248 thoughts on “How Can I Use the Bible to Reach Someone who doesn’t Believe its True?

  1. How can I use the Bible to reach those who don’t believe it is true?

    As far as I am concerned, you can’t.
    It is as simple as that
    I have read it, and still do from time to time.

    However, in the interest of ”science” (sic) I am willing to be a guinea-pig.
    Let’s discuss ….
    If you can convince me it is THE book, and more so in an open forum such as this, then you can probably convince pretty much anyone.

    I will answer every relevant question honestly. You have my word.

    I want to see whether you are genuine and if you really know what you are talking about or if you are simply hot air.

    Fire away, David ! Give it your very best shot.

    Ark.

    1. I agree completely. I can’t persuade you of the truth…its like asking a blind man to look at the Mona Lisa….but I can use the Bible because it is precisely that which the Holy Spirit uses to open the eyes of the blind!

      1. That is a cowardly hand-wave statement of someone who knows he is on a hiding to to
        nothing.

        Truth?
        Exactly what is the ”truth” of the bible, David?
        If you can’t explain it then you can’t preach it, and all you are is a fraud.

      2. When you are ready and want to know the truth of the bible (as opposed to just displaying your ignorance) get back to me! My job is to explain the bible…but only to those who want to hear…!

    2. Ark,
      Did you ever read Ephesians 1 -2 ,which you batted away ages ago? Why wouldn’t you want the reality of what is offered, a living relationship with the Living Triune God: With David’s permission I’ll cite it in full:
      Ephesians 1-2 New International Version (NIV)
      1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

      To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus:

      2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ
      3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

      11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

      Thanksgiving and Prayer
      15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

      Made Alive in Christ
      2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[g] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

      Jew and Gentile Reconciled Through Christ
      11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

      14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

      19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

      Every blessing in Christ,
      Geoff

    3. “I want to see whether you are genuine and if you really know what you are talking about or if you are simply hot air.”

      Truly?? And that from the person who also vowed to “answer….honestly”, who then went on to claim that “not a single verified scrap for their foundational claims has ever been provided”.

      Oh, the irony!!

      1. @ Kim
        As you seem to vehemently disagree with my assertion, please provide me with the verified evidence of the foundation claims of your faith you seem convinced exist.
        No irony intended or expressed.

        Thanks.

  2. I think this is as simple as it gets – NO!

    You can’t persuade an atheist, who likely knows the bible better than you do, that the bible is any sort of evidence for your god. You have to show that a god exists – oh, and that it is YHWH and not Krishna instead.

    1. Hi, Robert,
      I don’t get your objection to David’s

      as simple as it gets

      comment.

      Your own post demonstrates why believers ought to use the Bible to reach those who don’t believe it’s true. Granted that so-called New Atheists do seem to feel safe in multple exaggerations {‘You can’t persuade …’ & ‘any sort of evidence …’} it is highly unlikely that an atheist encountered in the daily round will actually know the Bible better than the ordinary Bible reader. And I’ll tell you why not: very few self-styled skeptics are willing to do the hard graft of sifting through the evidence when the Internet provides mountains of anti-Bible material albeit of widely variable validity.
      The desirability of showing people what the Bible actually says is as simple as it gets. As I say, I don’t understand your objection.
      Yours,
      John/.

      1. What evidence?
        This is bandied about all the time by Christians, yet to date when asked to provide evidence for their claims (the bible) not a single verified scrap for their foundational claims has ever been provided.
        The bible is simply geo-political historical fiction.
        Plain and simple.

      2. Indeed it is plain and simple….we have provided plenty evidence….but I suspect to a fundamentalist atheist that cannot possibly be – and so you will continue to deny and maintain your belief that the earth is flat!

      3. I have both your books in my library. They are not evidence. Nor do they contain much that is conclusive.

        Just give one piece of evidence.

      4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ….the universe having a beginning…..the existence and growth of the church from the beginning until now…..the 30,000 extant ms of the NT…..I could keep going – but there is no point because there is zero evidence that you would accept.

      5. I asked for one. Lets start with one. Your first one.

        You said – “The resurrection of Jesus Christ”. I presume you mean “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is evidence of the existence of god” ? If not please correct that.

        However, what you have there is merely an assertion and one based on an unproven premise – namely that Jesus resurrected. Leaving aside the likelihood that the Jesus of the Judeo-Christian narrative never existed – lets assume he did – where is the evidence that he died and rose again.

        In the long history of humanity not one single person has died and then came back to life. Present your evidence – the burden of proof is upon you.

      6. I suggest you read NT Wrights The Resurrection for the evidence….Your last sentence is of course a claim of what you believe – which you do not know….feel free to tell us what evidence you would accept…because I suspect there is none…

      7. I have NT Wrights book as well. Also nonsense.

        I wanted YOUR evidence.

        One piece of evidence – one explanation as to how we can be sure Jesus resurrected.

      8. At the very least it has to pass Ockhams Razor. It also has to be falsifiable.

        And this perhaps is a point you miss. God as set up by you is in a way unfalsifiable. I could think of a few things that come close but then something else would probably always be a more likely explanation.

        The truth is we cannot be sure Jesus resurrected. Someone stole the body. He didnt die and crawled away once he was taken down. The crucifixion was a stunt (Yes that is actually one fringe hypothesis) and many, many more.

        The counter claim – one you would possibly make and if I recall NT Wright makes it – might be – the disciples wouldnt lie because A, B or C (Maybe A is fear of being outed as a Christian in an environment where being a Christian is problematic.)

        Im sorry but that rather presupposes that some other elements of the NT are in themselves actually factual. e.g. Did the Jesus, as described in the NT exist or was he some mix of fat and fiction or even did he exist at all. There are few pieces of evidence things that point definitively to his existence

        You can forget the vast majority of the 30000 extant MS you quoted elsewhere – most of them are middle ages and later and have come from a far smaller number of original sources – (30-40 I believe) and they in turn could so easily have developed as literary themes from a far smaller number of MS. Such myths were widespread in those times of course so we cant be sure. This is why we can point to 30000 extant MS and say look because of the deluge of evidence it must be true. It proves absolutely nothing.

        The thing is you asked the question “How Can I Use the Bible to Reach Someone who doesn’t Believe its True?. ” By reach – what do you mean? Do you mean you want a dialogue? Or do you mean do you want a dialogue where you persuade?

        If you want a dialogue, you have to let the other person speak. You dont appear to do that .

        If you want a dialogue AND to persuade us of the veracity of your claim Im afraid the onus is upon the one making the claim (you) to provide the evidence. Nothing said so far is in any way convincing.

        A conspiracy theorist loving friend of mine told me a few months ago that he believed there was at one point a project somewhere sometime to place large messages and sounds in the sky for half the world to see – messages purportedly coming from God. Generally I laugh myself silly at some of the things he comes out with, but leaving aside how pointless such an endeavour would be, if some rogue nation or shadowy cabal did decide to try that, Im sure there would be a large number of folk who would believe it. But then some of us would say “hmmm could be aliens though, or a shadowy cabal – the illuminati maybe. We would ask ourselves, well what is more likely?” The known size of the universe tells us that its possible there are other intelligent life forms out there. Its also not impossible for a rogue nation or shadowy cabal to contemplate such a thing – but a god? A god who continually hides himself in semantics and who is always the least likely of explanations – simply because he is always unfalsifiable.

        I and many other people are unconvinced and as I said the onus is still on you.

        I have more bad news for you.

        Even if some kind of god does exists – something as you well know I find unlikely – because of the way evolution works – he cannot be a god that set out to create mankind as his special project. Because, while evolution is entirely deterministic in mechanism, the degrees of freedom are infinite and prediction over long periods are just not possible. This is the real reason why creationists reject evolution – because it really does conflict with theism (Dawkins really is wrong on the notion that science and religion can coexist without penalty) And by long periods I dont mean 6000 years I mean Planck time.

        Yes David the onus really is upon you.

        Now if you like I can explain to you what science means by “the big bang”.

      9. Mark – I note that you keep demanding evidence and yet still cannot say what evidence you would accept for proof of God.

        I note also your quote mining from Google/Wiki. So for example the 30,000 ms I cited were all within the first 4 centuries – not as you claim from the Middle Ages.

        I have given you considerable scope to speak – yet you have still managed to say nothing substantive. When you are ready to do so feel free!

      10. Mark,
        of course the Resurrection is evidence for the existence of God. You admit as much yourself when you assert: ‘In the long history of humanity not one single person has died and then came back to life.‘ Since not coming back to life after dying is the universal rule, the Resurrection is ipso facto evidence for the existence of God.
        I therefore present as evidence Matthew 28:5-7 where the angel who rolled the stone away presents the empty tomb to the women who came to it first. In my analysis there are four levels of evidence here and a true sceptic will know which is the highest level, on which Christianity stands or falls.
        Are you willing to rise to scepticism or do you prefer to be pseudosceptic?
        Yours,
        John/.

      11. ‘so-called New Atheists” imply that this is a kind of cult where the participants wear flowers and dance a lot. Most if not all of the atheists are independently atheistic, and have come to their position their own way. Most if not all of them have been former Christians, of whatever stripe, replete with Bible Study, pastorships, intense study of various religious ethics and interpretations of the Bible. Some of them are former (and occasionally current) biblical scholars.
        These are not stupid sheep wandering around the countryside.

        They have left religion behind because of the gaping holes in all of it, most of which come from differing interpretations of the Bible, depending on the version, the corrections and the questions those interpretations fail to answer.

        What the bible ‘actually says’ is often confusing, contradictory, or just plain silly. We are, basically, realists. Been there, done that, won’t do it again.

        And as I have said before, if there were a god, there would be no need for a book to prove his existence. There would be no need for a confusing book of ancient laws to guide us anywhere. We would know, without having to tell or ask anyone, what to do next.

      12. There is no need for a book to prove God’s existence. But if the Logos chooses to communicate to his creatures through logic and the word that seems reasonable. Your last sentence makes no sense – you are seriously arguing that the reason you don’t believe in God is because all human beings don’t know instinctively all the time what to do! ….as for atheists being ‘independently atheistic’ you will forgive me asking – if that is the case why do they all say the same thing?!

      13. David calls them New Fundamentalist Atheists, Judy,
        which I think is quite apt but I didn’t want just to parrot his term. John Gray, in Seven Types of Atheism sums up his chapter on “The New Atheism” with:

        Throughout much of the twentieth century, terrible violence was inflicted in the service of secular faiths. In contrast, the organized atheism of the present century is mostly a media phenomenon and best appreciated as a type of entertainment.

        So by talking about so-called New Atheists I was not intending to imply anything more than that there are certain traits that seem endemic among those who identify as ‘New Atheists’, among which is defensive exaggeration.
        (If I might just pick out an example from your own post: you repeat the phrase ‘Most, if not all …’ without qualifying it with ‘in my experience’. For me the immediate effect is that I’m made to ask, ‘How could you possibly know?’) But never mind, even assuming that the ‘atheist encountered in the daily round’ — to stick with my clumsy description — is not part of your cadre of ex-Christians; I’m not accusing them of stupidity, just of laziness.

        Robert’s warning to David of him encountering ‘an atheist, who likely knows the bible better than you do‘ was sadly misplaced, even if you are right about this network of superbly informed ex-Christians. My advice to anyone wavering about talking about the Bible — even with a Bible-teaching-exposure hardened, atheistic ex-Christian — is not to be put off; because — [Romans 10:8b] — “‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim).”

        Yours,
        John/.

      14. No David youre right I really cant imagine any piece of evidence that would convince me – but there again Im not the one who needs to do the convincing. You are the one who wants to “reach out” to the non-believer with the bible. You are the one who needs to provide a compelling narrative. Being a true secularist I really dont care what you believe in your own time.

        Im not saying there isnt anything that would convince me – Im just saying its hard to imagine what that would be – mostly because there is always – a simpler explanation.

        Its not that “I keep demanding evidence and yet still cannot say what evidence you would accept for proof of God. ” – its a case of Im asking and not receiving. The reason is you cant give any. A book doesnt do it. An empty tomb doesnt do it. Angels and claims of resurrections dont do it. If you really wanted to “reach out” you would find the right thing or admit you cant and be honest and say its all faith.

        I havent looked at google all evening. Im referring to quite a few scholars – well qualified ones – who all say that the vast majority of ms are late – certainly not many in the 1st Century CE – many of those are fragments. And of course the vast majority are copies of something else . No doubt you would claim that my biblical scholars are not the right ones. Edit: I have just done a search in various places and no source I can find gives such numbers as 8000-10000 maybe – but not 30k. Big deal. But Id be curious where you got that from. I think Bruce Metzger says around 5000.

        Of course its not as simple as that – Im not claiming it is. The fact is the existence of these MS are only evidence of the existence of Christianity which is not in dispute. (BTW Wikipedia is a fully referenced source but of course you dont like it because more often than not its hows you wrong.)

        FWIW 2nd Peter is widely believed not to have been written by Peter but that is not to say he didnt. I neither know nor care, but its not without the realms of possibility that “fan fiction” has been a thing since writing has been a thing. Bart Ehrman believes it is pseudepigraphy and yet even I have a few issues with Ehrman’s views on the texts.

        I have given you considerable scope to provide evidence – yet you have still managed to say nothing substantive. When you are ready to do so feel free!

      15. As I thought – there is no evidence that would convince you – so why keep demanding it? And why would I waste my time showing a beautiful picture to a man who refuses to open his eyes? You are not a biblical scholar – you just google looking for those who will support your prejudice. Your claim that most of the ms of the NT were middle ages was debunked – but that doesn’t stop you – you just go on making false claims.

      16. Debunked how? Because you said so? No, the figures according to real experts are the numbers I mention. And the same applies to timescales.

      17. Mark,
        you said to David:-

        Its a case of I’m asking [for evidence] and not receiving. The reason is you can’t give any. A book doesn’t do it. An empty tomb doesn’t do it. Angels and claims of resurrections don’t do it.

        Here is the text in question — Matthew 28:5-7 — set out to show its a.b.c.d.c’.b’.a’. structure. Note that the empty tomb itself is central.

        But the angel said to the women,
        a. ‘Do not be afraid,
        b. for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
        c. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.
        d. Come, see the place where he lay.
        c’. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead.
        b’. and behold he is going before you to Galilee;
        a’. there you will see him. See, I have told you.’

        So four levels of evidence and both reasonable faith and genuine scepticism will be able to grade their respective weights.

        1. No reasonable person would now go to Galilee expecting to see Jesus there on the grounds that the angel told the women that they would. Both a. & a’. are personal signs and even although the women had had their fears palpably removed by his opening and their resolve stiffened by being told that they had been told, Mary Magdaline was disconsolate again by the time she got back to the tomb. Furthermore, when the other women got to where the disciples were, it seemed to them that the women had concocted an idle tale.
        2. The usefulness of the empty tomb (d.) as central evidence did not last the day, and how could it? It represented the very antithesis of habeas corpus and soon enough, the official line of, ‘Nothing to see here’ was literally true. The only physical evidence that the tomb had been used at all were graveclothes empty of the body they’d been wrapped around.
        3. So why must the ’empty-tomb affair’ be taken seriously at all? Two reasons, represented in our text and still with us in the way angelic annunciations and an empty tomb are not. The easier evidence to dismiss is the b. & b’. evidence that multitudes still seek Jesus who was crucified and (having found him) then go much further than Galilee in his service. It is not a source of wonder that atheists put way too much store on the collapse of nominal Christianity in the West because the default disposition of humanity is to be in denial about what most horrifies us. The worldwide growth of real Christianity certainly horrifies the unbeliever.
        4. However the experience of millions ought not sway the reasonable faith of the believer, nor genuine scepticism. How close can we come to a proof of the Resurrection and therefore to a proof for the existence of God? This is where we come to c. & c’., which we reasonably suppose were written down because real people did testify that they saw Jesus risen from the dead and that his being risen did correspond with what he had said beforehand. Now, because the records of eyewitness accounts are falsifiable they constitute a proof for the Resurrection and therefore for the existence of God. Your accepting it or not accepting it does not change the fact that it is a proof. You could, if you could find grounds, object that the reports are not falsifiable and therefore not a proof but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to make that stick for they are falsifiable, as the term is used.
        Similarly, you could argue that this doesn’t meet your criteria of how a proof should be and that my reasoning is no more than a classroom trick. Be that as it may, you won’t accept it but we have a proof.
        Yours,
        John/.

      18. It isnt a proof to any reasonable person.
        It IS technically evidence but very very weak evidence and as a hypothesis it fails Ockhams razor in that there are far more rational explanations – ie. Its a fabrication in part or in whole. You may not like that but thats how its stands.

      19. I’ll call you on that one, Mark,
        I cannot conceive of a more rational explanation for the Gospel Records than that the Evangelists correctly reported the experience of those who claimed to see Jesus risen from the dead. Since there is no evidence for them being fabricated it is far less likely that they were in any way fabrications than that they were written as factual reports and testimonies.
        Yours,
        John/.

      20. Please would an atheist give me some rational evidence for the existence of Okham’s Razor? I have a beard so I’ve never actually seen one, let alone bought one. Hah! I checked, and it’s a man-made invisible excuse to try to cut one’s way out of a corner!

