Thursday, 13 November 2008

Thiel Misapplies Revelation verses

The canon question is one that has fascinated me for a very long time. How did our Bible come to be? LCG's unofficial expert on such things, Bob Thiel, PhD., recorded this jaw-dropping statement on his blog today:

... it was the Apostle John who God used to fix the New Testament canon

I was momentarily caught off guard by this assertion. Gazooks, how could I have missed something as important as that! Bob provides a link to a monograph on this subject by his own good-self. Eager to learn at the feet of one of LCG's finest scholars I immediately clicked across to find this:
The Bible also shows that disciple John finalized the Bible through his writing of the Book of Revelation,
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).
Uh, Bob, there's a problem here - well, several actually, but let's focus on the most obvious. It concerns the term "this book." Simply put, there was no "book" of the New Testament at this stage, and it's doubtful the technology even existed at the time to create a codex big enough to hold all the material between two covers that later constituted the New Testament.

"This book" clearly means Revelation, nothing more, i.e. "the book of this prophecy." I invite Bob to check any credible one-volume commentary - Eerdmans, Oxford, HarperCollins, New Jerome etc. (no, Adam Clarke doesn't count!) Closing the canon? That isn't what it means. "John" is concerned about others who might alter his words, not people who might write further Christian literature.

The verses Bob cites have an eerie parallel in the non-canonical (and much earlier) book of 1 Enoch:
And now I know this mystery, that sinners will alter and copy the words of truth, and pervert many and lie and invent great fabrications, and write books in their own names.
Would that they would write all my words in truth, and neither remove nor alter these words, but write in truth all that I testify to them (1 Enoch 104:10-11).
Perceptive fellow, Enoch. You could almost imagine the author of Revelation thinking about how he could avoid the charge of "great fabrications," and then launching a preemptive strike by out-Enoching Enoch... but I suppose that's too cynical by far...

Bob might like to read Harry Gamble's excellent little volume called The New Testament Canon: Its Making and Meaning before indulging in future flights of fancy on this whole subject of the canon. It's hard to imagine a better introduction to the issues, and he could save himself a lot of potential embarrassment.

In any event, Bob's proof text disappears in a puff of smoke.

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

ummm, everything I've read on the subject indicates that the gospel of John was the last book written, which means it came after Revelation.

it appears that Dr. Thiel goofed on this one.

Byker Bob said...

Given what HWA taught regarding the lost century, and assuming Dr. Thiel still believes that, and believes that Simon Magus morphed the "true" church into the Catholic Church, I can see how he would arrive at this conclusion. He is basing his conclusion on a falacy, though. There was no such loss of a century. There is plenty of recorded church history, and there were knowledgeable people who had lived with Jesus, and generations of others who had been taught by them. People who could discriminate and discern between the writings that were in keeping with Jesus' teaching, and those that were not. These people maintained and circulated collections of the early writings.

Anyone who has done any reading knows that there were some problems with, and disputes over the canonization process, but most assuredly there is enough authentic material in the New Testament so that a willing student can learn about Jesus Christ, His revolutionary teaching for mankind, the New Covenant or new age which Jesus ushered in, and how to get on the path to salvation. There have been counterfeits in mythology, and foreshadowings in the Old Testament, but nothing truly like the real deal in all of history. There are fewer manuscripts supporting the existence of Julius Caesar than there are supporting the Bible, yet Caesar's existence is never questioned, most likely because he had nothing to say about the ways in which we should conduct our lives today.

What I just love is the intellectual honesty existing today, in such works as the New American Bible, which contains notes making the reader aware of what materials are disputed, when the authorship of certain books is contested or unknown, and the relative ages of the books involved. We live in an era where there are more available resources for the Christian than at almost any other time in history. I just wish that Dr. Thiel and all of the other Armstrongists would take advantage of them!

HWA notwithstanding, Christianity and the gospel have not been lost for 1900 years. Christians have sometimes made mistakes by attempting to enforce Jesus' teachings on others, (this actually countered Jesus' own teachings!) and such actions have caused hostility and even rejection of the Christian faith, but the basics remain today for the willing student's exciting journey.

BB

Mickey said...

I remember this same proof texting used to condemn the additions of the trinitarian verses by Catholic monks. A further proof that they were the harlot church.

Given that he's in a church headed up by one of the old timers, he's probably just expounding upon what he has heard in church.

Leonardo said...

Once again, another "COG scholar" has yet made another public gaff, been weighed against the balance of legitimate scholarship, and, quite predictably, found sorely wanting.

As I mentioned in another blog recently, the boys of the COG's just live in their own private little fantasy world, where, when TRUE knowledge just isn't to their particular liking (i.e., can be spun to prop up their preferred version of events), they simply make up their own set of "facts" that will.

"Dr." Theil, why don't you just stick with the DOCUMENTED FACTS of serious biblical scholarship, and stop making a fool of yourself trying to "prove" a facet of your cherished but false ideology.

And a sincere question for Byker Bob (or anybody else who’d care to comment):

How would you explain the many references from ancient history, many written long BEFORE the first century AD, of various “saviors” or “sons of God” who were born to virgins, grew to adulthood and had 12 disciples, regularly performed miracles, were crucified and rose from the dead, etc.?

I understand there is an old 19th century book called THE WORLD'S 16 CRUCIFIED SAVIORS, or some such title. Have you ever read it? I haven't, but would like to if I can find a copy. My understanding is that the scholarship in it isn't the very best - however, there's no denying that the essential point it conveys IS true: that ancient history records MANY “saviors” remarkably similar to the account given in the New Testament, such as the Zoroastrian tale of Mithra, etc.

Just wonder what your view would be on these historically-documented stories - in comparison to what you referred to in your above blog comment as "the real deal" - Jesus of Nazareth.

In other words, what would your evidence be for choosing to believe and base your life upon the account of a savior as recorded in the New Testament, as opposed to the many other similar stories from the ancient world? Why have you concluded Jesus of Nazareth is “the real deal” and not another?

I really haven’t read very much at all upon this issue, but would like to. It’s virtually unknown in COG circles (so who’s surprised about that?!). I certainly was never taught anything about it at AC. Standard Christian apologists typically deal with this topic with what has come to be called "anticipatory prophecies inspired by the Devil" – that is, fake myths and stories intended to divert people so that when “the real deal” comes along they wouldn't recognize it. But like much of Christian apologetics, this rings rather hollow to me.

Any comments?

Dennis said...

Bob Thiel is disingenuous when he refuses to allow comment on his profound observations about theology, prophecy and world events.

He is merely sermonizing and we all no one was allowed to comment on sermons in the past.

Gavin is right. The ending of Revelation is for the ending of the Book of Revelation, not the Canon. The Book of Revelation proved itself a false prophecy on Sept 8, 70 AD when the Romans torched Jerusalem and the Temple and the Gentile Christians drove the Jewish ones into oblivion.

Vespasian was the Beast power of Rome and The Apostle Paul was the false prophet to the Jewish Christians who was rending Christianity from it's Jewish roots and making the OT mean what it never meant. Paul won and we have been stuck with the results ever since.

ripley said...

But Gavin, Bob's a Dr.!! And he personally knows Rod Meredith, and talks to him often, and dines with him whenever he's in town. How can you doubt him?

Libro 66 said...

