Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dealing with "Slaves, obey your masters"

Here. 

Successful?

105 comments:

B. Prokop said...

We must understand that Paul, like Christ, was resolutely apolitical. Recall Jesus's words in Luke: One of the multitude said to [Jesus], "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?"

oozzielionel said...

He makes the right points, but he could go farther. It is true that slavery was integral to society. It was done with compassion (household servants) and with brutality (gladiators as the extreme). He provides an excellent example of how Paul's instructions can be and were abused when they come from the mouth of a plantation owner to control and manipulate. These words of advice did not come from a slave owner, they came from a pastor. They spoke into a situation that was hopeless to change from a person without political power to a people who were likewise powerless. The advice is how to live as a Christian in a bad situation. Paul's full message regarding slavery includes the admonition to get free if you can, for the free to treat the slave as a brother, for slaves to be treated well, and that slaves have full access to a relationship with God.

The modern parallel that I think should be explored is the extremes between wealth and poverty in our own societies. It is present domestically and even more extreme internationally. We should be careful about condemning the past when we repeat the evil in the present.

There is a very real slavery going on in the neighborhoods with payday loans, title loans, gang and drug domination, high crime,poorly performing schools, unemployment...

John W. Loftus said...

No, Victor, not even close. See this:

http://www.skepticink.com/reasonablyfaithless/2013/02/07/slavery-bible-style/

Or read my forthcoming chapter on the topic in "Christianity is Not Great."

Cheers

B. Prokop said...

John,

What so many debunkers fail to realize is that the New Testament is basically silent on the subject of slavery as an institution. When the subject did come up, the apostles * were writing about how to live within society - in their case, a society which included slavery.

When they did veer from that focus (as in Philemon), it's obvious that there is a great discomfort and disapproval of the institution. But as I posted above, Paul was not a politician and he certainly did not advocate overthrowing the Roman Order, but rather emphasized the necessity of living justly within an unjust society.

* Jesus Himself said practically nothing on the subject, other than to acknowledge its existence.

Andrew W said...

In our age, the greatest virtue is Libertarian Freedom, a.k.a. Autonomy, or "I am the sole boss of me". In contrast, the scriptures view a society where everyone is under someone else's authority, and ultimately under God's. The scriptures simultaneously hold both freedom and submission up as virtues and goals, and provide no support for the modern notion that submission is only valid if you freely choose it.

Discussions of slavery have to be viewed in this light. For Paul, at least, the key issue isn't whether you are owned - it's who owns you. Scripturally speaking, slavery is not the great evil, and thus it's treated with a lot more nuance than we modern radical autonomists are willing to appreciate.

B. Prokop said...

" the key issue isn't whether you are owned - it's who owns you"

Or as Bob Dylan put it, "Yer gonna serve somebody!" (great song, by the way)

Papalinton said...

What a GREAT post directed to our attention by Loftus.

Christians would do well to read it and note how the miserable attempts to rationalize slavery out of the Christian narrative simply pales to dissonance-reduction apologetics in comparison to the forceful and intellectually erudite exposition at the above site. It is any wonder people simply do not trust and blindly defer to the christian message at face value any more?

There was a slow, consistent and perceptible shying away from religion earlier but in recent years the precipitating clincher to the loss of trust veritably accelerated when revealed that priests were using children as captive sex slaves, that the Catholic world began to implode. How about these reports:

"Dublin Archbishop says Irish Catholic Church is on the brink of collapse" from IRISH CENTRAL

"The end of Catholic Ireland" from THE GUARDIAN

"Irish Catholics flee the church" from SALON

No amount of apologetical spin is going to work here.

The standing Royal Commission investigating child sexual abuse by religious institutions in Australia has a few years to run yet before its findings are published but what has been released and reported on has shown a devastating pattern of depraved indifference by the church towards the minors in its care.

I doubt the US will ever have the courage to undertake a similar comprehensive federal Grand Jury investigation into child sex abuse by religious institutions in that country. Why? The Church is too powerful and government too weak and morally compromised.



B. Prokop said...

"the Catholic world began to implode"

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Catholicism is alive and well, as demonstrated HERE. The Church is growing faster than the world population, (which, for the math-challenged amongst you, means that the overall percentage of humans who are also Catholics is growing). Some implosion!

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, No doubt in an ideal slave-holding world masters would not threaten their slaves and slaves would not skip work or try to run away to get out of being slaves.

In other words, Paul's message does come off as advocating a fluffy happy pro-slavery world. As if there ever was such a world.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, Slave collar found with the inscription:

I am the slave of archdeacon Felix. Hold me that I do not flee:

https://encrypted.google.com/books?id=N0MDOY6XvhUC&lpg=PA9&vq=collar&pg=PA9#v=onepage&q&f=false

Edward T. Babinski said...

The above was an ancient slave collar from the fifth century, not from the nineteenth century southern U.S.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Throughout the Bible slavery is as cheerfully and leniently assumed as are royalty, poverty, and female submission to males. In the English Bible there is frequent mention, especially in the parables of Jesus, to “servants.” The Greek word is generally “slaves.” Jesus talks about them as coolly as we talk about our housemaids or nurses. Naturally, he would say that we must love them; we must love all men (unless they reject our religious beliefs). But there is not a syllable of condemnation of the institution of slavery.

According to Jesus “fornication” is a shuddering thing; but the slavery of fifty or sixty million human beings is not a matter for strong language. Paul approves the institution of slavery in just the same way.--He is in fact worse than Jesus. He saw slaves all over the Greco-Roman world and never said a word of protest.

Papalinton said...

Spin is not proof. A more substantive source usually tells a less rosy narrative.

And of course Church sources must be taken with a good deal of reserve mindful that these statistics go on diocesan records of baptismal registrations which do not, I repeat, do not account for the millions that subsequently leave the faith and do not bother with registering de-baptisms [or is that deregistering baptisms?]. So the basis of the source is a flawed and bloated metric to begin with.

But as we know there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Be ye a slave for Christ (really?)

"In many of his parables, the Savior describes the master and his slaves in a variety of ways, without any condemnation or censure of slavery. In Luke 17:7-10, he describes the usual mode of acting towards slaves as the very basis upon which he teaches one of the most useful lessons of Christian virtue: 'But which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him, when he has come in from the field, "Come immediately and sit down to eat"? But will he not say to him, "Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink?" He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, "We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done."'...St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians, chapter 4, exhibits the great truth which he desires to inculcate by an illustration taken from the institutions of slavery, and without a single expression of censure. Nor did the Apostles consider the Christian master obliged to liberate his Christian servant."

B. Prokop said...

Ed,

You're simply repeating (with greater word count) what I wrote in my first two postings to this thread. There was neither approval nor censure of slavery in the New Testament.

The problem here is not the NT (or the Bible as a whole), but rather those (often well meaning) people who try to make it into something it was never intended to be. It is not an "instruction manual" for life, nor is it a political manifesto, or a science text - it is the record of God's self-revelation of Himself to Man (and of Man's reaction to such).

Papalinton said...

"It is not an "instruction manual" for life .... "

Not an instruction manual? To live a life modeled under the tutelage of jesus? The NT has nothing to do with teaching, coaching, schooling, tuition; lessons, lectures; training, preparation, grounding, and guidance for christians? I say, pull the other leg.

That one can even suggest the NT is simply a 'record of God's self-revelation of Himself', the effect of which amounts to little more than just being an historical account, flies in the face of the truth. To disown with such casual indifference the NT as the definitive companion handbook for all things christian is pretty much a sign of desperation on your part.

Of course, I couldn't care less whether the bible is or isn't an instruction manual. It is a mythos which is slowly assuming its rightful place among other great didactic narratives of our past on the shelves of the mythology section of the library.

But interestingly, a scan of entries on the web [I googled "The Bible is not an Instruction manual"] suggests at a ratio of around 34-to-4 [then I lost interest] that the bible is indeed a christian instruction manual for life, including a couple of interesting variations, such as, 'God's Instruction Manual for Marriage' and 'Spiritual Instruction Manual'. But the one that took my fancy was:

"The Bible....
B=basic. I"=instructions. B=before. L=leaving. E=Earth.

No, this is something Christos will have to sort out among themselves.

