Nicholas Lukowiak

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A challenge to all those who hold faith in Abrahamic religions. EDITED

"What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary. "

- Stephen Hawking

"As for the various religions, there's no doubt that they are very meaningful to adherents, and allow them to delude themselves into thinking there is some meaning to their lives beyond what we agree is the case. I'd never try to talk them out of the delusions, which are necessary for them to live a life that makes some sense to them. These beliefs can provide a framework for deeds that are noble or savage, and anywhere in between, and there's every reason to focus attention on the deeds and the background for them, to the extent that we can grasp it."

- Noam Chomsky

You are not born with ideas of faith. Ideas of faith must be taught to you, the only reason you find solace in this one book, set of scriptures, and/or religion is because you were raised with it. Now what if you were born in Sweden? You wouldn't be believing in God or you would be believing in a God but without any limits therefore the ideas of God would only be limited to what you can create.

The new challenge here ...

Why is your religion better than anyone elses? Why are your faith-systems better than anyone elses?

If you do not start with God. Isn't it more humane/justifiable/morally sound to let children find God and not teach them God?

If your God is real and true, why not let children find that God in life? Why do you have to teach them? Is he not the real deal?

Define: Ignosticism + Irreligion

"Personally I leave religion alone except for the only "Abrahamic religion" I think needs eradication as it is militant, discriminatory and still stuck in the stone age."
- Richard Dawson

A documentary to make anyone sick and disgusted is "Jesus Camp"

Argue any point here, religious or not

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    May 5 2011: @ Nicholas: I'm curious, do you think you harbor no false beliefs? Do you think your thoughts, perceptions, and ideas about the world are somehow more correct than a religious persons? And if they are, why does it matter, is your capacity for intelligence, compassion, or understanding somehow superior to someone who believes in god/s?
    I see little value in this type of posting as you seem to be seeking to ignite debate in an act of futility, I doubt any religious person is suddenly going to see the light you are trying to shine in their eyes with a few videos, many of which hold little to no credibility. Zeitgeist for instance elevates certain religious characteristics to conspiracy in cases of plain and simple translation error. While it may contain some glimmers of truth, that film is by far not an exemplary source for information. And Bill Mahar is certainly not a beacon of objective rationality.
    Science as well is often looked to in an almost religious light, and while it has merits such as adaptability and constant self critique and rigor, most people are not scientists and don't know how to differentiate between good and bad sources of information (ahem some of the information you posted for instance). I must say, and i don't mean this to come off as hostile, but i think it will anyway, that you resemble very much the type of person you are challenging. The information you use as support for your argument is propaganda and myth peppered with bits of novel facts here and there. We all buy into false ideologies and by the looks of your sources for information you are not excluded.
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      May 5 2011: Because your statement applies to me as much as to Nicholas, I'd like to give my own answer, which would probably somewhat overlap with Nicholas' view:
      "I'm curious, do you think you harbor no false beliefs?"
      Maybe I do hold false beliefs. I don't know. But you've already said the difference in that
      "Science as well is often looked to in an almost religious light, and while it has merits such as adaptability and constant self critique and rigor"
      which is precisely the difference between religious person's beliefs and scientist/atheist/agnostic beliefs. Scientists/atheists/agnostics are willing to accept they're wrong in their beliefs when there's evidence for that and don't hold a belief in something unless there's evidence for it. That's not the case for religious beliefs. It's more of the opposite - holding a belief in something without evidence and not willing to change when there's evidence that doesn't fit with your beliefs.

      I believe fire requires air to sustain itself and keep burning, because that's what all evidence points towards. For all I know, what might actually be happing is that God's wrath is coming through the fire and taking away everything it touches, including air... but there's no evidence of that.

      For all I know, the earth might actually be in the center of the universe after all. We know it goes around the sun, and we know we're at the end of our galaxy, but for all I know, at the same time, the sun and our galaxy might actually be moving in such a way that the earth remains in the center of the universe... a crazy thought in scientific circles, yes (and I must add, one which I just made up), but one which I don't believe exactly because there's no evidence of it, but would if there was.

      If science was ACTUALLY a religion, it would be the dumbest one:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNf3BfvxmBE
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      May 5 2011: "The information you use as support for your argument is propaganda and myth peppered with bits of novel facts here and there. We all buy into false ideologies and by the looks of your sources for information you are not excluded."

      **Everyone else of the agnostic/atheist perceptive feel free to add to the list of readings and viewing. Even feel free to discredit these; with additional sources of course.**

      As Vasil pointed out science as a primary value to take on life is problematic. Science = the process in which to eliminate the unlikely to make the likely more likely. You need a foundation in which to process first, if the foundation is based on a process(es), a lot of stuff would be confusing without predisposed infromation.

      I mind you I am only discrediting 3 religions here and the words are clear in the title "A challenge" it is a challenge for a religious person to stop believing. A fundamentalist whole life has been based on a foundation of myth in which has been built over by 'facts' and more beliefs. It is indeed a challenge. I can never put down eastern religions therefore they are accepting to change, they accept science to build on their beliefs.

      "Most people aren't scientist"

      Because they aren't taught to be, however, humans are natural born questioners and idea seekers. That is the first part of any scientific method, a question. So we are born scientist but most of the time are not taught to champion it, even on non-science based subjects like art.

      Bill Maher is optional as I emphasized therefore it is an attack on fundamentalism more than a documentary. An attack that is needed. It has prolonged the process of human-kind for far too long. If ONE person gives up faith that is one more lineage that will. One more future set of citizens not believing in falsehoods.

      Although I harbor false beliefs, I am open to having them discredited, I do not care if I have been wrong a thousand times therefore I would of learned a thousand lessons.
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    May 5 2011: While Christianity may have given us the crusades, scientists gave us the atomic bomb. A few religious nut jobs rammed some planes into a few buildings without questioning themselves, but scientists rarely stop to question thier work either and have given humanity enough rope to hang itself without the blink of an eye. We have let loose, PCBs, thalidomide, mountains filled with steel drums whose life span isn't a tenth of the half life of the radioactive materials they contain, etc. etc. etc. Science pursued without Conscience is far more dangerous than the fervent beliefs of religious fundamentalists. Atheists throw around words like "proof" as if its on their side, but the fact of the matter is that we know very little about the universe, modern physics still don't understand the in-congruency of what are called laws of nature.

    In the end, no matter what a person's beliefs are or how strong they hold them, the measure of character ought not to be determined by their rightness or wrongness or how much proof they have to back up their ideas, but rather what their actions are and how they interact with the world.

    Also i would like to amend my last post, "scientific fundamentalism is at least equally as dangerousness as religious fundamentalism." what i intended to say was not "scientific fundamentalism" but rather that: average laypeople with only a modicum of understanding attempting to disseminate complex information without understanding it themselves but rather relying on the testimony of "experts" are just as dangerous as religious fundamentalists (reference the Milgram experiments)
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      May 12 2011: Meher I suggest you reread this one again, therefore it is completely ignorant.

      Science gave you the ability to wear glasses, to have the computer you have, to have the structured language you are using.

      Faith-systems gave you the land you stand on based on territories, the religions surrounding you, and people voting in politicians based on religious ideals not on actual ideals.

      What science gave to the world far out weights what religion did. They are not even in the same ball park my friend. Although science gave us the atomic bomb, blindly religious people in power and as citizens allow it to be used.

      This statement offends me on an intellectual level and anyone who thumbs it up is an idiot.

      Character? I would say those who practice good morals are good characters, however those who are fundamental in Christianity and Islamic based religions allowed slavery in history, because their moral foundations were not sound. Is that today? No, today it was reverted in respects to modern science, we do not need slaves anymore therefore it isn't okay to have them. Religion is so faulty it is disturbing how many holes it does not fill and require preachers/pastors/priest/leaders to fill in the holes.

      The Milgram experiments denote how much people do not think in 'general' all of us, including religious people, in fact especially religious people follow authority more than those who are not. Milgram proved we have no critical thinking power in this nation, and you know what kills creativity the most? religion. It gives you answers that are so universally complex it kills so many questions that are important for developing character.
      • May 12 2011: "What science gave to the world far out weights what religion did."

        Technically, yes, science has given the world far more. But, (IMO) religion outweighs science in terms of global influence with regards to ideologies and cultures... I mean it has shaped entire nations, give credit where credit is due!
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          May 12 2011: All positive influences in regards to ideologies and culture I can think of were caused by secularism... in other words, removal of religious influences in regards to political decisions.

          Whether it's the birth of modern science, removal of slavery or women rights or legalized abortion, those things were done in spite of religious dogma, not thanks to it.

          And as for charities, those things are recent and exist in both church and secular form. If church organizations were first, it's exactly because they once held more power required to form the organization, not because secularist have any less motivation.

          Any positive shaping I've missed that was caused by the church?

          edit: Oh wait... yes... I forgot... the acceptance of monotheism helped unite countries divided between different polytheistic religions. The secularists of the time were looking for a solution and saw monotheism as the way forward. Now if only we can push things one God further, unity would be even more complete.
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          May 12 2011: I agree Austin.

          But, not technically; without question.

          Also now i reread my own comment. Replace politician with the any concept of anyone being in power involving popular voting. Today it is politicians, that word is newer but politicians are throughout history.
      • May 12 2011: "All positive influences in regards to ideologies and culture I can think of were caused by secularism... in other words, removal of religious influences in regards to political decisions."

        In regards to culture and ideology??? You're seriously telling me that religion hasn't positively affected cultures and certain aspects of ideology throughout history? I don't want to be rude... but REALLY? You don't think Jesus was even a good moral teacher whose teachings have benefitted millions? (Don't start rambling on about the crusades, I've heard that a thousand times, there's have been negative effects in science too.)

        I agree with the separation of church and state, but to say religion hasn't positively contributed to culture and ideology is not true.
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          May 12 2011: "You're seriously telling me that religion hasn't positively affected cultures and certain aspects of ideology throughout history"
          Give me an(other?) example, and let's analyze it.

          "You don't think Jesus was even a good moral teacher whose teachings have benefitted millions?"
          And so have Moses (in the form of the 10 commandments), Epictetus, Buddha, Confucius, and pretty much every other person who speaks common sense, or at least every more well known moral or law philosopher.

          Those existed before Christianity existed and have benefited society before it. Otherwise, we wouldn't have been born, Mary wasn't going to be born, Moses wasn't going to be born. Humanity would've died long ago.

          Jesus is to morals as Dawkins is to evolution - he hasn't discovered it, and has not contributed anything radical to it. Rather, he has just reformulated the exact same idea (that being the golden rule). Giving Jesus the credit for the golden rule is like giving Dawkins the credit for evolution - wrong (though I must admit I too was raised believing he coined it).
      • May 13 2011: An(other) example- It has produced thousands of missionaries who got out and risk their lives to serve others...

        "And so have Moses, Epictetus, ..."

        Why does the fact that there have been others like him, belittle Jesus's accomplishments? No matter who you compare him to he is still one of the most influential figures in all of history.

        Jesus didn't contribute anything radical to morals? Maybe to some cultures he may not have, but to the vast majority of people and nations at the time, his moral ideology was hugely unique and radical.
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          May 13 2011: "It has produced thousands of missionaries who got out and risk their lives to serve others..."
          You mean similar to now in Afghanistan? Where from the viewpoint of the locals (and in the historical context - objectively looked too) we're nothing but invaders? Where alleged religious motivation is mostly an excuse to invade a country?

          Or is it like aid providing missionaries? Where there's a large amount of both secular and church organizations, with neither being any less motivated then the other?

          "Why does the fact that there have been others like him, belittle Jesus's accomplishments?"
          Because even if at the time you required someone local to postulate the golden rule, for many countries (European ones mostly), he's not the first one to have postulated it, and he's therefore not worthy of the credit. The fact that today he is taught of as if he's the first one to have postulated the golden rule doesn't change the fact that's not true.

          "No matter who you compare him to he is still one of the most influential figures in all of history."
          Because he was and still is taught of as the one to first postulate the golden rule. If, for example, Epictetus was taught of as the one, seeing he's earlier on that front, you'd speak about him instead. The difference is only that Epictetus never claimed to be the son of a God... it's all about the miracles. Jesus is the first allegedly divine figure in the region to have postulated the golden rule. If he wasn't an allegedly divine figure, Mohammad would've been the one instead.

          "Jesus didn't contribute anything radical to morals? Maybe to some cultures he may not have, but to the vast majority of people and nations at the time, his moral ideology was hugely unique and radical."
          That's true only for Israelis, seeing he's the first in their community to have postulated the golden rule and for the most part there was a huge cultural lock down. Not true for Europe (and inherently, the US). Not even true for Egypt.
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        May 13 2011: "Meher I suggest you reread this one again, therefore it is completely ignorant."
        If your going to insult my intelligence at least use complete sentences.
        "Science gave you the ability to wear glasses, to have the computer you have, to have the structured language you are using."
        science only played a part, and if you think religion didn't you are the ignorant one.
        "Faith-systems gave you the land you stand on based on territories"
        You are so unaware of historical context that it is laughable. The creation of the state and division of labor had a lot more to do with the concept of land ownership than religion did, hell the development of irrigation can be given more responsibility for these things than religion

        "This statement offends me on an intellectual level and anyone who thumbs it up is an idiot." hahahahahahahahahaha, I actually projectile lol-ed my Newman-o-s all over the table.

        "Christianity and Islamic based religions allowed slavery in history, because their moral foundations were not sound. Is that today? No, today it was reverted in respects to modern science, we do not need slaves anymore therefore it isn't okay to have them. "

        Slavery was around long before the Abrahamic religions and many of the abolishonists were religious folk, and the leaders of the civil rights movements such as MLK (a preacher) were very devout individuals. Your education is obviously failing you, your grasp of history is far to weak for a conversation like this.
        "we do not need slaves anymore therefore it isn't okay to have them. "
        Hahahahah, so naive, slavery wasn't abolished, it was outsourced, your every luxury is dependent on the exploitation of slave labor, you are a slave owner and don't even know it... thats so cute. Modern day slavery is the worlds second largest criminal industry grossing more than 32 billion dollars a year, second only to guns and drugs which are grouped together in a single category.

        Your narrow view on reality is fundamentalist
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          May 13 2011: So by performing ad hominen gives you more character?(Response to third message)

          Science didn't play apart; science is due process, processes in which allowed technology/facts/information/theories/ideas. People using the processes created those items. If there was never processes there would still be hunting and gathering. Science is a major part, a tool to our developments throughout history. There is science to everything. philosophy is a child of science.

          Enlightenment me more on how religion can do that same. I am wondering how fundamental philosophy helped the world as much as science has.

          I never claimed Abrahamic religions started slavery; I said they allowed it, which is true. Slavery started as a means for more hands involving cultivation. Sumerians were some of the first to have slaves. However the Islamic people and European people have the most active slave uses and trades in all of history.

          "many of the abolishonists were religious folk, and the leaders of the civil rights movements such as MLK (a preacher) were very devout individuals."

          MLK ended it here. Men who were partially religious (God, no formal religion) started to end slavery it here. But that is only America, you know like one of the youngest countries in the world? What about the rest of the world who ended slavery there? Law-men, people wanting justice, perhaps some were religious but that had nothing to do with it if they were muslim or christian it had to do with what was right. I mean even Abraham had slaves.

          http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl.htm

          Now you must be referring to slave wages.. out sourcing, sorry but those are privatized corporations that do that in America (allowed to by faulty laws), not America as a whole. In fact due to those out sources our citizens lost jobs, homes, and lives. But, you are right....Because the majority of people in charge here are religious fundamentalist. The correlation is obvious.Thanks for letting me clear up
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        May 13 2011: "Science gave you the ability to wear glasses, to have the computer you have, to have the structured language you are using."

        Science didn't give me any of those things.....people did. Many of them religious people. Do you know who Johannes Gutenberg was and what the first thing printed on his revolutionary printing press was? If you guessed anything except the bible you would be wrong.
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          May 13 2011: People using science (engineering, computers, and linguistics) gave you those things troll-boy. The series of trial and error needs to come before the ability to gradually build on something is a must before final products.

          Just because you are religious doesn't mean you cannot perform science I never said such things, I said religion limits critical abilities that allow you to think with more factual foundations. Therefore fundamental philosophy will limit your ability to consider other philosophies into consideration. Philosophy is just one of sciences children along with math.

          To add: I said faith systems. not religion. Faith systems go beyond religion in damage science just takes them there. Now bare with me on the example problem. Religious faith + popularity or majority votes rule + fundamentalism = ?
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        May 13 2011: @ Nicholas...I have deleted a rather rude message that I wrote at you, and I'm sorry if anyone saw it for it was in bad taste. It was in response to you referring to me or my ideas as ignorant. I suggest you refrain from ad hominem remarks as they show a weakness in your character rather than that of the arguments you are opposing.
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          May 13 2011: "While Christianity may have given us the crusades, scientists gave us the atomic bomb"

          See, I would say I was wrong, but that being your opening statement to only later be defended with people are responsible and not ideas/actions/processes. Because Einstein believed in God very much so and was an inspiration to his work. He was just not fundamental about God, he kept him universal. The scientist working on the atomic bomb were working for what they thought would be enabling peace, if you ever read his noble prize speech he strictly states out that this cannot become a habit of human beings. "I don't know how WW3 will be fought, but WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones" - (roughly) Einstein. Man is the faulty one, and if you limit mans views by any means (religion especially) you create a lot of room for error. Ideas/influences are just as responsible as humans are when considering great evils. Humans are only able to consider what they are taught, seen, and are able to reflect on. If people actually knew/seen what the cost of war was they would not be endorsing it so loosely. today and historically.

          Check out cognitive sciences.

          Side note: you still neglected to respond to the other 3 comments you posted. those claims are somewhat just as faulty as these.

