Sunday, January 31, 2016

Peter Kirby's Straw man "Best Case for Jesus:" Talmud

I am not going to deal with any of the Pagan historians who document Jesus existence, such as Tacitus. Tacitus is defensible but it's not really the best evidence. Going by the best I've done Kirby's attempt at making the case on Josephus, Here I will deal with his straw man on the Talmud.[1] Then on NT and Church "fathers." Remember Kirby is doing a straw man argument, making the alleged "best case" for Jesus historicity so he can tear it down and say "I made the case and it doesn't stand up to my fierce onslaught." That's what I expect from a coward who is so threatened by better scholars that he chases them off his message board with the flimsy excuse that they have too many posts on the bard. So here we have the section where he makes his straw man version of the Talmudic Evidence for Jesus' Historicity.

Kirby writes:

This is the Jewish tradition regarding the trial of Jesus, found in the Babylonian Talmud, b. Sanh. 43a. While this text was finalized sometime in the fifth or sixth century, by its nature it incorporates many traditions that are very old, as it collects and quotes traditional commentary of the rabbis.
It was taught:
On the Eve of Passover they hung Yeshu the Notzarine. And the herald went out before him for 40 days [saying]: “Yeshu the Notzarine will go out to be stoned for sorcery and misleading and enticing Israel [to idolatry]. Any who knows [anything] in his defence must come and declare concerning him.”
 But no-one came to his defence so they hung him on the Eve of Passover....According to David Instone-Brewer, who has undertaken to analyze the talmudic traditions generally for their date of origin with an eye to seeing which may predate A.D. 70, the introductory formula is: normally used for traditions originating with Tannaim – ie rabbis of Mishnaic times before 200 CE – though the presence of such a formula is not an infallible marker of an early origin. However in this case, it is likely that these formulae are accurate because this helps to explain why the rabbis regarded this Jesus tradition as if it had comparable authority to Mishnah. Further, he notes, an independent attestation in Justin Martyr brings the most likely date before 150:
Outside the Talmud, two charges are recorded by Justin Martyr who said that as a result of Jesus’ miracles, the Jews “dared to call him a magician and an enticer of the people.” (Dial. 69)[Btw hanging was a euphemism for crucifixion]

Kirby then draws again upon Instone-Brewer [2] in discussing the date of this writing. He argues that the date of the trial and excision being so close to Passover and the charges (sorcery not in the NT) would not be brought by a Rabbi or Pharisees since: (1) Rabbis and Pharisees would seek to discourage activity so near the Passover, (2) they would want the charges to reflective of Torah and rabbinic halakha (teaching on the law). The account is not coming from new testament and not made up by Rabbis since they would make up time and charges they wanted. This implies a real event recorded in the memory of the common people and echoed in Rabbinic literature. Kirby makes the point that the event would have been remembered f0r the unusual date, the charges reflect would not have been interpolated by Christians. So this is good historical evidence for Jesus' existence.

That's ok for a beginning but that's the end of his argument. That is pathetic. There is a far more devastating case to be made. I will not go into great detail but just list a few points he could have raised that would strengthen the case tremendously. The first point involves his own source for documentation. one thing that makes the case for Jesus from the Talmud so hard o prove is the deniability od the rabbis. They will argue that is is not Jesus of whom the text speaks. They were afraid of being persecuted by Christians, not without good reason, so they censored the literature themselves to take Jesus out of it. We know they did because we copies of the pre-censored texts. In some cases they used epithets to talk about him, such as "such a one."
*Ben Stada
*Ben Pantira [3]

When we e see these names we know it's probably Jesus of whom they speak. It does give then plausible deniability but there are a couple of reasons why we can know it's him. One of themajor reasons is we have some of those documents and two of the scholar who are major in making this argument include Dr Peter Williams and Dr David Instone-Brewer "look at the Munich Talmud, which contains traditional Jewish teaching, and discover how even the deleted text provides evidence for Jesus' crucifixion!" [4]  Kirby researched this guy  why didn't he know that?

On the video seen below (fn 4) Instone-Brewer shows that from one of these pre-censored documents they can show that the text is derived from the original charge sheets read against Jesus. They can show this because the term hanged in the pre-censored document was changed to "stoned" in the censored version. Hanged means crucified. So they changed it because (he thinks) as not to reflect the Roman method of execution. I think it was to distance it from the Jesus story. If they are right that is direct proof Jesus existed in history. I am counting that as two points. (1) the basic fact o censoring. hat are they censoring? If it's not to Jesus out? Then (2) that specific example of the charge sheets, (3) Celsus.

The geneology of Jesus was known to the Jews, is mentioned in the Talmud and shows up in the use of the name "panteria." This is duscussed above where it is said that the use of that name is the jewish preference for a geneological connection. Another quotion above:

R. Shimeaon ben 'Azzai said: I found a genealogical roll in Jerusalem wherein was recorded, "Such-an-one is a bastard of an adulteress." McDowell and Wilson state, on the authority of Joseph Klausner, that the phrase such-an-one "is used for Jesus in the Ammoraic period (i.e., fifth century period)." (McDowell & Wilson, p. 69) [see fn4]

So geneological connections tie the figure of Pantera to Jesus of Nazerath. Of course mythological figures would not have geneological connections. Jesus Mother, brother, and family are mentioned throughout many sources.

II. Celsus

Celsus demonstrates a connection to the material of the Talmud, indicating that that material about Jesus was around in a leaast the second century. Since Jewish sources would not have been reidaly avaible to Celsus it seems reasonable to assume that this information had been floating around for some time, and easier to obtain. Therefore, we can at least went back to the early second, late frist century.

