Resurrection Debate – Question #3 From Vocab With Tim’s Response

Q3. What kind of evidence would it take to convince you that Jesus bodily rose from the dead? Please explain why you chose this particular criterion. Would you honestly say you are objective in regards to your reading of the historical evidence in favor of the resurrection of Jesus?

A3. I truly think that any event like the resurrection from this period in time would be difficult to prove conclusively. It’s simply too long ago, and the narrative style of the day too prone to distortion. Even if an unambiguous extra-Biblical contemporary resurrection account could be found, it would still need to be dated reliably and so forth (even though such an account would surely get my attention!).

However, there are some consequences if the Christian creed is true. Then the resurrection not only took place, but Jesus is an omnipotent being occupied with the salvation of those who accept him as saviour. This is something that could conceivably be proven at any time and therefore, retroactively, prove the truthfulness of the Gospels and thus the resurrection. This could – as an example – be a miraculous event like the stars suddenly spelling out “ACCEPT JESUS AS YOUR PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOUR AND ESCAPE THE FIRES OF HELL!” and the gates of Hell and Heaven being opened to touring visitors. This miracle would convert 1,000,000 times as many people as any number of missionaries and preachers in one swift move, and it would provide proof anyone could accept. I choose this type of proof because it is open to objective and independent analysis and removes the element of faith, which is a generator of false positives like no other. I don’t choose it to be facetious. If it seems absolutely absurd, it may be because we have gotten used to not expecting omnipotent things from an omnipotent god…

I have never read any historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, so I can not assess any objectivity. The resurrection stories in the Gospels and that one dodgy passage from Josephus fail any objective standard of historicity, which is exactly why you don’t read about the resurrection in history books as if it were a historical fact.

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About Kazz

My name is Shawn Esplin and I am an advocate of Free Thought and general good sense and thought in general. To that end, I encourage people to seriously question the things that they have been taught, especially as children, because many of these things - religious and secular - are taken on faith until we actively choose to seriously examine them for ourselves.

33 thoughts on “Resurrection Debate – Question #3 From Vocab With Tim’s Response

  1. It’s difficult to imagine Tim debating in good faith after reading this answer AND especially if he doesn’t even think Jesus existed. I mean, how can someone who probably never lived (in his mind) rise from the dead after they die?

    In another place, Tim wrote, “I am not a priori rejecting the possibility of me being proved wrong on both counts – I’m just looking at the evidence and considering your points.”

    Has anyone noticed Tim at any time actually considering any of the evidence objectively? I know I have noticed him rejecting the resurrection a priori (‘miracles can’t happen’, ‘all religions are based on people’s gullibility and not the facts’, ‘the New Testament is not trustworthy’, etc).

    Elsewhere Tim wrote, “I’m not dogmatic. I am always open to the idea of being wrong. And if I am proven wrong about the resurrection, I’d have to go back and re-examine my reasons for disbelieving Jesus’ existance.”

    I would say Tim clearly is dogmatic. Why do I say that? I‘ve read his digital book on LuLu so I know how he really feels. I didn’t feel it was on good taste for me to quote it here but if anyone wants to see how ‘open minded’ Tim really is, I suggest they read his online book here: http://www.lulu.com/items/volume_16/303000/303417/1/print/TO_THE_MOON_ON_HORSE_AND_HAT_for_LULU.pdf

    Lastly, if Tim really can’t “decide” if Jesus existed because of his view of the evidence for his existence … well, then I think we should all question Tim’s ability to properly assess evidence because the existence of Jesus is not some ambiguous historical issue – it is a clearly established fact.

    vm

    PS- some of these quotes by Tim come from here:
    http://debate.livingdeadman.org/2010/04/q1-from-vocab-with-tims-response/#idc-container

  2. It’s difficult to imagine Tim debating in good faith after reading this answer AND especially if he doesn’t even think Jesus existed. I mean, how can someone who probably never lived (in his mind) rise from the dead after they die?

    In another place, Tim wrote, “I am not a priori rejecting the possibility of me being proved wrong on both counts – I’m just looking at the evidence and considering your points.”

    Has anyone noticed Tim at any time actually considering any of the evidence objectively? I know I have noticed him rejecting the resurrection a priori (‘miracles can’t happen’, ‘all religions are based on people’s gullibility and not the facts’, ‘the New Testament is not trustworthy’, etc).

    Elsewhere Tim wrote, “I’m not dogmatic. I am always open to the idea of being wrong. And if I am proven wrong about the resurrection, I’d have to go back and re-examine my reasons for disbelieving Jesus’ existance.”

