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On the Believers Appeals to ‘Scholarly Sources’

Resident Christadelphian Ego, Furtigurn has been insisting that, unless the atheist can provide evidence from ‘scholarly sources’ then his opinion is worthless. Well, I can play at THAT game….

Finkelstein and Silberman, two of Furtigurn’s names writers of ‘scholarly literature’ clearly state that they don’t believe the patriarchs existed in the way the Bible states, that the Exodus didn’t happen, that the Israelites are really just the original Canaanites and that the whole of the conquest under Joshua was a myth, that the supposed glorious empires of David and Solomon didn’t exist, and that the bulk of the Old Testament was put together under the reign of Josiah to justify his desire to unify Judah and the northern Kingdom of Israel.

Furthermore they clearly believe the prophecies written about the destruction of Jerusalem to have been compiled after the events they predict, altered to give meaning to the events that had swept the Jews away just as they were supposed to be entering a period of prosperity under ‘the new David’, Josiah.

Other ‘scholarly sources’ have pretty much proved that Daniel, far from being the amazingly detailed prophecy of the major empires after Israel’s exile, is actually a rather inaccurate history of what had happened hundreds of years before, written between 180BCE and 100BCE, whilst later chapters are just a reflection of the invasion of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

Moving into the New Testament, an honest scholar will admit that none of the Gospels were written by first hand witnesses (indeed, the anonymous books were only named in the second century CE), and that the chief voice of early Christianity is that of Paul…a man who claimed to have been sent to Damascus on orders of the High Priest in Jerusalem, despite the fact that the High Priest had absolutely no authority in Damascus …. basically Paul was a liar, and took over the whole early church, even boasting that he’d argued with Peter, the man Jesus has elected as his successor!

Additionally, an honest reading of the supposed extra-Biblical accounts reveal nothing of a man called Jesus (or any Jewish version thereof), with the few that DO mention him being nothing more than work influenced by the beliefs that the nascent church already had.

Furtigurn’s ‘scholarly sources’ completely undermine the Bible.

I wonder if he just ignores those sources, and if not, I wonder why he isn’t an atheist when he knows his faith to be based on fallacy.

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50 thoughts on “On the Believers Appeals to ‘Scholarly Sources’

  1. There's no evidence of gods existing so maybe Furtigurn doesn't believe in gods. I'm serious.There's no evidence that Jesus died and was resurrected so maybe Furtigurn doesn't believe in that either.

  2. You make an excellent point. If we're to go purely on evidence then Furtigurn needs to contend with the vast majority of scholarly literature presenting a view of the world where no gods exist.He probably ignores those sources though.

  3. Excellent! You went and did your homework. Now can you see why I keep telling you that the scholarly literature is valuable? You could use their work for a series of new posts. I have told you again and again that you should be using this literature, and now you're just starting to get it.Yes, that's what Finkelstein and Silberman believe. However, they do not represent the scholarly consensus, and that's the next issue you need to understand when dealing with scholarly literature; differentiating between fringe, marginal, majority, and consensus views. These are skills typically taught at university level.//Additionally, an honest reading of the supposed extra-Biblical accounts reveal nothing of a man called Jesus (or any Jewish version thereof), with the few that DO mention him being nothing more than work influenced by the beliefs that the nascent church already had.//Evidence please.Or do you ignore THOSE sources?//I don't ignore any scholarly sources. But unlike you I weigh them carefully. I don't pick and choose the ones I like, the way you've just done.//If we're to go purely on evidence then Furtigurn needs to contend with the vast majority of scholarly literature presenting a view of the world where no gods exist.//The vast majority of scholarly literature does not present a view of the world where no gods exist, it simply has no reason to invoke God as an explanatory force in its field, and rightly so.Anon://There's no evidence that Jesus died and was resurrected so maybe Furtigurn doesn't believe in that either.//There is evidence that Jesus died. There is no proof that Jesus was resurrected, but there is evidence; the empty tomb. The empty tomb is acknowledged by a range of atheist scholars, but that evidence is vulnerable to alternative explanations, so it is not proof.

  4. the empty tombI LOL'd!

