Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Answering Jeff Lowder's attack on historical Jeus Sources part 2: Papias and The Daughters of Philip

Tomb of Philip at Hierapolis

The Figure that Lowder doesn't even mention is Papias. There are actually several that he didn't mention I will cover here. In addition to Papias I'll deal with the daughters of Philip. Papias was Bishop of Hierapolis (in Phrygia, sort mid southwestern Turkey). We don't know his exact dates, some have him being born as early as AD 70 (the fall of the temple) and dying as late 155.[1] His writings are mostly dates to around 130.[2] He died in Smyrna (mid way down Western coast of Turkey). By the second century the center of the faith had shifted to Antioch, in Syria and a lot of missionary activity was in Asia Minor. Only fragments of his Writings Survive most of those come to us from either the Irenaus or Eusebius.

There is a famous fragment that has come to us from Eusebius that might imply either that Papias knew disciples of Jesus who were eye witnesses or that he contact with them:

I shall not hesitate to set down for you along with my interpretations all things which I learned from the elders with care and recorded with care, being well assured of their truth. For unlike most men, I took pleasure not in those that have much to say but in those that preach the truth, not in those that record strange precepts but in those who record such precepts as were given to the faith by the Lord and are derived from truth itself. Besides if ever any man came who had been a follower of the elders, I would inquire about the sayings of the elders; what Andrew said, or Peter or Philip or Thomas, or James, or John or Matthew, or any other of the Lord's deciples; and what Aristion says, and John the Elder, who are dciples of the Lord. For I did not consider that i got so much from the content of books as from the utterances of living and abiding voices...
Some think this imposes an intermediate group between the Apostles and Papias. If any man was a follower of the elders, he would inquire (of that man) what the elders said....so it does. He puts the second groups. "disciples" in the present tense: what Aristion says or John the Elder. This would imply they were alive during his own time. Just be was away from them and inquired what others heard from them doesn't mean he never met them. We have words of Irenaeus to the effect hat he did meet them. Ireneaus would know becuase Papias and Poly carp were contemporaries and knew each other.

Schoedel writes about Papias
According to Irenaeus, our earliest witness, Papias was "a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp, a man of primitive times," who wrote a volume in "five books" (haer. 5.33.4; quoted by Eusebius Hist. Eccl. 3.39.1). Eusebius already doubted the reality of a connection between Papias and the apostle John on the grounds that Papias himself in the preface to his book distinguished the apostle John from John the presbyter and seems to have had significant contact only with John the presbyter and a certain Aristion (Hist. Eccl. 3.39.3-7). Eusebius' skepticism was no doubt prompted by his distaste - perhaps a recently acquired distaste (Grant 1974) - for Papias' chiliasm and his feeling that such a theology qualified Papias for the distinction of being "a man of exceedingly small intelligence" (Hist. Eccl. 3.39.13). Nevertheless Eusebius' analysis of the preface is probably correct; and his further point that Papias' chiliasm put him to the same camp as the Revelation of John is surely relevant. It is notable that Eusebius, in spite of his desire to discredit Papias, still places him as early as the reign of Trajan (A.D. 98-117); and although later dates (e.g., A.D. 130-140) have often been suggested by modern scholars, Bartlet's date for Papias' literary activity of about A.D. 100 has recently gained support (Schoedel 1967: 91-92; Kortner 1983: 89-94, 167-72, 225-26).[4]
Irenaeus calls him a "hearer of John." Eusebius says he wasn't a hearer of the Apostles. Since Eusebius was so much further removed from the scene than Irenaeus it's more likely he would know better. Of course the statement would also make sense if it was the Elder John he knew not the Apostles John. He also says he was a companion of Polycarp. Whichever John they knew they must have both known him at the same time. This all meets Lowder's criteria becasue Irenaeus was in a position to know that Polycarp knew John (although perhaps not which John) and that he also knew Papias. Papias and Polycarp knew disciples of Jesus, this is independent of reading the gospels.

Schoedel writes about the comments of Papias
What the fragments have to tell us about Mark and Matthew is information that Papias himself traces to "the presbyter" (Eus. Hist. Eccl. 3.39.15-16). Eusebius separates the statements about Mark and Matthew, but they may have originally followed one another and certainly seem closely related. Perhaps the simplest reading of the statement on Mark is that Mark served as Peter's interpreter (possibly in the role of methurgaman, or oral translator) and wrote down what he heard Peter say of the words and deeds of Jesus and that his writing is defective in "order," though not in accuracy or fullness of recollection, because Peter naturally referred to the Lord's logia in a random manner. Some have suspected that Papias did not have in mind the gospel of Mark that we know, but the arguments are tenuous. On another point, Kurzinger has attempted to show that Papias was speaking not of translation from the native language of Peter but of presentation of the reports of Peter (an interpretation which he applies also to Papias' statement about Matthew); but this seems to push a rhetorical approach to Papias' terminology too far (Schoedel 1967: 107; Kortner 1983: 203-4). On the other hand, an interpretation in rhetorical terms is somewhat more likely when it comes to the suggestion that Papias meant to say that Peter spoke "in chria-style" rather than "as needs (chriai) dictated." But the point that is debated more than any other is what Papias had in mind when he said that Mark did not write "in order." It is perhaps most likely that Papias was measuring Mark by Matthew (who is said by Papias to have made "an ordered arrangement" of the materials) - or perhaps more generally by Papias' own conception of what ought to be included in such an account - and that he had in mind completeness of information as well as "order" in the narrow sense of the term. In any event, Papias is defending Mark in spite of perceived deficiencies.[5]

My theory based upon this materiel and more (see my Doxa for details--Canonical Gospels--Gospel behind the Gospels) is that Mark may have been based upon Peter's memoirs, Matthew may have begun as an Aramaic saying source then latter adapted to narrative form in Greek by redactors. John started as the memoirs of "the beloved Disciple" (Lazarus? John the Apostle?) The Elder John of Papias who wrote the Epistles (so we are told by Eusebuis) was the last head redactor of John's Gospel. The community itself wrote the Gospel of John because it is so heavily redacted. I accept Luke's authorship becuase I can't see there being a Luke community since he had no real ties to Jesus.

 There are indications from Eusebius that Papias had extended contact with the Elder John and with other disciples. Eusebius writes "in his writings he transmits other narratives of the words of the Lord which came form the afore mentioned Aristion and others which came from John the Elder" moreover he goes on, "the elder used to say this also: Mark became the interpreter of Peter and wrote down accurately, but not in order, as much as he remembered...'" And here Eusebius is quoting Papias. This phrase "the eder used to say..." indicates a personal acquaintance in more than one meeting.(Ibid.). Here we may have a direct link form eye witness to Apostolic "father." Moreover, he changes tenses when he speaks of Aristion and Elder John, the he speaks in present tense, as though he's still in contact with them.[6] Eusebius speaking of Papias in relating his Oracles of the Lord says:

Papias, who is now mentioned by us, affirms that he received the sayings of the apostles from those who accompanied them, and he moreover asserts that he heard in person Aristion and the presbyter John. Accordingly he mentions them frequently by name, and in his writings gives their traditions. Our notice of these circumstances may not be without its use. It may also be worth while to add to the statements of Papias already given, other passages of his in which he relates some miraculous deeds, stating that he acquired the knowledge of them from tradition.[7]
He tells us that Papias affirms it directly that he knew the Elder John and other disciples. Because link the John that Papias knew with Aristion just as in Papias' famous quite, it would seem that Eusebius is telling us it was that John, the Elder, author of the Epistels and not the Apostle who Papias knew. It doesn't matter becasue they were all witnesses to Jesus' life.