To the question: "Why do Christians say the Bible "is NOT an Instruction Manual" when evidently it is?", it seems the general response was, "Christians take instruction from the Bible. ergo: it's an instruction manual, albeit, not a very good one." This flaw is best characterized in one person's statement that: "God didn't write the book good enough. In fact, he wrote it so terribly that King James rewrote it and did a better job apparently."

Sorry Bob, you are leading with blind emotion pinned to your sleeve and to accord your comment with any semblance of credibility is a stretch too far.

B. Prokop said...

I stand by my statement. The Bible is not an "instruction manual" for life. Yes, one can find bits that qualify as "instructions" (such as portions of the Sermon on the Mount, or various isolated passages in the epistles), but that is by no means the overall, and certainly not the primary, significance of the book.

Also, when the Christian is exhorted to imitate Christ, he is certainly not urged to attempt walking on water, calming storms, turning water into wine, multiplying loaves and fishes, raising the dead, or ascending into Heaven. These actions of Christ were, in their literal sense, manifestations to the apostles of His divine nature, and only allegorically inspirations for Christian conduct.

(Mostly Protestant) attempts to regard scripture as primarily an instruction manual are essentially a dumbing down of the Word, which fortunately resolutely defies all such pigeonholing.

Papalinton said...

Of course you stand by your statement. Not because of any substantive corroborative rationale but because that is what you have chosen to offer. It just demonstrates how effortlessly you are able to construe the bible to best fit whatever the argument at this time, contrary to the mountains of evidence of christians claiming otherwise. At the moment and in the context of this OP it does not suit you to argue that the bible is an instruction manual. But the countless times you have quoted the bible on this blog alone precisely for its instructive value puts a lie to your current proposition and compromises not only the credibility but the probative value of your contributions.




B. Prokop said...

Surely you can understand the distinction between something having "instructive value" and being an instruction manual?

Papalinton said...

Now it's a resort to nitpicking and obfuscation. Just own it and get on with it.

You couldn't ask for a better illustration of the bible as an instruction manual, UNLOCKING THE CONVERTS HEART THE BIBLE AS A KEY TO CONVERSION, a Catholic perspective on the instructive significance of the bible. Unsurprisingly, where did he find all the information and instruction on being a Catholic? Why in the bible of course, all those "verses I never saw" instructing him that the catholic church is indeed THE church, ratified by those unseen verses fortuitously snuggling right in there among all those other verses that 'wrongly' testify to sola scriptura.

End of story.

The irony here is that this catholic did not once provide any substantive refutation of 'sola scriptura'. Rather, intellectually lazy, all he did was selectively pick out other verses to support a particular parochial view in affirmation of his newly-found tribe.

The problem with organised religion is not that it is organised but that it is religion.

B. Prokop said...

What's really funny here is the atheist thinking he's somehow in a position to tell believers how they're supposed to interpret their own scriptures! (short pause to guffaw before proceeding)

Linton, I hate having to talk to you as though you were Skep, but really. The only "nitpicking" going on here is in your posts. Face it: just because a text is educational, or because you can learn from it, does NOT make it an instruction manual.

I can't even motivate myself here to elaborate beyond what I've already posted. I'll simply rephrase. Treating God's self-revelation to Man in such a shallow fashion at best shows a severe lack of discernment on the part of the reader/interpreter, or at worst is simply insulting.

Papalinton said...

A couple of things Bob. It's not so much about atheists interpreting the bible , It's about how christians shove their bible down the throats of those that do not subscribe to superstitious woo as though it was the definitive narrative of human kind. And we all know that's a whole lot of pious codswallop. Trying to convince atheists is small change compared to the real test in claiming the universality of the Christian jesus-god claim to convince the Saudis, the Iranians and the Afghanis of its authority, its veracity and the last word on the matter of religious reality. Good luck with that one.

Atheism transcends all that parochial religious gobbledegook, be it christian, Muslim, wikka, rosicrucian, Juju or scientology in orientation. There really is no place for this sort of tribal shamanic beliefs and practices in the 21stC, since thunder and lightning was found not to be the wrath of a pissed-off God. Just because Wicca is a "diverse religion divided into various lineages and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralization", doesn't mean you and I must treat it as gospel. And the same goes with the christians' 'God's self-revelation of himself to Man'.

Your statement, "Treating God's self-revelation to Man in such a shallow fashion at best shows a severe lack of discernment on the part of the reader/interpreter, or at worst is simply insulting." is simply your skimming in the trough of the wave of emotionalism. I don't treat God's self-revelation to Man in such shallow fashion. On the contrary, i treat it with the diligence that all unsubstantiated assertions must be treated. That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

It is of interest to note your idea of 'shallow treatment' and 'insult'. I am reminded of Prof David Eller's astute observations: "If nothing else, religion is respect; there are some things you can and cannot do, some things you can and cannot touch, some things bigger and more important than you. To disrespect the powers or truths of a religion is to risk wrath and retribution; however, to disrespect these powers or truths without consequence is to render them powerless, irrelevant, and ultimately false; most modern Christians do not fear to talk about or enter the sacred places of the ancient Greek or Roman or Egyptian or Norse gods. However, no self-respecting ancient Greek, Roman or Egyptian or Norseman would have risked the sacrilege of approaching the gods in a less than worshipful and ritually pure state, and a few if any self-respecting Christians would so risk blaspheming or disrespecting their god."

The concept of sacred is a purely theological construct. It has no universal transferrable value or meaning.

B. Prokop said...

As much as I dislike punting to links in these conversations, I must say that N.T. Wright has expressed what I am trying to get across far better than I could ever hope to. He does it HERE.

B. Prokop said...

On the same website, posted by Adam Palmer, we find this: "I’ve stopped looking at [the Bible] as an answer book, an instruction manual, or a bullet-pointed Wikipedia entry that tells me in plain English exactly what I need to know. It’s not an information-delivery system"

Papalinton said...

Bob, I can appreciate you and NT Wright being of one mind, but his is just one of countless interpretations extant. There is no epistemic truth arising from interpretation. It is an opinion, however well it may be argued. When Wright talks of nuancing the bible narrative, it makes it less certain to characterization and more predisposed and vulnerable to open-ended and turgid rhetoric. In other words it stands for nothing.

To Wright, apparently the bible's central message is "God’s authority, vested in Jesus the Messiah, is about God reclaiming his proper lordship over all creation." Reclaiming? Is Wright conceding that this entity with all its professed omniscience and omnipotence has forfeited his grasp and is now trying to reclaim it? His proper lordship? Whatever this means, I would have to agree with Wright. It seems this blob of indefinable supernaturalism has all the hallmarks of a dismal failure, what with incompetently forfeiting and now retroactively attempting to 'reclaim his proper lordship' [proper?]. After 2,000 years, seems the effort has pretty much been a forlorn exercise from the outset albeit given the triumph of earlier centuries.

Perhaps this god-thing has failed for an entirely different reason. Has it ever occurred to theists that this god-thingy is reality a cultural smoke and mirrors edifice, a figment of the creative imagination of humankind reflecting on itself; with little more corporeality and akin to a bout of contemplating one's navel, if you will? When one reads widely in as diverse an array of substantive disciplines as the sciences, the neurosciences, psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc. a substantial body of research and knowledge together with a remarkably consistent narrative is emerging about belief systems, how they are developed, nurtured and sustained. The depth of insight and understanding of the drivers underpinning the human condition is simply breath-taking and inspiring.

B. Prokop said...

"and is now trying to reclaim it?"

Correct, except for the "trying" part. He's doing it.

im-skeptical said...

"What's really funny here is the atheist thinking he's somehow in a position to tell believers how they're supposed to interpret their own scriptures! (short pause to guffaw before proceeding)"

What a laugh. The scriptures may only be properly interpreted by the deluded ones who claim ownership of them. Did it occur to you that many of us were born and raised as Christians, and having made an effort to understand rather than simply accept on faith, left the fold? And who exactly were they written for, anyway? Surely not just you.

I'll have to grant that the Catholics did pick and choose the scriptures they wanted to include in their canon, and then modified them to comply with their dogma. So in that regard, it may be fair to say that they "own" them. But you have to deny all that if you want to claim that they are the word of your God. And consequently, you must also abandon your claim to ownership.

