Are Christians The Biggest Fools Of All Time?

Why yes, if Jesus Christ was not resurrected from the dead on the third day following His crucifixion, as He repeatedly told His disciples beforehand He would be, then every one of the billions of people who have lived who professed their faith in Him has been a schmuck, a fool, conned, etc.

This may come as a shock to some, but St. Paul put it rather succinctly at 1 Corinthians 15:14: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

Spartacus, the favorite gladiator of a certain famous New Jersey senator, might shrug and say “party hearty tonight, dudes, cauz tomorrow half of us are going to die.”

Now, think of it from a slightly different angle — If He was resurrected, that means He’s God. And that changes everything for everybody, including you and me, my friend. So with that thought in mind, take 3.30 and give a listen to this from Bobby Conway, “The One-Minute Apologist.” Yes, I know, that’s not just one minute. It’s branding, I guess.

By the way, I found this particular video on The Poached Egg, a web site you should definitely check out if you work for a senator or representative in the Congress of the United States.

Or if you just care about groovy stuff like epistomology, the ultimate purpose of your life, the significance of the ancient Roman Army’s Kustodian to everything that has happened since it briefly guarded a certain tomb near Jerusalem, and so forth.

Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland.

43 thoughts on “Are Christians The Biggest Fools Of All Time?”

  1. Just my humble opinion, but the 12 Apostles seem to prove Christ existed and was resurrected. None renounced their faith in the face of imminent death, and most were put to death for their faith. They witnessed at the beginning. I doubt that all would have sacrificed themselves if they hadn’t witnessed proof of Christ’s divinity.

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    1. While Muhammad lived, many Muslims died for their faith in obedience to Muhammad. More recently, the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide for their beliefs. Dying for a belief is not proof that that belief was true.

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    2. … and does Snape’s sacrifice prove Harry Potter exists? I am really curious as to why someone would think your argument is valid? Obviously if the story included a fictional resurrection then why not more fiction?

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    3. In his book “Seeds of Change” musician Kerry Livgren pointed something else out as he defended his faith: that the New Testament accounts were written so close in time to the actual events, that it was unlikely that they were embellished with “legendary” material and therefore are more credible.

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      1. Since the accounts were contemporary to the events, there would have been more opportunities to challenge “legendary” material by those who “were there”.

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      2. Huh?? Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were ALL written 70 years or more after the crucifiction. By that time, given life expectancies, there was almost assuredly no one left alive who “was there”. So yes, they are almost assuredly embellished with “legendary” material.

        w.

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      3. Actually, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (and Paul and Peter, let’s not forget) were closer to the crucifixion than has been commonly taught since the German higher criticism of the 19th century. Stay tuned here on HillFaith as this is an issue I will address in detail. Thanks for commenting, Willis.

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      4. Current scholarship holds that the Gospel According to Mark, the earliest of the three “synoptic” Gospels, was written much closer to the actual Crucifixion and Resurrection than that, perhaps no more than a year or two afterward. At any rate, disputing the Gospels is a mug’s game. You can dispute any written record, and many persons do. Consider for example the ongoing arguments over the Holocaust and the Holodomor, events much closer to the present than the First Century A.D.

        Gary Habermas has cited non-Scriptural accounts of the Passion and Resurrection. Rice Broocks has done so as well. There’s also retired homicide detective J. Warner Wallace’s study of the matter, in his book “Man, Myth, Messiah.” But no quantity of written accounts or textual analysis is beyond dispute. That’s why it’s ultimately a matter of faith.

        Most who believe do so not merely because we find the evidence persuasive, but because of private events and personal reflections that can never constitute evidence to anyone else. It’s why the Christian faith gains its greatest number of converts from Christian practice: the admiration and inquiries of non-Christians into why we are as we are and do what we do. Verbal preachment and arguments over the evidence are of far less importance. It’s why Saint Francis of Assisi exhorted his followers: “At all times preach the Gospels. When necessary, use words.” The insight in that remark is hard to beat.

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      5. Mark Tapscott says:
        September 13, 2018 at 1:37 pm

        Actually, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (and Paul and Peter, let’s not forget) were closer to the crucifixion than has been commonly taught since the German higher criticism of the 19th century. Stay tuned here on HillFaith as this is an issue I will address in detail.

        Interesting. I have NEVER seen anyone making your claim, should be a fascinating expose. Are you also going to claim that the books were written by the disciples themselves? And if not … then why does the timing of anonymous accounts written by someone pretending to be someone else actually matter?

