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Evidence for Christianity [SPLIT TOPIC].

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Evidence for Christianity [SPLIT TOPIC].
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EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Evidence for Christianity [SPLIT TOPIC].

MOD NOTE - This thread is split from the Jason's paper thread. If you have a relevant post that hasn't been copied over please feel free to do so.



To Aronra.


I still disagree with much of what you said in your last reply to me. I just typed out a long response, but will refrain for the time being from posting it. I had a criticism of your words last time regarding your repeated statement, "There is no evidence for Christianity."

I would stand by this criticism. I wonder if you just say such a thing to create conflict, interest and therefore a little entertainment, or to try to entice Christians into discussion, because it is a demonstrably false statement. I know what you want in general and what you have demanded of Jason, because you have been clear and explicit elsewhere, but this is a repeated and untrue statement that I can only think is a jibe or a jab in the hope that a reaction will come, or perhaps it is a response to some less than acceptable behaviour from the opposition. This latter explanation is more understandable, though it doesn't change the accuracy of the original statement and I have seen you say such things about Christianity on other occasions unprovoked as well.

I will still submit that it is a false statement and I suspect it is a means of angering a theist, venting or stoking the fire. Is this the case? Your wider explanations do not excuse such repeated use of something that is untrue. Once is a mistake, but many times repeated is a mantra and if it's false, then it becomes a false mantra, despite what you mean by it when you explain at length.
Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:23 pm
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

TheAtheistJehovah wrote:@ Englebert

I would stand by this criticism. I wonder if you just say such a thing to create conflict, interest and therefore a little entertainment, or to try to entice Christians into discussion, because it is a demonstrably false statement.


I disagree completely with what you're saying, and not only is it just pedantic, and pretty much meaningless, but the statment "There is no evidence for Christianity" is an analytically true statement if the words are defined for people like you who feel the need to argue.

The subject of the statement is Christianity, the predicate is that Christianity is false.

Ok, well Christianity if defined as a religion based on the son of YhWh. This God made the whole universe and everything in it. The son of YhWh, Jesus, was raised from the dead and is the way, the truth and the life. In Christianity if you don't believe in Christ you will not be raised up into heaven.

So straight away this begs the question where is the evidence what proves this YhWh God, of many other Gods claimed God among humans? Where's the demonstrable truth that Jesus was raised from the dead or even existed with certainty.

This is just a basic look on what Christianity is without even going through many other miraculous claims.

So i agree, there is no evidence what proves Christianity to be true, this is an analytically true statement.



You may disagree, but I don't think you have fortified this disagreement with a strong case.

Is it pedantic? I acknowledge that I know what Aronra wants in general as he has been clear. I criticise a 'phrase' that he has repeated many times in this thread and presumably many times outside it too, because I believe it to be false.

Such a consistently used phrase can become a motto or a rally cry. If it is false, then reinforcement given to it is misplaced. If it spreads amongst others, then a reinforced falsity becomes embedded or engrained in a wider way. Is this pedantic? This is how misinformation spreads and bad ideas are sometimes established. If I say to a church full of Creationists that 'there is no evidence for evolution' enough times, what might they begin to say to one another, back to me and to others in the community? A key phrase can have more significance, because it is a sound byte or is memorable. It might carry far more weight than a sound, but lengthy explanation because it is easier to say and to remember. So, is it pedantic to critique such a thing? I'll let you decide, but even if you still think it to be, I would hope that you at least accept it is a valid point to raise.



"the predicate is that Christianity is false."

No, the predicate is that there is 'no evidence' for Christianity and this is different from what you say in the above quote. You continue from there to provide one explanation of Christianity. This is not shared across the board in Christianity. Your definition here is not universal (although is predominant) in Christianity and so immediately is questionable, but not particularly relevant to my criticism.

Whether there is evidence for the things you ask, is not really of consequence in relation to my critique. The statement asserts that, "There is 'no' evidence for Christianity". This is an affirmative and bold statement, not a cautionary or tempered statement. Because it is so explicit and strongly worded, all that is needed for its falsification is the smallest amount of evidence for just one aspect of Christianity. All there needs to be is one tiny little bit of evidence and the statement, "There is 'no' evidence for Christianity" will be incorrect and should correctly read, "There is one tiny little bit of evidence for Christianity". All I have to do is demonstrate that this tiny little bit of evidence exists to falsify the statement. I propose that some evidence does exist and not just one tiny little bit but at least some, worthy of acknowledgement.

One aspect of Christianity that is key to many Christians is that of prophecy. There is much complexity and detail within this, so I will draw on one key example that is important to many Christians. The example of King David. He is central to many Christians, as the coming Christ was to be 'born of the House of David'. The existence of David is one key example within one aspect of Christian belief and therefore Christianity that is 'probably' necessary to be a Christian. If no King David existed, then what 'House' or 'Dynasty' was the Messiah born into? David is an important figure, perhaps not essential, but generally considered to be hugely important (to Jews as well). Whether the triumphant, giant slaying King David of scripture existed or another less glamorous, perhaps political local chieftain was the reality, I would like you to google the, "Tel Dan Stele". I submit that this is historical and archaeological evidence of a key aspect of Christianity, that lives up to the criteria set by Aronra and therefore negates the statement I have argued is false. The reality of David may lie open to investigation and debate, but his existence as a figure of some sort shows not only a 'morsel' of truth in one aspect of Christianity, but that there is at least some credible evidence available for all to see.
Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:39 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

TheAtheistJehovah wrote:
If there is some, even a nanogram of evidence, then the statement, "There is no evidence for Christianity" will have been falsified.