B. Prokop said...

"and then modified them to comply with their dogma"

Oh,really? How so? (And in this case, I quite literally want Chapter and Verse, with "before and after" comparisons.)

And I certainly will not deny that the Church "did pick and choose" what belonged in the canon. That is precisely what happened (to the dismay of sola scriptura-ists everywhere). They were given the authority to do so by the Holy Spirit Himself and by Christ ("Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven.")

" understand rather than simply accept on faith"

This phraseology shows that you haven't the first clue as to what the word Faith actually means. Faith comes after acceptance, not before. You've been reading way too much Boghossian (who satisfies himself with his made-up definitions that correspond to no reality).

grodrigues said...

@B. Prokop:

"And I certainly will not deny that the Church "did pick and choose" what belonged in the canon. That is precisely what happened (to the dismay of sola scriptura-ists everywhere)."

This is a tangent, but I remember vividly Harold Bloom (*) commenting off the cuff his disappointment upon reading the Nag Hammadi collection. Apparently, the Christian anti-Gnostic polemicists did a better job -- in aesthetic terms, which are the ones that count the most for Bloom -- of relaying the Gnostic heresies better than the heresiarchs themselves! The irony is just beautiful, beautiful.

(*) the literary critic; self-diagnosed as a Jewish Gnostic, and at turns sympathetic and fairly hostile to Orthodox Christianity.

im-skeptical said...

"Oh,really? How so?"

A good starting point would be Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. Here are some additional things that you will undoubtedly ignore.

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biblianazar/esp_biblianazar_40.htm

http://www.reviewofreligions.org/1466/the-corruption-of-the-text-of-the-new-testament/

"Faith comes after acceptance, not before."

You expect me to believe that you didn't start out as a Christian, indoctrinated in the faith from early childhood, the same as the vast majority of your fellow Christians? No. For religious belief, faith almost always comes first, and rationalization follows.



B. Prokop said...

"For religious belief, faith almost always comes first, and rationalization follows."

As I said, you have no idea what the word even means. Totally backwards. You need to listen again to that Tim McGrew v. Peter Boghossian debate link that Victor gave us on May 25th.

I've read Misquoting Jesus. Ehrman nowhere provides what I asked you for - specific before and after comparisons of supposed modifications of scripture by the Church in order to allegedly "comply with dogma". He didn't and you can't, because it never happened. Put up or shut up. Chapter and verse, please. Before these supposed modifications, and after. Even one example - just one.

(Your websites are a hoot, by the way. Where in the world do you find such comedy? They're almost as good as the "Babylonian Whore" sites you directed us towards some months back. An Islamic Militant site? Really?)

Karl Grant said...

Bob,

(Your websites are a hoot, by the way. Where in the world do you find such comedy? They're almost as good as the "Babylonian Whore" sites you directed us towards some months back. An Islamic Militant site? Really?)

Well, he gave us Jack Chick before so are you surprised?

B. Prokop said...

"so are you surprised?"

Not really. Once again, Skep fails the MGonz test. Just once, I'd like to see him actually answer a question with no non sequiturs, no spurious links, no changing the subject or moving the goalposts, no denying things he clearly and verifiably said, no incomprehension of what words mean in plain English, no clever little digs at we poor believers (a.k.a., "deluded ones"), no dismissing six decades of in depth study into the Gospel as "simply accepting [Church dogma] on faith", no whining about how "unfair" everyone is to him.

So, some on Skep, let's see if you're capable of it. Give us JUST ONE example (chapter and verse, with before and after versions) of the Church modifying scripture in order to comply with dogma.

Papalinton said...

""and is now trying to reclaim it?"
Correct, except for the "trying" part. He's doing it."


Again this is post facto rationalisation coming into play. A story in search of a rationale. NT Wright is offered as [to paraphrase] the best example one could hope for, and at the first critique of his article, and on the central role of the bible narrative no less, already you have shifted ground, distancing yourself from Wright on the central feature [as he claims it] of his thesis. Suffice to say I won't bother with pursuing other glaring assumptions and unsubstantiated assertions in his piece that he takes as a given. You have set the scene from the get-go, interpreting his interpretation for best fit of your personal priors.

Neither a convincing nor creditable position to be in really. Challenging christians to account for their 'claims' has the aura of taking on the 'whack-a-mole' amusement machine.

But then, we knew that from the start, didn't we? That is why we have some 40,000-plus versions of christianity extant, most either a heresy to varying degrees or doctrinally antithetical to each other.

What's interesting is "The Catholic Church considers itself the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded."

And this, "The Eastern Orthodox Church,....[3] identifies itself as the present-day continuation of the theology and episcopacy established by Jesus Christ through his Apostles." Further, "Almost from the very beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy, Catholic [from the Greek καθολική, or "according to the whole"] and Apostolic Church".[16] The Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same Church. A number of other Christian churches also make a similar claim: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion ... Similarly, the churches in Rome and Constantinople separated in an event known as the Great Schism ..."

Indeed the upshot here is that the Roman Catholic Church separated from the Eastern Orthodox Church [and remember Emperor Constantine was from the Constantinople Church when he formed the Nicene Council and ordered them to hammer out the Creed]. And like cascading dominoes the Roman Church doctrinally cleaved from the original Eastern Orthodox, followed by the Anglican Church doctrinally cleaving from the Catholics as did the Protestants later cleaved doctrinally from the Catholic Church.

Two diametric and competing claims of originality, the Roman church and the Orthodox Church. Surely they can't both be right? Only an obdurate would dare say that. Unlike science, the best explanatory tool we currently possess, religions do not and cannot progress as science does and can. " When science progresses, it abandons old and false ideas. Science and reason are substitutive or eliminative: new ideas replace old ideas. Religion is additive and/or schismatic: new ideas proliferate alongside old ideas. For instance, the development of Protestantism did not put an end to Catholicism, and the development of Christianity did not put an end to Judaism, With science, we get better. With religion, we get more." [Prof David Eller}

B. Prokop said...

"Two diametric and competing claims of originality, the Roman church and the Orthodox Church. Surely they can't both be right? Only an obdurate would dare say that.

But I do dare say that. And so did Saint John Paul II, when he called the Catholic and Orthodox Churches "the right and left lungs of Christendom". They are indeed both right. Both Catholicism and Orthodoxy have verifiably legitimate claims to their foundation on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 33, and to their unbroken line of Apostolic Succession since then.

And have you not heard of the planned meeting at Nicaea in 2025? This is HUGE news. It may end up being the biggest thing to happen in Christendom since the Reformation - perhaps since A.D. 1054. Not in my lifetime perhaps (getting too old even to be confident about seeing 2025), but our children will surely see East and West embracing each other and repudiating the divisions of the past.

Meanwhile I hear nothing but crickets in response to my request for an example of the Church altering scripture to comply with dogma. I will take the silence as a recantation of the accusation, and an admission that such alterations never occurred.

Papalinton said...

NOT SO FAST, Bob. A meeting is touted but by no means a certainty. But that's all it is, a meeting. But I guess you can live in hope but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Papalinton said...

"Meanwhile I hear nothing but crickets in response to my request for an example of the Church altering scripture to comply with dogma."

How about the addition of Mark 16: 9-20? Without this being fortuitously added in the late 4thC and passed off as genuine Markan, no-one, no-one would have been able to make any claim on the dogma of apostolic succession. It was a deliberate interpolation designed to fill the historical blank between jesus's execution and the idea of apostolic succession. And we know Mark was the original fable on which all the other gospels are founded. Even decades before Mark, Paul makes not one mention of an earthly jesus. Not one. For him jesus lived, died and ascended into heaven without ever touching foot Earth. So there was no way the interpolators could inveigle the additional verses into Paul's account because there was a real historical Paul who only found out about jesus through an epileptic fit on the road to Damascus. Mark seemed to be the ideal spot to peddle these few extra verses, after all we don't know where Mark was written, for which audience, and that the writer was anonymous. What better place to smuggle in a few extras divinely-inspired untruths?

End of story.

B. Prokop said...

"And we know Mark was the original"

NOT SO FAST, Linton. I happen to believe there is solid scholarly evidence for Matthean priority, and am in excellent company in believing so.