        Thanks for commenting, Willis.

        My pleasure, thanks for the response.

        w.

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    4. We have good historical evidence that some of the Apostles were active in early Christianity. Paul and James, especially. I’d suggest that Acts, generated much later than the genuine Pauline epistles, and with its emphases on reconciling Petrine and Pauline theologies, is only an authoritative statement if taken purely on faith. But clearly, some of Jesus’ followers did believe he rose from the dead. And committed themselves fully to their messiah. (Though, for “12 Apostles”, I’d presume you might omit Judas.)

      But other religions have also traditions of great miracles, and people who believed they witnessed them and put their lives on the line. If Christians are mistaken about the resurrection, they are surely no more foolish than any of those others (if they too are mistaken). For my part, I disbelieve them all. And, yes, my view of Christian theology and morality is negative. But Christianity has in its history, and in the many great minds and hearts it has sheltered, a dignity of its own, whatever the case. That’s not nothing. And in this world, there are always greater fools.

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      1. Oh no, I meant “Peter” and James, in the first line!

        But to sum up my point: even as a disbeliever, I think Christianity is to be judged by its fruits, not only by its seed. And the two may differ in quality.

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  2. “If he was resurrected, that means he’s G-d”? Really? Then why aren’t you worshiping the children resurrected by Elijah (I Kings ch. 17) or Elisha (II Kings ch. 4), or the man who was resurrected when his body touched Elisha’s bones (II Kings 13:21)?

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  3. Gospace, the bible only mentions the deaths of two of the twelve disciples, one as a martyr and one by suicide. The deaths of the rest are totally uncorroborated two-century-old rumors. I don’t believe rumors from last week, much less from the last century, and never from the last millennium.

    So no, the 12 apostles prove nothing, as we don’t know how they died. But heck, if you want to believe rumors, be my guest …

    w.

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  4. What if Jesus falsely prophesied the world would end within the lifetimes of people of his own generation? Well, he did. See Matthew 24.

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    1. What if Jesus falsely prophesied the world would end within the lifetimes of people of his own generation? Well, he did. See Matthew 24.

      Yours is a common misreading of the apocalyptic language used in Matthew 24.

      There are two prophecies related by Jesus in Matthew 24. The first is the destruction of Jerusalem, the second is the end of the world. Jesus discusses both because

      1) The destruction of Jerusalem will follow the same basic form as the end of the world, meaning that similar signs will precursor both events.
      2) Jesus prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem to show that he is correct in prophesying the end of the world.

      So in verse 34, when Jesus is talking about “this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened” he is talking about two different generations for two similar but distinct prophecies….

      The apostles are “this generation” who will see the signs and destruction of Jerusalem, and this happens in 70 AD. A future generation are “this generation” who will see similar signs and the end of the world.

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      1. Rubbish! Jesus predicts destruction of the temple at the beginning of the long monologue in Matthew 24 (and parallel chapters in the other synoptic gospels). Then he goes on to prophesy the end of the world — the second coming, the last judgment, the stars falling from the sky, the whole nine yards. The best — indeed the only — indication of what he meant by “all these things” when he said “this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened” is the context. And that makes your interpretation utterly implausible, i.e., preposterous. He didn’t say it after predicting the destruction of the temple. Rather, he said it immediately after describing in detail the events of the world’s end.

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      2. So your claim is that when he says “this generation” he’s actually talking about two different generations???

        Nonsense. It’s why we have singular and plural, and he is NOT reported as saying “these generations”. He said “this generation”, and that can only have a singular meaning.

        Nor are there two different prophecies, because he says “THIS generation shall not pass away before ALL these things have happened.” Not SOME of these things, ALL of these things.

        That has a plain and simple meaning, despite your desperate twisting to try to make it say something else.

        w.

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      3. Jesus predicts destruction of the temple at the beginning of the long monologue in Matthew 24 (and parallel chapters in the other synoptic gospels). Then he goes on to prophesy the end of the world — the second coming, the last judgment, the stars falling from the sky, the whole nine yards. The best — indeed the only — indication of what he meant by “all these things” when he said “this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened” is the context.

        This is true. Context is key.

        And that makes your interpretation utterly implausible, i.e., preposterous.

        This is not. I read the text in context, which is why I am correct.

