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Who is Jesus Christ and Who is Irrational? (Mike Adams)
clashdaily.com ^ | 12-4-2013 | Mike Adams

Posted on 12/04/2013 3:17:41 PM PST by servo1969

A sixty-seven year old proud atheist friend of mine recently interjected the sweeping statement “all religion is irrational” into one of our conversations. I replied, not with a direct rebuttal but, instead, with the unexpected question, “who is Jesus Christ?” He replied, “I don’t know.” If I were to ask some of you why I pulled that question out of left field you might also reply with a bewildered “I don’t know.” So keep reading. Please.

If you have never really pondered the question “who is Jesus Christ?” then you simply cannot consider yourself to be a committed intellectual – at least not yet. Let me say that in a different way: if you have never given serious thought to the true identity of the most important individual ever to walk the face of the earth then you are either a) suffering from severe intellectual hernia, or b) possessed of an intellect impaired by a fear of knowing the true answer to the question.

Let me begin by defending the assertion that Jesus Christ was the most important individual ever to walk the face of the earth. 1) We divide time using the date of Jesus’ birth. 2) More books have been written about Jesus than anyone else in recorded history. Case closed. Now we can move on to the issue of fear and intellectual curiosity.

The options we are given for understanding the identity of Jesus are so limited that no one who is truly intelligent can be behaving rationally if he just avoids the question altogether. Take, for example, my friend who has lived 2/3 of a century on this planet without so much as attempting to work through the options. I don’t want you to be one of those irrational people so let’s get to work.

When addressing the question of Jesus’ identity, there are only four available options. Anyone who has ever read C.S. Lewis or Josh McDowell knows that Jesus was either: 1) A legend, 2) a lunatic, 3) a liar, or 4) the Lord.

The idea that Jesus was merely a legend, as opposed to someone who actually lived, is simply not an option we can take seriously (at least not for long). Independent historical accounts, by that I mean accounts written by non-Christians, are enough to put this option to rest. Jesus is cited by 42 sources within 150 years of his life, and nine of those sources are non-Christian. By contrast, the Roman Emperor Tiberius is only mentioned by 10 sources. If you believe Tiberius existed, how can you not believe in a man who is cited by four times as many people and has had an immeasurably greater impact on history? You can believe that if you wish. But then you risk forfeiting any claim to be considered rational.

Nor is it rational to consider Jesus to have been a lunatic. Perhaps you could maintain that belief if you’ve never read the Bible. But how can a person claim to be educated if he’s never read the Bible?

World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky once entertained the notion that Jesus was a mere lunatic. But, then, in the early 1970s, as an atheist and a communist graduate student, he examined the words of Jesus for the first time. He was traveling to Russia on a ship and wanted to brush up on his Russian. But all he had with him to read (that just happened to be written in Russian) was a copy of the New Testament. And so he read. And he was transformed.

Marvin recognized immediately that the words of Jesus represent a profound level of moral understanding that rises above anything else that has ever been written. Read for yourself the words of Jesus. Then read the words of Charles Manson. Try to convince me that they are one in the same – merely two lunatics who mistakenly thought they were the Messiah. You have a right to that opinion. But you don’t have a right to be considered rational if you cannot detect a glaring difference between the teachings of Christ and Manson.

So, now only two options remain. And this is where the real trouble begins. If we call Jesus a liar (who falsely claimed to be God) then we cannot also call him a great moral teacher. One cannot be both. But many look at the final option of calling him Lord and panic. To go there means to accept belief in the supernatural. And surely that couldn’t be rational. Or could it?

Science has taught us a lot since the Bible was written. For one thing, we know that the universe had a beginning. It is expanding, it is finite, and it was not always here. Put simply, Carl Sagan was wrong. In fact, he was dead wrong. The cosmos is not all that is or was or that ever will be. It had a beginning. It is irrational to dismiss the obvious implications of this: that the universe was caused by a supernatural force existing outside of space and time.

People have to let go of the idea that the natural world is all there is because that is not where the science leads us. It instead leads us away from the philosophical commitment to only considering naturalistic explanations for the things we observe in the physical universe. This also leads us to one very important question: if a supernatural force was great enough to create the universe could the force or being not also reenter creation? And another related question: is the force or being responsible for creating life not also able to conquer death?