          Edited: I didn't perform ad hominem by the way, I said your statement was ignorant, not you. In another post you say "Do you harbor no false beliefs?" I said I may but I am up for them to corrected and not afraid of being wrong. As hard as you defended your poor statements may reflect who you are, but that does not have a direct connection.
      • May 13 2011: @Vasil

        "You mean similar to now in Afghanistan? Where from the viewpoint of the locals (and in the historical context - objectively looked too) we're nothing but invaders? Where alleged religious motivation is mostly an excuse to invade a country?"

        "Or is it like aid providing missionaries? Where there's a large amount of both secular and church organizations, with neither being any less motivated then the other?"

        I had no idea you went around talking to the locals of all of the third world countries that missionaries provide aid and preach to. I guess if you have done that, you're right.
        Let's pretend hypothetically I agreed with you that most missionaries gave their lives to servanthood just to invade other countries, and that the only missionaries that really helped others were ones who solely provided aid without any Christian motivation. Well lets say 1 million secular people provide aid per month in a world where Christianity doesn't exist. Now, in today's world 1 million Secularists and 1 million Christians help out. (Ignore the "1 million" it's just an arbitrary number to prove my point)

        "...he's not the first one to have postulated it, and he's therefore not worthy of the credit. [...] Because he was and still is taught of as the one to first postulate the golden rule. [...] That's true only for Israelis, seeing he's the first in their community to have postulated the golden rule and for the most part there was a huge cultural lock down."

        I'm not giving him credit for introducing the golden rule into the world, I apologize if i was unclear. I'm saying the effects his unique moral stance (even if it derives simply from the golden rule) had profound effects, first on Israeli society, then in Roman society. Approximately 2 billion people worldwide are directly affected by what Jesus did thousands of years ago, to this day.
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          May 13 2011: "Let's pretend hypothetically I agreed with you that most missionaries gave their lives to servanthood just to invade other countries"
          That's not what I'm saying. The missionaries themselves thought they were the good guys, as much as we think we're the good guys in Afghanistan. But seeing that the civilizations they went to ended up under their domain and/or went (almost?) extinct in the process shows their intervention was bad in the long term. Also in both cases, you have rulers who's interests may not necessarily be about doing the right thing, religiously inspired or otherwise.

          "and that the only missionaries that really helped others were ones who solely provided aid without any Christian motivation."
          I'm also not saying that. I'm saying that Christian motivation is not a requirement, because you can do without it, though yes, you can do with it too.

          "Well lets say 1 million secular people provide aid per month in a world where Christianity doesn't exist. Now, in today's world 1 million Secularists and 1 million Christians help out. (Ignore the "1 million" it's just an arbitrary number to prove my point)"
          If those 1 million Christian people are really doing this because they care, as opposed to pretending they care, they'd still do it as secularists, giving us 2 million secularist aid workers. I think Christian aid workers are as honest in their desires as secularists, so lack of Christianity wouldn't be a problem for them.

          Keep in mind that a secularist is different from atheist - secularist organizations include theists and atheists alike. The only difference is they don't advertise themselves as doing it with religious PR attached to the thing.

          "I'm saying the effects his unique moral stance..."
          That's just it. It's not a unique moral stance.

          "had profound effects, first on Israeli society, then in Roman society."
          The only profound effect is its acceptance, which united different nations with polytheistic religions - it allowed for less religious fuss.
      • May 13 2011: "If he wasn't an allegedly divine figure, Mohammad would've been the one instead."

        I don't think we can claim Jesus and Mohammad lived congruent lifestyles... They affected different people and had different moral implications as evidenced by the differences between Christianity and Islam today.
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          May 13 2011: Muslims that say that "Islam is a religion of piece" will disagree with you, though yes, I see your point.

          But that's just it - if one viral idea like Christianity hadn't spread, another one like Islam would have. And just like there are Muslims who say "Islam is a religion of piece", that would've been the larger kind of Muslims if Islam was dominant and Christianity didn't existed.

          People have common sense with or without religion or spirituality even. It's just that we want to give a special meaning to it. Any idea that gives this special meaning is welcomed by people. The fact they did doesn't mean it was the idea that led to the common sense. It was just the desire to justify the common sense.
      • May 14 2011: "Also in both cases, you have rulers who's interests may not necessarily be about doing the right thing, religiously inspired or otherwise."
        I think we are talking about two different things here. I'm just defending the missionaries (independent of government interaction) who go out to and aid and preach to third world countries. I'm not talking about Afghanistan, I don't think we should be there.

        "I think Christian aid workers are as honest in their desires as secularists, so lack of Christianity wouldn't be a problem for them."
        Good point, that is likely the case for a lot of them. Though, I think there are also Christian missionaries do it because they are Christian-- they want to serve God.

        "The only profound effect is its acceptance"
        I guess we just disagree.

        "Muslims that say that "Islam is a religion of piece" will disagree with you, though yes, I see your point."

        Why would they disagree? I did not imply anything bad about Islam, I'm just saying they're different.
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          May 14 2011: "I think we are talking about two different things here. I'm just defending the missionaries (independent of government interaction) who go out to and aid and preach to third world countries."
          And I don't deny the good things they did. All I'm saying is that those good things could've happened without Christian dogma attached to them, so Christianity and the Christian Church doesn't get the credit for them.

          There is nothing in Christianity that couldn't have happened without Christianity, other than the acceptance of Christianity itself. That is why I acknowledge the acceptance of it as a good thing - in a world thorn by polytheistic religions, having an all encompassing single religion means one less reason to wage wars with a neighboring country.

          Christianity didn't give people "this certain something". It simply justified "this certain something" they already possessed, and phrases like spreading the good news allowed them to see beyond other people's religion (as in allowing them to go into a land where people worship other deities, but with the intention of converting them).

          @Iqbal nazir
          '
          whoever said "Muslims that say that "Islam is a religion of piece" - I think the statement needs an editing.
          '
          If you mean that my statement of there being such people is wrong... there are so many that there's a whole site dedicated to trying to make those kinds of people see the truth.
          http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

          And if you mean the claim they make is silly... yes, I agree.
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        May 14 2011: "So by performing ad hominen gives you more character?(Response to third message)"
        No, it doesn't, and that is why I will not be conversing with you anymore after this.
        Interacting with you lowered my intelligence and brought me down to your level, It wont happen again.

        Post script: Philosophy gave birth to science not the other way around.
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          May 14 2011: Too bad all your misunderstandings were entertaining

          Traditionally; Science = natural philosophy (scientific method involving philosophy)

          So, you're right on that point, good job! Also if anything you went lower then my level, therefore you actually directed insults at me, I directed insults at your writing. Have fun.

          Edited: upon researching it more, Philosophy is considered any condense thought about a topic. Scientific considerations into philosophy are what created the sciences and philosophies of today, with the exclusion of some fundamental philosophies. So, we are both right. They enhanced one another. Thinking is always the first step, thinking on procedures is how you get things done though!

          "Interacting with you lowered my intelligence" if that is possible, good, lol.
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    May 5 2011: I would like to point out that religion as well, is adaptable and does adapt, though expressly more resistant and lacking formulaic guidelines built into the scheme for self amendment if you examine historical theology it becomes glaringly evident that religious beliefs and practices do change and alter over time as do all aspects of human culture. Take the protestant reformation and the Calvinistic rationalizing of Christianity or the segmenting of those various faiths such as puritanism, utilitarianism, etc. to accommodate the changing contexts of the cultures and individual perspectives. Though they were late to do so, even Catholicism accepted the Heliocentric theory.

    The concept of "progress" is a paramount equivocation to a belief in god, an a-priori conceptualization of an intended or desired goal of human subjectivity hidden behind false notions of objective rationality. And Scientific inquiry has far to often been abused as a means of justifying behavior rather than understanding it. People are all to willing to accept atrocity and every level of injustice in the name of this "progress" that is toted around with religious fervor. Einstein once said "our technology has surpassed our humanity" and I tend to agree. I don't know if you've heard of the Milgram experiments, they showed how easily people can be manipulated by white coats; put a scientist or "expert" in the room who says "we must go on with the experiment" and just about anyone will turn into a monster. The fact of the matter is that we give humanity far more credit that it deserves, we fall in love with our cleverness but lack the insight or wisdom to comprehend the implications of our actions. Science is really good at understanding the material world, but when it comes to problems of morality, ethics, and all those grey areas of the human condition, scientific fundamentalism is at least equally as dangerousness as religious fundamentalism.
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      May 5 2011: I will only address one line here.

      "Science is really good at understanding the material world, but when it comes to problems of morality, ethics, and all those grey areas of the human condition, scientific fundamentalism is at least equally as dangerousness as religious fundamentalism."

      Science is what we use to understand the material world, how good depends on the user(s). However science CAN solve problems of morality, ethics and understand the human condition. It is just up to people to want to seek answers in various ways instead of the traditional way.

      Science fundamentalism = religious fundamentalist... HAHAHA you post an article, website, scholarly journal, and/or anything that dictates such I will be very impressed. That is just non-sense. Even if there was group A who believes that colors exist and group B that does not, they both wouldn't kill one another over it just work harder to prove themselves more right!

      The following is a very extensive lecture by Sam Harris and he dictates that not only can science allow us to understand morals but we can create the best values in doing so as a society.

      http://fora.tv/2010/11/10/Sam_Harris_Can_Science_Determine_Human_Values
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    May 21 2011: Continued from below.

    I have been looking into the average life span of ancient bibllical times. It appears that your suggested average life span is on the low side. Infant deaths and the deaths of mothers because of childbirth skews the numbers. So this means that the gospels were written within the life span of the eye witnesses who wrote the gospels. They very well could have written down the account immediately, but the type of paper that was used back then does not hold up very well over time. And of course the Roman take over in 70AD did not help matters. We will have to wait and see what the verdict on the metal plates found in Jordan turns out to be, since it is estimated that they are dated to be at most 70AD.

    Your logic on why the authors/eye witnesses motive for all of this was to "control millions" does not make sense. It woud make sense if the author of the gospel was a king attempting to better control his kingdom, like Hitler sadly pulled off. This is not the case though. The authors of the gospels were going against the grain at this time, and as a result they were crucified for it. One would think if they made up the whole story to control the minds of their fellow villagers, and then wittnessed their fellow conspiracy buddy linched they would decide to recant their statements. People are most certainly willing to die for their beliefs, but people are not willing to die for their beliefs that they know are a lie.
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      May 21 2011: No, no one lived longer than 30 - 35 on average during those times even the rich. "Eye witness" accounts doesn't mean that at all, because you are not a historian and I am not so post evidence sir. If you are using logic on historic events you are foolish to assume it is realistic, people today are ENTIRELY different than they were during the turn of the century from B.C to A.C. I do not recall historic evidence of people being lynched for being conspiracy writers; what faulty assumptions. Everyone during those times were creating myths like it was news today. Anyone with a decent interpretation of the "super natural" was considered wise.

      The plates are a forgery like many other historic forgeries trying to defend Christianity. Like the discovery of "Noah's Ark" lol what a joke.

      There is no way you can prove Jesus rose by only 4 accounts of the story that is the worse evidence ever for such ideas. AGAIN, if a lot of people saw this, a lot of people would of been running to scribes INSTANTLY to tell them the events not wait 30 - 40 years to do so. This is a fool's argument.

      I'll repeat I do not care if you enjoy Jesus' lessons or the idea of an omnipotent God. But to say God is so subliminal to only do his actions during times of crappy news recording is a joke.

      Only faith can defend your ideas of Jesus being the son of God. 0 evidence outside of Christianity can help you defend that. This is fact.
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        May 21 2011: Can you share your sources from a credible historical source in regards to the average life span at that time?

        The plates may be a forge, but perhaps they are not. Perhaps they are like the dead sea scrolls.

        No assumption about the martyrdom of the apostles/discuples. Many secular sources to verify this.

        Funny what you consider historically accurate. We all accept important events in history based only on a few accounts. Look at the life of Ceasar and Alex the Great. All of which were wrtten several hundreds of years after their death. Yet we accept them as truth.

        Yes you are correct. All of this history stuff does not amount to much in regards to helping people to come to Christ. Faith in Christ comes from hearing the word, and then the Holy Spirit does His thing. So thank you for allowing me to spread the message via your discussion.
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          May 22 2011: I already did with wikipedia, which is highly credible. But here, http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/seminarpapers/dg09102006.pdf

          Why would you want to live your life on a maybe? A perhaps? A chance of being right? Wouldn't you rather be certain? Seems silly.

          "We all accept important events in history based only on a few accounts. Look at the life of Ceasar and Alex the Great. All of which were wrtten several hundreds of years after their death. Yet we accept them as truth."

          Comparing Jesus to Alexander the Great, how absurd. Alexander the great conquer parts of the world so MANY sources can be attached to him not just 4 writers in one book. And which Caesar? Caesar is just a title like Christ is....

          I doubt anyone really is reading our back and forth for one, and two I doubt anyone on TED is able to converted into the nonsense of fundamental religion.

          Also the metal plates are one of many forgeries in history trying to prove Jesus was the son of God.

          Look into the Pagan religion, SO MUCH of the Christian faith is stolen from those document and scriptures. Pass over, easter, christmas, the list goes on.

          You avoided so many arguments to defend your faith with a few fragments of plausible facts about someone 2000 years ago. It is depressing, and genuinely makes me upset as a human being. Any child growing up with critical thinking abilities could NOT be convinced some nonsense story about the son of God being born 2000 years ago with 0 evidence today besides one book and a few craze historians would started in the faith and did not find the faith. It is ignorance on a colossal scale.
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        May 22 2011: This is straight from Wikipedia involving the graph in which the iron age life expectancy is explained

        :"The life expectancies at birth listed below take account of infant mortality but not pre-natal mortality (miscarriage or abortion). Sometimes, mainly in the past, life expectancy increased during the years of childhood, as the individual survived the high mortality rates then associated with childhood. Surviving childhood would dramatically affect life expectancy."

        I am of course talking about Julies Ceaser. All books of antiquity only have a few sources, many of which were written down 100s of centuries after the fact. Look it up.

        We have already discussed the issue of how Christianity did not steal it's information from Pagan religions. I provided an obvious contrast from your provided example of osiris. Shall we talk about another example so you can better understand?

        I take issue with the fact that you claim that I have been avoiding many arguments. What are you talking about? You have been dancing around the issues and using very broad stroked arguments and now you are simply repeating things over and over again. You are simply using an argument of perceived superiority.

        No evidence huh? I have been building a case against the information provided in the film link that you provided from day one. The objectives were a) Jesus was in fact a real man b) Christianity is not based off of pagan religions, myths, or legend c) The bible is a historically accurate document that can be trusted. Now if you ignore the evidence that is your deal, not mine.

        So early are the accounts of Jesus' life, with eyewitness testimony that they cannot simply be explained away as legendary inventions. The harmony among the Gospels on essential facts, coupled with divergence on some incidental details, lends historical credibility to the accounts.
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          May 22 2011: "I am of course talking about Julies Ceaser. All books of antiquity only have a few sources, many of which were written down 100s of centuries after the fact. Look it up."

          If it is so true, post it.

          Okay, so, during a time where science can barely handle child birth means they are living to 45 on what? Dreams and pixy dust? No, I posted an additional link please review it.

          A.) maybe
          B.) Uh yeah it is... http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa1.htm
          C.) maybe in a few fragments but not entirely, at all.

          You are avoiding the facts, I am reinforcing these ideas because they are EVERYTHING important to considering Christianity as a poor man's religion.

          THEY ARE NOT EYE WITNESS.... eye witnesses AGAIN would of went RIGHT TO THE SCRIBES and not wait a life time later to tell these 4 scribes and ONLY these 4 scribes these events.
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        May 22 2011: The archeological evidence supports what the authors of the gospels write. The gospel writers gave specific details about Jerusalem. Since the city was destroyed in 70AD how could corrupt people know such intricate details if the bible was in fact written hundreds of years after the fact ih order to control people? Since the city was destroyed this means that these accounts were written at most 37 years after the death of Christ. This is well within the lifetime of eyewitness accounts if you factor in infant and childhood deaths as described above. Yes, only four accounts emerged to this present day. We do not know if there are not more. There could have been, but with poor quality paper and the destruction of the city no one can be sure. Perhaps early manuscripts from 33 to 70 AD will be found one day.

        http://www.whyibelieve.org/Apologetics/Bible/Bible%20Authentic.htm
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          May 22 2011: "....order to control people?"

          Okay Christian/Pagan religions became popular among the poor in rising empires during the early A.D years... So when the leaders of these empires were changing the religions remained the same. These leaders didn't all believe in Christianity, Muslim, or Judaism, Paganism, whatever the nonsense was, however the PEOPLE did. So in order to control the people they had to control the churches..... Today there are countless preachers raking in the money on talking "God" talk with tax exceptions and never giving it back to the people.... Do you really think these church leaders wouldn't be taken in brides from the leaders and movers of these times?

          Greed is the one thing I can promise you is timeless for humans and transcends all religion everywhere and anywhere. Very few religious leaders pass over wealth to become one with being a human. And those people are usually not from western culture.

          Again why would you want to base your life on maybe's, perhaps', and what if's?????
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        May 22 2011: A) What point makes you thank that Jesus might have not been a real man? There are secular and non secular sources. Was Julius Caesar a real man? Here is a page that explains that the earliest extant accounts on J. Caeser are 100s of years after his life. Look carefully at the

        graphs.http://www.whyibelieve.org/Apologetics/Bible/Bible%20Authentic.htm

        B) And speaking of Julius Caesar, on Wikipedia it states that he lived from 13 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC. How did he live this long if the life span was only 30 years at the time? The source that you provided is explaining a theoretical model with a few hypothesis. Where is the data to support such hypothesis? Also a little bit of information about Mithraism and it's similarities to Catholicism. I do not think that Catholicism is of the Christian faith. In my opinion it destroyed the early church. I agree with you if this is what you mean when you say that leaders used Catholicism to control people.

        http://www.gotquestions.org/origin-Catholic-church.htmlc)

        c) The manuscript evidence for the "New Testament" is dramatic, with nearly 25,000 ancient manuscripts discovered and archived so far, at least 5,600 of which are copies and fragments in the original Greek. Some manuscript texts date to the early second and third centuries, with the time between the original autographs and our earliest existing fragment being a remarkably short 40-60 years. Interestingly, this manuscript evidence far surpasses the manuscript reliability of other ancient writings that we trust as authentic every day. Look at these comparisons: Julius Caesar's The Gallic Wars (10 manuscripts remain, with the earliest one dating to 1,000 years after the original autograph); Pliny the Younger's Natural History (7 manuscripts; 750 years elapsed); Thucydides' History (8 manuscripts; 1,300 years elapsed); Herodotus' History (8 manuscripts; 1,350 years elapsed); Plato (7 manuscripts; 1,300 years); and Tacitus' Annals (20 manuscripts; 1,000 years).
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          May 22 2011: Your Julius Caesar defense is poor, no one believes him to be the son of God. Continuing on...