Origin quoting Celsus:
Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a soldier named Panthéra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god." [5]

Celsus was obviously reading the Talmudic sources, he has the same materi9al they do and he as much as says so:
Let us imagine what a Jew- let alone a philosopher- might say to Jesus: 'Is it not true, good sir, that you fabricated the story of your birth from a virgin to quiet rumourss about the true and insavoury circumstances of your origins? Is it not the case that far from being born in the royal David's city of bethlehem, you were born in a poor country town, and of a woman who earned her living by spinning? Is it not the case that when her deceit was uncovered, to wit, that she was pregnant by a roman soldier called Panthera she was driven away by her husband- the carpenter- and convicted of adultery?" ....
I could continue along these lines, suggesting a good deal about the affairs of Jesus' life that does not appear in your own records. Indeed, what I know to be the case and what the disciples tell are two very different stories... [for example] the nonsensical idea that Jesus foresaw everything that was to happen to him (an obvious attempt to conceal the humiliating facts).  [6]

These three reasons in addition to Kirby's point.  (1) the charge sheets, although that is an expansion of the point Kirby made. (2) the fact of the censored documents, (3) the evidence of Celsus. That is really the nail in the coffin of mytherism.
 The religious a priori

For more on Jesus in Talmud see my age on Religious  A Priori


[1] Peter Kirby," Best Case for Jesus:(d) Babylonian Talmud (and Justin Martyr)"Peter Kirby (blog)
Jan. 22, 2015, Online resource, URL: accessed 1/18/16

[2] David Instone-Brewer, "Jesus of Nazareth's Trail in Sanhedrin 43a," PDF, pre publication copy

[3] Josh McDowell & Bill Wilson's He Walked Among Us Here's Life Publishers (1988)

[4 ] Expert Evidence on the Crucifiction of Jesus.Be Thinking blog
Dr David Instone-Brewer Senior Research Fellow in Rabbinics and the New Testament, Tyndale House, Cambridge

the Be Thinking Blog reflects a much bigger body of literature demonstrating Jesus in the Talmud, something else Kirby didn't want to talk about.

For more information see:

“Jesus of Nazareth’s Trial in Sanhedrin 43a” (Jerusalem Perspective, 2011) by Dr David Instone-Brewer
- a detailed discussion of the dating of the different layers in this tradition. (Pre-publication version)
Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Pess, 2007) by Peter Schäfer
- an up-to-date discussion of the historicity of all the censored passages
Christianity in Talmud and Midrash (London: Williams & Norgate, 1903; New York, KTAV, 1975) by R. Travers Herford
- a list and analysis of all the censored passages
'Jesus of Nazareth: a magician and false prophet who deceived God's people?' by Graham Stanton; in Jesus of Nazareth: Lord and Christ: essays on the historical Jesus and New Testament Christology, ed. by Joel B. Green and Max Turner (Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans, 1994): pp.164-180. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Carlisle, Eng: Paternoster Pr, 1994). A detailed discussion of the charges against Jesus in other literature.

[5] Origin quoting Celsus, On the True Doctrine, translated by R. Joseph Hoffman, Oxford University Press, 1987, 59

Let us imagine what a Jew- let alone a philosopher- might say to Jesus: 'Is it not true, good sir, that you fabricated the story of your birth from a virgin to quiet rumourss about the true and in savoury circumstances of your origins? Is it not the case that far from being born in the royal David's city of bethlehem, you were born in a poor country town, and of a woman who earned her living by spinning? Is it not the case that when her deceit was uncovered, to wit, that she was pregnant by a roman soldier called Panthera she was driven away by her husband- the carpenter- and convicted of adultery?" (57). "I could continue along these lines, suggesting a good deal about the affairs of Jesus' life that does not appear in your own records. Indeed, what I know to be the case and what the disciples tell are two very different stories... [for example] the nonsensical idea that Jesus foresaw everything that was to happen to him (an obvious attempt to conceal the humiliating facts)." (62). "The men who fabricated this genealogy [of Jesus] were insistent on on the point that Jesus was descended from the first man and from the king of the Jews [David]. The poor carpenter's wife seems not to have known she had such a distinguished bunch of ancestors." (64). "What an absurdity! Clearly the Christians have used the myths of Danae and the Melanippe, or of the Auge and the Antiope in fabricating the story of Jesus' virgin birth." (57). "After all, the old myths of the Greeks that attribute a divine birth to Perseus, Amphion, Aeacus and Minos are equally good evidence of their wondrous works on behalf of mankind- and are certainly no less lacking in plausibility than the stories of your followers." (59).

[6] McDwell and Wilson, op. cit. 57, 62

The mention of this particular pair of charges, in this order, is hardly likely to be a coincidence.
To resolve the internal difficulties of the text and its parallels elsewhere in the Talmud, Instone-Brewer proposes that the original form of this tradition was simple: “On the Eve of Passover they hung Yeshu the Notzarine for sorcery and enticing Israel.” The proposed expansions before and after the charges explain the unusual date of the execution, in that an especially lenient period allowed people to come to his defense and that his execution occurred at the last possible time, while still occurring publicly while crowds were there for the holiday.
Since the New Testament account gives no account at all of a charge of sorcery at the trial of Jesus, instead emphasizing charges of blasphemy and treason, it is difficult to see this account as deriving from the Gospel story. Moreover, Instone-Brewer argues:
The origin of this tradition is also unlikely to be rabbinic or Pharisaic. Although it has been preserved in rabbinic literature, there are two reasons why it was unlikely to be authored within this movement. First, a rabbinic author or their Pharisee predecessors would want the order of the charges to mirror Torah and rabbinic halakha. Second, rabbinic traditions and the major Pharisaic schools tried to dissuade people from working on Passover Eve, so they would not have invented a tradition which said that they decided to try Jesus on this date.
Because the Jewish leaders of the first century were in a position to know the circumstances of such an execution, which would have been remembered for taking place on an unusual date, it is plausible to see this rabbinic tradition, late as its written record may be, as stemming from the historical Jewish memory of the execution of Jesus on Passover Eve with charges of sorcery and leading Israel astray.
You could even say that it’s more probable than not, in which case what we have right here is an argument for the historicity of Jesus. I value it more highly than both Josephus and Tacitus, as it certainly did not come from a Christian interpolator (unlike Josephus) and actually has a decent argument to the effect that it did not derive from the Christian tradition about Jesus (unlike Tacitus).
Summing Up the Argument from Non-Christian Sources