        He didn’t say it after predicting the destruction of the temple. Rather, he said it immediately after describing in detail the events of the world’s end.

        And this is why you misinterpret the passage. The apostles ask Jesus to describe two events. Matt 24:3 “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

        Jesus then goes on to first describe the destruction of Jerusalem. Secondly he describes the end of the world. Both events have the same overlapping precursor signs. The description in detail of the events of the world’s end are echoed earlier by the events of the destruction of Jerusalem. The context is both events, not just the latter one, that is where you made your mistake. Thus, when Jesus identifies “this generation” he is referring to “these generations” both the earlier generation who witnesses the destruction of Jerusalem and the latter generation who witnesses the end of the world.

        Again, the purpose of Jesus tying these two apocalyptic events together was not because they were going to happen one on top of each other. That is the common misinterpretation. Jesus did it for the two reasons I highlighted in my first comment which you replied to.

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      4. So your claim is that when he says “this generation” he’s actually talking about two different generations???

        I am not “claiming” it. I am reading the text as it stands and pointing out the plain meaning of the words.

        Nonsense. It’s why we have singular and plural, and he is NOT reported as saying “these generations”. He said “this generation”, and that can only have a singular meaning.

        Wrong. Jesus did not speak English. He spoke Aramaic, while the oldest texts we have are in Koine Greek. So if you wish to look up how the ancients used the word you are disputing, you can reference any convenient Greek concordance.

        The word you are disputing with me is outoj. The ancients used the word in all of the following ways…he (it was that), hereof, it, she, such as, the same, these, they, this (man, same, woman), which, who.

        So Jesus is saying “these” generations, not just “this” generation.

        Nor are there two different prophecies,

        Wrong again, there are two different prophecies. Jesus first prophecies that the temple of Jerusalem will be destroyed. The apostles then ask him a two part question in Matt 24:3.

        1) When will the prediction he made come true?
        2) what will it be like at the end of the world?

        Jesus then explains the two prophecies and how one foreshadows the other, and that events for both will play out in a very similar manner.

        because he says “THIS generation shall not pass away before ALL these things have happened.” Not SOME of these things, ALL of these things.

        “ALL of these things” happen twice, not once. The first time leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, the second time leading up to the end of the world. I explained this in my first post.

        That has a plain and simple meaning

        Indeed it does, which is what I pointed it out in the first place.

        despite your desperate twisting to try to make it say something else.

        This statement is pure projection.

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      5. [i]The word you are disputing with me is outoj. The ancients used the word in all of the following ways…he (it was that), hereof, it, she, such as, the same, these, they, this (man, same, woman), which, who.
        So Jesus is saying “these” generations, not just “this” generation.[i]

        If so, why is the term translated as “this generation” in the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, and the New International Version?

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      6. If so, why is the term translated as “this generation” in the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, and the New International Version?

        Because Bible translations are written for regular people who want a readable translation that gets the message across in language they understand. Those translations are not designed for people who are hunting through Bible verses to find something where they can call Jesus on a technical foul.

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  5. Just because St. Paul felt that way doesn’t make it so. There were many church fathers and in the early years before they all decided what would be orthodox opinions were all over the map on all kinds of issues. And, you know, “resurrection” could mean many things. A little humility in one’s assessment of how much they know about the mind of an infinite being is a good thing.

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  6. Let’s see… there was a fire near Waco Texas, where lots of people died for believing a lie. And there was a mass drinking of poisoned soft drinks in Guyana due to believing a lie. And there was something I seem to remember about a lot of people dying so their souls would reach a UFO hiding behind a comet. And we haven’t even gotten to certain eras in the history of Germany, Russia, Arabia or Utah. Dying for a false belief is almost like a basic characteristic of humans.

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  7. The life, death and Resurrection are as historical events as the death of Julius Caesar (or Lincoln, for that matter). But without the latter the first two are meaningless… just a crazy who said he was God.

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    1. We have contemporaneous accounts of the death of Caesar and Lincoln. Perhaps you could point to the contemporaneous accounts of the death of Christ? Or even of the life of Christ.

      Plus, of course, neither Caesar nor Lincoln are claimed to have come back to life … extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      So I’m sorry, but the Resurrection is NOT as historical as the deaths of Caesar and Lincoln. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just means that we have exactly zero actual evidence that Christ even lived, much less that he came back from the dead.

      w.

