second dollar does not lessen the value of the one.

            “then we have to decide which ones are to be believed and which ones aren’t.”

            Exactly, our presuppositions determine how we will interpret the evidence. If you start from a presupposition that the supernatural does not exist it is impossible for you to interpret any event in any other way but from a naturalist perspective.

            “the ones with the most narrator bias seem to be the ones discredited first,…”

            And who or what determines narrator bias?

            “But you aren’t going to convince someone who doesn’t have that presupposition but does use logical reasoning,…”

            And you’re probably completely unaware of your own bias presented in this statement. One who does not believe in the supernatural is seen as logical as opposed to the illogical nature of one who does believe in the supernatural.

            “Religious texts start with narrator bias because they are supposed to be persuasive texts.”

            The same can be said for atheistic texts, they are supposed to be persuasive. Such is the very nature of writing, my friend. Thus, the fact a manuscript may wish to persuade the reader does not lessen its value or trustworthiness.

            “If a historical text records something untrue then I don’t believe it.”

            How do you determine whether or not what the historical text claims is true or untrue? If you deny the possibility of the supernatural a priori, you will be forced to deny anything which claims to be supernatural. Thus your presuppositions as to what can and cannot be true are predetermined. If the writer claims to have witnessed an event which you have predetermined cannot occur you must label him a liar for no other reason than he claims something you do not believe could happen.

            Such is the situation vis a vis the resurrection of Christ. You have predetermined that this could not have occurred and therefore all those who claim otherwise must be lying. The only problem we have is the minor detail that these writers were there and claim to have witnessed these events. You and I were not and as it is our experience that dead men do not rise we feel we need to reject their testimony.

            But the question remains, why did these men make this claim and why are we so sure dead men cannot rise again? Do we take our position based solely on the fact we have not witnessed a dead man rise? If so, is that a logical position or is it simply a position based on personal experience? Is it reasonable to conclude no man has ever risen from the dead simply because we personally have not witnessed such an event? Many men claim to have witnessed the resurrected Christ and went to their deaths maintaining that testimony. Men will willingly die for what they mistakenly believe to be true, but men will not willingly be put to death for what they know to be a lie.

            “NOT BEEN NOTICED but the scribes of Egypt?”

            There are few points to this argument. One is the existence of the Ipewur papyrus which describes events resembling the plagues of Egypt and the aftermath of these events. Second, is the known tendency of succeeding dynasties to re-write the history of preceding rulers in order to make the present rulers look better. As such, much of Egypt’s true history has been lost and may never be known with any degree of certainty. Third, there are recorded times in Egypt’s history where they were not the powerful nation we often see them to be.

            “Seriously, look at what happened in Detroit, over DECADES when that many people left.”

            Seriously, you’re going to try to draw an equivalency between modern Detroit and ancient Egypt? No, I am not going to argue it is metaphorical, I am going to argue it is entirely irrelevant. The two situations are not even remotely comparable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact Detroit and Egypt are not even remotely parallel situations.

          • The null hypothesis is the antithesis of presupposition.

            I don’t claim the supernatural doesn’t exist (I claim that it’s still natural). I’ve never said what you are attributing to me, here. But even if it was true, you don’t know my epistemology so you don’t know what it can or cannot do.

            Atheism is the rejection of theistic claims. It’s is not a positive claim. It doesn’t say anything. By your logic a manuscript that doesn’t talk about the sky is trying to convince you there is no sky.

            There are no a priori assumptions in the null hypothesis. To reject everything, accept only things that are evidenced and only as much as they are evidenced.

            I am open to evidence of the divine claims of the bible. They are un-evidenced, however, so I reject their claims until such time as they are shown to have supporting reproduceable evidence. I would also take logically coherent arguments to get started, but I haven’t found those yet either.

            All of your excuses for a lack of evidence for an exodus fail because they lack evidence.

            But I’m done. You can’t argue your point. You straw man my statements, ascribe thought and positions to me that I do not hold and have not expressed. You seem to be deliberately misunderstanding what I’ve said in order to make your apologist points. We are tangentially slipping into a hole that I have neither the time to deal with, nor the desire to keep chasing your ever changing goal posts, shooting down your tired old shoes of arguments, all while having to chase down why my posts keep getting flagged as spam. I don’t care enough about convincing you that you are making points that only make sense to you (and others that accept your beliefs) but not to people outside your belief set.

            Have a good one.

