an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

www.pleaseconvinceme.com, unconvincing

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….

  1. PHILO
  2. SENECA
  3. PLUTARCH
  4. JUSTUS
  5. DAMIS
  6. APOLLONIUS
  7. PLINY THE ELDER
  8. JUVENAL
  9. MARTIAL
  10. PETRONIUS
  11. PAUSANIAS
  12. EPICTETUS
  13. AELIUS ARISTIDES
  14. FRONTO
  15. PERSIUS
  16. DIO CHRYSOSTOM
  17. AULUS GELLIUS
  18. LUCIUS APULEIUS
  19. MARCUS AURELIUS
  20. MUSONIUS RUFUS
  21. HIEROCLES
  22. MAXIMUS of TYRE
  23. ARRIAN
  24. APPIAN
  25. THEON of SMYRNA
  26. QUINTILIAN
  27. LUCIUS ANNAEUS FLORUS
  28. LUCAN
  29. STATIUS
  30. HERO of ALEXANDRIA
  31. GEMINUS
  32. ALBINUS
  33. ARISTOCLES
  34. APOLLODORUS
  35. HEPHAESTION
  36. SEXTUS EMPIRICUS
  37. JOSEPHUS
  38. TACITUS
  39. NUMENIUS
  40. SUETONIUS
  41. PHLEGON
  42. THALLUS
  43. Dion Prusaeus
  44. Paterculus
  45. Ptolemy
  46. Valerius Maximus
  47. Pomponius Mela
  48. Quintus Curtus Rufus
  49. Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella
  50. Favorinus
  51. Phaedrus
  52. Babrius
  53. Silius Italicus
  54. Marcus Manilius
  55. Cleomedes
  56. Dioscorides
  57. Sextus Julius Frontinus
  58. Nicomachus of Gerasa
  59. Menelaus of Alexandria
  60. Menodotus of Nicomedia
  61. Tiberius Claudius Herodes Atticus
  62. 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.

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16 thoughts on “www.pleaseconvinceme.com, unconvincing

  1. Alex,Where is it that you find these opinions of yours?Prov 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.Prov 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

  2. Um…I look at the sources and do a bit of background reading. You're saying that I'm wicked? It's not my site that's telling lies in an attempt to fool gullible Holy Rollers.

  3. This post has been removed by the author.

  4. You never answered me before: What are your credentials? Not only are you an accredited scientist, but also a historian and even a theologian.You are oh so much smarter than everyone else, especially those who are schooled and trained. Gullible, ignorant fools are welcome to take your nonsense as fact. Your site, here, is an attempt to keep the ignorant as ignorant. Nice job of dancing, but your refutation, frankly, sucks. What a massive ego! Does attacking, throwing stones from a distance instead of actually engaging the experts, does all this make you feel like a real man? I know you're desperate for something to accomplish that purpose. Anyone with a grain of sense will take their credentials over your inane rants.

  5. not that it's relevant re my ability to read sources and check the claims of those sites, but i studied theology and art at university.The authors of pleaseconvinceme are more than welcome to answer my claims right here in the comments

  6. Now I've got more space to type (answering via a phone isn't easy) I'll ask you, Stormbringer, what YOUR credentials are?Are you denying that the article on pleaseconvinceme is dishonest?

  7. "Anyone with a grain of sense will take their credentials over your inane rants. "'credentials'?? Have you actually read the page you linked to?? The ones that have 'degrees' in anything to do with religion mostly got them at weird, independent christian 'universities', whilst the properly educated writers studied things like law and maths!Dude, believe it or not, when it comes to theology, I'm actually MORE qualified than some of these 'experts'!! I find that extremely funny.

  8. Prov 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.Prov 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.Prov 2:8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.Prov 2:9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.Prov 2:10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;Prov 2:11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:Prov 2:12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;Prov 2:13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;Prov 2:14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;Prov 2:15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

  9. Bible verses aren't discussion.

  10. I think the other problem I have with this line of reasoning in such websites, is the inflated value they put on text. There are many ways to corroborate historical events and persons. If we look to Julius Caesar for instance, the excavations of his battle sites has turned up a mountain of artifacts that corroborate his account.If we look to Jesus, then we have no archaeological discoveries that corroborate the gospel accounts of his life. There is no contemporaneous historian (cf Pliny the Elder) who mentions Jesus. The gospels are written by literate Greeks, decades after the alleged events.

  11. i`m courious…what is your thoughts on ghoast,and your believe is the WHOLE bible is false?..even with over ten thousand pieces of evidence?

    • Alex Botten on said:

      I have no thoughts on ‘ghoast’, as I have no idea what it is, and a quick Google is bringing nothing at all up.

      Some parts of the Bible are semi accurate, but certainly nothing before the reign of Josiah is anything other than myths, and we can’t really trust much of the New Testament to be an accurate account either.

      So, you think there are ‘10,000’ pieces of ‘evidence’? OK, let’s have some!

      • pardon my spelling…your thoughts on ghost…what are the semi accurate parts of the bible do you believe are right?

  12. Ghost? The Demi Moore movie? To be honest I think most of the Bible is inaccurate.

    Anyway, get with the ‘evidence’.

    • i understand your believe on saying most of the bible is inaccurate…what parts do you believe to be accurate?…not ghost the movie…but the so called spirits people claim to see ..what do you think they are?

      • Alex Botten on said:

        Spirits people see? You’re going to have to provide some evidence that such things exist…

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