Papias and The Daughters of Philip

Papias had other connections with living chruch  history as well. in Hierapolis where he was Bishop there was also Philip and his four virgin daughters. The daughters of Philip were prophetesses, Paul is said to have met them in Acts (8:5-40; 21:8-9. ), and Papias is said to have met them as well. Eusebius speaks of this in the same passage tht he speaks about Papias:

The residence of the Apostle Philip with his daughters in Hierapolis has been mentioned above. We must now point out how Papias, who lived at the same time, relates that he had received a wonderful narrative from the daughters of Philip. For he relates that a dead man was raised to life in his day. He also mentions another miracle relating to Justus, surnamed Barsabas, how he swallowed a deadly poison, and received no harm, on account of the grace of the Lord.[8]
Polycrates testifies (AD 190) to existence of these daughters and their burial and their father's burial at Hierapolis, "Philip of the twelve apostles who sleeps in Hierapolis and his two druthers, elderly virgins, and another of his daughters who after living in the Holy Spirit rests in Ephesos."[9] William Tabbernee documents an inscription from Hierapolis honoring a public figure which links the burial of Philip the apostle with the monument in his honor, the "martyrium." It refers to him as "the glorious Apostle and Theologian Philip.[10]  Of course there are problematic details in these accounts. Other accounts give four daughters, Polycrates seems to only know of there. There is a controversy as weather or not this Philip is the evangelist of Acts (one of the first decons) or the Apostles, one of the twelve who traveld with Jesus. No one really knows. In a famous debate between a Montanist (Prokolos) and an Orthox (Gaius) reference is made to the four daughters of Philip as having resided in that area and being burried there.[11] There is a possiblity that the tomb of Philip has been discovered:

Italian professor Francesco D'Andria, the head of the excavation team at the Hierapolis ancient city in Denizli, told reporters on Tuesday that experts had reached the tomb of St. Philip whose name is mentioned in the Bible as one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus. 

Professor D'Andria said archaeologists had been working for years to find the tomb of the Biblical figure, and finally, they had managed to reach the monument while working on the ruins of a newly-unearthed church in Hierapolis. 

D'Andria said the structure of the tomb and the writings on it proved that it belonged to St. Philip the Apostle, who is recognized as a martyr in the history of Christianity.[12]

The Tomb is near the "martyrium" a structure put around the fifth century to commemorate the death of Philip. The martyruim is probably where he was crucified and the tomb where he was burred. Or it could just be that they didn't put the monument over his tomb because a chruch was there so they put it near by. It's not proof but it lends credence, it at least establishes that the tradition starches back further toward the actual event of his living there.

F.F. Bruce, an Evangelical Scholar, highly respected in all circles, tells us: "Eusebius tells us on the authority of Papias and other early writers that at a late date Philip's four prophetic daughters were famed in the church for authorities in the history of its earliest days." [13] That's probably exaggeration. As as been seen the only quotations I can find by Eusebius about Philip and his daughters say nothing of the kind. He's probalby basing that upon the miracle stories they told Papias. Yet they do provide a more important link to Papias than has been observed by scholars. These women have been overlooked, relegated to footnotes in the questions about their father's identity. They must have been important in their day, they show up in several sources even long after they were gone (Polycrates wrote in 190 and the report of Gaius and Prockleus was even latter). The site of their tombs was marked. They were prophetesses and that gives a status. Even though tehy were probalby weren't historians per se they surely did pass on stories about the early days as Papias attest. They  knew their father who around in the early days of the faith. Even though the sources may have become confused on points such as which Philip we are dealing with, in my view it must be the evangelist [14] those are not big enough problems to lose the reality of Jesus as a real man in history.

All these connections provide a web of historicity. There are three major trajectories along which the historical evidence is found: the gospels (both canonical and extra canonical), the Pauline corpus, and the apostolic fathers. These form interdependent links that make a big web of historicity. Papias is linked to John or at least disciples of the Lord such as Elder John, and he's also linked to the Pauline corpus through his association with the daughters of Philip, who know Paul. Through Philip he has another link to the early days of the chruch. We have this big web all these groups of people that knew each other as we go more deeply into it the inner circles come close to knowing Jesus. Paul met several such as James and Peter who knew him intimately. He also knew Andronicus and Junia who were around in the early days and Priscilla and Aquila who were first followers of the Baptist. Irenaeus' teacher Polycarp knew Papias and knew he was a follower of eye witness disciples who saw Jesus.  Yet how could it be that the core of the web is fictional?

How absurd to think people in Jerusalem  just a few years after the disciples began preaching would say "my father never heard of this guy, my grandfather never heard of him, his followers say he spoke to throngs of people in the streets of Jerusalem they heralded him, they demanded his release when he was captured but no one has heard of him, no one I know has any memory of those events, I think I'll join his little band of twelve guys."

fragments form other sources.

[1] The dates for his birth and death are not known and vary widely frm as early as AD 70(birth)-168 (death). For this reason it's more useful to try and date his literary activity, which is usually taken to be 130. He probably died in 155.

[2] "Papias of Hierapolis" American Bible Society (website) URL: http://bibleresources.americanbible.org/node/1222
 It is notable that Eusebius, in spite of his desire to discredit Papias, still places him as early as the reign of Trajan (A.D. 98-117); and although later dates (e.g., A.D. 130-140) have often been suggested by modern scholars, Bartlet's date for Papias' literary activity of about A.D. 100 has recently gained support (Schoedel 1967: 91-92; Kortner 1983: 89-94, 167-72, 225-26).

[3]  Documents of the Christian Church, edited by Henry Bettonson, Oxford:Oxford University press 1963, 27

[4] William R.Schoedel The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Newhaven: Yale University Press. Edited by David Noel Freedman  first published 1956, current publication 2012.v. 5, p. 140

[5] Schoedel, op. cit., v. 5, pp. 141-142

[6] in Bettenson, op cit,  27)

[7] Eusebius, From the exposition of the oracles of the Lord. no VI On New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia website: URL:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0125.htm

[8] Eusebius, Oracles of the Lord op cit.

[9] William Tabbernee, Montanists Inscriptions and Testimonia:Epigraphic Sources Illustrating The History of Montanism.Macan Georgia: Mercer University Press 1997, 504

[10] Tabbernee, op cit 503.

[11] ibid, 505

[12] "Tomb of Philip The Apostle Discovered in Turkey?" News Network Archaeology. website URL:

[13] FF Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable,published in USA by Wb Erdeman's Publishing company and Invervarsity press, originally published 1943, 1981 , p.43)

[14] The same quote by Papias about how he always tried to get word from those who had been with the elders, names Philip the Apostle among them. If he lived in Herapolis Papias would hardly need to learn his words form travelers coming in from elsewhere.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Answering Jeff Lowder's attack on historical Jeus Sources part 1


Jeff Lowder is an long time contributor to the secular web. He wrote a piece years ago (last updated in 2000) about the historical sources McDowell uses for historical Jesus, This is not exactly a burning issue becuase it's such an old piece. It's still instructive to see how the Sec Web crowd rationalizes away good historical evidence. They have set the pattern for all current new atheism. They were fundamental in the formation of the new atheism.

In this installment I will deal with Lourder's handling of Polycarp and Irenaeus a major link to the time of Jesus. In part 2 I'll deal with a figure he doesn't mention and in part 3 I'll deal with his use of Josephus and the Talmud.

Lowder accepts the basic historicity of Jesus himself so he doesn't bother to attack the NT. He does reject the chruch fathers as having any independent standing or authority. Lowder assumes immediately that Christians sources are all untrustwothy and can't be used. so he makes the issue of using them the dividing line between what he assumes up front is garbage and what might be valid.

The Church Fathers do not provide any independent confirmation of Jesus. Under the heading "Christian Sources for the Historicity of Jesus,...McDowell only cited one example of church fathers relying on non-Christian tradition--Justin Martyr's reference to an alleged 'Acts of Pilate'--so I will have to restrict my comments to that.