Arguably, the resurrection is a pretty small accomplishment in comparison with the creation of the universe. But that doesn’t mean it happened. The evidence must be judged on its own merits. I recommend that serious intellectuals start here.

Of course, you could just keep avoiding the question while judging others to be irrational. But there’s no avoiding the plank in your own eye.


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Chit/Chat; History; Miscellaneous; Religion; Science
KEYWORDS: apologetics; biblearchaeology; christ; historicity; historicityofjesus; jesus; mikeadams
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About the author: Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington
and author of "Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don’t Understand."

1 posted on 12/04/2013 3:17:41 PM PST by servo1969
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To: servo1969

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%202:10-11&version=KJV

Philippians 2:10-11

King James Version (KJV)

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


2 posted on 12/04/2013 3:23:44 PM PST by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: servo1969

Is there a condensed more concise version of his perspective on this topic? If not, I’ll just come back when I have more time.


3 posted on 12/04/2013 3:24:45 PM PST by lee martell
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To: alarm rider; Apple Pan Dowdy; BatGuano; Battle Axe; bayouranger; bboop; BenKenobi; Biggirl; ...

Mike Adams Column


Please Freepmail me if you want to be added, or removed from the ping list

4 posted on 12/04/2013 3:25:08 PM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: lee martell

Mike Adams is a syndicated columnist. That’s his column for this week. How much more concise do you need? A three-panel comic strip?


5 posted on 12/04/2013 3:30:30 PM PST by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: servo1969

Strongly recommend reading “Religion on Trial,” by Craig A. Parton, wherein “a trial lawyer well schooled in the laws of admissible evidence brings insight and clarity to matters normally thought to be solely in the domain of philosophers and theologians.”


6 posted on 12/04/2013 3:35:15 PM PST by Elsiejay
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To: lee martell

Yeah, that was a lot of words. I hate reading as much as you. Especially on a News and Opinion aggregation site like Freerepublic.com.

o_O


7 posted on 12/04/2013 3:41:36 PM PST by GreenAccord (Bacon Akbar)
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To: servo1969

We don’t divide time using Jesus’ birth. We divide it using a convention begun by a forgotten monk who made a mistake.

We seize on that error, recognize that the time stake is essentially arbitrary (The Romans used the legendary founding of the city the same way) and then reference the agreed upon error tainted moment.


8 posted on 12/04/2013 3:46:24 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: servo1969

With regard to the legend, of those 42 sources, how many actually met the man.

The author of Matthew was not matthew, and probably didn’t meet Jesus.
The author of Mark was Paul’s secretary, and probably didn’t meet Jesus. It is likely that Paul never met Jesus.
The author of Luke was commissioned by one Theophilus, and probably didn’t meet Jesus.

So many of the ‘sources’ are not sources at all.


9 posted on 12/04/2013 3:50:35 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: servo1969

I like to point out the paradox of Jesus.

With great care and concern, his followers and scholars point out to great detail how he conformed to the prophecies of the Jewish Moshiach, Messiah. And yet, once in that role, he did little or nothing a Moshiach was supposed to do, but went off in his own direction.

While he created a new religion, the old one ignored him so much that over the years, several others rose up to claim the role of Moshiach. And some of them were far more persuasive to Jews that they were indeed the Moshiach.

However, this does not matter to Christians, because in their view, Jesus wrote his own rules and was not bound to Jewish traditions of what they thought he should be.


10 posted on 12/04/2013 3:54:00 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Last Obamacare Promise: "If You Like Your Eternal Soul, You Can Keep It.")
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To: servo1969

“...the obvious implications of this: that the universe was caused by a supernatural force existing outside of space and time”

Or it was caused by the nature of that which existed before, a different kind of natural process, not a supernatural force existing otherwise. See “A brief History of Time” by Hawking.

As for the supernatural force, I don’t get phone calls from it nor emails. Why would its rules be be “Jam yesterday and Jam tomorrow but never Jam today.”?


11 posted on 12/04/2013 3:55:39 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: servo1969

I have to object to using Charles Manson as the exemplar “lunatic”. I don’t dispute that Manson is a lunatic, but there have been who knows how many thousands of lunatics in this world? I, myself, have know several.