          • GLT

            “I don’t claim the supernatural doesn’t exist (I claim that it’s still natural).”

            Well, that makes perfect sense.

            “Atheism is the rejection of theistic claims. It’s is not a positive claim.”

            Complete and utter nonsense. That is nothing but mindless atheist drivel. A denial of one position, theism, in favour of its antithesis, atheism, is by definition and its very nature, a positive claim. It always amazes me that atheists think they can play this childish semantic game and expect people will fall for it. Sorry, but no one with any ability at all to think rationally falls for this nonsense. Atheism is a positive statement of belief and as such bears the burden of support from those who promote it.

            “By your logic a manuscript that doesn’t talk about the sky is trying to convince you there is no sky.”

            Ironic you should bring up logic as you have continually displayed a complete lack of understanding when it comes to the whole concept of logic. Your pathetic attempt at an analogy is a case in point. No, a manuscript not mentioning the sky is not trying to convince the reader there is no sky, whereas a manuscript promoting atheism is, by design, trying to convince the reader there is no God. However, you have clearly demonstrated over the last while you will never be able to comprehend the difference. You are so entrenched in rhetoric you do not understand in the slightest the concept of rational thought, everything is by rote.

            “I am open to evidence of the divine claims of the bible. They are un-evidenced,…”

            I have asked you this before so I really am not expecting an answer this time but what is your evidence for claiming there is no evidence for the divine claims of the Bible?

            “All of your excuses for a lack of evidence for an exodus fail because they lack evidence.”

            Wow, you really have serious reading comprehension problems. That’s not unusual for atheists, however.

            I never made excuses for the lack of evidence for the Exodus, I simply pointed out why some of the types of evidence you demand might not exist. I also pointed out there was considerable evidence for the Exodus but that it is rejected because many scholars feel it does not fit into the generally accepted timeline for Egyptian history. Nothing about my comments had the nature of a an excuse, that is simply you reading into my comments what you wanted and needed to see.

            “But I’m done.”

            So you keep saying. In fact, you were done before you started because you were relying on rhetoric rather then knowledge and facts. It helps to have some understanding and knowledge of a subject if you’re going to get into a discussion about it. But as is typical with atheists, you whip out your little quiver full of rhetoric and react with horror when your arrows miss the mark. All atheists are like the emperor of Hans Christian Andersen fame, you’re shocked to find your beautiful new robes are in fact a myth and you’re standing stark naked. You spend so much time continually telling yourselves you’re intellectually superior that it comes as a horrendous shock to find out nothing is further from the truth than that little myth.

            “You seem to be deliberately misunderstanding what I’ve said in order to make your apologist points.”

            On the contrary, I have not been misunderstanding what you have been saying, I have been exposing what you have been saying for the illogical nonsense it is. You are simply having a difficult time dealing with that fact. It seems to have been a real shock to you that you have actually run into some people who are able to expose your drivel for what it is.

            “I don’t care enough about convincing you,…”

            As I already told you, I was once, many years ago, where you are at now. I am where I am now because I made the effort to educate myself in the areas of philosophy, logic, history and rational thought. I made the effort to be objective and found my adherence to my former way of thinking was ill founded and totally contrary to the facts.

            “but not to people outside your belief set.”

            I used to be outside my belief set and so have many millions of people throughout history. That is something you seem incapable of understanding, that intelligent people can be objective enough to look at the evidence and draw the conclusion that atheism is an illogical and self contradictory belief system. I’m sorry, the only people who fall for atheism are those who cannot be objective in their approach and who lack an ability to think critically. Those who adhere to atheism do so out of a need to satisfy their own desires, not out of a need to genuinely seek truth.

    • But I would expect there to be
      remnants of camps, fortifications. TONS of garbage. Latrines, hunting
      paths, migration trails, DEAD PEOPLE. And yet, we find evidence for
      things happening during that time, in the region, but nothing CLOSE to
      the scale that would indicate that a population LARGER THAN Toledo OH,
      Tulsa OK, Fresno CA, or Omaha NE, wandering around in a place the size
      of New Jersey for 40 years. Not to mention that the men could have
      stood hand to hand and the line would have overshot the target from
      leaving Cairo to arriving in Jerusalem.

