Following on from yesterday’s post about Answers 4 Atheists, I’ve been ordered by a faithhead who can’t understand that 1) I’ve looked at the evidence for and against the Bible, and 2) I’ve carefully considered my decision that there is no reason to take it as anything other than just another ancient, uninspired, religious text, written by men and influenced by its times, to look at http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com. This is the site that is (supposedly) where the theists who write Answers for Atheists post their ‘A game’, seemingly aware that the other site is weak at best, and downright dishonest at worst.
So, I went to have a look at PleaseConvinceMe, and looked at their page about evidence for Jesus outside the Bible….and was immediately struck by how the same old circular arguments were used as on answers4atheists. The writers seemingly without exception, operate from a position of assuming the Bible to be a true historical record, that wasn’t any more than I expected.
What I didn’t expect was them to lie.
1. There are amazingly few manuscripts of ANY text written during Jesus’ time
2. Historians of this period wrote amazingly little about religious figures anyway
3. Jesus was active for an amazingly short period of time (just three years)
4. Jesus ministered in an amazingly remote corner of the Roman Empire
Yup, it does say there were very few documents written during the time of Jesus! As we saw yesterday, that’s a complete fib, there were lots and lots and lots of people writing about the time Jesus supposedly lived in….
- PLINY THE ELDER
- AELIUS ARISTIDES
- DIO CHRYSOSTOM
- AULUS GELLIUS
- LUCIUS APULEIUS
- MARCUS AURELIUS
- MUSONIUS RUFUS
- MAXIMUS of TYRE
- THEON of SMYRNA
- LUCIUS ANNAEUS FLORUS
- HERO of ALEXANDRIA
- SEXTUS EMPIRICUS
- Dion Prusaeus
- Valerius Maximus
- Pomponius Mela
- Quintus Curtus Rufus
- Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella
- Silius Italicus
- Marcus Manilius
- Sextus Julius Frontinus
- Nicomachus of Gerasa
- Menelaus of Alexandria
- Menodotus of Nicomedia
- Tiberius Claudius Herodes Atticus
- Valerius Flaccus
…..all wrote during the period that PleaseConvinceMe claims there are very few texts from! The Romans kept very good records, good enough for us to know that Pontius Pilote never sentenced a man called Jesus (or any Jewish variation of such) to death. Also there was a lot of writing about the many fake messiahs that arose during the time!
Even when they do quote the texts, they misrepresent them – for example, the
Suetonius passage –
“Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the city (Rome).”
– talks about an uprising in Rome in 49CE, and it mentions a Chrestus who was alive and in Rome at the time! Nowhere does PleaseConvinceMe mention that Chrestus was a common slave name, and it brushes past the fact that the story being told happened almost 20 years AFTER the alleged death of Jesus!
This next passage is a prime example of the dishonesty this site is guilty of
If only more of Thallus’ record could be found, we would see that every aspect of Jesus’ life could be verified with a non-biblical source.
Why would we see that? Do you have evidence that the lost texts contained such material?
I don’t know what PleaseConvinceMe think they’re playing at, but if the FIRST article I looked at on their site contains such blatant dishonesty, how can any of it be trusted?
I picked another page at random – ‘The Old Testament is Verified Archaeologically‘, it too failed to mention important information, such as the ground breaking work by Silberman and Finklestein, ‘The Bible Unearthed’, which (with a great deal of evidence from Jewish experts and archaeologists) paints a VERY different version of events in Old Testament Israel. The PleaseConvinceMe page then goes on to say that people living near water having flood myths means the Flood of Genesis actually happened! Astonishing nonsense when you consider that cultures that didn’t live near seas or bodies of water that could flood have NO flood myths at all!
It also makes no mention of the fact that the book of Daniel (which it relies on later in the piece to show how good at prophecy the Bible is) is now believed to have been written between 200 and 100 BCE, several hundred years AFTER the events it claims to foretell! No, inconvenient truths like this are left out by the wilfully deceptive writers.
Was I convinced by PleaseConvinceMe? No, I wasn’t. The articles on it are just as shoddy as the ones on Answers for Atheists, relying on a presupposed belief in the Bible, suspension of critical thought, misrepresentation of evidence, and outright lies.
The authors are guilty of gross dishonesty, and sites like this do more harm than good to Christianity.