    I would say Tim clearly is dogmatic. Why do I say that? I‘ve read his digital book on LuLu so I know how he really feels. I didn’t feel it was on good taste for me to quote it here but if anyone wants to see how ‘open minded’ Tim really is, I suggest they read his online book here: http://www.lulu.com/items/volume_16/303000/303417/1/print/TO_THE_MOON_ON_HORSE_AND_HAT_for_LULU.pdf

    Lastly, if Tim really can’t “decide” if Jesus existed because of his view of the evidence for his existence … well, then I think we should all question Tim’s ability to properly assess evidence because the existence of Jesus is not some ambiguous historical issue – it is a clearly established fact.

    vm

    PS- some of these quotes by Tim come from here:
    http://debate.livingdeadman.org/2010/04/q1-from-vocab-with-tims-response/#idc-container

  3. You don’t debate in “faith” at all, good or otherwise. You present evidence and back it up with sources. That’s it. Your attempts to portray me as a horrible person based on my fictional novel “Underdogs” is quite hilarious to me.

    When you feel like going back to debating with evidence instead of bizarre ad hominems like that, let me know. You could for instance point me to the sources that so clearly establish the historicity of Jesus. I’m not *denying* the existence of Jesus. I’m just saying that the sources are vague and I’m fine with that, because it’s beside the point – the influence of the Gospels is real and tangible and interesting and what we should be looking at.

    Whatevs.

  4. Oh, and please refrain from quoting me as saying “miracles can’t happen” when I never said that. In fact, all three of your paraphrases are grossly misleading and further hammer home the point that you’re trying to scramble a win in this debate on some other merit than evidence. Rather undignified.

  5. Oops, sorry peeps, I accidentally posted that one twice – my bad.

    Tim, not sure what happened to our previously friendly exchanges.
    All I did was point out something on the public record -
    I NEVER said or implied you were a “horrible person”.
    I didn’t even paste in any of the quotes from the novel.
    But don’t you think what you have published is at least somewhat relevant?
    I mean, you specifically mock the resurrection in the book!

    And here are my 3 paraphrases of your positions:
    1. ‘miracles can’t happen’
    2. ‘all religions are based on people’s gullibility and not the facts’
    3. ‘the New Testament is not trustworthy’

    I don’t understand how these are ‘grossly misleading’ – will someone please help?

    vocab

  6. What happened was that we strayed from looking at the evidence the other presented. While we were doing that, it was a real debate – we didn’t agree, sure, who expected that? But at least we were both being reasonable. I dunno. Maybe it’s because I’m european and I don’t expect stuff like “ha! look what I dug up about my opponent online which has nothing to do with the matter at hand!” in a debate. I know stuff like that happens in US political debates all the time, so maybe it boils down to a culture thing. But in any case, it is an attempt to color me as a person unqualified to discuss this issue reasonably, which seems to me a pointless exercise – surely, my arguments on their own during the debate would have made that as clear as day anyway.

    I don’t feel any need to defend myself. I’ve made my case, and anyone who’s interested can read it. You can read “Underdogs” first if you want. You can imagine that I’m a murderer while reading the debate, too, if you feel like it. I don’t care. It doesn’t change the arguments held in the debate one iota.

    I guess what you’re saying is that you’re worried my mind is too closed to ever concede that I may be wrong, and that debating the resurrection of a man who may not have lived is dishonest and unfair because I have a foregone conclusion on the issue. But that’s not how it works. Of course I have a stance at the beginning of the debate, but any debater worth his salt READS what the opponent writes and takes it in with an open mind. “is this reasonable? Is it true? Does it fit the evidence?” etc. A man who can not be convinced is not a man worth wasting your time with. I am not such a man – I have been convinced by evidence every time, despite what I thought was true before I looked.

    OK, I’ll shut up now, since I’m not angry or anything like that – just puzzled that we got side-tracked like this. Back to the evidence and let’s back away from the misleading paraphrases and strange personal attacks that make no difference and let’s get back to HARD EVIDENCE.
    (and yeah, they are misleading. I emphatically said the opposite of 1, 2 is a gigantic generalization best left in grade school and 3 contains a dismissal of an entire collection of texts out of hand where I have carefully analyzed selected passages one by one to avoid such a dismissal.)

    We can try again on a different topic altogether, if you want, like evolution or something like that. I assume we have debate-worthy positions on such a matter? It’s not a challenge, just a suggestion, you are welcome to ignore me with no fear of reprimand :-)

  7. Vocab,

    I don’t see anything wrong with Tim’s answer to your question. I too find it very difficult to hypothesize a collection of evidence that would be sufficient to convince me that Jesus was raised bodily from the dead in first century Palestine. This is not based simply on some a priori position I have taken on the possibility of miracles. It is based on a lifetime of observation, experience, and learning in which natural explanations for the world around me have always proved satisfactory. My methodological naturalism is not an a priori presupposition. It is an empirical conclusion.