          A.) Because Joshua was a popular name throughout history. The man who was a preacher of great ideas about loving your neighbor could of been Joseph but the writers felt that isn't catchy enough and went with Joshua, Yeshua, today Jesus.

          B.) Nothing there disproves Christianity stealing from Paganism

          C.) How does that prove the Bible is entirely accurate? Also remember not only were the grammar, sentences, and structure change/configured hundreds of times in history, what books were included and excluded changed constantly also.

          1.) Seriously stop sourcing religious websites, Religioustolerance.org is very good at not giving biased information, which is why I used it so often.

          2.) the second link doesn't work.
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        May 22 2011: A) I was only using Julius Caesar as an example. I was trying to illustrate that we should use the same standard of evaluating for both secular and non secular sources of antiquity. It is a known fact that Julius Caesar was a real man. There are no original autographs of these accounts. Only extant manuscripts found 100s of years after his life. Should we not use the same standard for Jesus?

        B) Here is the link that did not work

        http://www.gotquestions.org/origin-Catholic-church.html

        Hers is another link about this:

        http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/how-do-we-know-christianity-is-true.html

        C) What you said in your post "what books were included and excluded changed constantly also." is absolutely a false statement. The study of contextual criticism of the NT tells us that the bible has not changed except for some spelling errors, grammer, and a few add ins that does not take away from the message of the gospel. Grab any bible and it even says that these so called "Add ins" were not found in early manuscripts. What we read today in the bible is what one read in early AD, except of course the changes with the language barrier.

        1) Religoustolerance.org is also biased. It is obvious that the "Christian" on there is not a fundamentalist. Christian Apolgetics websites are the only websites on the intranet that go into this type of stuff. Now if you want a list of books to get at your local library than I can certainly provide this list, but that would be a lot of work. A very easy read are the books by Lee Strobel "The Case for Christ" Which goes into all of this history stuff in a very easy to read format.

        2) See above
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          May 23 2011: A.) Jesus = unoriginal name/story
          B.) Still doesn't give me answers in why there are so many similarities between Christianity and Paganism. Indeed many of the holidays they both share predate Paganism also.
          C.) False my friend. The Bible of today is entirely different than that of 1 A.D, not in just language and structure but in the context.
          This site is a Catholic source: http://catholicplanet.com/TSM/evolution-Bible.htm
          This is an example of a book taken out: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/index.htm

          I mean that is something that takes a lot of research to prove but it is a fact that the bible evolved over time along with the religion.

          1.) I'll check out "The Case for Christ" But... lol... Yeah because even a lot of Christians cannot buy into the fundamentalism that goes beyond logic and reason, because it is crazy nonsense!
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        May 22 2011: Sorry I will have to get back to you on your "Joshua argument" I have not studied this issue yet. I will have to get back to you on this one.

        Also here is another link about mithraism. Turns out that it had its main following after the gospels were written. How do we know that mithraism paganism didn't copy from Christianity?
        http://

        www.religionfacts.com/greco-roman/sects/mithraism.htm
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        May 23 2011: I thought we were talking about mithraism which is a type of paganism. Are you now talking about paganism on a broader spectrum?

        If we are talking about mithraism then rest assured that this religion came after Christianity. The earliest archeology evidence gives the dates of 98-99 AD. Also the ritual that they performed is much different than the ceremony of communion. "Mithraic rituals involved a re-enactment by the initiates of episodes in the Mithras narrative,[83] a narrative whose main elements were; birth from the rock, striking water from stone with an arrow shot, the killing of the bull, Sol's submission to Mithras, Mithras and Sol feasting on the bull, the ascent of Mithras to heaven in a chariot. A noticeable feature of this narrative (and of its regular depiction in surviving sets of relief carvings) is the complete absence of female personages.[84]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraic_mysteries

        If you are talking about another type of paganism please give another example and how Christianity stole its' ideas.
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        May 24 2011: A) Sure Jesus or Joshua is a comman name, but what is your point? Unoriginal story? Please explain or share an example.

        B) Catholicm in Rome combined much of the Pagan and Christian holidays into one. Not sure how this demonstrates that Christianity stole it's stories and beliefs from Paganism. Please explain.

        C) You provided some good web sites. I do not believe that the bible has changed in context over the years besides what I have already described in prior posts. Now of course the translation can change the meaning in many ways, which is I guess an evolving process, but i do not think the overall troth of the gospel is at risk. In fact the website you provided states the following:

        "The books of the Bible that we have today are not the same as the original manuscripts of any of the books. Have they degraded as time passed? Must we recover the originals in order to save truth from extinction? Have the truths of Scripture been distorted and obscured with the passage of time? No, no, no."

        Now in regards to the other website. There are volumes of books on this topic and why these particular texts were left out from the Canon of Scripture. So a few parapraphs will not do this topic justice. But two primary reasons a) The texts were not in alignment with the doctrine of the early church or in other words with what Jesus taught while he was on Earth b) The texts were not found to be credible sources from a time of the early chruch. For example the Gospel of Thomas manuscrips was not found to have been written until 100s of years after the time of Jesus and it taught very strange teachings that was not in alighment witih the teachings of the early church.
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        May 26 2011: Why are you not being constructive in your communication style? Just because you are getting frustrated does not mean you tear down your fellow man. Do they now teach this in agnostic school? :-)

        A) Yeshua is the Hebrew name, and its English spelling is “Joshua.” Iesous is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name, and its English spelling is “Jesus.”

        The other religions described in your resources do not reflect the story of Jesus. There might be some bits and pieces that match but when you actually read the story a reasonable person would agree that the are not very similar. Lets use the example of Buddha. When you actually ready the story of Buddha and compare it to Jesus one can certainly tell the difference. Almost a joke that you are using this argument. http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/001bio.htm

        B) All of these practices that you mentioned are not only found in the NT but also the OT. This makes these practices very old, therefore predating other religions. http://carm.org/christianity-copy-from-pagan-religions

        C) The NT Canon as a whole was not put together until much later. The individual letters and gospels circulated via the early church. The Canon of the NT simply created a composite. This argument is erroneus. Did you even read the link that you provided, or are you simply just posting things to make yourself look well verses. In the biblestudy. org it states the following:

        "After some forty years of researching the subject and reading most of the "lost" books and apocryphal writing, I have never found one that an in-depth reading will not be self-explanatory as to why it was excluded from the canon."
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          May 26 2011: It's fellow man who will not consider they are wrong that is frustrating. As if I want to stare you in a wrong direction. No, I only want you to see the world for what it is, and not some fictitious imaginary way. Reality is so much more beautiful when it is all connected with fact, idealism, and creativity. Faith shouldn't be the source of any reality, it kills a lot of important consideration that is involved in the world. It made the world east and west. Fundamental religion that does not accept other ideologies is destructive.

          I'm more ignostic than agnostic.

          Continuing on...

          A.) The argument is not they are EXACTLY alike, because no two stories done by mouth would ever be exactly alike. However, there are many many SIMILARITIES that are apparent, and predate that of Jesus. Mythology has been around since cavemen declaring the sun was God. Why is this Son of God different? Because he has 4 writers that are from "eye witness" accounts 30 - 40 years after the events. And you lead your life defending these stories? There are people who were never Christian that acted more Christ-like than Jesus himself in history, and they say "Do not praise me" Buddha... It is because people deluded themselves that they follow these "leaders" instead of just taking their advice. "The God Delusion" Richard Dawkins you should read if you really want to challenge your faith.

          B.) But the new testament came AFTER the old one, so they were able to fulfill in the prophecies BECAUSE they knew the beginning of the story. Paganism, Hinduism, Buddhism is older than Judaism, so no you are wrong, the early creators of Christianity had plenty of examples to nitpick from on what a spiritual leader should be like.

          C.) So one out of six links of books not in the Bible dictating there is no significance makes them insignificant? How? They are about Jesus ministry.

          http://notinthebible.com/jesus_infancy_1-1.html

          Jesus infancy isn't important to the story of Christianity? How?
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        May 26 2011: And what do you know. These sources that you provided actually help the case that I am trying to present. So thanks. I guess they are "FACT" as you stated above.

        http://www.mccaughan.org.uk/g/essays/godmen.html
        http://www.kingdavid8.com/Copycat/JesusHorus.html
        http://www.biblestudy.org/maturart/was-jesus-the-real-source-of-christianity-and-its-beliefs.html
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          May 26 2011: First link: "Conclusion: Let me repeat first of all that the above is the result of a quick look rather than an in-depth investigation into each claimed parallel. With that said: "

          Second link: Indeed, but I wanted to be fair for counter arguments. However that scholar himself obviously didn't read the book of the dead either so he is talking out of his ass.

          Third: Another religious quack.

          "For all the learned tomes alleging primitive Christianity's dependence on a pre-existing Gnostic movement's teachings, little real proof of the latter's existence has ever been produced. Anti-chronological leaps and linguistic manipulations of similar terms are necessary to prop up the claims of Christianity's receiving its doctrinal content from Gnosticism. Similarly, all Jewish precedents for Paul's or John's beliefs are either ignored or discounted, such as for Satan's great and evil influence on humanity or a dualistic view of humanity's moral condition as documented in the Dead Sea Scrolls or the intertestamental pseudepigrapha. "

          Gnosticism is the idea early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism (especially Zurvanism), and Neoplatonism. Were all basically the same religion. This guy isn't debunking that at all, he ends it say it "unproven"

          But still continues to claim it is false.... quack quack
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        May 27 2011: A) The argument was that the story of Jesus is unoriginal. In one of the sources that you provided it gave a spread sheet that compared Jesus with other people of religion. I used one example of Buddha and actually found the story of Budda to try to help you to see that the story of Budda is totally different than the story of Jesus. Most of the characteristics on the spread sheet was false.. Now you are changing the arument by stating that there are many many similarities. My position is that this is false. Actually find a few of these stories and do the comparing and contrasting yourself. Do not take the internets word for it.

        B) Are you mad? Judaism has been around since 2000-1800BC

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_founders_of_religious_traditions

        C) The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a pseudepigraphical gospel about the childhood of Jesus that dates to the 2nd and 3rd centuries. This tells us that this story was not written close to the death of Jesus Christ, so therefore the authors made it up. How would they know the story of Jesus' infancy and childhood if it was written hundereds of years after the fact?
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          May 27 2011: A.) I never changed the argument... the argument has and always will be the story of Jesus is not original... If you want to defend that with "It is original because the sequences of the story are original" cool, but I am not buying that truck load of nonsense. By the time "Jesus" came around, there were MANY similar stories in circulation, just not IDENTICAL.

          B.) I'm "mad" in the sense of crazy, yes. But not about this...

          The original Pagan religions were discovered to be as old as 10,000 B.C.
          Sorry you're right, Buddhism only predates Christianity...
          Hinduism is about 5500 B.C...
          So, I am 2 for 3.. Not bad...

          C.) I'm sorry I do not understand your level of fundamentalism.

          A few questions for me to understand how fundamental you are as to understand how I should further carry on this debate.

          1.) Do you believe in the evolution of man? In which we share a common ancestor with apes.

          2.) Do you believe the universe started in a big bang, big crunch, and/or some form of explosion which spread energies, chemicals, and other particles/atoms across the universe?

          3.) Do you believe the earth is flat?
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        May 27 2011: First Link: "With that said: I find a grand total of zero definite incarnated executed resurrected ascended godmen in the list, even interpreting all the key terms as generously as I can."

        Second Link: "Egyptian Book of the Dead (note: I've had several Christ-mythers tell me that the parallels can all be found in the Book of the Dead. I've already read all of the portions of the Book of the Dead that relate to Horus, and the parallels are not there. I think the people who tell me this a) haven't read it themselves, b) assume I haven't read it and c) assume I'm too lazy to bother to read it for myself.)"

        Third Link: Why did you provide the link if you disagree with it?

        What the guy is saying is that there is no proof that Christianity received its doctrinal content from Gnosticism.
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          May 27 2011: First link:A quick glance to make a huge conclusion... No, awful sense being used here.

          Second link: Again, http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa5.htm
          And look through "Topics covered in this section:"

          This means this guy is clearly lying when he "investigated" the book of the dead in reference to Horus and Jesus...

          http://paganizingfaithofyeshua.netfirms.com/comparsison_horus_jesus_chart.htm
          http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/jksadegh/A%20Good%20Atheist%20Secularist%20Skeptical%20Book%20Collection/Parallels_between_Jesus_and_Horus_an_Egyptian_God.pdf

          3.) I provided links I disagree with as so you can try to use them against me to prove how easy you will be convinced of nonsense as long as it agrees with you. I am not the one here making an extravagant claim. To make the supernatural conclusion Jesus is the son of God, there has to be some evidence that is NOT apart of the same religion who is completely centralized around this key theory. However it is just bogus claims of fictitious practices over centuries....

          There is no "proof" meaning there is no written down document saying "Hey, we took this from that religion and that from this religion..." Because the churches involved with powerful cultures in history would of had those destroyed. I mean they were destroying even scientific discoveries that merely said earth was not the center of the universe... which by the way was a fundamental belief for a looooooong time.

          Of course there is no proof, it would of already destroyed this silly religion centuries ago if the proof existed. All just circumstantial, speculation, and strongly opinionated... much like the grounds for Christianity as a whole...
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        May 28 2011: Second link: First, it is true that Egyptian legend has Horus being born to Isis. No mention in any Egyptian literature links the name Isis to the name Mary. Isis was also not a virgin. No account of Horus’ birth makes this statement. Isis was not a virgin, but the widow of Osiris, another Egyptian god who conceived Horus with Isis. Finally, Horus was supposedly born during the month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov), and not on December 25, a fact which does not help their claim of marrying the stories of Horus and Jesus, anyway, because the Bible never assigns a birth date to Christ.Next, your link states that a star in the East announced Horus’ birth and that three kings came to bring gifts to the “savior.” However, when stories detailing the birth of Horus are examined, there is no star or three kings who come to visit him. Trying to link this to Christianity fails in any event, as the account of Christ’s birth in Matthew has magi (wise men, not kings) coming to Jesus with their actual number not being stated. Finally, the link references Horus as a “savior.” There are no descriptions of Horus being a savior to anyone or serving in that capacity. This is an important point: the link takes extreme liberty in the quick and subtle uses of Christian words and phrases that in no way accurately describe the actual pagan god or his attributes. This is seen again in the statements of Horus being “baptized” and starting a “ministry.” The only accounts remotely related to Horus and water are the stories told of Osiris (his father who is sometimes combined in ancient accounts with Horus to form one individual) whose body was cut up into 14 pieces by his enemy, Set, and scattered throughout the earth. Isis supposedly found each part of the body and after having Osiris float in the Nile, he came back to life or became the lord of the underworld, depending on which account is read. In any event, stating that Horus was “baptized” is simply playing fast and loose with Christian terminology.
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          May 29 2011: The point is... there are similarities between Jesus and MANY people in history, some of these people were prophets (actually lived and breathed), some were completely mythical (no proof of existence).

          I never said Jesus is the COPY of Horus, I said his story could of been easily taken from ANY of the many historical prophets or myths. Krishna was a savior also with many SIMILARITIES to Jesus. That is all I am trying to say. You're trying to prove he was unique, which is not the case, no one is unique.

          Also MANY MANY cultures used baptism before Christians, almost all the practices of Religion in Christianity has been traditionalized prior to the formation of the Christian Churches. Roman Catholics established most of the modern day traditions.

          Interesting to note, all those people with the Jesus Fish on their cars.. the fish is actually a pagan symbol.
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        May 28 2011: 3) So your argument is that there is no proof because it was destroyed by Christians? Solid solid evidence.

        B) The earliest evidence for prehistoric religion in India date back to the late Neolithic in the early Harappan period. This type of religion was not what we know of modern Hinduism today. The beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era (1500–500 BCE) are called the "historical Vedic religion". Modern Hinduism grew out of the Vedas, the oldest of which is the Rigveda, dated to 1700–1100 BCE. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism

        1) I do not believe in the evolution of man
        2) I do believe in the Big Bang
        3) I do not believe the earth is flat
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          May 29 2011: 3.) No my argument is that there is no proof of Christianity being false (in reference to Gnosticism) because the church would of destroyed it. Indeed there is no evidence of this, which means these leaders did a good job of disposing of the evidence.

          Between book burning, killing scientist/gays/witches/non-believers, crusades, the list goes on of the evil shit the Christians have done in history. Which make sense... think about it, Christianity was a poor people religion, when countries of Christians crossed hands with other nations or leaders, the leaders couldn't change the religion, they would have to work with it and use it to control the masses. So these leaders tell the churches to say this is God's will... "God Bless America" anyone?... and the citizens blindly follow that nation influenced by a religion... Welcome to reality.

          B.) Not arguing Judaism, however even the foundation of Judaism is kabbalah which prided philosophy, understanding of self, universe, and the IDEA of God... but fine 1 out 3 off the top of my head.

          However while I think about it there are even parallels between the O.T and N.T for prophets..
          http://israndjer.blogspot.com/2007/08/comparisons-joseph-jesus.html

          REMEMBER THE OLD CAME BEFORE THE NEW... it is easy to fulfill "prophecy" when you know what the prophecy is....