 He goes into a lot of detail on the Acts of Pilate as though it is an independent source (although the only one). In reality the Act of Pilate is not independent of Christianity but it is a Christian source. In it Pilate became a Christian (that's enough in itself to cast doubt). It's also suspect becuase it's readings of the NT are derived from the Gospels. The Gospel of Peter, on the other hand, is a much better historical source becuase it's sources are clearly indepndent. Here we to make clear the distinction of the shallow way Lowder uses the term "independent" and the right way to use it. He means "not Christian" that's arbitrary, cynical and cuts out most of the good evidence. There's no reason why knowing what early Chrsitians said is a liability in the historicity of a text. We need independence form the canonical Gospels not becuase they are untrustworthy, but becuase dependence upon them creates the possibility that source just read the gospels and has no knowledge from any other source. So a source can be Christian and be independent if it's knowledge based seems to be a source aside from the canonical Gospels, even if it is a figure in the Gospels. Even if it is a Christian source. The Bias of a Christian source has to be weighed on its own merits. The Gospel of Pilate doesn't' pass that test. Gospel of Peter does. It's accounts of the Gospel are derived from ancinet early source independent of the canonical gospels becuase its quotations of gospels are derived from the psalms not from the canonical gospels.

The Apostolic fathers he dogmatically dismisses, such as Polycarp, are good sources and should be taken seroiusly. These sources don't prove by themselves that Jesus existed but as part of an overall case they are pretty strong. Lowder's evidence on the historical unreliability of Justin is pretty laughable. For example he assumes he's a bad authority because he refers to documents we don't have. As though he expects a second century apologist to write with the understanding of the 20th century reader in mind.

when it comes to the more important Apostolic fathers such as Ignatius, Polycarp, he faults them for basing their accounts upon the NT as though that means they don't have independent knowledge. He sets out two criteria (1) sources other than New Testament. (2) they have to be in a position to know if Jesus existed. At first glance criterion no. 1 may seem like he's just ignoring the NT becuase it's the Bible. That's actually a reasonable criterion but it could be taken in the wrong way. He's not just saying we can't believe the bible but if they read the things they speak of in the NT then they don't know them first hand. We have to be careful becuase atheists tend to refuse anything connected to the Bible just becuase it's the Bible. So if their first hand source is the Apostle John then it is a first hand source even though it's  a person from the Bible. The second criterion doesn't mean they had to known Jesus themselves but they had to at least know someone who knew Jesus. That's reasonable because a witness to Jesus life is a first hand witness. Jesus mythers set up their own false criteria that historians don't use demanding total first hand reporting, but Lowder is not a Jesus myther. Think about it logically, if a reporter interviewed an eyewitness to the D-day landing her interview would not be discounted on the grounds that she herself wasn't there. The person she interviewed was there. So if Polycarp was a student of John's he's like the reporter interviewing the eye witness.

Lowder dismisses Origen and Irenaeus  as having lived too late. While it's true they lived too late to know Jesus they are in a position to know he existed. Their evidence doesn't derive just from reading the NT. Ireneaus knew Polycarp who knew John. Of course that makes Polycarp the true source and Irenaeus is just a link in the chain to provides us with that fact. Of course Lowder merely dismisses Polycarp's knowledge of John with the gloss "our knowledge of his sources is uncertain." Our knowledge is not that uncertain. There are two ways it could be uncertain: (1) because there's a question as to weather he knew John the Apostle or the "elder John" of whom Papias writes. Either way it doesn't matter becuase the elder John knew Jesus too. The second way is that we know most of Polycarp's works through other people. That still doesn't mean anything becuase we know several major historical works with a less certainty. We didn't know Tacitus existed until the middle ages.
According to Iranaeus Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (Martyred in AD 155?) knew the Apostle John. This doesn't seem likely and has been denounced by the great Church historian B.H. Streeter (The Primitive Church ,1923) and others. The date of Ploycarp's Martyrdom is fixed by W.A. Waddington (see Richardson, Early Christian Fathers, , ).[1] The tradition recorded in the Martyrdom of Polycarp says that he was 86 years old when he went to his glory as a martyr. This would place his birth in the year 69 AD. Assuming he was a teenager (and he was supposed to be very young) when he knew John, this would place their friendship around the late 80s. Is it possible that John lived this long? Clearly legend has it that John lived to be over 100, returned from Patois and worked in the church of Ephesus. But those legends are probably driven by the statements in the Gospel which imply that John would not die or would be very old when he did die. If Johannie authorship holds up, and John was in Ephesus in 90 to write his Gospel, than it is possible that he knew Polycarp. The information that these two men did know each other comes through Iraneaeus who did know Polycarp.[2]

We have two major Sources Polycarp. The "Epistle to the Philippians" has been handed down. It's one of best attested patristic works and it's authority, while questioned in the past, has basically ceased to be questions. The attestation is good because it's backed by and in turn mutually backs up the writings of Ignatius. The Philippians traded letters with the Church of Antioch, Antioch's letter was by Polycarp and Philipi's letter by Ignatius. There is enough harmony between the two that they are accepted as authentic:

This is one of the many respects in which there is such complete harmony between the situations revealed in the Epistles of St. Ignatius and the Epistle of St. Polycarp, that it is hardly possible to impugn the genuineness of the former without in some way trying to destroy the credit of the latter, which happens to be one of the best attested documents of antiquity. In consequence some extremists, anti-episcopalians in the seventeenth century, and members of the Tübingen School in the nineteenth, boldly rejected the Epistle of Polycarp. Others tried to make out that the passages which told most in favour of the Ignatian epistles were interpolations. (New Advent). [3]
see also Peter Kirby's site for more sources on Polycarp. Polycarp himself doesn't talk about knowing John in that epistle. We are told about his knowledge of John by someone who knew him, Irenaeus of Lyon.  In Agaisnt Herieis book III. 3,4 

we are told:
"But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom,7 departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true."[4]
 There is a third source on Polycarp, this one also reportedly by Irenaeus. Fragments of lost writings of Irenaeus. In one fragment He tells more about things Polycarp said to him about knowing the Apostel John.

I can even describe the place where the blessed Polycarp used to sit and discourse-his going out, too, and his coming in-his general mode of life and personal appearance, together with the discourses which he delivered to the people; also how he would speak of his familiar intercourse with John, and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord; and how he would call their words to remembrance. Whatsoever things he had heard from them respecting the Lord, both with regard to His miracles and His teaching, Polycarp having thus received [information] from the eye-witnesses of the Word of life, would recount them all in harmony with the Scriptures.[5]
This is written to his friend Florinas who was latter accused of the Gnostic Heresy. He's reminding him of how they both knew John. Philip Schaff 19th century Church historian quoted by History of the Early Church, a website

The Epistle to Florinus, of which Eusebius has preserved an interesting and important fragment, treated On the Unity of God, and the Origin of Evil. It was written probably after the work against heresies, and as late as 190. Florinus was an older friend and fellow-student of lrenaeus and for some time presbyter in the church of Rome, but was deposed on account of his apostasy to the Gnostic heresy. Irenaeus reminded him very touchingly of their common studies at the feet of the patriarchal Polycarp, when he held some position at the royal court (probably during Hadrian's sojourn at Smyrna), and tried to bring him back to the faith of his youth, but we do not know with what effect...[6]
Atheists will be sure to attack this source because the fragment is preserved by Eusebius. He has been stuck by athesits with the reputation of having said that it's ok to lie in the cause of the faith. In fact he never said this. He was a fine historian and used good conscience and was honest about his sources. It was in fact the atheist Gibbon who said that it's ok to lie in service of the faith and tried to lie and say that Eusebius said it. There's a good webpage defending this position. [7] There is also now independent confirmation of the veracity of the connection between polycarp and John. This is"Harris Fragments," four fragments  in the Harris collection of Coptic literature in British library. The text has been known since the mid nineteenth century. Coptic copy of a Greek Composition written in third century. This is a record of Polycarp's last hours but it is not a copy of the  Martyrdom of Polycarp. This is not a writing of Polycarp. It's about him.[8]

Widemann tells us, "Harris fragments" may reflect early traditions: "the raw material for a narrative about John and Polycarp may have been in place before Irenaeus; the codification of the significance of a direct line of succession from the apostle John through Polycarp may arguably be linked directly to Irenaeus."[9] Yet this is both good and bad, from  a Christian apologetic stand point. What it means is that these fragments supply good evidence that Irenaeus was working from a tradition that was arleady there. Yet he improved upon it and that might imply manipulatino for political reasons, as some have already suggested: "Frederick Weidmann, their editor, interprets the "Harris fragments" as Smyrnan hagiography addressing Smyrna-Ephesus church rivalries, which "develops the association of Polycarp and John to a degree unwitnessed, so far as we know, either before or since." The fragments echo the Martyrology, and diverge from it." [10]

This is not the Florinus fragment. The poll of political manipulation is cast upon the unknown writter of the Harris fragments not Irenaeus himself.This is the Harris fragment that is not even attributed to Polycarp. So this is furnishing support for the fragment related to us by Eusebius in two ways, (1) It implies that there were sources prior to Irenaeus that link John with Polycarp. (2) It attests to the association brought out in the other fragment thus backing up its claim. The assertion the claim was made to further political interests of some faction is speculative and unproved. There's reason to doubt Irenaeus' actual words which are reflected his major work. If we find reason to doubt the authorship of the Florinus fragment we have no such reason to doubt Against Heresies.