The absence of an ancient tradition questioning the existence of Jesus isn’t exactly telling, positive evidence for us today. While Josephus could be devastating evidence for the historicity of Jesus, it seems more fair either to regard the text as moderate evidence against on account of silence regarding Jesus or simply as too difficult a textual question to hang your hat on. Tacitus likewise is only faint as direct evidence but does raise a good question: with references like these, does doubt have anything to recommend it? Finally, even though its late date of compilation makes it impossible to rule out the possibility of a Christian source to the tradition with certainty, the Jewish tradition (recorded in the Talmud and with an echo in Justin Martyr) provides actual evidence for a historical Jesus. This tradition says that Yeshu the Notzarine was hung on the Eve of Passover, accused of sorcery and enticing Israel to idolatry.
(Sidenote: Some might not find the Talmudic tradition to be enough evidence to fill in a picture that meets their minimum definition of the historicity of Jesus. For example, without more information, he might have lived “one hundred years before Christ,” as proposed by G.R.S. Mead and Alvar Ellegard.)
(2) The Best Case: The Gospels and Related Traditions
Continuing my attempt at a best case for the historicity of Jesus, I’d proceed directly to the Gospel texts and related traditions. They are the most extensive source of details regarding the life of Jesus, so our estimation of them is an essential part of the process of evaluating the evidence.
(2) (a) The Gospel of Mark
The genre and purpose of Mark is a vexing question in New Testament studies. There’s still a plausible argument to be made that the author is a fairly unsophisticated writer, who has padded out his narrative of the ministry of Jesus with little stories here and there that he has heard (alongside some of his own inventions), and the best case for a historical Jesus might capitalize on such an argument. The incorporation of Aramaic material, by an author that seems more likely to know only Greek and Latin; the inclusion of obscure Palestinian geography, by an author that gets the basics wrong; the references to the family of Jesus, by an author that has no use for them; all of this suggests an author that has taken up bits and pieces of prior tradition while creating his story.
Richard Carrier makes a valiant effort to show that Mark 15:21 is “just as likely on minimal mythicism and on minimal historicity,” offering that the passage here may be intended as a symbolic reference to Alexander the Great and Musonius Rufus, a Stoic philosopher (On the Historicity of Jesus, pp. 446-451).
They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. (Mark 15:21)
Only the Gospel of Mark contains this reference to Simon as “the father of Alexander and Rufus.” Right away we can then form two objections to Carrier’s tentative hypothesis. First, the other example of a symbolic message in the Gospel of Mark (“the number of loaves and baskets in Mk 8.19-21”) had no trouble getting copied in Matthew and Luke, proving that the evangelists were capable of copying these symbolic messages. The omission from the other synoptic Gospels suggests that, even at the early date of the writing of Matthew and Luke, this reference in Mark was not understood as symbolic. Second, it’s just a bit of a stretch to suggest that two names centuries apart, who could not actually be sons of Simon of Cyrene, are just as likely an interpretive option as, say, two names of people that were known to the audience and that were sons of Simon of Cyrene, just as Mark 15:21 actually says.
Carrier asks that we should always look for “strong external corroborating evidence (such as we have for the existence, at least, of Peter and Pilate), in the absence of which, for any detail in Mark, we should assume a symbolical meaning is always more likely” because of all the known examples in which Mark tells stories with “some esoteric allegorical or symbolical purpose” (On the Historicity of Jesus, p. 451).
We should distinguish between allegorical fiction and false tales, in that the author of Mark may have been a fabulist who wanted his stories to be believed and thus authenticate the good news of Jesus as the Messiah. Thus the evidence regarding stories constructed out of the Septuagint is evidence of falsehood of some kind but not necessarily evidence of allegory. As popular literature with the purpose of promoting belief in Jesus Christ, with a near-contemporary setting, the Gospel of Mark could even be argued to make more sense as unabashed invention, meant for belief, rather than as a sophisticated symbolic tale.
(Sidenote: Why don’t we have more people simply positing that an author was, to put it plainly, a liar? There is a real danger of overuse of the “allegory card,” which can be played to avoid making pointed “accusations.” This is history. All claims are equally worthy of proposal, in the pursuit of an accurate account of events.)
But there is a trace of evidence that could help us to place Alexander and Rufus in history, or at least the latter person. In the letter of recommendation for Phoebe, also known as Romans 16, we find the words of Paul: “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; and greet his mother—a mother to me also.” Here we learn that there was a Christian named Rufus known to Paul. We also hear about his mother but not his father, which might suggest that she was a widow. While it is impossible to prove, it is plausible that this Rufus and his brother Alexander were sons of Simon of Cyrene. This in turn means that the author of the Gospel of Mark, by drawing attention to Alexander and Rufus, who were known to Mark’s audience, could easily be exposed as a liar if they had never heard of their father carrying the cross for Jesus. This suggests the existence of a very early tradition which, like an early tradition that Jesus had a brother named James, would lead most people to suspect that there was a historical Jesus.
- See more at:

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Myopic nature of scientistic thinking.


The "New atheist" thing is just a subset of a larger ideological movement that I call "scientism." That is a term that refers to the idea of an inflexible doctrinaire approach to science that elevates science  almost to the status of religion. I've argued with scientists over religion and I've never been impressed with tuei9r understanding. There is something about these reductionist types of ideology that closes one's view to all but a narrow range of ideas.

