Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Archaeological Support for Christian claims: Indirect but significant

                The argument from archaeology in support of the claims of Christianity is rather indirect, but still significant. The Book of Acts frequently has the early Christian leaders being brought up before various government potentates, and in many, many, cases, archaeology has confirmed that the city in question had the exact governmental structure that Acts said that it does.
                Now think about this for a moment. I live in the metropolitan Phoenix area, in the city of Glendale. There are five people on our city council, there are, I think nine on Phoenix’s council, but as for Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Peoria, Avondale, Goodyear, and Tolleson I have no idea. I could Google these city’s websites to find out how their governments are run, but the author of Acts didn’t have the Internet. Yet, his reports of what kind of governmental structures existed in lots of cities was invariably accurate. His account of what would have happened on board ship fits with what a land-dwelling person would say about a sea voyage that encountered the kinds of problems they had.
                So how did he know this stuff? I think the sensible explanation was that he was there. There are actually passages in which the author of Acts uses the word “we”, and some scholars think he actually means “we.” Others do not, but I think his knowledge of what went on had to have been either first-hand or nearly so.
                And yet these passages in Acts are just as miracle-laden as the Gospels. Miracle claims were made concerning Paul using his handkerchief to raise the sleeping Eutychus who fell out of a window. What you have are people with lots of access to the information about what happened, who don’t have much motive to lie about it that I can see, (they were putting their lives at risk by continuing to follow someone who the powers that be had put to death) saying that many miracles happened.

                With the story of Apollonius of Tyana, there is no realistic style. Some of the incidents in there are set in Nineveh, which had been destroyed seven centuries before. The Book of Mormon would cause us to expect all sorts of archaeological artifacts from the Book of Mormon peoples near the Hill of Cumorah, which are simply not there. We should expect a close DNA connection between American Indians and Jews, not Orientals, but the reverse is true. With these two cases, when I ask the question “If the story’s not true, then what did happen” seems easy. With the Christian story, the founding of Christianity has to be very puzzling to anyone who wants to reject the Christian story itself. All the theories look very problematic. Now if our methodological naturalism is strong enough we might say “Well, anything but a miracle, so maybe we just have to say we don’t know what happened.” But if we are prepared to give miracles a chance, then I think the Christian account of what happened is very plausible. 

33 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

The getting the titles right argument was made by Stephen Neil In Interpretation of New Testament 1864-1964. That argument has more currency the further back you go because in the days when the grand tour was traditional for graduates of the finer institutions the idea of traveling Europe and getting the titles wrong was a problem. Neil was living in the 1960s but he alludes t that concern. He quotes a letter of a traveler to that effect.

In the case of ye author of acts the fact that the author had to have traveled that circuit at some time increases the probability that his claim to being the companion of Paul is valid. The attempts of atheists I've seen trying to say that he barrowed from Greek travel books are not impressive.

Guy named Humphrey's the worlds leading Paul myther tries to show parallels between Acts and Josephus. They are about as convincing as his Paul myther stuff.

Jayman said...

Here's a summary of local knowledge Colin Hemer found in his The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History (pp. 108ff.):

1. Acts 13:4-5: The natural crossing between the ports of Seleucia and Salamis is noted.
2. Acts 13:7: While the name of the proconsul Sergius Paulus cannot be confirmed his family is confirmed.
3. Acts 13:13: "The text names Perga, a river-port, and perhaps the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus, whereas a coaster would have called only at the coastal harbour town of Attalia" (p. 109).
4. Acts 14:1, 6 "implies that Iconium was not in Lycaonia, as has often been supposed on the strength of sources reflecting boundary changes and conditions of different date. Its ethnic inclusion in Phrygia, not Lycaonia, is confirmed by the geographical distribution of Neo-Phrygian texts, and could be illustrated extensively by onomastic study" (p. 110).
5. In Acts 14:6 the "bizarrely heteroclitic declension of the name Lystra is actually paralleled in Latin in the documents, though the point hinges on correct restoration" (p. 110).
6. Acts 14:11: The Lycaonian language was spoken in Lystra. The use of a native language was unusual in the cosmopolitan, Hellenized society in which Paul normally worked. Lystra was a Roman colony in a less developed part of Anatolia and was able to preserve its language.
7. Acts 14:12: The deities Hellenized as Zeus and Hermes are paralleled epigraphically in Lystra and its district. Barnabas and Paul are identified with the two deities in a way consistent with native beliefs.
8. Acts 14:25: Paul and Barnabas return to the coasting port of Attalia to intercept a coasting vessel.
9. Acts 16:1: The correct order of approach overland from the Cilician Gates is, in fact, Derbe then Lystra.
10. Acts 16:2: Lystra and Iconium were relatively close together so it was natural for Timothy to be known by both these churches.
11. Acts 16:8: The form of the name Troas is given as current in the first century.
12. Acts 16:11: The island of Samothrace, with its 5,000 foot mountain, was a conspicuous sailors' landmark.
13. Acts 16:11: Nea Polis, properly rendered as two words in the best manuscripts, was the seaport of Philippi.
14. Acts 16:12: Philippi is correctly described as a Roman colony.
15. Acts 16:13: The small river Gangites flows close to the walls of Philippi.
16. Acts 16:14: Thyatira was a center of dyeing.
17. Acts 16:20-21 "gives an ironical treatment of the anti-Jewish feeling on the part of colonists proud of their Roman status" (p. 115).
18. Acts 16:22: The use of the term stratēgos for magistrates is attested in Pisidian Antioch.
19. Acts 16:35: Flogging was appropriate to the rhabdouchos.
20. Acts 17:1: The mention of Amphipolis and Apollonia should be taken to imply that the were stops along the way as, in fact, they were stations on the Egantian Way from Philippi to Thessalonica. This would divide the journey into three stages of about 30, 27, and 35 miles.
21. Acts 17:1: An inscription confirms that there was a Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica.
22. Acts 17:5: In the free city of Thessalonica Paul is brought before the dēmos ("assembly").
23. Acts 17:6: The title of the board of magistrates in Thessalonica was politarchēs ("city officials").
24. Acts 17:10: Berea was a suitable refuge off the major westward route, the Via Egnatia.
25. Acts 17:14: "The implication of sea-travel is at once the most convenient way of reaching Athens with the favouring 'Etesian' winds of the summer sailing-season and also removes Paul to a different jurisdiction remote from nearer land-routes where opponents might be expecting him" (p. 116).