Come now, Gavin, you'd never heard that John compiled the NT canon?? Why, when I was a kid on my playmat, our local WCG pastor was going on about it!

Our pastor also proposed a different order for the books, starting with the gospels and Acts, proceeding to the general epistles, and then the Pauline writings. Revelation, I believe, was still at the end.

This way, the fledgling believer would be exposed to basic doctrinal material like James first, before encountering the advanced stuff in Romans and Galatians. Less confusion that way, you know.

I don't know if he got the idea from Hoeh or from Bullinger, but it's the sort of thing either one could have come up with.

Libro

Language monitor said...

Unrelated, but, couldn't help noticing in your links for the other blogs, right side of the screen. The F word appears under the Armstrong Survivor heading. It has happened a couple times before. You want your blog polluted by their deficiencies vocabulary?

Gavin said...

Language Monitor:

I share your distaste for that kind of vocabulary, but other than deleting it from the blog roll (which is something I'm extremely reluctant to do) that is completely out of my control.

I'm not so sure he survived said...

"Unrelated, but, couldn't help noticing in your links for the other blogs, right side of the screen. The F word appears under the Armstrong Survivor heading. It has happened a couple times before."

Go over to AS and express this view and see what happens to you or your posting. You'll get a lecture and reminder on just whose site it is and told to F---K off.

xHWA said...

Thiel must have been reading Fred Coulter's work.

Coulter has an entire New Testament of the Bible of his own translation:
"The New Testament In Its Original Order. A Faithful Version With Comentary."
The Copyright is 2003. I must have the third printing, which is dated 2006.

It's a massive volume. The first 352 pages are Coulter's commentary on the Bible. Chapter 7 (pp. 152-171) is devoted to this very idea of John being the final authority on canonization. Actually, chapters 5 through 7 (pp. 106-171) are all about the canonization.

Language Monitor said...

If those are your only options, Gavin, then I am compelled to agree with you. Censorship is always more obscene than the F word. Perhaps knowing that such words are showing up here will prompt a bit of considerate behavior modification on their part.

Anonymous said...

Gavin said...

Language Monitor:

I share your distaste for that kind of vocabulary, but other than deleting it from the blog roll (which is something I'm extremely reluctant to do) that is completely out of my control.




Language Monsters,

That bad language is just a part of the whole ugly picture of the ungodly. Those who reject God and the Bible always seem to end up with bad thoughts, bad language, and bad behavior. And that is putting it mildly.

Now, what could explain this often observed and undeniable phenomenon?

Well, maybe some of those fallen spirit beings that atheists claim are imaginary actually do exist, and get into their heads and live there and--like all lousy tenants--mess up the place and wreck it.

Anonymous said...

aren't the NT books ordered by length? from the longest to the shortest?

it's easy for anyone to see that they are not in chronological order. (or at least it should be easy to see;-)

Millionaire Meredith said...

Byker Bob said:
"There are fewer manuscripts supporting the existence of Julius Caesar than there are supporting the Bible, yet Caesar's existence is never questioned, most likely because he had nothing to say about the ways in which we should conduct our lives today."

Ah, a conspiracy to explain why the so called "historical" fantastical godman "Jesus" has no documented date of birth or date of death like...for instance...oh, how about.. Julius Caesar ! So I get it: if you're a social critic, historians will SUPPRESS vital data about your existence ?

Don't you just love Bible-Thumper-Logic .

Meredith is a Millionaire said...

Bible-Biker-Bob said:
"There are fewer manuscripts supporting the existence of Julius Caesar than there are supporting the Bible."

How about a direct showdown between your mythical godman "Jesus" and Julius Caesar ?

'Unlike the mythical Jesus Christ, we know what Caesar looked like and we have a complete history of his life. In turn, general, orator, historian, statesman and lawgiver. We have words written by Caesar himself and words written by both his friends and his enemies. Artifacts confirm his life and death, as do his successors. Caesar established a style of government – and a calendar – which endured for centuries.'
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/exist.html

kiwi said...

The late Ernest Martin did a lot of research on the canonization of scripture. There is heaps about it on the net.
His book 'Restoring the Original Bible' forms the basis of Fred Coulter's writings on the subject.
Some folk do seem to think that the exact order for the books is very important - I just don't see that myself.
I find the "Jewish" Tenakh rather odd - with Chronicles being at the end.
Re the NT: The theory is that Jerome fiddled with the original order so that the epistles for the "Gentiles" would come before the epistles to the "Jews" instead of the other way round.

Anonymous said...

"I understand there is an old 19th century book called THE WORLD'S 16 CRUCIFIED SAVIORS, or some such title. Have you ever read it? I haven't, but would like to if I can find a copy."

Dunno if it's the same, but here.

Anonymous said...

"Well, maybe some of those fallen spirit beings that atheists claim are imaginary actually do exist, and get into their heads and live there and--like all lousy tenants--mess up the place and wreck it."

Anonymous, are you Ronald Weinland, or have you just been listening to the Insane Lying False Prophet? Because he called me a demon too, for daring to point out that his "prophecies" were only for the money.

For Whom the Bell tolles said...

"That bad language is just a part of the whole ugly picture of the ungodly..........Now, what could explain this often observed and undeniable phenomenon?"

I'd say the presense of a painbody, which if we remember, is the accumulated baggage of bad experiences constantly reviving itself from the grave of the past.
It's the rougue child in the mind demanding food and attention.

It has a life of its own until recognized, accepted for what it was , and let go of.

All negativity is some form of non-acceptance. I would assume so is all cussing, screaming, threatening and bluster.

AW survives as long as it does because of the group Painbody. Who do you think writes all the comments? Not YOU....IT does bwah ha ha

I have to knock out my painbody from time to time with ativan. He hates that's stuff! I tried with a crucifix, but it just laughed and got bigger! Garlic maybe? :) dd

PS. I'd be concerned now to speak publically. No telling what might slip out and you can't say "let's see what this &%$& #&$&%*%$#^&& has to say..."

Hey! PCG Painbody Church of God.
It could work.

Anonymous said...

Language Monitor said: "Unrelated, but, couldn't help noticing in your links for the other blogs, right side of the screen. The F word appears under the Armstrong Survivor heading. It has happened a couple times before. You want your blog polluted by their deficiencies vocabulary?"

Using 'profane' or vulgar language can indicate a lack of sophistication, but at times can be the most eloquent, concise, and clear way to communicate a point (That is freaking incredible), emotion (Go f*** yourself), or to make an interrogative also a statement (What the F**K?).

Try hitting your thumb with a hammer and see if the words that come to mind are four or five syllable words that would do the Oxford dictionary proud or if the words that escape your lips or more mono-syllabic and crude in nature?

:)

Anonymous said...

'there's no denying that the essential point it conveys IS true: that ancient history records MANY “saviors” remarkably similar to the account given in the New Testament, such as the Zoroastrian tale of Mithra, etc'
=========
The message of the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures is consistent from beginning to end. That message, according to these Scriptures, is implanted in all nations.

The core message is that God works to a Plan.It looks forward to a 'promised Messiah' who would suffer, die and finally triumph over evil.

As mankind departed from the one true faith that message became distorted - hence the various notions of a crucified and risen Saviour. Jesus is the one 'and only 'real deal'.