      21. @ Mark Gordon:-

        “Just provide one piece of evidence…. They are not evidence….NT Wrights book….nonsense.”

        When those books you dismiss are praised by scholars in relevant fields, & then skeptics like you come along & make such outlandish, wave-of-the-hand dismissals, how irrational do you think that makes you look??

        Just sayin, you know.

        ” Leaving aside the likelihood that the Jesus of the Judeo-Christian narrative never existed….”

        Along with your outlandish gaffe about the earliest NT manuscripts being from the Middle Ages, this is a real corker! If the subject wasn’t a serious one your clownish ignorance masquerading as intellectual conceit would be hysterical!

        “At the very least it has to pass Ockhams Razor. It also has to be falsifiable”.

        Falsifiability is an aspect of the scientific method first mentioned by the philosopher of science, Karl Popper. It has no part of any historical methodology. As For Ockham’s Razor, you might like to try it against some of the convoluted attempts skeptics & atheists have made in the past to try & explain away the Resurrection, or, in your case, the historical Jesus. But be careful, that thing’s sharp!

      22. Mark Gordon,

        Further note on Ockham’s Razor. If, as you’re doing, you distort what either side’s position is before applying the test of Ockham’s Razor, then all you’re slicing & dicing is a straw man. This can be seen in the following examples.

        “You can forget the vast majority of the 30000 extant MS you quoted elsewhere….they….could so easily have developed as literary themes from a far smaller number of MS.”

        Where do you get this nonsense from?? Those manuscripts, from the first three centuries after Christ have been translated from the original Greek into every language spoken within the known world, & even though they are in various languages, & have been spread across the known world of the time, Biblical scholars tell us that because of their incredible consistency we know that the Bible we possess today is 99% accurate to the original text.

        If that weren’t good enough, even if we didn’t possess a single NT manuscript we have the writings of the Church Fathers in the 2nd & 3rd centuries, so from those elders who were personally acquainted with either the apostles or those who knew the apostles personally. In their writings they have quoted all but a few verses of the NT, & the few that are missing have no bearing on any aspect of theology.

        “There are few pieces of evidence things that point definitively to his existence….The truth is we cannot be sure Jesus resurrected. ”

        First, your second statement is contradicted by the first. If you don’t believe the primary sources, the Gospels, are true historical documents which “point definitively to his existence”, then why speculate on the Resurrection claims? So which is it?

        “Someone stole the body. He didnt die and crawled away once he was taken down. The crucifixion was a stunt (Yes that is actually one fringe hypothesis) and many, many more.”

        Really?? And YOU want to lecture others about Ockham’s Razor??? Here is the best short response to these absurd allegations:-

        http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html

  3. I agree with you, David, but there’s a necessary preparation needed before you get there, & it applies to anyone, whether they’re close friends or strangers, & that is ask questions? Why don’t you believe? What don’t you believe? Etc, etc. Because everyone has a bias somewhere in their reasoning against why they’re not Christians, & it will normally involve a straw man idea of what Christianity is like, or what Christians are like, & that first needs to be isolated & dealt with. Once you have isolated any & all objections then you need to gain an acknowledgement that they’ve been dealt with, then find out if they’re interested in hearing the real story. Once that bridge has been crossed, then you can begin to show what the Bible actually is & teaches.

    That’s why starting where you suggest gets comments like those above. These people are perfectly happy to take up your challenge, as they are fully convinced already by what they’ve read for themselves. It doesn’t matter whether, like most online atheists, they have read the Bible as though they were reading the Guardian, or worse, the Atheists’ Annotated Bible, or whether they’ve actually read some Christian apologists or actual theological studies. The fact is, they will only engage on the basis of what they’re already convinced is true. So it’s vital to drill down into what they actually know & understand. Otherwise you’re just talking at cross purposes.

    It also needs to be said that, in my experience of over a decade of online debates against unbelievers, these fora simply do not allow for the kind of honest one-on-one engagement required for this level of dialogue.

    But having said that, even though they are doomed to almost certain failure, I still believe we need to keep showing the truth of the Christian worldview in general & the Bible in particular in this online setting wherever possible, because we are instructed to be always at least planting the seed, & we never know who else gets to read what we’ve written.

    1. What exactly is the truth of the Christian Worldview, Kim?
      I have asked many Christian but to date none have been able to provide a comprehensive answer.

      1. What specifically are you looking for Arkenaten? The one overarching view concerning God? The multiple truths within a Christian Worldview?

        What comprehensive answer are you looking for?

        Is there absolute moral truth?
        Is the Bible truthful in all things?
        Was Jesus sinless?
        Is God all knowing, powerful and did He create the world and universe that we know?
        Is God still controlling things today?
        Do Christians do with welfare or other of societies issues?

        Comprehensive and worldview is huge and contained in the Bible. Multiple volumes have been written about it.

      2. Horatio,

        The fact that Arkenaten has cherry-picked a single, four word phrase from my post, & then insisted on knowing “exactly” what that constitutes speaks for itself. Of course it’s impossible to outline the whole of ANY worldview in such a forum, but this is like the inverse of what has become known as “elephant hurling”, a debating technique defined as a situation where a debater will refer to a large body of evidence which supposedly supports the debater’s arguments, but without demonstrating that all the evidence does indeed support the argument.

        In this instance it’s where the debater challenges the assertion by demanding a brief answer to a question which necessarily requires a large body of evidence. So when that evidence is not forthcoming in the way the critic requires she/he can then dismiss it.

        As can be seen from this person’s other responses here, such as this howler, “not a single verified scrap for their foundational claims has ever been provided”, when you have someone who has their brain wedged so deeply into the sand, why would you waste your time pointing out that the evident facts are the complete opposite?

        But I could actually give you one fact deriving from our Christian worldview which shines a light on the practice of the typical atheist frequenting online boards like this one, including this exchange here, & that is the practice of skepticism, which arose from one of Christianity’s greatest gifts to the West, science, & specifically what we now know as the Scientific Method.

        When a researcher wants to authenticate his theory, after he has repeatedly tested it he will mount every other possible experiment that could prove his own best ideas false. By this means he is using skepticism in the most open minded way, against his own beliefs.

        The atheist skeptic, however, in my experience over more than a decade of these online exchanges, uses her/his skepticism in the opposite way, by using it as a defensive shield against any idea which contradicts his own worldview.

        This is precisely what Arkenaten does here, ignoring the facts, which he’s obviously been apprised of before many times, as he’s claiming that “This is bandied about all the time by Christians”, yet ridiculously asserting that “not a single verified scrap for their foundational claims has ever been provided”.

        But also, it’s worthwhile turning the tables & exploring the atheist worldview, & requesting evidence for its grasp on reality. For example, the American scholar David Bentley Hart, in his book, “Atheist Delusions” gives his opinion that atheism is a logical contradiction, & to me this view has worth when you consider how many atheist authors, like Dawkins & Hitchens, among a host of others, condemn the God of the Old Testament as being an immoral monster, yet elsewhere they, like so many educated atheists before them, acknowledge the fact that an atheist worldview, with a material universe & only random natural processes, means that such things as human significance, morality & ethics simply do not exist.

        So I recently came across this article:-

        https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2018/12/atheists-curiosity-own-beliefs/

        It makes the point that atheists, in their haste to challenge or condemn Christians, rarely stop to examine their own beliefs, or follow those beliefs to their logical conclusions, which, as you can see from the example above, cannot logically provide a life that can be lived consistently.

      3. Kim,

        A very hungry fox named Arkenaten saw some fine bunches of Grapes hanging from a vine that was trained along a high trellis, and did his best to reach them by jumping as high as he could into the air. But it was all in vain, for they were just out of reach: so he gave up trying, and walked away with an air of dignity and unconcern, remarking, “I thought those Grapes were ripe, but I see now they are quite sour” [Fable from Aesop’s Fables].

        Moral: The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried [G. K. Chesterton].

      4. This is precisely what Arkenaten does here, ignoring the facts,

        If you would, Kim, please provide a short list of the facts ( and a fact will have evidence to support it, of course) I ignore which pertain to the foundational claims of your faith.
        Thanks.

      5. “….please provide a short list of the facts ( and a fact will have evidence to support it, of course) I ignore….”

        Everything I’ve written in two very detailed posts, except for two short lines you’ve cherry-picked. Seriously, the fact is that if you were interested in anything above a “gotcha” opportunity you would have engaged in the details of what I wrote. So it’s clear that you’re not remotely interested in honest dialogue, because that kind of dialogue is an open, two way discussion which involves BOTH parties giving the other insight into their own position, NOT one demanding everything but giving nothing themselves.

        So why should I waste time on you when you’re only trolling?

    2. @ Kim Beazley . Are you ‘the’ Kim Beazley?- (if you consider there is such a person?) Anyhow, your posts are very well written, well developed train of thought and well reasoned. Kinda rare these days – sigh!

      1. No, Martha, I’m not ‘the’ Kim Beazley. He is the Governor of Western Australia, & I’m a humble sales consultant from Sydney. But we are distantly related, & though I’ve always been inclined to the Conservative view of politics & he was the leader of our Left wing Labour Party in Australia, I have a tremendous admiration for him. He’s also a Christian, as was his father of the same name (so I’ve had people asking me if we’re related since I was a little boy). Great men both.

        And thank you for your kind estimation of my writing.

    3. There was a typo on my previous reply. It should read:

      This is precisely what Arkenaten does here, ignoring the facts,

      If you would, Kim, please provide a short list of the facts ( and a fact will have evidence to support it, of course) which pertain to the foundational claims of your faith.

      Thanks.

      1. Ark,
        You’re a troll, foll de doll . Not even droll. Can’t or won’t read.
        You’ve been referred to many books which in your arrogance you’ve dismissed unread.
        As many on here know .
        The burden of proof is on you. And you don’t even know the difference between, burden and standard of proof,such as necessary at law.
        You display the omniscience of someone with a closed mind from within a closed system of a material world(s) .
        You have serious psychological and logical avoidance issues.
        You’d be blocked if it were my blog, as your comments add nothing but a boring drone and noise, and as you link with usual suspects as Zande. There is no adult intelligent dialogue that emanates from you.
        You either are ignorant or tactically feign ignorance, so boringly predictable and arid. You’d not be allowed to get away with it in the Courtroom.
        I should have shaken the dust off my feet long ago.
        The parable of the sower looms large in this.
        Why wouldn’t you want the reality of what is offered in Ephesians 1&2, even as a thought experiment on your part, if you are able?
        Goodbye, enough time has been wasted on you, by me.

  4. I don’t think one can “use the Bible to reach someone who doesn’t believe it’s true”. I reject the Divine origin of both the Koran and the Book of Mormon, so a Muslim isn’t going to get anywhere by alleging the authority of the Koran to me, and the same applies to Mormon missionaries alleging the authority of the Book of Mormon.

    What I think one can do in dialogue with non-Christians, is use the Bible as a source, not of Divine authority, but of ideas & illustrations. For instance, one can use Psalm 72 to illustrate the Kingship of Christ. Not by quoting it as Holy Scripture, but by using it to show what kind of King Christ is, and what the character of His Kingdom is. And, by relating it to “the Good News of the Kingdom of God”, and by showing how that Psalm is drawn upon in the books we call the New Testament.

    One of the common objections to Christianity is, that it is incoherent, possibly malign and anti-social, nonsense, fit only for mindless fanatics & busy-bodies. By presenting a coherent and morally attractive picture of the Kingdom, such as Psalm 72 provides, Christians can do something to counter that objection. That will not by itself bring about saving faith. But it can help to clear Christianity of some of the misunderstandings people have of it. Christians cannot bring about saving faith in a single soul, but can do something to “clear the ground”.

    As we cannot always use the Bible as a Divine Authority, what we can do is explain why it has authority for us. In the interests of complete honesty with those we talk to, we should explain, rather than hide, the differences between Christians.

    At least as important as the Bible, IMO, is how we treat others.

    1. We use the Bible to reach others because it is the Word of God. We use it because it is through the foolishness of preaching that people are saved. We use it because what is the alternative – replace God’s words with ours? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We proclaim. We believe in the Holy Spirit – that He will use the words He inspired to reach the hearts of even the hardest. Once we have given up on that we have lost everything.

  5. “As far as I am concerned, you can’t”. That is Biblically correct Arkenaten. The test of truth does not require you to know the Bible.

    Paul knew it inside out, but could make nothing out of it that was sensible and convincing or amenable because he did not know God personally. This, alas, is true to this day; as there are today many people, including many Pastors, obviously knowing the one without knowing the other personally.

    No, what is merely required of the test of truth is that you ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.

    As in the case of Paul, and everyone else who receives, it is a certainty that in the event you (Arkenaten) should receive, that you will then, like Paul, find yourself to be bursting at the seams with the urge to tell everyone, and anyone, what exactly it is that you have received, and that whatever it is that it aligns completely with what is in the Bible.

    The test of truth is so that no one other than you can give it a shot; for you will not be convinced by men and very rightly so, but by God you will be as nothing is impossible with God. Paul attests of that, and so does that everyone else who has received.

    So just go ahead, give the test of truth a shot – no one except a complete bigot can miss.

    1. The entire point of the post was to wonder how a believer (example: David) can use the bible to reach a non-believer (example: Me) when the non-believer(Me) does not believe in the veracity of the text.
      Look at the title again.

      How Can I Use the Bible to Reach Someone who doesn’t Believe its True?

      The reason I do not believe in the veracity of the biblical text is simply because from beginning to end it has been shown to be riddled with error.
      Thus I am given no reason to accept it and certainly no reason to trust it.

      As it has been demonstrated to be false and riddled with every conceivable error why is it that ”believers” accept it, and why are they do they go to such extreme lengths to ”apologise ” for the , let’s just say uncomfortable parts?

      In fact, as we know, an entre theological industry has developed to defend and justify text, which is in many aspects not only quite silly, but also revolting; as a literal reading or even if one were to try to understand it ”in context”.

      1. “The reason I do not believe in the veracity of the biblical text is simply because from beginning to end it has been shown to be riddled with error.”

        Where & how is it “riddled with error”? Where can I find the expert opinions from which you make such a deduction?

      2. I fully agree with you Arkenaten that question is asking how a believer uses the Bible to reach someone who disbelieves that the Bible is true.

        Unfortunately, in so doing the question unintentionally does two things: Firstly, it suggests that God has no role in the revelation of Truth and secondly, by excluding the role of God, it opens the door to charlatans.

        Avoiding these adverse effects upon Christianity, as well as misusing the Bible if it is used, requires the question to be put in a way that is much closer to the order of Truth. For example, if one wants to be closer to the order of Truth concerning both believers and disbelievers alike, one would ask: How does God reveal the truth of the Bible to people who do not know Him personally?

        This is crucially important because the truth concerning me, and everyone else, is that everybody, including you Arkenaten, believes in God but, clearly, not everybody believes God.

        Indeed, and as you often rightly point out, the progression of disbelief as a lack of faith shows without any trace of a doubt that Christianity has been transformed by institutions for being Christian without believing God. It results that today, disbelief as a lack of faith is rampant and that relief from disbelief requires the suspension of believing in God; for every man, past, present and to come, believes in God, and therefore is without excuse not to believe God.

        The outstanding fact in the progression of disbelief is the transformation of Christianity by institutions belonging to the “entire theological industry” that is poised for being Christian without believing God. “The Bible is the Word of God!” So they say. They “prove” the existence of God not by saying He has spoken unto them but that He has spoken in the Bible.

        This thorough transformation from a speaking God into a dumb, speechless, God incapable of presenting himself finally is showing its true nature. Doubtless, the Bible is somehow connected to God, but truth is that not unless the Holy Ghost reveals it to be so does it indeed appear so believably. What individuals who believe God realise is that believing in God is suspended the instant the Holy Ghost reveals the righteousness of God exactly as advertised in the gospel of Christ.

        So, a Christian definitely is not an individual that is limited to stupidly believing that the Bible is the Word of God and useful for convincing others of that. Such an individual is vain in his imagination; his foolish heart darkened dreaming of salvation merely through being Christian without believing or obeying God. This is typical of individuals who see John 3:16 as a kind, fatherly, promise, and not as an ultimatum warning against holding onto a lie in denial of the truth. There is undeniably today a vast spiritual vacuum, wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Is it permissible, therefore, to label institutions denying the Holy Ghost as the source of all evil, and to boldly accept the practical implication of disbelief? As individuals aware of disbelief and our conversion by the baptism of the Holy Ghost we certainly may.

        Why? Because commenting on disbelief raises awareness for relief from disbelief which without any trace of a doubt has, albeit by slow degrees, gradually stripped the mind of man out of his brain that he should believe in a lie; that he might be damned for not believing the truth, but having pleasure in unrighteousness.

        You yourself Arkenaten observe rightly, but not intelligently, that disbelief is affirmed by science. Science as we know now is a producer of diverse ideologies each mirroring a way to freedom independently from believing God that invariably ends in greater bondage and, finally, all-out war. That it produces them on the principle Science is God; a god that holds extremely flattering, but fallacious, answers for unregenerate man either to be “Christian” without believing God, or to continuously be “perfecting” himself to organise life on earth scientifically, colonise the Universe and, ultimately, to “know” even with the mind of God to make of this old world, a new world (provided always he is “Christian”, “perfected” or both, that is).