Now we are back to definitions, I have already said what constitutes for evidence; something having the ability to prove claims with certainty. So the predicate will follow from the statement as there is no certainty.

We all have beliefs, but beliefs are only justified as truth once verified. It is not an issue of proving people have a belief, rather it is proving the claims to be true. Keep in mind what i have defined evidence as to get to a analytic statement.

Fine. Respond to my point about the "Tel Dan Stele". That indicates that the assertion that "David existed" is a truth. This is exactly what you ask for


In Gotham there are cars, how does this prove batman?




I'm not sure what to say. I fear that we are talking past each other.

What does batman have to do with anything? My contention here is that a simple statement is false. I am not trying to claim Christianity as a whole is true. My contention is simple. So what does batman have to do with anything? Well I suppose he is of relevance if I accept your interpretation of the original phrase. The fact that you must give me a version of interpretation is exactly the reason I criticise it. Not only do I think it is false, but I think it is poorly constructed and open to misinterpretation. You are arguing a defence for a different phrase. You are arguing a defence for a phrase of the order, "There is no evidence to show Christianity is wholly true." or something similar. This is not the phrase that is often repeated and not the phrase I am criticising. "There is no evidence for Christianity" is a different phrase with a different meaning. You are having to work so hard to make this phrase say what you know is meant. This is why I am critical.

"There is no evidence for Christianity." is a simple and intelligible statement, that can be either verified or falsified. I say that it is falsified by the following train of thought: there is some evidence for Christianity as is demonstrable and there is some evidence against Christianity as is demonstrable, 'therefore', to say that "there is no evidence for Christianity" is to be incorrect. A more appropriate question then, might be something like, "Is the case for or against Christianity more persuasive?"
Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:47 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

You said if David existed he is evidence for Jesus rising from the dead & God making the universe among all the other elaborate hypothetical claims in the religion of Christianity.


I said no such thing, though I can see how the line of thought can be drawn. I said that the existence of David is an example of something supported by evidence that is believed in Christianity. This does not prove the validity of the transcendental assertions of the religion as a whole and neither did I posit this, but it is an example of some 'evidence' 'in favour of' or 'for' Christianity.
Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:20 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

I understand the contention, I have heard it voiced many times - I've read about New York in Spiderman comics. Whilst New York exists, it does not follow that Spiderman also necessarily exists. I didn't see it as relevant to what I was saying, because at no point was I postulating that the evidence for David proved that Jesus was resurrected.

"It's important to have fixed definitions, which is why i tried to establish some to make the statement coherent from the get go. This gives a ground to work with to find agreement. I can see what you mean when you say evidence helps proves, but i am using evidence that does prove something. This isn't really semantics when there's a set ground (definitions) to make intelligible discussion."

I acknowledge and agree with your attempts to define and use correct language. Indeed I would endorse this approach. However, the very lack of clarity, the ambiguity and potential for misinterpretation was part of the crux of my original criticism of this statement and its overuse. It is there to see in my original post pertaining to the issue. The lengths that we have gone to just to discuss what is actually meant shows how open it is to misunderstanding, or different interpretation.

There are several ways of interpreting the statement as I suggested in my original comment to Aronra and most or all ways that I can think of would render the statement falsifiable, except perhaps, by the way that you suggest we interpret it. If by all other means it is falsifiable, then it is already a contentious and probably misleading statement. However, if we interpret it your way and it is not falsifiable, then in one way at least of many, it stands true. However I'm not entirely sure if it does stand true via your interpretation, though I suspect it might do. I raised this very point in my original post to Aronra as something about which I was uncertain.
Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:22 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

"But at the same time i will say that once definitions are painted i find it hard for the statement to even be logically false in any way possible."

Well this is part of the issue. If we use your definition then I waver about the conclusion. It may be justified in such a circumstance, although I am still undecided, yet in many other interpretations, I could outline appropriate definitions of the words that would render it completely falsifiable.

Academics debate and disagree all the time about the exact nature and extents of evidence. It has different values and definitions in different fields. In some fields it may be of more complexity or a higher standard than in another. This alone gives rise to confusion with regards to the issue. Aronra has noted his own definition of evidence and I don't recall disagreeing too much, or thinking it to be wrong, however there is more than one understanding of the word evidence which opens up an array of possibilities to falsify the original assertion. This is one variable. The other variable is the way we define Christianity in this instance. Again the list here could be endless. If we accept your definitions and understanding, then I do pause to think as it seems probable that that the original statement is verified, although I am still not certain of this.

Playing with words is part of the problem here, but also part of the cause for my critique.

The Spiderman argument seems curious to me as it has arisen several times in this discussion towards me, from yourself, from Aronra and from one or two others. It is curious, because I made no overarching claims that would be analogous to this argument and so it seems misplaced. I was making simple claims about very simple and limited 'aspects' of Christianity - The David and Pilate inscriptions. These are examples of evidence, but I was not asserting them to be evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, though they would make a small part of that case.
Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:21 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

Prolescum wrote:Here's my unrequested take on this:

Engelbert's contention is that the phrase "There is no evidence for Christianity" is wrong, or at least misleading, vague or sloppy because "Christianity" encompasses things like figs, Jerusalem, or in this case, David the giant slayer.

What he is trying to assert is that "Christianity" is synonymous with "everything in the Bible", and so, his reasoning follows, anything in the Bible that can be shown to be true (there are figs and they grow on trees, sometimes people cuss them) falsifies AronRa's statement.

Now, one could take the bait and address the argument of prophesy regarding the messiah being of the line of David, but there's really no point, as we'll see.

So we'll put the risible example aside, and look at the skeleton of the argument.

Christianity, fundamentally, whether defined in a dictionary, by AronRa, or by the Christians themselves, is the belief in the divine nature of Jesus Christ and the salvation his presence in the world promised.