None of the ones I personally knew were vicious serial murderers, as Manson is.

Chose some peaceful loon, I don’t know who, but I didn’t write this piece. To choose Manson is just inflammatory and weakens the argument.


12 posted on 12/04/2013 3:55:58 PM PST by jocon307
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To: lee martell; Bryanw92
Is there a condensed more concise version of his perspective on this topic? If not, I’ll just come back when I have more time.

The entire article is a mere 1003 words - for most people, reading it would take about two minutes of their time. Meanwhile, you yourself have posted 778 words to FR, just since this morning. You're telling us that you can't spare another two minutes of your time, to read instead of write?

13 posted on 12/04/2013 3:56:15 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: donmeaker

“We don’t divide time using Jesus’ birth. We divide it using a convention begun by a forgotten monk who made a mistake.”

It’s close enough for government work.


14 posted on 12/04/2013 3:56:54 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

To me the paradox of Jesus is that noone recognizes that the prophecies were available for forgers to create a pretend Jesus, long after his putative life, and then pretend that their ability to reference various prophecies was somehow evidence of the reality of their scam.


15 posted on 12/04/2013 3:59:10 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: donmeaker

So you think the ten sources met Tiberius?


16 posted on 12/04/2013 4:00:50 PM PST by Lakeshark (Mr Reid, tear down this law!)
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To: jocon307

Choose Thomas, the peaceful but crazy guy beaten to death by Downey California police officers.


17 posted on 12/04/2013 4:00:53 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: Lakeshark

I don’t know what sources he counts. I guessed that some of his Christian sources were the gospels.


18 posted on 12/04/2013 4:01:57 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: donmeaker
To me the paradox of Jesus is that noone recognizes that the prophecies were available for forgers to create a pretend Jesus, long after his putative life, and then pretend that their ability to reference various prophecies was somehow evidence of the reality of their scam.

That's as ignorant a statement as I've seen on FR.

Congratulations, you've shown yourself worthy of DU or KOS.

19 posted on 12/04/2013 4:02:57 PM PST by Lakeshark (Mr Reid, tear down this law!)
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To: donmeaker
I don’t know what sources he counts. I guessed that some of his Christian sources were the gospels.

Well duu-uuhhh. Ya think? Wow, a history of the man by those who knew the man, what a concept.......

20 posted on 12/04/2013 4:05:04 PM PST by Lakeshark (Mr Reid, tear down this law!)
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To: donmeaker; yefragetuwrabrumuy
To me the paradox of Jesus is that noone recognizes that the prophecies were available for forgers to create a pretend Jesus, long after his putative life, and then pretend that their ability to reference various prophecies was somehow evidence of the reality of their scam.

Wherein does Karl Rove jump out of his time machine in your tale?

21 posted on 12/04/2013 4:06:32 PM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: donmeaker

I hear you, I’m sure he was maybe like some of the folks I’ve known.

But it seems clear the author is looking for a well known person. I can’t really think of anyone off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are folks who would qualify.

Too bad, so many peaceful loonies end up dead, yet the murderous Manson is still alive. That seems wrong. (Getting off topic here, I realize.)


22 posted on 12/04/2013 4:06:35 PM PST by jocon307
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To: Boogieman

Well that is an article of faith for you.

Close enough to what? How would you know when it was?

There are arguments that Jesus was not born on 25 December, but his birth day was moved there for political reasons (shepards would not be in their fields by night that time of the year) to coincide with the Saturnalia, Mithra and Sol Invictus (winter solstice in the time of Romans).


23 posted on 12/04/2013 4:06:52 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: Lakeshark

It is a classic philisophical problem.

How do you bury a prediction so that it doesn’t affect the reality to become a self fullfulling prophecy? One thing you wouldn’t do is publicize it in the documents of an important religion. Science used a double blind experiment to ask such questions.

Like the ‘entering town on a donkey’ prophecy. Apparently there were claimants to that prophecy every few years. Bar Kochba rebellion started that way.

The virgin birth prophecy was a simple mistranslation from young girl in Hebrew to virgin in Greek, and the Hebrew version had been fullfilled already by Hezikiah.