        RELIEF FROM DISBELIEF

        Since the beginning, there is none other than the God of Israel to relieve from disbelief. God does this by speaking to unseal the Bible and make it accessible, that is, understandable and believable so that there can be no doubt that the God of Israel is God alone.

        Jn. 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

        Relief from disbelief is the same yesterday, and today, and until Jesus Christ returns, and is on the principle repent ye, and believe the gospel (Mk. 1:15).

        Isa. 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

        So, and by way of concluding what has been said all along, the existence of God is not proved by saying that God has spoken in the Bible or that the Bible is the Word of God. Rather, it is proved by God actually doing, and proceeding to do, what he has said he would do in the gospel that is in the Bible.

        And finally I would some up that such obvious questions as “How can I use the Bible to reach someone who doesn’t believe it’s true?” need to be brought closer to the order of Truth by being rephrased to read “How do believers and disbelievers acquire the certainty that the Bible is true?”

      3. And finally I would some up that such obvious questions as “How can I use the Bible to reach someone who doesn’t believe it’s true?” need to be brought closer to the order of Truth by being rephrased to read “How do believers and disbelievers acquire the certainty that the Bible is true?”

        And this is the crucial point. It is not true.
        From the evidence revealed by the Human Genome Project to the, fossil evidence for evolution and the geological evidence refuting thw nonsense of the flood to the Settlement Pattern showing the falsity of the tle of Captivity Exodus and Conquest.
        We can cite numerous interpolations in the New Testament and identify the myth of Acts.
        These are just several points that scholars, scientists and archaeologists have revealed through evidence.
        In fact, the bible is demonstrably false. From cover to cover it is nothing but geopolitical historical fiction.

      4. Arkenaten,

        By saying “And this is the crucial point. It is not true. From the evidence … ” you actually are saying that; “And this is the crucial point. It (the Bible) is uncertain”.

        Very briefly, truth does not require searching for evidence. If it did, Truth would not be true.

        Uncertainty, however, is quite unlike Truth; for uncertainty does require evidence.

        Might I suggest: IT IS TRUE THAT UNCERTAINTY REQUIRES EVIDENCE, AND SELF-EVIDENT THAT TRUTH DOES NOT as a useful axiom for you to keep in mind when searching for certainty in the colossal ruins of the uncertainty surrounding the Bible.

        The Truth of God concerning Christians and the nation state of Isreal is as follows:

        Isa. 45:17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
        Isa. 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
        Isa 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

        If you cannot deny the existence of the nation state of Israel and of Christians then, Arkenaten please consider: Is it not precisely because Truth does not require evidence, that it pleased God to clothe Truth in uncertainty? Please let me what your thoughts are on this. From the Christian standpoint, it is evident that had God not done so, then faith would be immaterial. But as it is, faith is substantiated by Truth and, therefore, not immaterial; for quite naturally more people find joy in the Truth than in the chaos of uncertainty.

        FFinally, Arkenaten please do try to set aside your requirement for evidence because this discussion clearly is a discussion of the Truth of God (and not a discussion of certainty) on the understanding that: Truth and certainty are not one and the same thing.

        Forgive me for insisting that you actually try to do this, but as you are predisposed to conflate truth with certainty as well as fiction with reality, I have to.

      5. Arkenaten,

        By saying “And this is the crucial point. It is not true. From the evidence … ” you actually are saying that; “And this is the crucial point. It (the Bible) is uncertain”.

        Very briefly, truth does not require searching for evidence. If it did, Truth would not be true.

        Uncertainty, however, is quite unlike Truth; for uncertainty does require evidence.

        Might I suggest: IT IS TRUE THAT UNCERTAINTY REQUIRES EVIDENCE, AND SELF-EVIDENT THAT TRUTH DOES NOT as a useful axiom for you to keep in mind when searching for certainty in the colossal ruins of the uncertainty surrounding the Bible.

        The Truth of God concerning Christians and the nation state of Israel is as follows:

        Isa. 45:17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
        Isa. 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
        Isa 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

        If you cannot deny the existence of the nation state of Israel and of Christians then, Arkenaten please consider: Is it not precisely because Truth does not require evidence, that it pleased God to clothe Truth in uncertainty? Please let me what your thoughts are on this. From the Christian standpoint, it is evident that had God not done so, then faith would be immaterial. But as it is, faith is substantiated by Truth and, therefore, not immaterial; for quite naturally more people find joy in the Truth than in the chaos of uncertainty.

        Finally, Arkenaten please do try to set aside your requirement for evidence because this discussion clearly is a discussion of the Truth of God (and not a discussion of certainty) on the understanding that: Truth and certainty are not one and the same thing.

        Forgive me for insisting that you actually try to do this, but as you are predisposed to conflate truth with certainty as well as fiction with reality, I have to.

      6. Finally, Arkenaten please do try to set aside your requirement for evidence because this discussion clearly is a discussion of the Truth of God (and not a discussion of certainty) on the understanding that: Truth and certainty are not one and the same thing.

        I am heartened by your tacit admittance that there is no evidence for the claims regarding your ”God”.
        You have faith. If this makes you happy, completes your life and does not forcibly intrude on others, then good for you, I say.
        Be at peace and run with it.

      7. Arkenaten,

        Faith really is for being at peace with God and others. So, thank you!

        I agree with you that people faking to be Christian are not at peace.

        I also agree with you that there is no evidence either for or against God; for Truth does not require any evidence – If when asked by Pilate “What is truth?” Jesus did not answer, why then should I? There is absolutely no need to simply because Truth has to be tested; it is not there to be grabbed or disparaged.

        As you are aware, fakers have to take people in, themselves, included and because of this much of our history relating to Christians is not history but mere ideology concerning what Christians falsely so-called do and stand for.

        Here is an outstanding example of an overarching ideological statement brazenly presented as if it were history:

        “From the time of Constantine, and in the west especially from the time of Augustine, Christians practiced the coercion of heretics and the repression of unbelief” (1).

        Only the most gullible are taken-in and thus trapped.

        Properly speaking, it was not Christians that coerced heretics and repressed unbelief, but people faking to be Christian that did.

        The identity of Christians is that they know God and so; very obviously they know peace because God delights in peace (Jer. 9:23-24).

        The identity of people faking to be Christians is that they do not know God. Such people are a public nuisance because; knowing about “God” urges them to repress their unbelief by tormenting others to know about “God” (Jer. 5:2-4).

        In light of these two clearly different identities, one obviously genuine (Jer. 9:23-24) and one obviously fake (Jer. 5:2-4), a more serene and candid appraisal of European history might be written as follows:

        “From the time of Constantine, and in the west especially from the time of Augustine, people faking to be Christian practiced the coercion of heretics and the repression of unbelief”.

        For your information: There is a body of philosophy on faking – see for instance (2).

        1. Kilcullen, John and Robinson, Jonathan, “Medieval Political Philosophy”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta(ed.), URL =
        accessed 8 July, 2018.

        2. “How modern art became trapped by its urge to shock”
        URL = https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30343083

      8. I also agree with you ( Arkenaten) that there is no evidence either for or against God;

        Excellent! And I appreciate your honesty.
        This echoes the points made by non-believers commenting here and elsewhere – namely: there is no evidence for any such claims in ( or outside of) the bible .

        The are merely unsubstantiated claims.

      9. “I (Edouard) also agree with you (Arkenaten) that there is no evidence either for or against God;
        “Excellent! And I appreciate your honesty.
        “This echoes the points made by non-believers commenting here and elsewhere – “namely: there is no evidence for any such claims in ( or outside of) the bible .
        “The are merely unsubstantiated claims.

        Arkenaten.

        Thank you.

        So having established that neither disbelievers nor believers can furbish a shred of evidence for or against God; let’s please move on to consider the next step:

        According to you Arkenaten, do you truly exist?

      10. @Edouard

        The Inland Revenue certainly think so, and so does my local council who always send me bills.
        Based on this , I would have to say ”Yes, I am a real boy!”

      11. Arkenaten,

        That’s the whole point. In order for your “me” to know it truly exists, it necessarily must possess something more than its own volition.

        Whatever that something more might be; it invariably derives from the consummation of a relationship with other persons or things possessed by other persons.

        In this way, your “me” knows the volition of its creditors; it sees them as people who you owe money to.

        So having established that your “me” possesses the faculty to know the volition of what it owes to others, can you now in your own words please explain to me how exactly that is?

        Note. Arkenaten please do not venture to comment any further unless you, for once, take a reasonable step to produce something that is rational. In doing so, you will help me, and others, to understand exactly what your argument is and you also will appease those that you’ve offended by being obnoxious instead of constructive. After all, here we are essentially discussing God which, whether you like it or not, is an indestructible part of man – so please do be more respectful to yourself and others about this. Thank you for your kind understanding.

        Edouard

      12. So having established that your “me” possesses the faculty to know the volition of what it owes to others, can you now in your own words please explain to me how exactly that is?/blockquote>

        No. Can you explain for me?

      13. Arkenaten,

        No, the ball is in your camp; for how on earth am I expected to know what your “me” knows and how it knows it.

        If, as you have said, your “me” knows it really exists because it receives bills, how does it know these are not for sums that you do not owe? In other words, how does your “me” trust the bills? Particularly bills established using convoluted methods that actually are non-transparent.

        Do try to understand that if you are quite unable to explain what is evident, how on earth can you expect anyone, including me; a God fearing simpleton, to explain what is clearly not evident?

        At the end of the day, anyone who cannot be truthful has to anyway be realistic.

        Edouard

      14. I am never intentionally untruthful.
        I think therefore I am is the best I can do.
        I don’t actually ”do” much philosophy, which is the path I suspect you are trying to lead me along.

        Furthermore, just for argument’s sake, suppose the miracle working, divinely claimed, raised form the dead biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth were real. So what?
        Seriously, why should I care?
        You want to fear the god, God. So be it. Fear away.
        And if this is where it started and, more importantly, stopped – with personal belief – then there really would be no problems at all.
        Well, certainly not for me, at least.

        So I am curious, in what way would accepting he existed change my life one iota?

        Maybe you can answer that?
        Why not give it your best shot?
        Perhaps supply the evidence that convinced you?

        Regards

        Ark.

      15. Arkenaten,

        “Everyway” is the plainest answer to your question “In what way would accepting Jesus Christ existed change my life?”

        As implied by David’s question: A Christian understands very well that Jesus is witness to the Truth and that there are people who do not believe that the Truth witnessed to by Jesus is true. And yet, Jesus originates from the bosom of God; the God who created all things and who is true.

        From this, it follows Jesus is the way to God and the Bible the sole instrument given to man for knowing and joining-up with his maker.

        Granted, uncertainties that Jesus is witness to the Truth certainly exist but none of them makes Him a liar. Rather, they invite the test of Truth.

        In effect, to understand this reality (and by the same token what is true), it has to be understood that the Bible is for man to communicate with God truthfully (effectively) as in a filial relationship.

        So now back to your pertinent question “In what way would accepting Jesus Christ existed change my life one iota?”

        Very concretely, it will change absolutely everything about you and your life. To your own astonishment, you will be a completely new creation; every single thing about you and in your life will be transformed beyond recognition. You will walk around for days, looking at creation in a new way, under a completely new light, wondering over and over again: “What took me so long?” (To know the Truth, that is).

        Basically, Arkenaten the Truth witnessed to by Jesus Christ will set you free and when it does, you will see just how incredibly servile and utterly miserable you were before you allowed it to. You may even weep over the frightful sorrow of it all, but have no fear; for nothing will dampen your joy.

        On the face of David’s question “How Can I Use the Bible to Reach Someone who doesn’t believe it’s true?” I really think that Christians ought to be communicating to you, and other disbelievers, more often and I am glad of the possibility to do so.

        Edouard

      16. “From the evidence revealed by the Human Genome Project to the, fossil evidence for evolution and the geological evidence refuting thw nonsense of the flood to the Settlement Pattern showing the falsity of the tle of Captivity Exodus and Conquest. We can cite numerous interpolations in the New Testament and identify the myth of Acts. These are just several points that scholars, scientists and archaeologists have revealed through evidence. In fact, the bible is demonstrably false. From cover to cover it is nothing but geopolitical historical fiction.”

        This is what’s known, in debating parlance, as “elephant hurling”, whereby a debater will refer to a large body of evidence which supposedly supports the debater’s arguments, but without demonstrating that all the evidence does indeed support the argument. So , Arkenaten, let’s unpack this, as just making empty assertions doesn’t make them true.

        As the Human Genome Program was headed by an Evangelical Christian, Francis Collins, who is quoted as saying, ” As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God’s language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God’s plan” (http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/04/03/collins.commentary/index.html), where do you get your evidence for your claim which contradicts the man in charge?

        As for the fossil & geological evidence, your claim that it’s FOR evolution simply shows your ignorance, as evidence in the case of something which has occurred in the unrepeatable past is only evidence of an event. It’s how you INTERPRET the evidence, & that’s why this issue is FAR bigger than you or anyone claiming that such evidence disproves or proves either view.

        And what of the Exodus? At http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/10/19/Recent-Research-on-the-Date-and-Setting-of-the-Exodus.aspx#Article it states very clearly, “….the supposed discrepancies between the archaeological findings and the Biblical record concerning the Conquest are due to bad scholarship and improper interpretation of the archaeological data, not on any shortcomings of the Bible. In fact, archaeology, when properly understood, demonstrates the accuracy and eyewitness nature of the Biblical text with regard to Conquest events.”

        And I’m just dying to know where you did your research to show that “….numerous interpolations in the New Testament and identify the myth of Acts”, especially since both Luke’s Gospel & its sequel, Acts, are regarded by virtually every reputable historian as one of the most reliable historical documents of the time.

        And last of all, can you provide evidence for this howler: “From cover to cover it is nothing but geopolitical historical fiction”?

  6. Its a good question David. But may I suggest there is an assumption in the question that someone who doesn’t believe the bible is true can be reached by it? Comments here may suggest that it is foolishness in the eyes of some and remains to be so.

    Having said that, to anyone who is open I agree yes it is important to know the bible and the word. But the bible says that knowledge puffs up and love is the antidote to that. So how is that God is love is communicated and not love being god that is communicated.

    I think to be the word, to be all things to all men. To fit in and yet not be compromised in the word. Not easy when there are many temptations around. But I think many people can get a sense of what is real and what is someone putting on an act of being real. And with what is grounded on a sure foundation as opposed to what is built on sand.

    Having said that, there is a great cost to pay for doing this and many in Christianity may not choose to make this cost.

    Of course there is the thing that in order to be great you must be willing to be mocked, misunderstood and hated in this. You might find yourself losing your job, being ostracised by family members, losing friends and a whole host of other difficulties. You might even find that you are rejected by a church you attend. Thankfully in this country you are unlikely to be imprisoned or killed but in other areas of the world there can’t be a guarantee of that.

    But then there is someone that has gone before you and experienced either these or not dissimilar things and not withheld even his life out of love for humanity. And he promises that great is your reward in the kingdom if you are hated for his sake.

    So it seems doesn’t it that there is a twofold thing going on here – the willingness on the behalf of the believer to act accordingly and on behalf of the one who doesn’t believe in the bible being true to consider their belief in the light of what is communicated about the bible?

  7. I understand this won’t wash with any of the believers but just one of the things I’ve always had a problem with is believing that if there really was a book written by (or at least inspired by) an actual god – the god who made this entire universe and everything in it, including me – then I would, upon reading it, immediately fall under its spell and know the truth.

    The bible alone doesn’t have that affect on anyone. None of the array of apparently divinely written/inspired religious texts on offer do.

    1. John what you say does wash with believers. It exactly is so: Every believer only truly believes after he has received the Holy Spirit; for there is no spell and knowing the truth without the anointing, viz.:

      1Jn. 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

      John, were you to receive the anointing, then you would, upon reading the Bible, immediately fall under its spell and know the truth. If it were not so, the Bible presumably would not excite anyone more than the current Swiss Civil Code of Obligations does.

      Of course, if 2000 years as of today (16 January, 2019) there is a copy of the current Swiss Civil Code of Obligations in nearly every household of the world, I’ll be more than happy to discuss the phenomenon again with you then.

    2. I think that it’s a legitimate question, John:
      Why is the Bible written the way it is and not so as you would, upon reading it, immediately fall under its spell and know the truth?

      As it happens, the Bible has a rather disconcerting answer, which — because it was written by Paul who persecuted the church before he himself was converted! — nevertheless holds out the offer of hope even to those who are most distressed by it. You will find the passage in 2 Corinthians 4:1-6:-

      Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practise cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

      Yours,
      John/.