Also, your assertion that the ending of Mark's Gospel dates to the late 4th Century simply cannot be squared with the facts. Justin Martyr (who died in A.D. 165) practically quotes from it. Also, Tatian's (died in A.D. 180) Harmony of the Gospels (Diatessaron) includes the passage. Irenaeus (died in A.D. 202) also quotes word for word from the ending of Mark in his Adversus Haereses. So much for your ludicrously late date. I agree that the passage is likely an apostolic addition to what Mark wrote, but an addition hardly qualifies as an alteration. (By the way, I am pleased to see you acknowledging that Mark was indeed written by Mark.) In any case, it is easily demonstrated (as I just did) that the entire Gospel dates to the Apostolic Era, and therefore Skep's accusation that [1] the "Catholics did pick and choose the scriptures they wanted to include in their canon, *** [2] and then modified them to comply with their dogma" is an impossibility (unless the Early Church possessed time travel).

*** And this is exactly what did indeed happen. Not only have I never contested this, I have insisted on it (although I would of course prefer the verb "select" over the gratuitously negative "pick and choose").

B. Prokop said...

By the way, you can find the quotation from Mark's Gospel in Irenaeus's Adversus Haereses in Book III, Chapter 10, Paragraph 5, as follows:

Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: "So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God;" confirming what had been spoken by the prophet: "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on My right hand, until I make Your foes Your footstool."

Now this was written in A.D. 180. How amazing that Irenaeus is able to quote so exactly from a text that Linton claims was not written for another 200 years!!!

Papalinton said...

Bob, the issue is not about the timing of when Mark's ending was cobbled, whether it be 2ndC or 4thC, but that it was inveigled into the gospel and tried to be passed off as genuine. The fact is:
" The vast majority of contemporary New Testament textual critics (see also Textual criticism) have concluded that neither the longer nor shorter endings were originally part of Mark's Gospel. This conclusion extends back as far as the middle of the nineteenth century. Harnack, for instance, was convinced that the original ending was lost.[40] Rendel Harris (1907) supplied the theory that Mark 16:8 had continued with the words "of the Jews."[41] By the middle of the 20th century, the view that the Long Ending was not genuine had become the dominant viewpoint. By this time, most translations were adding notes to indicate that neither the Long Ending nor the Short Ending were original. Examples include Mongomery's NT ("The closing verses of Mark's gospel are probably a later addition...," 1924); Goodspeed's (who includes both endings as "Ancient Appendices," 1935); Williams' NT ("Later mss add vv. 9-20," 1937); and the Revised Standard Version (1946), which placed the Long Ending in a footnote. Tradition intervened, and by the early 1970s the complaints in favor of the verses were strong enough to prompt a revision of the RSV (1971) which restored the verses to the text—albeit with a note about their dubiousness. The vast majority of modern scholars remain convinced that neither of the two endings is Marcan."

And this is supported by the foremost of the modern biblical scholars, Prof B Erhman: "Jesus does rise from the dead in Mark's Gospel. The women go to the tomb, the tomb is empty and there is a man there who tells them that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that they are to go tell the disciples that this has happened. But then the Gospel ends in Codex Sinaiticus and other manuscripts by saying the women fled from the tomb and didn't say anything to anyone because they were afraid, period. That's where the Gospel ends. So nobody finds out about it, the disciples don't learn about it, the disciples never see Jesus after the resurrection, that's the end of the story. But later scribes couldn't handle this abrupt ending and they added the 12 verses people find in the King James Bible or other Bibles in which Jesus does appear to his disciples.[38]"

The balance of your information is straight apologetics, even the reworking of the Augustine hypothesis of Mathean priority. Few scholars if any have taken up Orchard's argument since it was promulgated back in the seventies and eighties of last century.

You have not made a dent in the argument for reworking the gospel in order meet church dogma. The final 11 verses of Mark entail, 'Jesus' appearances to Mary Magdalene, two disciples, and then the Eleven (the Twelve Apostles minus Judas) and concluding with the Great Commission', all based on a fraudulent interpolation that no amount of religious apologetical tradition can mask.

Sorry, Bob, the christian narrative is slowly unravelling under sustained scrutiny of genuine scholars interested in uncovering the historical truth rather than accommodating apologetical truth.

And that is a good and just thing.


B. Prokop said...

"tried to be passed off as genuine"

But it is "genuine" - it is genuinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. Human authorship is irrelevant. Heck, a good half of Isaiah is universally acknowledged to have been not written by Isaiah. That does not matter! The entire book is still Isaiah.

In the case of Mark, you have still to show me the smallest instance of anything having been "modified". The irrelevant detail that one half of one chapter in Mark may (and I emphasize "may" - no one has ever shown conclusively that it was not written by the Evangelist) have been penned by a second writer means nothing more than there were two authors to Mark. So what? There are two authors to The Epistle to the Romans (Paul and Tertius). It's still Romans.

The so-called case for the Church "modifying scripture in order to comply with dogma" is worse than built on sand - it's built on nothing.

And allow me to be even harsher here. Even if the final verses to Mark were to be stricken from the New Testament, what would that change? NOTHING! Absolutely everything found in that passage is found elsewhere. Nothing has been modified, no dogma is "complied with", nothing has been lost (or gained).

Score so far:
Orthodoxy - 100%
Detractors - 0%

Papalinton said...

Bob, your entreaty is entirely emotionally-driven harmonization of biblical discrepancy, the apologetics of glossing over the countless inconsistencies, contradictions, conflicting and downright interpolated fraud.

The controversy over the historicity of the bible is fiercer today than at any time since its fabrication. Why? The evidence is simply not there and what goes for 'evidence' is simply a theological construct.

The intratestamental evidence such as the Dead Scrolls has pretty much demonstrated that christianity was not the product of an exclusive divine revelation but rather a cut-and-paste of Essene, Jewish, Samaritan traditions along with a number of extant religions, sects, cults and brotherhood traditions around the Mediterranean including those mentioned in the NT, the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The more we research, the more the story unravels. Today, Adam and Eve is relegated to allegory [therefore 'original sin' and sacrificial crucifixion meaningless fictions], Jonah and the big fish a fishy story, exodus from Egypt archeological baloney, the Code of Hammurabi precedes the decalogue by millennia, The Great Flood just a rewrite of the earlier Epic of Gilgamesh out of Mesopotamia, Mark 16:9-20 a fill-in-the-blanks exercise, and the list gets longer and longer.

Hanging by a thread, Bob, and the thread is fraying, big-time.

B. Prokop said...

Linton,

You know I actually feel sorry for you at times like this. You jump unhesitatingly after the latest fad with seemingly no internal mechanism to discern the difference between genuine scholarship and what's fashionable.

You do realize that you and I have already discussed at length the role that ambient mythologies play in the development of the biblical narrative, and how the existence of prior and competing stories is a point in favor of the Bible? We've been through this before. Do I really need to repeat myself?

But really... it ought to be above you to imitate the worst habits of Skep. You're non sequituring all over the place here. The fact remains that neither you nor he can come up with a single - not one - example of the Church supposedly modifying scripture to comply with dogma. And why? Because no such modification ever occurred. And Mark 16 doesn't fit the bill - not by a long shot. There was no "modification" there, simply two writers collaborating on one manuscript. (If that. I have yet to be convinced the "long ending" of Mark was not penned by the same hand as the rest of the Gospel.) Now be a man - admit that you and Skep were dead wrong, and move on.

im-skeptical said...

"Score so far:
Orthodoxy - 100%
Detractors - 0%"

As I said: faith comes first, and rationalization follows.

Due to your unshakable faith, no amount of scholarly research will ever convince you about the truth of how your bible was produced. No amount of logic will ever show you the incoherence of your theology. You have rationalized all of it so thoroughly, you are absolutely impervious to reason.

Yes, the bible was modified many times to comply with current beliefs and dogma. The evidence is there, if you are willing to look at it. But obviously, you aren't. Your faith rules over reason and evidence, and you won't admit it.

B. Prokop said...

"The evidence is there"

OK, if it's there, then let's have it. Kindly show me a passage in the Bible that was modified to comply with church dogma. Before and after versions, please.

If you cannot do this, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the evidence is not there.

I'll cheerfully "admit it" if you can show me even one such instance. I've asked you this several times now, with no response. So you either need to back up your statements, or stop spreading Darkness Visible around the web. Here's an example of how it should go: Linton makes a statement about the date of Mark 16 with no evidence to back up his claim. I provide evidence that he was off by at least 200 years. So now you're calling evidence that doesn't fit into your preordained outcome "rationalization"?