  5. There is no contemporary evidence that Jesus was alive or a real person.

  6. Anon, if you want to 'lol' at the empty tomb, you need to explain why it is taken seriously by a range of atheist scholars. They wouldn't write complex alternative explanations if they didn't believe the tomb was empty.//There is no contemporary evidence that Jesus was alive or a real person.//That's a significant concession; you've changed your original claim. Now you can try and explain the relevance of your new claim, and tell me what the scholarly consensus is.

  7. They wouldn't write complex alternative explanations if they didn't believe the tomb was empty.Is this just your opinion? Or are you able to read their minds?

  8. If I told you that there was a light floating in the sky and it was a angel, and you said it's probably a weather-balloon, it only means you're responding to my mundane claim and not my miraculous one. It doesn't make the light real it's just a response to what I've said. It doesn't even mean that you believe the light is real. Perhaps you have, perhaps you haven't.Empty tombs are a mundane thing. There's empty tombs in my town. The bodies have been moved because of overcrowding. Now the early critics of Christianity lived in a different world to us. It was much more difficult to travel to another country and actually examine the evidence. The critics would be responding to what was said. And no one doubts that an untruth can spread.If you told me that the tombs opened and the saints came back to life and wandered into town, I'd want a large amount of evidence before I'd consider it – not people writing their opinion on other's writings.For all your exegesis, you've not come any closer to actually knowing what is true.

  9. "Excellent! You went and did your homework."I'll ask you not to patronise me, you self righteous prick. If you took the time to go back and read my early blog posts you'd see that I was fully aware of these points."Evidence please."Oh for fucksake – you're being intellectually dishonest denying this – you know the sources just as well as I."I don't pick and choose the ones I like"Yes you do."There is evidence that Jesus died."There's no evidence he even lived."The empty tomb is acknowledged by a range of atheist scholars, but that evidence is vulnerable to alternative explanations, so it is not proof. "An empty tomb is evidence??? OK, I assert that Harry Potter exists because he's not at my house…and what else could explain that absence but the OBVIOUS fact that Harry WAS here but has left?Behind all your intellectualised bluster there's still someone who's made the initial error of believing gods exist.

  10. You're an embarrassment to atheism.

  11. …says the poster who bravely left his name.

  12. "I'll ask you not to patronise me, you self righteous prick. If you took the time to go back and read my early blog posts you'd see that I was fully aware of these points."The vitriol is thick; the information, not so much. It is a good thing that you read and quoted two scholars. However, you still did a superficial job by not comparing those two with the consensus of scholarship and either demonstrating that they represent that consensus, or at least arguing why you support their reasoning above the consensus reasoning.So far you're doing about as well as a creationist who quotes a couple of AIDS deniers, choosing their view over the mainstream without explanation, but at least manage to quote their AIDS deniers accurately. They're better than the quote-miners, but only marginally.

  13. //Is this just your opinion? Or are you able to read their minds?//No it isn't my opinion. I don't need to read their minds when they say 'There is a better explanation for the empty tomb than the resurrection of Jesus'.//Empty tombs are a mundane thing.//Empty tombs are not a mundane thing when they've been sealed and guarded specifically to prevent them being emptied.//There's empty tombs in my town. The bodies have been moved because of overcrowding.//This is not analogous. In this case you have a discoverable chain of events leading to only one explanation.//If you told me that the tombs opened and the saints came back to life and wandered into town, I'd want a large amount of evidence before I'd consider it – not people writing their opinion on other's writings.//Yes, so would I. Remember, I am not arguing that the empty tomb is *proof* that Jesus was raised. It is only evidence, precisely because alternative explanations are possible.Alex://Oh for fucksake – you're being intellectually dishonest denying this – you know the sources just as well as I.//No Alex I don't, and I suspect you don't either. You haven't demonstrated any familiarity whatsoever with the relevant scholarly sources concerning this subject.//Yes you do.//Proof please.//There's no evidence he even lived.//Yes there is. There is more proof that he lived than there is that Pilate lived. The existence of Jesus is not even contested in standard scholarship.//An empty tomb is evidence???//Yes, evidence not proof (see my previous comments). Your Harry Potter analogy is flawed because there was no evidence that Harry Potter even existed. In contrast, there is evidence that Jesus existed, that Jesus died by crucifixion, that he was buried, and that his tomb was empty.