Laurence A. Moran "... is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. You can contact him by looking up his email address on the University of Toronto website." He is very learned, he's also a nice guy. Yet he demonstrates his myopic ideological ghettoization every time hye gets outside his own field. He runs a blog called Sandwalk.[1]

He has an exchange with Bible scholar and Christian apologist James McGrath. The topic is historical method vs. Jesus myth idea. Moran is arguing that lack of scientific and historical evidence for Jesus is proof  that he didn't exist. McGrath is arguing that this is not the way historians do history. There has to be some reason to assume he didn't exist. This makes perfect since. When I was a teaching assistant the guy I worked for, a big named historian in Persian studies, said "if we accepted that not having definite proof was a reason to doubt someone's existence, or because a religious persom said it we would know nothing bout the first century."

He quotes Jerry Coyne saying:

 I’m still convinced that the judgement of scholars that “Jesus was a real man” comes not from evidence, but from their conviction that the Bible simply couldn’t be untruthful about that issue. But of course we know of cases where myths grew up that weren’t at bottom derived from a historical individual.
James McGrath is upset at this and Moran can't get it. He has an exchange with McGrath on facebook

Laurence A. Moran I'm not familiar with this field. Apart from what's written in the Bible, what is the best historical evidence of the existence of a man called "Jesus" who could perform miracles, rose from the dead, and was the son of god?

James McGrath That is a bizarre question. What is the best historical evidence for a Plato who is the son of Apollo? That isn't how history works.

Laurence A. Moran If there's no historical evidence that Plato is the son of Apollo are we justified in assuming that it's not true? That it's just a myth? Or am I still not understanding how history works?

James McGrath Historical study, like the natural sciences, ignores claims about divine entities and the miraculous and looks at things that can be assessed in terms of their probability in the everyday world of human agents and cultures.

Laurence A. Moran "Historical study, like the natural sciences, ignores claims about divine entities ..."

Science does not ignore claims about divine entities. Scientists investigate those claims to see if they are valid. (
That is pretty much bull. It depends upon the claim. If wise man A says "I am the son of God" science has nothing to say, it is outside their domain, it's either theology or psychiatry. If he says "I am the son of God and I heal the sick" they can investigate to make sure there was an unexplained healing process. Even then it's a sure bet they will assert some anomalous state rather than sadmit to a miracle.

James McGrath I did see your blog post. But the point is not just whether one can in theory investigate particular claims using particular tools and methods, but whether it is meaningful to do so. If a religious text claims that God made the sun stand still at some point in the past, then historians can look and see whether there is mention of such an occurrence in texts from around the globe, and finding none, conclude that the claim is false. But in general, historians do not bother doing that, because historical study deals in probabilities, and so historical study is not going to find an improbable event to be probable anyway, and so it makes more sense to bracket out such claims rather than to waste time investigating them merely to confirm their improbability.

Laurence A. Moran You're actually serious, aren't you? According to historians, what is the probability that Wellington won the Battle of Waterloo? Is it a low probability so historians bracket out the claim of a Wellington victory and don't waste time investigating it?

James McGrath You seem not to understand. Do you think that the earth ceasing to rotate is comparable in terms of its improbability with the likelihood or unlikelihood of an individual military leader meeting with success or failure in a specific battle? But at any rate, if you think that historians and scientists could look at the claim that Apollo was of divine parentage, or that Jesus was miraculously conceived, feel free to explain to me the appropriate procedures to conduct such research.
But Moran doesn't stop there. What McGrath has said seems perfectly logical to me. It makes since given an understanding of philosophical parameters of the field. But we are outside Moran's field and rather than learn a new view he imposes his old one upon it. He resorts to the old atheist standard of mocking and ridicule. Of course it's a refined and educated version but that is what it is.

He employs a civilized knowledge of literature and quotes Alice in wonderland.

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them — particularly verbs: they're the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

'Would you tell me please,' said Alice, 'what that means?'

'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

Then  he concludes: Here is the all pervasive Jesus mythyer bait and switch where you think you are talking about history  and they are really talking about belief  in God.

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

 What is "denialism"? Is it "denialism" to think that the Biblical Jesus—the one who performed miracles and rose from the dead— didn't exist because there's no scientific or historical evidence that such a man ever lived?

Or is it "denialism" to claim that neither scientists nor historians are interested in, nor capable of, finding out whether Jesus the miracle-worker existed; therefore, Jesus the Son of God did exist?
What just happened here? He proved once again they cannot distinguish between the man in history and the concept of the son of God. It should  be perfectly logical to see those as spate issues in water tight compartments but5 they just can't. Why? Because he's not thanking as scientist but as an athei9st ideologue, All the thinking and learning that civilization offers (he's even
Canadian) just goes away when the ideology is involved. It's ironic but not surprising that he quoted the passage that he did because it really is a matter of who will be in charge. Not a matter of truth or reason but of politics. The only irony is that he can't see that the implication he throws at McGrath is more true of him.

[1 ] I had exchanges on his blog and wrote a piece on th9is blog about it:

"The courtier[s Reply and the fool;s gambit," AW sept 2012

my link to that post doesn't work on my article so here it is is

still he was nice to me when I posted there again.

URL to hs exchange with McGrath (see also link above)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Center for Inquiry, Jesus Project, Athiest Orgnaization


Once upon a time I wrote an article called "cracking the Jesus Myther's Phony Scholarship code." It was about things like the Jesus project which appears to be a true scholarly endeavor but is just a front for Jesus myth propaganda. Another good example of that is Religious It poses as a sight about religious tolerance but is really about how evil Christianity is.
This will be like a fourth "Quest for the Historical Jesus" (or fifth or sixth, depending on how you count), with two major differences that shall define the Project:
  1. It will exclude all theological and dogmatic bias--conservative or liberal (none attending were sympathetic to either the Jesus Seminar or conservative apologetics). It will instead attempt to develop objective methods (which won't inherently favor any pet theory) and establish the facts independently of theory before moving forward. All the scholars present agreed every past Quest had (and has) consistently failed to do either.
  2. It won't rule out anything just because someone attending thinks it's fringe. They will hear all the Dohertys, Tabors, Eisenmans, MacDonalds, Q-deniers, the lot. Hoffmann is intent on maintaining a wide and critical diversity of scholars in the Project. As his press release says, "Participants represent a wide variety of perspectives, ranging from Tabor's argument that there is substantial evidence that the tomb of the family of Jesus has been located, to the view that the evidence for the existence of Jesus as an historical figure is not persuasive." What we will require is an objective methodology from anyone who intends to argue anything to the group. It won't be a soapbox society. You will either explain how your conclusions can be proved to everyone's satisfaction, or you'll be shown the door.