24 posted on 12/04/2013 4:13:29 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: donmeaker
The author of Matthew was not matthew, and probably didn’t meet Jesus.
The author of Mark was Paul’s secretary, and probably didn’t meet Jesus. It is likely that Paul never met Jesus.
The author of Luke was commissioned by one Theophilus, and probably didn’t meet Jesus.

I think you're probably wrong.

And for the record--Paul's meeting with Jesus is recorded in Scripture.

25 posted on 12/04/2013 4:14:44 PM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: donmeaker
Or it was caused by the nature of that which existed before,

OK, let's say the universe was caused by the nature of that which existed before.

What caused that which existed before?

26 posted on 12/04/2013 4:14:50 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: donmeaker
This is no classical philosophical problem. It's about you writing one of the most profoundly ignorant statements I've ever seen on FR.

And it was........

Congrats.

27 posted on 12/04/2013 4:15:33 PM PST by Lakeshark (Mr Reid, tear down this law!)
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To: donmeaker

“Close enough for government work” is a sarcastic expression... it means not really close at all, but we’ll just use it anyway.


28 posted on 12/04/2013 4:15:41 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: donmeaker

Actually, some of that was semi-legitimate. At about 200AD Christianity really took off, and there was ridiculous demand for all sorts of details about everyone involved, many of whom left little behind. So while there was an honest effort to get information, there was also publication of just about anything anyone could find or fabricate.

So a lot of the early Christian conclaves were intended to separate the wheat from the chaff, and develop reliable sources for internally consistent doctrine.


29 posted on 12/04/2013 4:16:26 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Last Obamacare Promise: "If You Like Your Eternal Soul, You Can Keep It.")
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To: Lakeshark

Well why, if they knew him would three of the 4 gospel writers crib off either Mark or Mark’s now lost source “Q”?

If they knew him, they could write what they knew.

Just go through holy week and you find each gospel author has a different story. Simple question: There was a trial. Who tried him? They should all get the same answer on that one, right? Anyone? Bueller?


30 posted on 12/04/2013 4:16:59 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: servo1969

Yes, religions are irrational. At least Christianity is. It requires, by definition, transport out of the realm of reason into the dominion of Faith. One cannot reason one’s way to salvation, nor a communion with God. Those defy reason, and gloriously!


31 posted on 12/04/2013 4:17:57 PM PST by IronJack
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To: ShadowAce

Paul never met Jesus before Jesus died. Paul was very impressed on the road to Damascus, but that doesn’t seem to be the same Jesus to me. Seems like drug addled reporting to me.


32 posted on 12/04/2013 4:19:29 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: IronJack

the Scholastics tried to claim reason. Thomas Aquinas had it all worked out... or thought he did.


33 posted on 12/04/2013 4:20:35 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: Alex Murphy

Have you read “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross” by John Allegro?

Carl Rove not required.


34 posted on 12/04/2013 4:22:23 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: donmeaker
But the cornerstone of religion -- all religions, as far as I know -- is Faith. "Belief in things unseen," to be sure, but also an admission that there are things unknown and unknowable, but that exist nonetheless. In Buddhism, that's Zen: where does a circle begin? What is the sound of one hand clapping? How long is a piece of string? If a tree falls in the forest ...

In Christianity, it is a belief -- not a PROOF -- in God the Father, God the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit. Unanswerable, unknowable, but certain.

35 posted on 12/04/2013 4:26:51 PM PST by IronJack
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Fortunately important things happened in a very dry climate, so we now have copies (and translations) of the Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Thomas, and other early works that were suppressed, but copies were expensive, so they just hid them, and 1700 years later they turn up.

So when counting sources, would you count a book suppressed as heresy because it had theological error, or not count it despite it having similar accounts to other books that were not suppressed?

Or since sources could copy each other, do you discount all but the earliest?


36 posted on 12/04/2013 4:27:10 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: IronJack

Decartes was the founder of French scepticism.

“I think, therefore I am!” was his second proposition.

The first proposition was “I doubt, therefore I think!”

If you don’t doubt, then you are not thinking. Faith is what happens when you don’t doubt.