    Although I have never run across compelling evidence of a miracle in my life, I have encountered many people who have claimed to have experienced the supernatural suspension of natural processes in entirely ordinary everyday occurrences. I have also encountered people who accept the veracity of miracle stories and pass them on without critical reflection. Throughout recorded history, there have been countless unverifiable claims of supernatural events and no verifiable claims.

    In order to believe that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead, I would have to be convinced that a phenomenon occurred that has never been documented either in recorded history or my own experience rather than something that is well documented in both. The fact that I cannot think of any good proofs for that doesn’t make your weak proofs any more persuasive.

  8. What kind of evidence would convince me that the Gospels were full of frauds, lies and plagiarism?

    Well, the kind of photographic documented evidence that is available at http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/mirc1.htm

    When creating that article, I took a vow only to use the kind of evidence that Christians apply to other Holy Books, so that I could not be accused of double-standards.

  9. Very interesting page, Steven! I’d be interested to hear Vocab’s response to it, since it seems to overturn his assertion that the gospel stories were incorruptible by external religious influences. (Even though I think I did a passable job of debunking that idea myself during the debate :-) )

  10. Steven -
    I am aware your theory. It can be found in works such “Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite” by L. Michael White and, to a greater degree, in many of the works by Robert M. Price.

    Since you mainly just linked to an article, I will do the same (one of which I am sure you are already aware of) for my answer: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/mq7

    Lastly, even if you premise was true – which I don’t think it is – it still doesn’t prove “that the Gospels were full of frauds, lies and plagiarism” You are way overstating your ‘case’ and should use more restraint, methinks. I also hope as people read your essay they are aware that the Old Testament was composed in Hebrew, not in Greek.

    Tim -
    I never said “the gospel stories were incorruptible by external religious influences.” I said they were written from a JEWISH context, not a GRECO-ROMAN PAGAN context, as you incorrectly asserted. This means they would of course have been influenced by FIRST CENTURY JUDAISM, which is a “religious influence”, albeit, more of an internal one as opposed to external one.

    Vinny -
    You said, “In order to believe that Jesus was bodily raised from the dead, I would have to be convinced that a phenomenon occurred that has never been documented either in recorded history or my own experience rather than something that is well documented in both. The fact that I cannot think of any good proofs for that doesn’t make your weak proofs any more persuasive.

    I am offering evidence – not proof – and why the pejorative (‘your weak proofs’)? Also, when you say, “I would have to be convinced that a phenomenon occurred that has never been documented” – that’s the whole point of this discussion … it’s almost as if you are saying, “unless Christianity is true, then it’s not true so I can’t believe it.”

    vM!

    Vm!

  11. errata

    1. In my 2nd sentence, in between “such” and “Scripting” should be the word “as”

    2. My initials (“vM!”) should only appear once at the end, not twice

    3. I forgot to include this link that affirms that the NT carries OT themes: http://www.carm.org/are-new-testament-themes-found-old-testament

    Note, this is different than saying the NT authors just ‘remixed’ the OT narratives for their day with no historical basis. My point is, some of what Steven is saying is true if understood properly.

    vM!

  12. I see that Vocab refuses to consider the evidence of his eyes ,although anybody can see that the New Testament authors ripped off Old Testament plots and wordings and recycled them to create fictional miracle stories about Jesus.

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/mq7

    This article is nuts. Not as nuts as claiming that because the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testatment authors could not have plagiarised the Greek translations available to them.

    That is as nuts as saying Joseph Smith could not have ripped off the King James Bible because he did not know the Hebrew the Old Testament was written in.

    Let is look at some real evidence of fraud, plagiarism and lies, bearing in mind that Vocab thinks miracles can happen, but no Christian can tell lies.

    Jesus in Luke 7 raises the son of a widow from the dead. In 1 Kings 17, Elijah raises the son of a widow from the dead. Both stories employ exactly the same words – and he gave him to his mother.The Greek is ‘kai edoken auton te metri autou’, copied word for word from the Septuagint version of 1 Kings 17.

    Did Luke use 1 Kings 17 as a basis for his story? Jesus met the widow at the gate of a city. Elijah met his widow in 1 Kings 17:10. It should come as no surprise that it was at the gate of a city. Luke 7 also copies other phrases from the Septuagint version of 1 Kings 17.