Jayman said...

26. Acts 17:17: Jewish inscriptions attest to a synagogue existing in Athens.
27. Acts 17:17: Philosophical debate in the Agora was characteristic of Athenian life.
28. Acts 17:18: The Stoa (portico) from which the Stoic philosophers took their name was in the Athenian Agora.
29. Acts 17:18: The term spermologos ("babbler") is characteristically Athenian slang.
30. Acts 17:19: The two-word form Areios pagos applied to the court and is regularly used in many inscriptions of the period.
31. Acts 17:23: Paul would have seen the Athenian "objects of worship" at the main approach to the Agora from the northwest.
32. Acts 17:23: Altars to unknown gods are mentioned elsewhere (Pausanias 1.1.4; Diogenes Laertius Vita Philos. 1.110; cf. Philostratus Vita Ap. Ty. 6.3.5). While many of these altars use the plural ("gods") at least one phrase from Diogenes is singular.
33. Acts 17:24: Paul mentions temples made by human hands in Athens with its Parthenon and other shrines.
34. Acts 17:24-29: Paul's speech is appropriate for a dialogue with Stoic and Epicurean terms.
35. Acts 17:28: The words "in him we live and move about and exist" are attributed to Epimenides the Cretan, who figures in Diogenes's story of the altars mentioned in Acts 17:23.
36. Acts 17:28: The words "for we too are his offspring" are from the Stoic poet Aratus, of Soli in Cilicia, near Paul's home in Tarsus. This citation is consistent with Paul's quotation of Greek literature in 1 Cor. 15:33.
37. Acts 17:31: Paul states that a "man" was appointed to judge the world. He does not use Christological constructs that would be meaningless to the pagan audience. This is suitable for Paul speaking in Athens rather than a Lukan theological construct.
38. Acts 17:32: Paul takes issue with the denial of resurrection in Greek culture (Aeschylus, Eumen. 647-48). The reaction of the Stoics and Epicureans is understandable in the Athenian context.
39. Acts 17:34: Areopagitēs is the correct title for a member of the court.
40. Acts 18:2: Displays a synchronism with the probable date of Claudius's expulsion of the Jews.
41. Acts 18:3: Paul's trade as a tentmaker is appropriate to his Cilician origin.
42. Acts 18:4: A synagogue in Corinth is attested epigraphically.
43. Acts 18:12: "Gallio is said to be a proconsul, resident in Corinth as provincial capital. Achaia was governed by a proconsul from 27 BC to AD 15 and from AD 44. I have argued elsewhere that the incident belongs to the time of Gallio's arrival in the province in early summer 51, the only point in Paul's residence (autumn 50 - spring 52) when his opponents would be able to take advantage of a new and untried governor" (p. 119).
44. Acts 18:13-14: Gallio is unconcerned that Paul's teaching is in conflict with accepted Jewish theology.
45. Acts 18:16: The judgment seat (bēma) overlooking Corinth's forum is visible today.
46. Acts 18:21: "The hasty departure from Ephesus in spring would suit the assumption, made explicit in the Western text, that Paul was anxious to reach Jerusalem for a feast, presumably Passover, in the limited time available after the opening of the sailing season" (p. 120).
47. Acts 18:23: "The 'Galatian country and Phrygia' is a peculiarly difficult phrase, not the same as in 16:6. I am now inclined to think that 'the Galatian country' is here resumptive of 16:6, and refers generally to Paul's sphere of work in ('South') Galatia, and that 'Phrygia' (here, but not there, a noun) is appended loosely in the awareness that Phrygia extended into the province of Asia, beyond Galatia in any sense, and on Paul's present route towards Ephesus. Possibly Luke knew of Paul's preaching on this journey in Asian Phrygia, in e.g. Apamea Cibotus or Eumenea, major cities on or near the route implied by a likely geographical interpretation of 19:1 below" (p. 120).