You really need to ponder the old saying about a pot and a kettle.

B. Prokop said...

I missed one thing earlier in reading Linton's last posting. Note how he dismisses all evidence that does not fit into his desired, preordained outcome as "apologetics" ***, as though that perfectly respectable word somehow advances his argument.

In like manner, Skep conveniently labels all unwelcome evidence as "rationalization".

And these people without any shame whatsoever say that I am "absolutely impervious to reason"!!!

*** Apologetics, according to Wikipedia: "the discipline of defending a position through the systematic use of information" Wow, that's really awful - better not get got doing that!

planks length said...

Papalinton and im-gullible are poster boys for what Ilion terms Intellectual Dishonesty.

B. Prokop said...

That should have read, "better not get caught", etc.

grodrigues said...

B. Prokop:

"If you cannot do this, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the evidence is not there."

That is not the only conclusion that one can draw: planks length is 100% correct. Quite unfortunate, but them's the breaks.

Papalinton said...

Bob steps right past the incontrovertible conclusion: "The vast majority of contemporary New Testament textual critics (see also Textual criticism) have concluded that neither the longer nor shorter endings were originally part of Mark's Gospel. This conclusion extends back as far as the middle of the nineteenth century. ........ Tradition intervened, and by the early 1970s the complaints in favor of the verses were strong enough to prompt a revision of the RSV (1971) which restored the verses to the text—albeit with a note about their dubiousness. The vast majority of modern scholars remain convinced that neither of the two endings is Marcan."

Please note, not strong evidence but strong complaints from christian jihardists.

He steps right past Prof Ehrman because he doesn't like the evidence which doesn't fit his apologetics.

He bangs on about my mistiming but delivers no evidence on why Mark verses 9-20 were retrojected into the fable attempting to be passed off as genuine Mark over a hundred years after Mark was apparently written. That's not 'collaboration' that's interpolative fraud. It was an attempt at theologically harmonizing Mark to clear the path to the christian dogma of apostolic succession. Without these vital verses the chronology and the claim to apostolic succession becomes moot. Gone is the claim that Mary passes on what she 'witnessed' to the other disciples. Gone is the instance of jesus appearing "in a different form" to two unnamed disciples. Gone is jesus's appearance at a dinner with the remaining 11 apostles to "go preach his message to all creation" in the Great Commission. Gone are the 'special powers' jesus gives to the Apostles who are told they will be able to handle snakes, they will be immune to poison, and will be able to heal the sick in order that they will be able to carry out the Great Commission.
Gone with the attempt to retrojected these verses into the already 100 year-old tale, is any actual historical linkage between the burial of a corpse in a tomb [a highly dubious claim in itself rather than the more plausible and probable case of being dumped in an unmarked grave which was the practice of the day for insurrectionists] and Peter becoming pope. To be sure, Pete was pope. That's an historical given. But the direct historical link from the jesus's direction of the Great Commission set out in the last 11 passages of Mark that predicates the claim of papal succession is retrojected spin. And the hypothesis of Mathean priority is just that, speculation.

The bottom line Bob, is best illustrated by R.W. Funk [1926-2005], former Chairman of the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University, "If the evidence supports the historical accuracy of the gospels, where is the need for faith? And if the historical reliability of the gospels is so obvious, why have so many scholars failed to appreciate the incontestable nature of the evidence?"

Contemporary research separating apologetical exegesis from the historical aspects of the NT continues unabated and with increasing intensity and scrutiny. The last two hundred years of biblical scholarship has almost reached the intellectual tipping point in righting the earlier 17 centuries of apologetics and theological spin. And in the overwhelming majority of instances the shift has been one way, away from the claimed historicity of the account to conceding that much has been the product of legendising and the result of oral and imaginative embellishment.



Papalinton said...

Plank
The only intellectual dishonesty is attempting to pass off mythology as history. The only historical aspect of the sad and sorry state of christian tradition is that woo-meisters have been trying their damnedest to peddle this myth as fact. It's no different to how Muslims try to pass off the content of the Koran as historical fact. The only historical aspect of the Koran is that somebody [-bodies] actually sat down and wrote a fable, which others believe is the true and only words of God. You and I know the Koran is not the true account of god just as the Muslin and I know the christian fable is not true account of god. And each woo-meister, Muslim and christian, don't accept the other's claim, for a fact.

So, tell me again about intellectual dishonesty?

Papalinton said...

grodrigues
"B. Prokop: "If you cannot do this, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the evidence is not there."
That is not the only conclusion that one can draw: planks length is 100% correct. Quite unfortunate, but them's the breaks."


Oh! Dear! To cite R.W. Funk [1926-2005], former Chairman of the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University, once more: "If the evidence supports the historical accuracy of the gospels, where is the need for faith? And if the historical reliability of the gospels is so obvious, why have so many scholars failed to appreciate the incontestable nature of the evidence?"

In the words of B. Prokop, " ...the only conclusion to be drawn is that the evidence is not there".

I say, Amen, to that.

End of story.

B. Prokop said...

"And if the historical reliability of the gospels is so obvious, why have so many scholars failed to appreciate the incontestable nature of the evidence?"

Pride, the thirst for novelty, desire to make a name for one's self, fear of being regarded as "too conventional", the academic distortions inherent in a "publish or perish" culture, arrogance, fashion, peer pressure... in short, sin.

Papalinton said...

Good one, Bob. The problem is everywhere else and everyone else's, right?

Externalizing the problem is such a cheap shot. Blame shifting is a characteristic of the desperate. Your response, "Pride, the thirst for novelty, desire to make a name for one's self, fear of being regarded as "too conventional", the academic distortions inherent in a "publish or perish" culture, arrogance, fashion, peer pressure... in short, sin" characterizes the pathology of blame shifting in inculpating the non-believer entirely or partially responsible for the demise of religion in the community and Christians as the apparent victims of this non-belief.

Blame shifting is an intellectually callow ploy that simply does not carry any ethical value in any form of discourse.

I find your response disappointing.

B. Prokop said...

"I find your response disappointing."

Well then, perhaps I was being a bit too wordy. Should have stuck to planck's suggestion: Intellectual Dishonesty. (Really! Where's Ilion when you need him?)

toddes said...

"You and I know the Koran is not the true account of god just as the Muslin and I know the christian fable is not true account of god. And each woo-meister, Muslim and christian, don't accept the other's claim, for a fact."

And the Christian and the Muslim reject atheism as a fact, so how does any of the above support your position? Are you incapable of seeing that your position is just as tenuous as you perceive the others to be based on this nonsense?

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "I missed one thing earlier in reading Linton's last posting. Note how he dismisses all evidence that does not fit into his desired, preordained outcome as "apologetics" ***, as though that perfectly respectable word somehow advances his argument."

I know what ya' mean ... it's like with Rah-Rah's, who dismiss all arguments which don't support their desired, preordained outcomes as "fundamentalism", as though deploying that perfectly respectable word as a smear somehow advances their pro-Bureaucratic agenda.

B. Prokop said...

Linton loves bringing this little trope up again and again. You'll note after time that he's fond of using soul-deadening repetitiveness as a blunt instrument, perhaps believing "that they will be heard for their many words" (Matthew 6:7).

At the risk of being accused of the tu quoque fallacy, I find it endlessly amusing that the very same atheist who is so quick to highlight the existence of various religions is utterly blind to equally vast differences in the atheist community. After all, atheists include in their numbers both Vladimir Lenin and Ayn Rand - both of whom claimed atheism as the source and foundation of their 180 degree different philosophies. They include people who loudly insist that one doesn't need God for morality to exist, and others who with equal conviction say that there is no such thing as objective morality.

Yet for some reason, I am supposed to lose sleep over the existence of Hindus or Daoists, whilst Linton airily brushes off such vast, indeed irreconcilable, differences in various atheisms. Well, up against tu quoque, I shamelessly respond "What's sauce for the goose..."

B. Prokop said...

My last comment was in response to toddes.

I love you too, Ilion.

Ilíon said...

not-intellectually-honest: "And I certainly will not deny that the Church "did pick and choose" what belonged in the canon. That is precisely what happened (to the dismay of sola scriptura-ists everywhere). They were given the authority to do so by the Holy Spirit Himself and by Christ ("Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven.")"