  14. Empty tombs are not a mundane thing when they've been sealed and guarded specifically to prevent them being emptied.Prove that Jesus' tomb was sealed and guarded. When was the empty tomb story invented? It obviously didn't exist at the time Paul wrote I Cor. 15 or he would have used that as proof of what he was saying.That the Jews covered up the empty tomb story by bribing the guards is probably the very first Christian conspiracy theory against the Jews. Not surprising really, since the Pauline Christians hated the Jews with a passion (I Thess. 2:15) which led directly to the holocaust.By the way, the historicist consensus is that Jesus "probably" existed but the evidence is controversial and some of the evidence contains Christian forgery. However, they still insist that Jesus' existence was "likely" because of there being no verifiable evidence of an alternative.There is an alternative though – that Jesus was invented entirely from Jewish scripture and apocalyptic literature.

  15. "Not surprising really, since the Pauline Christians hated the Jews with a passion (I Thess. 2:15) which led directly to the holocaust."Corky, I get that you've got a real hate on for your former religion. But suggesting that Paul, a Palestinian who died some 1,900 years ago, caused Hitler to kill 6,000,000 Jews in the early 1940s, is even more absurd (if such a thing were possible) than claiming that Darwin caused the Holocaust. The trick to quality demagoguery is to avoid going too far over the top with your rhetoric.

  16. Len said…Corky, I get that you've got a real hate on for your former religion.Where do you get that? From me blogging about the only religious cults that I'm familiar with, I suppose. It probably never occurs to you that maybe it's because I care and not because I hate.

  17. "It probably never occurs to you that maybe it's because I care and not because I hate."If you cared, you wouldn't casually use six million dead Jews as a soapbox for your views. Aside from the obvious defeat that comes with godwinning the discussion, it's atrociously insensitive to six million murder victims. If you attempted to construct a valid, logical argument explaining how Paul caused the Holocaust, you would soon realize the absurdity of your statement–or else everyone else would soon recognize the deficiency in your powers of reason.

  18. Len, I'd get off that soap box if I were you, I've heard dozens of Christadelphians say that the Holocaust was part of their god's plan to bring the Jews back to Israel.

  19. "So far you're doing about as well as a creationist who quotes a couple of AIDS deniers, choosing their view over the mainstream without explanation, but at least manage to quote their AIDS deniers accurately. They're better than the quote-miners, but only marginally."Actually, so far it's been you and your coterie of weirdo-belief Christadelphians that have been swimming against the tide. I've had time to reflect and check a few sources today, as well as read back through the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith, and it's YOU who's been misrepresenting sources, making claims that aren't borne out by the official doctrine of your own church, and generally acting like no-one but you, Fortigurn, Ken, and maybe a couple of your other fans have the 'real truth'. Your claim that mainstream or standard Christianity don't believe what the atheists here object to is simply a lie. Don't forget, I was a Christadelphian for 20 years, I know full well what the core beliefs are….heaven knows I had to sit through enough endless lectures, youth weekends, and dreaded fraternals!Furthermore, you've (in the comments on another thread) tried to make it appear that I don't know anything about evolutionary biology, which is another lie. Your friend Dave misrepresented what Intelligent Design was, clearly lacking any understanding of the subject (if he did he'd be currently trying to square his faith with facts that utterly deny it), and then made out that it was I who was in the wrong.Now, I know you're probably playing to your audience of silent 'young people', trying to show how 'wise' you all are, and how the evil atheists know fuck all, but you've done nothing but distort the truth, put words in the mouths of those who've opposed you, and generally acted like absolute self righteous condescending dicks.Anyone with half their wits about them can see through what you're doing.