Jayman said...

48. Acts 19:1: The description of the journey plausibly refers to the traverse of the hill-road reaching Ephesus by the Cayster valley north of Mt. Messogis, and not by the Lycus and Maeander valleys, with which Paul may have been acquainted (Col. 2:1).
49. Acts 19:9: The name Tyrannus is attested in first-century inscriptions from Ephesus.
50. Acts 19:13-14: Jewish exorcists are attested in Asia Minor. The title "high priest" may have been used by Sceva in order to impress his clientele.
51. Acts 19:24: Shrines to the goddess Artemis are well known.
52. Acts 19:27: The formulation "the great goddess Artemis" is known from inscriptions.
53. Acts 19:29: The theater was the meeting place of Ephesus.
54. Acts 19:31: The Asiarchs are naturally situated in Ephesus.
55. Acts 19:32-34: "The deflection of the move against Paul into an anti-Semitic channel accords with surviving evidence for such tensions in Ephesus, where Jews seem to have held citizenship and other special privileges guaranteed first by the Seleucids and maintained under the Romans. Cf. the humorous comment in v. 32" (p. 122).
56. Acts 19:35: The title grammateus is the correct title for the chief executive magistrate of Ephesus and is attested in inscriptions.
57. Acts 19:35: The diopetēs was the archaic sacred image of Artemis, whether it was literally a meteorite or an ancient sculpture.
58. Acts 19:37: Thea was the formal designation of Artemis.
59. Acts 19:38: The term agoraios "reflects the Roman practice in Asia of holding courts under the proconsul in nine or more principal cities which served as district capitals. Ephesus was capital of one of the conventus, or assize-districts" (p. 123).
60. Acts 19:38: "If not merely a generalizing plural, anthypatos may refer to the remarkable fact that two men were conjointly exercising the functions of proconsul temporarily after murdering their predecessor subsequent to Nero's accession in AD 54 (Tac. Ann. 13.1; Dio 61.6.4-5), a date which precisely suits the ostensible chronology of this passage. This view is severely criticized by Ramsay, however" (p. 123).
61. Acts 19:39: The phrase "legal assembly" is the precise phrase attested elsewhere and the concept is mentioned repeatedly in the Salutaris inscription of Ephesus itself.
62. Acts 19:40: Reflects the preoccupation with civic privileges and the fear that sedition or irregularity could provoke Roman intervention.
63. Acts 20:4: The form of the ethnic designation Beroiaios (Berea) is the precise form attested on local inscriptions.
64. Acts 20:4: The ethnic designation Asianos (Asia) is characteristic of the period.
65. Acts 20:13: "Paul's staying behind at Troas and travelling overland to rejoin the ship's company at Assos is appropriate to local circumstances, where the ship had to negotiate an exposed coast and double Cape Lectum before reaching Assos" (p. 125).
66. Acts 20:14-15: The sequence of places on the trip are correct and natural.
67. Acts 20:16: "The choice to by-pass Ephesus had presumably been made already in the choice of ship at Troas, where a faster coaster may have deliberately avoided entering the gulf of Ephesus, especially if the silting there was already causing delays. Paul too may have been acutely conscious that a visit to the church from a ship calling there would be likely to imperil his commitment to Jerusalem through personal entanglements there and the probable need for further trans-shipment" (p. 125).
68. Acts 20:17: Miletus was about 30 miles from Ephesus by land and by sea. The summons is understandable if the ship was to stay at Miletus for a few days.
69. Acts 21:1: The name of the city Patara is correctly given in the neuter plural, as it is in the local epigraphy and elsewhere in literature (Hdt. 1.182; Paus. 9.41.1; Diodorus 19.64.5; Lucian, Philopseud. 38; Appian, Mithridatica, 4.27; Arrian, Anab. 1.24.4).
70. Acts 21:3: The route was probably favored by the persistent northwest winds.

Jayman said...