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      1. So I’m sorry, but the Resurrection is NOT as historical as the deaths of Caesar and Lincoln. Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just means that we have exactly zero actual evidence that Christ even lived, much less that he came back from the dead.

        It is completely false to say there is zero actual evidence. The Gospels are historical evidence of the life and death of Jesus, even if you reject all of the supernatural events. Further historical evidence of Jesus can be found in Tacitus, which makes no mention of anything supernatural about Christ, and in Josephus, which does ascribe to him something of the supernatural.

        You can reject the evidence, but you cannot deny it exists.

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      2. David says:
        September 13, 2018 at 6:35 pm

        It is completely false to say there is zero actual evidence.

        Since I didn’t say that, I’m not sure what you are on about. I said “very little evidence” and “precious little evidence”.

        The Gospels are historical evidence of the life and death of Jesus, even if you reject all of the supernatural events.

        A story written 50 years after the events by someone who wasn’t an eyewitness is absolutely NOT evidence. In fact, it barely qualifies as hearsay. If your standards are that low, I have some photos of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster that you would call “evidence” …

        Further historical evidence of Jesus can be found in Tacitus, which makes no mention of anything supernatural about Christ, and in Josephus, which does ascribe to him something of the supernatural.

        Same problem. Tacitus wrote about 80 years after the crucifiction … and Josephus wrote about 70 years after the crucifiction. Worse yet, the only extant copy of Josephus is from the 11th century, so who knows what has been added or removed …

        And regarding Tacitus I find:

        Where did Tacitus get his information of Jesus? There is really no way to tell. Ancient historians generally felt no obligation to reveal their sources. (Dudley [Dud.Tac, 28] writes in this regard: “…an ancient historian was under no obligation to give his sources in detail, nor even to mention them at all,” and Grant [Gran.Tac, 20] adds that “systematic, careful references are a modern invention.”)

        So for all we know, as with Josephus, it is very possible Tacitus was just repeating stories.

        You can reject the evidence, but you cannot deny it exists.

        There is not enough of what you call “evidence” in that whole pile to convict someone of littering. None of it is contemporaneous. None of it is cited or referenced. None of it has a clear statement of its sources.

        Look, I am NOT saying that Christ didn’t live. I am NOT saying he didn’t arise from the dead.

        I am saying that although we have hearsay, there’s a reason we do NOT allow hearsay evidence in our courts. And other than hearsay, there is almost no evidence for Jesus’s existence, and even less for the Resurrection.

        Which is why they are considered matters of faith, rather than scientific facts.

        w.

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      3. Ah, my bad. Upon re-reading I did at one point say “zero actual evidence”. However, I will hold to that. Tacitus and Josephus, writing eighty years after the fact, are not any more evidence than would be my uncited, unsubstantiated ramblings about the 1940s … they are HEARSAY, just like my stories about the 1940s.

        w.

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      4. A story written 50 years after the events by someone who wasn’t an eyewitness is absolutely NOT evidence. A story written 50 years after the events by someone who wasn’t an eyewitness is absolutely NOT evidence. In fact, it barely qualifies as hearsay…Same problem. Tacitus wrote about 80 years after the crucifiction … and Josephus wrote about 70 years after the crucifiction. Worse yet, the only extant copy of Josephus is from the 11th century, so who knows what has been added or removed …

        Your definitions are not shared by historians, I am using the definitions as used by historians. A record written much later than the event it describes is considered historical evidence. Of course, as the time gap between the record and the event widens, that evidence becomes less and less reliable. Furthermore, hearsay is not used by historians to designate records that have a long time gap between the event and the record. Instead, hearsay is used to identify when a historian re-reports an event they received from someone else. That would be hearsay. But if, instead, the historian goes and investigates the matter for themselves, researching based on what they have available to them, historians do not consider that hearsay, whether the event occurred 50, 100, or 1000 years ago.

        Getting back to the Gospels, 50 years after the events is actually a late date for all of them. The Gospel texts themselves are evidence that they were written by eyewitnesses. The could be written as late as 50 years later, but that is not a certainty. At least three of the four were likely written and in final form before 70 AD.

        As for Josephus, it is not difficult at all to figure out what was added to the text with regard to Jesus. It has been done. We can’t say anything about what may have been removed.