          1.) Then this argument can go on for years...
          2.) Big Bang = beginning of evolution of all of the universe; how are humans any different from the rest of the animal kingdom?
          3.) Oh so the earth isn't flat, I hope you know that was concluded by science, today considered math... Even math concludes evolution as a fact... I just can't believe you feel you are SOOO special as to have a creator while the rest of the universe was made by chance...
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        May 29 2011: More examples can be given of Krishna, Attis, Dionysus and other mythological gods, but the result is the same. In the end, the historical Jesus as portrayed in the Bible is thoroughly unique. The claimed similarities are greatly exaggerated. Further, while belief in Horus, Mithras, and others pre-dated Christianity, there is very little historical record of the pre-Christian beliefs of those religions. The vast majority of the earliest writings about these religions is dated to the third and fourth centuries A.D. It is illogical and unhistorical to claim the pre-Christian beliefs in these religions (of which there is no record) were identical to the post-Christian beliefs in these groups (of which there is record). It is more historically valid to attribute any similarities between these religions and Christianity to the religions copying Christian beliefs about Jesus and placing those attributes on their own gods/saviors/founders in an attempt to stop the rapid growth of Christianity. Even if pre-Christian accounts of mythological gods closely resembled Christ (and they do not), it does not mean they caused the gospel writers to invent a false Jesus. Claiming such a thing would be like saying the TV series Star Trek caused the NASA Space Shuttle program.

        During the early days of Christianity, Christians were often put to death for practicing their faith, so they worshiped in secret places. A fish painted on the outside door of a house let other Christians know that they would be safe and welcome inside. A fish is a very commom symbol. I think it can be reasoned that the similarities between the Christian fish and the pagan fish symbol is a coincidence. There is nothing in the bible about the Christian fish anyway.

        It can also be argued that many of the traditions were added to pagan religions after the birth of Christianity since there is no true historical record for most of these practices.
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          May 29 2011: "It is illogical and unhistorical to claim the pre-Christian beliefs in these religions (of which there is no record) were identical to the post-Christian beliefs in these groups (of which there is record). It is more historically valid to attribute any similarities between these religions and Christianity to the religions copying Christian beliefs about Jesus and placing those attributes on their own gods/saviors/founders in an attempt to stop the rapid growth of Christianity"

          I think we are done here, you have proven ignorance on a level I cannot comprehend.
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        May 30 2011: Apuleius, a 2nd-century Roman writer, described an initiation into the mysteries of Isis:

        Then, when the priest said the moment had come, he led me to the nearest baths, escorted by the faithful in a body, and there, after I had bathed in the usual way, having invoked the blessing of the gods he ceremoniously aspersed and purified me" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism

        This example is documented by a 2nd century Roman writer How would he have known the practices of this early tradition many many generations prior to his time? He is simply documenting what is going on in his time, and he in fact is the one going through this initiation. The Pagan mystery religions did not hold to one truth. They were constantly changing. They were easily influenced by society. Just look at the early Roman Hellenistic religion. The whole religion changed once Egyption priests introduced their gods to communiites, initially for the small Egyptian communities in the port cities of the Greek world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_religion

        You also forgot that baptism was not a new concept in New Testament times. These traditions occured in Old Testament times as well but they were called ceremonial purifications. I think it would be a challenge for you to find any information on "baptism in other religions" on the internet that predates early ancient times of the OT.

        The problem with your argument is that there is no documentation to back it up, besides internet information that is recycled and without sources.

        Ok we can be done here.
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          May 30 2011: Jesus H. Christ you are ignorant...

          Christianity changed dubiously, the only fundamental that stayed was Jesus is the son of God, God loves you unconditionally with conditions, and the other passive aggressive nonsense....

          Baptism dates back to Egypt, just wasn't call "baptism" I'm sorry you have trouble relating worlds to there general meanings and not your religious interpretations..

          My argument is legitimate you are just blinded by your naive faith to see otherwise. Have you been open-minded upon argument and not a fundamental nut, then you would of seen the patterns forming. The majority of major religions want unity, few teach the practices to achieve it.

          Why is your religion better than anyone elses? Why are your faith-systems better than anyone elses?

          If you do not start with God. Isn't it more humane/justifiable/morally sound to let children find God and not teach them God?

          If your God is real and true, why not let children find that God in life? Why do you have to teach them? Is he not the real deal?

          Reference Chomsky quote in description
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        May 30 2011: Ok now we are finally getting somewhere. You finally decided to give some specifics and referenced ancient Egypt. Congratulations you finally proved part of your point with concrete evidence. So is the way Christians view baptism the same as the way ancient Egyptians viewed their ceremonial cleansings? Not even close.

        http://www.thecompassnews.org/faith/foundations-of-faith/1853-jesus-baptism-was-unique-but-baptism-wasnt.html

        http://www.portlandbiblechurch.com/DoctrineFolder/DOCTRINE%20OF%20BAPTISMS.pdf
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          May 30 2011: Why do you only compare those two? This is what I am talking about, you aren't thinking big enough at all for this topic of theology. Critically thinking in circles = illusion. You are merely thinking from your deluded perspectives of reality (actuality) outwards towards reality and getting/making it simple and stupid.

          I should of suggested more clearly that Ancient Egyptians used baptism [as in reference to ceremonial cleansing using water (because that is what baptism means)], but didn't call it baptism... Now if that practice is that OLD and MANY different religions use it, perhaps there are OTHERS that do use it the SAME way as Christians. But this is merely one example, although it is fundamental to Christians, it still isn't new to the world in that manner either and there should be a limit on "coincidence" after a while. Patterns exist just need to look for them and open enough to notice them. Patterns in philosophies, spirituality, science, theology, and hey even the human thought process.

          Oh patterns, how art thou, callith me to understand why thy mere mortal companions followith the blindly and effortless tilith they are in the grave....
          "The God Delusion" - Richard Dawkins.

          http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sapient-nature/201105/delusion-productivity-and-success
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        May 30 2011: "Why do you only compare those two? This is what I am talking about, you aren't thinking big enough at all for this topic of theology"

        I only compare these two because this was the only evidence that you provided. I will not generalize or "think big" because I do not think there is enough information to make such assumptions. This is what one calls critical thinking.

        There are major differences between what the ancient Egyptians considered "baptism" and what NT Christians considered baptism. Ancient Egyptians used "baptism " for purification, whose religion was focused around death and the River Nile. So it was not unusual that part of their preparations of the dead included ritual washing to prepare a body for resurrection — as had been done in the story of their god, Osiris. So it sounds as if the ancient Egyptians used these ceremonial cleansings as a way to clean or prepare the body for death. I'm sorry but this does not sound like anything remotely close to the way that baptism was used in the gospels.
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          May 30 2011: "I only compare these two because this was the only evidence that you provided. I will not generalize or "think big" because I do not think there is enough information to make such assumptions. This is what one calls critical thinking."

          No I gave list of similarities multiply times through internet sources. If that is what you want to call critical thinking, fine, but doesn't make it is critical thinking or anything like CT.

          **I should of suggested more clearly that Ancient Egyptians used baptism [as in reference to ceremonial cleansing using water (because that is what baptism means)], but didn't call it baptism... **
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        May 31 2011: Yes you gave a list. I took a few examples and showed you that if one actually reads both stories it is more than reasonalbe to conclude that the accounts do not parallel. I will not go through the whole list, because this would be a waste of my time. Your internet sources are internet progaganda with an agenda. To make good critical decisions one has to look carefullly at the evidnece. Given there is no evidence, the decision is very easy to process.
  • May 6 2011: I don't need the ten commandments to tell me what is wrong and what is right. I don't need scriptures to tell me to love my fellow man. I know there is only one race; the human race. I abide by these laws because these laws come from my own consciousness; intelligence and morality show me the way. I find the arrogance displayed by believers to be patronizing in the extreme. When all your arguing is done, there will be no colour or creed, because we are just one; there is no more!
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      May 6 2011: So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.
      —Bertrand Russell
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    May 6 2011: the fundamentalist a religion is key the success of it. without it, the faith that is the magic power religion fades. that is the reason turn to religion; so they can have "knowledge" they can cling to. having something that cannot be taken away from you is a powerful thing. a thing that can only be provided by religion. yes, it is unfortunate that biblical text has been warped to say things like "We should wipe another people in the name of God" but this evil arises when people begin to follow a leader that is god.

    my point is the the practice of the text is not negative, its the practice of the pastors
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          May 6 2011: (Thanks for correcting me) Judeo-God is not God of absolution and omnipotence just because you say so, if that was so a lot of wars would of been avoided in history. No, you are dead-wrong about it not mattering where the basis of God comes from, because if the basis was "God is reality" and not "God is all knowing" There would be a huge fundamental difference. HUGE.

          Sorry I can't read a Bible deeper than I can read any other historic writing about God(s). I don't see much difference. Enlighten me.
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    May 4 2011: you are arguing a logical point, not an intelligent point.
    "Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings -- always darker, emptier and simpler."
    — Friedrich Nietzsche
    religion has nothing to do with being right because to claim know what is really going on, in this vast universe is extremely ignorant. religion is based on having faith, faith in a system. this system usually promotes positive things like practicing empathy and patience. unfortunately the nature of religion allows corruption. religion is the practice of great thinkers interpreted for ease of understanding or control of masses. but Jesus was an incredible human being. so was Buddha, so was Muhammad. other incredible human beings are Friedrich Nietzsche, Noam Chomsky and Lao Tzu. religion was designed as a way for the common man to become enlightened. for some they can simply understand that compassion is key and everything is infinite and meaningless but we care about our own lives for the hell-of-it. if you don't need it, that's great. you get to read books better than the bible.if you don't like it, let others have it. for many people religion completely turned their lives around. a cousin of mine was addicted to meth, on the street, and a church gave him a opportunity to change. i do not like how many church go-ers are sheep, willing to do anything their pastor tells them but its not like that is avoidable. outside of the church the exact same thing happens.
    all religions a telling the same story. i hope you know what that story is.
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      May 4 2011: I agree with Vasil,

      If people did what you were stating, there would be less "evil" in the world. I mean if we really had 2.1 billion Christ-like Christians it would prove religion to have nearly infinite value, but that is not the case.

      People are taking holy books as literal fact and not a story in which to guide moral lessons. It prevents nature itself; homosexuality, abortion, divorce, and even women being beneath men. Homosexuality is in nature (rats, dolphins, and birds), abortions are personal choice (period), divorce happens therefore emotions change over time, and women are in no way inferior to men (except perhaps strength).

      These four ideals alone are slowing humanities progress down. All four easily handle with science, if the Abrahamic religions accepted/taught the value of change, there would be no correlations between religion and sloth-like progression. Just not the case.
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    Jun 3 2011: In response to Stephen Hawkin's most recent book:

    http://johnlennox.org/index.php/en/resource/stephen_hawking_and_god/

    John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science. He studied at the Royal School Armagh, Northern Ireland and was Exhibitioner and Senior Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University from which he took his MA and PhD. He worked for many years in the Mathematics Institute at the University of Wales in Cardiff which awarded him a DSc for his research. He also holds a DPhil from Oxford University and an MA in Bioethics from the University of Surrey. He was a Senior Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow at the Universities of Wuerzburg and Freiburg in Germany. In addition to over seventy published mathematical papers he is the co-author of two research level texts in algebra in the Oxford Mathematical Monographs series.
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      Jun 3 2011: Dude, just because you are brilliant in one or two fields of study does not mean you are brilliant in many fields.

      Hawking is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist (both of which require many fields of science to work in)... in short, he understands more than John Lennox about the cosmos and reality in relation to philosophy and science, John can make a good argument but Stephen can make a good theory...
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        Jun 4 2011: Dude buddy, just trying to show that wicked smart people can be theists as well.Just look at Dr. Francis Collins, He is the current director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute. Why does he still believe?

        http://articles.cnn.com/2007-04-03/us/collins.commentary_1_god-dna-revelation?_s=PM:US
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        Jun 4 2011: So if fundamentalists are simply delusional, would that mean ignostis are delusional too? So essentially all of this is a coping strategy, and in reality we are simply in a material universe? No spiritual world whatsoever?
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          Jun 4 2011: No, you do not understand what ignosticism is, and I will explain.

          However everyone is delusional to a degree, what creates more delusions are performing cognitive biases, more commonly known as logical fallacies when thinking philosophically. Ignorance creates delusions. Now do not stir negative emotions with the idea of being ignorant, I am ignorant, I do not know a lot of information and that is awesome to me, I learn ten new things a day.

          Fundamentalist in two terms can be used here. Those who practice fundamental philosophies through belief systems and/or religion can be fundamentalist. And those who are fundamentally theist. Indeed they are simply delusional, but the degree of delusion is arguable. This is where people get bent out of shape of the idea of faith, for good reason, faith based on abstract ideologies is pretty little thinking. Must reflect on self, world, and your reflection towards others and what you receive from others, while keep an open mind to always being wrong and wanting to know as much as possible while you are alive. When ever you stop wanting to learn is when you become delusional. Which is why seriously delusional people are the best employees and workers.

          So, ignosticism, is the idea to understand the religious belief of an individual or group prior to the discussion of what those religious people believe, practice, and hold tradition with.

          Agnosticism says, maybe to your faith that "God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit = One God" and is the beginning and end. Ignosticism would say no, atheist-like, but not, because that is only one interpretation of God (a creator deity). Which is a wildly delusional-type of consideration in history and today when looking at the universe through science and an open-mind with critical thought skills.

          Yes, we are a material universe.

          Perhaps a spiritual world, or spiritual-like world. I do not know that is my goal question. I mean, there are definitely undefined energies in the universe.
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        Jun 4 2011: So is it safe to say that you don't know if God exists or not? Or is it that you don't know what people are talking about when people talk about God? Or in other words you do not know what God is exactly, in that there is no good definition of God?
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          Jun 4 2011: Again, who, what, and how is "God"? Needs to considered prior to my answer.

          The fundamental belief around the Judeo-Christian God, absolutely not.

          God as the driving force for individuals to perform great actions; of course that God exist everywhere and anywhere.

          There are many definitions/interpretations of God. Buddhist make themselves Gods by not believing in supernatural deities and practicing self discipline. Pantheist consider God to be everything or all of nature.

          Then you have the personal Gods we all create in reflection to our interest and environments in life.

          My religion uses knowledge, information, philosophies, and science as being tools/skills used towards simplifying life (God = the process/driving force of understanding universal life). I love quotes, painting, poetry, music, and cognitive science because these to me are art forms in which simplify interpersonal and intrapersonal expression of human beings. I would say to understand life simply (God), you need to look at patterns.

          Humans are very pattern-istic, it is how we create delusions that make us happy while causing great problems in other parts of our lives and/or in parts of strangers lives.

          That is why I never put down the teaching of Jesus but the idea of who Jesus was in history. Jesus to hate the rich, worship the poor, and to want equality is very humanistic and a beautiful pattern to traditionalize into culture and religion. However today we know for certain, there is no creator God, and if there is, the same God does not matter anymore to our future survival of the world.

          Truly the idea of God is a great thing, because it goes into "oneness" and unity through humanism for all of our species of man. Heaven on earth to me will happen when all people have all their basic needs met and life will be lived bettering oneself in reflection to a world full of open-ended information and knowledge for all to seek.

          True equality is the crazy goal of what my God/goal wants.
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        Jun 5 2011: So kind of like the "spirit" within all of us that drives us towards our passions?

        Do you believe in an afterlife?

        "However today we know for certain, there is no creator God..."

        How did you come ot this conclusion? Even Hawkings explains that what he is teaching does not disprove a Creator God. He simply states that God is not needed to explain how the universe came to be based of the properties of gravity. Where did gravity come from though? Think about the analogy of a pool table and how the cue stick hits the ball into the pocket. What Hawkings explains is that God is not needed to explain how the cue stick hits the ball, but where in the world did the pool table, pool stick, and ball come from?
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          Jun 5 2011: Yes, "spiritual" and "spirit" right. The idea of energies is a scientific question involved in neurology and philosophical idea of eastern religions.

          Afterlife, it doesn't matter to me if there is an afterlife. To me I need to create a heaven on earth. The afterlife is a great question of mine. What is next? Rebirth? Limbo (recycle of consciousness is energy)? Reincarnation? Or just earthlings, another universal animal-like humanoid? Are we simple earthling attached to the energy of the planet (recycled consciousness on this planet)?

          I can wait to find out sir.

          I like your final argument because it is logical to me and in broad terms of reality (my considered actuality). And I agree fully. Pantheism and I believe naturalistic pantheism share these philosophical ideas of how the universe was created and exist in reality.

          It is hard to argue this, it gets really science fictional.
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    May 31 2011: E) My final arguement involved the disciples/apostles who died for their beliefs. People are most certainly willing to die for their beliefs, but people are not willing to die for their beliefs that they know are a lie. These deaths by martyrdom is not only documented in the bible but is also documented in secular sources. For example Josephus and Origen.
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      May 31 2011: Josephus never cites Christ... he cites Christians...

      People died all the time for things they believed in, so who is lying when they are dying for their faith? Any non-Christian? Pretty selfish thinking.

      http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/rmsbrg00.htm#CONTENTS

      You posted the Historicity of Jesus? On wikipedia? It is pretty much sided on the fact he never existed, did you even read that?

      Again any historian said to be talking about Jesus or Christ... have been proven to be a mistranslated by non-christian scholars also even a few cases of forgeries... Interesting yeah.

      I just wish I was wrong, that way when I go to heaven anyways for being an awesome person in life, I can live forever with my virgins or whatever.
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        May 31 2011: Josephus cites Jesus on many occastions. But what I am referring to his how both Jospehus and Origen document the deaths of the disciples/apostles. Why would the disciples die by crucificaiton or horrendous death if they were lying about the whole thing? Wouln't they change their mind about the lie and state "Umm...sorry I take back what I said before...I made the whole thing up" to prevent death by torture? But no they would not renounce their beliefs.