  20. "Yes there is. There is more proof that he lived than there is that Pilate lived. The existence of Jesus is not even contested in standard scholarship."Have you actually read ALL the supposed Jesus texts? I have, and they say virtually nothing of Jesus – http://anatheistviewpoint.blogspot.com/2011/02/historical-texts-and-jesus.htmlAs for "There is more proof that he lived than there is that Pilate lived." – that's some powerful delusion you've got going on their, Furtigurn

  21. "…it's YOU who's been misrepresenting sources, making claims that aren't borne out by the official doctrine of your own church…"Please identify a source I "misrepresented." Since I've consistently appealed to secular scholarship, which is in general not even Christian, let alone Christadelphian, your statement makes no sense. If someone quotes Shakespeare, would you accuse him of misquoting Chaucer? That's what you just did: I referenced secular sources, and you accused me of misrepresenting Christadelphian sources."you've (in the comments on another thread) tried to make it appear that I don't know anything about evolutionary biology…"Can you quote somewhere that I've remotely said that? Please try; the exercise may do you good. "Intellectual honesty" so far has meant getting dictionary definitions right, quoting people accurately, and identifying clearly what position you are affirming or denying. The bare-bones basics. You're not making an impressive showing here.

  22. Nope, not playing your games LenTell me what you believe, and why you believe it, enough with you bullshit

  23. //Is this just your opinion? Or are you able to read their minds?//No it isn't my opinion. I don't need to read their minds when they say 'There is a better explanation for the empty tomb than the resurrection of Jesus'.Who said this? And what exactly did they say? It still sounds like just your opinion.

  24. "Nope, not playing your games Len"Where "my games" means expecting you to substantiate accusations that are transparently ridiculous? It doesn't actually matter to me whether you do or don't; my reply speaks for itself. I referenced secular sources, and you accused me of misrepresenting Christadelphian sources. It doesn't take any "games" to see that's ridiculous.It should matter to you, though, because you claim to–and should certainly want to–be more honest than the fundamentalists you escaped. So far you've managed to remove yourself from the fundamentalism, but can't seem to remove the fundamentalism from yourself.

  25. Again you've spelt every single word of 'I believe x for y reason' incorrectly. Stop avoiding the questions. I'll ask again, what do you believe, and why do you believe it?

  26. If you cared, you wouldn't casually use six million dead Jews as a soapbox for your views. Aside from the obvious defeat that comes with godwinning the discussion, it's atrociously insensitive to six million murder victims.Says the guy that first brought up AIDS which has killed 10's of millions and even now kills one African every 13 seconds. (Avert, 2011)

  27. "Says the guy that first brought up AIDS which has killed 10's of millions and even now kills one African every 13 seconds."You don't grasp the difference between mentioning AIDS denialism, a particular fringe viewpoint about a medical condition, and saying for example, "You guys are responsible for AIDS"?Similarly we could discuss all sorts of historical facts about the Holocaust, and it would be nothing like saying, "Darwin/Paul/Christians/Atheists/whoever CAUSED THE HOLOCAUST."If you're really having trouble with this distinction, I'd be happy to explain it for you.

  28. Not going to respond to the charge that Christadelphians regularly claim the Holocaust was part of their god's plan to restore Israel?I'm starting to think you don't want to answer the awkward questions….or that you can't.BTW, how's that huge amount of self-regard treating you? I'm surprised you don't fall over under the weight of your massively wisdom swollen head.

  29. If you're really having trouble with this distinction, I'd be happy to explain it for you.Seems to me that no-one has said that Paul/whoever CAUSED THE HOLOCAUST so please do explain.

  30. "Not going to respond to the charge that Christadelphians regularly claim the Holocaust was part of their god's plan to restore Israel?"Why do I care what Christadelphians do or don't do? Many of them are young-earth creationists, too. In what way am I responsible for what some idiot does?"BTW, how's that huge amount of self-regard treating you?"I dunno. How's that bottomless well of personal attacks, as a defense mechanism against facing your own intellectual dishonesty, treating you?

  31. JC Birthner, you should brush up your reading skills. Corky said, "Pauline Christians hated the Jews with a passion (I Thess. 2:15) which led directly to the holocaust."If you need help understanding the phrase LED DIRECTLY TO, let me know.