      There is more evidence for
      Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and many other historical figures.
      But if it turned out that some of that evidence was false or incorrect,
      then I wouldn’t accept them as real people either. Few people have an
      ideological horse in the historicity of Caesar though. But Cesar wrote
      his own books, we have dozens of contemporary accounts of him, we have
      the accounts of people who knew him, met him, hated and loved him. We
      also have coins that were stamped with his image when he was emperor,
      and statues made in his likeness while he lived. He’s also depicted in
      Fresco’s, mosaics and other artwork. And no one thought he was god or
      the son of one (except metaphorically).

      • GLT

        “remnants of camps, fortifications. TONS of garbage. Latrines, hunting
        paths, migration trails, DEAD PEOPLE.”

        It would appear you do not comprehend the nature of a nomadic existence nor the harshness of an environment such as the Sinai. Nomadic people do not build fortifications as they are somewhat contrary to the nature of their lifestyle. As for hunting paths and migration trails, you seriously believe they would survive for over 3,000 years in the environment which is the Sinai? Also, do you comprehend the size of the area in question? If so, do you really believe it has been thoroughly investigated in its entirety or even could be? You’re simply arguing from silence and credulity, neither of which are valid.

        “But Cesar wrote his own books, we have dozens of contemporary accounts of him, we have
        the accounts of people who knew him, met him, hated and loved him.”

        From the outset I want it perfectly understood I do not for a minute doubt the existence of Julius Caesar or Alexander. I have no doubt whatsoever that both existed and that we have a fairly comprehensive understanding of their lives and accomplishments.

        That being said, the quality of the evidence we have for the existence of these two historical figures and other figures of their time pales in comparison to what we possess for the existence of Christ. Any competent and honest historian, regardless of religious persuasion will attest to that fact.

        Caesar wrote The Gallic Wars from which we gain great insight into the nature of the man. However, the oldest texts we have of these writings are copies made 900 years after the original writing. Hardly comparable in quality or quantity for the records we have attesting to the life of Christ.

        As for accounts of others who knew Caesar, met him, loved and hated him they pale in comparison to the quality, (proximity to the events) and quantity of similar accounts we have for Jesus Christ. You’re flogging a long dead horse if you think you can score points with this line of argumentation. If you think you can, you are simply displaying an overwhelming ignorance of the facts.

        “We also have coins that were stamped with his image when he was emperor,
        and statues made in his likeness while he lived.”

        And Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are real because their images appear on the legal currency of the South Pacific island nation of Niue. Really, you think the image on a coin is knock out evidence for someone’s existence, while the lack of an image on a coin is evidence of their non-existence? Where did you learn your reasoning skills? Wherever it was, I hope you did not pay for it.

        • No I understand the nature of 600,000 nomads moving around for 40 years. So do archeologists, and they haven’t found what they expect. There are no logical fallacies called “arguing from silence” or “arguing from credulity”. And absence of evidence CAN BE evidence of absence. See Bigfoot for example.

          This is just apologetics now. The records aren’t comparable. One records the deeds of a living person, verified by his contemporaries, who’s likeness was recorded during and after his lifetime by people recording HISTORY and not a religious text. No one wrote about Jesus while he lived, no one recorded his supposed deeds until at least 40 years later, and when they supposedly did so they ascribe to him feats which fall outside of those things we expect humans to do. And the accounts of him contradict one another in fundamental ways that indicate that they all can’t be true, even if one of them is, but we have no way to know which one that could be. The oldest fragment of a gospel is a copy of a copy, and dates to mid second century. P52 is from John, but it only includes, like, what 25 words?

          His image alone on money is not proof but it is evidence. It can be, and is, evaluated with other things we know to come up with a stronger case for the existence of Cesar than Jesus. Your argument is a straw-man of what I said. If this is all I have to look forward to, then you make it hard for me to want to continue. Like I’ve said, I’ve done this before and we spend longer and longer posts talking about broader and broader topics, or someone gets offended, or someone gets too insulting because they are too emotionally invested.

          • GLT

            “So do archeologists, and they haven’t found what they expect.”

            So, each and every archaeologist is of the opinion the Exodus did not occur, no exceptions, is that your argument?

            “There are no logical fallacies called “arguing from silence” or “arguing from credulity”.”

            Yes, I am afraid there are such fallacies. Denying the existence of an event simply because you believe it is beyond credible is a fallacious form of reasoning. So is the concept of saying an event recorded by an eyewitness did not occur solely on the basis no physical evidence is available. Such an event could have occurred without leaving physical evidence or the physical evidence could be explained in a different manner. Thus the lack of evidence is not necessarily evidence of lack of an event. This is pretty basic stuff, buddy.