In other words, Jesus myth propaganda. They "project" is ran form the stand point of convincing the world that Jesus didn't exist and selling that book. I'm sure the faitful wont see it that way. they are good honest secular minded God haters trying to spread the truth.

They mention Tabor who was attacked assiduously by the Jesus myth crowd. Even though he had a thesis that claimed to prove that Jesus was not divine and that Jesus' mission was just to put his family in power, he at least did seem to prove that Jesus existed as a man in history so they had to oppose it. This was so obviously a special collequy called for the pupose of putting Jesus mythism on a par with the Jesus seminar. That would give it a pretense of scholarship it has failed to obtain even today. Jesus mythers are more at war with scholarship.

When I wrote that old article there were an atheist who mocked and ridiculed me saying "He’s obsessed with linking the Jesus Project to Skeptical Inquirer magazine, a magazine..." We find that there is an organization called "the center for Inquiry." They run a blog called "The Jesus Project." Under "advocacy" they list:

The Center for Inquiry advocates for science, reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values through the following specialized policy and political programs:

The Office of Public Policy

The Office of Public Policy (OPP) works on three levels:
  • At the grassroots level, the OPP works with CFI Centers and Communities on policy within the state and at the state level on federal issues. The OPP trains Friends of the Center to influence state and local level legislation, take part in political campaigns, and run for office.
  • At the federal level, the OPP lobbies the U.S. Congress and the Administration in three areas: science and reason; secularism, and humanist ethics. The OPP also cooperates with powerful coalitions to influence legislators through individual and group communications.
  • At the international level, the OPP supports the work of CFI at the United Nations by lobbying Congress and the State Department on UN-related issues.

CFI at the United Nations

The Center for Inquiry is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It maintains official representation at UN headquarters in New York and UN offices in Geneva and Vienna, where it works to defend the secular, scientific outlook in the international community.

Legal Department

The Legal Department files amicus briefs in cases involving First Amendment rights, reproductive freedom, assistance in dying and other issues of importance CFI and its supporters. Where appropriate, the Center or one of its affiliates, such as the Council for Secular Humanism, may file its own lawsuit. In addition, the Legal Department will also consider offering free legal assistance to individuals who believe that their constitutional rights are in jeopardy or that they have experienced discrimination because they are not religious.
Legal departments hire lawyers that takes money. It takes money to do all of this and money is indicative of organization. While they try to laugh off the connections to Organized propaganda it's quite obvious have have a have a huge moneyed propaganda machine. Follow the records on any one of their publicans and you can see they have all kinds of things, a huge structure. Look what it says about the "federal level" They have lobbyist! you think that doesn't take money?

under outreach they say:

The Center for Inquiry isn't just a think tank—we're a world-wide movement of humanists, skeptics, freethinkers, and atheists, all working together at the grassroots level to advance scientific and secular values where we live.
From social events to educational lectures, community volunteering to national advocacy, CFI members are living proof that there are good, ethical alternatives to religious and paranormal worldviews.

How many atheists have told me it's not a movement? Atheist always say 'it's not a movement." But here they say it's a world wide movement. Well that doesn't prove they are athiest, these are "Free thinkers." Look what they say then:

Whether we identify as atheists, freethinkers, humanists, secularists, or skeptics, we all share basic values rooted in inquiry, naturalism, and the scientific method—values that urgently need to be demonstrated and advanced in the broader culture.
There must be a system that can unite all of our voices when success requires our voice to be strong. That system is the new CFI Network.
Not only is it a movement but they are seeking to organize it and control for their agenda. They include atheists in their identification.

their announced goals include:

Fostering a secular society requires attention to many specific goals, but three goals in particular represent the focus of our activities:
  1. an end to the influence that religion and pseudoscience have on public policy
  2. an end to the privileged position that religion and pseudoscience continue to enjoy in many societies
  3. an end to the stigma attached to being a nonbeliever, whether the nonbeliever describes her/himself as an atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker or skeptic.


Moi said...
Absolutely apalling. More people need to be aware of this. I'm so sick of atheist propaganda.
Metacrock said...
you and me both man!
JBsptfn said...
Those Atheist groups are about tearing apart morals and values. Here is an example from Jime's blog:

The world needs to stand up to these bullies.
Metacrock said...
thanks man. here's your link:

Metacrock said...
Stoogie said...
Typical: a tiny loud mouthed minority attempting to force their atheist tyranny on the majority by pushing their way into positions of power where others might ignore their presence.

Even their credo is condescending.

Why is it we're the only ones that are expected to show any tolerance?
Stoogie said...
Typical: atheists organizing to force the tyranny of the minority on the rest of the planet.

It would be nice if they swallowed their condescendence and showed some of the tolerance they demand from everybody else.
JBsptfn said...
Another thing: They say that there is a stigma attached to being a nonbeliever? Not as much as there is to being a believer in God.

And, they want to take away stigma on them, but put it on other people by lies and deceit. These people are the biggest bunch of frauds going.
Metacrock said...
I am always Leary of people who have a 'we aer always surrounded" mentality. Depends upon who is doing the stigmatizing. The majority of Americans are still religious (in fact self identified Christians) and so in the general public there isn o stigma on being a believer. There's a stigma on being thought a fanatic and that probably unfair in some ways.