  32. I guess I need help understanding why you think "LED DIRECTLY TO" means "CAUSED THE HOLOCAUST". Explain.

  33. Len said…If you cared, you wouldn't casually use six million dead Jews as a soapbox for your views. Aside from the obvious defeat that comes with godwinning the discussion, it's atrociously insensitive to six million murder victims. If you attempted to construct a valid, logical argument explaining how Paul caused the Holocaust, you would soon realize the absurdity of your statement–or else everyone else would soon recognize the deficiency in your powers of reason.I understand that you truly don't know the connection with Hitler < Catholicism < Pauline Christianity. And, it's kind of funny, in a macabre sort of way, that after 17 centuries of Jewish persecutions, the Christian Church now wants to apologize for blaming all Jews for the death of Jesus.What really makes it funny is that the gentile Christian Church of Paul is the one who forced the Jews out of the church to start with but now wants them back. Is that not hilarious? Seriously, is that not hilarious?

  34. I want you to hold yourself to your own standards, Len.It may seem pedantic.

  35. "Why do I care what Christadelphians do or don't do? Many of them are young-earth creationists, too. In what way am I responsible for what some idiot does?"So what are YOUR religious beliefs? What sect to you belong to?

  36. Len is a fundamentalist but not a Fundamentalist.

  37. From what I can see, Len is a tool.

  38. "Can you quote somewhere that I've remotely said that?"Len, do you need me to explain the collective 'you'?

  39. Len, do you need me to explain the collective 'you'?Be careful! These are the same people who argued for days about the meaning of the word hypocrisy.

  40. Len said…Why do I care what Christadelphians do or don't do? Many of them are young-earth creationists, too. In what way am I responsible for what some idiot does?Uh, because you are Christadelphian? If you don't agree with the Christadelphians, how are you still Christadelphian? Makes no sense. Don't you believe in a sect speaking with one voice?

  41. //Have you actually read ALL the supposed Jesus texts?//Yes.//I have, and they say virtually nothing of Jesus//Irrelevant. Remember, I'm not appealing to my personal opinion like you're appealing to yours. I'm appealing to standard scholarship. Thanks for the Remsberg list, but standard scholarship doesn't believe //As for "There is more proof that he lived than there is that Pilate lived." – that's some powerful delusion you've got going on their, Furtigurn//All you need to do is provide evidence from the relevant scholarly literature for your claim. I'll wait right here. Remember, there's one inscription for Pilate, which wasn't found until the late 20th century. Ironically, the earliest texts which refer to Pilate include the gospels.JC://Who said this? And what exactly did they say? It still sounds like just your opinion.//Can I take it that you're unfamiliar with the scholarly literature on this subject? You're already demonstrating a lack of knowledge of what even prominent atheists have said about the tomb. If I present standard scholarship (yet again), and atheist commentary, am I just going to get more profanity and another topic change?Richard Carrier (he's an atheist):'For when we combine the fact that "theft of a body, especially that of a crucified holy man, is the sort of thing that happened with some frequency at the time" whereas "we cannot say the same about miraculous resurrections," and the fact that there is "no good evidence against" theft and "plenty of means, motive, and opportunity for it," it follows that theft is more antecedently probable AS AN EXPLANATION OF AN EMPTY TOMB THAN A MIRACULOUS RESURRECTION.'Jeffrey Lowder (he's an atheist):'While I TENTATIVELY AGREE with Craig that Joseph of Arimathea's tomb–in which Jesus was presumably interred– WAS EMPTY,[3] I shall argue that none of Craig's arguments show that the Markan story of the empty tomb is probably historical.'

  42. "//I have, and they say virtually nothing of Jesus//Irrelevant. Remember, I'm not appealing to my personal opinion like you're appealing to yours. I'm appealing to standard scholarship. Thanks for the Remsberg list, but standard scholarship doesn't believe"Riiiiiight! I see how you're thinking! So I've gone TOO FAR BACK by reading the original sources and haven't read the "relevant scholarly literature"Do you deny that those original texts make virtually no mention of Jesus? And that there isn't a single contemporary account of him?Even with only one contemporary mention for Pilate, he's still 100% more evidenced than Jesus!You're even more deluded than I thought.

  43. Len seems to have gone very very quiet.Fortigurn, so you're admitting that the atheist writers are saying that body theft was a regular occurrence, and that the story of the empty tomb wasn't probably historical? And you're using that as evidence FOR it being true??Wow.