Therefore, Polycarp meets both criteria, (1)  Its form an independent source. (2) Polycarp was in a position to know and Irenaus was in a position to know Polycarp. Even though it may not have been the Apostle John that Polycarp knew, it was nevertheless an eye witness disciple. Lowder doesn't go into anywhere near this kind of detail. In part 2 I will deal with a church father who is extremely important as a living link between the Apostles and the chruch of the second century, yet one Lowder doesn't even mention in passing.

Before moving on to part 2, which will be next time, I just want to touch on the rest of Lowder's material. I'm not going to deal with it in detail becuase I have already done so on Doxa He talks about Jewish Pagan sources. He's done with Christian sources. The Jewish sources he deals with are Josephus and the  Talmud. He says nothing original or amazing about either. My essays on either one fo these are Doxa are adequate to answer him.



It wouldn't hurt to to look at all my historical Jesus pages.

Next time part 2: the figure Lowder didn't mention
Friday, part 3: Josephus and the Talmud

[1] The original edition was published in 1976, the on line copy of that edition is here, but the page numbers are different. In the hard copy of the original edition the quote  is on page 144.

[2] Introduction  to "the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians," Christian Classics Ethereal library.

[3] "ST. Polycarp," New Advent Catholic Encyclopidea, editor, Kevin Knight. On line resource: URL: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12219b.htm

[4] Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.3-4

[5] Fragements of Lost Writings of Irenaeus.

Note that this same quote in it's larger context can be found in several places on line:
*on new advent under lost writings of Iranaeus: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0134.htm
*On Peter Kirby's Site: Early Christian Writings.http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-fragments.html

Original hard copy version can always be found:
Source. Translated by Alexander Roberts. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .

[6] Philip Schaff quoted on website "History of the Early Church." URL http://earlychurch.com/irenaeus.php

[7] Eusebius the liar? URL: http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/eusebius/eusebius_the_liar.htm

[8] Frederick W. Widemann, The Harris Fragments and their challenge to the literary tradition by  Christinty and Judism in Anqiquity 12 Notre Dame Indiana: Notre Dame University Press, 1999

 Untitled Book Review, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol 120, no 1, Spring, Society of Biblical Literature, 2001, 185.

[9] Widemann, ibid 132

[10] "Polycarp"  Untiiltled on line website:URL: http://readtiger.com/wkp/en/Polycarp#cite_note-5
 quoting Weidemann 133.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Athesits who think Metaphors are lies

 big man in sky

One of the major problems is that atheist cant' understand what bible scholars do (of course that's  a generalization because many of them do understand). There are those who even go so far as to think metaphors are lies, so that the view of God in the OT must be either literal or it's a lie.

One of the great geniuses of the atheist world is a guy named "Deist" who posts on carm:

You choose to ignore most all of the OT by calling them allegorical. That you choose to call more of the OT allegorical than most other Christians doesn't make you right. By saying something is allegorical, it's an admission it's made up. Now, I know all of the bible is made up, and you think most of it is. A REAL Christian can't pick and choose. Either ALL of the bible is the word of god, or none of it is.

He was speaking to me becuase I tell him God is not a big man in the sky. He points to the images of God in the OT, of cousre he's taking them selectvely becuase the ones that depict Giod as a mother bear and flame of fire a stome, draknes. light, he ignores. Only the one's hes a big man on a throne meaning anything to him. Of cousre they have to be taken litterally or God is a lie. This is really the height of stupidity.

I actually didn't say it was allegorical. I said metaphorical. There's a difference. The allegorical (or figurative, symbolic) understanding of scripture is much older the fundamentalist literalism. Fundamentalism only goes back to the 19h century. The Apostles Paul and the Church fathers interpreted the OT through allegory and symbols.

web defintion of metahppor:


  1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
  2. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract.
 second definition
, About.com Guide

A metaphor, as defined in our glossary, is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something important in common. The word metaphor itself is a metaphor, coming from a Greek word meaning to "transfer" or "carry across." Metaphors "carry" meaning from one word, image, or idea to another.
Nordquist tells us:

Some people think of metaphors as nothing more than the sweet stuff of songs and poems--Love is a jewel, or a rose, or a butterfly. But in fact all of us speak and write and think in metaphors every day. They can't be avoided: metaphors are built right into our language.
Here we'll take a look at some of the different kinds of metaphors, with examples drawn from advertisements, poems, essays, songs, and TV programs...says, "I'm a night owl, Wilson's an early bird. We're different species," he's speaking metaphorically. When Dr. Cuddy replies, "Then move him into his own cage," she's extending House's bird metaphor--which he caps off with the remark, "Who'll clean the droppings from mine?"
Calling a person a "night owl" or an "early bird" is an example of a common (or conventional) metaphor--one that most native speakers will readily understand. Let's look at some of the different ways a single conventional metaphor can be used.

Conventional Metaphors

Some metaphors are so common that we may not even notice that they are metaphors. Take the familiar metaphor of life as a journey, for example. We find it in advertising slogans:
  • "Life is a journey, travel it well."
    (United Airlines)
    "Life is a journey. Enjoy the Ride."
 The history of the fundamentalist movement is disclosed by Got Questions Blog which decribesitsel as " is a volunteer ministry of dedicated and trained servants who have a desire to assist others in their understanding of God, Scripture, salvation, and other spiritual topics. We are Christian, Protestant, conservative, evangelical, fundamental, and non-denominational."

The Fundamentalist movement had its roots at Princeton Theological Seminary by graduates from that institution. The word was first used in association with religion when two wealthy church laymen commissioned ninety-seven conservative church leaders from all over the western world to write 12 volumes on the basic tenets of the Christian faith. They then published these writings and distributed over 300,000 copies free of charge to ministers and others involved in church leadership. The books were entitled The Fundamentals, and they are still in print today in a two-volume set.

Fundamentalism was formalized in the late 19th century and early 20th century by conservative Christians—John Nelson Darby, Dwight L. Moody, B. B. Warfield, Billy Sunday, and others—who were concerned that moral values throughout the world were being eroded by Modernism—a trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings (rather than God) to create, improve, and reshape their environment with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation. Modernism was not only infesting the culture at large, but was gaining ground in government and religion. In addition, religion was being affected by the German higher criticism movement.