        Where did Tacitus get his information of Jesus? There is really no way to tell. Ancient historians generally felt no obligation to reveal their sources. (Dudley [Dud.Tac, 28] writes in this regard: “…an ancient historian was under no obligation to give his sources in detail, nor even to mention them at all,” and Grant [Gran.Tac, 20] adds that “systematic, careful references are a modern invention.”)

        So for all we know, as with Josephus, it is very possible Tacitus was just repeating stories.

        I looked up where you pulled that citation, and at that page I found the following…[Mellor] (ibid., 31-2) “If research is the consultation and evaluation of sources, there can be little doubt that Tacitus engaged in serious research though it is not often apparent in the smooth flow of his narrative.” Tacitus “consulted both obscure and obvious sources,” and “distinguishes fact from rumor with a scrupulosity rare in any ancient historian.”

        I also found Syme, who was regarded as one of the foremost Tacitean scholars, says [Sym.Tac, 398] “the prime quality of Cornelius Tacitus is distrust. It was needed if a man were to write about the Caesars.” He adds [ibid., 281, 282] that Tacitus “was no stranger to industrious investigation” and his “diligence was exemplary.”

        So it is actually the opposite, we know Tacitus did not “just repeat stories”. Historians know Tacitus to be extremely reliable, and the fact that he reports the existence of Jesus is very reliable historical evidence.

        There is not enough of what you call “evidence” in that whole pile to convict someone of littering. None of it is contemporaneous. None of it is cited or referenced. None of it has a clear statement of its sources.

        Citations, reference and identifying sources are modern day expectations. Historians don’t use modern day requirements to evaluate historical evidence of ancient historical records, because the ancients did not normally use them since they hadn’t been developed yet.

        I am saying that although we have hearsay, there’s a reason we do NOT allow hearsay evidence in our courts. And other than hearsay, there is almost no evidence for Jesus’s existence, and even less for the Resurrection.

        Once again you are misusing the definition hearsay. Especially for Tacitus, we know he identifies when he is repeating hearsay and when he is not. For his mention of Jesus Christ, he does not identify it as hearsay. Ironically, ancient historical records are admissible in court, so if the text of Tacitus or Josephus were somehow needed in a modern day court case, they would be allowed and not regarded as hearsay.

        And other than hearsay, there is almost no evidence for Jesus’s existence, and even less for the Resurrection.

        I won’t dispute you on the Resurrection, of course a claim of supernatural events is beyond ordinary historical evidence. But it is false to even say there is little evidence for Jesus existence. Strip everything supernatural out of the Gospels, and there is still a large amount of historical evidence in those texts he existed. And not hearsay evidence, actual eyewitness testimony recorded later.

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      5. David says:
        September 14, 2018 at 8:50 pm

        A story written 50 years after the events by someone who wasn’t an eyewitness is absolutely NOT evidence. In fact, it barely qualifies as hearsay…Same problem. Tacitus wrote about 80 years after the crucifiction … and Josephus wrote about 70 years after the crucifiction. Worse yet, the only extant copy of Josephus is from the 11th century, so who knows what has been added or removed …

        Your definitions are not shared by historians, I am using the definitions as used by historians. A record written much later than the event it describes is considered historical evidence. Of course, as the time gap between the record and the event widens, that evidence becomes less and less reliable.

        So if I claim that Jesus was a black man from Honduras, based on unknown sources just like Tacitus used, that’s “historical evidence” as long as I’m a historian?

        That makes no sense at all.

        Furthermore, hearsay is not used by historians to designate records that have a long time gap between the event and the record. Instead, hearsay is used to identify when a historian re-reports an event they received from someone else. That would be hearsay.

        Yes, that is the meaning that I am using exactly.

        And since the Gospels are generally agreed to have NOT been written by the disciples, nor by an eyewitness to the events, what does that make them?

        Yep. Hearsay.

        For example, I find the following (emphasis mine):

        Gospels

        The gospels and Acts of the Apostles were originally anonymous until they were attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John during the course of the second century. It is generally agreed that Mark and Luke were not disciples, so that leaves Matthew and John, both of which appear to borrow from Mark’s Gospel. As one scholar notes: Why would a disciple who had walked with Jesus rely so heavily on the writing of someone who was not a disciple? Scholars are in agreement that none of the gospels could have been written by an eyewitness to the events portrayed.

        Like I said … they are hearsay.