  8. “this book has had the biggest influence on the whole world”

    Errrrm, what? Did it inform the Chinese how to make gunpowder? Did it explain the natural world, human rights, germ theory, engineering, architecture, medicine, mechanisation, electricity, communications technology, agriculture, economics, refrigeration, fluid dynamics, flight…

  9. “this book has had the biggest influence on the whole world”

    Errrrm, what? Did it inform the Chinese how to make gunpowder? Did it explain the natural world, germ theory, human rights, engineering, architecture, medicine, mechanisation, electricity, communications technology, agriculture, economics, refrigeration, fluid dynamics, flight…

    1. I’m not quite sure why you think your argument makes sense. You consider that the fact that the Bible is not a manual in Chinese for making gunpowder somehow an argument against the Bible being the most influential book in the world. I suppose in some atheist multiverse somewhere that makes sense!

      1. You stated in the video that the bible has had the biggest influence on the whole world.

        Can you demonstrate that?

        I gave some examples of things that have *actually* influenced the world, such as gunpowder. Did the bible inform any of those things?

    2. John,
      Yes, this book has had the biggest influence in the world. It is still today the all-time bestseller book. That would make it pretty influential.

      While some of those are not directly spoken to in the Bible, there are others such as economics, natural world, human rights, communications and even Ag to some degree, that it does. Maybe not to the ‘technical side’ of an issue, but certainly to the overarching and problematic sides of those issues.

      Ever Lied? Makes a liar
      Ever stolen anything? Makes a thief
      Ever been drunk and gives reasoning – Makes a drunk
      Ever committed adultery? Even looks of lust? Makes an adulterer
      Ever disobeyed your parents? Makes us disobedient
      Ever coveted (been jealous of) your neighbors anything?
      Ever bear false witness against others –

      So, whether you call them mistakes or sins, I’m sure you’ll freely admit you’ve committed them.

      Ever been prideful? It goes before the fall

      The Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman – Seems logical as you can’t fancy yourself a child yourself or with another man.

      The Bible says God gives people leeway (free will) to hang selves – Yup
      ****If not, we’d cry God made us robots *****

      So, you have ‘freewill’ as everyone else to act, think, advocate, help the above.

      By the way, the list above are all things I state freely and without pride, I’ve unfortunately, committed them in one form or the other to the detriment of not just myself, but others.

      With that ‘freedom’, you’re able to make choices – Hence people can come up with really intelligent ideas like some of the ones you listed above! 🙂

      There are lots of nuggets contained inside of God’s Word.

      Most importantly, God in His Word says you need to believe upon the name of the Lord (Jesus), repent of your sins, and be baptized for the remission of your sins, of which you may call…. mistakes. We all have them.

      If you open it, you’ll see there are a plethora of answers for life’s issues. Especially for those specifically listed above.

      Good Day!

      1. horatio

        1. Having done something a few times does not define who you are. Otherwise we could equally state:

        Ever told the truth? That makes you an honest person.
        Ever been charitable? That makes you a philanthropist.
        Ever been kind? That makes you kindhearted.
        Ever shown mercy? That makes you merciful.
        Ever shown love? That make you a loving person.
        Ever shown patience? That makes you a patient person.
        Ever shown compassion? That makes you compassionate.
        Ever had a thought? That makes you thoughtful.
        Ever studied for an exam? That makes you studious.

        Ever jogged? That makes you a jogger.
        Ever performed gymnastics? That makes you a gymnast.
        Ever been athletic? That makes you an athlete.
        Ever lifted weights? That makes you a weight lifter.
        Ever baked a cake? That makes you a baker.
        Ever played an instument? That makes you a musician.
        Ever raced a car? That makes you a race car driver.
        Ever flown a plane? That makes you a pilot.

        2. The Bible never once mentions “free will” but it does says God pre-ordained everything according to his will. (see Romans 9:14-23, Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:16)

    3. If you knew anything about science, you’d know how foolish your question is. So many of your examples ARE the result of the Christian worldview which predominated in Western Europe in the 16th & 17th centuries, whose pioneers were all motivated in their scientific endeavours by their belief in the God of the Bible, figures such as Bacon, Newton, Kepler, Copernicus & Galileo, & so many others who followed in the next few centuries. This is a fact acknowledged by secular historians, as is the fact that human rights has been traced back to the seismic shift in thinking which arose from the ideas of Martin Luther which led to the Protestant Reformation.

      These arose from the notions that the universe was created in an ordered manner by a rational & orderly Creator, which could thus be examined & understood rationally by the creatures He had endowed with reason, along with the fact that every human being, in God’s eyes, has personal significance & their lives have meaning & purpose.

      Thus it is absolutely true that “this book has had the biggest influence on the whole world”.

      1. @ Kim

        Martin Luther was a virulent anti-Semite.

        For much of the time Christianity held sway it was prudent to claim to be a believer
        in whatever fashion this took, as one’s life was often on the line. Declaring oneself to be atheist was not always a healthy life choice.

        As science has advanced many things once attributed to Yahweh have now been reassigned once evidence became available. And this is ongoing.
        No god needed.
        One need look no further than the Acadamy of Sciences.

        Certain human rights may well be able to be traced to aspects of interpreted Christian doctrine. And so can the justification of slavery and apartheid, which certainly demonstrates the influence it had with regard these abhorrent practices. which doesn’t help your case much, I’m afraid.

      2. “Martin Luther was a virulent anti-Semite.”

        As were most Germans of that time. Besides, did I say he was without character flaws? Who isn’t? So are you going to say anything relevant to what secular historians have said regarding Luther’s influence on the genesis of human rights? Or are you only going to fallaciously “poison the well”?

        If that’s all you’ve got, then you’ve got nothing.

        “Certain human rights may well be able to be traced to aspects of interpreted Christian doctrine. And so can the justification of slavery and apartheid….”

        I’m not cherry-picking human rights. The fact is that the WHOLE IDEA of human rights ONLY comes to us from a Christian worldview. And you cannot play correct interpretations of Scripture against those that are incorrect, like slavery & apartheid. That’s just a Genetic Fallacy.

      3. As were most Germans of that time. Besides, did I say he was without character flaws? Who isn’t? So are you going to say anything relevant to what secular historians have said regarding Luther’s influence on the genesis of human rights? Or are you only going to fallaciously “poison the well”?

        So , because ”most Germans” were anti Semitic Luther had to be one as well, simply by association or because he was German?
        Surely as a Man of God he should have led by example and utterly condemned such vile attitudes?
        Do you think you would be anti-Semitic simply because all the Aussies on your street were anti-Semitic? ( An example, not to be taken literally)
        Furthermore, irrespective of any redeeming qualities he may have had his virulent anti antisemitism merely perpetuated the garbage that Jews were ”Christ killers”.
        Some believe he influenced Hitler.

        The fact is that the WHOLE IDEA of human rights ONLY comes to us from a Christian worldview

        That is an assertion and I don’t see any evidence to back it up.
        Feel free to list a few examples.

        With David’s leave?
        The extra T in my URL was a typo.
        You were inquiring after my sex, I believe?
        Male.

        On that note: is Kim a boy’s name or girl’s?

        And re: historians and the character Jesus of Nazareth.
        No historian worth his or her salt considers there is any evidence for the miracle- working, raised from the dead divine character as depicted in the bible.

        In a nutshell: The consensus is that there was someone called Yeshua who was crucified under Pontius Pilate for sedition.
        I can live with the latter.

      4. Ark – you are getting tiring…and boring…..that is the ultimate sin on my blog….no historian? I can think of many….but you just use circular reasoning….any historian who thinks Jesus exists cannot be worth their salt – therefore no historian worth their salt can think Jesus existed….as I said boring…

      5. @ Arkenaten:-

        “And re: historians and the character Jesus of Nazareth.
        No historian worth his or her salt considers there is any evidence for the miracle- working, raised from the dead divine character as depicted in the bible. In a nutshell: The consensus is that there was someone called Yeshua who was crucified under Pontius Pilate for sedition. I can live with the latter.”

        So you agree that the overwhelming majority of historians agree that there was “someone called Yeshua who was crucified under Pontius Pilate for sedition”. But where is the primary source on which historians draw that conclusion? It’s the Gospel accounts in the NT, as well as the Epistles where things relevant to the Gospel accounts are mentioned.

        Whether or not the accounts of miracles are true or not, though, is of absolutely no interest to historians, so your point that they do not consider that “there is any evidence for the miracle- working, raised from the dead divine character as depicted in the bible” is moot.

        But the fact that you’re willing to agree with their conclusion that Jesus was a real historical figure, using the Gospels as their primary source material, but unwilling to accept anything which reports on the miraculous or the supernatural proves nothing but the fact of your own bias against the possibility of the miraculous or the supernatural.

        Coupled with that is the fact that there is an endless stream of atheists & skeptics down through history who have tried to come up with an explanation of the Resurrection account in the Gospels which can refute the empty tomb & the appearances of the risen Christ, without any of them standing much scrutiny.

        So that means there’s no end of skeptics & atheists who, by doing so, accede to the fact that Jesus was crucified & buried IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOSPEL ACCOUNTS. By doing so, they are acknowledging at least that SOME of what’s in the Gospels is trustworthy. Otherwise, how would they know He was crucified & buried? But then they want to cherry-pick what they’ll accept as authentic historical reportage or not? So how, logically, do you do that? Talk about blinkered!!

        I noticed also that at least twice you’ve referenced the mention of Jesus in Tacitus’ “Annals”, so obviously you regard what we read there as authoritative. As https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ shows, “No original manuscripts of the Annals exist and the surviving copies of Tacitus’ works derive from two principal manuscripts, known as the Medicean manuscripts”. It also refers to the fact that the oldest of these is from the 11th century. So the closest copy is nearly 1,000 years after Tacitus wrote it.

        Compare that to the NT, of which there are over 20,000 manuscripts in different languages from the first three centuries of the Christian era, which show such a uniformity of text spread across manuscripts from across the known world that Biblical scholars agree that the Bible we possess today is 99% true to the original, & that most differences come down to things like spelling & punctuation.

        Yet you challenge Scripture on the basis of Tacitus? How absurd is that??

        “[The fact is that the whole idea of human rights only comes to us from a Christian worldview] is an assertion and I don’t see any evidence to back it up.”

        I already gave you the example of Luther, & the fact that there are quite a number of historians who have traced the rise of human rights & democratic ideas back to the Reformation, but you chose instead, & repeated the folly twice, of fallaciously poisoning the well. There isn’t a notable figure in history who can be praised as a positive force for the betterment of humanity who cannot be found wanting in some part of their lives. So to try & ignore the truth of what I wrote by saying that Luther had flaws simply shows to what irrational lengths skeptics like you will go to in order to keep the wool pulled as firmly as you possibly can over your own eyes.

        The facts of Luther’s importance to the modern Western democratic worldview are easily found. For me it only took a Google search of “Martin Luther responsible for human rights”. So I don’t know why you skeptics feel the need to demand all the time that Christians find your evidence for you. It’s really that simple! Here’s just one of many.

        At https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/martin-luther-freedom-protestant-reformation-500/ it states:-

        “When the modern human rights movement took shape after the Second World War, a committee of public intellectuals acknowledged Luther as they searched for a philosophical basis for an international bill of rights. Their 1947 UNESCO document cited the Reformation, because of its “appeal to the absolute authority of the individual conscience,” as one of the historical events most responsible for the development of human rights.

        “Similarly, the language of Article 18 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—“everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion”—pays homage to Luther’s vision. Its prime author, Lebanese Ambassador Charles Malik, a delegate to the original UN Commission on Human Rights, was also a student of the Reformation. “People’s minds and consciences are the most sacred and inviolable things about them,” Malik wrote, “not their belonging to this or that class, this or that nation, or this or that religion.””

    4. Don’t leave us in suspense, John:
      what book did have the biggest influence on all these things? You see the problem: the Bible has had a profound influence everywhere it has been taken and it is well on the road to having been taken everywhere. Even if it were only because of the generally unacknowledged economic principle of to the one who has, more will be given [Matthew 13:12] the Bible is the last book standing in any greatest-influence competition.
      Obviously you can make the claim that any secular book might have had the same amount of influence if they had been available but they weren’t and they didn’t. Even if you wanted to undo aspects of Biblical influence, it would not be the optimum strategy to deny that the Bible has had great influence in the first place.
      Let’s hear about a book that has had as big an influence on education, conciliation, jurisprudence, justice, the family, land management, literature, language, theology, etc., etc. before we leave off looking at the Bible as the most influential book ever written. Like it or lump it, this book has no rival when it comes to influence.
      Yours,
      John/.

  10. You’ve set yourself up for failure. We’ve only your word that the Bible is your god’s word, and unfortunately, you’ve already established that man’s word can’t always be trusted. It is entirely evident to all but the simple-minded and credulous that the Bible is the product of men of a certain time and culture. Much of it is tedious and repetitive, for a start. Whole foundational myths from Genesis and Exodus have been falsified. And the Gospels read as exercises in straight-up myth-making.

    There’s as much wisdom and beauty to be found in the works of Shakespeare, Tolstoy, or Kafka — to name just a few — with the added bonus that no-one is silly enough to claim
    their words are divinely inspired.

    1. Strange – you cite Shakespeare and Tolstoy and yet mock the Bible that they used and believed in! Were they simple minded and credulous? Step away from your closed minded arrogance and start thinking!

      1. Very little is known of Shakespeare’s bio. It seems quite a stretch to infer his beliefs based on the plays, for instance. One might as well claim him as a pagan on that basis.

        I’m referring to the Tolstoy of Anna Karenina and War and Peace — specifically as a novelist– not the later polemicist for Christianity.

        “…start thinking!”
        You mean: think like you? Arrogance is relative, and in this context, a bit rich coming from someone who claims the Bible is “God’s Word.”

      2. I assume you have read Anna Karenina and War and Peace? If so you would be fully aware of the Christian themes within them.

        No – I don’t mean think like me. I would never suggest that. I mean think. Reason. Question. Don’t just accept and repeat the mantras. If you did you would work out why the statement that the Bible is God’s Word is not an indication of my arrogance. I’ll leave you to work it out…

    2. I’m staggered that you didn’t take a second or two to edit yourself, Chris:
      we only have David Robertson’s word for it that the Bible is the Word of God! Really? No, I mean Really‽

      The Bible itself claims to be the Word of God and it does so through a man writing (in his own time and culture) of other men (writing in their own time and culture). [2 Peter 1:21b]

      Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

      .
      The tedium and repetitiveness are marks of authenticity that ought not be ignored but if it were true that Whole foundational myths from Genesis and Exodus have been falsified. you would have a case. Unfortunately, that’s not true and the factual basis of the foundation narratives remains a moot point.
      I don’t think you’re right about the Gospels read[ing] as exercises in straight-up myth-making. but I would like to study something that attempted to make the case rather than that merely makes the claim.
      Yours,
      John/.

      1. Ark – I’m not going to post any more of your posts which are just simply assertions – 2 Peter is not regarded as a forgery by all….indeed most. Its just thats how you want to regard it. You know nothing about 2 Peter…

      2. John, the point is that many of us don’t take at face value– as you evidently do — what is merely claimed in the Bible, nor the extravagant claims made on behalf of apologists such as yourself. As Ark has repeatedly stressed: the topic of the post was whether the Bible on its own merits is enough to persuade– or “reach”– the impartial or non-partisan reader. Clearly, it isn’t, otherwise there would be no need for a thriving industry of apologetics.

        Taking what some of us consider as flaws — the repetition and tedium of much of the Bible– and trying to spin it as hallmarks of “authenticity” is almost as disingenuous as those apologists who rationalize the contradictions in the Gospels: “that’s just what you’d expect, from four independent accounts!” they tell us, knowing full well that if the accounts had all correlated in every detail, that too would be taken as a sign of “authenticity.”

        The creation myth(s) in Genesis have been scientifically falsified: Our species is not descended from just two individuals. No species can be. Population genetics simply doesn’t work like that, unless you try to argue that a viable population can be produced by in-breeding and incest, which is what the Bible seems to infer.

        Most secular Jews do not accept the veracity of the Exodus myth, so it’s curious when evangelical Christians try to make great claims for it. Israeli scholars and archeologists certainly don’t accept it.

        Again, a purely impartial reader of the Gospels — as opposed to someone already predisposed or conditioned to accept them as reliable historical accounts — is not likely to come away from them swayed by their veracity, especially the stories of miracles. They read as non-eyewitness fables; and it wouldn’t matter, anyway, if they were eyewitness accounts; we still couldn’t take them merely at word. Any good cop can generally vouch for the unreliability of purely first-hand testimonies; more so when it comes to fabulous, unlikely anecdotes which is what reports of “miracles” ultimately boil down to.