    Luke copies ‘kai egeneto’ (and it came to pass). ‘Kai egeneto’ is used many, many times in the Greek Old Testament and Luke used this phrase from the Septuagint so much that it has become a cliche. When writing the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith also used ‘and it came to pass’ a lot. Here he was copying from the King James Bible , but we can see that the writer of Luke’s Gospel copied in a very similar manner to Joseph Smith.

    Luke writes ‘tay pulay tays poleos kai idoo’ (to the gate of a city and behold), which is almost identical to the Old Testament Greek of ‘tou pulona tays poleos kai idoo’.

    Luke often used the Greek Old Testament for his stories. In Acts 10, Peter is told in a dream to eat unclean animals. In the Old Testament, Ezekiel 4 also has a story of somebody who is asked to eat unpalatable food.

    According to Acts , Peter, an Aramaic-speaking Jew managed, in a moment of terror, to remember the exact phrase from the Greek translation of Ezekiel 4:14! Was it realistic for somebody described in Acts itself as ignorant (idiotes) and illiterate to bring to mind a Greek translation that he would not have known? I think not. I suspect Luke ‘borrowed’ words from the Greek translation of Ezekiel 4:14 to put into the mouth of Peter. It is not as though it is a common phrase which Peter might have hit on himself. ‘Medamos, Kyrie’ (By no means,Lord) is used only here and in Acts 11:8.

    It is even more remarkable that Peter managed to reproduce the words of horror that Ezekiel said when he was also told to eat unclean foods, as Peter was supposed to have been present when Jesus declared all foods clean in Mark 7, long before Acts 10 ever took place.

    Just how much evidence does Vocab want before he will accept that the New Testament is as fraudulent as the Koran, and that lies are much more probable than somebody walking on water?

    Does Vocab want me to rub his face in more evidence, or will he cling to his claim that no Christian tells lies?

  13. I saw a miracle once.

    I knew a valuable wallet had been left in a room.

    I wanted to go and count the money, so went there early one morning. When I got there I remembered that somebody had put a safe in front of the door, and wondered who could move the safe when I got there.

    Anyway, when I got there, I found that the safe had been moved, the door was open, and that the money had vanished.

    It must have been a miracle.

    This was about 30 years ago.

    Obviously this is not true.

    If this had really happened 30 years ago, then for the last 30 years, I would have been accused of stealing the money.

    And if I had had to spend 30 years dealing with accusations of money-stealing, I would never tell the story in a way that did nothing to counter the obvious accusation that I must have stolen the money.

    There could never have been an empty tomb, or else Mark’s Gospel would not have left Christians so wide open to the charges of grave-robbing that would have been circulating for 30 years.

  14. Vocab,

    It is not a case of needing Christianity to be true. It is a case of needing any stories of supernatural suspensions of the natural order to be true. In my knowledge and experience, verifiable miracles are unknown and unsubstantiated reports of miracles are copious. If I my knowledge and experience included both verifiable miracles and unsubstantiated miracles, I might be able to look at your evidence and say that it looks more like the verifiable miracles in my data set than the unsubstantiated ones.

  15. Vocab, just for clarification – you accept jewish lending, then? I.e. you accept the evidence provided by Steven that the miracle of the loaves and fishes probably never happened, but it was most likely just lifted from earlier Jewish myth? If not, why not? And if so, how do you distinguish between actual events and mythologized stories in the Gospels?

    We’ve already debated the resurrection story and I know your position on that particular one (even though I don’t buy your reasoning). But would you be willing to let the rest of the Jesus stories slide away from solid historical fact and into myth if their roots could be traced? To be fair, you don’t have any historical evidence to pull any of the stories the other way.

  16. VOCAB
    I said they were written from a JEWISH context, not a GRECO-ROMAN PAGAN context…

    CARR
    2 Peter 2:4 “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them down into Tartarus and delivered them to be kept in chains….”

    Where exactly did ‘Tartarus’ come from, if not a Greco-Roman pagan context?

    This is too easy….

  17. Here is what Vocab says and then he bleats about people not debating in ‘good faith’

    ‘The short version of it is that atheists are mentally ill – although I don’t think Spiegel ever says that. It’s true, however, that sin touches on and radically corrupts every aspect of the unregenerate man – this includes his mind. This means the reasoning faculties of the unsaved have been exposed to the corrosive acid that is sin and therefore can’t think straight.’

    Sorry Tim, but Vocab has said you are mentally ill.

    But Vocab debates in good faith, even when he says you are mentally ill and can’t think straight.

    Of course, Vocab’s god sends ill people to Hell.