71. Acts 21:5: The word aigialos correctly describes the smooth beach at Tyre, as opposed to the Greek word used for a rocky shore.
72. Acts 21:8: The distance between Ptolemais and Caesarea is about 30 miles, appropriate for a day's journey by land or sea.
73. Acts 21:10: "The curious usage of 'Judaea' here presumably reflects the Jewish perspective which associated the term with Jerusalem and district as the heart of Judaism, and excluded pagan Caesarea" (p. 126).
74. Acts 21:16: The implication is that Mnason's house was between Caesarea and Jerusalem. The road distance between Caesarea and Jerusalem was about 60 miles so it would have made sense for there to be an overnight stop between the two cities.
75. Acts 21:24: Luke is aware of this characteristically Jewish act of piety (cf. Agrippa I in Jos., Ant. 19.6.1.294).
76. Acts 21:28: Gentiles were forbidden from going beyond the Gentiles' Court of the Temple. Two warning notices are extant.
77. Acts 21:31: Josephus (War 5.5.8.244) notes there was a permanent stationing of a Roman cohort at Antonia to suppress any disturbances during festivals.
78. Acts 21:35, 40: Josephus (War 5.5.8.243) explicitly describes the steps used by the guards.
79. Acts 21:38: Josephus also mentions "the Egyptian" (War 2.13.5.261-263; Ant. 20.8.6.169-171). Josephus says he had 30,000 followers while Luke says he had 4,000 followers. Luke's smaller number may be more plausible.
80. Acts 21:39: "The literary reminiscence of Euripides, Ion 8, is well calculated to impress the officer surprised at Paul's Greek education" (p. 127).
81. Acts 21:39: "The claim to citizenship of a Greek city is unusual in a Jew, and possible only where a special constitution made a body of Jewish citizens possible. There are indications that the refoundation of Tarsus by Antiochus Epiphanes had created such a situation."
82. Acts 22:1-16: Paul's speech in Aramaic stresses elements of his background suitable for a Jewish audience in Jerusalem.
83. Acts 22:28; 23:26: The commanding officer is named Claudius Lysias, which implies he gained his citizenship under Claudius, when citizenship could be bought for money, as indicated here. Dio (60.17.5-7) says citizenship became cheapened during his reign.
84. Acts 23:2: Ananias was the high priest at this ostensible date.
85. Acts 23:6: The prominence of the Sadducees fits the time. It stands apart from Jesus' controversies with the Pharisees in the Gospels and the decline of the Sadducees after 70.
86. Acts 23:24: The governorship of Felix fits the ostensible date.
87. Acts 23:31: Antipatris was the natural stopping point on the way to Caesarea.
88. Acts 23:34: "Felix's acceptance of a case involving a man from Cilicia is significant, for this, like Judaea, was subject to the legate of Syria at this period" (p. 128).
89. Acts 23:35; 24:1: Felix waits for the arrival of the accusers from Jerusalem before the formal trial.
90. Acts 24:1: The accusers employ an attorney. Parties could appear with or without an attorney (Pliny Ep. 4.22; 6.31).
91. Acts 24:3: Kratistos is the correct form of address to the procurator, as a man of equestrian rank.
92. Acts 24:5: Roman authorities did not concern themselves with Jewish religious controversies so the accusers construe their charges in political terms.
93. Acts 24:10: "Paul's statement that Felix had ruled this people for many years accords with his having ruled Samaria under Cumanus, and so having held office for eight or nine years altogether, a lengthy span for an imperial official, and sharply contrasted with the annual tenure of the senatorial proconsul" (p. 129).
94. Acts 24:14-15: Paul's defense stresses the religious nature of the charges.
95. Acts 24:19: Roman law was against accusers who abandoned their charges so Paul's tactic makes sense.
96. Acts 24:22, 24: Felix's knowledge of "the Way" may be due to his marriage to the Jewish Drusilla (Josephus Ant. 20.7.2.141-3).

Jayman said...

