More on New Testament Reliability

After a lengthy discussion on the Reliability of the New Testament, the two primary debaters eventually presented their positions and closing remarks, so I decided to close comments.

However, along the way, there were many others who contributed thoughts and viewpoints that stimulated discussion as well. Therefore, I decided to open a new discussion post and I’m leading with a question that Arkenaten (Ark, for short) asked. His inquiry was directed to a specific person, but anyone who has thoughts/answers/opinions is urged and encouraged to participate.

reliable
rɪˈlʌɪəb(ə)l/
adjective
1.
consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted.
“a reliable source of information”
synonyms: dependable, good, well founded, well grounded, authentic, definitive, attested, valid, genuine, from the horse’s mouth, sound, true;

Of these (minimal) New Testament events listed below one would reasonably expect to find at least some mention within independent sources especially as we are dealing with the birth, life and death of the Creator of the Universe, Therefore, please list any independent source that corroborates some or all of the following:

The Three Wise Men and the Wandering Star
Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents
Feeding of the 5000
Feeding of the 4000
Resurrection of Lazarus
Mention of the life and deaths of any of the 12 disciples, including corroborating independent testimony.
Paul’s missions, including his arrest and deportation to Rome.

Please note. We are discussing the biblical character, the miracle working, Jesus of Nazareth , and not an itinerant eschatological 1st century rabbi who may have been called Yeshua.
Thanks.

As a reminder, I will be somewhat absent except for occasional input when I just can’t help myself. 😀

How Reliable is the New Testament?

In previous discussions with a blogger who goes by the handle of “Scientific Christian,” a question related to the reliability of the New Testament came up. Since it’s a topic that cannot be answered in a few words (by believers or by non-believers), I have added this post and opened it up to any and all who wish to offer their claims/proof on either side of the issue.

Please try to keep the discussion “civil” and refrain from insults just because you don’t agree or because the other person may be using what you consider “questionable” sources to validate their belief. Simply refute the claims and provide your own proof.

I will most likely be absent as we are moving within a couple of weeks and there’s still much to be packed. I will, however, check in on occasion — especially if someone says something that demands a response. 😀

HAVE FUN!

Destroying a Paradigm?

Recently I had a new visitor to the blog where I promote my book (EscapeFromReligion.wordpress.com) and this person left a rather lengthy comment. Since the remarks were primarily directed to non-believers rather than the merits or failures of my book, I decided to publish it on this blog instead. I felt certain my readers and/or followers would enjoy offering their perspectives on what this person had to say (plus, I have some feedback of my own 🙂 ).

Hello Nan. I read your article on “Why I left Christianity”, (NOTE: I believe this person is referring to the “sticky post” on this blog.) and saw how your Christian faith was dismantled. My goal here is to destroy your new paradigm, I hope that’s OK with you.

Upon reading it, it’s evident that beyond all your problems of history, psychology of religion, etc, etc, etc, the biggest problem you had with Christianity that you stressed is the lake of fire. “Truth hurts”, as they say. The truth is that the price of sin is death. The truth is that sin is so inexplicably evil, terrible, that the only conceivable just punishment for it is death. That is how evil it is to a holy God. The truth is that you and I don’t realize it’s that bad, we don’t think it’s nearly that bad, and therefore, we cannot possibly understand why such a punishment can be given for something as small as lying!

But lying is not a ‘small’ thing, it’s inconceptually evil. We however, are no longer aware of its evil because we ourselves are sinners. We’ve become so used to sin that we no longer see the evil in it. A mass murderer no longer sees why murder is evil because he has been doing it for so long. The mass murderer cannot possibly contemplate why something as small as killing another sack of chemicals on this irrelevant planet we call Earth should warrant him going into prison for the rest of his life. But we can see exactly why murder warrants such a punishment, because we’ve never murdered and so we understand how evil it is. Likewise, God has never sinned and understands how evil sin is.

Another thing to notice is that the sources you espouse, for example, this one for addressing the history of Christianity;
https://infidels.org/library/modern/james_still/jesus_search.html

Are completely ridiculous and hyper-biased to unbelievable levels. As I read this source, I found that it was even sympathetic with the arguments of the Jesus Seminar, a group of crazy people that determine the historicity of what Jesus said by voting on it. These sources are all invalid, extraordinarily misrepresentative of the scholarly view, and hence you need a complete rewashing of your brain. You need to start looking at the positive case again to get the full view instead of just examining the arguments of one side. In this case, I’d recommend you start with this video right now:

Once you’ve started, we can begin once again examining the historicity of the New Testament literature and what scholars really think. Perhaps we can even have a debate through our blogs on whether or not the Gospels are reliable.

Yes indeedy. A debate is most definitely in the works. 🙂

Stay In Your Own Backyard

In a recent comment on the blog, “In My Father’s House,” our own “Ark” wrote this (in part) related to religion in the public domain:

Simply keep it out of the public domain. Schools, Government, local councils, saying prayers before sports matches etc., over meals at public or company functions ( where non believers are among the staff etc)

I started to write a response comment, but decided to devote a blog post to what I had to say. Here is what I was going to write:

Awoman to that!

I would add … worship your god all you want in your home, in your church, in gatherings with like-minded people, at the bedside of the sick, etc., etc. But please! Out of respect and deference to those who do NOT believe in your god (this includes people of other faiths as well as those with no faith), keep your beliefs within your own community.

I’m aware of your “Leader’s” instructions to reach out to the non-believer, but I daresay you will derive far more results/satisfaction through one-on-one meetings. Further, can you truly say that putting crosses on hillsides, “Jesus” signs on your lawn, religious messages on cars, billboards, government property, etc., or offering prayers at public events is going to “win the world for Jesus”? In truth, all it does is puff up your own sense of Christian virtue.

In case someone wants to make the claim that I’m seeking a secular-only world, this is not my intent. I’m just a firm believer in the strict division of church and state.

The Atheist Christmas

nochristmas
This article
 talks about a display put up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation at the Wisconsin Capital Building to celebrate the Winter Solstice. It was  obviously erected to counter the usual displays and messages so common during the Christmas season.

Personally, I have problems with this.

Not because of what atheists are trying to accomplish, but because of what is written. In my opinion such an “in-your-face” declaration accomplishes little to nothing. Sure, atheists will clap their hands in glee that the display was erected, but is this an effective way of getting through to believers during their “Holy Season?” I think not.

What say you? Do you agree this is an effective counter-measure? Or would a more “toned-down” message be more effective? If you were the one chosen to write an anti-Christmas message, what would you have said?