        "It is pretty much sided on the fact he never existed, did you even read that?"

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus
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    May 30 2011: Well since our discussion is starting to head downhill in that I am being degraded for my worldview , I am going to start to summarize my point of view on this discussion. The discussion has drifted from one topic to the next without any concrete evidence to back up what the video was stating, besides recycled internet garbage. I will not answer the above new challenge questions, because this whole discussion was originally focused on the pseudo-documentary that you originally posted around a month ago. I do not share my faith with people who are not open to the gospel, nor do I criticize people for what they believe. I do however stand up for what I believe when something so erroneous makes me sick to my stomach. The video stated the following a) Jesus was not even a real man b) Jesus was based on a myth c) Jesus' followers made up the entire story to control people. I then through this past month attempted to make a case based off what I know.

    A) Jesus was in fact a real man-this has been demonstrated by both secular and non secular sources
    B) The gospels can be trusted to be an accurate historical document-I provided archeological verfication, explainations of the bibliographal evidence, the internal evidence, and the external evidence.
    c)You provided a list of "heros" and other ancient gods that on first look may parallel the man of Jesus. However, when one actually reads the story of these heros and ancient gods it becomes more obvious that these claims are for propaganda purposes and do not have legs to stand on.
    d) You proposed that Christian ceremonies are "very very" similiar to ancient religious practices. The only concrete example that I could find, from my own research, was the ancient Egyptian practices of ceremonial cleansings which was a way for them to prepare their dead for resurrection. The morgue cleans bodies after death, was this based off of these ancient practices? I guess these ancient reliigions have a patent on cleaning bodies.
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      May 31 2011: You live life deluded, but you are happy, isn't that all that matters?
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    May 26 2011: My faith in christ is personal,and personal alone,theres no underlying motive to convert you,it's never worked for me anyway but on saying so,those who don't believe have just as much evangelical ardour,in trying to convert you.Stand back and watch it's quite funny to see.what i'm about to say is my one shot at fame and will get me laughed at for life but hey "Once more into the breach"

    Jehovah is the moderator,christ is the server,with us hooked in as one,the race mind,no need for physical interface or visual gui,direct access 24 hrs a day,it's what everyone wants deep down anyway.it's what the transhumanists want to achieve in their own demented way,strange people,the mechanical is in no way superior to the organic.

    Sadly one can always tell when one is arguing with a "True Believer" they catergorise you within the first paragraph and then procceed to tell you where your wrong and start to tell you how it actually is at the sametime use sarcasm which is a sign of inner frustration,emotion,why are we equipped with it?is it a control mechanism?it danm well plays havoc with memory retrieval as each memory is embedded with an associating emotion,strange the way we've been programmed.
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      May 27 2011: Okay, in my most honest opinion...

      You on the border between a skeptic with critical thought values and a saltine cracker... taste good but still leaves your mouth dry and wanting more...

      "it's what the transhumanists want to achieve in their own demented way,strange people,the mechanical is in no way superior to the organic."

      I mean by this statement alone... this statement is a gross, disturbing, and uneducated assumption or conclusion... tells me a lot about you...

      I been advocating cognitive science for a few weeks now on TED, and to only be more and more interested as time goes on... because cognitive science explains why, how, and what you think in relation to environment, educations, and culture. Even religion at times. I urge you to do two things... read about critical thinking and read about cognitive science.

      Artificial intelligence is FAR FAR superior to the human brain my friend... we have emotional baggage weighing us down at times... Computers do not care if you destroy a million computers in front of it, it will still compute. Granted A.I cannot surpass human intellect, as far as reason, logic, considerations, and instincts. However it does surpass us in computing, computer science got a man on the moon with hardware equal to a modern day graphing calculator. Although we need human minds to guide technology, technology has given us pretty much every huge advancement in history. Even the simple single blade plow was a revolutionary technology in those times.

      Transhumanism wants that to continue... You are born def? No biggie, here is a robotic ear connected to your brain (neuroscience). You lost your legs? That's fine would you like to grow a new pair or have robotic ones installed?

      When you think about transhumanism consider the following... Technology + Humanism = Transhumanism

      To say these philosophers with scientific understandings and humanistic ideals are demented? Perhaps you are the one who is delusional due to your faith-system
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    May 26 2011: i think we've come to a point in our developement in anthropology,psychology,history to be able to judge accurately how past peoples and cultures started,developed and changed over the millenia of recorded history.Were the chinese watching the events unfolding in israel at the time of christs crucifixion? Did the scottish picts send ambassidores to herod on his remodelling of the temple? Where is his birth certificate? How do we know he even existed? Did the known world at the time of christ life see jerusalem as a holy city?How did the romans view jerusalem? a force to be reckoned with? or a necessary but bothersome ngat buffer state?

    When arguing religion one must partition ones mind and try not to be emotionally involved or it will degrade.Noam chomskys right,common sense,i've always believed that one must not push christianity upon children but ask them when they turn eighteen "What they want to do" if they're curious and want to know then i'll explain the best way i know how, why i feel the way i do.

    Everday i ask the question "Why do i believe in this?" when it would be so easy to join the growing fan base of those who want to join hands and sing "Cumbaeya!" then go off and join up to scientology.I'm a sucker for the underdog always have been.The underlying theme from genisis through to revelation is prediction,it's what sold me.too many men that were inspired to write the scriptures across too many time frames,none of them were anthropologists nor did they have a graduate education and have access to the net.they did'nt belong to a church or have facebook or powerpoint.they had no concept of mass media conveyance, the printing press was a good 1200 years distant,Mohammed was 500 years distant,christs followers during his short lifespan numbered a good 20,000? and dropped to almost zero when he was crucified,if one wanted to make a statement would'nt one want to be sacrificed in the colliseum in rome? how many followers did gandhi have?
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      May 15 2011: I do not know if you are serious or not.

      The amount of emotion I have towards those who feel the earth will be judged and ended this year, is too NC-17 for TED to allow on it's forum.

      So, I really hope you are only posting this to enhance my thread's position, otherwise, do not respond.

      I mean really, because some Bronze Age text book people believe it will happen? Ignorance on a level that would make the Westboro Baptist Church jealous.
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      May 16 2011: On the road-trip to Florida from New Jersey I saw 5 or 6 billboard for the end of the world.

      For the world's "greatest" country to be so stupid bothers me A LOT. Then, people do not even know how dumb their own country is and still claim to be the "best". I just think these crazy-wacko's should be put into institutions, because in ANY other situation they would be, but because it is fundamentalism christianity they are okay! It's like cigarette smoking, we teach our children it's bad, then on T.V, movies, magazines and social groups smoking is awesome! Ignorance...

      I am going to be listening to the broadcast, how about you guys?
      http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/blog/2010/05/broadcast-times-may-21-to-24.html

      Makes me angry, yeah.

      Sorry, Iqbal nazir, forgive me.
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        May 17 2011: "Makes me angry, yeah."
        And to think at one point YOU asked ME to relax... LOL.

        Look at it on the bright side. Some of those Christians are going to start questioning stuff they were told, and might turn agnostic eventually ^_^ .
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          May 17 2011: Yeah but it takes a lot to make me angry though, I'm talking cultural ignorance; a majority of American voters who once in a while make important decisions that need to be considered in respects that go beyond just emotional attachments to ideas of terrorism, falsehoods, "the american dream", 'trickle down' economics idealism and [but no limited] other ideologies without a full education involving skills in reason, critical thinking, and basic scientific understandings.. A lot more than individual ignorance. The system of people is on a "hamster whee" while the people who own us through debt, make our decisions without our interest at heart, and make profit from our destruction of economy. Education would solve all of this so easily yet we have that bill board saying in a few days this world will be judged by some dick God.

          ... Anyways, I was thinking that, I can only hope so man.
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        May 18 2011: This whole thing about the world coming to an end this Saturday is not Christian fundamentalism. This is numerology and in my opinion it is a way for this idiot radio program guy to boost his ratings.
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      May 13 2011: First the last statement repeal as it is quicker.

      http://pocketcultures.com/topicsoftheworld/2009/06/15/which-are-the-most-religious-countries/
      http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      America = over 80 percent Christianity + 2nd most likely country to deny evolution.

      But you are right on your last statement, it is more difficult to defend my claim.

      1. I agree on one, but I was keeping in perspective of agnosticism, therefore as much as you would like to think there is no God at all, there is no way to prove God exist or does not exist. Check out ignosticism and irreligion.

      2. Now I disagree, "finding god" and "teaching god" are absolutely different. You may take them both in the idea of God as the Christians do, but I do not. God come in many fashions depending on life experiences and responses to the world. Many see God as a being, others a force, some as everything, some as the creator of everything and then becoming everything, and/or even self-god.

      Teaching god involves dictating one of those gods is the answer, while finding god is coming into self terms in what matters in life and God is the "thing" that wants those matters to be emphasized.

      I mean humanitarians may or may not believe in a God but the driving force behind them is their opinion that being equal is the right thing to do. If they reflect that on to a God it's "finding God" if they keep emotions on a realistic level still can be considered a level of spirituality with no faith value.
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          May 13 2011: "I do not like to think there is no God, why should I? That there is no way to prove God exist or does not exist does not mean the likelihood of the two possibilities are equal. Far from it. There is no evidence for the existence of God, every religious claim has been refuted."

          i did not defend the idea of God with religion but more ideas of what God could be. **Many see God as a being, others a force, some as everything, some as the creator of everything and then becoming everything, and/or even self-god.**Again you are probably taking God in as being a "being" and not a force, everything, and/or alien-like being.

          "Implicit in your question is the assumption that "finding God" and "teaching God" are different. They are not. God is the answer to questions and it is the wrong answer. People "find God" only out of ignorance - "God did it" or indoctrination."

          That is entirely opinionated. I defended it with more opinions.

          "Makes no sense - its just their opinion."

          Their opinion led them to that God. Hawking says God is not necessary but that will not stop people from finding something to hold faith in, if that faith becomes abstract while maintaining positive practices, there is plenty sense to it, just subjective and perspective play more of a role, does not make it inferior in anyway.

          You aren't even considering what I mean by God, you are assuming. Because I know you didn't look into those terms I posted.

          I gave you credit for your last statement.

          However you are wrong about "That there is no way to prove God exist or does not exist does not mean the likelihood of the two possibilities are equal." that is also opinion. You cannot prove God (any type of God) does not exist or plays a factor in our lives therefore when you leave religions it is purely philosophical. Anything is possible as long as it does not contradict itself as the laws of physics dictates. Thus some form of God is possible.
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          May 14 2011: http://www.deepspirits.com/spirituality/

          Again, you definitely did not look into those terms I gave you...

          "Who, What and Why is God?" Need to be determined before you say there is no God.

          Example: God is the force of knowledge. To have knowledge you must consider yourself to be ignorant and unknowing of all the world, so you can start to be aware and understand all of the universe. God comes in the form of trying to come to terms with the reality of the universe, because God is knowledge, you will seek God. You are following God and that path is leading you to understanding the universe. So your faith-system is that knowledge/God is the guiding force in your life. You cannot disprove that God. It is intrapersonal, how is this ignorant? because they are tying a force (God) with something common and everyday that does need supernatural explanations? Well they aren't, they are tying it with reality and keeping the force in perspective of reality. This faith-system can only do wonders and brilliance. Of course you do not HAVE TO attach human consciousness to something abstract but this does not make it any less valuable.

          Of course I considered there is no God (as a being). Again, does not mean there is no God in another form. I also would wager life could have started by some Alien experiment to understand life, why not? That alien would be god-like compared to humans, no?

          **"Me - People "find God" only out of ignorance - "God did it" or indoctrination.

          To find God is to find what you want in life. How is that ignorant? To teach God is to indoctrinate ideas of a form of God.

          "How does saying God is a Force or God is energy or God is love etc further our understanding of the reality of the Universe / Nature, like Newton’s concept of Gravity?"

          It gives you a focus point, a goal if you will. Like Christian to do good to go to heaven. Except, the example God would make a heaven on earth possible instead.
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          May 14 2011: See, this is limited considerations of reality you are performing.

          There are never just either-or solutions to anything in nature. There are conditions that need to be considered. Just because the exact Loch Ness monster (a dinosaur-like creature) does not exist does not mean monsters like the Loch Ness monster do not exist. Skepticism cannot just stop with facts, because facts also tend to change. I mean we only mapped out about 40 percent of our planets ocean and pretty much none of our earth under crust. There could very likely be that monster somewhere.

          Now consider the prehistoric shark found off the coast of Japan.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAEuOnWnXVI

          Logic, or mathematical probability, requires you to build information on existing information or facts to make certainties. Of course there are things we do not know in entirety yet. So if someone said, the earth is in the center of the universe, how could you really know without a lot of facts. Instead it is a starting point to where to look for facts.
        • May 14 2011: The most renowned atheist in the latter 20th century, Dr. Carl Sagan, estimated that the mathematical probability of the simplest form of life emerging from non-living matter has the unbelievable odds of one chance in ten to the two billionth power. (1 x 10 w/two billion zeros after it!), and yet, an influential and biased chorus of scientists cling to the belief that somehow it defies all possible odds and happens anyway. (Dr. Emil Borel inverses the law of probability, and he said that anything with a chance of more than 1 x 10 50 would never happen no matter how much time there is.)
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          May 15 2011: "either we take God to mean the generally accepted concept of God as a creator, or you have to give your definition."

          Well even a creator God can exist. It is just entirely unlikely that it was the Abrahamic God.

          "You can’t let this definition be hazy or anything at all because then if God be anything at all then God does exist, if it is my shoelaces for example."

          I am just not an expert on theology, it is easier to say there is nothing than there is something. Waffling = force of knowledge. Fine I'm not good at examples so let's use the Christian example of what God could be besides a being in the heavens. Christians also feel God is love. When you perform acts of love you are being with God.

          I think our biggest problem here is again we are not defining "Who, What and Why is God?"

          Your problem with my example is silly, it was just an example. But, if you want to take it serious check out Einsteins faith ideals "God who reveals Himself in the harmony of all that exists." Kind of where I took the knowledge concept from.

          “Why is your faith-system better than anyone elses?”

          My faith-system is open-ended, it isn't better but it is more free.

          God for some is a requirement, God for others is the sources of happiness, God for many is an attachment to something bigger than they are. Yes in a stupid sense your shoelace could be your God, your source of happiness, requirement, and your driving force in life. Lets hope it isn't.

          "That is a separate question, but here you give the concept of God as a being or beings and as creators."

          I said God could be those things, but any form of God is just as important as the concepts of a creator and a being(s).

          I already responded to your last statement. To emphasize.

          Even if the God to the individual reading the question is Abrahamic. If God is real and true, why not let children find that God in life? Why do you have to teach them? Is he not the real deal?

          Allowing a child to find God may find any form of God.
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          May 15 2011: There are never just either-or solutions to anything in nature. There are conditions that need to be considered.
          _______________________________________________________________________
          I appreciate your comments though it is allowing me to see how vague my post are sometimes.

          I try to do that on purpose, but seems to be more of a hassle than a benefit. Good thing I can edit the description. Anything i should add?
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          May 16 2011: You need to read some of Simon Critchley's work.

          "It’s complicated. On the one hand we’re killer apes, and on the other hand we have this metaphysical longing. We want there to be a significance to human life, and we want there to be a narrative that holds everything together. Nihilism is the moment when we feel that’s been punctured. This is one element in youth culture that is persistent—a rejection of the old gods. You find it in punk, in the cult of death of musical figures. There are many examples. Meaning evaporates, and we feel abandoned. The idea of nihilism hits you, and that can be a dispiriting experience."

          What you are circling around is, and I am happy to notify you, becoming more and more of a fashion.

          "Why do we need God(s)?"

          Because we aren't taught reason in school... We aren't challenged by entertainment... and if you live in a place like America and are not upper middle class, your family does not have time to teach you reason or are religious themselves.

          What if everything in your life is bad (emotions, environment, and people) and your trying to make sense of it, God is the easy answer and suicide is the easiest answer. Yes, youth suicide rates are rising.
          http://www.nytimes.com/1987/02/22/us/youth-suicide-is-rising.html

          Lack of good judgments and reasons are the cause. My arguments here have been you do not know that a God in some form, maybe even a greater one, exist. That skepticism is what is missing in a lot of cultures. Skepticism is great! When people hear that word they instantly think that means conspiracy theorist and religion haters. So untrue.

          Reason tells you "There HAS to be more out there, this planet has so much on it!" For youth to kill themselves needs to be blamed on the older generations. They need to see their own ignorance(s) of the world.


          God is okay as long as it is not making you ignorant about life. God is great if it is telling people to love one another. But that isn't what God is usually today...
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    May 9 2011: Starting a new thread to talk about one point at a time, since I cannot keep up with all of these topics going on all at once by different people. Can we start with the historical evidence of Jesus Christ and why the Gospels can be trusted as an accurate source for his life?

    Vasil brings up a good point about how no documentation was written down during Jesus' time. How do we know there wasn't things written down? We don't. Perhaps there were things written down. The problem is that in 70AD the city was taken over and destroyed by the Roman military. Interesting enough though there has been 70 metal books just found 5 years ago that is said to have been placed in a cave after people fled from the city with the invasion in the year 70AD. The books go into the life of Jesus, death, and reserrection.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1371290/70-metal-books-Jordan-cave-change-view-Biblical-history.html
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      May 9 2011: So lack of evidence is your evidence?

      http://www.examiner.com/multi-faith-in-seattle/metal-books-discovery-may-have-ties-to-first-century-christianity

      http://derrenbrown.co.uk/blog/2011/04/fake-seventy-metal-books-cave-jordan-labeled-important-find-christian-history/

      "The prospect that they could contain contemporary accounts of the final years of Jesus’s life has excited scholars – although their enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that experts have previously been fooled by sophisticated fakes."

      http://slumz.boxden.com/f5/mar-30-70-metal-books-found-jordan-cave-could-change-our-view-biblical-history-1520344/

      Even if Jesus was real, he wasn't the son of God. He could have just been a very bright individual who said the right things at the right times. Even Manson convinced his followers he was a modern day Jesus. In Religious Bill Maher interviews a man who claims to be modern day Jesus (who has a ridiculous amount of followers).