97. Acts 24:27: The name Porcius Festus agrees exactly with that given by Josephus (Ant. 20.8.9.182).
98. Acts 24:27: "While we hesitate to use imputed motives as a factor in argument, it is worth noting that Felix needed to conciliate the Jews of Caesarea, who immediately went to Rome to accuse him (Josephus Ant. 20.8.9.182)" (p. 130).
99. Acts 24:27: "On the likely chronology, these 'two years', interpreted as the duration of Paul's imprisonment, represent the period 57-59, and suit a change of procuratorial coinage to be related with some plausibility to the coming of Festus" (p. 130).
100. Acts 25:5-6: "Festus insists on acting in due form, appearing formally on his tribunal, and acts with the assistance of his consilium, so that his decision is shown to have legal effect" (p. 130).
101. Acts 25:11: Roman citizens had the right of appeal.
102. Acts 25:13: It was timely and natural for Agrippa II to pay his respects to the new representative of Rome, Festus.
103. Acts 25:18: Festus's statement of bewilderment reflects the legal formula de quibus cognoscere volebam.
104. Acts 25:26: "My Lord" became the characteristic form of reference to the emperor during the time of Nero.
105. Acts 26:32: "The innocent man could have been released if he had not appealed. The pluperfect here is significant as implying that this act of Paul had placed him in an irrevocable position. The compulsion was not so much strictly legal as political, a matter of the emperor's auctoritas in relation to his subordinates. Festus could scarcely venture publicly to short-circuit a case formally arrogated to Caesar's decision" (p. 132).
106. Acts 27:2: The name Adramyttium is attested.
107. Acts 27:4: Knowledge of how to conduct a westward voyage near Cyprus during the summer.
108. Acts 27:6: Myra was the place we would expect Julius to find a ship sailing for Italy.
109. Acts 27:7: Slow passage to Cnidus could occur in the face of the typical northwest wind.
110. Acts 27:7: It was normal to sail in the lee of Crete instead of directly across the Aegean.
111. Acts 27:7: The name Salmone is attested in slightly different form (Strabo 2.4.3 = 106; Pliny, NH 4.12.58, 60, 61, 71).
112. Acts 27:8: Fair Havens and Lasea are well-attested site names.
113. Acts 27:11: Knowledge of the terminology and functions aboard a ship.
114. Acts 27:12: Fair Havens was a poorly sheltered roadstead.
115. Acts 27:13-14: Knowledge of common wind conditions near Crete.
116. Acts 27:16: The island Cauda is correctly placed and named.
117. Acts 27:16: Knowledge of emergency procedures to secure the safety of the ship.
118. Acts 27:17: Knowledge of the Syrtis, a navigational hazard.
119. Acts 27:27: Knowledge of the approximate time it would take to reach the destination.
120. Acts 27:28: Knowledge of the correct term for soundings.
121. Acts 27:29: Knowledge of casting the anchors from the stern to prevent the ship from crashing stern first on the rocks.
122. Acts 27:38: Knowledge that lightening the ship would help it run as high as possible up a beach.
123. Acts 27:40: Knowledge of steps to bring the ship under control to steer towards the beach.
124. Acts 27:41: The bow being stuck fast is what might be expected at Malta.
125. Acts 27:42: Knowledge that soldiers faced severe consequences for escaped prisoners.
126. Acts 28:2: Punic inscriptions from Malta indicate it is probable that the Maltese inhabitants may not have been able to speak the languages known to those on the ship.
127. Acts 28:4-6: The reactions of the local to Paul's snake bite reflect superstitions of the day.
128. Acts 28:7: The title prōtos is attested epigraphically.
129. Acts 28:13: Rhegium was a refuge to await a south wind.
130. Acts 28:15: The Forum of Appius and Three Taverns were stopping-places on the Appian Way.

Cal Metzger said...

So, the site at Delphi is evidence for claims about Apollo, then?

Legion of Logic said...

Yep.

planks length said...

Actually, Cal, it is. You need to learn what the word "evidence" means. There can be evidence for things that aren't necessarily true. Else, why do we have trials where both the prosecuting and defense attorneys produce evidence, not only for the guilt but also for the innocence of the accused?

Joe Hinman said...

Cal there are these inference things we are supposed to use with the evidence. they turn it in to proof of failed argument depending u[on this logic stuff you have to put in the inference.

planks length said...

The sun rising in the east and setting in the west is evidence for a geocentric universe. But that evidence must be evaluated in light of other pieces of evidence, such as telescopic observations of the phases of Venus, or the predictive utility of Johannes Kepler's mathematics of ellipsoidal orbits - illustrating that evidence can be either empirical (inductive) or philosophical (deductive).

Cal Metzger said...

Um, we infer things for which there is evidence AND there is no better explanation.

If you want to be taken seriously, you don't infer things for which there is already a better explanation.

What's a better explanation for the ruins at Delphi?
1) During the Hellinistic period people formed a religion around superstitious beliefs based on a slew of known human tendencies, or
2) During the Hellenistic period Apollo used to harness the sun to a chariot and ride it across the sky.

I think we can all agree that 1 is a better explanation.

What's a better explanation for any archaeological congruities found in the NT?
1) During the first two centuries of the Common Era people who lived in and around Judea formed a religion around superstitious beliefs based on a slew of known human tendencies, or
2) Yahweh sent himself to earth but disguised to seem exactly human and then though he was killed he didn't really die and now humans aren't evolved and no fair checking on this story because Yahweh doesn't like checking.

1 is a better explanation. And the only people who won't agree are those who can't evaluate evidence and derive explanations in ways that are consistent and are the only ones known to be effective.

oozzielionel said...

Cal:
At least consider amending your thesis to "formed a religion around completely counter-intuitive beliefs.."

planks length said...

No, oozzie, let Cal's closed-mindedness and irrationality lie there in all their unedited glory for everyone to see.

Crude said...

Um, we infer things for which there is evidence AND there is no better explanation.

Cal, this is pretty easy: if a given bit of data lends support, even incremental support, to a particular claim - then it's evidence for that claim.