  18. Vocab,

    Mr. Carr raises an interesting point there. I have always found my exchanges with you to be pleasant and civil, but can you actually claim that you are debating in good faith if you think that those who do not share your faith are incapable of rational thought?

  19. Being accused of not being able to think by one’s opponent is a well-known tactic of the debater who is running out of evidence and is finding himself in a corner. It doesn’t bother me. What frustrates me is that Vocab has shown a tendency to delve into character assassination and instantly revert to an innocent “I don’t know what happened to the nice tone of the debate!” when I call him out on it :-)

    But sure, the tone has been very pleasant for the most part. Vocab’s upcoming closing remarks were courteous enough and I couldn’t imagine a debate like this going much better. I have learned something from it; if nothing, that even intelligent people like Vocab can be blithely unshaken by the chasm between his relative strengths of his convictions and his evidence. We may all be that overconfident in areas of our own discourse. May we spend our lives rooting them out…

  20. Carr, to be pedantic, I never said I was an atheist in the debate. It’s not a secret that I am indeed a big fat mentally ill atheist, but it’s really not relevant in a debate about historicity, where the evidence was supposed to do the talking. Predictably, the debate came down to basic assumptions; none of us liked the other one’s axioms. Interestingly, Vocab has paraphrased me (in these comments) as a person who rejects any possibility of me being wrong a priori, which is slightly unfair as I am trying my best to be reasonable and find the answers that best fit the facts – that’s all. I just have a hard time getting the facts to back up the Gospel stories.

  21. @Tim

    And that’s why I’ve stop trying to talk to Vocab entirely. I think I tried to warn every one :p

  22. The comment train has been derailed indeed.

    Tim and I agreed to debate topic of the resurrection. This particular question (#3) deals with the type of evidence Tim would fancy. There is no way I can chase down all the rabbit trails created in these comments; many of these issues are debate topics in and of themselves. Perhaps after this debate is over, we should set something up to pursue these other topics? Maybe between Steven (or Vinny or Tim) and myself? Definitely not with ‘EndGameOmega’ because apparently he has stopped talking to me …

    I wouldn’t mind doing this but I do have my reservations about how profitable a debate with Steven would be, since he is decidedly less charitable (to say the least) than Kazz, Vinny, Tim, or my buddy Ken I’ve been talking to over at http://apologetics315.blogspot.com The reasons I say this about Steven are manifold – peep these quotes:

    *“Vocab refuses to consider the evidence of his eyes”
    *“anybody can see that the New Testament authors ripped off Old Testament plots”
    *“This article is nuts”
    *“Does Vocab want me to rub his face in more evidence”
    *“This is too easy…”

    Steven seems to have an extremely high view of his article and an incredibly low view of anyone who disagrees with him. I hope he is aware that even among NT critics who don’t think the Gospels are reliable, only a small number believe his theory as an adequate explanation – perhaps it’s not so obvious as he triumphantly claims? Perhaps he should rub his eye-opening evidence in the faces of most NT critics?

    Further, Steven seems to have a bad habit of constructing Straw Men. For example:

    He says I said “because the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the New Testament authors could not have plagiarised the Greek translations available to them”
    I never said this – I just pointed out that Hebrew is the language of the OT.

    And “Vocab thinks miracles can happen, but no Christian can tell lies”
    I never said this; of course, Christians can and have told lies!

    And “Sorry Tim, but Vocab has said you are mentally ill”
    I never claimed to know for certain that Tim is an atheist and I never said this specific thing about Tim. The context of my comments was in a book review of Jim Spiegel’s recent controversial book called The Making of an Atheist. The book’s thesis is that atheists are atheists primarily for moral and not intellectual reasons. Spiegel argues this moral failure affects the atheist’s cognitive abilities. Regardless of how one feels about this work, I was simply summarizing the author’s thesis.

    I do agree, of course, that sin has corrupted the unbeliever’s mind – but this doesn’t only apply to atheists, it applies to all men. Since I didn’t make this point during our current debate, I fail to see how it’s a “debate tactic”, as Tim claims: “Being accused of not being able to think by one’s opponent is a well-known tactic of the debater who is running out of evidence and is finding himself in a corner.”

    On that note, Tim, how is linking to a copy of your published work “character assassination”, as you claim? I’m not offended that Steven quoted my comments about the affects of sin upon the mind, I just would prefer that he give some context or at least link to the page [ http://vocabmalone.blogspot.com/2010/03/making-of-atheist-book-review.html ] in which I said it – that seems fair, doesn’t it?