This is the basis for all Christian belief, regardless of denomination, whether Calvin or Catholic; the quintessential crux of their faith; the central contention in "Christianity" is this.
It is the primary inference one makes with regards to the term "Christianity".
This, then, is what is meant when one refers to "Christianity" generally, and as Engelbert knows through direct experience, this is what AronRa means when he uses the term.

Agreed? Excellent.

Now, Engelbert is correct in stating that this is not the complete picture, there are certain prerequisites for showing Jesus to be the messiah of Jewish lore, riding asses (!) and whatever, however, AronRa doesn't need to address specific items, clauses or events in the Bible, because being able to show the central premise of the faith (the divinity of Jesus) has no supporting evidence, relegates prophesies, lineages and whatnot to the "who gives a toss?" pile.


So... given that the primary inference of the term "Christianity" to anyone without an agenda is Jesus' divinity and the salvation his presence on Earth promised, and that AronRa consistently addresses the primary inference, Engelbert's contention, that AronRa's phrasing is vague, sloppy and whatever else, can be dismissed as sophistry.

Of course, Engelbert can have a shot at asserting that Jesus' divinity and the salvation his presence promised is not the primary inference or the central tenet, the main contention and basis of Christianity, but, well, that joke would write itself.



Thanks Prolescum. Your responses to me continue to feel warm and fuzzy. You outline reasonably well the situation, though not perfectly and with a measure of friendly scorn as well.

I am trying to assert that Christianity has various interpretations and aspects, including but not limited to the one you describe in which it would be "synonymous with "everything" in the Bible". Christianity is not just based in the Bible, it has moral teachings that can be sourced from, but also sometimes are counter to or in addition to the Bible. The last Pope's minor amendment to the Church's teaching regarding contraception for male prostitutes is something that is not found in the Bible and so has been ventured in addition to the ancient texts. There are moral teachings as well as the literal events that make up its asserted history, as well as its doctrines.

"Christianity, fundamentally, whether defined in a dictionary, by AronRa, or by the Christians themselves, is the belief in the divine nature of Jesus Christ and the salvation his presence in the world promised."

Leaving aside my "risible" argument, I'll speak to this statement here. Predominantly, yes, but not universally. Indeed there are deist Christians, even atheist Christians. Original Christians living in the earliest years of the religion, before the canonization of the Bible, did not all believe that Christ was divine, or the Son of God. Some of the supernatural doctrines were established in the series of synods in the early centuries, as I'm sure you know and Jesus' divinity was not a prerequisite of early Christianity, or even widely agreed upon. Traditions such as that of Christism or Jesusism may include atheist Christians or deist Christians, who believe neither in the divinity of Christ nor necessarily even a God. (You might argue that true Christianity is still up for debate and not clearly defined today and a vast majority of Christians, I'm sure would concur) Such Christians (Jesusists) will be followers of the moral teachings of Christ alone with books such as the Jefferson Bible - a reconstruction or rewriting of the traditional Gospels with all supernatural or extraordinary claims omitted, retaining only natural accounts of Jesus' life story and his moral teachings - being used as measures and examples of their own understanding of Christianity.

"This is the basis for all Christian belief, regardless of denomination," No it is not, though I will grant that it is predominant today yes.

I agree that it is what Aronra means when he says it, but I do not agree that it is what others who hear only the repeated rally cry necessarily hear. "So... given that the primary inference of the term "Christianity" to anyone without an agenda is Jesus' divinity and the salvation his presence on Earth promised, and that AronRa consistently addresses the primary inference, Engelbert's contention, that AronRa's phrasing is vague, sloppy and whatever else, can be dismissed as sophistry." Sophistry by what definition? ;) A strong response, but I might level this exact accusation of sophistry at the phrase in question. Christianity's primary tenet is referenced in the phrase, yet it is not the only tenet and thus the phrase is unclear. It is not its only tenet and in some forms of Christianity, it is not even a tenet, so it is disputable, but even given its importance as a primary, or at least a secondary tenet (Behind the claim of theism), it is still not the exclusive definition of the word Christianity, which encompasses a far broader perspective, including assertions and claims of morality, philosophy and law. Indeed the collapse of the doctrine of Jesus' divinity might only return Christianity to a pre-Canon understanding wherein Jesus may simply have been a moral teacher rather than divine to some or even many Christians. Even if its primary tenet falls, evidence can be found to support some of its other exclamations, claims and teachings that play a significant part in the life of a Christian, besides such things as the 'virgin birth', which is why I assert the original phrase as problematic. Why use a contentious phrase, when all it might cause is conflict and inflammation? Ah. Probably to cause conflict and inflammation. Perhaps to denigrate and to deride. If that is the desired effect then, success. I am critical of such an approach, as I deem it hostile and unnecessary as well as, in this case, falsifiable in many or most instances with regards to this particular choice of words.



Note: I just lost a chunk of editing because I was logged out. Does the forum log you out after a set time?
Last edited by Engelbert on Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:44 pm
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

AronRa wrote:
Engelbert wrote:To Aronra.

I still disagree with much of what you said in your last reply to me. I just typed out a long response, but will refrain for the time being from posting it. I had a criticism of your words last time regarding your repeated statement, "There is no evidence for Christianity."

I would stand by this criticism. I wonder if you just say such a thing to create conflict, interest and therefore a little entertainment, or to try to entice Christians into discussion, because it is a demonstrably false statement.
If you think my statement is demonstrably false, then demonstrate it already. I have already clarified exactly what I mean, so the onus is on you to meet that criteria. Be the first and only person ever to provide evidence of Christianity. Or if you still cannot, then concede that my statement is not false after all.