      3. Hi, Chris,
        thank you for upping your game and for calling me an apologist; I’ll try to live up to it.
        Your points:
        • ‘if the accounts had all correlated in every detail, that … would be taken as a sign of “authenticity.”‘ Well, maybe by apologists (such as myself?) but not by apologists with training in historical method (such as myself.) Interesting you should mention contradictions since what we could call resolvable eyewitness contradictions are to my mind the very epitome of a sign of authenticity. When you talk about ‘those apologists who rationalize the contradictions in the Gospels‘ I’m not sure who you’re talking about. I think that I must move in narrower circles.
        • ‘No species can be descended from just two individuals. Actually it is possible. The problems of inbreeding and incest are not there in the first few generations if you begin with two individuals with no defective genes thus Cain’s wife was most probably his sister. Incest is legally forbidden in the Mosaic law, written when many more generations had passed and today we should note that while marriage between 2nd cousins is legal, it is hardly expedient.
        • ‘Most secular Jews do not accept the veracity of … Exodus‘ There is an even greater furore in Israeli archeological circles over the idea of the Conquest but, it turns out that the certainty of their conclusions has more to do with politics than with evidence. There are Israeli archeologists who are more sympathetic to the Exodus concept than are the majority of Egyptologists but they don’t get to write leader columns in Ha Eretz.
        • ‘the stories of miracles … read as non-eyewitness fables. is still a claim, not a case, although just a few years ago it would have been treated as a case. It is my suspicion that there is a correlation between the firming up of the Big Bang theory and the ability of younger men not to see miracles as a deal breaker in the way ‘everybody’ used to. Again, it’s only an impression but it seems to me that men under fifty get that we believe the Biblical miracles because they are in the Bible rather than believing the Bible because it contains miracles.

        I do feel it necessary to point out, however, that you have, along with a few others proved the point that the only way to reach people who don’t accept the truth of the Bible is to use the Bible itself. You’d all have hardly responded if David had said something like: ‘There are people who don’t believe the Bible’s true; let’s try something else.’ Whether on not you personally are pursuaded, consider yourself ‘reached’. It really is a no-brainer to believe what God says about the value of using Scripture; rather than believing the likes of yourselves. – [Isaiah 55:10f.]:-

        For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven | and do not return there but water the earth, | making it bring forth and sprout, | giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, | so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth, | it shall not return to me empty, | but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, | and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

        Yours,
        John/.

      4. @ JohnK.

        Hi, John.
        Maybe you would like to quote/reference/link to some of the views of those secular Jews who do accept the veracity of Exodus?

        That would be a fascinating read.

      5. @ JohnK

        ….but not by apologists with training in historical method (such as myself.)

        This statement is a real eye-opener and something I would genuinely like to explore with you if I may?
        Begging David’s leave and all that?

        My assertion that no historian worth his or her salt – (trained in the historical method) would accept any clams of historical veracity for the miracle-working, divinely attributed raised from the dead biblical character Jesus of Nazareth has summarily been ridiculed by a number of commenters here.

        (And I am not simply referring to the character, Yeshua, who may have lived in the 1st century and ( as per the reference in Annals by Tacitus, for example) crucified by Pilate for sedition.)

        Yet , you are a fundamentalist Christian and trained in the historical method, if not a trained historian. (paid professional historian) Perhaps you are? Apologies if this is the case.

        Please tell me what historical evidence you have to grant historicity to the divine biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth as described in the gospels?

        And could you offer a short list of professional, non-christian/secular historians similarly trained as you who also believe in the veracity of the character , Jesus of Nazareth as described in the bible.

        Looking forward to your reply.

        Regards

        Ark.

      1. On your own blog you misinterpreted ‘reach’ as ‘convince’ and the words mean two very different things, and in fact you changed David’s title to ‘Could you convince a non-believer that the bible is the truth?’. It’s as simple as that but very telling.

      2. @CumbriaDaydreamer

        Ah … fair enough.

        However, may I ask, is not the aim/goal of evangelism not only to reach but also to convince?

        If someone such as David wishes to reach me he has to convince me.

        Naturally, one would suppose this begins with an opening gambit such as:
        ”Why do you believe the bible to be false?”
        It being a given at this point that the person being asked is already aware of the bible and has at least made a few exploratory reads – or has been told about it.

        The reply would likely depend on how familiar the non-believer is with the text itself.

        I could reply with numerous examples, none of which could be explained honestly without compromising the text itself, and the likely response to my answers would be along the lines of One must have a degree of faith.
        If it has go this far one can accept that the believer will refuse to accept evidence that refutes the text, as you so aptly demonstrated regarding our dialogue about the Human Genome Project, and the Exodus, for example.

        Therefore, when all the evidence demonstrates how erroneous and fallacious the bible text is, what case could someone such as you (or David) possibly present to one such as me that would show beyond any doubt that the evidence that condemns the bible at every turn is false?

        And in the same vein, what could you possibly say to all the devout Christians and more pointedly , those professionals (pastors preachers etc) who were formerly trained, likely know the bible inside out and backwards and eventually walked away?

        David hasn’t even bothered to make the slightest effort when offered the opportunity.
        Why don’t you try ?

  11. Please can you reply with the name of the book and it’s author that you mention in the video? I heard “The Book of the Major World” but can’t find it in a Google search. Thanks.

  12. Many atheists and agnostics have read the bible and see the for what it is. A book written by men with an agenda and the agenda is very visible through various conveniences. It’s also a book with some questionable ethical messages that have been interpreted several different ways, including unhealthy and dangerous ways by some.

    That’s not to say there isn’t some value in some of the bibles teachings. Even if you don’t take the whole book literally

    1. “It’s also a book with some questionable ethical messages that have been interpreted several different ways, including unhealthy and dangerous ways by some.”

      Except that the “some” are skeptics who ignore completely the opinions of Biblical scholars who have completely refuted all such claims.

      “That’s not to say there isn’t some value in some of the bibles teachings. Even if you don’t take the whole book literally”

      Say what?? Are there any other books or documents which purport to be true historical accounts which you believe to be otherwise, yet you allow them “value”? Really?? Especially when it is written from the position of an “agenda” which you claim is “very visible through various conveniences”, & which you deem to contain “some questionable ethical messages”? How on earth can you so negatively esteem a document in general on the one hand, yet claim that it contains “some value” on the other?

      So, what do you REALLY think? Are you just confused? Or are you just talking nonsense?

  13. Church membership has dropped steadily over the last 40 years. If “biblical truth” couldn’t convince former members to stay, what makes you think it will suddenly call them back?

      1. If that’s the case, how would non-believers be able to ascertain which churches are preaching the biblical truth?

  14. The bible is the word of god because the bible says it’s the word of god. You can’t get anymore circular than that.
    If there is a god that can poof everything into existence and yet he can’t make sure a bible is translated and reprinted without error, that isn’t that all powerful to me.
    A man made book like every other religious text.

    1. Thats not the argument. If you wish to educate yourself then feel free to ask. If you just comment to mock and abuse, then there is a limit to how much I’m prepared to let you show your ignorance here!

      1. I have asked as you requested any reason why you have filtered this when so many others are posted.
        Surely my questions weren’t unwarranted?
        Or are the answers problematic?

  15. If God be God (capitalized to denote supreme Being as opposed to ‘god’ i.e. a god controlling a particular aspect of reality ) – the onus is on ‘Him’ to reveal himself to us – to introduce himself to us – to make himself known.

      1. Same sex ‘marriages’ are perversions.

        Plain and simply shown from the ‘natural world’ to be true.

        Hence, God’s Writ and His General Revelation provide this proof.

    1. He did. We just celebrated His arrival last month. Immanuel – God with us.

      Goodness me! What an utterly ridiculous thing to write.

      No genuine biblical scholar believes the biblical character was born on 25th December, and your mention of the name/term Immanual – an allusion to Isaiah 7:14 – has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any prophesied messiah, and you would know this if you understood the text properly.

      1. Ark – no one is claiming that Jesus’s birth was on the 25th December….we don’t know the date….but thats just the day we celebrate it. Please don’t go around calling other people ridiculous when you seem to struggle with basic logic and comprehension. You seem to think that you understand the text of Isaiah 7:14 ‘properly’….what you mean is that something you read on Google fits with what you want to believe….which is somewhat different. On the other hand some of us read Hebrew, the Bible and books….!

  16. I am not quite sure how I have mocked and abused, but I will take up your offer. I’ll ask.
    Please could you explain how you know the bible to be the word of god ( as this seems to be the main issue of it’s truth) what actually lead you to this conviction and what might lead me to this also understanding and thus possibly others.
    What evidence is there against that it is not just written by man?
    As your argument is, read the bible that has influence the world and you will see it contains great things.
    But I have read it but can’t grasp one main issue, could you explain the holy trinity to me?
    I hope this is not seen as abuse or mockery. But this is your blog and you set the rules of course, feel free to ignore.

    1. The evidence is internal – also on its influence – its prophecies coming true – its description of the nature of humanity.

      Re the Trinity….not easy to explain in one short blog comment – but it basically teaches that God is One being, but three persons the Father the Son and the Spirit. If you wish to investigate more I would suggest reading Michael Reeves ‘The Good God”

    2. Matt,
      w.r.t. the Trinity, the way to read the Bible — full of Trinitarian expressions from Genesis to Revelation — without getting hung up on us neither being able to write down an adequate formula for, nor draw an adequate diagram of God — is to note how the Bible uses the concept without explaining it. When we think about it, it’s a bit rich us complaining when ‘several hundred pages of Principia Mathematica precede the proof of the validity of the proposition 1+1=2′. For Theology to make sense, God has to be — as the Bible indicates — both One and Three but that is no more a barrier to doing Theology (or trusting God) than is light behaving both like a wave and a particle a barrier to doing Physics. We ought not put the cart before the horse: not understanding the Trinity fully is no hindrance for studying, say, the doctrine of Adoption but, on the other hand, gaining a grasp of the doctrine of Adoption gives us a tremendous boost in ability to contemplate the One and the Three with complaisance.
      Yours,
      John/.

  17. I’m not an “atheist,” per se, but I am a non-believer who traveled the Christian route for over 15 years. However, there came a time in my journey that things stopped making sense and try as I might, I found I could not overlook the many paradoxes in the bible. Even so, since the teachings were so deeply embedded within my psyche, I decided to spend some time (several years, as it turned out) doing extensive research and reading in an attempt to overcome my doubts and confusion. The result? I ended up walking away from Christianity. That was over 20 years ago. And I have yet to be convinced I made the wrong decision.

    From the moment you encounter Christianity, you are told certain things about the bible — primarily that it’s “God’s Word to a lost and dying world.” But is it? Taking it as a whole (not just the New Testament and the Jesus parables), one cannot help but see it is full of contradictory statements about a “loving” God. Furthermore, when people set aside common sense simply for the sake of “believing,” they invariably overlook the many fallacies and the highly dubious stories presented as fact. 

    One more observation. We are all different. Our upbringing and life experiences make us who we are. So no matter what YOU believe the bible says, not every single individual in the Christian community is going to agree with you. And obviously, those who are outside “the circle” and not indoctrinated by religious teachings are going to view its contents differently. So, in answer to your question — “How Can I Use the Bible to Reach Someone who doesn’t Believe its True?” — I don’t think you can.

    1. Thanks. Nan – some of what you say I can understand and agree with….but there are statements that are also wrong. eg – the bible is full of contradictory statements about a loving God. Its not. The Bible does not ask us to set aside common sense for the sake of believing.

    2. Nan,
      you say:-

      when people set aside common sense simply for the sake of “believing,” they invariably overlook the many fallacies and the highly dubious stories presented as fact.

      but give no examples of such.
      Leaving aside for now what is putatively dubious — since dubiety, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder — let’s consider something that you think would be seen as falacious by anyone using their common sense.

      Now, being someone who gets antsy with ‘believers’ who set their common sense aside — although in my experience such usually think they can talk nonsense because of some supposed right to their own opinion — I have a great deal of time for unbelievers who find what they consider to be falacious statements a stumbling block or a scandal. What am I supposed to do when I’m told by someone that they can’t believe because of some supposed fallacy in the Bible? Obviously, I’m going to use the Bible in my response to them.

      You finish with a rather depressing — and, if I may say so, less than commonsensical — answer to the post title:-

      So, in answer to your question — “How Can I Use the Bible to Reach Someone who doesn’t Believe it’s True?” — I don’t think you can.

      Whereas it seems the most obvious thing in the world to me that we must.

      Yours,
      John/.

      1. @John K

        You write — but give no examples of such. as regards to what I said were “the many fallacies and the highly dubious stories” in the bible.

        Bible scholars who are much more educated than me have already offered numerous examples if one is willing to search them out. Moreover, other non-believers on this very blog (as well as many others throughout the blogosphere) have already expounded on this topic. I have little to nothing to add.

        I understand that you, the pastor, and others who have contributed to this post feel the bible is the be-all, end-all to life. But at the same time, there are thousands and thousands of us who don’t. Perhaps we should leave it at that.

      2. David,

        Nan is arguing against people who presume to think that God loves them because they have a passionate love for Scripture.

        Much like our Lord Jesus Christ, Nan is genuinely angry at the meaninglessness and absurdity of thinking God loves passionate lovers of Scripture.

        In all evidence, what self-righteous persons like the Pharisees cannot grasp is that love is from God, not from Scripture. Put another way; we Christians should consider ourselves completely mad if we wanted the Bible to love us.

        Because of their self-righteousness, self-righteous people do not seek God; only the meek do, viz.

        Ps. 22:26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
        Ps. 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
        Isa. 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

        It really is quite obvious how God honours a person. Just as it really is quite obvious how God does not.

        Does Nan know how God honours a person? The answer is in the Bible, and if Nan wishes it, he can be honoured by God (See Psalm 91) – what’s wrong with that?

        Edouard

      3. @Edouard

        Interesting. I just read a response from David to the Professor where he wrote: ” I ask simply that people stick to the subject and don’t indulge in unwarranted personal insults.”

        When you write, Nan is genuinely angry at the meaninglessness and absurdity of thinking God loves passionate lovers of Scripture., you are making an assumption based on your personal perspective. I am not angry at all. I just think many believers are misguided in their beliefs and I often point out the reasons why I feel this way.

        I always try to make my comments as neutral as possible and stick to generalities. It is not my desire to offend anyone through personal attacks. If, however, they are offended by the content of my remarks, that is an entirely different matter.

      4. Nan,
        I’m not unaware of long lists of supposed fallacies in the Bible but I know that when I was doing my study in contradiction, I did not find any of these lists that separated out the trivial from the serious so I had to construct my own taxonomy. Being unaware of what exactly defeats your trust in the Bible, I tried — unsuccessfully it seems — to point out that the only way to deal with such defeater beliefs is to bring them to the Bible itself.
        It has been put forward in this series of comments that Matthew‘s use of the virgin-shall-conceive prophecy is fallacious. How could we deal with such a charge without using the Bible?
        Yours,
        John/.

      5. Hi, John.
        I left a couple of comments for you regarding non-christian secular historians accepting there are grounds to believe a miracle-working divine character called Jesus of Nazareth existed.
        I was wondering if you could supply a few names of such trained (in the historical method) historians?
        Thanks
        Ark

      6. @David,

        Perhaps it’s because this is not what I see demonstrated by many (most?) Christians. The bible is nearly always the source/proof of any “argument” between believers and non-believers. After all, what is the entire Christian faith based upon but the bible? Without it, you have nothing to substantiate your perspective on life.

        Since many of us feel the bible is not all that it claims to be, we are simply pointing out what we see as the many and various fallacies. For those who are certain of its validity, there will always be disagreements. And thus, you have discussions like the one currently taking up your blog space. 😊

      7. Nan,

        Thank you for not being angry at all.

        Please first of all forgive me and if not, then at least appreciate that the tone in; “be-all, and end-all” very frequently is not a calm one. Perhaps, since you are not angry at all, you are disgruntled, sickened or … (please would you kindly fill the blank in for me).

        That said, and quite unlike you, I am angered by “believers” proving disbelievers “wrong” with the Bible.

        These are they that say: “The Bible is the Word of God!” And “prove” the existence of God not by saying He has spoken unto them, but that He has spoken in the Bible (See my long-winded comment to Arkenaten, @ January 17, 2019 at 8:15 am).

        False shepherds and Pharisees, every single one of them! Because any “proof” of God from man is false. To those genuinely in search of faith or in possession of it, “proof” of God from man has the fragrance of rotten fish. But if it is from God, then it has a fragrance of composure.

        As a matter of fact, I would not be surprised at all to find that some disbelievers on this thread are confusing their disbelief in Christianity with disbelief in God – a thing which far too many Christians are apt to do as well.

        I also would not be surprise at all to find that some “believers” on this thread are confusing their belief in Christianity with belief in God.

        Regardless of whatever “proof” from man there is: Faith works best without any such proof, otherwise Jesus Christ would not have said; “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” to Thomas and also Paul would not have said; “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”.

        In effect, to understand this reality, we are obliged to admit that what the Bible establishes with disconcerting straightforwardness is not that God exists, but that man is fallen (sinful) and that fallen man has no means to perfect himself (to become sinless) independently from God.

        Now, some men believe they can perfect themselves independently from God and some just don’t – what’s wrong with that?

        Also, it is undeniably true that God is an indestructible part of man; for every man is quite unable to rid himself fully of the God (or idol) to which he belongs.

        We have to admit that this conundrum, mystery or puzzle, if you like, is out there and that it just won’t go away. It is because the Bible is prescient about this, that men are drawn to it and/or to discussions about it.

        So I am thankful for them, that is; the discussions, not the “proofs” inserted into them by feint of words that give the pretence, but not the reality, of meaning.

        In view of everything posted here; it really is very hard to decide which is the most ridiculous; to ask for evidence, or to offer evidence.