      Gilgamesh was proven to be a real king, however his tales say he swam to the bottom of the ocean... just stories, taken out of proportion of reality, defended by faith and not logic.
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        May 9 2011: Don't worry Nicholas I'm only priming the pump. One step at a time, so these posts stay very focused. Please be patient with me. I was only providing a reason why there is limited documentation at Jesus' life. I am in agreement with you, I'm not putting much stock into the metal plates yet, until they can be clearly justified.

        The next logical step it to demonstrate that Jesus was an actual man and not a myth.

        http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CycbvARsxWU
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          May 9 2011: You know there was a time in history where philosophers would have debates of logic, and who ever won the loser had to take the winner's philosophies and practice/build on them.

          it's sad... you have to source the bible to prove the bible....
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        May 9 2011: When did I source the bible to prove the bible? The website that I provided from "gotquestions" involved several sources including from the bible and secular sources of that time of antiquity.With that being said the bible is an accurate historical book. But again we are taking it just a bit too fast, I will get to that soon. For now just focus on how I'm trying to demonstrate that Jesus was a real man and not a myth. The secular sources should be proof enough for you, since you disqualify the bible. Based on the provided resources would you agree that Jesus was a real man?
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          May 10 2011: Yes, I said it is plausible, but I also used the Gilgamesh example. He was also proven to be alive but his tale is far more epic than Jesus' by the fact he was alive during the flood.

          I mean really Joshua of Nazareth being a real person still does nothing to prove Christianity. It only proves that people can write whatever kind of story they want about a man who existed.

          I mean a lot of details weren't established until much later than the first 3 books. Virgin birth, birth in Bethlehem, and even that Herod would slaughter all the children in an attempt for the Devil to kill the Christ child.
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        May 10 2011: So now that you believe that it is plausible that Jesus to be a real man versus a myth lets move on to the next topic. That topic being the reliability of the four gospels. I propose that the four gospels are in fact historically accurate. Modern day scholars agrees with this statement:

        Video--1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh_hxMBzizw

        Academic Article --2) http://www.apologetics.com/index.php?catid=39:historical-apologetics&id=165:why-i-believe-the-new-testament-is-historically-reliable&Itemid=54&option=com_content&view=article

        3) Basic Article--3) http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t007.html?zoom_highlight=reliability+of+the+gospels
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          May 10 2011: Okay ignore Gilgamesh and the other hundred heroes throughout history fine.

          1.)Nice an evangelical christian philosopher. Pretty smart indeed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus However he still works in that field and even that field does not know for certain Jesus existed.

          2.) Now this is actually your first interesting source you provided so far. However "Overall, at least seventeen non-Christian writings record more than fifty details concerning the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus" Complete and utter lies. Propaganda, sourcing more Evangelical scholars. Just more bias. I have only heard about eight at most and 6 of them were figured to be mistranslated or misinterpreted and one even as a forgery. Find those documents you will have a better argument, but sourcing people who put faith behind their studies, is bias.

          3.)http://christiananswers.net/home.html lol is not a reliable source by it's name alone. Talk about Bias.

          Find a website that is supported by the scientific community as being a reliable source of information, have fun.

          Here I'll help:

          http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcno.htm
          http://members.tripod.com/~owen_eir/letter21.html
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Jesus

          Again, although Jesus could have existed, means nothing. He could have just been a really smart guy with a great lesson for people and was followed by a lot of people (like the original philosophers were) and became popular. Just because he existed doesn't mean anything more than that. gospels cannot be related with anything, besides some facts around those times. However the fact Pilate says Jesus was a man with followers does not mean he believed it, and the story about him letting a murderer free instead of Jesus is entirely untrue also.

          You may just be another helpless case in the world of theology lost on track with one of the many Gods that existed throughout time sir.
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        May 10 2011: "Find a website that is supported by the scientific community..." Are we even talking about science here?

        How do we know there is no truth to the Gilgamesh story? The Genesis flood account shares many striking similarities with the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, and with the Babylonian Atrahasis epic, for that matter. In fact, literally hundreds of flood traditions have been preserved all over the world, with traditions abounding in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, as well as both of the Americas, and the Genesis account shares similarities with most of them. Since every culture has descended directly from the flood’s survivors, it is logical that stories of this traumatic event are both abundant and universal, having been passed down from generation to generation. This is certainly the case. Many of these traditions are remarkably consistent, considering the relative isolation of the cultures, the length of time that has elapsed since the flood, and the human tendency to embellish, exaggerate, and distort stories over time. The Babylonian and biblical accounts of the flood appear to represent different retellings of an essentially identical flood tradition.
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          May 10 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PT90dAA49Q&feature=relmfu

          You are agreeing with me sir, which I only want if you are going to in the end tell me the Bible is not the word of God.

          The word of God, should be love. Love can be in greed, rape, murder, stealing, and even suicide. However that love is selfish-based to the point where any community can recognize that these things are not what love is for everyone but what love is for an individual. Therefore love being god (a force) makes perfect sense. But that isn't in the Bible except when talking about Jesus. This is why I do not dis-value the idea of Jesus.

          I don't want you to stop doing good things, I want you to open up to being wrong about even your faith. Faith needs reason behind it or else it is empty. The Bible is what backs up fundamentalist faith and this is wrong because it is only one book; a book from a time where the earth was flat. The science between then and now is the difference between solar energy and a carriage being pulled by a donkey.

          Science = logical conclusions based on reality. The reality of Jesus does not create a Judeo-Christian God, it means people have a habit of following people who make the most sense.
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        May 11 2011: Don't enjoy my sources huh? Ok... I will find some liberal sources for you. It is strange what you mainly consider reliable souces. Talk about bias! Most of the people you cite has no sort of schooling on the issue at all!

        1) http://www.dartmouthapologia.org/articles/show/85

        2) http://www.gnpcb.org/assets/products/excerpts/9781581348668.1.pdf

        *** Roberts has his PHD in New Testament from Harvard

        Uh...Did I miss something with your last post?
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          May 12 2011: It isn't about schooling it is about where they are coming from; if you are religious you are going to want to believe your religion is correct and you are going to work in the direction of it being correct.

          1. "God did the unthinkable. He sent his Son into the world to be born fully man yet fully God, to live a perfect life, and when his time had come, to die a humiliating death on a cross, thereby paying the price for all the sins of mankind." See this proves my point EXACTLY RIGHT!

          2. This is the best link you given me so far, perhaps the scriptures are somewhat reliable sources of history however this part fascinated me the most.

          "Professional copyists, called scribes,
          would copy the words of one text into a fresh papyrus or parchment
          (a longer lasting material made from animal skins). Their
          training taught the scribes to minimize errors and maximize
          accuracy.Yet copying manuscripts was not a slavish task, with scribal
          accuracy matching modern photocopy technology. At times
          scribes would make intentional changes as they copied.For
          example, they would correct what they believed to be a spelling
          error in their source text. And even the best of scribes also
          sometimes made unintended errors. Thus the best extant
          manuscripts of the Gospels are likely to differ in some measure
          from the autographs."

          He not only admits how there could be errors he also admits how things could be entirely different than what they were originally. Lol, thanks for this source I am keeping it.

          Yeah you are performing nothing but straw mans but that is fine. For you to logically argue would put you in more corners than these links have....
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        May 12 2011: Hey thanks for reading the link. I really appreciate your efforts and patience with me found in this diaologue. I do not consider myself to be an intellectual, just a follower of Christ. I do not really know what you mean by "straw man" ,but assume it is a term used in debate or philosophy. I really don't care, because I am not here to win a debate.

        There are most certainly errors in the bible that we find today. Copying errors and then a few parts of it that have not been found, yet, in the early manuscripts, but early manuscripts continue to be found. These errors do not impact the parts about Jesus' death and resurrection from the dead. These parts were in the early manuscripts. The Bible is inspired by God, but then humans take over to copy it. I do not think Roberts admits that the scripture could be entirely different than the early found manuscripts. From what I have read from his work, the current version of the bible does not differ much from the early manuscripts. The changes that have been found are copying errors, spelling, errors, and a few scribe add ins. Not bad for a book from antiquity.

        I think it is true that depending on the scholars wordview, it is hard to keep bias out of the equation. I think this is true on both sides of the coin.
        • May 12 2011: He is just saying you misrepresented the other side of the argument.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

          "I think it is true that depending on the scholars wordview, it is hard to keep bias out of the equation. I think this is true on both sides of the coin."

          Well said and good point!
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          May 12 2011: Straw man - When someone ignores the argument and replaces it with a distorted or exaggerated version of that argument.

          I find it more valuable to follow Christ-like people and not just Joshua of Nazareth. It's like the difference between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. Mahayana follow strict codes in which the original Buddha established, the Theravada Buddhist create their own paths while appreciating the advice of the elders, including Buddha but not limited. Lesson here, perhaps there is more than one way to find enlightenment and/or heaven.

          I find the point of God is create a heaven on earth and not to wait until death, but to spread the idea of God and to help one another achieve in life. God to me is how only one book in the Bible depicts him, God = love. That would make God a force, and not an actual dude sitting on clouds like fundamentalist created him to be.

          The simple fact you declare "prophets" were the ones to declare these scriptures is belittling God. Look at the Jesus' of modern time; Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Gandhi (arguably), Nick Vujicic (a few similar stories like his also), John Paul 2nd, Thomas Jefferson. I mean why is one man so special? Because someone told you he was the son of God? What if those same people told you Gilgamesh was the son of God? You would have no way of knowing, like you have no way of knowing now which is apparent.

          The bottom line is, no one knows these answers, and for you to tell me you know them without any real sources of facts makes them crap.

          God = Reality, God = creator of everything then became everything, God = in everything in universe.

          All those Gods are far more complex than the Abrahamic God and no one on TED can disprove those God ideas. Once you say this specific book is right and the other million books are not, then that is total ignorance.
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        May 12 2011: There is no doubt that the number of different religions and books in the world makes it a challenge to know which one is correct. First, let’s consider some thoughts on the overall subject and then look at how one might approach the topic in a manner that can actually get to a right conclusion about God. The challenge of different answers to a particular issue is not unique to the topic of religion. For example, you can sit 100 math students down, give them a complex problem to solve, and it is likely that many will get the answer wrong. But does this mean that a correct answer does not exist? Not at all. Those who get the answer wrong simply need to be shown their error and know the techniques necessary to arrive at the correct answer.

        You can use reason and logic in matters of religion. That being the case, pluralism (the belief that all truth claims are equally true and valid) is ruled out because it is illogical and contradictory to believe that opposing truth claims can all be right.

        Only one can be correct. Which one though?
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          May 12 2011: "Those who get the answer wrong simply need to be shown their error and know the techniques necessary to arrive at the correct answer."

          I just went over how there could be more than one way to find answers, and now you are claiming "No, only one answer exist and there is only one way to get there"

          Correct me if I am wrong please, because what you are saying is the billions of human beings on this planet who find ZERO solace in God are wrong and misguided. Which is a joke by the way.

          All children are born atheist, it isn't until the parents teach them religious ideals that it becomes a part of their reality.

          The correct answer here is; fundamental faith-based religions are a plague on critical thought in the world and what prevent decent people from thinking logically. Logic = building on FACTS

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1PT90dAA49Q#at=100
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        May 13 2011: Thanks for the strawman definition. In the original challenge you requested feedback for the rssources you provided. I challenged the video "The god that wasn'tt there". This video made claims that Jesus was a myth and was not based on historical accounts, but instead copied earlier stories from mythology. I provided rsources that challenged this position. How did I distort the discussion?

        The statement that involves children being born atheist unitl parents teach them religious ideals is somewhat true. There are exceptions though. Some individuals come to know God later in life. Can you explain this?

        Is religion and faith the same thing? To me it is not. I cannot stand the Christian religion that teaches people that they must live such an outward appearanced life to be accepted in the church. Or that we must work our way into Heaven. This is the lie of the religion of Christianity. I think I might be confused when you use the word fundamental faith.
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        May 13 2011: I comented what I thought about Gilgamesh. I think there is some truth to his story. However the characters became distorted over time. Do you not find it ironic that places around the globe have this same story about the flood? In my prior posts I wrote that with the descendents from the "real flood" it is possible that over time they themselves migrated to many different areas of the world. These stories were then handed down through oral traditions for many generations to come. Now somewhere down the chain King Gilgamesh became involved. Perhaps he was a good King and the people in his nation wanted to tell the story about him, versus Noah, in his honor.
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          May 13 2011: No, Gilgamesh story is even more implausible then Jesus'. But historically is thought to be an actual person. Also Sumerians are one of the original civilizations. If anything was stolen from anywhere...

          There were many floods by the way and a couple of ice ages on this planet.

          You are straw manning me again, look at those links...

          Jesus story is not original if I have to post stories of the Bible as not being entirely original either I will.

          Believe in God, following Christ, but stop thinking the Bible is more credible than any other historical piece of literature, it isn't.
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        May 14 2011: I apologize. I was straw manning the arguement. Did not even realize it. I understand your position now. You're expressing that Jesus was a real man but the story turned into a legend, just like the story of Gilgamesh, My position is that the epic of Gilgamesh is much different than the story of Jesus. In fact the epic of Gilgamesh is a legend while the story of Jesus is a historical account.

        A) King Gigamesh most likely reigned in 26 BCE while authors put together the epic otherwise knows as the Akkadian in 17th or 18th century BCE. The gospels however were written between 40 to 90 AD, within the life of the eyewitnesses of Jesus who died around 33 AD . So simply put there was not enough time for a legend to develop in the case of Jesus, while with Gilgamesh hundreds upon hundreds of years had past before the epic was put together.

        B) The jewish people during this time interacted with Jesus, if they heard or read a testimony about Jesus the man that wss made up they would have called the authors out on their error. Instead thousand of people converted to "Christianity" in one day. The Jewish people were firm believers in their religion and traditions at that time. Why would they change everything if the claims were bogus? People just don't change everything with a blink of an eye. There has to be a reason.
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        May 14 2011: You provided a lot of information in these resources. what information did you want to talk about.

        Personally I would like to talk about the claims that Jesus is a myth. First we already talked about how the account of Jesus' is rooted in historical evience through, although the bible has some copying errors ,and two parts that were not found in the earliest texts. If the disciples of Jesus would have added to the story, the people of that time would have called them out on it.

        Also the claims of Jesus as a myth or an exaggeration originated in the writings of 19th century liberal German theologians. Their claim was essentially that Jesus was nothing more than a copy of the widespread worship of dying and rising fertility gods in various places—Tammuz in Mesopotamia, Adonis in Syria, Attis in Asia Minor, and Osiris in Egypt. None of these works ever advanced in the realm of academia and religious thought because their assertions were investigated by theologians and scholars and determined to be completely false and baseless. It has only been in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century that these assertions have been resurrected, primarily due to the rise of the internet and mass distribution of information that has no historical foundation or accountability.

        A good book on the topic is "The Case for the Real Jesus" by Lee Strobel
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          May 14 2011: "the people of that time would have called them out on it."

          I don't think so considering if those people were the "experts" of the material they would be entrusted with that knowledge and considerations.

          "It has only been in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century that these assertions have been resurrected, primarily due to the rise of the internet and mass distribution of information that has no historical foundation or accountability."

          Now that is misguided information. The founders of the United States of America were really wise in the understanding of religion and in their writings knew Jesus was a copied story or that these teachings were still nothing original in time. I will find sources later.

          Historians for a very long time have noted the similarities, internet just spreads them out now in record times and amounts.

          Religion was made academic on sheer non-sense ideologies/philosophies and lack of understanding of universal considerations.

          I'll check out the book later also.

          The point of those links is if Jesus stories is so comparable to heroes that out date him by hundreds of years how can you stand to tell me this one hero story is original? I find it is because you a fundamentalist Christian which is silly to me. Why is your religion better than anyone elses? Why are your faith-systems better than anyone elses?

          Check out: Christian Science.

          If you read my back and forth with Richard Dawson, I do not deny God(s) but fundamental god(s). God(s) said this, that, and some more of this/that is part of the fundamentalism and damaging for open-ended thinking.

          Check out the new links I posted in the description.
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        May 15 2011: Hey Nicholas. Can you please be more specific with the position you are attempting to argue? That will help me to better understand where you are coming from. It has been very difficult for me to stay on focus whith so many different issues talked about at once. Adding a huge website with a wealth of information does not help to understand because it only adds to the number of arguments going on at once. This is blurring the argument. I have no problem with you adding the link to identify where your sources are coming from, but please try to summarize your position.

        A) When do you think information was added to the gospels? Did it occur at the time the original authors of the gospels went and wrote them down or do you think information was added on hundreds of years later?

        B) Please provide one example of a myth that resembles the story of Jesus.
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          May 16 2011: I read like two books worth of information over this for you and you can't read three articles with an abundance of information?

          A.) "There are many dozens of events in the gospels that are very similar, or identical, to incidents which appeared centuries before, in the stories of Pagan hero/saviors. These "god-men" were worshiped by the priesthood and laity of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern religions. Modern-day conservative Christians generally discount the similarities between gospel and pagan stories. Some of the most radical of liberal Christians see Jesus as simply the Jewish equivalent of a Pagan savior, such as the Egyptian Horus, Hindu Krishna, or Greek Dionysus. They view Jesus' biography in the gospels as having been largely lifted from Paganism." http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa0.htm

          http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa1.htm (similarities between Christian and Pagan practices)

          I am not a scholar some of that information would take me weeks to look, up and your faith-hold is not worth that much to me. But, until you become a tiny bit skeptical, this thread will continue on. (Please read the back and forth of Richard and I)

          B.) "Osiris in Egypt may have been the first god-man. His story has been found recorded in pyramid texts which were written prior to 2,500 BCE. "
          http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa4.htm (Jesus and other heroes)

          Feel free to continue looking at the same site I gave you twice now.
          http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa.htm

          This site is awesome; sources, unbiased information, and a response to irreligion. Anyways my friend; Jesus, although probably existed, does not mean his story is at all completely factual. Again Gilgamesh... could have existed but story is completely an epic tale.. predates Jesus by a lot.

          http://www.religioustolerance.org/statbelief.htm (This is the websites state of beliefs, this website is on the neutral position of faiths, even sourcing Jesus as a real person)
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        May 16 2011: I have looked over the website many times, but I do not agree with what they are reporting. I have read almost everything that you have issued me, but what I am trying to do now is talk to you about the issue point by point. Just because you are able to provide a list of resources does not prove anything. Why not instead of providing a link from the internet, we use our own brains on the matter.