Although I am Leary of actual fanaticism. that's largely in the eye of the beholder.

atheism as a movement as a schizophrenic reaction: on the one hand they want to actually pretend they are in the majority and they constantly blow their figures out of all proportion to do that.

(1) they count anyone who is the least bit angry with organized religion as an atheist.

(2) they count all Buddhists as atheists.

(3) I've seen some try to count Hindus as atheists even though they clearly have gods.

(4) one nut case on carm who tires to make it sound like each individual christian is a cult unto himself/herself becuase we all have different concepts of God, however slightly they differ.

(5) atheist also use cheats like "we are all born atheists" to try make themselves seem more the majority.

Then on the other hand they relish their self-pity thing about "we are so put upon and oppressed."
JBsptfn said...
Quote"(4) one nut case on carm who tires to make it sound like each individual christian is a cult unto himself/herself becuase we all have different concepts of God, however slightly they differ."Quote

I feel bad for you if those are the people that you debate with on CARM every day. Those people seem lost and confused. They aren't currently finding truth through Atheism, and I don't think they ever will.
Metacrock said...
well yea. there are more intelligent ones but the level of discourse is always being brought down to the lowest common denominator.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Chilling Example of Modern Philoshpical Totalitarianism

A Chilling Example of Modern Philoshpical Totalitarianism

A dialogue I once had on a message board when an atheist assaulted me with a little essay on philosophy that I find most depressing. It's depressing because it basically confirms all the most alarming and anti-human aspects of modern thought I have accused the New atheists of harboring, it affirms in an unabashed, proud and defiant manner as though they are so obvious that to state them is prove them. Yet what's being is proving is basically that none of us have the right to think apart form affirming the ideology handed down form the atheist hierarchy. This "atheist hierarchy" is basically scinece. Not that I think science is an atheist hierarchy, I think that's what the new atheist think it is. I am leaving the interlocutor's name out, because I don't him to feel put on the spot. I'll just call him:


Existentialism is an unfortunate example of how philosophy gets side tracked by bad ideas. Existentialism essentially destroys any meaningful conception of knowledge and resorts to subjectivism to explain the human experience. It's not any better than the Idealism it wished to criticize, simply because it just offers the other extreme as a solution.
Meta: Right away we have what I consider to be pure evil. The vilification of existentialism, if it is not centered around the pretentious nature of his French exemplars, will probably be base upon the desire to control the thinking of others. Existentialism rebelled against imposed structures that filter our understanding of world for us and force us to think in prescribed ways. The criticism made here asserts that to undersatnd reality by understanding our own perceptions of it is a mistake can only mean that the author feels that the prescribed and contorted version of reality is the only one that counts as knowledge. In other words, he wants someone to do his thinking for him. He continues with several several misconceptions about Kierkegaard:

Kierkegaard describes religion as a matter of individual subjective passion, unmediated by others. The reason he favored Christianity was because he lived in a Christian culture. His argument for faith is, even by his own admission, absurd. He denies all reason in it and treats it as something that can never be understood, through experience, by others, which more or less means that the study of human psychology is completely fruitless. He just says faith is a miracle, so there. That's not philosophy, it's art at its best and lazy thinking at its worst. He was a product of his time, and utilizes the same inaccurate theory of mind that rational idealists and empiricists of the time had to rely upon, which explains why all three philosophies are incredibly problematic.
Meta: First of all, as always pointing out that "he's a Christian because he lives in a Christian culture" is just not meaningful to someone who thinks God is working in all cultures. It's no different than saying "he's only a Christian because that's the tradition that speaks to him." You see the contradiction in his thinking here. He says the kind of thinking that recognizes the power of the individual to perceive reality and not be forced a prescribed way of thinking is invalid when it challenges the atheist fortress of facts, that's scinece and science is the only form of knowledge, because it backs atheism (supposedly) but religious belief is based upon a prescribed set of premises then that's proof that it's not true. Yet by his way of thinking the cultural norm should be seen as truth a priori, the individual's understanding of what's true should be shunned a violation of the relationship between perceptions and knowledge (as he talks about above). Wait, the difference is with religion it's not coming through his prescribed form of knowledge (science) so it must be wrong either way. Very convoluted way of thinking.

Moreover, his understanding of SK is sophomoric. SK did not mean that faith is irrational in the sense of being stupid and unjustified. That's a standard misconception. He's just saying that logic is hypothetical and unless faith is experienced, the presence of God first hand, it's not real. He disparaged Cartesian coordinates on the basis that unless doubt is real then faith is not real (by this I mean his philosophical coordinates). Doubt is not real when it's a philosophical exercise and one doesn't really doubt. Therefore, it is not establishing faith to overcome phony doubt with hypothetical. New atheist dread the subjective. They are scared to death by experience. My guess is they are aware of the power of religious experience to convict and turn people to God. The first thing they have to crush is the validity of experiencing God.

He goes on to give a lot phony talk about the history of philosophy which I don't he understands:


This theory of mind I'm talking about is the nineteenth century paradigm that sees the mind relating to the environment through sensory perception, so experience is seen as passive and observational. Experience can only be described as participatory action with one's environment, which is something that the rational idealists, empiricists, and existentialists failed to recognize. Empiricism grasped the spirit of the modern age, but it lacked the teeth to actualize it. Rational idealists like Kant and existentialists like Kierkegaard understood empiricism to be destructive to knowledge and went in separate directions, the former relying on a transcendental realm of Being that is responsible for absolute truth to restore knowledge and the latter retreating into subjectivism in the personal sphere.