        But like I also said … so what? The historical facts aren’t what is important. The MESSAGE is what is important. And every minute you spend disputing with me what cannot be proven is a minute that you are not spreading the Gospel. In fact, given the weakness of your dependence on historical hearsay, hearsay which would NOT be allowed to be presented as evidence in any court of the land, your discussions of this type are more likely to drive folks away from Jesus than towards him.

        Doesn’t matter to me, I’m not a Christian.

        But it should matter to you.

        w.

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      6. So if I claim that Jesus was a black man from Honduras, based on unknown sources just like Tacitus used, that’s “historical evidence” as long as I’m a historian? That makes no sense at all.

        Indeed it makes no sense at all, which is probably why no historian ever claimed that.

        Yes, that is the meaning that I am using exactly. And since the Gospels are generally agreed to have NOT been written by the disciples, nor by an eyewitness to the events, what does that make them?

        It still makes them historical evidence because “generally agreed” is meaningless. Historians must put in the effort to evaluate the evidence and make a case. Their case is only as good as the foundation upon which they build it.

        Yep. Hearsay.

        Nope, not hearsay. The evidence we have shows the opposite.

        The gospels and Acts of the Apostles were originally anonymous until they were attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John during the course of the second century.

        There is no historical evidence for this claim.

        It is generally agreed that Mark and Luke were not disciples,

        “Generally agreed” is not historical evidence. I notice you have now moved the goal posts. You kept talking about historical evidence and the lack of it. But once I started talking about the historical evidence, you suddenly wanted to change the subject to the opinions and conclusions of historians.

        so that leaves Matthew and John, both of which appear to borrow from Mark’s Gospel.

        John does rely on Mark, but there is no historical evidence that Matthew does.

        As one scholar notes: Why would a disciple who had walked with Jesus rely so heavily on the writing of someone who was not a disciple?

        Because of the historical evidence that Mark’s reputation relied on Peter and because that gospel was widely accepted when whoever wrote the gospel of John decided to write his gospel.

        Scholars are in agreement that none of the gospels could have been written by an eyewitness to the events portrayed.

        Correction, the majority of scholars are in such agreement, but not all.

        Like I said … they are hearsay.

        And like I said, you are incorrect according to the historical evidence. Even if scholars are in general agreement that they were not written by eyewitness accounts, that says nothing about whether theze scholars believe the Gospel is hearsay. An ancient historian researching the facts for themselves would not be considered by these scholars to be writing hearsay. Your assumption is false.

        In fact, given the weakness of your dependence on historical hearsay,

        I have already refuted Willis on this, and in fact he has not cited one scholar who describes the Gospels, Tacitus and Josephus(all three) as writing hearsay about Jesus.

        hearsay which would NOT be allowed to be presented as evidence in any court of the land,

        So says the non-lawyer Willis, who has never tried to get historical evidence into a court trial.

        But like I also said … so what? The historical facts aren’t what is important. The MESSAGE is what is important. And every minute you spend disputing with me what cannot be proven is a minute that you are not spreading the Gospel… your discussions of this type are more likely to drive folks away from Jesus than towards him.

        Willis’ concern trolling is duly noted.

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      7. David, you say:

        hearsay which would NOT be allowed to be presented as evidence in any court of the land,

        So says the non-lawyer Willis, who has never tried to get historical evidence into a court trial.

        I didn’t say “get historical evidence into a court trial”. I said get HEARSAY into a court trial. That is almost never allowed, whether I am a lawyer or not. Read what I actually wrote and ignore the voices in your head, there’s a good fellow.

        But like I also said … so what? The historical facts aren’t what is important. The MESSAGE is what is important. And every minute you spend disputing with me what cannot be proven is a minute that you are not spreading the Gospel… your discussions of this type are more likely to drive folks away from Jesus than towards him.

        Willis’ concern trolling is duly noted.

        Perhaps your friends engage in concern trolling. I never do. I actually care whether Christians act according to Christ’s dicta, or act like you. I don’t like to see you driving people away from Christianity. Call me crazy, but I think that actions like yours make a difference in the world, and not a good one.

        David’s most un-Christian false ugly accusation is duly noted.

        w.

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      8. I didn’t say “get historical evidence into a court trial”. I said get HEARSAY into a court trial.

        Wrong, you re-labeled historical evidence as historical hearsay, and then claimed such historical evidence would not be allowed into a court trial. You don’t understand the difference between historical evidence and hearsay, you keep confusing the two. You have no clue how courts deal with historical records, they aren’t considered hearsay.