Gordon Feil said...

While the ending of Revelation is contextually a reference to that book, it is interesting that the writer of Hebrews (probably Paul, and likely not long before the fall of the temple) says in chapter 1 verse 2 that "in the last of THESE days" ("epi eschatos ho hemera": excuse the spelling; I am going from memory) God spoke through his son (verse 2). The last of WHICH days? The days in which he was speaking through prophets (verse 1). Revelation, some argue, was written also just before the fall of the temple, and it is called the "revelation of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 1:4). Could it be that Paul was closing the canon by saying that in the last of the days in which God speaks through people, he has done so with this Revelation?

Byker Bob said...

Millionaire Meredith:

Silly Boy! Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, also brought a system of governance that is still practiced among millions of his followers today. You don't celebrate the birthday of an eternal being, and you don't have pictures of His human representation, since that would violate one of His Ten Commandments.

He, and the events surrounding His life are also documented by many sources close to him, including Jewish and Roman ones. The problem is, scoffers do the equivalent of proof texting to invalidate, question, and throw out these resources. They also use similarities with ancient myths to imply copycatting. But, that's all a waste.

How do I know these things? I used to be among your crowd. I, too, know how to run to the atheist websites and support groups for "information" to combat all of those "simple minded" Bible thumping Christians. Sometimes Christian stereotypes and caricatures don't help us believers in making our case, because people such as the young earthers and false prophecy buffs are such an easy target for ridicule. And, the easiest thing in the world is finding and pointing out imperfections in known Christians. Though you can't listen in on their prayers which might help you verify sincerity, you can even cruely label such imperfections hypocrisy if you like. Bottom line is that when Jesus comes back for you, none of the tenets of the atheist religion (and it most certainly is one!) will matter any more, because they are smoke and mirrors, misapplied logic, clever rhetoric, and mainly excuses, just as you accuse our faith of being. Jesus is the real deal.

Even if He were not, if everyone practiced the principles He gave to us in the Sermon on the Mount, civilization would advance on a logarithmic scale. Isn't that what we're trying to progress towards anyway? A transformation of man's predatory nature, one standard of superior ethics leading to peace, harmony, and a utopian society?

If that's simple minded, give me more of it! In fact, let me also go through the line a second time, once for you! If you don't want your portion, I'll gladly take it.
I've got to make up for lost time!

BB

Byker Bob said...

It is entirely possible that Russ and Aggie had no idea these words were showing up on the blogs which are linked into them. Let's see what they do, now that they have been made aware of this.

BB

Leonardo said...

Anonymous 3:11 spewed forth:
"As mankind departed from the one true faith that message became distorted - hence the various notions of a crucified and risen Saviour. Jesus is the one 'and only 'real deal'.


Anon, what in the world are you trying to say?

Could you PLEASE make it just a bit more intelligible?

Leonardo said...

Byker Bob,

Some strong rambling assertions on your part - but you still haven't actually answered my question.

And sincerity has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether a system of belief is true or not. Was Hitler sincere? I think he was - but it didn't prove that Nazi ideology was true.

Also, I don't surf any atheist or nonbeliever websites. I have a mind and I'm not afraid to think on my own.

Byker Bob said...

Leonardo:

(What ever happened to Clyde Crashcup? Is he still alive?)

I'd need to examine the case histories of each of those "saviors" (as you called them) individually prior to giving you an answer. I know that you probably think a Christian person would simply dismiss them as being "Satan's Counterfeits", but I'm not your typical Christian. Remember, I once was an atheist.

Having said that, I'm not interested in some modern day digest of these occurrences, I'd need to see the primary sources. Just because someone wrote a book on the topic does not make his/her conclusion true. I'd also need to know a bit about the writer/writers soas to verify or dismiss any possible agendas. After all, an author could be the Alexander Hislop of mythology, and if so, I'd need to know that.

I do know that there are repeating patterns of mythology extending through many of the ancient civilizations. I suspect that some of the "repeats" which we see are not unlike the plot pools utilized by writers of television episodes or movies in our own modern times. Some of them get recycled many times! Didn't someone once observe that there is nothing new under the sun?

It is well known that there were certain apocalyptic cults in Israel c 200 BCE-200 CE which attempted to make Messiahs out of highly visible individuals who had attracted sizable followings. To my knowledge, Jesus Christ was the only one of these who has stood the test of time for over 2,000 years. Now what would the probability of that be, given the many ways in which Jesus' message seems to trigger automatic revulsion to most of the people who hear it? Remember, the general mob did express preference for Barabbas. (and I realize there is one theory holding to the notion that Barabbas' first name was Jesus and that they switched identities. Iesous bar Abbas, son of Abbas).

Your question is interesting, but it is hardly an all purpose acid test with the capability of debunking Christianity, although it does somewhat go for the trunk of the tree. Most of the religious and historical issues one encounters on blogs are often responded to in cliches, while serious and deep scholarship would be preferable to arrive at truthful answers.

I always have to ask myself a test question before spending my time doing research. And that is, what happens if my research proves a point? Will the non-believer who asked the question become a believer? Or was the question simply asked to trip up myself and other believers? Over the past nearly ten years, I've seen most of these same questions asked over and over and over again. Two types of people generally never change their points of view: Atheists, and hard core Armstrongites. To me, your typical atheist behaves just like Dr. Thiel. There is no perceivable difference in terms of response. Agnostics and truthseekers will occasionally modify their opinions based on evidence. Most people tend to simply believe what they want to.

BB

Corky said...

In any event, Bob's proof text disappears in a puff of smoke.

So does Matthew's proof text:

Mat 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

There is no such prophecy by any of the prophets - IOW, Matthew made up his proof text out of thin air.

P.S. Nazareth didn't even exist during the time of OT writings.

Burgers said...

"Try hitting your thumb with a hammer and see if the words that come to mind are four or five syllable words that would do the Oxford dictionary proud or if the words that escape your lips or more mono-syllabic and crude in nature?"

The word that usually comes to mind/is spoken by me is "ouch". Mono-syllabic, yes; crude, not really...

Anonymous said...

"Well, maybe some of those fallen spirit beings that atheists claim are imaginary actually do exist, and get into their heads and live there and--like all lousy tenants--mess up the place and wreck it."

I can attest to that! In the past twenty-four hours I have eaten shrimp and bought Christmas presents for my wife and child. Oh release me from thy foul clutches, Oh Demon!!

But seriously, if I have been possessed, he or she is a very quiet and subtle bugger- so subtle that my actions and thoughts are relatively the same as when I was a Great Pumpkin worshipper. I guess that means I never really had the Holy Spirit, huh? Sigh. I fail at everything. I couldn't even get saved right. (Horn blows: Wah-wah-waaaaaa)

Paul Ray

Dennis said...

BB Noted: "Most of the religious and historical issues one encounters on blogs are often responded to in cliches, while serious and deep scholarship would be preferable to arrive at truthful answers."

That's a cliche'

"Remember, the general mob did express preference for Barabbas. (and I realize there is one theory holding to the notion that Barabbas' first name was Jesus and that they switched identities. Iesous bar Abbas, son of Abbas)."

Not so much two men, one called "Jesus the Son of God"=Jesus Bar Abbas vs Jesus the King of the Jews, as two title for the same man Jesus. (An early copy of Mark calls him "Jesus Bar Abbas" but that was later edited out.