I have left several arguments pertaining to this issue here. Perhaps you have not read them. I may step back from asserting that your statement is demonstrably false in every sense, (though I am still not entirely convinced of this - and it was not something I originally contended with absolute certainty some pages back), but I would assert that it is demonstrably false in many or even most senses. I have made several cases in exchanges with others on this page and the previous. I have criticised your use of it as a statement, 'so often repeated' at all, despite what you actually mean by it.
Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:30 pm
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

AronRa wrote:
Engelbert wrote:I have left several arguments pertaining to this issue here. Perhaps you have not read them.
You didn't make any arguments.

I may step back from asserting that your statement is demonstrably false in every sense, (though I am still not entirely convinced of this - and it was not something I originally contended with absolute certainty some pages back), but I would assert that it is demonstrably false in many or even most senses.
As I have already repeatedly clarified, there is only one 'sense' here. You can either present objectively verifiable facts indicating that the various claims of Christian beliefs are accurate, (in which case, I will apologize) or you cannot because there are no such examples, in which case you should retract your challenge and concede your error.




I did make some arguments. You have chosen to ignore them or not to respond to them.


I have just written a quick case and will post it shortly. There will be more to say and further points in it that I have not covered, but it will suffice for the time being. If gnug desires to move it to a separate thread, I would not object to that, although I don't know how much more contribution I will give it. I suppose it depends.
Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:21 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

Aronra: “There is no evidence for Christianity.”


Aronra:
"Evidence is an alignment of facts consistent with only one available indication over any other.
Facts are points of data which are either not in dispute or are indisputable in that they are objectively verifiable."



This is a strong definition of evidence when referring to events and people of antiquity. The same standard of evidence subjected to many historical records, might leave us questioning and doubting events that we all consider are very likely to have happened via extensive and scholarly deliberation over what many would call evidence, but given your definition here, might not qualify. Of course nothing is certain and philosophically, I can doubt anything, even logic itself. I can subject things to such a degree of doubt that I am left with only a Cartesian certainty of my very existence, or perhaps worse, if indeed you take your standard to such lengths. I suspect that you take your standard to an empirical scientific length and not to a philosophical nihilistic logical apocalypse. Of course, different standards of evidence exist in different academic pursuits and whilst some might be slightly lower, it does not necessarily discount their value (historical evidence – scientific evidence) and if we want to subject our historical records to the rigour and repeated analysis that a chemist might be able to conduct in the lab with practical experiments, then we lose an awful lot of hard earned historical understanding. It is potentially an extreme definition, that when contemplating writings, events and archaeology from antiquity, could leave us having to throw out a great deal of academically determined and hard earned knowledge that we otherwise consider valid, from writers such as Plato to Cicero. I foresee contentions being made over the nature of ‘facts’, both in your definition above and my argument below, but nonetheless I shall deliver it, as I believe that it would pass as very reasonable in a historical context.





Aronra
“Christianity is a belief-system. That means it has required beliefs and prohibited beliefs. None of them can be shown to be any more accurate than those of all other religious beliefs. Collectively, there isn't even evidence to show that ANY religion got anything right. It's all just empty baseless assertion. That's why Ambrose Pierce defined faith as: "Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel."”



The Apostle’s Creed. A core statement of belief in the Catholic Church recited in every Catholic Church service for hundreds of years.

Line 4: He (Jesus) suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.


This is a necessary belief in Catholic Doctrine, outlined explicitly in its Creed.


Fact: Pontius Pilate was a Roman Prefect that existed and governed in the region and time of Jesus’ proposed life and death.

Evidence: Scripture – New Testament. Pauline Epistles & Gospels.
Other Accounts – Eusebius, Philo, Josephus.
Archaeological – The Pilate Stone & Minted Coins


Fact: Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure at the least. No greater claim of
Divinity or the miraculous, simply that of existence.

Evidence: Scripture - Secondary Source evidence from Paul the Apostle. Pauline
Epistles. Canonical Gospels. Textual and historical analysis of all the
available literature, considered by the vast majority of scholars, secular and
Christian, to suggest that Jesus – a man – existed.
External accounts – Josephus, Tacitus, Talmud


Fact: Jesus was sentenced under Pilate and put to death.

Evidence: Scripture – Canonical Gospels. Pauline Epistles.
External accounts – Josephus, Tacitus, Mara Bar Sarapion
Present day scholarship and consensus.
E. P. Sanders. Bart Ehrman. Paula Fredriksen. Etc.
Bart Ehrman, “One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate”






There is multiple attestation from writers past and present as well as archaeology and scripture supporting all of these three facts. Together they align as evidence to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was put to death in the reign and under the orders of Pontius Pilate.

This is a core Christian Belief. I believe it is proven, but even if it is not proven, there is at least a great deal of evidence to support it, whether you accept it as a historical event or not. With relevance to this discussion, it is attested in one of the most important and central statements of belief in Catholicism, “The Apostle’s Creed”.


Aronra
“Christianity is a belief-system. That means it has required beliefs and prohibited beliefs. None of them can be shown to be any more accurate than those of all other religious beliefs.”

Whether this belief is more or less accurate than any beliefs from other religions, will not be something I contend. It is at least accurate, so if any other religion has an accurate belief, then they will at least be equals. What is clear here, is that a belief so central to Catholicism, that it is stated in the Apostle’s Creed, is that Jesus died under Pontius Pilate. This is a required belief of Catholicism, as you have mentioned in your above explanation.