    Tim, I never said you were a “person who rejects any possibility of being wrong a priori.” In fact, if I recall correctly, you did say you were wrong about one of the pagan Christ parallels you put forth earlier, which I commend you for doing. What I did want to show, however, is that you are not neutral – as you seem to believe. On the contrary, you have a set of built-in assumptions – as do I. The difference between us is I am not denying mine.

    Vinny, I do not “think that those who do not share [my] faith are incapable of rational thought?” I know many atheists who excel at logic and many Christians who do not. What I am saying by the comments to which you refer is that sin clouds man’s rational ability. As you probably know, I am not being novel here, for this is exactly what Paul says in the opening chapters of Romans.

    Lastly, let me make an observation about Steven’s “OT rewrite” theory, which has been debunked both in scholarly and lay circles.* If it is valid, it disproves one of Tim’s main points in this debate, namely, that the resurrection is a Greco-Roman pagan rewrite. Which one is it? Tim seems to like Steven’s thesis without realizing it is the polar opposite of his own argument! If Tim wants to abandon his previous theories, then he should let everyone know. Personally, I would recommend this, because Steven’s theory has at least some academic respectability, even though it is not a very strong case overall.

    I’m getting the feeling that there’s a bit of a “throw a variety of contradictory theories to the wall and see which one sticks” tactic going on here. So, I guess what I wanna ask, is Tim, which theory are you actually putting forth – the “OT-Jewish rip off” one or the “Greco-Roman pagan rip” off one? If you like both, you may find you’ll (A) have trouble synthesizing the two theories with any historical rigor and (B) have a difficult time finding anyone who is credible that agrees with you.

    vM!

    *see Volume 3 (Studies in Midrash and Histiography, R. T. France and David Wenham) of the Gospel Perspectives series – published by JSOT Press in Sheffield in 1983 or http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qotripoff.html

  23. You did, EndGame :-) It’s not a problem, though. It’s always interesting to get an opportunity like this if you don’t expect too much. As long I don’t feel like the one ignoring or running from evidence, I’m happy with myself.

  24. A long article by Vocab, which simply whined about me, Tim, the weather, the Mets – anything rather than produce a shred of evidence to refute my photographic, documented evidence that the Gospel writers ripped off the Old Testament when they wrote their stories about Jesus.

    But as the Gospel writers have been caught with their fingers in the till, it is not suprising that Vocab can’t defend people whose guilt is clear.

    Vocab refuses to consider the evidence of his eyes.

    Anybody whose Holy Book has been smashed the way I smashed it can either recant his false beliefs, or reveal himself as a True Believer – A Christian, Mormon, Muslim or Scientologist impervious to evidence who will believe his Holy Book regardless of how it makes him look to outsiders.

    All Vocab can do is avoid answering the question – Can any Christian writer tell a lie?

  25. Vocab links to this gibberish – or http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qotripoff.html

    I quote from the article, and people can see how nuts the author is.

    I would LOVE to see Vocab defend what he says is a great article.

    Until Vocab defends the following argument of Miller, we will know that Vocab is not interested in rational debate, and not even interested in defending his own arguments.

    Here is what Miller says :-

    ‘As a matter of fact, the ONLY points of continuity are (1) the mention of a ‘hand’ (even there it is used quite differently in each story!); and (2) the general motif that God can take on large armies with smaller armies (a general pan-cultural theme in no way implying borrowing!). At most we have a very vague similarity with the biblical passage.’

    Miller is talking about the following two passages.

    Notice Miller says the ONLY points of continuity are ‘the mention of a hand’ and size of armies.

    See how nuts Miller is and how desperate Vocab is when you look at the actual passages Miller is talking about.

    Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” 6 Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.”‘

    Compare that with the Koranic passage below which Miller and Vocab claim ‘have a very vague similarity with the biblical passage.’

    ‘So when Talut departed with the forces, he said: Surely Allah will try you with a river; whoever then drinks from it, he is not of me, and whoever does not taste of it, he is surely of me, except he who takes with his hand as much of it as fills the hand; but with the exception of a few of them they drank from it.’

    Notice that the nutcase Miller claims the ONLY points of continity are ‘the mention of a hand’ and the size of the armies.

    I quote Miller’s absurd ‘refutation’ of me ‘At most we have a very vague similarity with the biblical passage.’

    Nutcase!

    Which sane person can read those passages and claim there is only ‘a very vague similarity’?

    And this nutcase job is what Vocab think refutes me!

    Until Vocan defends Miller’s absurd claim that these stories ‘have a very vague similarity’, we will only have even more confirmation that Vocab is not interested in debate, only in ‘answering atheists’ ie saying anything which sounds like an answer, no matter how bad an answer it actually is.

  26. Vocab says that one person is pointing out Jewish frauds in the New Testament, and another is pointing out Greco-Roman frauds in the New Testament.

