Skip to comments.Naive assumptions about New World Christians (Mormon)
Posted on 05/09/2011 7:58:00 AM PDT by greyfoxx39
In last weeks issue I explained that even if evidence for an early Christian community in Mesoamerica could be found, that still wouldnt satisfy most critics or prove that the Book of Mormon is true. The task of finding the evidence of a real ancient community of New World Christians becomes difficult once we understand the complexity and nature of what might be found.
First, its important to remember that the Nephites were Christian for, at the most, 400 years. Second, the Nephite-Christians were a small group of persecuted believers among a sea of non-Christian believers in the ancient Americas. Some critics have suggested that because the Book of Mormon claims that Christ visited the Americas, there should be an abundance of evidence for this miraculous event.
Such a suggestion, however, is not realistic. Jesus lived his mortal ministry for more than 30 years in the Old World, yet there is not an abundance of evidence outside of the Christian literature. There is some evidence that he lived, and most scholars (even non-Christian scholars) agree that Jesus was a real person. But the non-Christian evidence is not massive.
By the fourth century A.D. in the Americas, most of the Book of Mormon people had already rejected the accounts of their ancestors who claimed that Christ visited the Americas. Within just a handful of generations there seemed to be little non-Christian evidence that Christ had come to the Nephites; why would we think that any evidence would have survived for another millennium and a half?
But, some will argue, in the Old World we have evidence of Christ from Christian relic, writings, artwork and icons. This is very true. Why isnt this the case for New World archaeology?
As noted over the past few weeks, when examining ancient evidence, archaeologists are working with a very fragmentary record. In general, they find physical evidence, but such evidence in and of itself doesnt provide much information unless it's placed within a context a framework by which it can be understood. For instance, if an archaeologist finds a pot (or, more likely, a fragment of a pot), that piece of history provides little evidence concerning the civilization that created or used the pot. Contextual clues such as other artifacts uncovered near the pot may provide some help determining the time frame in which the pot was last used, but it certainly doesnt provide conclusive evidence as to what the civilization, or the individuals in that civilization, were like.
How, exactly, would an archaeologist distinguish a Christian-owned pot from that of a non-Christian? What would a Christian pot look like? What would a Nephite pot look like? If 1,500 years from now archaeologists dug up dishes, tools, appliances and cars (generally the types of things that would survive) from a house in Salt Lake City, how would they know if the owner was LDS?
A few weeks ago I quoted non-LDS post-doctoral fellow Ben Jeffares who explained:
It is one thing to infer that an animal has been butchered by humans and not dogs, it is quite another to infer an artefacts religious significance as archaeologists try to infer facts about past political institutions, and then on to ideologies and religious beliefs, inferences become increasingly difficult and open to question.
But wouldnt Nephite-Christians have crosses, pictures of Jesus, or artwork depicting other uniquely Christian teachings? Mesoamerican ethnohistory specialist Brant Gardner answers that question:
Archaeologists can only reconstruct religion from artifacts and preserved art. Iconography is the study of religious art and symbols of a people. Is there an exclusive Christian iconography? Would Christian iconography in the New World resemble that found in the Old World? The best way to understand the answer to this question is to examine the iconographic history of Israel and early Christianity. Both Israel and early Christianity were very comfortable borrowing and incorporating iconography from their neighbors, even when that iconography was part of their neighbors religion ...
"Both early Christians and at least the Hellenistic Jews accepted iconographic elements from surrounding cultures and incorporated them into their own art. Their iconography was not particularly unique; rather, it reflected the area and the time. Saying that archaeologists cannot find evidence of Christianity in the New World simply demonstrates a simplistic assumption about what ought to be found.
There are actually some very interesting correlations with some early American iconography and what we find in the Book of Mormon (to be discussed later), but if we approach the problem with preconceived expectations based on naive assumptions, it shouldnt be any wonder if we dont find what we are looking for.
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This has NEVER stopped MORMONs in the past from glomming onto ANYTHING to justify their wild beliefs.
Or REJECTING anything as well!