It is a required belief that is not only supported by evidence, but that is not far from being ‘proven’ as far as any or many other historical events that we know of from antiquity go. Even by your original definition of evidence, I believe that the argument posted here is valid as evidence to support a Christian belief and further IMO (and that of many scholars), counts to establish the validity of the 4th line in the central statement of belief in the Catholic Church.


I submit that however much or little evidence there is for Christianity, that there is at least some. Whether this amounts to proof of the example I have used or proof of all Christian claims, is not a requisite, though in this instance I believe it is proof of this single belief. It is only significant that there is some evidence available for consideration and therefore, that your statement, “There is no evidence for Christianity” is false, at least given my above argument, your definition of evidence and acceptance that the crucifixion is a “required” Catholic belief.
Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:30 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

You sir, are one of the most stubborn people I have met.

Whatever your external requests, I have made a clear contention and explained myself and what I have intended to dispute from the outset with reasonable, if not always perfect clarity.

You asked specifically for a Christian belief. I gave you a "Christian belief" from the creed of Catholicism, the largest tradition in Christianity globally. Not only is this a Christian belief in Catholicism, but it is a Christian belief in pretty much all Christian traditions. I cannot think of any (perhaps there are one or two) who do not hold the crucifixion as a belief.

You asked for many other things such as: souls and magic etc. but these are external and irrelevant to my contention, which I have been extremely clear about from the get go.

My contention was very simply that, "There is no evidence for Christianity" was a clumsy, problematic and malformed statement, that is falsifiable in most (perhaps all - not necessarily) senses of its use.

This is a simple contention.

To validate my contention, I need to provide no evidence of, "1) souls, (2) deity, (3) magic, (4) the supernatural realm", although this certainly would validate my statement, I simply need to provide "SOME" - even the tiniest bit will suffice - evidence that something in Christianity is true - or to use your exact words, one of its "required beliefs". Furthermore, you have asked for evidence, not for proof, so it is not even incumbent on me to prove that the crucifixion occurred simply to demonstrate that some evidence exists to make a case for it.

I have made a case that the crucifixion occurred. It happens to be my belief that the crucifixion occurred too, but this might be irrelevant. This is supported widely across academia, with as much certainty as might be possible regarding many events of antiquity. It is supported by Christian and secular scholarship, with only fringe disagreement.

I "have" demonstrated that there is "evidence" for the crucifixion, if not absolute proof.

You asked specifically for "evidence" for a "required belief" in Christianity. The crucifixion is not only a belief in Catholicism, it is a "required belief". It appears in one of its ancient and primary statements of belief, in the 4th line, for all to see. Not only is it a focal and crucial belief in Catholicism, but it is shared in all other versions of Christianity. There may be one or two anomalous exceptions, but I cannot even think of any. The crucifixion is a core belief for Protestants, for evangelicals, for Lutherans, for Orthodox, for Anglicans, for whatever Christian tradition you'd like to examine. It is stated most significantly and relevantly to this discussion in the very Creed of the most numerous denomination on the planet. This is a "required belief", if anything is.

That evidence exists to make a case for the "required belief" in the crucifixion negates your statement, "There is no evidence for Christianity". No proof is required to establish the crucifixion, with regards to your statement. Neither do I need to provide evidence of "1) souls, (2) deity, (3) magic, (4) the supernatural realm". I simply need to show "SOME" evidence for at least 'one' "required belief" to invalidate your statement.

I say you continue to purport a false statement, in most, perhaps all, instances of its interpretation.
Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:00 pm
AronRaContributorUser avatar
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Post Evidence for Christianity [SPLIT TOPIC}

Engelbert wrote:I have made a case that the crucifixion occurred. It happens to be my belief that the crucifixion occurred too, but this might be irrelevant. This is supported widely across academia, with as much certainty as might be possible regarding many events of antiquity. It is supported by Christian and secular scholarship, with only fringe disagreement.
There are some notable scholars among the 'fringe' who disagree with you, and they have good reasons why they disagree. Among my associates are Dr Richard Carrier and David Fitzgerald, both friends of mine who offer substantial challenges to the notion of an historical Jesus.

I "have" demonstrated that there is "evidence" for the crucifixion, if not absolute proof.
No you haven't. Even if you had, that still wouldn't have provided evidence for Christianity.

Allow me to clarify: Christianity proposes (1) that there is a god.
(2) that there is only one complete deity among a host of other subordinate entities bordering on the divine, angels, demons, 'the devil', etc.
(3) that some aspect of humans exists as an immortal immaterial soul.
(4) that there is a supernatural spirit world.
(5) that this supernatural realm is divided into at least two major divisions, being Heaven & Hell.
(6) that Heaven is a place of splendid euphoria and Hell is subterranean prison of perpetual torture.
(7) that Jesus is the sole prophet of, only son of, or gateway to God, if not an avatar of God and thus god himself "made flesh".
(8) those who declare a belief in Jesus as their 'savior' in this capacity will ascend to Heaven after they die.
(9) that those who are not convinced that Jesus is the prophet, son of, or gateway to -God will be damned to endure agony for eternity.
(10) that for reasons which make no sense at all, Jesus died on the cross with the specific intent of appeasing himself so that he could forgive himself for the infallible error of making us prone to error in his image, to atone for our being the way he made us to be, and to punish us for learning right from wrong -even though we obviously couldn't have known right from wrong before then.

That's a summary. Not all of it is constant through every branch of Christianity, but most of it is consistent among nearly all the major denominations. You have provided absolutely no evidence of any of the above. Consequently it is likely all complete horseshit. As there is absolutely no evidence for ANY of the above, what other conclusion could we draw?