That goes along with what I've read in the Models of Revelation book by Avery Dulles and in Tensions in Contemporary Theology by Gundry.According to Michel Boling:

...inerrancy drove fundamentalist doctrine in a number of key areas as well as the fundamentalist response to modernism, liberalism, evolution, and later efforts at separatism.
Biblical stalwarts such as the Princeton theologians stood against the growing tide of higher criticism and theological liberalism that seemed to be crashing from Europe against the shores of the American theological establishment. As numerous denominations and religious institutions succumbed to the influence of modernism and liberalism, it was conservative scholars such as A. A. Hodge, C. I. Scofield and institutions such as the Princeton Theological Seminary and the Moody Bible Institute who, at least for a time, tried to stem the tide of attacks against the inerrancy of scripture. Scholars such as J. Gresham Machen “who only reluctantly bore the name of fundamentalist,” “fully supported the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.”
A belief in inerrancy by most fundamentalists greatly contributed to the development of various doctrines of the movement in an effort to demonstrate the trustworthiness of scripture. Additionally, this belief provided a means by which to engage the influence and spread of Darwinian evolution and it continues to this day to be a foundational element for interpreting scripture. Fundamentalism and fundamentalist doctrine has centered largely on the issue of inerrancy and the response to those who seek to denigrate scripture by questioning inerrancy as a necessary and prominent issue of the faith. This paper will focus on the development of inerrancy as a fundamental doctrine of the fundamentalist movement, strategically important documents and events which helped shape inerrancy as a vital issue in the fundamentalist perspective, as well as modern trends in the fundamentalist approach to inerrancy

It's really the height of stupidity for Deist to think that being metaphorical is synonymous with falsehood. This just shows that the Dawkie kind of atheist is a wounded fundamentalist the only understanding of Christianity they have is that of the fundie. Atheism in this regard is just anti-fundamentalism. They can't accept liberal theology because they are into some kind wired black hole where they can't accept the answers of fundamentalism but they can't get over the fundie hatred of liberals.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Difference Between AW and the Atheist Hateful Excuse for a "Watch" site

My version of a "watch" site is to talk about atheism as a movement. Becuase I don't have studies (because they dont' do them) following the hate group syndrome in atheism then I have us to anecdotal evidence. I don't center on one individual and just try to totally ruin his reputation and drive t into the ground that this one guy so totally no good...I have never done that. Some emotionally backward people who are quoted on this sight may feel I'm doing that. I think if one looks at the facts one sees that's not what I'm doing.

So atheists  have tried to come back on AW and put up a "MetacorckWatch" and it is exacltyk a character assasinatin aiming at hurting one guy ,me. One of the major contributors to it is Steve Smith, aka "Blondie/Backup" who has made a fool of himself over here many times. Notice he did it to himself then blamed me because he did it. He sent private hate male to me. He sent the mail. I put it up for the public, but he wrote it. Not content with being expossed he did it again. I put up again. He kept getting more and more angry and yet he didn't stop sending it. Then blames me for putting it up.

So now Steivies hasMetacrock watch

Iti s nothing but a pile of hogwash about what a bad guy I am. It even shows my pcituer and bleow it says:"the above needs no explianation." Of courset that's not personal is it? No tha'ts just good journalism.

They use a red background like I used to, trying to make it look ike AW used to look,  they haven't caught on to the change. they use lime green words on red background. I guess I did that. what was I thinking?
Here are some more classic Metacrock quotes:

There's a new book where a doctor and medical historian (a major forensic researcher) examined the secret Vatican archives and finds a huge number of resurrection accounts throughout history. She concludes they are true.

you are wasting my time. talking to you is absurd.

your concepts are stuck in a comic book frame work that's why you can't understand.

I said God is not a big man in the sky he's more like the laws of phsyics.

how many children did the atheists kill in the USSR?
Of cousre all of these are out of context.  Tyey think they aer so outrageouis you to see them in context to know what they are about.

It's all just personal bad mouthing:

How does one become as ill-informed as Matacrock? Part of it is having the emotional development of a three year old. When he is proven wrong, which is continually, he has a temper tantrum and refuses to admit a mistake.

Now we were all like this when we were three but Metacrock never outgrew it. This is why he continually holds on to the dumbest ideas and just repeats them though everyone knows he is wrong.

Recently on the fundamentalist hate site CARM Metacrock proposed the "Chruch of the Holy Seplechur" as hard archaeological evidence for Jesus. Now no one but the most know nothing fundamentalist or historical moron would make such a claim. He obviously has no idea what real historians or archaeologists do. He seems to be totally oblivious to what a simple google search would reveal about the history of the that Church.

At least I'm trying to make some sociolgical observations and show the hate of a movement. These guys are just trying to hurt people that made them feel small. I'ts so easy to make them feel small. Their behavior shows they are small.

This statement that "no one but the most know nothing fundamentalist or historical moron would make such a claim" just shows how uninformed he is. That was the claim of Dr. Biddle who did the last survey of the educable at the site and he himself is the one who made the statement. I was just reporting on his theory. I find these guys are so uninformed they often attribute to me personally positions I learned in seminary and that told them "this is what Tillich says" they will say "you are hte only person who believes that' (what about Tillich?).

Again it's a social movement based upon being unread and unlearned. one of their major tricks making everything personal.

That whole site might be boiled down to one idea: I hate this guy. to which I say I don't consider them important enough to waste my time hating them.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Atheist Demand for direct Emprical Evidence of God is Special Pleading


This was an exchange on carm with an atheist claiming to be a scientist. It's in answer to atheists constantly changing their mantra "there's no direct empirical evdience, we don't want arguemnts we want facts." This is a new slogan they've come out with recently.

God is beyond our understanding. God is not given in sense data and thus the demand for sense data proving God is silly and useless.

In one of their typically hypocritical moves those who claim they don't believe in the fortress of facts concept will turn around and take a page right off the heart of the fortress concept and demand empirical proof of God and when it doesn't come they will say "this is proof there's no God." But they have arleady been told "God is not amenable to this kind of evidence.

We know form scinece that there are many thing in scinece, whole knowledge levels above the scientific that are not given backed by any direct evidence and yet scientists assume they are real or that they could be real.

*big bang
*string membranes
*dark matter (getting close)
*direct observation of *neutrinos (were historically *accepted as real long before any direct evidence, still don't have direct observation of them).
*Hawking's no singularity thing, (although that's pretty much set aside but it was accepted up front on the premise that we can't have direct proof).
Multivese (no direct proof, mathematical doesn't count).

that means not having direct evdience is not any kind of proof that they are not real.

The facts are just that we have to use other means of understanding God. that's all there is to it and theology has met that challenge by developing with scientific thinking, as with process theology.

Several reasons why it's not fair to expect direct evidence:

(1) God is not a thing in creation.

He's not on a par with objects in the world. he's the basis of all reality. that would be like expecting to find a piece of the laws of physics or the door to the unified field.

(2) God is not a big man in the sky but is being itself.

God is in everything. He's too big and too basic to be seen.

(3) God is the mind that thinks reality

we re figments of God's imagination. That means we can't get outside the thought and see what's thinking it. How could we possibility do that? I hate the film "the Matrix" no one bring it up. I prefer the holodeck on Star Trek TNG. how could a character of the Holodeck never know the truth?

(4) God's wants the search.

God doesn't' want to make it obvious. He makes it possible for us to find him but we have to seek. the reasons are laid out in my thing on soeteriological drama.

atheist says

Atheists might say God could make it obvious if he wanted to. Yes, but he doesn't want to because that would frustrate the process of interlinking values. Its' not unfair because the possibility is there. you only have to let go of your ego and seek God though the means that he may be found.

an atheist says:
Lets take a few things off:
*big bang
atheist says:
This comes from using we well verified theory in science (relativity) and extrapolating it back to the early universe after it was observed that the universe was expanding. but I can say the same thing about my arguments. I can say 'this come from using a well verified theory called modal logic ect ect." you want to make exceptions when it's knowledge you control then say all other forms of knowledge are crap. that's not fair.
But you see what he's done in making this response is special pleading. He's doing exactly what the atheists have been telling us we can't do, their slogan: "stop giving us arguemnts we don't want arguments, we want facts." Yet, he comes back on something that has no direct empirical evdience and make an argument that's it's right anyway becuase of the fit with theory, meaning he doesn't have empirical evdience but he's going accept an theocratic argument. That's what we are doing with God arguments, it' sthe thing we do that the atheist say they don't want. This is a logical fallacy called special pleading becuase it means suspend the rules for me but keep them for my opponent.

atheist says
This shows that general relativity is incomplete as a physical theory. It signifies that there is a breakdown in the model.

same trick. I have argumetns that i can make make sense when I put them in the proper context. then the atheists say "I don't accept that context because if I did your argument would prove God. so I refuse the context, it's not evidence, therefore, you have no evidence."

there are physicists who say they don't accept the context of the singularity that proves it's not the fortress of facts. it's not a fact it's not solid, it could change. yet no one says "this isn't real becuase I don't have specific empirical evidence."

that is all about managing the context and that's all you are doing in rejecting God arguments.