        That is almost never allowed, whether I am a lawyer or not.

        # of court cases non-lawyer Willis has cited where historical records were disallowed as evidence because they were ruled to be hearsay: 0

        Read what I actually wrote and ignore the voices in your head, there’s a good fellow.

        I did, that is why you keep trying to change the subject and move the goalposts.

        Perhaps your friends engage in concern trolling. I never do.

        You already did it, and do it some more below.

        I actually care whether Christians act according to Christ’s dicta, or act like you. I don’t like to see you driving people away from Christianity.

        More concern trolling.

        Call me crazy, but I think that actions like yours make a difference in the world, and not a good one.

        And even more concern trolling.

        David’s most un-Christian false ugly accusation is duly noted.

        No one is fooled by your empty posturing.

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  8. Religion doesn’t deal in proof. We have a great deal of evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and rose from the dead, fulfilling the prior prophecies and confirming His divinity, but to prove that the event took place, as if it were a mathematical proposition, is beyond our power. There will always be possible explanations for all the phenomena reported in the New Testament that omit the Resurrection — including that the New Testament and all that followed in Church history is pure fiction — and they can’t be disproved either. That’s why we call Christianity a faith. I’ll be writing more about this later.

    (For those with another axe to grind, science doesn’t deal in proof, either. But that’s a subject for a much longer and sadder essay.)

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    1. “Religion doesn’t deal in proof. We have a great deal of evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and rose from the dead, fulfilling the prior prophecies and confirming His divinity, but to prove that the event took place, as if it were a mathematical proposition, is beyond our power.”

      I’m sorry, but anonymous accounts written some four generations after the events that they describe are not evidence anywhere on the planet. This is particularly true when they claim to be written by a participant in the event … but in fact they were written by some anonymous person.

      If I said “I have evidence your great-great-grandfather was a pederast”, and when asked for evidence I said “Here’s some random anonymous guy’s uncorroborated story from four generations later”, you’d laugh in my face.

      And rightly so.

      w.

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      1. I’m sorry, but anonymous accounts written some four generations after the events that they describe are not evidence anywhere on the planet. This is particularly true when they claim to be written by a participant in the event … but in fact they were written by some anonymous person.

        There is little evidence that the Gospels are anonymous accounts. The names are quite clear, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You can argue that those names are false, but they are not anonymous. Furthermore, your claim that they were written four generations after the events is not supported by the historical evidence we do have, neither within the Gospel texts themselves nor by written historical evidence regarding the Gospels later. What evidence we do have indicates that at least three of the four gospels were written before 70 AD, which puts it at most one generation after the events, which is well within the time frame of accurate human memory. Again, you can argue against this, but you don’t have much evidence to support you.

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      2. Thanks, David. You say that the authors of the gospels are NOT anonymous, but were actually named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You say:

        You can argue that those names are false, but they are not anonymous

        I see. So your claim would be that a person who might be a man, woman or child posting under the name “David” is not posting anonymously … gotta say, that’s special pleading.

        “Anonymous” doesn’t mean without a name, it means without a correct full name. Unidentifiable. Unknown.

        As to the dates, here’s Wikipedia:

        The four canonical gospels, like the rest of the New Testament, were written in Greek. The Gospel of Mark probably dates from c. AD 66–70, Matthew and Luke around AD 85–90, and John AD 90–110. Despite the traditional ascriptions, all four are anonymous, and none were written by eyewitnesses.

        In fact, we simply do not know when they were written, but there is no evidence of any kind that the writers were eyewitnesses to what they claim.

        Finally, a generation in those days was about 15 years or less. Heck, even Thomas Jefferson put a generation at 16 years. And the lifespan was on the order of maybe forty years. So no, if the gospels were written say in AD 80, there would be very, very few people alive who might have seen the Crucifiction. And some of them were most likely written after that.

        Best regards to you. Please be clear that I’m not trying to dent your faith. I’m merely pointing out that there is very, very little actual evidence that Christ existed at all, and none that he rose from the dead.

        Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

        Just means there’s precious little evidence that it did.

        w.

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      3. You say that the authors of the gospels are NOT anonymous, but were actually named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

        That is what I am saying the evidence tells us.

        So your claim would be that a person who might be a man, woman or child posting under the name “David” is not posting anonymously … gotta say, that’s special pleading.

        Actually I never suggested any of the Gospel writers posted under a false name, you suggested that.