        A) Ok good you provided one example by the name of Osiris. First argument-- In the book by T.N.D Mettinger a member of the Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities of Stockholm wrote one of the most recent academic treatments of dying and rising gods in antiquity. He admits in this book "The Riddle of Reessurection" that the consensus among moderrn scholars is that there were no dying and rising gods that preceded Christianity. They all post-dated the first century.(Tryggve N. D. Mettinger, The Riddle of Resurrection (Stockhold: Almqvist & Wicksel, 2001), 221.

        Second argument--The most popular account says Osiris' brother killed him, chopped him into fourteen pieces, and acattered them around the world. The goddess Isis feels compassion for Osiris, so she looks for his body parts to give him a proper burial. Osiris does not come back to this world. Instead he is given the status of god of the netherworld. This is not a resurrection like the story of Jesus This is no parallel to Jesus' resurrection at all. Plus the fact that there is no historical evidence for the story of Osiris like the story of Jesus.

        B) You keep bringing up the story of Gilgamesh and I already explained how this it different than the story of Jesus above based on the number of years that went by from the actual life of Jesus and when the gpospes were written . Not enough time for a legend to develop. You keep stating that people kept adding information to the story of Jesus to make it supernatural. When do you state they added this information?
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          May 16 2011: I can't use my brain on the manner, I do not have a time machine, if I did I probably wouldn't care so much about the future, I would just go back in time and destroy the stupid Abrahamic religions.

          A.) So I can't site a website that takes in many sources but you will continue to source scholars of an individual basis?

          Ha, so now you are claiming since this one part of the story is not similar that this piece of information can make the rest just seemingly less important? A true christian scholar. There doesn't need to be other stories of resurrections the gospels contradict that story all together. "god vs. the bible" by John Armstrong dictates such.

          Here are some more links on that also:
          http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/mckinsey.html
          http://www.answering-christianity.com/contra_res.htm

          Dude Osiris is from 2500 B.C are you insane? Jesus has 1500 hundred years on him in which time historians became more popular, means for recording increased, and universal knowledge was more on demand.

          B.) His story IS SUPERNATURAL therefore he died and rose again. That is not natural so it is supernatural. And the evidence for it is restricted to ONE SOURCE. I find that "The God who wasn't there" was pretty clear on how the original gospels were put together.

          http://stellarhousepublishing.com/gospel-dates.html

          Okay so we are in a time where modern medicine means cutting off arms if it look unhealthy. An average life span of someone during these times was 26.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

          So.... the first gospel was written over 30 years after Jesus supposed death and resurrection and you are going to tell me these are "eye witness" accounts? You are going to say there is fact in things that are written not by the witnesses but by story tellers?

          You are out of your mind

          These websites prove what we are discussing isn't new. You only think you "know" the truth and I know I do not.But from the position of reason its all falsehoods
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        May 16 2011: Please clarify your points and then add the reference in which helped to formulate your argument. That is all that I am trying to state.

        A) Sure your dating is correct, but Osiris is not a not a dying and rising god. He died and then went to the nether regions. This is not a good example of a parallel with Jesus. The gods that actually fall within the "dying and rising gods" occur after Jesus' time on Earth.

        B) Yes the story is a supernatural one, but my position is that it was not made up. So what I gather is that your position is that the authors of the gospels embellshed the facts. During the time of Jesus, the region was saturated with Jewish custom and tradition. Part of the Jewish tradition was to follow the laws exactly. The jewish leaders crucified Jesus because he clamed to be God. This particular fact can be found in the historical evidence. The type of evidence that argues my point is called "higher level criticism", which of course cannot be argued with historical evidence backing from non secular sources. There is no reason for the authors of the gospels to embellish the facts:
        1) They observed Jesus' crucifiction and how nasty of a deal that was. Why would they continue to tell a made up story if they really did not believe that Jesus performed the supernatural? They died a poor and painful death. They gained nothing from making up the story.
        2) The Jewish tradition was very strong at that time. They did things by the book for thousands of generations. Jesus was hung on the cross for such beliefs against the traditons of this time. Why in the world would thousands of people shortly after the death of Jesus suddenly change their religion? Something powerful must have happened to change their perpective. That something powerful was his resurrection from the dead.
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          May 16 2011: (1/2) Again this argument still proves nothing. It is my fault for defending it with logical reasoning. I will now defend my stances with science fiction reasoning(s) that reflect modern terms of understanding the world as a whole. Today, 2012, is a time in history where a newspaper has more information on it than the majority of people in their entire lives did during 1 A.D. Those who did were some of our forefathers of philosophies east and west. They were the biggest minority, these are times when JUST surviving came to a slower and slower demise. Arts changed the world the most around these times. Where am I going with this?

          This people were simple. MANY had little, knew little, and only had family and friends giving them information. A FEW knew a lot because of power (in forms of money and military), had a lot, and had family and friends giving them information. Who is going to control the public information? This connection is far-fetched by any standard therefore lack of evidence and historical knowledge. However, think about it, do some research, anthropologist will justify.

          If I went back in time I would change the world and be a god today. First, learn historic battles that changed the world and the philosophies that the "most influential" people believed in. Then, I would learn the language of the leader I wanted to negotiate with, I would go to the leading powers (Alexander the great and/or Genghis Khan) I would give them information that would benefit them in their expeditions and conquering(s). Make them more powerful but in return became the same. I would gain credibility fast. I would spread information like fire on the earth. While I am making them rich what do they care what I say and do right? They would not be able to understand what I am doing. I would be speeding up time 2000 years. I would have changed the world, fundamental religions that did not accept science and change would of been extinct by now.
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          May 16 2011: (2/2) So, explain to me now how a smart group and/or a smart individual couldn’t have been performing actions that would of change the world forever. Now by performing actions I do mean real natural actions; entertaining, enslaving, conquering, exploring, and/or educating.

          Now my favorite is education so I will ask you something I am highly knowledgeable in. If you know nothing, have little and someone comes up to you with how to be happy with that, I think you are going to listen up, especially when entertainment is EXTREMELY rare and for the rich mostly. What will make you question that information if nothing else besides your family is? And remember your family and friends are everything in your life so what they know, you know. Poor people who in tale would have poor educations made your religion what it is today. Do the research and prove me wrong.
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        May 16 2011: 3) The so called "contradicitons" are not contradicitons at all but are differences in perspective. If four people observe something occur and they retell the story a few days later it can be guaranteed that 4 different accounts with a few variants will emerge. This only demonstrates that the original authors did not conspire and write the entire work together. If they were frauds their accounts would be identical.
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          May 16 2011: "If they were frauds their accounts would be identical."

          Absolutely terrible logic.

          Nice story though.
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        May 18 2011: This is logic. What happens when there are several eye witnesses that witness a crime? Do their stories match up exactly or are there some variations that naturally occur?
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          May 19 2011: Variations due to different angles of observation not completely different stories.
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        May 19 2011: So you have not only different angles of observation but then you have the variations that occur during the oral tradition of passing on these stories. Paper and pen were not sold at the local store back then. But the big picture of these stories all tell the same general theme of Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection. Why do they contain these variations if there was a conspiracy to make up these stories? Why not get the facts 100% straight? Could it be they were telling the truth?
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          May 19 2011: You're asking why people would make up stories to control millions of people... Welcome to reality sir, it is as disturbing as it is beautiful.

          A theme can be interpreted differently, used differently, and even completely change over time involving all literature in the world, check out African Myths or the Aeneid.

          Impossible, the original scriptures were written a life time after Jesus supposed death. Those "eye witnesses" John, Mark, Matthew, and John took the stories of Jesus from would of been told by their parents and/or older friends and retold a few times for stories of Jesus. Had Jesus really been witnessed resurrecting I would be sure ANYONE with the ability to write would do so, and not wait a life time later to tell a few people about it.

          You have lost all logic at this point and only wish you could see how much nonsense you are outputting.
  • May 7 2011: "That God to care/be aware/influence us would be so infinitely tiny to be plausible. "
    creating or making tiny things not mean maker itself is tiny. it means maker has enough technology/power to make tiny things.

    "UFO"
    are you sure that documents are not lie?
    they have political background or are spying instruments or fiction or lie.

    "When you source historic documents the facts add up against fundamentalist:"
    I know Bible little only agree Gospel of Barnabas to not distorted
    (www.barnabas.net
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnabas
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Barnabas)
    I am sure Koran is best source and best supporter of science.

    "WATCH: "
    sorry, I have problems downloading large movies. I appreciate if write here a summery of their claims.

    "http://tecnoscience.squarespace.com/journal/2011/3/1/pale-blue-dot.html"
    this shows power of God for who has open eyes.
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/3:109
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:107
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:117
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/2:284
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/3:189
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/4:126
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/4:170
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/4:171
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/5:18
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/5:40
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/6:14
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/6:79
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/9:116
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/10:3
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/10:55
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/10:101
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/11:107
    http://tanzil.net/#trans/en.sahih/13:2

    "http://www.ehow.com/how_4807833_disprove-god.html"
    the correct answer is no. 2. but the argument of writer is false. its like we say:"1+1=5 and if you do not accept so you are donkey". he says: "God of the Bible and the Koran is, in my view, malevolent." the reply is: OK, you can have any view you like and wait for its result.
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    May 7 2011: Hey Nicholas,
    I would love to talk to you about the reading assignments. I do not really see the point about the first reading assignment and the second is very easy in my opinion to explain. God created good and evil. Or possibly he allowed evil. But that is besides the point since He created satan for this purpose. To truly love someone you have to be given a choice. We either love God or we do not. Since God is a just God there must be consequences for our poor choice. This results in a fallen world.
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      May 7 2011: Watch: The God Who Wasn't There

      Get back to me.
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        May 7 2011: The video is dumb. Don't really have any comments about it because it is a complete an utter joke.

        With the exception of a telephone interview with Richard Dawkins, who is not a scholar on the historical Jesus and is, therefore, speaking outside of his field, no major or well-known scholars are interviewed.

        If you really want to learn about the historical Jesus you will have to dig a little harder than you tube.
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          May 7 2011: No, it's a joke that Jesus' story is A. Not original B. Written by only one person in which the three original scripture writers copied and added to C. Was never recorded/talked about by any of the historical scholars that existed during those times. D. Details of his life weren't established until hundreds of years after his death.

          If you think I am missed informed about A - D please post links, journals, articles, and/or anything.

          About the reading 1. 3,762,136,324 miles away looking at Earth we are but of a pixel on your computer scene. If one pixel went out would you throw away your entire computer? No. You would continue on in life. Our planet is but of one of the trillion upon trillions of planets, if God existed why does he care so much about what we do? Why give us free will and then punish us for using it? We do not even fully know which planets have life on them but we do know we are not alone. THEREFORE either you need to start thinking in bigger terms of God than him sending 'himself' down to earth and to die to open his own gates to heaven. Just an idiom, makes no sense. We are too small, if the planet was destroyed there would still be almost infinite life existing. There is no self but of what you think of self is. If God exist I do no think he would enjoy people being blindly fundamentally faithful.

          the point of reading number 2 is to show how small minded atheist have to think in order to disprove a fundamentalist God. God has not done anything "biblical" since the Bronze Age, why? Why has nothing been done since modern day science has been established on man? Because we are our own creators of thought processes. If you were born in Haiti into a civil war, there would be no God, there would your gun and your family and death. Being lucky enough to be born in a world where there is love and care around you does not mean God exist, because there is no universal love and care. We as people need to establish that and create god-life.
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        May 7 2011: A) The story is original b) There is no evidence of "Q" c) There are secular sources for the historical evidence of Jesus d) Details of Jesus' life was written down 70 years after his death. This is very good for ancient times I am not going to do research for you. That's half the fun. The links that you provide are poor. Do yourself a favor and do the research and avoid the fringe conspiracy theories for a while so you can make an informed decision. The work of Dr. Craig Blomberg is a good place to start.

        The universe has to be huge so intelligent life on this planet can exist. If the universe was smaller we wouldn't be around.

        What do you mean that God has not done anything since the bronze age? What do you mean God does not care? The gospel of Jesus is being carried around the globe. The Christian church are the hands and feet for Christ.
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          May 7 2011: A) So the reason many other heroes, many of which earlier than Jesus, share that kind of narrative is....?
          B) "Q"?
          C) ... mostly St. Paul, who's letters origin shortly after Jesus' death and don't speak of any of Jesus' miracles. Jesus existing is not equal to Jesus' life being as described in the bible.
          D) OK, "hundreds" was an exaggeration (even "The God Who Wasn't There" doesn't say that), but 70 years after someone's death is still a long time when you consider there were no videos and photos. Today, we write books about important people during their life time or only a few years after their death.

          70 years is a long time. It's like you writing autobiography on Hitler without the Internet and textbooks, but just going around Germany asking people TODAY about him, and actually ask people who also don't have access to Internet and books including Hitler either... but even that's not a good analogy, because there's documentation on that in public institutions, so you scrap that too, and look at only private writings and artifacts of the people you interview. Given these limitations, how much do you think your Hitler autobiography is going to be skewed? I imagine quite a lot... you might portray him as a heroic leader even, if there wasn't all the evidence today against that.

          "The gospel of Jesus is being carried around the globe."
          So what? That's not God's work. That's God's messengers spreading "the good news"... that's not God in action.

          "I am not going to do research for you. That's half the fun."
          That's why it's called a "challenge". For you to actually do research and present the evidence, in the form of links to photos, videos or articles, which would at the very least present a summary of your points.

          I'm sure Nicholas has done some research before presenting stuff, as have I. That's why we've stopped believing in the Judeo-Christian God - because the moment YOU do some research yourself, you see reality doesn't match with the Bible, to put it mildly.
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          May 7 2011: I said to post evidence.

          Vasil said the rest
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        May 7 2011: Hello Vasil,

        A) Can you be specifc to which narrative you are referring to. That way I can pick it apart one piece at a time.

        B)The Q refers to a possible original source of the Gospel, in which the authors of the gospel shared in order to copy . There is no evidence for such a thing as Nicholas refers to in his point B above.

        C) Bologna. Paul talks about Jesus being resurrected from the dead. Pretty big miracle. Romans 1:4

        D) The earliest source for Alexander the Great used by modern historians is more than 260 years after his death and the most reliable source is more than 370 years removed. The maker of this film attempts to get his viewers to regard the Gospels as unreliable because they were written 40-70 years after the life of Jesus would be laughed at by the large majority of modern historians of antiquity.

        To Christians this is very much God's work. Jesus tells us in the very last part of the gospels that we are to make disciples of all nations. Paul later talls us that Jesus is the head of the church. Jesus is witin all of his followers through the Holy Spirit as Paul later describes. So far it has worked. over 2000 years later the message still goes on and on. Jesus did not come to make this place better, he came to save us. God will not literally reveal Himself again until the final days.I will have to work on finding some videos for you on the web. For starters google Dr. Craig Blomberg. Perhaps he has a video to watch.
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          May 7 2011: A) The 22 hero points (did you watched "The God Who Wasn't There"?). All of them, keeping in mind Jesus scores 19.
          B) I don't think he's explicitly referring to that. He's referring to Mark being the original source, with alternative source(s) possibly (though not necessarily) being additional ones.
          C) The one and only miracle he talks about, which is why Christianity is so centered on it. Pretty big miracle... if true. And even then it doesn't make the rest of the Bible true.
          D) The biographies of rulers were written based on actual records at the time, not just individual testimonies. Yes, many of those records are lost, hence this distance in comparison, but we're not talking about a civilian in that case. I think it would be hard for you, as is for any historian, to show a biography on, say, a big-time merchant. An important person, yet a civilian, and considering the times, probably illiterate too.

          "To Christians this is very much God's work. Jesus tells us in the very last part of the gospels that we are to make disciples of all nations."
          Ah... so God's work is actually humans' work... that I can agree with in that God is nothing but an illusion which humans surround their work with.

          "God will not literally reveal Himself again until the final days."
          And yet he answers prayers, blesses people and everything? How is that not revealing himself? If he is there, he can always blatantly demonstrate his presence, ala burning bushes and stuff, even without literally revealing himself, as in showing his face or whatever.
        • May 8 2011: Hi, Everybody chooses what suits that which they believe in. Life is not as simple as that. Life consists of both negative emotions and positive emotions, each compliments the other, for example; how could we know love if we did not know hate? How would we know the frustration of failure if we didn't know the thrill of achievment? What would be the use of learning a language if there was nothing to talk about? You would not be able to read a book for the simple reason, there would not be any. Ambition would be absent along with our species. An intelligent species needs stimulation to evolve, without stimulation we could not exist! This debate would certainly not be happening. The only way any problem can be solved is by understanding that problem and how are we ever going to do that when we only use the evidence thats suits whatever we believe in? If you were trying someone in a court of law, using only the evidence to prove whatever you want, guilty or not guilty,
          imagine the chaos this would cause, yet we are guilty of doing this 24/7 when it comes to our beliefs.
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        May 7 2011: Here are a few resources1) Who wrote the Gospels? http://apologetica.us/2011/02/19/who-wrote-the-gospels/

        2) Was there one primary author of the Gospels in which the other authors copied. Or in other words was there a "Q"? http://www.gotquestions.org/Q-Gospel.html

        3) And finally did the authors of the Gospel just write the whole thing together? Check out the work of Simon Greenleaf, a well-known and accepted authority on what constitutes reliable evidence in a court of law, examined the four Gospels from a legal perspective.
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          May 7 2011: 1) O...K... the gospels are written by the claimed gospel writers... I don't think anyone here claimed they weren't. We claim those authors are all just human, and God, if one exists, did not assist them (and this applies to all holy scriptures), but when the author is known - fine, he's known.