You said you had at least shown evidence that some lowly cult-leader named Yeshua bar Yosseff *might* have been crucified at some undeterminable point in the 1st Century, a time when no one recorded any hours of darkness during the day time, and no undead saints shrambling around Judea either. You failed to show that a purely human rebel rabbi ever got his name recorded by any of his contemporaries. But even if you had shown that -which you say you did, the best you would have shown would have been an historical Jesus; you still would not have shown a Biblical Jesus, nor would you have shown support for ANY of the various claims made by Christianity above. You haven't shown that there even a THERE there. You haven't shown any evidence of Christianity at all, because there isn't any.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:48 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

AronRa wrote:
Engelbert wrote:I have made a case that the crucifixion occurred. It happens to be my belief that the crucifixion occurred too, but this might be irrelevant. This is supported widely across academia, with as much certainty as might be possible regarding many events of antiquity. It is supported by Christian and secular scholarship, with only fringe disagreement.
There are some notable scholars among the 'fringe' who disagree with you, and they have good reasons why they disagree. Among my associates are Dr Richard Carrier and David Fitzgerald, both friends of mine who offer substantial challenges to the notion of an historical Jesus.

I "have" demonstrated that there is "evidence" for the crucifixion, if not absolute proof.
No you haven't. Even if you had, that still wouldn't have provided evidence for Christianity.

Allow me to clarify: Christianity proposes (1) that there is a god.
(2) that there is only one complete deity among a host of other subordinate entities bordering on the divine, angels, demons, 'the devil', etc.
(3) that some aspect of humans exists as an immortal immaterial soul.
(4) that there is a supernatural spirit world.
(5) that this supernatural realm is divided into at least two major divisions, being Heaven & Hell.
(6) that Heaven is a place of splendid euphoria and Hell is subterranean prison of perpetual torture.
(7) that Jesus is the sole prophet of, only son of, or gateway to God, if not an avatar of God and thus god himself "made flesh".
(8) those who declare a belief in Jesus as their 'savior' in this capacity will ascend to Heaven after they die.
(9) that those who are not convinced that Jesus is the prophet, son of, or gateway to -God will be damned to endure agony for eternity.
(10) that for reasons which make no sense at all, Jesus died on the cross with the specific intent of appeasing himself so that he could forgive himself for the infallible error of making us prone to error in his image, to atone for our being the way he made us to be, and to punish us for learning right from wrong -even though we obviously couldn't have known right from wrong before then.

That's a summary. Not all of it is constant through every branch of Christianity, but most of it is consistent among nearly all the major denominations. You have provided absolutely no evidence of any of the above. Consequently it is likely all complete horseshit. As there is absolutely no evidence for ANY of the above, what other conclusion could we draw?

You said you had at least shown evidence that some lowly cult-leader named Yeshua bar Yosseff *might* have been crucified at some undeterminable point in the 1st Century, a time when no one recorded any hours of darkness during the day time, and no undead saints shrambling around Judea either. You failed to show that a purely human rebel rabbi ever got his name recorded by any of his contemporaries. But even if you had shown that -which you say you did, the best you would have shown would have been an historical Jesus; you still would not have shown a Biblical Jesus, nor would you have shown support for ANY of the various claims made by Christianity above. You haven't shown that there even a THERE there. You haven't shown any evidence of Christianity at all, because there isn't any.


I am aware of Richard Carrier, though not overly familiar with everything he has done. I heard a recent short response that he made to Ehrman's recent book, "Did Jesus exist?" and rather than being measured and calm, it was almost vitriolic. He might be a very nice chap, I make no personal judgment of him, mainly because I know too little about him. However, I have investigated, at least a little, the wider issue of Jesus mythicism, with proponents such as Carrier and Price forwarding ideas. There are some interesting ideas set out in some of the mythicist's cases, that certainly give cause for thought. There are things that they suggest that do make some sense and might well be persuasive with regards to wider religious or Christian history, but the overall thesis that Jesus didn't exist or was entirely fabricated, I find to be extremely improbable, not impossible, but improbable to the extent that they would have to make an extremely good case to support their idea. I have looked at the cases put forward and they seem to be flawed, they make attacks that might render impotent our knowledge of history in general if subjected to other historical accounts. I have listened to Bart Ehrman & others give talks and elaborate on various issues within this subject of Jesus' existence and I find the overall arguments to have engaged well with the assertions from mythicists and to have been overall, more persuasive. Included in this are all sorts of factors such as: the consensus in Christian and Secular historical scholarship; the extent of writing about Jesus - whether it is accurate or flawed, indicates there might well be at least some measure of truth that it was built on; the cases of embarrassment in textual analysis of the accounts- that they had to move Jesus' place of birth to fit prophecy, that he associated with prostitutes, etc.; Secondary source evidence from Paul who casually talks of his meeting with James, the brother of Christ; the external accounts, contemporaneous or not, add to the weight of evidence. Overall I believe there to be a very strong case for the existence of a man called Jesus upon whom the Gospels are based. If it is not proven, the very least we can say is that there is "some" evidence for the existence of a preacher or Rabbi named Jesus living at this time.

"I "have" demonstrated that there is "evidence" for the crucifixion, if not absolute proof."

Aronra "No you haven't. Even if you had, that still wouldn't have provided evidence for Christianity."

I fail to see how I have not demonstrated that "some" evidence exists to build a case for the crucifixion of Christ. Whether there is enough evidence to prove it beyond doubt, is not necessary with regards to the point that I have been making, only that some evidence exists that it is credible, worthy of consideration and to the extent that a case can be built. I have even heard one or two morsels of agreement in the thread here, perhaps grudgingly, perhaps with accusations of pedantry, or perhaps I have misinterpreted this - but seemingly.