No primitive jell-o molds have turned up in any Meso-American or North American ruins. Keep digging.
The man had all kinds of personal problems, plagiarized huge sections of our beloved Bible, had magic stones, did things behind curtains while his face was inside a hat, was run out of numerous towns across Northern America, said there are hundreds of thousands gods (and we could become one too), had problems with other peoples' wives and daughters, dreamed up European animals, plants, and technology, and said they existed here in the New World, said he'll be sitting next to Jesus when we "pass over," and conjured up Kolob, a magical planet somewhere out there.
It's difficult to put on a sober hat and keep a straight face to "discuss" the validity of anything that is Mormon. I quite honestly feel so sorry for Mormons to have put their afterlives in the hands of such a person. And according to our Bible, it's not pleasant.
“Jesus lived his mortal ministry for more than 30 years in the Old World, yet there is not an abundance of evidence outside of the Christian literature. “
The entire history of Western civilization is evidence! Jesus changed the course of of history and Western civilization echos with His actions.
Yet in America we find nothing... until Christian civilization arrives.
To Greyfox..... Well said Sir !
That is about as divorced from reality as one can get.
So basically the morons are saying Christ had no real impact on the new world.
In the old world, millions would become Christians but in the new world where Jesus came over to convert, no one survives?
Logic would suggest that the message and messenger ( Jesus of the bible ) from the old world is superior then the message and messenger ( Mormon Jesus) from the new world.
Where does on begin to address this pile of bovine excrement in Ash’s article.
Perhaps the first is that in order to set forth his argument he has to totally throw Joseph Smith and the BOM under the bus.
Both proclaim the civilization extended from sea to sea and numbered in the millions upon millions.
But then he also constructs a series of strawmen defenses.
1. Evidence of a “Christian” culture. He completely ignores the greater context of a hebraic - egyptian culture. He tries to focus the reader on the infinitesimally tiny population group and asks what kind of relics they’d leave. Again, he tosses the bom and hundreds of years of the teachings of the ‘prophets’ under the bus. Evidences of a metallurgically advanced (steel), building temples (like solomon’s), with horses, chariots, armor, vast cities, etc.
2. He tries to minimize the chances of artifact survival for a 1000 years. Currently, archaeology has uncovered sites in the Americas far, far older and from those relics been able to effectively reconstruct their culture.
3. He states that we SHOULDN’T find Hebraic/Christian iconography. One has to ask - why. According to the BOM, in 33 AD Jesus came and BOTH the nephite and Lamanites became “Christian”. So there should be an abundance of evidence out there.
4. The abundance of archaeological discoveries of other cultures in the Americas should have shown SOME indication of another “Christian” group. Mayan writings DETAIL peoples, cities, and wars - with absolutely NO reference to such an advanced metallurgical peoples with horses and chariots, NOR a genocidal war the culminated in NY.
No, the only naive beliefs are those of mormons who can only explain AWAY the lack evidence. At best Ash can only jump up and say “SQUIRREL” to the mormon faithful to lull them into a false sense of security, rather than allow them to face the truth that the absolute absence of tangible evidence in contrast to the overwhelming abundance of evidence to the contrary.
the complete lack of any genetic evidence.....
the complete lack of any linguistic evidence.....
And one is forced to conclude, based upon evidence, that Joseph Smith was a fraud and nothing in the Book of Mormon is to be taken seriously as a record of any actual events of the real world.
“In the old world, millions would become Christians but in the new world where Jesus came over to convert, no one survives? “
A salient point.
South Park has the best take on this fraudulent religion. “Dum, dee, dum, dum...”
You MUST be wrong!!
King James Version
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. The same was in the beginning with God.
3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
18. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
19. And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
20. And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
21. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
22. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
23. He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
24. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
25. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
26. John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
27. He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
28. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
Joseph Smith Translation
1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
28 He it is of whom I bear record. He is that prophet, even Elias, who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose, or whose place I am not able to fill; for he shall baptize, not only with water, but with fire, and with the Holy Ghost.
33 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.