*string membranes

atheist says

String theory is so for the only model that unifies all known forces at all scales, it can be shown that branes (as they are known) must exist for the theory to be internally consistent.
In other words, it's an argument based upon the fit of the theoretical phenomena with other theory. Same answer applies you don't' have direct empirical evidence I don't' see you saying its not reality. I have seen physicists say we may never have direct empirical evidence of this but you wont call it unreal.

*dark matter (getting close)

atheist says
There are some ideas, certainly but I wouldn't say that anyone is getting close.

This is interesting becasue I say we are getting close to finding empirical proof of dark matter he says "I wouldn't say anyone is getting close." He may have misunderstood what I meant so the meant in another way, it's hard to believe that since it seems so clear to me. Yet in another thread he say "i never said we were getting close." Which only works aginast his argument, makes me think he doesn't even realize what's going on in the whole thread.

you are not calling it unreal either. you just admitted we don't have the kind of evidence for it that you demand of God.

*direct observation of neutrinos (were historically accepted as real long before any direct evidence, still don't have direct observation of them).

atheist says:
Because they were predicted by a theory that was very well experimentally verified in other areas.
Classic example. That's nothing more than what I said. It's not better than I can do with any of my God arguments. I can prove all my God arguments on the same basis. The God arguments can be predicted by theories that are well verified in other areas (in other words, not in direct relation of God). All he is doing is managing the context, that is the context under which such and such a phenomenon is thought of as evidence for something, such as God. He's just managing the context under which these phenomena can be tough of as backed evdience. In other wrongs we don't have direct empirical evidence of them but they are not going to say they don't exist. They would if it was a God argument. The very same basis upon which I can prove my God arguments, indirect, predicted by accepted theory in other vain, but that wouldn't be good enough for the atheists. Yet science does it accept it for other things. it's part of a theory. you don't have empirical proof. and my God arguments are part of a theory. This guy can't understand that every time he argues such and such can be proved real anyway he's backing my case. He thinks he's proving "O scinece works and God doesn't" he's actually proving the basis upon which I claim my God argument is scientific.

*Hawking's no singularity thing, (although that's pretty much set aside but it was accepted up front on the premise that we can't have direct proof).

atheist says:
This is continued in the string model as as it has been explained to you that the beginning of the universe is no longer considered as a singularity.
In other words, it's proved by a model that is itself not the result of empirical data but is also assumed true by its fit with other theory. Meaning he's compounded the problem twice over. Now he establishes the precedent of twice arguing for something that scinece says s real but does not ahve direct empirical data to prove. That stands as the security form yet another theory for which there is no empirical data. So far can they stretch that point. I have God arguments that have to verified by other non empirical theories. No twice overs among my 42 God arguments.

*Multivese (no direct proof, mathematical doesn't count).
There are consequences that can be derived from the multiverse which can be tested and I am also told that they are looking at testing this idea experimentally already.
all the same deal.
All that really means is that without assuming the unverified multivariate they would have no answer temporal beginning argument or to the fin tuning argument.

after enough of this charge of special pleading and explaining what it means:

Originally Posted by this atheist View Post
Absolutely not! proving something via modal logic is completely different to saying, this comes from a well tested model with very good predictive capability. The model comes from experiment, from the real world. Model logic comes from a set of axioms.
No it's not. it's really the very same thing. Yes modal logic is not the same thing as physics but that has nothign t do with the way that argument functions i your utterance. Not all the verification of God arguments is form modal logic, some is form cosmology just like these are.

He did not provide any direct empirical evidence. all he did was manage the context in which you consider the theory to make the anamorphic into evidence. In other words it's dependent upon the paradigm. The proof is that some physicists don't' accept the same big bang paradigm anymore so the big bang evidence is not evidence in their paradigm anymore.

my God arguments are not proof for atheists because they say "that's philosophy and I don't dig philosophy so it's not proof." I say "I dig philosophy so it is proof." that doesn't mean it' snot proof becuase you say it isn't, it is to me. It' just that you are managing the context in which proof is seen as proof.

another atheist chimes in:

Once again meta, you are comparing apples and oranges. We are talking about theories that have predictive capabilities, that have warn out the decades of experimental tests and still have been correct. Singularities appear in such models you know that there is something else to do on the theory.
I have 200 studies that are published in peer reviewed academic journals, everyone of them establishes the fact that religious experience fits the criteria of epistemic judgment, which is verified as valid by our daily epistemic practices. That means we can extrapolate from those findings and say this is verified by proven theory and it can be argued that it supports warrant for God belief. When I say that they go, "those studies don't' have 'god exists' as a finding so you can't extrapolate form it." The things they use to back these physical phenomena were not established on the basis that they back those phenomena. Einstein didn't propose relativity and say "and this valid as backing for a theory that will be put forth some day about neutrinos."

I'm really not doing anything any different than they do in their scientific work. In fact they don't do it, their priests of knowledge, the scientists do it. It's not different than what I do in my God arguments. Yet they allow it for scinece and not for God. That's what logicians call SPECIAL PLEADING!

They are using the difference in philosophy and phsyics like it's a big deal because they are managing the context. but the truth is the theory functions in their utterance the same way it does in mine. the problem is I accept a different theory than the one they conveniently ignore because it not in the one in their template of ideolgoical acceptance. The atheists have a template that spells out the ideologically favored ideas anything off template they ridicule and sweep aside with not thought or compunction.That is how they can condemn all of philosophy in one fell swoop without knowing anything about it. The template is based upon the concept of the fortress of facts. The theoretical big pile of facts that assures their view is truth. Of cousre only scientific fact then not all of them.

atheist says:
String theory reduces to the previous laws which do have good experimental evidence, you don't think that they just dreamed the whole idea up do you?

Meta said:
That does not equate to direct empirical evidence. you are compensating in every single case for not having the kind of evidence you demand of God talk.

you rationalize that lack by special pleading. you say "I can manage the context in which evidence is evidence and do it in such a way as to make up for the lack of what I require of God arguemnts.

you are saying "the rules apply to all the stuff off template but not to stuff on template." we call that "special pleading." In the lgoic world that's what it's called.

as I have explained, it's completely different.
special pleading.

you don't have direct evidence and you know you don't. It's a double standard it's special pleading.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Atheist Bait and Switch: The Illusion of the Empirical




NoctambulantJoycean's bait and switch.

Still with Noctabulantjoycean's argument on carm. (see last post) He has argued that he has a  lot of empirical evidence to disprove the resurrection. He further argues that the attempts to defend the doctrine are "had hoc" and that's damning for it becuase it opens it up to the charge of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive Dissonance is a major psychological theory, one advanced by Leon Festinger in the 1950s. The theory has stood the test of time and has become a major theory in psychology.

Noctambulant doesn't really have any specific evidence against the resurrection. The articles he linked to actually said that Festinger's theory has become accepted and there is a great deal of empirical evidence to support it. The empirical evidence supports the theory, and Noctambulant wants to apply the theory to the resurrection. In all fairness it has been done, in fact Festinger himself raised the possibility if memory serves correctly.I don't have a link for that but I was reading Festinger for a sociology class around the time I got saved and I considered it as a major factor in my deliberations about belief.

I had argued before that the nature of belief system includes certain doctinal elements that can't be considered ad hoc because of their position in relation to the whole bleief system, the come with the package. He argues that this has nothing to do with it.


post 11

An ad hoc explanation is one that is constructed with no supporting evidence or argument simply to avoid an unwanted conclusion. Thus, pointing out that a doctrine "ancient" does nothing to show its not ad hoc. For example, take the article "When Prophecy Fails and Faith Persists: A Theoretical overview" or any of the plethora of studies on what ad hoc mechanisms religious believers use to rationalize the failure of a prophecy. I think (and others have argued) those same mechanisms were used by the early disciples of Jesus to rationalize his death (after all, the Jewish Messiah was not prophecied to die before completing his work). You could not then respond to my argument by saying "well, the claims of the disciples represent an ancient tradition and thus cannot be ad hoc." That would be a silly response. A claim can be ad hoc, no matter how old it is or who said it before a given speaker resorted to employing it. ."
the paper he refers to is by Lorne L. Dawson. you can see the abstract and first page here:

 Leon Festinger

The ad hoc argument came up in the previous post. The issue as he raised it was essentially about epistemic presumption. In his view religious doctrines dont' have any. Of course for the typical atheist being religious doctrine is automatic disproof anyway.I argued that doctrines of a belief system come with the package and enjoy the same presumption for the believer that the  system as a whole does becuase they rest on the same support that convinced the bleieve in the first place. This argument soared over his head.