Pilate had only one man, Jesus in custody.

The crowd was being tested as to their loyalty. There is no record of Romans releasing hardened criminals for the Jewish Passover.

What we have is the crowd being asked. "Who do I kill? Do I kill Jesus the Son of God or Jesus King of the Jews?" The crowd said, "Give us Jesus Bar Abbas" or Jesus the Son of God. This meant Rome could kill Jesus the King of the Jews. Same man remember.

Pilate was wanting to know where the crowd loyalties lay. Passover was no time for a new King to come upon the scene.

Pilate did not care on bit of Jesus the Son of God, but he was a bit concerned about if the crowd wanted Jesus the King of the Jews released. Same man, different title.

We know how it ended. Give us the Son of God and you kill the King of the Jews.."for we have no king but Caesar."

So Rome kills the rebel King of the Jews and "releases" Jesus Bar Abbas, the son of God. Pilate didn't care if they felt this one man was their Messiah. There had been lots of those of late.

Of course there was no literal release. It was a test of the crowd who Pilate could have all mowed down for Passover should they really think this one man, Jesus was their king.

One man Jesus...Two potential titles. The crowd had to pick one. Pick the wrong title of this man Jesus and the crowd died too. So Bar Abbas went "free" and Jesus, the King of the Jews, died.

Or it's just a big coincidence that these two men had the names of Jesus, Son of God and Jesus, King of the Jews. Right.

BB noted: "Just because someone wrote a book on the topic does not make his/her conclusion true. I'd also need to know a bit about the writer/writers soas to verify or dismiss any possible agendas."

Me too....What if we apply this to all the Books of the OT and NT? Just because Paul said he met Jesus in his head and was told this or that, or Jesus gave him instructions about this or that, we just say, "well sure, that makes sense to me. I believe that."

If that happened yesterday, we'd say no way, but putting thousands of years between the aledged event and reading about it....no problem.

We forget how much we believe without question just because "the Bible says so."

When I read the Journal or Gavin's side postings of what some like Bill Dankenbring or Bob Thiel declare, it is truly stunning. Dankenbring must be beside himself with fear and loathing now that the election didn't exactly go as God would have wanted it.

Anonymous said...

BB, various things you've said through your postings show marks of an honest approach to scholarship. (That's supposed to be a compliment.)

Dr Bob, in being a loyal adherent to the LCG, and by his own admission having no desire for ordination, shot himself in the foot. Rather than true scholarship, his work must preserve, protect and defend the faulty scholarship of those who preceded him. That being the case, he is unlikely to rectify any of HWA's errors.

On the other hand, the Pack-men (Dave and Six) have altered and extended Herb's work as they saw fit. Six just made undocumented alterations, whereas Dave accused points as having been undecided or made in the limited knowledge of the time.

[Clyde is still around. My memory of him is the inventor who attempted to invent things that had already been invented. An allusion to re-inventing the wheel, or poorly researched new truth?]

Anonymous said...

- - - - - - - - - - -

Purple Hymnal said...

Anonymous, are you Ronald Weinland, or have you just been listening to the Insane Lying False Prophet? Because he called me a demon too, for daring to point out that his "prophecies" were only for the money.



Purple Demon,

No, this is not him. A much greater one than Ronald Weinland is here, if I may say so myself. As for Ronald calling you a demon, and you calling him a false prophet, both of you can be right! One lucky guess by him out of so many wrong ones still does not make him a true prophet.

- - - - - - - - - - -


For Whom the Bell tolles said...

I have to knock out my painbody from time to time with ativan. He hates that's stuff! I tried with a crucifix, but it just laughed and got bigger! Garlic maybe? :) dd



Peebody,

It (they?) is (are?) still laughing at you. I'd tell you what part of the body you are a pain in, but the anatomical area that would have to be referenced might then cause some to bring up the language issue again.

- - - - - - - - - - -

I can attest to that! In the past twenty-four hours I have eaten shrimp and bought Christmas presents for my wife and child. Oh release me from thy foul clutches, Oh Demon!!

Paul Ray



Angry Paul Ray,

Yes, and not only do you eat shrimp, but you also seem to be angry all the time. It looks like your request for release has been denied. However, it is a small but important start that due to the nature of this current topic you seem to feel constrained to temporarily refrain from your usual angry outbursts, and to try to pretend that you have a sense of humor.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Russell Miller said...

I'm not going to apologize for the "F" word appearing. But I can tell you with certainty it was not done deliberately to show up on other blogrolls and offend.

It's Gavin's choice whether or not to remove my blog from his blogroll. One other blog has already done this. I will understand if he does so. But on the flip side of the coin, it's just a word, and the only real meaning it has is the meaning *you* give it. I won't be policed by the fear of being ostracised. If that's what happens, so be it.

I hope it doesn't, however. There is a group of people who would find my blog useful and refreshing, even if *you* don't.

Thanks.

Gavin said...

Russell, I think your blog needs a blog-roll category of its own, so it now appears under the category "Not for the fainthearted."

;-)

Russell Miller said...

Fair enough, Gavin. I agree with your assessment. ;-)

Thanks.

And as again. I do not apologize for the language. But causing offense to those on other blogs was not the intended purpose.

Anonymous said...

2000 years later and still the same arguments.


From all sides.

Something else, different, and unrelated is true. I hope to find out what it is before I croak.

Byker Bob said...

Dennis,

Arthur Drews' theories are held to be very suspect by the majority of the academic community. When you teach them here as fact, it's possible that some people may actually believe them just because Dennis posted them.

BB

Millionaire Meredith said...

Byker Bob said:
"There are fewer manuscripts supporting the existence of Julius Caesar than there are supporting the Bible"

If you're so confident Bible Bob, then why do you TWIST Humphries' Julius/Jesus challenge to include the whole Bible ? Because you can't come up with any historical documentation for your godman !
And is including the whole bible a good idea ? How about some of this documentation you talk about on the Garden of Eden, Adam & Eve, Noah, flood , big boat ?

You say the world is celebrating "historical" Jesus' birthday. Oh , you must mean December 25th, right ? Doesn't this confirm Humphries' challenge: you don't have a birthdate for him ? Why no evidence for "Jesus"?http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/exist.html

Dennis said...

"Arthur Drews' theories are held to be very suspect by the majority of the academic community. When you teach them here as fact, it's possible that some people may actually believe them just because Dennis posted them."

My intent is for people to think for themselves and ask, "Did this really happen?"

Which is easier to believe?

1. The author was offering a story where a crowd had to prove it's loyalty to Caesar and Pilate by picking one man with two titles in the community....The religious Jesus,Son of the Father (Bar-Abbas) and a political Jesus known as "Jesus, King of the Jews."

2. Or that this is just an amazing coincidence that the Romans had a prisoner named Jesus Bar Abbas and then here comes Jesus King of the Jews? The crowd says, give us the religious one and you can kill the political Jesus the King of the Jews because WE have no King but Caesar? Which he then does, leaving us to wonder, if these are two people, if the real Jesus, Son of the Father, was let go and Jesus King of the Jews was literally killed?

If the Son of God (Jesus-Bar Abbas) literally was let go, then how did he die for the sins of the world?