I made a simple criticism of your phrase. I have repeated it often enough. The things which I have outlined, to most people could be called evidence. They are evidence, in support of Christianity, thus they represent "some" evidence for Christianity - one of the "required" beliefs to be entirely specific, that you asked of me was included in my argument.

As I have said before, all these extra clarifications that you make are not required to be evidenced for me to invalidate your short premise. I need simply to show "some" evidence to invalidate your short premise that asserts that there is none.

Aronra "the best you would have shown would have been an historical Jesus..."

Right. And that's all I set out to show. That's all I needed to show to validate my contention. I made no greater claim, than that a natural preacher, rabbi or historical Jesus existed at this time. I claimed that a historical Jesus existed. It is my belief that he did. I also asserted that there is evidence to show that he was crucified and it is my belief that he was. I made no claims of divinity or resurrection, simply that Jesus existed and was put to death.

I did not set out to show any evidence for any of your listed claims that are made by Christianity. There are many more claims made by Christians that you have not included in your list that would be widely shared too. Claims made by Christians not pertaining to the supernatural or the divine, but to morality, law or perhaps other things. Claims which potentially can be evidenced very well.

My contention was simple. I have repeated it often enough. I believe that you have been making (in most senses of its interpretation) a false statement. I have been open about this since the start. I am critical of this repeated statement as I think it to be false.

I hear loud and clear that you want all sorts of things from me to prove Christianity, but this was never the course I was taking with my posts, nor the requirement in your phrase, which spoke of evidence rather than proof. You advised me earlier in this thread to call people out when you think something wrong is being asserted. I have been doing so since page 15 or 16. I believe this oft repeated statement you make is false. My primary reason for contending with this issue is for just that reason. If it is a false statement, then its repeated and exclaimed use, is the repeated and exclaimed spread of misinformation. It is not a one off statement, you have highlighted it several times. It is often focal.

I continue to assert that there is "some" evidence for Christianity. Whether it is sufficient to prove in its entirety, Christianity of any predominant form is not relevant to the case I put forward. I say that to deny that there is "some" evidence for Christianity, is incorrect.
Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:45 am
Darkprophet232User avatarPosts: 226Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:42 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

Engelbert, you talk a lot, but say little. Every point you have made has been refuted. Every one of them. That instead of addressing them, you ignore them to repeat yourself (or slander them, as if your perception of an auther's tone has any merit on his argument) speaks volumes about how intellectually bankrupt your position is.

To reiterate, hearsay, arguments from authority, evidence that is evidence because it says it's evidence (which doesn't say what you want it to say), and the poor interpretation of the works of irrelevant scholars are not evidence.
“The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down." -The Judge
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:57 am
AronRaContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

the best you would have shown would have been an historical Jesus...
Right. And that's all I set out to show. That's all I needed to show to validate my contention.
Wrong. Once again, Joseph Smith, Bahá'u'lláh, and L. Ron Hubbard all existed as a matter of undisputed fact. However that does not count as evidence in support of any of their theologies.

Muhammad, Guru Nanak, and Lao Tsu are characters who are generally assumed to have existed, and were likely real people, but in each case, their stories were exaggerated and embellished with such nonsense that the reality of the person does nothing to substantiate the legend.

Lord Krsna, Yeshua bar Yoseff, and Zarathustra are questionable characters -so entrenched in mythology that any basis in reality wouldn't be enough to call them real. They are in the same category as King Arthur and Robin Hood, not entirely mythological, but very nearly so. Whatever real person they were based on might not find no familiarity with their own legends today.

I'm sure there was at least one real person on which the legend of Jesus was heaped, but if you could drag that guy forward through time, he wouldn't know what Christianity is.

You could have simply admitted that you didn't have any evidence of Christianity at the onset, and saved us a lot of time.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:30 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

AronRa wrote:the best you would have shown would have been an historical Jesus...
Right. And that's all I set out to show. That's all I needed to show to validate my contention.

Wrong. Once again, Joseph Smith, Bahá'u'lláh, and L. Ron Hubbard all existed as a matter of undisputed fact. However that does not count as evidence in support of any of their theologies.


Without Jesus, then Christian theology falls away a bit. Evidence for Jesus is rather compulsory for most forms of Christianity and I have provided some. Whether it proves Jesus' existence is not a necessity. Evidence for Jesus' existence is almost a necessity in Christianity and I believe that I have provided some, but perhaps not proof. Proof is not what is demanded in your statement. You simply deny that I have provided any evidence. We have reached a point where you simply deny what is presented. Whether it is sufficient to prove Christianity is simply irrelevant to my long repeated contention.

Notable here is that without Jesus, perhaps Christianity really begins to struggle and it is my suspicion that herein lies partial motive for some Jesus mythicists. (I do not include Carrier in that, as I don't know him) But for an anti-theistic agenda, a non-existent Jesus serves as a far greater hammer with which to attack Christianity.

I'm sure there was at least one real person on which the legend of Jesus was heaped, but if you could drag that guy forward through time, he wouldn't know what Christianity is.

You could have simply admitted that you didn't have any evidence of Christianity at the onset, and saved us a lot of time.


I'm sure he wouldn't recognise most forms of Christianity. I will agree with everything in your penultimate statement. However, I simply disagree totally with your last statement and don't admit it.
Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:52 am
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

Master_Ghost_Knight wrote:
Engelbert wrote:Without Jesus, then Christian theology falls away a bit.