        Edouard

    3. Nan,

      What follows is with respect to your observation that some ‘people set aside common sense simply for the sake of “believing” (in inverted commas)’.

      What is it, do you think, in human nature that compels the practice of faking belief?

      Also, do not the abject, eradicable, aspects of human nature make the Bible sufficiently believable to embark on the road towards faith out of sheer common sense (Isa. 1:3)?

      If yes, then questions preoccupying people embarked on the road towards faith by common sense alone are bound to be primarily theocentric and not as you are suggesting exclusively anthropocentric.

      In a subsequent post you go on to say that “there are thousands and thousands” of people who do not believe the Bible is true. And yet, truth is that Jesus Christ said as much.

      So, if one is sincerely objective, one has to admit that the Bible might not be as entirely unappealing to common sense and as untrue as you are professing it to be.

      I think that disbelievers must not look at “factuality” alone to determine if the Bible is true. They also need to ask what experience has a believer had that a disbeliever lacks?

      A believer, provided always he is not a Tartuffe, knows he arrived at faith completely blindfolded as he actually was led towards faith by God. Put another way; a Christian is not someone who knows the Bible is true (hardly anybody does to begin with anyway), but is someone who understands that God alone knows when taking off the blindfold makes sense and, by the same token, makes the Bible appear irrefutably true.

      In virtue of their anthropocentricity, disbelievers are quite unable to see anything other than “factuality”; they are as it were blindfolded; they don’t see that they don’t see.

      And Christians today cannot do much in protest against disbelieving. But they at least can protest not to set their common sense aside at the behest of disbelievers. Rather they want, with the help of God, to retain it somehow from being substituted by “factuality”. Their preferred method is faith which, amongst other, means believing the Bible is true.

      Edouard

  18. @ David

    You seem to think that you understand the text of Isaiah 7:14 ‘properly’….what you mean is that something you read on Google fits with what you want to believe….which is somewhat different. On the other hand some of us read Hebrew, the Bible and books….!

    Yes, I understand it well enough to recognize that Matthew used the text to claim that the character jesus was the one alluded to, when in fact it was a prophecy for King Ahaz and had nothing to do with a future Jesus of Nazareth .

    When this was revealed, certain apologists had to come up with an answer, therefore it was claimed to be a dual prophecy.
    Catholic Scholar, the late Raymond Brown disagrees with this and is on record stating as such.

    For the record:
    My initial point of reference for understanding Isaiah (which I came across with no prior knowledge or intent) was while reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. I was reading the sections on Biblical Literature in conjunction with reading the bible. A purely historical exercise of course, and it was during a period when I had decided to study the bible as best as I was able.

    I hope this raises the credibility above Google in your eyes?

    I have also read the bible, but alas, I do not read Hebrew. So you have pipped me in the Original Language stakes.

    However, I have read several examples of translated text – and at least one such provided by a Hebrew scholar no less, who, I must confess I found on the internet.
    So I reckon I have almost the same bases covered as you, David.
    Does this also raise my stock in your eyes?

    1. Much better Ark.
      Not with Encyclopedia Britannica, no, In my ignorance is that still on the go.?It was around when I was a youngster.
      While Ahaz has been put forward as you say, Isaiah’s a prophet looking to the past, present and future fulfilment. At the risk of you mocking, a metaphor it is a bit like an accordian, contracting and expanding.
      Ark ,there are reliable guides to help to read, such as OT scholar Alex Motyer, with commentaries and David could furnish you with others.
      There are a number of books that point to the Big Picture from the canon of scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
      Motyer has a number of short books delving into types, anti-types , figures, patterns, echoes. in the Old Testament. One is ” a Christian Guide to loving the Old Testament”, a short,book/booklet.
      Another, though not confined to the OT is “God’s Big Picture” by Vaughan Roberts.
      And I’d thoroughly endorse David’s recommendation for “The Good God” by Michael Reeves and for his “Christ Our Life”. None o f them are books of apologetics, nor usual commentaries.
      I’d buy them for you if I’d be sure you’d read them thoughtfully.
      My mother died in horrific circumstances, and she wasn’t a Christian before I was a Christian convert at the age of 47, causing me to answer deep question on the meaning of life. From ages ago you revealed in one of your comments that a brother of yours,died at a young age, as did my wife’s brother (aged 25).
      Apologies for the irritated impatience , I showed to you in a comment above, if David permits it to be posted.
      But why wouldn’t you want what is offered in Ephesians 1&2 on any plain reading? Even if you let it sink in as a thought experiment.
      Blessings in the name of our Triune God,
      Geoff

      1. Pardon me, but I see nothing in this reply refutes the assertion regarding the Isaih text in relation to Matthew.
        I am struggling to see your point. I have obviously missed it so could you please reduce your next reply to a paragraph or two at the most ? Thanks.

  19. I’m not an “atheist,” per se, but I am a non-believer who traveled the Christian route for over 15 years. However, at some point in my journey, things stopped making sense and try as I might, I found I could not overlook the many paradoxes in the bible. Since the teachings were so deeply embedded within my psyche, I decided to spend some time (several years, as it turned out) doing extensive research and reading in an attempt to overcome my doubts and confusion. The result? I ended up walking away from Christianity. That was over 20 years ago. And I have yet to be convinced I made the wrong decision.

    From the moment you encounter Christianity, you are told certain things about the bible — primarily that it’s “God’s Word to a lost and dying world.” But is it? Taking it as a whole (not just the New Testament and the Jesus parables), one cannot help but see it is full of contradictory statements about a “loving” God. Furthermore, when people set aside common sense simply for the sake of “believing,” they invariably overlook the many fallacies and the highly dubious stories presented as fact.

    One more observation. We are all different. Our upbringing and life experiences make us who we are. So no matter what YOU believe the bible says, not every single individual in the Christian community is going to agree with you. And obviously, those who are outside “the circle” and not indoctrinated by religious teachings are going to view its contents differently. So, in answer to your question — “How Can I Use the Bible to Reach Someone who doesn’t Believe its True?” — I don’t think you can.

    P.S. This is my second attempt to post this comment. Please advise if it does not fit your blog standards.

  20. Nan.

    Thanks for that comment that really meets what I would have written – well I did but the system dumper me out and lost the post!

    It’s this bible that is the problem as you say. If I am to be persuaded that Christianity is, factually, I would need someone to show me that a god actually existed and that the bible was actually her word. The problem is that no one can show that god actually exists in an objective way. Individuals talk of their experiences yet all such could, just as likely, be some the brain creates. So, really, religious people can not claim to know a being that they can’t even demonstrate.

    That’s not to say the bible is a good read (in parts) is good mythology but not the word of any god but of men, priests most likely as they could write. It is not even possible to convert an atheist with the bible until its origin is established.

    1. What is it with atheists? I realise they have a low understanding of the God we believe in (yes, the one in the Bible), but it’s so low that it can only be deliberate, especially if they have a reasonable knowledge of the Bible – and they all claim they do. How can they demand that God proves His presence to them when they must realise that God is the Creator of the Universe and that they would be physically destroyed by His glory? They should be terrified at the prospect!

      They should also have noticed – if they have read the Bible – that God has promised, in His own good time, to do exactly what they demand. I fear for not only them but for myself, but at least I can point to Jesus and say He’s my assurance, He did what it takes to make me pure before His Father.

      1. What is it with atheists? I realise they have a low understanding of the God we believe in (yes, the one in the Bible), but it’s so low that it can only be deliberate, especially if they have a reasonable knowledge of the Bible – and they all claim they do…

        Most atheists – and especially those that interact on Christians blogs such as this –
        were former Christians, many of whom coming from devout and very fundamentalist backgrounds, and I can assure you they have a very good understanding of the Bible god as this is the same one they believed in too.

        Most walked away simply because of this understanding, now shorn of apologetics, abject faith. and everything wise that clouded judgement, obfuscated the ability to reason and prevented them from seeing the bible and their religion fr what they truly are.

    2. Individuals talk of their experiences yet all such could, just as likely, be some the brain creates. So, really, religious people can not claim to know a being that they can’t even demonstrate.

      Hi wheels5894. That is a very good point, especially when one considers the significance and influential impact of Agnotology. One of the biggest reasons why religious evangelism or proselytizing is typically ineffective in (higher) educated, intelligent regions of the world (although many would argue that the U.S. is the exception! Haha!) is precisely because those paranormal(?) personal experiences or psychiatric episodes are incredibly subjective. Subjective to each person’s neurology, endocrinology, genetics, cognitive development, familial background (and therefore cultural background too), and to varying degrees a person’s social development as well, i.e. co-dependency or not. This is proven true by the mere fact that just in Christianity there are how many different denominations, some 5-7 primary branches(?), then countless fragmented split-offs from those. And again, sticking just to Christianity, the biggest causes of their UN-unanimous theology and literal fracturing are threefold:

      1) the current canonical Bible itself took over 400-years to debate/argue what was legitimate, what wasn’t critical, or was flat-out wrong. Some/Many of these differences was over true Second Temple Judaism/Messianism in Syro-Palestine versus Overseas-Hellenic Judaism/Mysticism in Asia Minor or N. Africa.

      2) the majority of modern biblical exegesis or Hermeneutics is subjective and controversial. Otherwise, the “Christian faith” would be one, united, one church, and unanimous… and…

      3) the 4th-century CE Hellenic canonical Bible, or all the approx. 45+ non-canonical testaments, epistles, etc, are also flawed with many historical inaccuracies and unprovable paranormal events.

      Is it really any wonder why Christianity is convoluted and confusing!? Their very roots and beginning are distorted and lost. This especially includes their modern Bibles, which are not accurately represented of Yeshua the Jewish Nasoraean. Therefore, your point is quite valid given more detailed elaboration and corroboration of all historicity and textual and archaeological evidence, ESPECIALLY the overwhelming INDEPENDENT evidence that Fundamentalist Christians want to ignore and deny. Knowledge is complete without a solid understanding of ignorance, i.e. Agnotology. This is a big reason why Christians cannot prove or demonstrate their God or Greco-Roman Christ.

      So bravo wheels5894.

      1. Allow me to point out the errors in your post –

        1) The church is actually growing in what you call ‘higher educated intelligent regions of the world’ (note the explicit racism in your post)….or at least you will find areas of considerable growth in London, China, South Korea, Sydney etc – often amongst those you would deem to be better educated.

        2) The current bible did not take 400 years to debate and decide what was legitimate. Such a statement suggests a Dan Brown view of history rather than one with any scholarly credentials!

        3) It does not follow that if the Bible were clear the Church would be one. You are missing out human error and sin….pride, greed and ignorance still exist.

        Its amusing that you declare that knowledge is complete (I assume you mean incomplete?) without a solid understanding of ignorance. Amusing because you have just demonstrated great ignorance and prejudice whilst at the same time portraying yourself as a model of complete knowledge!

      2. Hello WeeFleeFast. I also commented about your reply to wheels5894 that started out:

        Just because you cannot see….does not mean there is nothing to see. The bible does not have to…

        And it had some New Testament passages quoted about the conduct of a “Christian” to the non-believing world. It is possible that in this pour format/setup you have for comments — disjointed, not in chronological order, etc, and your blog cannot be read/engaged on WP’s Reader either making it as difficult — perhaps I have missed it somewhere, but I’ve looked closely several times. I do not see it. If you’d please remove it from your Moderation or Spam folder, I wouuld appreciate it. And do you moderate every single commment, even when the comment and commenter are courteous???

        Now, allow me to point out the errors in your reply here (or wherever it shows up on this post). Hahaha.

        The church is actually growing in what you call ‘higher educated intelligent regions of the world’

        In Portugal? Sweden? Holland? Most of Western Europe, the higher educated intelligent countries of Europe? And you read into my statement what YOU wanted to read into it. Here’s some clarification you could’ve asked for first. According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and other indices by international organizations, higher developed nations are not only better educated and hence, on average, more broadly intelligent as a result, become less superstsitious or religious over 2 or more generations. This has been demonstrated statistically and factually over several decades. I would happily provide the data-link here, but you apparently moderate everything. To verify go to the OECD’s website then to their Education page and compare the stats to religious numbers/preferences. The distinctions and patterns are obvious. Under-developed countries — many of them in Africa and very remote regions around the globe — fall noticeably below or worse by comparison, yet are more superstitious/religious. In a March 2018 article in the U.K.’s The Guardian entitled “‘Christianity as default is gone’: the rise of a non-Christian Europe,” the data-table they provide is especially revealing for the ACTUAL numbers with specific breakdowns. These mere stats and facts reflect nothing regarding your projected racism upon me. In fact, if you knew more about me, you’d quickly realize what a naive assumption that was on your part. 😉

        Regarding London, China, South Korea, Sydney, etc, what is the exact breakdown of those claimed growths? Do you have some links to corroborate your claim? I hope so; I’d love to read them. Are you aware of the socioeconomic demographics of London and the U.K. over the last 2-3 centuries? How and why it has changed so much with immigrants of several theistic religions, not only denominations of Christianity — which are much lower than the other religions. I would like to read your sources for London and Sydney. If I had to guess, S. Korea and China might be growing (as you claim) simply because youth are tired of antiquated Orient traditions and falsely correlate/associate “Christianity” (particularly charismatic versions) with different improved Western forms of living and well-being. The faith is not necessarily connected to material and/or social benefits; it’s much more complex than that. But if you have some verifiable data-sets, I’d love to review them. Thanks.

        The current bible did not take 400 years to debate and decide what was legitimate.

        Sorry WeeFleeFast. This is simply wrong on your part and a gross, vague generalized claim… possibly stated because it is too vague/generalized to refute? LOL Nevertheless, the verified historical records from Marcion (c. 130 CE), to the Muratorian Canon, Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 185 CE), Tertullian (c. 210 CE), Origen (c. 230), to Eusebius (c. 313), and at least thru Athanasius (c. 330), and on to Jerome, Augustine of Hippo, and argueably to Pope Gregory I (c. 595 CE), all demonstrate how confusing and controversial the first 3 to 5 centuries of Christendom really were. These few theologians and Patristic Fathers I’ve named debated about numerous critical Christian doctrines, sacraments, and the nature of the Greco-Roman Christ. I strongly suggest you read up on your actual church history and roots. They teach some of this stuff in many seminaries, but of course only what favors and supports a general Christological theme.

        It does not follow that if the Bible were clear the Church would be one. You are missing out human error and sin….pride, greed and ignorance still exist.

        This doesn’t make too much sense as to what your contending with relation to what I stated, that “the 4th-century CE Hellenic canonical Bible, or all the approx. 45+ non-canonical testaments, epistles, etc, are also flawed with many historical inaccuracies and unprovable paranormal events.

        In other words, no one can get a fair, true, accurate HISTORICAL context of Second Temple Judaism/Messianism (STJM), and so by default the time-period of Yeshua the Nasoraean or Saul of Tarsus, unless one closely examines and reviews ALL the texts/manuscripts and evidence of the region! This most certainly includes the contemporaneous STJM library of the Dead Sea Scrolls, to name just one source. More specifically, if Christians only study or learn from the modern canonical Hellenic New Testament, they are only getting a tiny window into the entire picture and vista of what happened; i.e. only dependent sources (their modern Bible), not all the many Independent sources that are absolutely critical in forming a truer, more pure picture and background. As one example, the majority of modern Christians have no idea that Saul of Tarsus was most likely (if not definitively) a Herodian Jew, not of the claimed tribe of Benjamin. It has been proven time and again that no members of the tribe of Benjamin were ANYWHERE in Asia Minor (Tarsus) nor in the area of Jerusalem during the time Saul was there in the Hillel school (or possibly the Shammai?) during Saul’s lifetime. And that is just one major inaccuracy of Acts and Saul’s known attributed epistles. And there is good motive for the Hellenic scribes to tamper and change those “manuscripts” regarding Saul of Tarsus and his Herodian connections/blood. But I’m guessing you and many here are totally unaware of these new findings in academia and archaeological-textual records.

        Your last paragraph doesn’t warrant any response. It is simply your personal opinion and based on your false notions and assumptions. I’ll disregard it. 😉

        Thanks in advance for approving my comment-reply earlier regarding your discussion with wheels5894.

      3. Yes – I do moderate everything because I have long and bitter experience of how internet debates work – they either become rambling, abusive or wander off the topic. This is my blog and I am happy to permit comments (especially those that disagree) but I am not going to waste time providing platforms for people who don’t want to engage or listen. I also don’t have time to respond to large posts like yours.

        You will forgive me saying this but your posts are large, pretentious and full of pseudo-knowledge and waffle. Please try to stick to one subject.

        I ignored the racism of your last post – judging the whole world by your Western liberal standards – but you repeat the error here. Why do you think Portugal, Holland and Sweden are better? It also depends what you mean by ‘educated’? You may not mean your racism – but it is there in your perceived cultural superiority.

        At a broader level it is true that Christianity in Western Europe is declining – but it is also true that Western Europe is becoming dumber….and is in decline. Maybe there is a correlation. So in my own country Scotland – we have secularised very quickly – and as we have done so we have become dumber. one in five Scots are now functionally illiterate (and this in a land once known for its literacy).