            “No one wrote about Jesus while he lived, no one recorded his supposed deeds until at least 40 years later,…”

            As the original documents pertaining to Christ’s life are not presently possessed you have no idea when people first wrote about Christ. So again, you are making claims to knowledge for which you simply do not possess the evidence. That seems to be a habit for you.

            “And the accounts of him contradict one another in fundamental ways that indicate that they all can’t be true,…”

            You’ve made this claim before and as before you fail to provide evidence to support your claim.

            “The oldest fragment of a gospel is a copy of a copy,…”

            The oldest text of the Gallic Wars is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, etc., for 900 years. Yet you accept without question the contents of the Gallic Wars and reject the Gospels because they are 100 years removed in time. And you view your position as logical. It is to laugh.

            “things we know to come up with a stronger case for the existence of Cesar than Jesus.”

            That’s just the point, genius, you do not have a stronger case for the existence of Caesar, the situation is exactly the opposite.

            “Your argument is a straw-man of what I said.”

            Know it is not. I never claimed you had made an argument for Caesar’s existence based solely on an image on a coin. I simply pointed out fictional characters can appear on coins as well. Caesar’s image on a coin is only a small piece of evidence pertaining to his existence and is only viable in conjunction with other pieces of evidence. The point is the amount of evidence for Caesar’s existence pales in comparison for the amount of evidence for the existence of Christ. That is simply a fact of history and to argue otherwise is to be either obstinate or ignorant or both.

            “If this is all I have to look forward to,…”

            What you have to look forward to is complete refutation of your rhetoric. You present no arguments which have not been refuted ad infinitum, ad nauseum. You have not presented any kind of cogent argument, nothing but standard atheist rhetoric about the historicity of Caesar vs Christ, the supposed contradictions in the Bible, etc. None of this is new and none of it is defensible. You display a woeful ignorance on the subjects in which you think you are well versed. Even the slightest bit of objective research on your part would demonstrate that fact. My only hope is you will look at that fact and make an effort to educate yourself. I used to be where you are and it was not until I made an effort to study the subject from a perspective of objectivity that I came to realise my position was untenable in the face of the facts.

            As for me becoming offended by your comments, it is simply not going to happen. There is nothing you can come up with which I have not heard a thousand times before and which I have not refuted a thousand times before. In other words you have nothing in your quiver of atheistic rhetoric which will cause me to become upset or doubt my beliefs. I have travelled the road you’re on years ago and know all too well it has nothing which I should fear; not intellectually, logically, emotionally or spiritually.

          • Done. You strawed one too many men. You’ve made stuff up, and you’ve sunk to base apoligetics that aren’t even consistent with what you are saying. I’m done. You aren’t reading what I’m saying, you’re interpreting it and coming up with some crazy stuff that’s not anywhere close to what I could have meant, or in any interpretation of what I actually wrote, could be construed that way unless you are being deliberately obtuse.

            Go be dishonest with someone with more time or emotional investment in your fantasies. I don’t care enough to chase your goalposts any longer, or refute all the crazy stuff you are saying.

            And because you’re gonna ask:

            No, not every archeologist, but the majority of the ones that have and do study archeology in that region, including the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt.

            There is no such thing as an argument from credulity. There is one from incredulity, however, and it’s a fallacy. To argue that something is credulous is how you get reasonable assessments of evidence. An argument from silence is to used when assessing what an author has not written about, not whether or not something existed based on records or evidence.

            The stories of Jesus being divine are not plausible or reasonable. There is insufficient evidence to support his resurrection, let alone his ability to resurrect other people, walk on water, feed the multitudes, etc. Those extraordinary claims don’t even have mundane evidence, let along extraordinary evidence. The stories themselves contradict each other in numerous ways, some of which I’ve given you but you refuse to acknowledge. I’m not writing a book on it, but read the Skeptics Annotated Bible for a more complete list of contradictions.

            You said (paraphrasing) ‘so if Donald Duck is on currency somewhere then we should think he’s real’. I said it was part of a collection of evidence for his existence, not the sole piece of it. You straw-manned this with this comment, and your reply above.

            You don’t know how many copied came between the 900 AD copy of Cesars writing and the original. Just like we don’t know how many copies there were between the original manuscripts and the oldest known complete surviving bible. That’s not even an argument.