        “Anonymous” doesn’t mean without a name, it means without a correct full name. Unidentifiable. Unknown.

        I am not sure how using a full name like the Gospel according to Matthew son of Alphaeus identifies him more clearly. But in any case, using your criteria, two of the Gospels could be considered anonymous, that being Mark and Luke. However, the written historical evidence we do have identified them as being proteges of Peter and Paul respectively, the most well-known apostles among the early Christian communities. So it wasn’t so much about Mark and Luke as it was about Peter and Paul. Would the Gospel according to Mark, the secretary of Peter the son of Jonah be acceptable?

        The four canonical gospels, like the rest of the New Testament, were written in Greek. The Gospel of Mark probably dates from c. AD 66–70, Matthew and Luke around AD 85–90, and John AD 90–110. Despite the traditional ascriptions, all four are anonymous, and none were written by eyewitnesses.

        Wikipedia chooses late dates despite the historical evidence that Matthew and Luke, along with Mark were written earlier than 70 AD. In point of fact the historical evidence we do have actually has Matthew as the first written gospel, not Mark. The claim that the gospels are anonymous is based on the fact that the authors do not identify themselves in the text, but that doesn’t mean they were anonymous. We have no record of the gospels being circulated without those names, and we do find evidence in the text themselves that is consistent with the author being the person so ascribed(in the case of Matthew and John) or a disciple of Peter(Mark). As for the claim of not being eyewitnesses, that is based on the late historical dates, which again, contradicts the evidence of the Gospel texts. Scholars who prefer the late historical dates tend to base their conclusions on flawed presuppositions.

        In fact, we simply do not know when they were written, but there is no evidence of any kind that the writers were eyewitnesses to what they claim.

        Not true, we can date them if we look at the historical evidence in the Gospel text themselves, and there is plenty of evidence that the writers were eyewitnesses, or collecting the accounts of eyewitnesses and transcribing them as a historian would do.

        Finally, a generation in those days was about 15 years or less. Heck, even Thomas Jefferson put a generation at 16 years. And the lifespan was on the order of maybe forty years.

        That’s an average lifespan when child mortality was very high.

        So no, if the gospels were written say in AD 80, there would be very, very few people alive who might have seen the Crucifiction.

        If you could make it to adulthood back then, you had a decent shot of living to 60 or 70.

        And some of them were most likely written after that.

        Based on the evidence, most were written significantly earlier. I will concede however, that it could still be those late dates, it just isn’t probable.

        I’m merely pointing out that there is very, very little actual evidence that Christ existed at all

        And I have merely pointed out you are mistaken in believing that. Understand, I am not arguing with you about the Resurrection. But Jesus did live, and he said the things he said, of that we can be certain. The evidence is overwhelming.

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  9. Francis W. Porretto says:
    September 13, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Current scholarship holds that …

    Sorry, but when someone makes that claim and doesn’t provide a link to the claimed “current scholarship”, I stop reading …

    w.

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    1. I understand you deem yourself a scientist. Well, so do I — and one of the things I hold that a scientist is responsible for doing is HIS OWN RESEARCH. I’ve given you scholars’ names. I’ve given you pointers. Unless you’ve decided that what you think you know, as incomplete as it is, is sufficient, the onus now lies on you. You are under no obligation to believe what anyone else believes. You are under no obligation to look into the subject further. But we who differ are under no obligation to treat further with your supercilious attitude or your demonstrable contempt for us.

      Have a nice life.

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      1. Francis W. Porretto says:
        September 13, 2018 at 4:39 pm

        I understand you deem yourself a scientist. Well, so do I — and one of the things I hold that a scientist is responsible for doing is HIS OWN RESEARCH. I’ve given you scholars’ names. I’ve given you pointers.

        Only a scientific coward, or a scientist who doesn’t really believe them, is unwilling to link to their sources.

        IT’S WHY THERE ARE CITATIONS IN SCIENTIFIC STUDIES, duh. Real scientists don’t try this “Look it up yourself” BS that you’re flogging here. Unlike you, real scientists put the exact citations in their work. Check any published scientific paper if you’re unfamiliar with the practice.

        In any case, man up and link to your sources or not, I don’t care. But I don’t go on a snipe hunt for any man.

        And no, the “onus” is not on me. If you want people to believe you, the onus is on you or any scientist to CITE THEIR SOURCES.

        You sure you understand this “science” thing?

        w.

        Like

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