        Re the Bible and 400 years – my degree was partly in early Church history – I have read all the sources you cite and none of them would indicate that your narrative is true. You are upholding the Dan Brown view of history.

        I assume you are not claiming that you have read all the ‘independent’ sources and are therefore not claiming that you are the one who has a fair, true and accurate historical understanding?

        Finally it has not been proven time and time again that no members of the tribe or Benjamin were anywhere in Asia Minor (if you were as knowledgeable as you claim you would know that such a claim is impossible to prove).

        You seem a very arrogant man- with a know it all attitude (“But I’m guessing you and many here are totally unaware of these new findings in academia and archaeological-textual records”.). I know the theories you are talking about and to say the least they are contested – but you come on here and claim a superior knowledge and put down others who dont’ agree with you as some kind of ignoramuses. I am used to this kind of arrogance and bullying and I’m sorry it just doesn’t wash anymore.

      4. Proofs, evidence, support… where are they when you make your counter-arguments? I’ve given you more than enough specifics to find and verify the information, facts, plausible evidence, etc, on your own because as you rightly state, comment sections can get too involved, deep, or “verbose” when commenters and blog-owners like yourself generalize, oversimplify, and by unintentional default (benefit of the doubt given to you) give Fly-By-Night opinions about an extremely complex and convoluted subject as the 4th-century canonical Bible/NT… disguised as professional academia or grossly amputated context and/or background. Naturally you can call it whatever makes YOU feel better, but the information is widely available for any who truly seek unbiased, plausible, well-rounded, consensus via independent examinations/sources, and more accurate information, facts, and context. I think if you really did know your own church and biblical history Robertson, you wouldn’t be so hyper-sensitive about what I’ve shared here.

        Just because one is ill-founded in their foundational beliefs, doesn’t necessarily make them a horrible person. Just be equitable about the subject and its relevant facts, and historicity. It isn’t personal. However, if you’d like to censor me from commenting with a DIFFERENT lens than yours, that is certainly your prerogative sir. 😉 Best regards.

      5. Thats ok Prof…its the arrogance that gets me….you seem to assume that we know nothing of the sources you cite until you came along. To be honest they are old – and yes you do oversimplify and generalise. The notion that you think you are unbiased or indeed that you have the ability to work out what is unbiased is part of the arrogance. As for censoring – I have already explained my policy – I have seen how internet debates get far too easily bogged down so I ask simply that people stick to the subject and don’t indulge in unwarranted personal insults. I also don’t usually permit posts that contain blatant lies – so yours for example stating that I did not allow critical posts – was not posted – its self-evidently false. I do accept that just because you are ill founded in your foundational beliefs – it doesn’t necessarily make you a horrible person. I would encourage you to be equitable about the subject and its relevant facts and historicity. It isn’t personal.

      6. Not taken personal in the least. Your response goes both ways as all civil discourse and debates should. And thank you for finally allowing this comment. I hope you’ll allow the other comments — none of which warrant any moderation or deleting — I’ve submitted. Thanks.

  21. Daydreamer,

    Who has knowledge of a god? I mean true and proper knowledge. The answer is no one. This is because everything is dependent on a single book (or rather a library of books) chosen by bishops of the early church and picked for their adherence to what those bishops thought. The question arises, though, are there any words of a god in there. The books in the library were written by men and likely in the OT by priests, as they could write, so ho9w do we know that they wrote what a god wanted rather then what they wanted themselves?

    The problem is that the bible has first to be assumed to be true before anyone can have any knowledge about a god. Can this be done? Of course not! There is no way to go back and talk to the writers yet this is the crux of belief. so it is up the Christian to show how they know the bible is true before it is of use in converting people.

    As for atheists, I am one and I have an MTheol in OT and NT having studied the texts in the original languages. So I have a pretty good knowledge of the bible and it was that study that showed me that the bible is not really quite what it is generally thought to be. It only contains knowledge that stone age or iron age men would have known. You will recall that bats are birds!

    I suppose it is all down to how people think. I like to be sure of what I believe is true. I cannot see how belief in this bibles flawed text is reasonable. Maybe, Daydreamer, you can tell us why you think the bible is true……

    1. Just because you cannot see….does not mean there is nothing to see. The bible does not have to be assumed to be true before anyone can have any knowledge about a god. You say you have a Mtheol in OT and NT – I suggest you go and get your money back – it seems as though it was wasted – if your comments are supposed to show a good knowledge of the Bible…..! Its embarrassingly bad….

    2. wheels5894, there’s already been a huge amount of discussion about the Bible and its veracity on this website, and there’s vast amount elsewhere on the the ‘net’ if you’re really keen to find it. See any of the Christian apologists and you’ll find the answers to your questions, so I will simply ask you one question which will hopefully prompt you to think about what you asked.

      If the God of the Bible really did make His presence known to you (see Exodus 3:20), what would you do? Would you be glad or would you tell yourself you were hallucinating? Alternatively would you say to Him, ‘How dare you treat the world in the way that you do?’. I suggest your freedom to disbelieve in Him would end at that point, but so would all of your other freedoms. My point, therefore, is that God cannot reveal Himself fully to humanity until he calls an end to this cruel world and creates it afresh. Therefore Bible and Jesus, whose story it tells, are God’s sign to mankind of His existence and His nature, but it remains disbelievable without being unbelievable and God leaves the choice with us.

      Jesus is the fulfilment of Exodus 33:19 where God said to Moses, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.’

      1. CumbriaDaydreamer

        Wouldn’t an all-powerful, all-knowing deity possess the knowledge and capability of convincing us that it exists? Besides, didn’t God walk with A&E in the garden, and talk directly with Cain, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses and the prophets?

        So why should our salvation suddenly become contingent on believing in God’s existence?

  22. Dear Arkenaten

    “I see no evidence to think otherwise? Have you seen?
    Please elaborate.”

    Fair enough if you ‘see’ no evidence to think otherwise – i.e. that God has revealed himself, made himself known. But we ‘see’ very little evidence of anything – if you are talking about ‘seeing’ with your two eyes.

    I am not so naive as to share with you ‘why’ I believe – as it is very precious to me, the core of my life, the foundation of my life and the purpose of my life – and knowing your characteristics very well now – you would take great pleasure in mocking, ridiculing, dismissing and denouncing the fabric of my faith and the God who is the object of my faith. As for ‘evidence’ – when I put the objective evidence I was presented with to the test – it became subjectively evident. But I don’t offer this as ‘proof’ to you – although I can ‘see’ it. So that is irrelevant.
    I can offer you no evidence you haven’t already been presented with – evidence that you rudely dismiss – and respond with, what can only be described as ‘bluster’ – because I presume you are not omniscient – although you continually write as though you were. If you are not omniscient – then what you write comes across as merely defensive and offensive but with no actual substance. I wonder if you will be proud one day – that your life’s work was characterised by insults, ridicule, mockery, bluster and false allegations all designed to attack Christians. This will be your legacy – as you seem to spend an awful lot of time and effort doing so.
    Oh, and another thing, what evidence have you actually ‘seen’? Were you there when life spontaneously sprouted from being dead as a rock to becoming life as we know it? Were you there to witness the process of ‘natural selection’ resulting in more complicated life forms? Were you there when the fossils were discovered, and you yourself undertook the tests to determine what was the nature of the fossils – ape or man – or the elusive transitional ape/man? Are you an accomplished geologist and archaeologist – who has excavated and examined and tested the findings? Are you, yourself an accredited historian – who is privy to all the ins and outs of the history of the world?
    Or are you like everybody else – dependent on the testimony of others – to know what to believe about just about anything? What do you actually ‘know’? Because all you have is the testimony of some – and in response to that – you proceed to destructively trample all over testimony of others. You may even be fairly successful in that – along with your like-minded associates. I don’t know why you don’t believe the bible – after all you are described accurately in many places therein.
    Even if, for the sake of argument, the Bible is only the word of men, it simply isn’t rubbish as you describe – it is a fascinating piece of literature, complete with poetry, history, wisdom and creative imagery. It is the most fascinating piece of literature ever written.

    1. @Martha,

      You wrote to Ark: Or are you like everybody else – dependent on the testimony of others – to know what to believe about just about anything?

      Is this not exactly the same as what Christians do? They take the “testimony of others” (whether in the “Good Book” or through clergy) to make decisions related to their life choices. In truth, we ALL do this so it seems quite unfair to accuse another person of this action simply because you disagree with them.

      One more point … and this is not directed solely at you … I find it rather intriguing that believers tend to get quite “testy” in the defense of their faith. Isn’t it actually supposed to be all about “LOVE”?

      1. Nan, the motivation to spread the Gospel is manifold. Once we realise that there’s a possibility that we can meet the Creator of the Universe in all His glory we can be quite excited by the prospect, and not only do we want to obey the commission of Jesus to take the Good News to every nation we also discover a fresh love for our fellow humans which is a reflection of the love Jesus brought to the world all those years ago. It means we want to share it, and when people write stuff which tries to destroy and disrupt that work we naturally try to correct them. But since you say you were once a Christian I’m a bit surprised that you didn’t already understand that.

      2. Nan,

        Theres also the point that if their belief were true then there would be no stress felt in their view being challenged.

      3. @Nan. I think you may have understood me – or perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. What you said is what I meant – that everybody (including Christians) are dependent on the testimony of others for just about anything. I went on to say that it comes down to whose testimony you believe – because few of us are actually eye witnesses to what we believe. Ultimately we take someone’s word.
        I think the motive for Christians defending the faith – should ultimately be about love – the desire for people to hear the truth because of the importance of the implications. But Christians are only people and coming under constant ridicule, mockery and abuse such as the likes of Arkenaten dishes out could certainly take its toll. In any case I don’t believe Christians are called to be ‘nice’ all the time – it’s right to correct people or give them a telling off, if that is what is required – we do that to our friends and family. People on this blog have been very patient, polite and engaged with Arkenaten – but no wonder they get ‘testy’ with him from time to time.

  23. And last of all, can you provide evidence for this howler: “From cover to cover it is nothing but geopolitical historical fiction”>/blockquote>

    I would be more than willing to, and have the evidence (nit merely opinion ) in abundance, and I am sure we could discuss it, even though you are obviously highly defensive of your own position because of your faith. I perfectly understand this. I currently feel the same way. But I am willing to re look at my current perspective, based on the evidence provided. I think this is the difference between our views.
    Faith.

    However, David’s policy of censorship (moderation) is extremely counterproductive to normal and open online dialogue – which can be difficult enough as it is when parties are half way around the world from each other.

    Furthermore, David is selective with what he releases from moderation, thus often giving the impression I am unable or unwilling to respond, perhaps conveying an attitude of insolence.
    It really is no big deal to remove all moderation and then come back to the post and warn or delete commenters who do not adhere to the host’s comment policy.

    The current set up reminds me of a Nanny State.

    It is just darn frustrating and really quite unnecessary.

    1. Let me explain very simply Ark – This is my blog. I invite responses from many different people. I do not like people dominating and filling it up with verbose responses many of which are just abusive rants. So yes I do moderate. And yes I have been fat too patient with you. You have far more posts on here than anyone. If you are not happy then just go somewhere else – and if you wish to debate people invite them to debate on your own blog. We will see what interest there is. But you are not going to clog up mine. You have never shown any willingness to look at any evidence. You presuppose that you know it all. You describe people who agree with you as ‘worthy scholars’ (although you know little about the subject) and those who don;t as idiots. Yes it is frustrating…so perhaps in future just stick to your own blog!

    2. Ark, are you surprised at David’s reluctance to publish every single post? Really? If every Christian decided to flood your own blog with criticism of everything you post, would you do the same? Quite honestly David and I and most other Christians have better things to do with our time and I therefore suggest to David that he disables comments as you people have nothing new to teach him that he hasn’t already heard many times before. David is a busy pastor who does far more than you and me put together and in a thriving church working wonders in its community. Did you ever wonder what would happen in South Africa if all of the churches closed down? I suggest you do some research. For instance check this one out and see what work it does in the community would be lost if it disappeared (this is the ‘other side of the coin’ I mentioned last week but which you conveniently ignored): http://cornerstonechurch.co.za

  24. @ JohnKilpatrick

    Hi, John.

    Still waiting for a reply to these two quotes of yours,(below) re:
    the secular Jews who are ”sympathetic” to the biblical tale of Exodus and Conquest.
    and:
    particularly interested in reading about the historians ( using the historical method) who accept there is any veracity to the miracle working character, Jesus of Nazareth as reflected in the bible.

    There is an even greater furore in Israeli archeological circles over the idea of the Conquest but, it turns out that the certainty of their conclusions has more to do with politics than with evidence. There are Israeli archeologists who are more sympathetic to the Exodus concept than are the majority of Egyptologists but they don’t get to write leader columns in Ha Eretz.

    ….but not by apologists with training in historical method (such as myself.)

    Regards
    Ark.

  25. @ Mark Gordon way up above in his comment. It starts out:

    No David youre right I really cant imagine any piece of evidence that would convince me – but there again Im not the one who needs to do the convincing. You are the one who wants to “reach out” to the non-believer with the bible. You are the one who needs to provide a compelling narrative.

    It seems to me Mark that David Robertson is NOT supplying any convincing, compelling proof or evidence of the truth (truthiness?) of his Bible, but is actually employing a form of Josh Daffern’s methodology/evangelism. Who is Daffern? Great question! 😉

    Josh Daffern writes the blog, New Wineskins: An Apologist for the Modern Church, and he concluded that the sure-fire ticket to luring, converting, or reconverting non-Christians — despite David Robertson’s confusing attempts here — is to NOT give any new or better evidence for “God” or the claimed resurrection of Christ, veracity of Scripture, etc, but rather distract non-Believers and non-Christians from those increasing inadequacies and appeal solely to their emotional neediness or depravity. This is a popular technique used extensively in most all modern charismatic non-denominational churches in the U.S. and abroad in regions of newly developing societies or undeveloped societies, i.e. modern Christian missionary works.

    As you have amply demonstrated Mark in your discourse above with David, the rational, intelligent, cognitive, and unemotional approach — where increased objective truth, plausibility, and probabilities exist — is apparently inaccessible now by Christian apologists and evangelists. I commend you Mark on your patience and courtesy in that debate with him!

    1. And yet the ‘Professor’ has it wrong again. Whoever Josh Daffern is – he is completely wrong – and it is not what I or most Christians do. On the contrary I find that most fundamentalist atheists rely on emotionalism …. The fact that you think Mark represents the ‘rational, intelligent, cognitive and unemotional truth” speaks volumes!

      1. Fair enough David. Everyone is entitled to their own personal opinions. Just remember that there is no compelling evidence, much less overwhelming evidence, that a Monistic or Binary world-view explains in the least how the Universe, Earth, biological life, humans, or animals operate. It certainly isn’t contained in your 4th-century CE canonical Hellenic Bible. The only decent chance faith-following Christians might have in explaining these components of existence and life is through Special Revelation, but NOT special revelation via Scripture; special revelation thru paranormal events. Yet, even with those perceived events, all of them are uniquely subjective and cross into other elaborations by non-Christian explanations too. I understand the corner most theists work themselves into — it is why Secularists begin playing the game of Whack-a-Mole when it comes to nailing down proofs. You have one set of goal-posts, e.g. what you just stated, and other Christians have different/opposed goal-posts, and they all shift to suit individual or herd mentalities. LOL

        Best regards to you.

      2. Your goalposts analogy does not quite work, Prof.,
        and it doesn’t work because your fixation on a 4th C. date for the formation of the NT is personal to you and is neither going to spread to enough people to matter nor last for any length of time. (Judgement based on history of so many failed scholarly attempts to topple trust in the Bible).
        Wisdom raises up seven pillars, not only because one will occasionally be out-of-service but also because measuring the pillars against each other ensures a level roof. On the other hand, thinking that those with a rational faith will change their allegience because someone else declares that all faith is irrational: now that’s irrational.
        Yours,
        John/.

      3. Not to repeat myself, but I’d essentially say the same thing here to you as well Mr. Kirkpatrick. You are entitled to your personal opinions as much as anyone else. That’s fine.

        (assuming this comment gets allowed by WeeFlee Robertson)

        As can be inferred from my “Allowed” comments to WeeFlee Robertson, none in support of wheels5894, and comments that Robertson still hasn’t allowed/approved or has censored, you and others here will have to do the necessary homework and full forensic investigation yourselves into the veracity or fallacies of your 4th-century CE Hellenic canonical New Testament, BUT do so including ALL extant Independent sources/textual-evidence available, i.e. not just the dependent Apostolic/Patristic sources that the common Christian apologists overuses (biasely) to support their faith. WeeFlee claims he did some sort of review like this while in under-grad or seminary, but it is obvious his studies too were narrow, amputated, and mostly (if not entirely) of the overused extant sources of the Roman Apostolic/Patristic Fathers. He did not address any of the non-canonical Jewish sources I touched on in my previous comment(s).