It's like the story of Annanias and Sapphira. It can be taken as a story that:

1. Warns the humble brethren not to mess with the Holy Spirit or Peter when you say you will do one thing and then don't

or

2. It is a spoof by Luke and Paul, who were not Peter's friends, on Peter's leadership showing a man who said he'd do one thing--never leave Jesus and do another--desert him, killing off two nice people who merely said they'd do one thing--give all, and did another--held back.

The original readers of the Luke/Paul community would have gotten it then, but it has been lost on us today. "And great fear came upon all the churches," may not have been so much about the holding back, but of Peter, who Paul and Luke considered just as guilty as Judas and unfit. Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied him...no diff in the sense of following them.

I only ever try to explain what may be more interesting than what we had been taught all our lives, and I go back to being Presbyterian. Never to confuse or weaken a gentle but uniformed soul.

We're all on the same path, but not all ganged up on the same part of the trail up the mountain.

Byker Bob said...

MM:

I don't know where all of this anger and hostility is coming from, and why you accuse me of "twisting" Humphries, a source that I was not even quoting in the first place! You've also noted, for our benefit, one singular source from which your ideas derive. Is that your sole source, or do you have others?

I'm also thinking you must be new here, because I've stated many times on the various WCG dissident blogs and forums my belief that Noah's flood was probably a local Mesopotamian event, affecting the "known" world at that time in history. Over the past five decades various explorers have claimed to have located Noah's ark in the Mountains of Ararat, but none of these ark sightings has been authenticated. For the record, I've also stated that it is very unlikely that Dec. 25 is Jesus' actual birth date, and that therefore that date has no personal religious significance to me. However, Christians have commemorated Jesus in many ways over the centuries, and Christmas is one of these.

I've also entertained ideas as to whether the story of Adam and Eve was allegorical, or actual physical and literal. History seems to inform us that, in any case, that mankind changed radically, and began accumulating knowledge roughly 10,000 years ago. Some believe that Adam and Eve were simply the first "God conscious" humans. Others believe that the leap is due to the evolution of communication between the two hemispheres of the brain, while still others attribute this leap to man having developed a method of accumulating his thoughts through written language.

I think you can see that perhaps you might have erred by imputing to me what a lot of people consider to be basic typical Christian "Bible Thumper" beliefs. Based on the knowledge that I am a believer, and a Christian, you have lumped me in with an artificially generalized group of people without really considering what I may or may not believe as an individual. I'd classify that as being indicative of a personality defect on your part. It's about as equally ridiculous as it would be for a Christian to assume that you, an atheist, were a Satan worshipper, or possibly "demon possessed"

One of the challenges concerning Israel's history is the fact that ancient Israel was a theocracy. Therefore, any of their history, oral or written is not purely secular, it is also theological. The two are inexorably intertwined, making it easy for non believers to reject the Tanakh, and claim simple logic in so doing. After all, what can a non-believer consider this history to be, other than religious superstition?

Getting down to specifics, how much first and second century history have you actually studied yourself? Have you ever heard of any of the following people, all of whom had something to say about Jesus? Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Suetonius, Plinius Secundus, Tertullian, Thallus the
Samaritan, Phlegon, Mara Bar-Serapion, and Justin Martyr? Have you ever read or examined the Jewish Talmuds and other Jewish law books and histories? Are you aware that around 95 A.D. a Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyreanus of Lydda writes of Jesus' Magic arts. How about the denunciation that "Jesus practiced magic and led Israel astray" (Sanhedrin 43a). If any of this seems a bit new to you, you may want to do a little more research.

I know that the quotes WCG always threw at us from Flavius Josephus are not characteristic of the general style of Josephus, thus neutralizing Josephus in the minds of some, so have not bothered to quote him. I'm also not going to quote the Koran, which mentions Jesus and Mary more than just in passing, because the Koran was written centuries after the fact of Jesus.

This subject is very deep. Many people just read scripture and believe that it is what it says it is. They do this because they believe it contains knowledge not limited to the physical realm, knowledge which will take them into a life beyond the physical. Most, simply will not respond to challenges from non-believers, because they really don't consider such challenges to be very important, or even relevant. However, know this: Any challenges which atheists have raised have been successfully and plausably countered by Christian scholars, leaving the final verdict to be determined by the individual. We can see the verdict at which you have arrived. At best, you should know that your verdict has been contested, and is in no way the final conclusive word on the subject. If you feel secure enough with it, and want to base your life on it, that is your personal decision.

BB

Anonymous said...

"A much greater one than Ronald Weinland is here, if I may say so myself."

Tom, I thought Gavin had you banned.

Anonymous said...

"Russell, I think your blog needs a blog-roll category of its own, so it now appears under the category 'Not for the fainthearted.'"

LOL! :-)

Anonymous said...

"2000 years later and still the same arguments.


From all sides.

Something else, different, and unrelated is true. I hope to find out what it is before I croak."


I don't hold out much "hope" of finding out what "it" is, but agree with your assessment Charlie.

Whatever "it" is, it certainly has no place, nor meaning, in the religions of the world. Those are entirely man-created.

(And before you start with me, there is absolutely NO religion "from god", no matter how loudly its postulants try to tell you it is. Men create their own gods.)

Anonymous said...

"No, this is not him. A much greater one than Ronald Weinland is here, if I may say so myself."

That statement is frightening. Really- it reminds me of The Exorcist when Father Karris is speaking to the demon inside Reagan.


Paul Ray

Russell Miller said...

millionaire merideth: thanks for the link, I added it to my own blogroll.

Anonymous said...

That statement is frightening. Really- it reminds me of The Exorcist when Father Karris is speaking to the demon inside Reagan.

Paul Ray



Angry, Frightened Paul Ray,

First, let me start by saying BOO!

Second, let me point out that your liberal, left-leaning bias is showing. While I never saw that movie, I am sure that it was not Reagan who had the demon, but rather Clinton.

Anonymous said...

To Demon Possessed Anon:

Seriously, you've just left Delusionalville and entered the town of Barking Mad. You would do well to contact a mental health profession. But then again, Christianity is perfectly comfortable with possession; as long as it's the "Holy Spirit" and not Pazuzu or Satan.

You better make sure which one is in you. I have an idea, go out and try to heal the sick. If you can't, it's clear that a demon lives inside you and not the "Holy Spirit."

Crazy Git.


Paul Ray

Corky said...

Byker Bob said...
Are you aware that around 95 A.D. a Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyreanus of Lydda writes of Jesus' Magic arts. How about the denunciation that "Jesus practiced magic and led Israel astray" (Sanhedrin 43a).

Are you aware that that Jesus was the son of Rabbi Perachia and lived during the time of the Judean king, Alexander Janneus? Are you aware that this was a century before the Jesus of the New Testament?

Do all Christians attempt to mislead people right off the bat as soon as they are "converted" or do they wait a day or two?

Hah! Christians turned a man into a god in about the 4th century not realizing that that breaks the first of the ten commandments: "thou shalt have no other gods before me".

But yet, Jesus is "mediator" between God and man and is God himself?

To do that breaks the first commandment because if Jesus is God then that puts him "before" God as the mediator.

Conclusion: The Jews are correct in saying that Christianity is Idolatry.

kiwi said...