You want to insist that everyone religious is a stupid meanie doo-doo head who hates science and is dumb (despite those people actually, you know, creating and sustaining science for literally centuries)? Go for it. Make your claim, support your burdens. But when people are talking about accepting biblical claims, their ability to point at archaeological congruencies with the bible is support for said claims. It's not complete proof, but then, complete proof was never the goal.

And when you say...

1 is a better explanation.

That, my boy, is a claim. You say every religious belief is superstition and there is no God, or there likely is no God? Bring the evidence.

If you can't - if this is where you cut and run and say 'No no no I'm not saying there is no God or that there likely is no God, just that I lack belief in God!' - well then, that's called a retreat.

Joe Hinman said...


Blogger Crude said...
Um, we infer things for which there is evidence AND there is no better explanation.

Any conclusion you draw is an inference. Any argu8mentvyou make , right or wrong, to be valid has to make an inference from a a warrant. Evidence is warrant. reads Stephan Toolman

Joe Hinman said...

If you want to be taken seriously, you don't infer things for which there is already a better explanation.


In relation to the empty tomb you have no better explanation given all the pieces of the evidence.

Joe Hinman said...

At least consider amending your thesis to "formed a religion around completely counter-intuitive beliefs.."

Irrelivant

Joe Hinman said...

1) During the first two centuries of the Common Era people who lived in and around Judea formed a religion around superstitious beliefs based on a slew of known human tendencies, or
2) Yahweh sent himself to earth but disguised to seem exactly human and then though he was killed he didn't really die and now humans aren't evolved and no fair checking on this story because Yahweh doesn't like checking.


Obviously no 2 given the following facts

(1) your use of the term "Superstition" is ideological sloganizing. no basis in fact

(2)derogatory assertions to the effect that God exists must be foolish, therefore God can't enter history as a man, is begging the question and is ideological assumption with no backing in reality.

(3) your description of the universe that no one ever domes back from dead is countered by description which includes medical researcher prowling Vatican achieves finds 40 cases that suggest otherwise. plus four people I met.

Cal Metzger said...

Crude: "But when people are talking about accepting biblical claims, their ability to point at archaeological congruencies with the bible is support for said claims."

And I have pointed out that if one is going to be consistent with this approach the ruins at Delphi make it more likely that Apollo used to harness the sun to a chariot and ride it across the sky. You are welcome to this approach to understanding reality, but I don't think I'll be joining you and the chariot sky god on your flights together.

Hinman: "(1) your use of the term "Superstition" is ideological sloganizing. no basis in fact."

The word "superstition" and "superstitious" mean something. Pretending that belief in things like gods, demons, spirits, and that these things interact with reality in the ways described, is NOT correctly described as superstitious is just a kind of special pleading.

I don't understand what you mean in your (2).

Regarding your (3), a) I didn't describe the universe as "no one ever domes back from dead," but your suggestion that medical research demonstrated otherwise is just fabulous.

So, on these comments here, my modest framing of sound epistemology (which should garner universal acquiescence before moving to particulars in which there could be reasonable differences) garners howls and protests, starting with the assertion that we do indeed have evidence that Apollo used to harness the sun to a chariot and ride it across the sky, and that what may be the most observed fact of human existence (that people don't come back from the dead) is not, in fact, correct.

It's hard to have a discussion when one doesn't know were to start.

Cheers.

planks length said...

the ruins at Delphi make it more likely that Apollo used to harness the sun to a chariot and ride it across the sky

And they do, Cal. They do... But this evidence is outweighed by contrary evidence.

So where's your contrary evidence to outweigh the positive archaeological evidence in favor of the New Testament?

what may be the most observed fact of human existence (that people don't come back from the dead)

You are 100% correct. In the normal course of things (that is, in the absence of a miraculous intervention) they don't. If they did, then Christ's Resurrection would not be the Big Deal that it is. Agreeing with every Christian on Earth that the Resurrection is a uniquely special event in history worthy of our utmost attention is a rather strange way of arguing with them, don't you think?

Cal Metzger said...

Planks: "Agreeing with every Christian on Earth that the Resurrection is a uniquely special event in history worthy of our utmost attention is a rather strange way of arguing with them, don't you think?"

Take it up with Joe Hinman -- he's the one who's arguing that people coming back from the dead is hardly unique, what with his having personally met 4 of them.

---------

Planks: "And they do, Cal. They do... But this evidence is outweighed by contrary evidence."

Really now? What's the contrary evidence that Apollo did not used to harness the sun to a chariot and ride it across the sky?

planks length said...

What's the contrary evidence that Apollo did not used to harness the sun to a chariot and ride it across the sky?

Telescopic observation.

Cal Metzger said...

Planks: "Telescopic observation."

So, events as they are observed today can be used to determine what we we can surmise happened in the past?

planks length said...