This calls for a LOL.

According to A.Hypocrite, the Mysterium of The One True Bureaucracy has "authority" to define what *is* Scripture, and this can be proven or established by reference to Scripture and also by reference to their claim that the Holy Spirit has given them this authority. When you think about it, this Rah-Rah attitude is even worse than that of the sort of middlebrow Protestant who don't seem to grasp that quoting Scripture at 'atheists' (and "apatheists") isn't really an effective evangelistic tool.

Ilíon said...

PL: "Papalinton and im-gullible are poster boys for what Ilion terms Intellectual Dishonesty."

Does it not become obvious why I am so unsparing of intellectual dishonesty ... especially when engaged in by those ostensibly on "my side"?

Don't be that guy!

Ilíon said...

me: "Rah-Rah's, who dismiss"

gack! That stray apostrophe is not me attempting the lowbrow pluralization of "Rah-Rah"; it is something I missed when I totally changed how I'd initially written the sentence.

Ilíon said...

"(Really! Where's Ilion when you need him?)"

Overwhelmed with RL (from which I am hiding in reading and posting here this morning).

im-skeptical said...

"If you cannot do this, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the evidence is not there."

The evidence is there. You refuse to see it, or you rationalize it away. Take, for example, the passages in Luke, where the original references to Jesus' parents became "Joseph and his mother". Could it be that the original writer didn't see Jesus as the divine son of God? But you don't need me to cite specific verses. You just need to take an unbiased view of scripture for the first time in your life. Examine the evidence, not with the goal of confirming what you believe, but of establishing what you know, what you don't know, what is likely, and what isn't.

B. Prokop said...

"where the original references"

Really? You have access to some "earlier" version of Luke that was subsequently altered? Please quote the original wording, point us to where we can find this for ourselves, and explain how you and only you have had access to such an amazing document over the past 2000 years.

B. Prokop said...

The origins of the very true saying "Speak of the devil, and he shall appear" are lost in the mist of time, but Ilion's entering the fray here are affirmation of its veracity. Just who was it who mentioned his name?

Ilion's problem is he is a great believer in what Lewis termed "Christianity and". Ilion doesn't care for my politics (about which I have taken a solemn oath to never again discuss online), and in his book that trumps all else. And that's the big problem with adherents of "Christianity and" - it's what comes after the "and" that assumes primary importance. Christianity becomes merely a weapon in one's arsenal for promoting whatever cause is really important to said adherent. In Ilion's case, the "and" appears to be small "L" libertarianism. If some aspect of Christianity (for instance, Catholicism) threatens libertarianism, then it is to be condemned. That's why he terms Catholicism the "One True Bureaucracy". The Church's claims to authority are what get to him. He even admitted this once, when he protested my calling him "anti-Catholic" (a charge I later retracted).

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

"explain how you and only you have had access to such an amazing document"

So you admit that NOBODY has or knows the original versions of the NT texts. But this is where scholarship comes in. Say we know that both versions A and B of a particular passage exist, but we aren't sure which one came first. What makes more sense and is more likely? That A would be changed to B, or B changed to A, and for what reason? There are many such cases, and sometimes it's not hard to figure out what happened.

B. Prokop said...

"So you admit that NOBODY has or knows the original versions of the NT texts"

Huh?!? How in the world did you get that idea? Never said such a thing. Of course we have the original version of Luke - it's right there in my New Testament, after Mark.

You, however, claim to know (by magic, I must assume) the contents, and indeed the exact wording, of some mythical earlier version. How else could you claim that what we now have is somehow "modified"?

So for about the 10th time now, kindly show us the precise wording of this mythical unmodified text, and tell us where we ourselves can read it. Failure to do so means that you are just making stuff up.

B. Prokop said...

"But you don't need me to cite specific verses."

Yes, I do. That's exactly what I'm asking for. Put up, or shut up.

im-skeptical said...

"Of course we have the original version of Luke - it's right there in my New Testament"

How foolish of me not to realize that your own copy of the bible (whatever version you may happen to have), must be the one true and accurate version, because that's what faith without reason demands.

B. Prokop said...

Your lack of meaningful response is not just evidence that you have no idea what you are talking about - it's proof that you're just making stuff up. For the 1000th time, before and after versions of this allegedly modified text, in order to "comply with dogma". Otherwise, you're just wasting everyone's time.

B. Prokop said...

"whatever version you may happen to have"

My preferred translation is the Biblia Sacra Vulgata, the work of Saint Jerome in the 4th Century A.D. When my Latin fails me, I check what I am reading against either the Douay-Rheims or the RSV/CE translations. But the Vulgate is authoritative (as per the Council of Trent (1545-63).

im-skeptical said...

"Your lack of meaningful response is not just evidence that you have no idea what you are talking about - it's proof that you're just making stuff up."

Your failure to read the material I provided is proof that you are not interested in evidence. I know, you said you read Ehrman. Then you showed that you only gave it a cursory look at best. The evidence is out there, if you care to examine it with eyes to see the truth, not just to confirm your prior faith.

B. Prokop said...

"The evidence is out there"

You keep repeating this, as though that means anything. Why is it so hard for you to actually produce some of that "evidence"? Come on, just one little tidbit - we're starving for it out here! You keep saying it's "out there", but we have yet to see any of it. One line, one clause, heck - one word. Show us where the Church modified something, anything, in scripture "to comply with dogma". You've had days now to google something to back up your invented out of thin air accusations. What? Nothing in your Islamic Terrorist websites? Jack Chick has nothing to say? How about the Whore of Babylon blogs you love to link to? Have you tried the Jehovah's Witness sites? They're always good for some rock solid disinformation.

And no links, please. Just give us an example - just one:

- Here is where you claim the modification took place.
- Here is how it read prior to being modified.
- Here is how it reads now.
- And Show us where we also can access the "before" version.

Really, is that asking too much? You keep insisting that you only follow the evidence. Well then, show it to us! You repeatedly ask me to "examine" it. How can I if you don't show us any? (Perhaps because you have none to show? Hmmm...)

planks length said...

Give it up, B. Prokop. If Im-out-of-ammo was ever going to back up his claim, he would have done so by now. He's long ago failed the MGonz test.

Papalinton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Papalinton said...

Toddes: "And the Christian and the Muslim reject atheism as a fact, so how does any of the above support your position? Are you incapable of seeing that your position is just as tenuous as you perceive the others to be based on this nonsense?"

I'm not the one making the claim that the Koran or the bible is the one and only right and correct historical account of humanity and its social engagements with putatively live non-human entities across the natural/supernatural event horizon. We all know that Islam is antithetical to the Christian worldview as is Christianity antithetical to the Muslim, both making such ridiculous and spurious claims about the exact same territory. Nothing is more destructive to religion than other religions; it is like meeting one' s own anti-matter twin canceling each other out. And the reasons? Other religions represent ALTERNATIVES to one's own religion: other people believe in them just as fervently as you do yours, and they live their lives just as successfully as you. Further, the plethora of different, conflicting and mostly competing religions extant forces the genuine and intellectually honest person to see religion as a culturally relative phenomenon: different groups have different religions adapted to their unique social and environmental conditions [Religion is a throughly profane construct, not a beatific one] . And, to top it off, [and germane to the argument] awareness of other religions significantly reduces the truth-probability of one's own. If your obdurate persistence in remaining in denial of these points, it is not only an instance of intellectual dishonesty but a thoroughly misplaced loyalty to a lie.

There is no Bible or Koran of Atheism. Atheism is simply the neutral position across all cultures and all societies abiding by universally axiomatic logic; that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Reason predicates that the starting point of any inquiry is, one does not have to prove a negative, one assumes the negative. Multiple examples abound for the efficacy of this paradigm. To cite just a couple: It is the basis on which the Rule of Law prevails; one is assumed innocent until proved guilty. The prosecution [or proponent] must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense need only indicate doubt.
It is the basis on which scientific pursuits are predicated; one must demonstrate that a proposition meets the test of falsifiability. They, the proposer, the scientist, must produce the evidence and adduce the methodology by which that evidence was accumulated. If that proposition does not meet that benchmark of verifiability it is rejected, thereby there is no shifting of the status of the existing neutral ground plane to accommodate it.