Corky, and other non-believers here – I often wonder, are your contributions intended mainly to support and bolster one another, or do you hope that one day you might assist a believer to lose faith altogether? The same question in reverse could be asked of some believers here.
Spiritual faith is many things, but it is essentially a day-by-day experience for an individual with that faith. You either live by it, or not. Either “side” trying to convince the other with supposed historical or linguistic deathblows is never going to work -they are only giggle-worthy to the other "side", so nothing is achieved. Hearing of one another’s actual experiences, insights and conclusions is probably more profitable, with plenty of room for considered agreement or disagreement.

Byker Bob said...

How about some footnotes or links, Corky? Otherwise, I have no idea whether or not you are correct. I've run across some inaccurate statements which you've made in the past, and it is quite obvious that several people look to you as an authority to support their non-belief.

You've agreed with the Jewish records in the past which call Jesus Christ "Jesus ben Pantera", the offspring of an alleged affair between Mary and a Roman soldier, and have quoted this as if it is 100% fact. When a person actually does a little homework, and looks up some of these topics, he will find that many of your references are minority viewpoints from the fringe element of scholars, as opposed to being in agreement with the general consensus of the scholars. And of course, people who are anxious to justify atheism seize on them as if they are gospel truth.

You're not the only one who does this.

BB

Byker Bob said...

Corky,

Yehoshua Ben Parachia was theorized, based on the Babylonian Talmud, as having been the teacher of Jesus Christ, much the same as Gamaliel was the teacher of Paul.

There are timeline problems with this, since Jesus and his teacher were supposed to have fled to Egypt during the reign of the Hasmonean King Alexander Janneus, who was the nephew of Simon and Judah Maccabee. Alexander Janneus did reign from 103 to 76 BCE.
Some scholars feel that the Babylonian Talmud might have simply reversed the reigns of Alexander Janneus, and Herod. Others question whether Yehoshua ben Perachia ever was in fact Jesus' teacher.

The legend based on the Babylonian Talmud suggests that there was a falling out between Jesus and his teacher, and that the falling out was because Yehoshua Ben Perachia misinterpreted Jesus' miracles as being magic.

I knew when we got into this that it was going to get mucky. I deliberately included references which were both positive and negative concerning Jesus. The fact is, He was acknowledged. For proof's sake, negative is just as good as positive.

BB

Byker Bob said...

Kiwi,

Some of us have shared our testimonies of the very real experiences we have had in life. This has prompted responses using terms such as "delusional".

You are quite correct that nobody is going to convince anybody of anything, or change anybody. Only God can do that, opening minds, or hardening hearts.

However, the atheists do a favor for those of us who are believers by challenging us, and forcing us to go back, do more research, and become better rooted in our faith. Plus, there are always those on the sidelines who don't wish to jump into the very public fishbowl here with us, but do lurk and read. These discussions can benefit such folks.

I'm not worried about our atheist friends here. I know by personal experience that God uses atheism to draw people back to Him! That's why I try to be so gentle with them, and never refer to their state of mind as "demon influenced".

BB

Anonymous said...

I have an idea, go out and try to heal the sick. If you can't, it's clear that a demon lives inside....

Crazy Git[,]
Paul Ray



Sick Paul Ray the "Crazy Git,"

I cannot deal with the symptoms of your malady, nor can I profit handsomely from them, for I am not a hundred buck an hour psychiatrist. Neither can I deal with the root cause of your problem and exceedingly great bitterness, for I am not an exorcist, else might I offer you a quantity discount.

So sorry to hear of your sickness, but the type you have seems to come out only by prayer and fasting. And, alas, I am feeling hungry at the moment and plan to send out for something to eat. (The spirit might be willing but the flesh is hungry.)

Anonymous said...

"I'm not worried about our atheist friends here. I know by personal experience that God uses atheism to draw people back to Him!"

Yes! God brings you to unbelief to draw you to belief! Just hope you don't happen to die while you are in your God-mediated state of unbelief, cause you'll burn in the Lake O' Fire! Wahoo! KooKoo for Cocoa Puffs!

What madness. There seems to be no limit on "mysterious ways" with Jehavah and Son. Rape, Incest, Murder, Torture, Madness, Starvation, Disease, Disembowelment, ect, all things work toward the Glawry of Gawd.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"So sorry to hear of your sickness, but the type you have seems to come out only by prayer and fasting...."

Yeah, that's what they all say when they come up short on the Holy Spirit. Poor Holy Spirit. Once a worker of wonders, now reduced to doing...well, doing nothing.

And you're still a Crazy Git.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

The support for the Orthodox NT Canon is not unique to the Churches of God.

But it is unique to the Protestant Religious Right.

The Churches of God are very much a part of the Orthodox Religious Right here in the United States.

The Churches of God continue to hold to their Fundamentalist Protestant Orthodox roots.

That is why most of them voted for McCain. And that is why most of my CoG friends continue to bad mouth Barack Obama.

kiwi said...

Byker Bob: perhaps because there were very real delusions involved in "the Worldwide Church of God experience" (the purpose of this blog), some choose the view that faith in God is itself a delusion. In other words, faith is not able to be separated from denominational delusions, so it is set aside. I should know - that was my own experience for a while.
I can understand rudeness about denominational delusions but not about inner convictions.
Being able to draw the distinction makes for better debate.

Corky said...

Byker Bob said...

You've agreed with the Jewish records in the past which call Jesus Christ "Jesus ben Pantera", the offspring of an alleged affair between Mary and a Roman soldier, and have quoted this as if it is 100% fact.

Actually, that was the Epicurean philosopher, Celsus, and not the Jews.

. . .it is quite obvious that several people look to you as an authority to support their non-belief.

BB, non-belief doesn't need any support but assertions made about the existence of gods and their sons need lots of support and there is none.

Especially important is why a god would need men to speak for him and write his books.

Byker Bob said...

OK, Corky, Celsus did have some things to say about Panthera, but the name also appears in Rabbinical texts and on geneological tables. The more the merrier!

Origen wrote a rebuttal of Celsus' contentions, called Contra Celsum.

Seems like numerous people back then knew about Jesus, or were concerned about him.

I agree with you that normally non belief does not require support. That is absolutely correct if we're discussing non-WCG atheists.

BB

Corky said...

Byker Bob said...
I agree with you that normally non belief does not require support. That is absolutely correct if we're discussing non-WCG atheists.

What difference does it make, WCG atheist or non-WCG atheist?

It just so happens that I am both a WCG atheist and a non-WCG
atheist.

I can simply go back to Genesis and see that "the first man, Adam" was a farmer, his first born was a farmer (Cain) and his second son (Abel) kept domesticated animals.

What happened to the early stone age? What happened to the late stone age and the discovery of copper? To say it is allegory is no good because the writers of the NT treated this stuff as literal.

The truth is that the creation and the story of Adam begins in the bronze age because everyone (including the writers of the bible) had forgotten and didn't know about the stone ages.

And, those long lives (930 years for Adam) are an obvious and absolute lie invented because of the long ages reported by the Sumerians and Egyptians (the Jews didn't want to be outdone, ya know).

A Hebrew woman of 90 years old (Sarah, Abraham's wife) was not a raving beauty that the Egyptian king just couldn't resist. The whole story is just ridiculous beyond belief.

Russell Miller said...

The name of Jesus also appears on forged documentation for many Southern California landscapers.