Meta:"Experience can only be described as participatory action with one's environment," I think if I put my mind to it I could describe experience in other ways. What he's really doing there is setting up a the need to actively control things as the basis for knowledge. Anything that doesn't imposes an ideology of atheism is not knowledge. The only proper knowledge is the imposition of control. Defining experimentally based philosophy as a passive reception of sense data is a mistake in understanding the nature of experience. That does not mean, however, the only alternative is the impossition of a pre coincided view.Now to undersand his comments fairly we should probaly think of what he is saying as an active hands-on search for what's out there rather than the imposition of control. Yet what he's prescribing is control because it assumes a set of percipience steps that the only valid steps and screening out of all else that is not part of ht steps (hence the dread of subjective experience). I can relate the notion of knowledge as an active search but why must it be limited to his active search and other those of others? Why just scinece and not all forms of knowledge? Why must it always be active search why can't it be a dialectics where passive gathering of sense data and informed watchful reception is combined with active searching in a global way rather than a prescribed way?

All of these notions, by today's standards, ought to be considered silly.
Meta:In other words, "all of these notions" existentialism, Phenomenology, experience, individuals thinking for themselves perhaps? Very silly.


All deny, implicitly, the role of intelligent practice in acquiring knowledge. Sensory perception is merely a stimulus to action, it is not knowledge. Knowledge results from the intelligent modification of habits in relation to environmental stimuli. Knowing is not a matter of passively observing reality, it is a manner of interacting with it... probing it, controlling it, etc.
Meta:Probing it hu? Seriously, this statement confirms all my worst fears. It's a frank admission that it's talking about control. The future belongs to us! How about this definition, knowledge results form "intelligent modification of habits in relation to stimuli " In ohter words knowledge is not about knowing things Perish the thoguht, who would ever think that? Knowledge is about knowing what i want you to know. It's about being trained to look at the world the way we want you to see it. But of course we should just accept that it's all meant for he best, those wonderful science wouldn't do anything wrong would they? They weren't any scientists developing racial scinece for Hitler were there? It's ok to erase the ability of the individual to think for himself, and to decliar everything opposed to out ideology as "non-knowledge." That's just that philosophy stuff that can't get us in any trouble.


This understanding of mind, which is scientifically current, offers a solution to the major criticism of empiricism. The need for transcendental realm of Being in order to have knowledge of the world is gone, which was only needed when the thought was that experience was atomized instead of unified through the very necessities of life.
Meta:What did he just say now? He said the current understanding of mind, which what? According to most new atheist the current understanding of min is that there is none. That mind is just an illusion or a side effect (if it's anything at all) brought on by brain chemistry and it means nothing. So in other words the idea we can erase the mind and thinking of ourselves as deterministic robots is solution to the problem of knowledge. Of cousre it is. There's no problem of knowledge if you dont' seek to know anything. After all his definition of knowledge leaves out the idea that knowledge is about knowing things. Of course he asserts hat transcendental stuff is just an old fashioned for things we don't have any more because scinece has replaced the need. That need was born of pretending that truth is somewhere out there and we have to seek it in ways that are not prescribed by the ideology. So course we course we don't need that now because we have the ideology. Because the ideology frees us form needing it the potential reality of it just goes away. There is no reality in transcendent realm because we we don't need it with the ideology telling us what to think. Yet the worse is still to come:


The absolute subjectivity of human experience disappears because knowledge exists as real interactions... one can judge whether their actions are ones informed by knowledge or not.

Subjectivity disappeared? Our qualia and sense data are no longer subjective? We cut that off an let it go away. It's not there we don't have to think about it. I can see how we can ignore the subjective and pretend that all becomes objective. Yet how do we get your experience of it into my head? you can dictate that I must think as you do but you cannot dictate that I experience what you expedience. my experience is still mind. I still perceive the world though my own perceptions and not yours. Now matter how ardently you seek to pretend that all now share the same perceptions we do not. Subjectivity can't ever go away. That's just the epistemological fallacy. you can't get outside your own perceptions to check them and you can't make them become those of others just by trying to impose the same ideas upon the thinking of others. The subjectivity of human experience disappears. What extreme arrogance and nonsense. We don't all start having the same experiences just becuase one imposes a party line.

While there is still room for authenticity in this view, the notion of it in the existentialist view is overblown.
Meta: Room for authenticity where? Where can there be authenticity when subjectivity is gone? There can only be authenticity if we accept that we have different view points and different sets of perceptions. But we he just said subjectivity is gone. After all, like the transcendent, if we don't need it anymore it must go away.

Much of what existentialists refer to as "authentic" is merely a product of culture as opposed to something really authentic to that particular individual. It is true that each individual has his own unique impulses, but how he acts on them is largely a product of the given social environment. Kierkegaard, for instance, decided that Christianity was authentic to him, when in reality it was a product of the habits and customs of his culture.

Meta: So in other words there's still some authenticity but only the bit that agrees with the party line. The bit that doesn't is "merely product of culture." There's that contradiction again. He's supposed to think that knowledge is imposing an active view point where everyone has these objective facts that makes them right and they don't need to wonder about things, anything we have to wonder about is not worth keeping around. We reduce knowledge to just the answers that result from the question we can answer our way. There's some authenticity around but not the kind that disagrees with the party line?

web definition of existentialism:


A philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining...
isn't that what's being replaced, the silly idea we don't need anymore? So where's this authenticity going to come from?
part 2 on friday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Mocking Atheist

The Cancer Prayer

This is from the so called "Thinking Atheist" blog

Jan 9, 2016 at 9:15 AM
6 Days Ago


Quoting their blog:

I was sent a Facebook meme from a page called, "Stop Cancer. Start Praying." The page is filled with hopeful (yet sadly vacuous) platitudes like, "Sorry cancer, GOD is bigger than you!"  "Dear God, Heal all those fighting cancer.  Amen!"  And this one:

cancer prayer

Holding up a hand of doubt or challenge in these difficult scenarios is front-loaded to make the challenger sound like an asshole.  After all, who could ever say an untoward thing about prayer when so many desperate and grieving people are leaning upon it in their darkest hours?  What kind of heartless, wicked person would trod upon the pleas of the heartbroken?