37 posted on 12/04/2013 4:29:58 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Lots of ‘accusations’ in your little ‘rant’. But it is somewhat telling you mention no sources for your position.


38 posted on 12/04/2013 4:30:17 PM PST by RoadGumby (This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus.)
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To: donmeaker

And so these 12 Scammers and also a Pharisee who HATED Christians then were willing to die/be killed for a scam? Really?

Peter was crucified in Rome and wanted that to happen with the cross upside down because he did not feel worthy to die as his Lord and Savior did. Yep definitely evidence of a scam there.

Saul, on the way to Damascus meets Jesus on the road. From there he is Paul, arguably one of the choicest of Christians. He died in Rome too, beheaded. That’s got scam written all over it.

Your critical thinking skills may need some brushing up. Just sayin.


39 posted on 12/04/2013 4:37:08 PM PST by RoadGumby (This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus.)
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To: donmeaker

Oh you poor poor person.

The exact date of Jesus’ birth as s not recorded. So, ultimately, it is not important. But does not knowing the exact date or day render celebration of that day impossible?

I would opine that it does not. We have that day/date to celebrate an event, the birth of the Savior of the world.

Good luck shopping at Wal-Mart for all your winter solstice gifts.


40 posted on 12/04/2013 4:42:53 PM PST by RoadGumby (This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus.)
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To: donmeaker

Oh you poor poor person.

The exact date of Jesus’ birth as s not recorded. So, ultimately, it is not important. But does not knowing the exact date or day render celebration of that day impossible?

I would opine that it does not. We have that day/date to celebrate an event, the birth of the Savior of the world.

Good luck shopping at Wal-Mart for all your winter solstice gifts.


41 posted on 12/04/2013 4:43:09 PM PST by RoadGumby (This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus.)
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To: DuncanWaring

You can’t fool me. It’s turtles all the way down.


42 posted on 12/04/2013 4:47:13 PM PST by DManA
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To: donmeaker
If you don’t doubt, then you are not thinking.

I do doubt ... that the universe "willed itself into existence", as suggested by Steven Hawking.

43 posted on 12/04/2013 4:48:18 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: RoadGumby

Were they killed for a scam? Or were they also invented?

We just don’t have a lot of evidence. Peter’s corpse is not available to us, nor is that of Paul. Forensics are pretty much out, and Roman justice of the time is mostly not documented. How old is the oldest actual scripture document reporting the New Testament? As the distance increases from the time of the events it reports, it is less useful as evidence.

At least with Augustus or Tiberius we get some statues.


44 posted on 12/04/2013 4:50:02 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: RoadGumby

Enjoy your celebration, but please don’t imagine that the world revolves around your celebration.

Merry Christmas!


45 posted on 12/04/2013 4:51:24 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: DuncanWaring

What caused that which existed before?

Does that question apply to G-d too?


46 posted on 12/04/2013 4:52:22 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: donmeaker

No.

God has existed always.

It’s easier to accept that as an article of faith, one of the Great Mysteries, than to believe the universe willed itself into existence using the laws of gravity.


47 posted on 12/04/2013 4:55:48 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: donmeaker

http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/scriptorium/papyrus/texts/manuscripts.html

Depending on texts that date from AD 200 texts would be like having no documents of the American Revolution that were produced until 1950.


48 posted on 12/04/2013 4:59:38 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: DuncanWaring

Or the Universe has existed always, and it changed into its current form by natural law that we can perhaps understand.


49 posted on 12/04/2013 5:00:49 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: donmeaker

“If you don’t doubt, then you are not thinking. Faith is what happens when you don’t doubt.”

No, that isn’t what faith is, at least not to Christians. Faith is believing in spite of room for doubt, not choosing to ignore doubts. Faith can be informed by reason, but isn’t based on reason alone, so doubts which may arise using a purely rational approach are not insurmountable obstacles to faith.

In fact, everyone, even those who believe they are purely rational, still put faith in some things. They just do not realize it, or refuse to admit it, so they can keep up their personal conceit of rationalism. So, since we all have faith, we obviously cannot use your definition of faith, or we would have to conclude that nobody can think.


50 posted on 12/04/2013 5:18:34 PM PST by Boogieman
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