  44. "it follows that theft is more antecedently probable AS AN EXPLANATION OF AN EMPTY TOMB THAN A MIRACULOUS RESURRECTION"You'll note Carrier's quote says "an empty tomb".The very next line after your Jeffrey Lowder quote is ""Though willing to accept the historicity of the empty tomb for the sake of argument…"And Jeffrey Lowder continues "All I shall argue is that even if the story is historical, its historicity is not established on the basis of any of Craig's arguments as they stand."These are people making hypothetical arguments. This is not "a range of atheist scholars" who "wouldn't write complex alternative explanations if they didn't believe the tomb was empty."

  45. So where is this range of atheist scholars who believe the tomb was empty? You haven't provided one.Alex B said …And you're using that as evidence FOR it being true??Better than that. He was trying to prove a range of atheist scholars believe in the empty tomb.

  46. "I want you to hold yourself to your own standards, Len. It may seem pedantic."It's not pedantic; it's just wrong. You either don't understand "my own standards," or you're intentionally setting up a straw man. "My own standards" don't forbid mentioning the Holocaust, or discussing it. I merely point out that it's disgusting on multiple levels to go around blaming people for the Holocaust in order to score points off them. It takes a sick individual to appropriate six million murder victims for his own petty ends.Is that something you really don't understand?

  47. //So I've gone TOO FAR BACK by reading the original sources and haven't read the "relevant scholarly literature"//No, you can go back to the original sources by all means. What you need to realize is that your personal opinion on them is worthless until you're part of recognized scholarship. What you've done is deliberately ignored the relevant scholarship (again), out of preference for your personal views.//Do you deny that those original texts make virtually no mention of Jesus?//Sure, so what? Do you deny what the scholarly consensus is?//And that there isn't a single contemporary account of him?//That depends on the identity of Q, and the witness of Paul. Michael Martin says 'According to the Gospels, there were indeed eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus. However, we have only one contemporary eyewitness account of a postresurrection appearance of Jesus, namely Paul's', and deals with this eyewitness account of Jesus by saying we can't be sure it wasn't a hallucination. Regardless of whether or not Paul was hallucinating, the fact is we have one eyewitness account of Jesus.//Even with only one contemporary mention for Pilate, he's still 100% more evidenced than Jesus!//It seems you don't know what '100%' means.JC://You'll note Carrier's quote says "an empty tomb".//That's right. Which tomb is he talking about? Do you think he's saying it was empty or full? Remember, Carrier's entire argument that Jesus was believed to by his disciples to have a spiritual, non-physical body, and his argument that the body could have been stolen, are tied directly to his answer to the empty tomb. There is absolutely no need to make arguments explaining the absence of Jesus' body otherwise.//The very next line after your Jeffrey Lowder quote is ""Though willing to accept the historicity of the empty tomb for the sake of argument…"//And yet you carefully truncate what he says, removing the part where he says 'At present, I regard the odds that the tomb was empty as just slightly better than 50%'. You're attempting to make him contradict himself.

  48. //Fortigurn, so you're admitting that the atheist writers are saying that body theft was a regular occurrence, and that the story of the empty tomb wasn't probably historical? And you're using that as evidence FOR it being true??//I'm glad JC has already corrected you. Yes of course I acknowledge some atheist writers say that body theft was a regular occurrence and that the story of the empty tomb probably wasn't historical. No I am not using that as evidence for it being true.

  49. What empty tomb? Which one? There are several, you know. The gospels, all written sometime after the first Jewish war, have a story of an empty tomb but the early epistles of Paul have no such story, even in 1 Cor. 15 where it would have been used for proof of the resurrection if that story had existed at the time. It can only be a later embellishment – as is the virgin birth and Jesus being literally begotten by God in a human female.The first gospel, Mark, has Jesus begotten at his baptism (1:11), that is, adopted as God's son, which agrees with Paul's doctrine of the adoption of sons.Anyway, back at the empty tomb and why such a story would be invented. Simple. People wanted to know where Jesus was buried and where were his bones? Oops. Now we need Jesus' bones to disappear or else the artifact hunters would soon find that Jesus hadn't resurrected after all but was still in his grave. So, no matter what bones people found, they would not be Jesus' bones because he was bodily resurrected and his tomb was empty. Never-mind that bones don't ascend to spiritual heavens – his did – somehow, anyway, it's a mystery, don't ask so many questions…

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