    Sorry, Vocab, but your Holy Authors were multi-talented and could lie in more than one way.

    Luke also seems to have based some of Acts on classical Greek literature, especially Euripides’ Bacchae. In Acts 26:12, Luke says that Paul heard Jesus say , in Aramaic or Hebrew, ‘It is hard for you to kick against the pricks’. ‘Kick against the pricks’ (laktizo pros kentron) was a well known Greek saying, which first seems to appear in line 790 of Euripides’ Bacchae.

    In Euripides’ Bacchae, line 447, we read the following ‘Of their own accord (autamato), the chains were loosed from their feet and keys opened the doors (thura) without human hand.’ In Acts 10:12, we read how doors opened for Peter of their own accord (automatos) and in Acts 16:26, we read how an earthquake loosed the chains from everybody and all the doors opened by themselves.

    Did an earthquake really loose a chain from a prisoner, not a noted result of seismic activity? Or did Luke base his account of Peter and Paul’s escapes on Euripides’ play about the persecuted followers of a persecuted and misunderstood deity, the son of Zeus and a young , mortal woman?

    Just out of curiosity, Euripides play ‘Alcestis’ is about a person who dies voluntarily in the place of another and then conquers death by being raised from the dead by a god.

    This is speculative, but perhaps ‘Alcestis’ is what first drew Euripides to Luke’s attention.

    Less speculative is the admission by F.F.Bruce in his book ‘The New Testament documents – Are they reliable?’ that Acts 14:12 ‘ho hegoumenon tou logou’ comes from ‘The Egyptian Mysteries’ of Iamblichus, where Hermes is described as ‘the god who is the leader of the speeches’ (theos ho ton legon hegemon). Clearly, Luke was well acquainted with Greek classical literature.

    Indeed, he even draws from Homer when talking about shipwrecks.

    My thanks to Neil Godfrey for drawing the following to may attention.

    Acts 27:41 “they ran the ship aground” = EPEKEILAN THN NAUN

    This is a distinctively poetic (Homeric) phrase.

    This is the only time in the New Testament “NAUS” is used for a “ship”. Everywhere else the author of Luke-Acts uses PLOIA (Lk.5.3, 7, 11; 8.22, 37; Acts20.13, 38; 21.2, 3, 6).

    Another word used nowhere else in the NT (nor even in the LXX) is EPIKELLEIN = “to ground”. “In fact, EPIKELLEIN and [its uncompounded form] KELLEIN are poetic forms; prose prefers EPOKELLEIN or OKELLEIN.” (MacDonald, p.94)

    Commenting on EPEKEILAN (“beached”) the Lake and Cadbury commentary on Acts says: “According to Blass this is an Homeric form not found in prose-writers, who used OKELLW and EPOKELLW, . . . . He compares Odyssey IX 148 . . . and 546. . . . It is also remarkable that the word NAUN is used only here in Acts, which always has the ordinary Hellenistic word PLOION. Blass’ suggestion that there is a conscious reminisence of Homer in this collocation of two unusual words is very attractive. If Luke was acquainted with Aratus and Epimenides, his knowledge of Homer is easily credible.” (p.339)

    “F. F. Bruce calls it one of Acts’ ‘unmistakable Homeric reminiscences‘. According to Susan M. Praeder, ‘Little else except a reminiscence of the Odyssey would explain the only appearance of EPIKELLEIN and NAUS in the New Testament‘.” (MacDonald, p.95)

    The Lake/Cadbury commentary continues with a note on the next phrase: Acts 27:41 “the bow was hard and fast/stuck fast” [=EREISASA] “cf. Pindar, Isth. i.1.52. The cumulation of classical words not found elsewhere in the N.T. is remarkable.” (p.339) MacDonald comments that this rare word is also Homeric (p.94).

    There is more at http://vridar.wordpress.com/2007/04/25/acts-27-28-an-eyewitness-account-part-2/

    Sorry, Vocab, but people have read the New Testament, read Homer and spotted all these things.

    All we can do is promise not to read the Bible again….

  27. To answer Mr. Carr’s *deeply probing* question … yes, it is possible for Christian writers to lie.

    In Mr. Carr’s last few posts, none of his points touched on the main topic of the debate – the resurrection – so I don’t feel inclined to answer everything on his website.