You must take your nose out the theological section of the public library and discipline yourself to reading widely and astutely if you wish the bar of your contribution to be lifted above where it currently lies; on the ground.

im-skeptical said...

"Really, is that asking too much?"

It's useless, Bob. You have already shown that you ignore or dismiss whatever evidence is placed before you. So why don't you tell me, what's the point?

im-skeptical said...

Incidentally, the insertion of text at the end of Mark may have been prior to selection of the canon, but the point remains valid. They altered the gospels to fit their doctrine. This is perhaps the most blatant example, but by no means the only one. The example I cited in Luke was not done by the Catholic church, but Ehrman does mention others that were. And contrary to your assertion, he identifies exactly what was changed in these cases.

Papalinton said...

Plank: "Give it up, B. Prokop. If Im-out-of-ammo was ever going to back up his claim, he would have done so by now. He's long ago failed the MGonz test."

There is no MGonz Test, you silly sausage. That is a Saints and Septics own creation and misconstrued construct of an internet AI chatbot that could carry on a conversation with malleable unsuspecting humans.

For goodness sake read up about it from proper sources rather than parrot nonsense from other religiobots.

Papalinton said...

Skep: ""Really, is that asking too much?"
It's useless, Bob. You have already shown that you ignore or dismiss whatever evidence is placed before you.


He sure does. Take another brick-to-the-head example: The last words of Jesus on the cross [remember the gospels are touted as rigorously and historically correct]:

Matthew and Mark :
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (last words) and dies.
In Luke:
"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (last words) and dies.
In John:
"It is finished" (last words) and dies.

Which is the true last statement? How can there possibly be three different and contrasting 'last words' that are historically correct? They can't all be the last words spoken? If they are all said to be true, as I am sure the religiose will claim [on the pretext of some apologetical wishlisting that each gospel was telling different aspects of the same story] then jesus is a right little chatty guy, isn't he? A veritable chatterbox at the very moment of death. In fact with the christian claim that jesus last words were indeed the agglomeration: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Father, into your hands I commit my spirit, It is finished", it marks jesus as little more than an earlier MGonz, the chatbot that was able to suck in so many of the gullibles out there.

There is more truth, logic and reason entailed in Bart Simpson's offer of grace than in the post hoc rationale that characterizes religious 'truth' about the last words of jesus on the cross:

" “Dear God we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing"

There is a lesson in there for all of us.

B. Prokop said...

Linton,

You're missing the point. Totally missing it. Skep made the accusation that A) the Church "picked and chose" what books would go onto the New Testament canon (guilty as charged, by the way), and B) then (i.e., subsequently) modified them to "comply with dogma". (In later postings, he backed off from his sequencing of events, presumably conceding the point that no such alleged alteration of the texts occurred post canonicity.)

But the examples you bring up as supposed evidence of modification are actually strong evidence of their not having been modified in any way. Think about it. Had there been some attempt to alter the wording of the Gospels, don't you think that these imaginary editors would have, as their first order of business, removed such "difficulties" in the original documents and "smoothed out" the narrative? The fact that such variant details still exist is the strongest evidence possible that the original documents have not been modified in the slightest.

Sheesh!

im-skeptical said...

"the original documents have not been modified in the slightest."

That is, once a particular version the official bible was established by the church - that version has remained more or less intact. Meanwhile, changes to the bible have been occurring throughout its history, resulting in new versions, each of which is not the same as the others. The "original documents" you refer to simply constitute one version in a long series of modified versions. What a ridiculous game you're playing.


B. Prokop said...

" Meanwhile, changes to the bible have been occurring throughout its history, resulting in new versions, each of which is not the same as the others."

Really? Where can I get a hold of one of these "new versions"? Are they on Amazon? Details, please!

B. Prokop said...

OK, let's review the bidding so far here. First Skep accuses the Church of, after choosing the canon, "modifying" the scriptures to comply with dogma (posting of June 04, 2014 9:23 AM). He's later forced to drop this supposed order of events, and punts to saying the original documents were somehow doctored prior to being accepted into the canon (June 07, 2014 9:13 AM and 10:30 AM). Having been foiled in that line of attack, he now reverses position, admits that the source documents have not been tampered with, and reverts to his original charge that the alleged modifications took place subsequent to the fixing of the canon.

In fact, he even doubles down and claims that a "long series" of modifications have taken place. Excuse me while I try to wrap my head around such an amazing idea. How exactly would this take place? Everyone has The Bible, and Skep imagines the Church suddenly coming out with a modified version and telling everybody that the old one has to be thrown out and replaced with the new? What? You think that no one would notice and just go along? Heck, the Church can't even change one word in the Liturgy (which is not part of scripture) without having to endure a firestorm of controversy. And you think they'd get away with altering The Bible???

In your dreams.

toddes said...

"You must take your nose out the theological section of the public library and discipline yourself to reading widely and astutely if you wish the bar of your contribution to be lifted above where it currently lies; on the ground."

As always Linton, you speak where you have no knowledge. You have no idea what I have or have not read. As with everything else you state, you show your intellectual dishonesty.

"Atheism is simply the neutral position across all cultures and all societies abiding by universally axiomatic logic; that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

Then follow your own claim:

"You and I know the Koran is not the true account of god just as the Muslin and I know the christian fable is not true account of god."

Your comment is not neutral. It is a truth claim. It is an assertion without evidence and so can be dismissed without evidence.

For the sake of argument let's accept the atheism is a neutral position. Everything you state about religion and especially about Christianity (amusingly you fail to capitalize Christian or Bible but don't seem to have the same problem with Muslim, Islam or Koran. I wonder why that is?) is not neutral but antagonistic. Therefore, you are not an atheist.

As you are not an atheist by your own actions and arguments we can dismiss any claim you make in regard to atheism and well as in regard to religion as you have shown time and again that you do not hold a neutral position.

Also can you provide evidence that ALL atheists come to that worldview solely on the basis on logic. How do you deal with statements such as this from Thomas Nagel:

“I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

Why not come out and admit that you do not hold a neutral position? You consistently claim that religion is false. As stated above, this not a neutral position. And as you consistently attempt to present yourself as an atheist, you only show the depth of your intellectual dishonesty and your failure to critically examine your own claims.

im-skeptical said...

"And you think they'd get away with altering The Bible???

In your dreams."

And yet, there are many versions of the biblical texts. Do you deny this? There are old versions and new versions. The gospel stories no doubt were developed and changed over time before they were ever written down. The ones in the NT don't even agree with one another. And they clearly show a story that was enhanced over time, as the mythos of Jesus' divinity and his works grew and became dominant over other competing traditions.

And you're quibbling over an insignificant "then" in one of my statements.

Papalinton said...

Toddes
I'm not an atheist because I don't capitalize words? That's a new one to me.

"You consistently claim that religion is false." No. Not religion false, because we know there are thousands of dead and dying religions strewn all over the pages of humanity's history. The practice of religions is real and fact, to be sure. It is the basis of belief underlying religions that is epistemically and irreconcilably problematic. It is the underpinning belief that is founded in mythology. You must not lazily conflate the issues and pretend to understand the argument.

"You have no idea what I have or have not read. " Your commentary thus far is a pretty clear indicator of the narrow focus of scholarship on your part. Enlighten me on the scope of your learning.

If as you say I am not an atheist, tell me Toddes, [this is your finest intellectual moment to impress everyone], why I am not so.

It is interesting how woo-meisters continue to call on Nagel as the doyen of atheism, as if his philosophical perspective is representative of mainstream atheism. To be sure, he is definitely an atheist in the fold but one must temper his contributions within the broader scope of atheism. And just like you and me, he too, is open to all the vagaries of emotional responses. But that doesn't make me any less an atheist. You need to go back to the drawing board and educmacate yourself about all manner of things outside theology/

No Toddes. the level of your discourse is disappointingly callow.

Papalinton said...

Bob, here's an interesting twist where the church modified itself to be just like and as powerful as God. Just as the Christian god is infallible so too now is the Pope. Apparently, just like God, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error. And interestingly enough this divine status was all confirmed in 1870, a bit over a hundred years ago.

Talk about hubris.

B. Prokop said...

"And they clearly show a story that was enhanced over time"

They do? News to me.