            And for the love of Pete, YOU ARE THE ONE MAKING A POSITIVE CLAIM. I don’t accept, based on the availability and quality of evidence that Jesus ever a real person. You are insisting that he is, and IT’S NOT CONVINCING. You are treading on all the ground I’ve covered in my life, at times making honest inquiry into it because, at the end of the day, if any of the claims were true, then I wanted to know. But you know what? Spider-Man and the X-Men are more believable (but I don’t think that’s true either).

          • GLT

            “You’ve made stuff up, and you’ve sunk to base apoligetics that aren’t even consistent with what you are saying. I’m done.”

            I’m not at all surprised you are running away, it is the inevitable tactic of the atheist once his faulty rhetoric is exposed as the lack of intellect it is.

            “Go be dishonest,…”

            Because your rhetoric is exposed for what it is is not because of dishonesty on my part, it is solely the inevitable result of your lack of cogent arguments and complete reliance on rhetoric rather than facts.

            “No, not every archeologist, but the majority,…”

            Ah, the old Argument from Majority fallacy. Thank you. I hope you realise truth is not determined by majority opinion.

            “There is one from incredulity,…”

            Look it up, you will see both terms are used.

            “Those extraordinary claims don’t even have mundane evidence, let along extraordinary evidence.”

            Eyewitness claims to these events having occurred are, by their very existence, evidential claims to the reality of these events. So again your argument that no evidence exists is moot from the outset. You just don’t get how this works, do you? You reject the claims because you reject the possibility of the supernatural a priori. Your presuppositions demand you reject any evidence to the contrary.

            “The stories themselves contradict each other in numerous ways, some of which I’ve given you but you refuse to acknowledge.”

            I did not refuse to acknowledge them at all, I clearly said if you were to give me the references and the translations you were referring too I would reply with answers. So now, you have resorted to lying in regards to my willingness to address your arguments. Present the details I requested and you will get answers.

            “read the Skeptics Annotated Bible,….”

            I sincerely hope you are not under the delusion that there are no publications available refuting the arguments found in the Skeptics Annotated Bible. None of what you find in there is anything new.
            Think about it, the Bible has been accused of inconsistencies and contradictions for centuries, do you really believe these issues have not been addressed hundreds of times? Also, if the Bible was just the work of man do you not also think these supposed inconsistencies and contradictions would not long ago been corrected if they actually existed? Be honest with yourself, do the work and you will find there are answers for these supposed contradictions.

            “You don’t know how many copied came between the 900 AD copy of Cesars writing and the original.”

            Exactly how many there were, no. But the fact remains the oldest known extant copy is 900 years after the event. It is not very likely it is only the second, third or even sixth generation. Like I said before, you’re flogging a dead horse with this line of argumentation. The manuscript evidence supporting the existence of Christ is orders of magnitude greater than that for Caesar. Of that fact there is no debate outside of youtube wannabe historians such as yourself.

            “YOU ARE THE ONE MAKING A POSITIVE CLAIM. I don’t accept, based on the availability and quality of evidence that Jesus ever a real person.”

            You just don’t get it, do you. Logical reasoning is completely foreign to you. Claiming you do not believe Christ ever existed IS a positive claim to knowledge. It is absolutely no different in substance or nature than my claim to believe Chris did exist. It’s irrelevant whether or not you think the quality or quantity of evidence is sufficient, you are still making a positive claim to knowledge based on your assessment of the available evidence. You can’t simply say I don’t believe A and not have to give reasons as to why you don’t believe A. Have you ever taken a class beyond high school? It doesn’t seem like it because your critical thinking skills are beyond woeful, they are, in fact, atrocious. You’re relying on baseless rhetoric from atheist websites which tell you people who believe in the existence of Christ or the existence of God bear the burden of proof. That’s a lie, both positions bear the burden of proof for their respective beliefs. Atheists like to use the burden of proof shift because their arguments do not stand up to scrutiny so they try to avoid the necessity of presenting them. When they do, they suffer the fate of all atheistic arguments, total failure. That is simply the hard lesson you are now learning from me and others you have responded to your claims.

    • Common Ground

      “NO one knows if Jesus Christ existed, and if he did, NOTHING is known about him!”.
      “WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN” Bertrand Russell 1928

      • GLT

        And your point is….?

        • Common Ground

          ..that God (whatever that is!) exists, but Jesus NEVER did!

          • GLT

            Because Bertrand Russell said so? That’s very funny. Perhaps you have some actual evidence?

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