 Noctambulant's particular "evidence" is an article by Dawson. Dawson is not necessary concerned with even arguing agaisnt Christianity per se. He's actually talking about proving the psychological Principe of connotative dissonance which is what Festinger discovered. The Festinger case is very amusing, everyone should read it. The original book is called When Prophecy fails" it was about infiltrating a flying saucer cult in the 50s, one that watched an old sci fi tv show called "captain video" to get secret codes about when the saucers were coming to save the group from an impending flood. (see an episode of Captain Video).

NoctambulantJoycean's argument is a bait and switch becuase he's actually not talking about the same things is celebrated empirical proof is talking about. The mountain of evidence that Dawson refers to is not evidence against Christianity but evidence for cognitive dissonance. That is a major principle in psychology an used in advertizing, and it is rock solid. It's just as much an argument against atheism as it is agaisnt religion.

The thing is atheist can't really be said to dispassionately and logically analyze and dismiss God arguments evidence when they have a huge psychological motive to unfairly reject it out of hand (if they didn't reject it they would have to accept that they are damned). so the more vociferously they have argued fro atheism the stronger their motive not to consider the arguemnts fairly. There are other ways in which connotative dissonance effects atheism because it effects all arguments.

That leads to the second bait and switch. The idea that there's this great fortress of facts backing atheism is based upon just this kind of deception. I'm not saying it's purposeful, this pheromone itself is probalby caused by cognitive dissonance. It's a bait and switch becuase there is no fortress of facts, there's a lose connection of self selected ideas that may or not may not really pertain to religion.Luke the cognitive dissonance evidence it's not really evidence against the resurrection.

They cannot prove that the early disciplines needed an exploitation that kept them going when the prophesy failed they have no proof that it failed. They are assuming he did not raise form the dead. They assume that based upon ideological considerations they have no proof to that effect. They make a circular argument to the effect that well since we assume he didn't they must the using CD and that means that's the way prophesy works so that disproves prophecy and prove he didn't raise form the dead: perfect circle. unfortunately it's logical circle not a hermeneutic one.

they can't prove he didn't raise from the dead and thus it's not really evidence against prophesy of the resurrection. It only becomes that when you pull the switch and replace real argument with ideological assumption.

Then we see this thinking in the way naturalism deals with all of God's activities. Noctambulant says:

Its like saying "since God as an explanation of natural disasters is an ancient claim, it is not ad hoc when theists say God caused a tsunami, even when we have clear scientific, empirically supported explanations for what caused the tsunami Knowing naturalistic causes of tsunamis is not proof God didn't cause one of them. there we have the bait and switch no 3. They use the same circular reasoning to dismiss any idea that God does anything. Becuase some naturalistic process are known and we have a self imposed ideological taboo agisnt the activity of God in the world we assume (a) all references to God's activity must be assumptions of no naturalistic process (b) knowing the naturalistic process is enough to assume God didn't do anything. That's' all the need to justify the claims that they have proved that God doesn't do anything.

the ideology of naturism and anti-supernatural work by circular reasoning.

he paper he refers to is by Lorne L. Dawson. you can see the abstract and first page here:

Meta: Dawson is not necessary concerned with even arguing agaisnt Christianity per se. He's actually talking abuot proving the psychological Principe of connotative dissonance which is what Festinger discovered.


Dealing with you is like dealing with a dishonest child. But much more frustrating.
Nowhere did I say Dawson was interested in arguing against Christianity per se. I specifically stated that I (and others) claim that the rationalizations and other ad hoc mechanisms Dawson presented evidence for in certain religious sects (including some Christian sects), applied to the behavior of Jesus' disciples after his death. 

yes but you contradict this very statement by the end of the post where you assert that I didn't read the paper because it disproves the res.

yes you sure as hell implied it. that's the closest thing to any kind of empiricle that I have seen you offer and you made big deal out of how you have all this empirical evidence.

NoctambulantJoycean's argument is a bait and switch becuase he's actually not talking about the same things is celebrated empirical proof is talking about. The mountain of evidence that Dawson refers to is not evidence against Christianity but evidence for cognitive dissonance. That is a major principle in psychology an used in advertizing, and it is rock solid. It's just as much an argument against atheism as it is agaisnt religion.

The thing is atheist can't really be said to dispassionately and logically analyze and dismiss God argument evidence when they have a huge psychological motive to unfairly reject it out of hand (if they didn't reject it they would have to accept that they are damned). so the more vociferously they have argued fro atheism the stronger their motive not to consider the arguemnts fairly. There are other ways in which connotative dissonance effects atheism because it effects all arguments.

Now here's how you might have responded to my argument if you had modicum of intellectually honesty or reading comprehension:

"NJ argued that these dissonance management mechanisms (especially ad hoc rationalization mechansims) were displayed by Jesus' disciple after his death. Here's some evidence from historical records written about the disciples at the time showing that this was not the case." Of course, you didn't take that route. Instead, you misconstrued my argument (as you always do to virtually every atheist I've seen you respond to). *sigh* 

(1) No reason to take it becuase you don't have any evidence that JC and the boys were under cognitive dissonance. you can't prove the prophesy failed. you are only assuming so because the ideology says it must have.

(2) if you did have any such evidence it was piss off the Jesus myth guys becuase it prove he existed that would be the end of that.

(3) what you are really doing is making a straw man argument. It's always a dangerous prostration to right your opponents arguments foremost. even if it's a good straw man it's still a straw man.

(4) there are two things you do with a straw man argument: you can say "this is weak I can beat it." that's what most do. you can also say "you could have argued this and thus divert attention from what was argued.

Nothing wrong with the argument I made and suggesting a straw man is not disproof of my argument.

That leads to the second bait and switch.

I will take this opportunity to point out that there's nothing personal in saying "this is a bait and switch." the best thinkers of the day use bait and switch, even though it's not a valid tactic. it is nevertheless used by the best of them. I's not an insult to say you did it. I'm sure you don't mean to say "I'm a dishonest child" in a personal way right? (sure you don't.you don't hate Christians do you? those re-education camps are meant to be fun).

The idea that there's this great fortress of facts backing atheism is based upon just this kind of deception. I'm not saying it's purposeful, this pheromone itself is probalby caused by cognitive dissonance. It's a bait and switch becuase there is no fortress of facts, there's a lose connection of self selected ideas that may or not may not really pertain to religion.Luke the cognitive dissonance evidence it's not really evidence against the resurrection.

They cannot prove that the early disciplines needed an explaination that kept them going when the prophesy failed they have no proof that it failed. They are assuming he did not raise form the dead. They assume that based upon ideological considerations they have no proof to that effect. They make a circular argument to the effect that well since we assume he didn't they must the using CD and that means that's the way prophesy works so that disproves prophecy and prove he didn't raise form the dead: perfect circle. unfortunately it's logical ciricule not a hermeneutic one.

they can't prove he didn't raise from the dead and thus it's not really evidence against prophesy of the resurrection. It only becomes that when you pull the switch and replace real argument with ideological assumption.

Then we see this thinking in the way naturalism deals with all of God's activities. Noctambulant says:

Knowing naturalistic causes of tsunamis is not proof God didn't cause one of them. there we have the bait and switch no 3. They use the same circular reasoning to dismiss any idea that God does anything. Becuase some naturalistic process are known and we have a self imposed ideological taboo agisnt the activity of God in the world we assume (a) all references to God's activity must be assumptions of no naturalistic process (b) knowing the naturalistic process is enough to assume God didn't do anything. That's' all the need to justify the claims that they have proved that God doesn't do anything.the ideology of naturism and anti-supernatural work by circular reasoning.