Without humans, then christian theology would fall away to. Yet you wouldn't count the existence of humans as evidence for Christianity.
(Interestingly if Adam and Eve didn't existed, then Christian theology would fall away to, but that doesn't seem to stir most believers)
We expect humans to exist if Christianity is just a fabrication due to the socio-political climate of the time.
Similarly if Christianity is just a fabrication due to the socio-political climate of the time, the realization that there was a real guy on which the character of Jesus was originally based upon, it wouldn't get you any closer to saying that Christianity isn't a myth. Christianity isn't about that a rabbi named Jesus existed (which incidentally it is not even his name), but that this guy was the son of God, who died and miraculously came back to life in order to redeem people of their sins in order to get them to heaven.

Do you understand this?
Because this is the second time I have mentioned it, and your failure to understand this will just further promote miss-communication.


Without Jesus, some forms of Christianity could still exist, forms who follow the teachings of Jesus or other such things yes. However, for the majority of Christians the existence of Jesus would be fundamental. The existence of humans in general as evidence is oceans away from the existence of Jesus being evidence for Christianity. Recall that I have never said that the existence of Jesus proves all Christianity. I have simply made the comment and statement that there is some evidence for Christianity. Evidence for Jesus is far more focal and relevant than - evidence for humans. One thing of note, is that Christianity can be and is defined in many cases as simply the construct of the followers of Jesus. To be a follower of Jesus, it is not compulsory that he existed, but it certainly helps. Evidence for Jesus is therefore evidence (at least in part) for Christianity. Without Christ - fabricated or real - then Christianity just becomes .....anity.

I wrote in a previous reply, speaking to this very point that you make here: "but that this guy was the son of God, who died and miraculously came back to life in order to redeem people of their sins in order to get them to heaven."

Predominantly, yes, but not universally. Indeed there are deist Christians, even atheist Christians. Original Christians living in the earliest years of the religion, before the canonization of the Bible, did not all believe that Christ was divine, or the Son of God. Some of the supernatural doctrines were established in the series of synods in the early centuries, as I'm sure you know and Jesus' divinity was not a prerequisite of early Christianity, or even widely agreed upon. Traditions such as that of Christism or Jesusism may include atheist Christians or deist Christians, who believe neither in the divinity of Christ nor necessarily even a God. (You might argue that true Christianity is still up for debate and not clearly defined today and a vast majority of Christians, I'm sure would concur) Such Christians (Jesusists) will be followers of the moral teachings of Christ along with books such as the Jefferson Bible - a reconstruction or rewriting of the traditional Gospels with all supernatural or extraordinary claims omitted, retaining only natural accounts of Jesus' life story and his moral teachings - being used as measures and examples of their own understanding of Christianity.

"This (Jesus' divinity etc.) is the basis for all Christian belief, regardless of denomination," No it is not, though I will grant that it is predominant today yes.
Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:12 pm
Darkprophet232User avatarPosts: 226Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:42 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

Engelbert wrote:Without Jesus, some forms of Christianity could still exist, forms who follow the teachings of Jesus or other such things yes. However, for the majority of Christians the existence of Jesus would be fundamental.



I argue that Christians who follow Christ's teachings but reject his divinity and resurrection (or at least consider them inconsequential) are not in fact Christians. Can you provide the name of any denominations that follows this belief?

Oh, and are you ever going to address the arguments against your sources? Or are you just ignoring them because they completely undermine your argument that you have any evidence for a historic Jesus( which again, is meaningless if you can't provide evidence for a biblical Jesus) and you can keep pretending that you have provided some?
“The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down." -The Judge
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:11 pm
EngelbertPosts: 290Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

Darkprophet232 wrote:
Engelbert wrote:Without Jesus, some forms of Christianity could still exist, forms who follow the teachings of Jesus or other such things yes. However, for the majority of Christians the existence of Jesus would be fundamental.



I argue that Christians who follow Christ's teachings but reject his divinity and resurrection (or at least consider them inconsequential) are not in fact Christians. Can you provide the name of any denominations that follows this belief?


Christian: 2 definitions (amongst others): a person who believes in Jesus Christ; adherent of Christianity. a person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ.

There are various definitions of Christian. It is not limited to one who believes in the divinity of Christ. It can be simply; one who follows Christ or some of the messages of Christ.

Christians who don't believe in Christ's divinity: Christian Deists - Thomas Jefferson was a famous proponent amongst others - The Jefferson Bible. Jesuism or Jesusism - The following of the natural doctrine and teachings of Jesus, not the supernatural. Christian atheism - found in pockets around the world - sometimes individuals - sometimes congregations - sometimes secretly sometimes openly - small example link: Klaas Hendrikse - Wikipedia or BBC

Oh, and are you ever going to address the arguments against your sources? Or are you just ignoring them because they completely undermine your argument that you have any evidence for a historic Jesus( which again, is meaningless if you can't provide evidence for a biblical Jesus) and you can keep pretending that you have provided some?


What arguments against my sources? Why is evidence for a historical Jesus meaningless? It is of significance, especially to one who I suspect might be a Jesus mythicist themselves. "(Paul and the gospels, which, hilariously for your position, Paul did not believe Jesus ever lived on Earth but in a heavenly realm)" Are you a Jesus mythicist? Who makes the case that Paul only believed in a heavenly Jesus rather than a man who existed? It is an argument of those who deny that Jesus existed. How would Paul have believed in only a heavenly Jesus if he told in his Epistles of his meet with the 'flesh and blood' or 'earthly' brother of Jesus, James. Galatians: 1:9. Whether James was the brother of Jesus or not, why would Paul mention his existence, if he didn't believe that Jesus was a real person and his brother?
Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:49 pm
AronRaContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: Jason101 aka Jason Burn's paper discussion thread.

Engelbert wrote:Without Jesus, then Christian theology falls away a bit. Evidence for Jesus is rather compulsory for most forms of Christianity and I have provided some.
No you didn't, not that it would have mattered if you did.
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:25 pm
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