That does not mean they're the son of God.

Byker Bob said...

Corky, I admit it gets complicated, and I don't pretend to have all the answers. Some of the comments you made presume that exactly the same climate and atmospheric conditions which exist today existed back in Old Testament times.

Also, atheists generally seize on Darwin, natural selection, and mutation for some purposes, and apply this to mankind when it is convenient. If Darwin's theory is correct, why not apply it in other very logical ways? What is to say that the Sumerian, Egyptian, and proto-Israelite people did not have longer lifestyles? There might indeed have been fewer organisms and pollutants, coupled with stronger genetics back then. We know what global warming is and has done in our own lifetimes. Who even knows what the climate was like 5 or 6,000 years ago?

Far greater minds than yours or mine have wrestled with this, and the human mind can only take it so far. I want to tap into what takes our understanding to the next level, going beyond what man can know and understand.

BB

Corky said...

Byker Bob said...
What is to say that the Sumerian, Egyptian, and proto-Israelite people did not have longer lifestyles? There might indeed have been fewer organisms and pollutants, coupled with stronger genetics back then. We know what global warming is and has done in our own lifetimes. Who even knows what the climate was like 5 or 6,000 years ago?

Paleontology Bob, Paleontology and all the sciences associated with it.

Folks were lucky to live 40 years back in those days. But, once someone can accept that Adam lived 930 years they will believe any fairy tale after that.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's what they all say when they come up short on the Holy Spirit. Poor Holy Spirit. Once a worker of wonders, now reduced to doing...well, doing nothing.

And [I'm] still a Crazy Git.
Paul Ray



Angry, Crazy Git,

Maybe your problem is that you have been living the "Way of Git" instead of the "Way of Give."

Anonymous said...

"Corky, and other non-believers here – I often wonder, are your contributions intended mainly to support and bolster one another, or do you hope that one day you might assist a believer to lose faith altogether?"

I'm not Corky, but I'll field this one: I only want assist people to learn true freedom of thought, which religion (especially mainstream Christianity) restricts, limits, and holds captive, to the point where its believers are truly asleep, dreaming gently of a literalized eschaton that was never intended by the original authors of the books in the modern-day Christian canon.

If (and I do mean IF) a believer "leaves the faith" because of something I or the other non-Christians here have posted (I notice you didn't ask the question of what would happen if someone converted to Catholicism because of Jared or Darren, or converted to Judaism because of Smilin' Jack Sprat), it will be the believer's choice to do so.

The only problem the Christians have with us is we aren't limiting peoples' food choices at the buffet: I try and make very clear that there is a vast panorama of knowledge and scholarship and comparative religion study available to people, if only they would just have the courage to look.

Whatever they do with the information they find, well that's between themselves and whatever god they have created.

Anonymous said...

"I want to tap into what takes our understanding to the next level, going beyond what man can know and understand."

OK that's just as ridiculous as the "not by human reasoning" schtick. You CAN'T "go beyond what man can know and understand", because you're still a man Bob! And don't give me that crap about there being an extra-special Secret Crispy God Soul inside your head just because you now believe that a man lived and died long ago in Jerusalem.

After all, CoG members believe the same thing, so why don't they have Speshul Sekrit God Soul inside their heads? And if we're all fundamentally the same, as human beings, how come atheists and agnostics don't have this Speshul Sekrit God Soul, unless and until they agree to things which are patently untrue?

If you just opened your eyes and looked around you, "what man can know and understand" should fulfill much more than the one lifetime per customer that we've all got. Speshul Sekrit God Soul nobody can see, measure, nor prove, not included.

Anonymous said...

"I want to tap into what takes our understanding to the next level, going beyond what man can know and understand."

I can't help but view this as trying to dress up belief in imaginary beings with the intellectual pursuit of knowledge.


Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

Dr Bob answers our questions

You may have noticed the COGwriter has responded to our Obama's origin and Canon fodder questions. Obviously an avid reader of scholarly blogs...

Millionaire Meredith said...

Byble Byker Bob said:
"..you don't have pictures of His human representation, since that would violate one of His Ten Commandments."

Insane brain-damaged Bible Thumper reasoning! Even the Byble says your Jeebers had more enemies than friends;what's to stop some of these giving us a picture of him - like they did for Julius Caesar for instance ?

Millionaire Meredith said...

Bible Biker Bob said:
"..you accuse me of "twisting" Humphries, a source that I was not even quoting.."

No, you weren't quoting it, you were MISQUOTING it. This brilliant rationalist challenge has appeared on AW previously; I suggest you weren't content to take on Humphries as originally presented: The documentation for Julius Caesar vs the historically undocumented "Jesus". Instead, your statement is scatterbrained (Caesar vs the entire contradictory mess called the Bible)

Byker Bob said...

M&Ms:

I first became aware of the Caesar vs. Bible manuscript comparison through Josh McDowell, an author whom I read, but whose opinions I don't necessarily always take as gospel. I never heard of Humphries, and still have no idea who he, or she is. He sure seems important to you, though.

I assume from your statements that you believe that Julius Caesar bears more than a faint resemblance to his pictures and busts. I believe them to be probably just as accurate as the pictures purported to be of Jesus Christ.

Glad you're having fun, and I hope you did a bit of research on those names I supplied. I know it's frustrating being an atheist because you can't prove God doesn't exist. All you can do is ask some rhetorical questions and hope to create reasonable doubt in the minds of believers. Bet you wish you could do some abiogenesis parlor tricks in your bathtub, or explain the existence of radioactive materials!

Smile! You-know-who loves you.

BB

Anonymous said...

You've been told about McDowell's lousy scholarship on AW before, Bob, why are you still promoting it?

So much for being "intellectual".

Corky said...

Byker Bob said...

I know it's frustrating being an atheist because you can't prove God doesn't exist. All you can do is ask some rhetorical questions and hope to create reasonable doubt in the minds of believers.

I know it's frustrating being a theist because you can't prove God does exist. All you can do is make some assumptions and assertions and hope to erase the reasonable doubt in the minds of unbelievers.

Millionaire Meredith said...

Oh no ! Not the DREADFUL Josh McDowell - Apologist for the Christian-Right Hillbillies.

Could it get any more pathetic ?

Humphries on McDowell:
'The supposed 'evidence' of Jesus's existence can fill many pages. The $multi-billion industry of religion quite predictably has its lionized defenders of the Faith. Two favourites of the Born Again are pastor Lee Strobel –The Case For Christ – and minister Josh McDowell – Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Neither pretends to a scientific impartiality. Beyond a self-claimed 'hard-nosed objectivity' they make an avowedly partisan case for their evangelist cause. But for all the fulsome praise heaped upon contemporary Apologists by a grateful Christ Incorporated the evidence of their case collapses under scrutiny. The sophistry and flimflam deceive only the gullible and the uninformed – but, then, that is the essence of religion.

The Apologists have no store of unknown Jesus artifacts, no cache of Jesus's secret memoirs– though they do have shrewd allies in the relic-fabrication industry, so this may change! Rather, their circus tent is filled with nothing more substantial than subterfuge and suspect logic. What holds it all together is that universal super glue – Faith.

The parade of flimflam and clownish knockabout would be a cause for merriment and laughter were it not for the sobering thought that this is as 'rational' as some Christians get. Heaven help us if they were ever to take over the government.