He talks like they designed their pagevwith him in mind. Of course the only thin he has in place in place of hope is the cold comfort that they are not suckers for a religious curse that's not coming so they can die with whatever what passes for dignity in the atheist mind.
But these prayers happen in desperate, difficult times.  Must we only explore the validity of our words and actions in the best of days?  Does struggle and desperation license us to ignore the hard questions and isolate ourselves inside potential falsehoods for comfort's sake?  Are we only concerned about truth when we're conflict-free?
In my mind, I've determined that I'd rather know a hard truth than a happy fantasy, and we've all heard the stories of those who have eschewed real-world solutions for supernatural ones and often paid with their lives.  They cancel the chemo and claim divine favor.  They toss their medications at the church altar.  They embrace the promises of charlatans with an offering plate.  And, at times, tragically, they're so busy looking at the empty sky that they miss opportunities right in front of them.

I am so happy that he has this settled in his mind because he knows best. Who are they to seek healing when the all knowing one is there to tell them to stop? This is what we call "rationalization." In this case it means my whims are more important than yours and here's my excuse to justify it.

 Even those pursuing science-based solutions are often huddled in the prayer circles between doctor consultations, and exploring the sense and effectiveness of those prayers has merit.
 Of course he thinks science an God are enemies. That shows no understanding of either science or God.
I responded to the post, and I'm sure I'll be the target of indignation by those who consider "God is bigger than cancer!" a suitable treatment program.  But perhaps it will provide a rallying point for productive discussion on the merits of asking for our physical ailments to be healed by a divine and magic wand....
 What a martyr.
I take no joy in this conversation amidst the prayers and pain experienced by so many good people, but we should...we must...look at these prayers honestly to determine what they really mean.

It couldn't be that they don't want to die could it? No that's too easy. I know it must mean they are fools and suckers and they need him to tell them how to behave properly when they dying so they they don't burden him with guilt for betraying God.

* God holds the global cure for cancer. He does not use it.

* God holds the individual cure for cancer. He does not use it. Or if he does, he cleverly disguises it as a human construct.

* Even if healing prayers worked, it would mean that God was holding the cure hostage until he felt the adequate number of petitions had been offered up. He's content to watch a baby suffer with cancer, because it's more important that he hear the parents beg.
Of course it's God's fault and so he has cart blanch to mock their sickness all he wants because he's just highlighting for them what a bastard God is not to heal them and not to exist! It would never occur to him to read some philosophers or theologians to get answers to theodicy. So I'll have to provide the link to my article:  [1]
* God's Will is unmovable, unchangeable, a foregone conclusion, which means that he must wish that the boy have cancer, and that all petitions and prayers are being heard by someone who has already made up his mind about what his will shall be. Essentially, humans are asking God to alter his predetermined plan.
Of course he's such an expert on God's Will.
 God, in this context, isn't a hero. If he exists in the all-powerful, truly god-like sense, and if he sits silently while a precious, innocent child suffers in an arena where suffering is declared self-imposed ("We're all born sinners." "It's a fallen world." "Pain in this life, bliss in the next." Etc), this isn't a "loving Father" I'd want anything to do with.  I disagree with the nonsensical notion that, the less we see and hear, the more God is doing.
I wonder if he would admit God was the ?hero" if God healed him. Of course he's taking the father metaphor literally and he's treating  God like the big guy in sky. He hasn't read my theodicy yet so he has no argument. If he does read it he can't answer it.
Prayer. It's understandable why so many reach out (and up) in times of desperation. And if some wish to pray as they navigate through their treatments, I certainly wouldn't begrudge them that. But if we are to look at the scenario with an objective eye, we have to ask some uncomfortable yet important questions about prayer.
The point is what? makes no one has faith so you want have to feel guilty. Now we move to the enlightened comment section.

    Very well said. As a child growing up in church, I lost track of how many sick people we prayed for and how many either (1) died or stayed sick, or (2) recovered on their own or had medical help to fix them, and no matter what happened, God was the hero.
    [see now this guy know what he's talking about. They really need to listen to that guy]]

      I almost lost it about an hour ago when a colleague of mine asked me to cover her clients for a couple of hours next week - driving 45 minutes each way to the office - so she could go to an "angel reading". WHAAAAATTTTT???

      [I have to admit that is kind of wired I don't even know what that is

      Oh Seth God LOVES you ssooooooo much, "Mr." Andrews btu your just so sinnical!!! PRAY and GOD will answer even if sometimes the answer is "Eat shit and die, humans!" I PRAY for yuo "Mr." Seth. GOD iS GRAETER then CANCER!!!!! Bless you "Mr." Andreson.

      [remember how the guy at the top said te page was designed to make them look like assholes? it worked ]

        • why does it hurt you so deeply that others have faith when you don''t you don't want faith why does it anger you so that others do? why does atheism breed narrow minded stupid people?

            [this guy really knows what he's talking about]

                • Avatar

                • "Most people would never apply the standard of "faith" to anything in their lives besides religion. As Seth rather eloquently points out here, "persons of faith" often see the hand of God or the supernatural no matter *what* happens — all without a shred of evidence
                • ;Contradiction. If they would never apply faith to anything outside religion, you seem to say that as a criticism then you can't criticize them for seeing the SN in everything, Which is it?

              • "
                And when someone is willing to believe something without the kind of evidence they would require to believe virtually anything else, it makes me nervous. Surely you see that Islamic terrorists *fervently* believe in the rightness of their cause ... without evidence."

                 I question your credentials for setting standards on evidence.
                (2) you don't what they have experienced. most charismatics have healing experiences but you would never admit it couldn't;'t be explained was want crap.
                3) here is an article from a journal medical history, on Lourdes says the healimgs can't be explained let's see uyou cope with thiat evidence.[2]
              "And if you would, please tell me how *I* can objectively distinguish between what *you* — or some murderous jihadist — calls "God" and something that you are only imagining?"

              • you could start by leaning some logic and a good place to start would be the stuidy of the fallacy called "guilt by association"
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