    I have been paying attention to Mr. Carr’s other online activities and it appears he has a fairly predictable MO:

    1. Jump in a discussion midstream
    2. Calls his newly minted ‘debate opponent’ a few names
    3. Provide a link to an article on his website or blog (usually it’s only moderately germane to the discussion at hand)
    4. Receives a response, proceeds to not really read what the other person is actually saying
    5. Misrepresents the other person, issues a few more insults
    6. Declares another easy victory (‘this is easy’ or ‘yet another victory’)
    7. Issues some more (juvenile) insults
    8. Goes in other forums or on his blog and brags about his victory (‘they got roasted’)
    9. Repeat

    Did I miss anything?

    vM!

  28. SO guess what?

    Vocab cited an article

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qotripoff.html

    When asked to defend this nutcase article, he ran away.

    What an easy victory!

    Vocab won’t even defend what he links to,and what I quoted from.

    Instead of defending the quotes of HIS OWN SOURCE, he came up with 9 totally ad hominem points, designed to distract people from noting that he refused to defend HIS OWN SOURCES.

    That is how bad his chosen article was at refuting my documented , photographic evidence of fraud ,lies and plagiarism in the Gospels at http://www.bowness.demon.co.uk/mirc1.htm

    A Vocab has refused to defend what he claimed was a refutation of me, it is obvious that he cannot refute me.

  29. SO guess what?

    Vocab cited an article.The link is in his article above.

    When asked to defend this nutcase article, he ran away.

    What an easy victory!

    Vocab won’t even defend what he links to,and what I quoted from.

    Instead of defending the quotes of HIS OWN SOURCE, he came up with 9 totally ad hominem points, designed to distract people from noting that he refused to defend HIS OWN SOURCES.

    That is how bad his chosen article was at refuting my documented , photographic evidence of fraud ,lies and plagiarism in the Gospels that I gave above.

    As Vocab has refused to defend what he claimed was a refutation of me, it is obvious that he cannot refute me.

  30. Steven -
    You can’t simply jump into a debate midstream, link to your articles and say “disprove them all or you lose” – especially since they are not even on topic.

    This is why I only answered the relevant questions you raised … and you pretty much ignored my answers and instead chose to resort to NAME CALLING AND YELLING (caps yours).

    I figured since you wanted to debate a different topic, we could do that – so I asked you via e-mail and you, true to form, responded with mockery. So, I thought it would be good for folks to see the kind of behavior we have to put up with. In the post, I never named your name so you could have remained anonymous. I even changed the wording so as not to violate your privacy – but you outed yourself.

    Once again I ask, would you like to do a separate debate, with rules, on one of the topics you brought up? If so, we can figure out a mutually acceptable format, topic and rules by e-mail or IM or something. If we debate, we can discuss the content of the articles (as you say you desire) but I’m not gonna go back and forth with you in a blog comment section dedicated to a debate on the resurrection! Doesn’t that seem reasonable?

    Please let me know …
    vm

  31. So Vocab still refuses to defend the claims made by his own sources.

    He has the audacity to say I ignored his answers, when I quoted his sources, and challenged him to defend the nutcase claims made in his answers.

    It is Vocab who his ignoring his own answers, as can be seen by his refusal to defend the nutcase arguments of his sources.

  32. Here are Vocab’s own answers that Vocab keeps ignoring.

    Until Vocab defends the following argument of Miller, we will know that Vocab is not interested in rational debate, and not even interested in defending his own arguments!

    Here is what Miller says :-
    ‘As a matter of fact, the ONLY points of continuity are (1) the mention of a ‘hand’ (even there it is used quite differently in each story!); and (2) the general motif that God can take on large armies with smaller armies (a general pan-cultural theme in no way implying borrowing!). At most we have a very vague similarity with the biblical passage.’

    Miller is talking about the following two passages.

    Notice Miller says the ONLY points of continuity are ‘the mention of a hand’ and size of armies.

    See how nuts Miller is and how desperate Vocab is when you look at the actual passages Miller is talking about.

    Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, as well as everyone who kneels to drink.” 6 Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.”‘

    Compare that with the Koranic passage below which Miller and Vocab claim ‘have a very vague similarity with the biblical passage.’

    ‘So when Talut departed with the forces, he said: Surely Allah will try you with a river; whoever then drinks from it, he is not of me, and whoever does not taste of it, he is surely of me, except he who takes with his hand as much of it as fills the hand; but with the exception of a few of them they drank from it.’

    Notice that the nutcase Miller claims the ONLY points of continity are ‘the mention of a hand’ and the size of the armies.

    I quote Miller’s absurd ‘refutation’ of me ‘At most we have a very vague similarity with the biblical passage.’

    Nutcase!

    Which sane person can read those passages and claim there is only ‘a very vague similarity’?

    Vocab will desperately ignore his own answers in the vain hope that people do not notice that his answers are sheer rubbish.

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