In the prelude to the Dark Ages the original Christian Apologists engaged in a similar pseudo-rational debate with the Greek philosophers, who at first ignored the Christians and subsequently lampooned them as fools. But within three generations the fanatics of Christ had taken over the Roman Empire and the laughing stopped.'

Read more: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/circus.html

Anonymous said...

"I know it's frustrating being an atheist because you can't prove God doesn't exist."


No more frustrating than being an aleprechaunist, or an aunicornist, or an aGreatPumpkinist. All of which describes you, if I am not mistaken. Of course, the only difference being that our entire culture is not drenched in belief in leprechauns, unicorns, or the Great Pumpkin. Our parents don't believe in unicorns and there is not a social framework in place which promotes belief in the Great Pumokin. For if there was, trust me on this Bob, you would be a stout believer in all of them, and would defend them just as you do Jehovah, using the same arguments and the same subjective experiences. You would scratch your head and wonder why we aleprechaunists just can't want to see what is so plain to you.

Just to put in perspective.

Paul Ray

Anonymous said...

"I know it's frustrating being an atheist because you can't prove God doesn't exist."

Condescending, supercilious, sneering. And yet you call US hypocrites, Bob.

Didn't you see anything of yourself in "J"'s post where he came clean about how he realized his Armstrongist background was still infecting his preaching?

Unlike "J", you refuse to acknowledge that ---- and you refuse to quit preaching. According to what you've said though, you probably preached just as much when you were an agnostic.

kiwi said...

Purple Hymnal: points noted. Thank you.
I am a believer who most definitely has surveyed the whole buffet table and have made my choice.
I know of Cog-people who are too afraid to even come out from under the table, let alone make a truly free choice. Both believers and non-believers of Christianity can feel frustrated when meeting up with that sort of fear.
Anyway, it seems to me that the comments pages are less about "sharing the WCG experience" and more about confrontation, so I'll probably just lurk and leave the jousting for those who have the stomach for it. Cheers.

Byker Bob said...

I get so sick of binary thinking. Can't some of you even read??? I was very careful to point out that I do *NOT* accept everything Josh McDowell has to say as being gospel truth. But, that is also not to say that every single word, every excerpt the man has made from other references is 100% false, either. What book do any of you know of that is 100% true? Webster's Dictionary? The Telephone Book? Judas Priest!

And, by the way, Aggie, setting up a protected website where dissent is censored, redacted, or truncated and then having the very people who have created such an environment insist on exercising their own right to dissent on all of the other sites is both hypocritical, and two faced. You guys seem to love to call believers hypocrites, and then you you do something so grossly hypocritical that it's nearly unimaginable. You silence their response. If that is intellectual, leave me out. One of the posters here was right when he or she said that censorship is more obscene than the F word.

As for J's comments, yes I see myself in them. Originally, when I read his post, I felt that his comments might have even been partially in response to some of my comments in his previous entry on the blog. It seemed that he was expanding on them.

I'm not going to leave you with any religious metaphors regarding ISA, because you gloat over them and wear them as a badge. You've got your walk, and I've got mine. I refuse to be your next Tom, Bill, Robert, Larry, or Velvet Rose.

BB

larry said...

Byker Bob said....,

"You guys seem to love to call believers hypocrites, and then you do something so grossly hypocritical that it's nearly unimaginable. You silence their response. If that is intellectual, leave me out. One of the posters here was right when he or she said that censorship is more obscene than the F word."

BB, you are absolutely on target. Oh, and by the way, they haven't hurt me. I am doing just fine!

My resonse to Richard, PH, and Paul Ray is very simple. If you don't like my posts, fine. No one ever forces you to read them.

Russell Miller said...

Wow, someone doesn't like it when there's a place that doesn't allow preaching.

Ah, yes. Christianity. The misunderstood minority, always persecuted. They never can catch a break, can they? I mean, after all, they control the conversation pretty much everywhere, almost all Holidays are Christian, churches are everywhere, and pretty much evey single ex-WCG blog has been taken over by Christians... but MY BLOG is going to be the death of Christianity because it doesn't allow preaching!

Sorry, having a hard time mustering any sympathy.

Byker Bob said...

Larry,

I'm glad you're OK. I suspect the others I've mentioned are doing just fine, too.

It's funny. None of us imagine that we'll be extrapolated into a box of the worst assortment of cliched stereotypes. But, the minute we annouce belief, in the box we go!

Keep the faith!
BB

Anonymous said...

Russ wrote:
but MY BLOG is going to be the death of Christianity because it doesn't allow preaching!

Hey buddy, you're sounding a bit like ole Herb there, CAPS and an inflated opinion of your own effectiveness.

Russell Miller said...

anonymous: I'm not the pone traipsing all over the place whining about the big bad atheist blogmaster censoring them. I'd say that's a pretty good indication that I'm more effective than others would like to believe.

Or are you guys finally going to get around to actually *ignoring* me? Oh the pain, I don't know how I could cope with that. No, please don't ignore me, anything but that!

A little reverse psychology there. Oh, wait - I'm not supposed to say that, am I?

Byker Bob said...

I'm not going to take any more bait, Russ, although at least I'm allowed to respond to it here if I like.

I've just come to appreciate the fact that Christians (and some select enlightened others) stand for freedom, and don't feel threatened by it. That's the most profound lesson which has come from this, and the most positive way in which I can state it.

BB

Russell Miller said...

Good. That's all I've asked for.

Anonymous said...

"I've just come to appreciate the fact that Christians (and some select enlightened others) stand for freedom..."

You may think that, but the only freedom that your religion allows is the kind it has invented, as Christianity has invented the problem (sin and punishment) and the solution (Jebus).

Paul Ray

Larry Church of God said...

Larry the loser said, "My resonse to Richard, PH, and Paul Ray is very simple. If you don't like my posts, fine. No one ever forces you to read them".

MY COMMENT - the plain truth about the fraud of the WCG and HWA hurts Larry. However, Larry reads my posts even when no one forces him to do so.

Richard

Anonymous said...

"
I've just come to appreciate the fact that Christians (and some select enlightened others) stand for freedom, and don't feel threatened by it."


I don't feel threatened, and I don't believe Christians stand for freedom at all.

Leonardo said...

Yes, I agree with you, Purple Hymnal, my impression is also that many Christians (though perhaps not all) do not find freedom compatible with their belief system. Few religions down through history can dwell in peace with free-thinking human minds.

In America that’s why Thomas Jefferson referred to the “wall of separation” between church and state in his letter to the Danbury Baptists of 1801– as he realized from history that once religions become politically powerful, it’s just a matter of time until they start using force to stifle debate.

Many religionists basically argue in the following way: "I believe in freedom, as long my cherished assumptions that I cannot logically or articulately demonstrate in debate are given a free pass."

Well I say “Nuts” to that concept! Religionists are going to have to earn the right to be considerately heard in the marketplace of ideas just like anyone else promoting any other view, religious or secular, where empirical evidence and demonstrable proof and logic are the coins of the realm, not subjective, dogmatic and essentially unprovable assertions.

The religionist's days of intellectual unearned respect and free-passes are gone – they basically ended with the fall of the Middle Ages and the rise of the Renaissance.