If you do not believe that, then you are in agreement with Ken Ham. That's his major argument for why he believes science cannot disprove Young Earth Creationism.

You surprise me, Cal. Never took you for a YECer.

Cal Metzger said...

Planks: "If you do not believe that, then you are in agreement with Ken Ham."

Oh, I agree with it. I just don't think you do.

What's more likely, that superstitious stories would take hold among another cult that grew and evolved?
or
that the consistency we see in reality and human nature today did not apply for awhile 2,000 years ago?

Funny that you think you the latter, while saying you espouse the former.

planks length said...

Cal,

What you apparently fail to realize is that if the "reality and human nature of today" did not apply 2000 years ago, then the Resurrection would not be a miracle!

Joe Hinman said...

Crude: "But when people are talking about accepting biblical claims, their ability to point at archaeological congruencies with the bible is support for said claims."

Cal:"And I have pointed out that if one is going to be consistent with this approach the ruins at Delphi make it more likely that Apollo used to harness the sun to a chariot and ride it across the sky. You are welcome to this approach to understanding reality, but I don't think I'll be joining you and the chariot sky god on your flights together."


That's not analogues to the argument we are making. All of us arguing for this idea, Dr. R. Plank and all of us have carefully qualified that is not proof, there is no 1x1 between said historical fact and the truth claims of our faith. We have said it's only corroboration.



Hinman: "(1) your use of the term "Superstition" is ideological sloganizing. no basis in fact."

Cal:"
The word "superstition" and "superstitious" mean something. Pretending that belief in things like gods, demons, spirits, and that these things interact with reality in the ways described, is NOT correctly described as superstitious is just a kind of special pleading.


No dictionary anywhere (except a put up job by atheists to legitimize their doctrinal parlance) says that belief in God is superstition. Belief in demos is not superstition per se. Depends upon what you believe about them. You need to get a copy of Reinhold Niebuhr's Nature and Destiny of man vI and read it. Belief in man having a spirit is not superstition and the idea that it is just stupid. Atheist August Compt Father of sociology wrote prodigiously about the human spirit. Yes I know it's a Metaphore. But he clearly thought it related to a real thing. Yes belief that spirits are in things and they are bothering you is borderline superstition I would be willing to bet no one here thinks that. ,"


Cal:"
I don't understand what you mean in your (2).\

Your comments imply a derogatory affront to belief in God and in the incarnation. But you have no basis in fact for asserting that there is anything stupid or ignorant ore even wrong in such beliefs.


Cal:"
Regarding your (3), a) I didn't describe the universe as "no one ever domes back from dead," but your suggestion that medical research demonstrated otherwise is just fabulous.

Read the book (Doufin book). I know my father's case because I was there.

Cal:"
So, on these comments here, my modest framing of sound epistemology (which should garner universal acquiescence before moving to particulars in which there could be reasonable differences) garners howls and protests, starting with the assertion that we do indeed have evidence that Apollo used to harness the sun to a chariot and ride it across the sky, and that what may be the most observed fact of human existence (that people don't come back from the dead) is not, in fact, correct."


Obviously you have universal support. Nor does your description of the universe include all data since it lacks the data I suggest that you have not heard about.

Cal:"
It's hard to have a discussion when one doesn't know were to start.

You could ask me! ;-)

Cal:"
Cheers.

Back at ya dude

Joe Hinman said...


February 26, 2016 11:26 AM

,Cal:Blogger Cal Metzger said...
Planks: "Agreeing with every Christian on Earth that the Resurrection is a uniquely special event in history worthy of our utmost attention is a rather strange way of arguing with them, don't you think?"

<<>>

You are purposely misrepresenting my argument I wonder if it isn't because you don' understand science. The idea that we can't live with anomalies that we have to defend a naturalistic mechanistic paradigm or all breaks loose (I think that's what you are thinking) is a completely archaic notion of science. The mechanistic notion is 18th century/

Joe Hinman said...

I forgot the link Cal:

The Douffin Book: Many resurrections in Vatican Archives

I can't remember the exact number, but be conservative and say 40 at least.

Cal Metzger said...

Hinman: "That's not analogues to the argument we are making ...there is no 1x1 between said historical fact..."

I used the term "more likely," which is not a term for 1x1 relationships. So you are mischaracterizing my criticism. I am merely pointing out that if you are to accept one edge of your argument, you must accept how the other side of that blade should increase your belief in Apollo and his sun chariot riding. That fact that you like one side of the blade, and not the other, is usually a good sign that your approach is not a good one.

Hinman: "No dictionary anywhere (except a put up job by atheists to legitimize their doctrinal parlance) says that belief in God is superstition."