"as the mythos of Jesus' divinity and his works grew and became dominant over other competing traditions"

Extremely interesting comment. So, by your reasoning, the earliest evangelists (either Matthew or Mark, take your pick) did not believe in Jesus's divinity, but the later ones (Luke and John) did. And you claim you can see a development from not seeing Jesus as divine in the earlier works, to where he is in the later works. As I said, extremely interesting. Except...

Except for the inconvenient FACT that Paul, writing before any of the Gospels were written (even atheists agree to this timeline) wrote such things as this:

"He chose us in [Jesus] before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4) showing Jesus existing prior to creation. What existed prior to creation? Hmm... God?

"He [Jesus] was in the form of God" (Philippians 2:6) And if that isn't clear enough, we've got the following:

"[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17)

So where is this supposed "development" of belief from non-divinity to divinity? Here we have quotations from parts of the New Testament that pre-date the Gospels, and yet you still imagine that the earliest Gospels somehow missed all this?

No, what actually happened is that you missed all this.

B. Prokop said...

"The gospel stories no doubt were developed and changed over time before they were ever written down."

Oh my, I missed this in my first reading of your comment. This is astonishing! Incredible!!! You say you can tell us how the Gospel narrative developed before it was even written down?!?!?! How? What are your sources (since even you say there is nothing written to draw from)? ESP? Time travel? Your ass??? Next to "Making Stuff Up" in the dictionary is a picture of your last comment.

B. Prokop said...

"amusingly you fail to capitalize Christian or Bible but don't seem to have the same problem with Muslim, Islam or Koran. I wonder why that is?"

It is because Linton values his head, and doesn't wish to jeopardize its current position atop his neck.

B. Prokop said...

Linton,

It is not the Pope who is infallible. It is the Holy Spirit (God), speaking through the office of the Papacy, Who is infallible. So nothing has been "modified" - God was infallible before, and He is now. The Pope remains as fallible as you or me. God, speaking through his office (not the person occupying that office), is as infallible as ever.

im-skeptical said...

Bob,

If the divinity of Jesus was so well established from the beginning, why did the Council of Nicea have to decide this matter?

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

Because of Arianism, which (as you know full well) did not raise its ugly head until the 3rd Century.

B. Prokop said...

Arianism, unfortunately, lives on to this day - primarily under the guise of Mormonism, but also Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and (to a certain extent) Unitarianism. As Tolkien so wisely wrote, "After a defeat and a respite, the shadow takes another shape and grows again."

Ilíon said...

B.Talkin'Smack: "Arianism, unfortunately, lives on to this day - ... but also Seventh Day Adventists,"

Whatever their other faults, Adventists are not Arians. Or, if they are, they do a very good job of hiding it ... including in their schools.

Papalinton said...



Don't bring it up with me. You know how I stand on this religious nonsense. Take it up with your fellow religionists like THIS CHRISTIAN, Peter De Rosa. . There are pages and pages of sources that I could have chosen what other christians think of the claim of papal infallibility. I randomly selected De Rosa who representatively reflects pretty much what every other christians other than catholics but not excluding them have to say on the topic of papal infallibility:

"When confronted with problems with the idea of papal infallibility, Catholic apologists often claim that popes and/or the church rarely claim infallibility. Here is evidence to the contrary from the current pope, Benedict XVI, in his prior position as chief representative of the faith:
In October 1995, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter signed by its then Prefect, Cardinal Ratzinger. In the letter, Cardinal Ratzinger amplified, explained and defended papal arguments against the ordination of women by stressing the constancy of the Church’s tradition and teachings on the subject from the very beginning of Christianity. Cardinal Ratzinger explained that while John Paul II did not invoke papal infallibility, his ban on the ordination of women should nevertheless be considered as infallible because it is based on the infallibility of the “ordinary magisterium” of all the bishops agreeing with a particular Church teaching.""


Remember this guy was Catholic through and through from his testimony that I cited earlier in this comment. You have your work cut out in convincing other god-botherers without having to worry about me. They all think it's undivinely parochial nonsense too.

Ilíon said...

B.Talkin'Smack: "The origins of the very true saying "Speak of the devil, and he shall appear" are lost in the mist of time, but Ilion's entering the fray here are affirmation of its veracity. Just who was it who mentioned his name?"

Hmm ... so a good twenty hours after someone posted on my little blog, all but directly asking me to comment here, and over three hours after you yourself lamented my absence, I do finally take the time to comment here. And, somehow, that's confirmation of that silly saying you like so much.

Might I suggest that you cut back on the time you spend cavorting with demons? Then you might not need to spend so much time accusing others of being demons.

=============
A.Hypocrite:Ilion's problem is he is a great believer in what Lewis termed "Christianity and".

Ilíon’s “problem” is that he will not wink at intellectual hypocrisy.

One of the amusing things about leftists, I mean aside from their hypocrisy, is that whatever accusations they level at anti-leftists are almost always reflections of their own hearts: it is not Ilíon, but rather B.Bullshittin’, who is into “Christianity and”; in his case, leftism.

JUST AS I-pretend-to-rationality and the Mad Dingo will *never* back up any of their claims (and will continue to make them after being publicly show the truth), B.Bullshittin’ will *never* provide any evidence to back up his accusations about me.

A.Hypocrite:Ilion doesn't care for my politics (about which I have taken a solemn oath to never again discuss online), …

Ilíon doesn’t merely dislike that bloody-minded leftist’s assertion of State ownership of all persons and all things, and he doesn’t merely dislike the leftist’s continuous false assertions that his leftism equals Christianity.

Still, that was an easy vow for the bloody leftist to make, and keep. I mean, considering that he has *never* discussed politics here. All he has ever done is make vicious false accusations … and they run like a pussy when someone refuses to wink at his accusations. You know, just like he does in making pointless snide asides about ‘sola scriptura’ (that ‘sola’ especially), and then self-acclaiming himself the winner when I blow him out of the water without even putting much effort into it.

Really, how is B.Prokop substantially different from Im(ahem)skeptical or Woo-Woo Linton?

B.Talkin'Smack: "In Ilion's case, the "and" appears to be small "L" libertarianism. If some aspect of Christianity (for instance, Catholicism) threatens libertarianism, then it is to be condemned."

But, of course, anyone who pays attention understands that I consider libertarianism to be just leftism on the cheap: libertarians want the secular/hedonistic goodies leftism falsely promises, they just don’t want to be on the hook to pay for it. But, when push come to shove, when it matters, libertarians will always side with the leftists, no matter how often they claim to be the true heirs of “classical liberalism” (as in, Washington, Hamilton, Adams, et al.)

B.Talkin'Smack: "That's why he terms Catholicism the "One True Bureaucracy". The Church's claims to authority are what get to him. He even admitted this once …"

Misrepresent much?

I *laugh* at a bunch of crusty old socialistic bureaucrats asserting that God has given them jurisdiction and authority over the souls of all men. You know, just like I laugh at this week’s wannabe Caliph asserting the same.

That’s not nearly something that can honestly be characterized as “getting to” me. And, of course, I never admitted any such thing.

Ilíon said...

... and as anyone paying attention already knows, "One True Bureaucracy" is mockery of, and apparently rather effective, of the Roman denomination's silly claim to be the "One True Church", as though God gives a damn about human bureaucracies.

B. Prokop said...

Myself: "Really! Where's Ilion when you need him?"

I did write that, and I meant it. (Read the postings immediately preceding that comment.) You and I, Ilion, have our (significant) differences, but I will unhesitatingly assert that when you're right, you express yourself well. (I know this from being now and then on the receiving end of your attentions. Ouch!)

Ilíon said...

"but I will unhesitatingly assert that when you're right, you express yourself well."

And I'm *always* right. Even that one time I thought I was wrong, it turns out I was mistaken.

BenYachov said...

Peter De Rosa.....the poor man's JACK CHICK.

For Pap's next trick he will refute the Old Testament by citing the relevant passages from the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

BenYachov said...

Peter De Rosa.....the poor man's JACK CHICK.

For Pap's next trick he will refute the Old Testament by citing the relevant passages from the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

DeRosa in essence Dan Brown with a mean streak but not as good a writer.

Well New Age Fundamentalist Conspiracy theorist Dave Hunt likes to cite him.