          2) Oh, OK. But there's no need for a Q gospel really when you consider the similarities between the bibles and earlier folklore and mouth-to-mouth storytelling. THAT could've been their additional sources.

          3) I'm assuming this is what you're talking about?
          http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/greenleaf.html
          I'm going to read in full later, but from the summary I can tell you that having a reliable witness doesn't guarantee that what they saw was truly as described. Jesus might have not died on the cross, but might have been taken by someone to later reveal himself briefly onto the witnesses. Alternatively, just as many things in the bible, this might be a metaphor... for Christianity living on, despite Jesus' death.
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        May 8 2011: A) ON Hero points, Flemming adds up 19 matches out of a possible 22 and lists Jesus as coming in third place. My evaluation, given 2.5 matches out of generosity plus granting a match that Flemming did not, reveals only ten matches. Are ten matches of 22 enough to note a definite parallel? William Wallace meets nearly every characteristic of a folk hero and yet we know Wallace was a historical person and that most of the points are true. Caesar Augustus was a historical person and a contemporary of Jesus. He has ten matches. That's the same as Jesus. But no one questions the existence of Augustus as a result

        B Carrier talks about how the story of Jesus is similar to other myths of these times. No evidence is provided to show that these stories have a dating any earlier than 100 years after Jesus. No other savior stories contain all of the examples provided. Some of the points are dubious. For example, regarding crucified saviors, even the hyper-skeptics of Infidels.org, have discredited this. Have we any good reason not to suppose that it was the other religions which borrowed from Christianity and not vice versa?

        C) Yes you are correct that the Christian Church carrys out the will of God. Not an illusion though. I would have to argue with you that this is God in action.

        D) Oh sorry but there is a misunderstanding. God does reveal Himself all of the time through what you said including prayer, blessing, etc. Sure God could reveal Himself through signs, but note that even in OT times He only revealed himself to small audiences in this fashion (Noah, Moses, Elijah). I 'm talking about major revelation like Jesus coming back.
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          May 8 2011: A. "....attempted to write more-or-less popular lives of Jesus. These authors often advocate unorthodox interpretations: Jesus never died on the cross; he was connected with the Qumran community; someone else changed his message to fit their own desires"

          http://www.garyhabermas.com/books/historicaljesus/historicaljesus.htm

          The Jesus you came to understand is nothing like what he was, if he existed.

          B. "JESUS lived. Whatever name he may have had, the individual known as Jesus (the Hebrew name being Jeshua or Joshua) was an actual man, a great sage. He was, furthermore, an initiate into the secret doctrine of his period; and around him, after his death, grew up legends and tales which were woven in later days -- say a century after his death -- into the so-called Gospels."

          http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/world/christ/xt-jesus.htm#contents

          C. If God is in action, still isn't the Judeo-Christian God, that God is nothing more than the Gods of the historic literature/myth/oral tradition used to explain the unexplainable.

          D. Just seems a little skeptical that God wold only 'reveal' himself to a few people. Today you get thrown into a mental hospital for saying you hear God. D is a joke at this point.

          Also, all those sources are creditable, very valid. Jesus (or Joshua) was merely a mans ideas taken to be used for organized religion. Also my favorite argument is the following: If 2.1 billion people were really "Christ-like" and not Christian, this world would be so much more closer than what it is today. The reason is Jesus did not "cover" everything a person should be and do so people had to fill in the blanks, and guess what people have a history of being stupid, selfish, and greedy. During the Dark Ages churches had more money/power than kings did. Look at the Vatican, it can house all the poor of Italy twice. The worlds richest Evangelical Pastor almost never gave to charity. While number 1 and 2 richest do, did, and will. Something is wrong here.
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        May 8 2011: "Alternatively, just as many things in the bible, this might be a metaphor... for Christianity living on, despite Jesus' death."

        Why would the disciples want Christianity to live on, if it meant a violent death for them?
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          May 8 2011: Power, wealth, immorality through name, to be famous, man I could only think of reasons why people would do something that would affect history so significantly.

          I mean Gilgamesh predates all Abrahamic religions, yet through the want of sharing stories they survive on through time.

          Simon Critchley, brilliant modern day philosopher says "On the one hand we’re killer apes, and on the other hand we have this metaphysical longing. We want there to be a significance to human life, and we want there to be a narrative that holds everything together." He goes on to say that nihilism is the first step to stepping out of the illuminated light of religion. Rebellion against religion is as old as the religion itself.

          http://lonnielong-artist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/sistine-chapel-brain-100720-02.jpg

          I mean, so many hidden messages in the religion itself to discredit therefore scholars who had the chance would do so to discredit, however they did so differently than today. they used contradictions instead of coded messages, they were smart but not brilliant. The contradictions are what survived through time and sadly, ultimately, became accepted as a part of it. That is how powerful religion is, can make completely untrue, factual and worth sacrificing over.

          The only God here, is you, Vasil, Krisztián, Tim, Richard, Derek, Lindsay, Kathy, Meher, S.R, Alex and I.

          Children are given the basic idea of God and are required to start building on it through life.

          this website is great. http://www.deepspirits.com/spirituality/agnosticism/

          After you read that page explore the site. Be agnostic my friend, that way God/Jesus are still plausible but so is the rest of the religious thoughts in the world. Being a good person is how you get into heaven, believing in God in order for that to happen is what man made. So many people did great things in history who weren't Christian, to say they went to hell is so ignorant. Do good now to make heaven on earth.
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        May 8 2011: Sorry Nicholas but I think you made a few mistakes with your quotes.A) You cite Gary Habermas ironic enough. He is a very conservative historian on this matter. He is someone who I would actually study. What you quote is him writing about the crazy theories that some people have, but then he goes on to debunk them. Read your first link again very carefully and you will see what I mean. You might actually learn a little something. It is surprising to me that you would be mining for quotes to fit your arguements. I thought you were a serious student of the truth. :) No big deal though, your still young.B) Who in the world is "G. de Purucker" who wrote what you posted. He is not a scholar on this issue I will tell you that. Look at the bottom of this article. Where are all of the references? This guy is just another conspiracy theory writers. No backing to what he claims. Wiith a little research it seems as though the Purucker guy is of the Esoteric Philosophy. Which is a little bit out there if you know what I mean.
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          May 8 2011: Those "crazy theories" are what the majority of Christians (including yourself from above) believe.

          So, your right.

          And any serious student of truth doesn't start with God but ends with God. Sorry religion is nothing more than tradtionalized lies installed into heritage. Have the Abrahamic religion actually taught their foundation, maybe you would have something, but no. Historically religion does significantly more harm than good, globally.

          SOOOO let me get this straight you want people who will have to take time and life to study scripture of one religion, which will take years, to debunk it in it's entirety?

          Congrats you will remain a Christian therefore your need of evidence at this point is so high, it's silly stupid.

          PEOPLE DO NOT READ HOLY BOOKS FOR 'CONTEXT' EXCEPT SCHOLARS, stop arguing this pathetic point, majorities read them LITERALLY. that is what I am against.
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        May 8 2011: You are missing my point. The resource that you provided above is from Dr. Gary Habermas. He is talking about the conspiracy theories that involve Jesus like a) Jesus did not exist b) Jesus was just an average Joe c) Jesus did not actually die on the cross. These are the crazy theories that I am talking about. He then goes on to explain these conspiracy theories and why they are false. The traditional themes of the faith are very much real ,but to you they may seem crazy.
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          May 8 2011: Ah, yes he sources the ancient historians who have been debunked countless times, guess he was a bad source, but he does continue on to say a lot of things today about Jesus are not correct at all, which means a lot of Christians are wrong by Christian scholars also, fascinating. Thanks.

          And G. de Purucker isn't a conspiracy theorist, you are. Theosophy is the study of myth and religious philosophy, which he wrote many books on. So yeah he knows what he is talking about. (Had you just search engined him you wouldn't seem so dumb right now)

          You are neglecting a huge amount of points to try and seem right but now at every angle you are wrong sir. Will you now accept the possibility of being wrong and continue on to finding research in the form of genuine facts and not facts trying to prove theology?
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          May 8 2011: They're only "conspiracy theories" if you consider the biblical interpretation as the truth first.

          If you actually take them on equal ground, you'll see the biblical claims are the crazy ones, which is different from normal conspiracy theories, in which even after equal evaluation, they remain crazy.

          I mean, I can see how "A" is conceived from lack of familiarity with the evidence, but to say "B" and "C" are crazy without having any evidence to support the folklore claim is simply being biased (a theologian/scholar/whatever "dismissing" something doesn't count if there's no evidence that would make him do that). Based on the fact Jesus is not the first mythical figure in history to have the hero narrative (btw, did you actually looked at the points before doing your evaluation? Each point is for a certain characteristic/event in a hero's life, not a subjective judgment that you can "generously" give), it seems fair to suggest that maybe, just maybe, he was originally an average Joe, later turned into a legend by the people who beloved him, with evidence of that being the lack of documentation about him during his lifetime (again, leaders don't count; we're talking about important civilians).

          If he was indeed the son of God, born out a virgin, doing all miracles and everything, surely this very important message would've been written down during his lifetime and be spread by some of his followers. And keep in mind even then we can't take his claims as true, but only as well performed tricks by a wise man, in the same way most of the plagues in Egypt during the time of Moses actually have scientific explanations behind them (only the killing of the 1st born babies doesn't have a concrete explanation yet, but folklore is a possibility, seeing there's no evidence to serve as confirmation of this taking place).
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        May 9 2011: "Theosophists believe that selflessness and traditional virtues, lead people ever closer to their Divine Nature. Planets, solar systems, galaxies, and the cosmos itself are regarded as conscious entities, fulfilling their own evolutionary paths. The spiritual units of consciousness in the universe are the Monads, which may manifest as angels, human beings or in various other forms. According to Blavatsky, the Monad is the reincarnating unit of the human soul, consisting of the two highest of the seven constituent parts of the human soul. All beings, regardless of stature or complexity, are informed by such a Monad." (Wikipedia)

        The reason why I cannot answer all of the points is because there are too many points at once. I will start a new thread at the top and we can discuss each item one at time.
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          May 9 2011: I see no problem with that definition OR ANY correlation between it and conspiracy creating.

          That is why I did the A - D

          But anyways. Still your defenses became more fragmented as time went on. Jesus, if existed, doesn't mean anything, the fact is his story was not EXACTLY depicted through history. Why do you want to worship a demi-god? why not just appreciate his message? Equality, humility, and love. And build on it. No reason why to stick with a unproven leader, none unless you find comfort in it, even then, you must admit it has holes in it and is not complete. Thus then you can fill in those holes personally and not doctrines made by men with their own agendas.
        • May 9 2011: Why must the holes be filled? What purpose would filling holes serve anyways, considering one would just be making assumptions?

          Also, why do you use the term "demi-god"? (I'm sure many disagree, but) Mary was just the bearer of the child, not the parent-- as in she did not make Jesus any less holy.
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    May 5 2011: is there a mid term?
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      May 5 2011: I still have yet to respond to any actual faith-holders.

      Guess faith-holders do not like to be challenged.
      • Comment deleted

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    May 5 2011: i'd like to warn anyone that the zeitgeist movie's take on religion is a bold face lie. when i saw it, i loved it. it was suspicious, but the story they tell is very good as a story. so then i looked it up, and discovered the truth. they use no misrepresentation or other smart trickery. it is simply made up. it is factually false. they simply shovel so much lies in your face, that you think, even if 10% of it is true, then their case is made. however, none of it is true.
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      May 5 2011: I thought the significance of the number 12 was interesting (and factual).
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      May 5 2011: Krisztián

      As bright as you are you are still not a historian of humanities, you need to post information that discredits it.

      @ Tim

      which number?
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        May 6 2011: Twelve. The twelve apostles, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve months of the year. With a lot revolving around the sun.
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        May 6 2011: i don't have to, entire sites are dedicated to this, including its wikipedia page.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist:_The_Movie#Critical_reaction
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          May 6 2011: You just posted something, and thank you. Bogus is a good word for Zeitgeist. However it remains on the list as a challenge, it may be lies but it is lying on the opposite extreme. To dis-value a religion that has done far more harm than just making a propaganda film.
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        May 7 2011: a lie is a lie. i have no respect for that.
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          May 7 2011: It's not all lies the connections are lies.

          And if you can't respect lies, which I admire, you must really hate governments and organized religion.
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        May 8 2011: not at all, zeitgeist movie is full of lies. factual, simple, plain lies. no more words needed on this, anyone can look it up, it is well discussed.

        any sentences starting with "if you can't respect lies..." freaks me out. i hope nobody respects lies per se, just they accept some lies as truth. anyone accepting lies knowingly is mentally challenged.
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          May 8 2011: Ha, I agree! But, full of lies does not equal all lies.

          It's like the old paradox "At least one sentence in the following is false..."

          The lesson I take from the paradox is you never actually know anything, Zeitgeist is still a great because it is propaganda. Religion has had a lot of propaganda in history, tons. I feel no shame in posting a video that is propaganda for the benefit.

          Consider the question "Is brainwashing to make people morally good a negative thing?"

          No one respects lies knowingly, but will defend them when their lives are based on them.

          What is better for the world sir, kids thinking mythology is mythology ONLY (skeptics from the start) or children who are taught heritage-based religion (specifically Abrahamic) and have to be lucky enough to be challenge/open enough to consider other possibilities?

          Seriously man I understand Zeitgeist was not entirely true years ago, but the fact is, it is a dictation that people who are not religious clearly see how destructive organized religion is for progress. (Founding Fathers of America, favorite example)
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        May 9 2011: there are a lot of true statements, and there are a lot of important statements in the movie. the only problem is that the important statements are not true, and the true statements are not important.

        "okay, it is false, but serves mankind" is another thing that freaks me out. religions say the same. dictators too.
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          May 9 2011: I admitted to that. Propaganda. This world is ran on it dude, can't escape it have to fight it.

          Religion and dictators are not the only ones to say those things. You must be a jumpy guy when looking at the world! Lies are more of the norm than the truth any day. Just be grateful it's lies and not killing, because man has become "civilized"
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        May 9 2011: i do fight the zeitgeist movie, and the venus project as well. in my fight, i say "do NOT watch that movie, nor read the v.p. website!". not because it is dangerous, but because it is nothing but propaganda, and unless you enjoy conspiracy theories and such things, you are just wasting your time with it.
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          May 9 2011: I agreed with Zeitgeist on the first 45 minutes being propaganda.

          However, V.P is entirely off topic. But, V.P has nothing to do with conspiracy theories now your ignorance is showing. Ideas aren't dangerous until the person interpreting them consider them dangerous or are not in full scope of understanding said ideas. Do not start new propaganda based on personal feelings now, V.P is nothing more than ideas tied together.
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        May 9 2011: only one question remained open: if you know that the zeitgeist movie is propaganda, why do you recommend to watch it.

        well, a second question would be that why the v.p. advertises the movie, if it is so much unrelated. but this is not that important.
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          May 9 2011: *Zeitgeist is still a great because it is propaganda. Religion has had a lot of propaganda in history, tons. I feel no shame in posting a video that is propaganda for the benefit*.... your response is that is what religions do and dictators... I responded not just those two but many others. So although i recognize what I am doing is wrong I am only doing so because it isn't a new trend. There is no good reason, but a reason.

          V.P advertises Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, not the original one. "The Venus Project is an organization that promotes and advocates American futurist Jacque Fresco's visions of the future with the aim to improve society by moving towards a global sustainable social design that they call a "resource-based economy". Such a system incorporates sustainable cities and values, energy efficiency, collective farms, natural resource management and advanced automation, focusing on the benefits they claim it will bring to humanity as a whole." (Wikipedia)

          I mean if it was really "false" like the original Zeitgeist why wouldn't Wikipedia say anything about it.
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        May 9 2011: you admit that you do wrong, but you are OK with that? what is this? double think? this is getting surreal. i'm not going continue this discussion, as my head explodes.
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          May 9 2011: Consider my wrong is posting a film that I didn't make and admitted to the full scope of reality surrounding it. Yes, I am okay with that.

          Perhaps religions, governments, and others should do the same thing huh? Surrealism is some of the only ways reality is understood. Take a page from the French, America takes many.
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    May 4 2011: As a second challenge...

    Sum up of evidence for evolution:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nTnjx-JRzE

    Sum up of evidence for the Big Bang:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PqJ2eEzD3o

    Science welcomes alternative explanations in regards to the available evidence. If you can come up with an explanation that doesn't contradict with any evidence, you've officially created a theory. Make it testable, and you might have a chance of establishing it as a theory to be studied alongside evolution. Find evidence that contradicts with evolution while not contradicting with your theory, and evolution is down "for good".

    I for one would love to see your interpretation of the evidence. Saying "there's no evidence" or that you're not "accepting the evidence" is not an option in regards to the truth though. The evidence is there... it's a fact. Its interpretation may be wrong, hence my challenge for you to give me your own interpretation of it. Not the official scientific one, not what your holy book says... your personal explanation, based on the available evidence.

    @Alex Smith
    If only everyone realized that holy books are to be taken as a fairy-tale book with morals behind the stories, I don't think anyone would've ever had a problem with it. It would've never been used as a motivator for wars, genocides, legislations and education skews, but only as a mandatory literature story, the contents of which would be republished and reedited to match our better morals than those ancient ones.
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      May 5 2011: I think if the Bible said "And then, there was the big bang" fundamentalism religion would be slightly better.