If you're really arguing that we can't use Occam's razor to rule God out as an explanation for phenomena N once we have empirical evidence of a purely natural causal explanation for N, then I would again suggest you enroll in your local community college's epistemology course and their philosophy of science course.

Any  knowledge you possess is always already gong to be contingent. that is a priori the case. it must be so, because it's about nature.. You can never possess knowledge that God is not necessary becuase by definition God is necessary. you can say we don't need to appeal to God to show how the universe came to be but even that is not using the term "necessary" in the same sense as Occam's razor.

Moreover scinece does not have that kind of evidence Nowhere in modern science is any kind of proof that we don't need God. Half the theories of phsyics today are conjecture with no empirical basis.

None of what you said above addresses the content of Dawson's paper nor argues that the disciples of Jesus did not display the dissonance management mechanisms in question.

yes it did. I read the paper nothing in it says "this is a proof that Jesus dint' raise form the dead." It's about the nature of and modern state of the theory fo Cog Dis not a disproof of religion. you are doing the B and S again. you giving us the promise "I have empirical proof" but you don't because it's not proof about the right things. You have no proof of any kind to show that JC and the boys exhibited any kind of CD. If you had that you wold have proof already that the res didn't' happen you dont' have that. if you did you wouldn't need Festinger.

I'm beginning to doubt you even read the paper. 



(1) you are argue from sign

(2) you are asserting that because the article is about empirical evidence and it could be used to infer that the res failed then it must be empirical evidence against the res. that is argument from the consequent and argument from sign.

Maybe you're intimidated by long pages of text and prefer pretty colors and images. If so, then check out ProfMTH's Youtube series "Did the Disciple dies for a lie?" Maybe you can actually follow along with his argument since you can't seem to fairly present my own argument without straw-manning my claims. 

Isolate the quote and quote it where he proves the prophesy failed in the first place?

and show me a quote where hey say "I am specifically arguing against the resurrection."

btw you also forgot to answer the bit bout CD being applicable to atheists. that means you don't have a special proof against the res all you are doing is making a general application of a principle that we can all use.

in short you have proved nothing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

so it's not a hate group hu?: Atheists defend their right to hate


 What was the reaction to the information that blasphemy is hate? Rather an say "I don't hate anyone" they actually began defending their hate. They also expressed a confusion about the distinction between critical thinking and mocking. Apparently many atheists actually think that mocking and reducible are on a par with intellectual commentary and critical thinking. That tells me they don't know what those things are.

First I show that blasphemy is hate. In in the previous post I quoted Websters who defines blaspheny as showing contempt. Contempt is a form of hate. If we look for the definition of contempt we find it means "the act of despising : the state of mind of one who despises : disdain" (Websters online). Their first reaction was to deny that despise means to hate. Now of course I can well imagine there is a fine distinction between the two, but what kind of mind tries to rationalize his hate by saying "it's not really hate it's despising?"

Originally Posted by MikeWC View Post
Why do Christians always identify themselves with God?

Someone insults God, and Christians act as if they themselves have been insulted. What's up with that?

Nobody here is spray painting pentagrams on churches or firing Christians.

Get over yourself, Meta.
In other words, silly little victim thinking this about you. I responded to this by saying:

If you met me I said "your father is an idiot and jer and he's totally dishonest and I don't beileve he exists." wouldn't you feel a bit insured? you would feel some connection with it right?
Answer (by MarkUK): "He can prove his father exists; you haven't. He can also prove that his father would take offence at your comments; you haven't." If you are talking about something they don't think exists then you feelings aren't important. You should just shouldn't feel like it defines you. If they are not willing to allow your sacred beliefs to define you, guess who is trying to define you?We don't call it "totalitarian" for nothing.


Why should religion get a free pass? Much of it is very stupid and very dangerous?

Is it hate speech for me to say that Muslims who called for the death of the author of the recent "Innocence of Islam" video stupid and barbaric? I say they are stupid and barbaric. Am I wrong to say this?
Again why should we allow the victim to decide what's important to him. We will tell you who we think you are and what's important to you. If we dont' think it's important then our hatred is fine as long as its what we want. Then he rationalizes this fascistic mentality by comparing religious victims of his hate with Muslims who did the attack in Libya. So if you are a victim of hated toward religion and yu fight back then you are on a par with the guys who blew up the world trade center.


i have no hate, i find your claims to be without merit and instead of bothering to look at why, you assume i hate you or your ideas. you take the internet waaaaaaaay too seriously and despite being on here for years, can't grasp that no one really cares enough about your ideas to hate anything about them.
lol dude i don't hate anyone on the internet, i save that for people who deserve it.

So it's just a little game. No need to take it seroiusly. All the guys who kill themselves due to cybre bullying they are just losers we need to write them off. Notice what this same guy says about it below.
In the same thread I said:  "mocking and ridicule are not fair, they are not intellectual they not based on thinking they are based on bully stuff. " This same reverendog who says he has no hate says:
when was life ever fair meta? you whining about bullying is hilarious, you bully people all the time, and mostly for no other reason than someone disagreed with your nonsense!

They put up thread after thread about how evil and mean the God of the OT is. How he's commanding the murders of whole nations and wiping out everyone in a flood. When it comes the hurt they cause the hate they fume and spew over victims of their stupidity, then it's just that they are losers. Life is unfair get used tot. He has no hate but if he did it wouldn't matter because that's just life. Then he goes eve further and reaches new heights in blaming the victim.

you don't get to cry about bullies until you fix your own problems. also we have freedom of speech in this country, and people can say what they want. i mean it shows more about you if you get so easily butthurt over words meta.
You don't get to cry until you fix your problems? In other words it's your fault. If some hateful fascist beats you up it's your fault, you are a loser you are marked out for victim hood becuase you haven't fix what's wrong with you. Why do these paragons of know-all-ness get to the the one's who do the fixing? Why do they get to be the mockers? Just becuase they are crass enough and hateful enough to ditch civilized behavior and do it. What would they say if we all (the majority who believe in god) got together and took them out and shot them. Would they say "I deserves this because I didn't' fix y problems?" Of course they are not hurting anyone, just using emotional blackmail to make them deny who they are and settle for eternal damnation in order to be victimized by bullying, so what if we just beat them up a bit will that be ok. Now of cousre I'll get a flood of angry adolescence saying 'how dare you advocate violence toward atheists." I don't I''m not he one excusing hurting people on the premise that they deserve it because they haven't fixed their problems yet.

Of cousre he can't distinguish between free speech and license to hurt people by ridicule. So for him there's no middle ground. Just as they can't distinguish bewteen critical thinking and ridicule. If freedom comes with responsibly these guys don't deserve freedom. They can't distinguish between rights to free speech and license to maim.

Then there's this billiant gem:

Leyman:  "How does one "bully" a religious belief, Meta? When we blaspheme your God beliefs we are not "bullying" you personally in any way, shape, form, or fashion." I guess no one is being ridiculed then because you can't ridicule an idea. Of course it's not about hte people holding it is it. In another exchange with Aussieguy he expressed indignation because I suggested that it would be ok to ridicule and insult Aborigines for their dream time and other "ridiculous beliefs." He immediately graps the idea that if you ridicule their beliefs you are ridiculing them. He expressed indignation at insulting dream time as stupid because you are also insulting the people, their self definition as to who they are is wrapped up in their lore. Then of course he can't grasp the idea that Christians identify with Jesus and the cross and the empty tomb. Those are stupid ideas that deserve to be mocked, hey it's just he internet. If you make fund of Aborigonies then somethings really wrong with you.

The other answers for two whole threads are the same. They to decide everything, if they mock and ridicule you it's your own fault you are just a loser for believing stupid things. They don't hate anyone but if they did it would be ok becasue there's freedom of speech and hate is just an intellectual exercise in critical thinking. Don't you think the Brown shirts made similar kinds of rationalizations every time they beat up a Jew? I'm sure they said "Its just politics it can't really hurt anyone."