If god doesn't exist, then belief that god causes events is superstition. Since I think it's obvious that the Christian god does not exist, I am using the term appropriately, the same way it's appropriate for you to use the term "evidence" for what I wouldn't consider good evidence, etc. -- we use terms the way we understand them, and we correct our usage when its demonstrated that we are using them incorrectly. If I were to use another term, like "legitimate demon causation" when I think the notion is incoherent or false would be misleading. If you want to understand another person's argument, you have to see their argument based on their understanding of the facts, and pretending that demons are real would prevent you from actually understanding my criticism.

Hinman: "Your comments imply a derogatory affront to belief in God and in the incarnation. But you have no basis in fact for asserting that there is anything stupid or ignorant ore even wrong in such beliefs."

No basis in fact? Yeah, except for the fact that story of the incarnation itself is a) incoherent (the Trinity is an ad hoc, illogical notion, for starters), b) nonsensical (god sends himself to earth so that he can be killed so that he can then forgive those he should have forgiven for doing what he made them to do, and, by the way, god is eternal so the whole idea of him actually dying is impossible. What?!?), and c) clashes with our fundamental moral sense (how can someone else's sacrifice redeem another's transgression?), there's no basis in fact whatsoever.

Claimant: "Yesterday I went outside time, fought with myself and won, and because of this we shall now punish those against whom crimes were committed."
Critic: "That story is ridiculous."
Claimant: "You have no basis in fact for saying that about my story."

Like I said, if there's no place to start a discussion, there's nowhere for it to go.


Joe Hinman said...

Cal vs Joe (Metacrock) round 1

Hinman: "That's not analogues to the argument we are making ...there is no 1x1 between said historical fact..."

I used the term "more likely," which is not a term for 1x1 relationships. So you are mischaracterizing my criticism. I am merely pointing out that if you are to accept one edge of your argument, you must accept how the other side of that blade should increase your belief in Apollo and his sun chariot riding. That fact that you like one side of the blade, and not the other, is usually a good sign that your approach is not a good one.

using one phrase one time does not cancel out the giant distortion in your clear statement:

"Planks: "Agreeing with every Christian on Earth that the Resurrection is a uniquely special event in history worthy of our utmost attention is a rather strange way of arguing with them, don't you think?"
"

my argument was that numerious descriptions of what the universe incljudesopen the dorr to miracles. I said nothing like that quote by you I justvquoted. 'so it is a distortion of my argumnet.


Hinman: "No dictionary anywhere (except a put up job by atheists to legitimize their doctrinal parlance) says that belief in God is superstition."

If god doesn't exist, then belief that god causes events is superstition.

I don't think you know what superstition is. Either something is superstition or it's not it's not conditional upon the object of belief being real. for example it is superstition to think that your mother will brake her back if you step on a crack. If it should prove that a long distance relation ship of action at a distance is possible between certain aspects of will and some object of anger, that still doesn't mean that stepping on a crack, will cause your mother harm.

Nothing in the nature of the God concept is superstitious


Joe Hinman said...

Cal vsJoe round 2

Since I think it's obvious that the Christian god does not exist, I am using the term appropriately, the same way it's appropriate for you to use the term "evidence" for what I wouldn't consider good evidence, etc.


HU? man even if you were anywhere near right about my use of the term evidence, which I think you do not understand, that still would not sanction your use of a different term in away that it does not apply. Things are not superstition just because they don't exist. Statdy state theory of universe doesn't become superstition just because it's wrong.


-- we use terms the way we understand them, and we correct our usage when its demonstrated that we are using them incorrectly. If I were to use another term, like "legitimate demon causation" when I think the notion is incoherent or false would be misleading. If you want to understand another person's argument, you have to see their argument based on their understanding of the facts, and pretending that demons are real would prevent you from actually understanding my criticism.

Hinman: "Your comments imply a derogatory affront to belief in God and in the incarnation. But you have no basis in fact for asserting that there is anything stupid or ignorant ore even wrong in such beliefs."

No basis in fact? Yeah, except for the fact that story of the incarnation itself is a) incoherent (the Trinity is an ad hoc, illogical notion, for starters), b) nonsensical (god sends himself to earth so that he can be killed so that he can then forgive those he should have forgiven for doing what he made them to do, and, by the way, god is eternal so the whole idea of him actually dying is impossible. What?!?), and c) clashes with our fundamental moral sense (how can someone else's sacrifice redeem another's transgression?), there's no basis in fact whatsoever.


Well first, it might help if you didn't state it in such a way as to make it sound stupid. Secondly pardon me for not enshrining your opinion. i didn't realize who you are. for the rest of us mortals we can't make things into facts just by prefacing our comments with the statement that our mere opinions are facts.


Claimant: "Yesterday I went outside time, fought with myself and won, and because of this we shall now punish those against whom crimes were committed."
Critic: "That story is ridiculous."
Claimant: "You have no basis in fact for saying that about my story."

Like I said, if there's no place to start a discussion, there's nowhere for it to go.

De Trinitate St Augie (On Trinity) I suggest you reading before making a fool of your with silly concepts that don'tapply.