        He and most all Christian apologists that I have discourse with are completely unaware of all the Independent, non-canonical sources/textual-evidence, and less so with the entire library of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their implications/impact DIRECTLY upon the very context of Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism, that is the backdrop and world Yeshua the Nasoraean (Jesus) was a part, several reform movements then (Jesus’ too) which eventually ended after the Jewish-Roman War (c. 66-74 CE) and much of the historical records lost, but not all. This is also the same volatile, destructive Roman-Jewish context/backdrop that began the 400-years of Ecumenical Councils — 7 that are well-known, at least 20 that were convened that most modern Christians are not familiar with nor the reasons it took 400-years minimum to nail down an orthodoxy of the nature’s of God, Jesus, sacraments, doctrines, Church codes, and more critically… what testaments, epistles, and narratives to include into the Hellenic Christian Canon. There were a MINIMUM of 45 various 2nd- thru 5th-century narratives circulating throughout the Mediterranean Synagogues in that Eastern part of the Roman Empire.

        But any equitable, “worth their salt” historian/biblical-student (to borrow a phrase from WeeFlee Robertson) must ask two questions here, along with many, many others… 1) WHY was none of the Dead Sea Scrolls included in the modern Canon? And 2) WHY were the Dead Sea Scrolls hidden in the first place!?

        Again, this complex, convoluted subject of the 4th-century CE Hellenic canonical New Testament is too massive to tackle in its entirety here, or on one blog-post, and honestly too large to do fair justice in one or two weeks!!! Therefore, you, Mr. Robertson, and any other Christian who know nothing about the large amount of contextual history surrounding the final draft of their Bibles must do their own homework, forensic analysis of ALL extant sources/textual-evidence AND consider the newest ones ongoing regardless of origin from the ENTIRE time-period, locations, and the minimum three cultures and numerous sub-cultures impacting Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism, the Roman Empire and her distant Provinces (i.e. Syro-Palestine, Judaea, Arabia-Nabatea, etc), the Jewish-Roman War and why it ignited, the beginning of the end of Rome’s Golden Age (Pax Romana) and how that impacted the 2nd- thru 5th-century CE Province of Judaea and post-war Messiahs and the formation of your canonical New Testament… all of which played critical roles in the start of “The Way” Movement… in other words, Jesus’ reform movement.

        I cannot make you or WeeFlee or any other Christian apologists do this necessary work. If you want more accurate truth and compelling overall evidence, ALL OF YOU must do the homework yourselves! I never know what comments I submit that WeeFlee Robertson is going to allow or disallow. Nonetheless, if this comment gets through, I genuinely hope all of you will go the distance with an exhaustive, equitable full investigation of the COMPLETE historical picture, not just from a Roman-Hellenic Apostolic/Patristic Fathers standpoint.

        Best regards.

        (P.S. Apologies for any grammatical/syntax errors or HTML errors. I didn’t have sufficient time to edit/check this comment)

      4. Any post you post in future which uses the tired ‘won’t be allowed’ will not be allowed….And again your arrogance is breathtaking…you just assume that none of us have looked at and read this stuff! I actually do know a large amount about the contextual history – mind you I hadn’t taken you for a conspiracy theorist! The Dead Sea scrolls were not hidden away

      5. @ WeeFlee,

        You wrote:

        The Dead Sea scrolls were not hidden away.

        I cannot emphasize enough how unequivocally WRONG your are WeeFlee. There are numerous sources easily available to confirm and reconfirm this over and over ad infinitum, but here is what The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library website states on their “Discovery & Publication” page. I’ll emphasize in bold the relevant info for you to pay close attention to — the story/date starts in 1947. The scrolls themselves date from 408 BCE to 218 CE:

        Here, in the intense heat of the barren Judean Desert, we can visualize David fleeing from King Saul seeking refuge in the desert’s mountain caves, and Jesus rejecting the temptations of the devil. For thousands of years the Judean Desert held secrets buried in its sands, only to be revealed by a young Bedouin shepherd in 1947. The discovery of these ancient treasures initiated a modern-day adventure into the past, revolutionizing our understanding of history and religion.

        […]

        When Hebrew University Professor Eliezer Lipa Sukenik caught wind of the Scrolls’ discovery through an Armenian antiquities dealer, he set out to investigate the significance of the finds. Braving Arab-Jewish tensions, he travelled to meet the Armenian dealer at the British divided military zone of the Jerusalem border. In this clandestine meeting, the dealer held up a fragment of leather for the professor to examine. As Sukenik peered through the wire, he recognized the ancient writing.

        ‏Eager to see more, Sukenik travelled with the dealer to Bethlehem to see Salahi, who was in the possession of three Scrolls. Opening the Scrolls, he was amazed to see Hebrew manuscripts, one thousand years older then any existing biblical text. ‏In his diary, Sukenik recollected:

        “My hands shook as I started to unwrap one of them. I read a few sentences. It was written in beautiful biblical Hebrew. The language was like that of the Psalms, but the text was unknown to me. I looked and looked, and I suddenly had the feeling that I was privileged by destiny to gaze upon a Hebrew Scroll which had not been read for more than 2,000 years.”

        I am more than happy to provide the exact URL to this website and page, but an easy search will locate it by typing in WWW (dot) deadseascrolls (dot) org (dot) IL (forward slash). “IL” stands for Israel. On the websites “Historical Background” page it states:

        The Scrolls clarify our understanding of the fundamental differences between these sects and show just how contrasting their various worldviews and practices actually were. All of the ancient Jewish groups seem to have agreed about the centrality and importance of the Bible, although their conceptions of sacred literature may have differed. On the other hand, the non-biblical texts show profound discrepancies in the ways that the different groups interpreted their Scripture and obeyed its guidelines. They further our knowledge of ancient biblical interpretation and the effect of historical events on religious life and ideas. The texts shed light on philosophical disputes about issues such as the Temple and priesthood, the religious calendar and the afterlife. More practical disputes were focused on everyday law and observance.

        These profound societal debates took place at the peak of the colonial ambitions of the Greek and Roman Empires, against the backdrop of invasion and foreign intervention, from the conquest of Alexander the Great to the Bar Kokhba Revolt against Rome [c. 132–136 CE]. Many of the Scrolls were written during the hundred years of Judean independence under the rule of Jewish high priests and kings of the Hasmonean dynasty. Domestic and international political unrest supported the notion of the world’s looming destruction.

        Now, if you and anyone else “worth their salt” (to borrow your phrase) as a decent or an aficionado of Jewish/Christian biblical origins and history, the questions that beg to be asked and answered are…

        WHY did the Roman Emperor and four Roman Legions (the 5th, 15th, 12th, and 10th) led by Titus attack the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem then repulse the various Jewish zealots/warriors and their nine different wadis (settlements, hold-outs), and the last one being of course Masada in 73-74 CE? WHAT had the Jews in Jerusalem and outlying wadis done between 66-74 CE, 132–136 CE, and finally between -218 CE?

        The questions have been answered, well researched, well interpreted, and published by many of the most prolific scholars and experts of the related fields of discipline/study in the world, some of which I listed up above in a previous comment-reply. The precise answer here?…

        The Wadi Qumran scrolls were HIDDEN by the last remaining Palestinian/Judaean Sectarian (ascetic) Jews the Romans hunted and repulsed/extinguished during and after the Jewish-Roman Wars. THAT is why they were not known about in c. 60 CE – 325 CE when the orthodoxy was being debated and the Hellenic Roman canonical New Testament was being debated and compiled. They were hidden so well that it wasn’t until a Bedouin shephard boy accidentally found them in 1947.

        Best regards.

        (P.S. There is really no need for you to persist about any arrogance. Everything I’ve shared can be easily verified by anyone. I’m simply passing on a small portion of the facts, research, info, and evidence critically related to your Bible and the subject of the earliest roots of Christianity. Thanks.)

      6. You write a lot of words and yet manage to say very little…! And you seem to specialise in not getting the point. Of course the Dead Sea Scrolls were ‘hidden away’ in that they were in a cave which no one knew about….but your implication that somehow they have been hidden away by the authorities, trying to cover something up, has no evidence whatsoever.

        The arrogance, comes not from the amount of words you put and links…but from your assumption that none of us have ever read anything and somehow you are enlightening us!

      7. I disagree and find you are in the wrong. But as I’ve already stated, you will need to do more homework, more equitable study and research of this subject to understand the words, terminology, and references shared here. If you do this WeeFlee, you’ll find the scholarship and exceptional academia of the many experts — particularly Jewish & non-Christian ones — to demonstrate more than adequately the holes, errors, inconsistencies, and problems of your 4th-century CE Hellenic canonical Bible.

        Regards to you.

      8. Thats precisely what I mean about the arrogance – you just assume that we don’t understand and need to do more research- then we will come to see that you are right. Your whole argument is based on your own sense of superiority! Breathtaking.

      9. (P.S. Apologies for any grammatical/syntax errors or HTML errors. I didn’t have sufficient time to edit/check this comment)

        Maybe if you’d kept it a bit shorter you’d have had time check it more carefully. I can’t be bothered to read it, but would suggest you think about this (a question I’ve already put to Arkenaten on his blog in a roundabout kind of way).

        If the Bible is not the Word of God what is it? It certainly doesn’t fit into the myth/legend category if you actually read it through because most of it is embarrassing to its authors.

      10. @ CumbriaDd,

        If the Bible is not the Word of God what is it?

        Sure. You can glean at least an introduction of what I might/would say today’s Protestant canonical Bible or Christian New Testament (because it doesn’t contain all ancient Jewish books) represents various circulating oral traditions in Synagogues (and some Judeo-Christian homes) in the Roman Provinces of Syro-Palestinia, Cilicia-Anatolia, and Thracia-Macedonia between about 35 CE thru 120 CE, with some feint themes from Gnostic regions in Aegyptus (Alexandria) and Africa-Proconsularis (Carthage). Again, oral traditions as far as we know in the 21st-century. I’ll assume you know the approx. dates of Yeshua’s/Jesus’ execution.

        The earliest WRITTEN manuscripts about a Hellenic “Jesus Christ” (vs. a Sectarian Jewish Yeshua) were Saul’s epistles dating to no earlier than c. 48 CE (Galatians) thru c. 62 CE (Phillipians). Saul does not write anything about Jesus’ actual words/sayings and doings because he never met him in person. Saul only writes his letters regarding his “new” theology (revised convenant) for Gentiles. The three Synoptic Gospels, which 21st-century Christians think are the only manuscripts about “Christ” weren’t written until c. 70 CE (Mark) thru c. 80ish (Luke) and c. 85ish (Matthew). John was not composed until c. 90ish – 110 CE. All four of them well after the events they narrate by at least 3-4 decades.

        Due to all the inconsistencies, indirect and direct errors of Yeshua’s birth, childhood, 17-missing years, teachings, purpose found in these four gospels, and the outlying sects he was most certainly educated by, involved with, and taught regarding ascetic Jewish living and strict obedience to Mosaic-Torah Law — much of this known via non-canonical texts, evidence, and Jewish history including the Dead Sea Scrolls — makes the Hellenic canonical Bible/N.T. an obvious mish-mash by Greco-Roman editors/compilers quite unfamiliar with Palestinian Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism of which they TRY (poorly) to hijack into their own Imperial religion, or what became the Roman Catholic Church version/apotheosis of an Emperor/Savior.

        Thank you for asking CumbriaDd. Best regards to you.

      11. Paul never met Jesus in person? That of course is a statement that you cannot prove…the most you can say is that that is what you think. Of course Paul claimed otherwise….in his defence before King Agrippa he claimed that he did meet Jesus. The rest of your post is just the same waffle that you have already posted several times (but which you justify by claiming us dumb hicks have obviously never read any of this stuff before!)…

      12. You are exactly correct Mark. In fact, it is a wild, near impossible stretch to misconstrue Acts 26 as a real-time description of meeting Yeshua/Jesus face-to-face in the flesh when he was alive. Nevertheless, I wanted to offer Robertson the chance to share all detailed precise support for his (Robertson’s) claim that Saul and Yeshua ever met in person from sources/evidence other than the Book of Acts. I’m still waiting.

        Best regards to you Mark and thank you.

      13. Your problem is that you were the one who claimed that Paul never met Jesus….You of course cannot know that….Given that almost all we know about Paul is from the Book of Acts and his letters – it is little wonder that you find nothing when you dismiss them. You seem to dismiss anything which does not suit your prejudices.

      14. @ WeeFlee

        As Mark Gordon and Nan have correctly pointed out above (or below; this bad format is difficult to place comments to/for who), Saul never met Jesus “in person.” Saul would’ve had ample reason and motivation to mention a key/critical event/fact like that… had it actually happened. But Saul never specifically states unambiguously that he met Jesus face-to-face. You brought up the King Agrippa encounter from Acts. Knowing those passages and their correct meaning, I asked politely if you’d please provide ANY other sources implying or explicitly stating Saul walked and talked with Jesus when he was alive prior to his execution.

        Don’t avoid the question or divert it by tossing silly childish personal punches. Try to be more professional by simply answering my question:

        What other sources can you provide besides the Book of Acts that clearly shows Saul met Jesus in person, face-to-face, PRIOR TO c. 30 – 33 CE and his execution/crucifixion.

        Thanks.

      15. Paul does state unambiguously that he met Jesus. And no I can’t provide any other sources from the 1st Century. But remember we are discussing your rather silly claim that you know Paul did not meet Jesus. You can believe he didn’t..and you can deny Acts as a reliable source…but you cannot deny Acts as a reliable source BECAUSE you know that Paul did not meet Jesus. And I never claimed that Paul met Jesus before Jesus’s death and resurrection.

      16. @ WeeFlee

        I can’t provide any other sources from the 1st Century.

        So provide all the reasons you WeeFlee personally feel that Saul met Jesus in person, face-to-face while Jesus was still alive. Provide any and all sources corroborating your feeling please.

        …you cannot deny Acts as a reliable source…

        On the contrary, many very noteable biblical-historical scholars, not just Christian ones, agree that the attributed author of the Book of Acts, Luke, was knowledgeable of the 1st-century CE Fertile Crescent, specifically places, people, and many general events by word-of-mouth, manuscripts, or by his own time-limited eyewitnessing. This is argued against, Luke lived in that time, there in that part of the very oppressive (on Jews) Roman Empire. But this does not have any bearing on whether or not his narratives happened the way he says they happened. Here is where the consensus of biblical-historical scholars agree that Acts is unreliable. I agree with them. And there are two compelling methods to corroborate Acts unreliability.

        No. 1 —

        The first is to see if he is internally consistent in his telling of his stories. If not, then that would show that he is not really concerned in getting the facts straight. The second is to compare him with other very reliable Independent sources of the time to see if those coincide or not. As it turns out, a number of things that Luke writes about Saul are things that Saul himself writes about, so these can be compared. Whenever they talk about the same thing, as you’ll read below, they contradict one another. Luke (or Saul?) does not appear to be historically accurate.

        First, internal consistency. Luke sometimes tells the same story two or three times. When he does this, there are striking contradictions, which show, among other things, that Luke is more interested in spinning a good yarn than he is in preserving a historically accurate narrative. Not such a surprise, this sensationalizing oral-writing style was popular then. I’ll cite two examples. First, Jesus’ ascension. In Luke 24 (please read it for yourself and see) Jesus rises from the dead, on that day meets with his disciples, and then, the same day, he ascends to heaven from the town of Bethany. But when you read Acts 1, written by the same author, you find that Jesus did not ascend on that day or at that place. Jesus instead spends 40-days with his disciples proving to them that he had been raised from the dead. This is very strange and unclear why he would have to prove it! Let alone do this proving for 40-days; and only then — 40-days after the resurrection — does he float into the sky. And here he ascends not from Bethany, but from Jerusalem. Huh!? Luke tells the same story TWICE, but in two radically different ways. Historical accuracy is not Luke’s major concern, or whomever are writing Acts.

        No. 2 —

        Second example. On three occasions Acts narrates the (epileptic?) conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus, Chapters 9, 22, and 26. Compare/contrast them closely to one another, and you will find very odd contradictions. In Chapter 9 Saul’s companions hear a voice of Jesus talking to Saul, but they can’t see anyone; in Chapter 22 they see a light, but don’t hear anything. Which is it!? In Chapter 9 the companions are left standing and bedazzled while Saul falls in an epileptic seizure(?) to the ground; in Chapter 26 they are all knocked to the ground. Which is it? In Chapters 9 and 22 Saul is told to go to Damascus to be instructed by a man named Ananias about his next assignment. In Chapter 26 Saul is not told to go be instructed by Ananias, instead Jesus himself instructs him. Once again, which is it!?

        ————————

        So these 2 examples (of more) simply show that Luke was far more interested in telling a gripping, beguiling story than he was in being precise and consistent. His artistic license has seriously undercut his historical accuracy.

        But even more noteworthy are the external contradictions with another source: Saul’s epistles. Whenever Acts relates an incident from Saul’s life that Saul himself writes about, once again there are striking and irreconcilable differences. Sometimes these involve small details. For example, Acts 17 is clear and unambiguous: when Saul traveled to bring the gospel to Athenae, he came by himself, without Timothy or any of the other apostles. Yet, Saul is also clear and unambiguous… in 1 Thessalonians 3 we read that he came to Athenae precisely in the company of Timothy, not all alone. So how can it be both? Answer: it isn’t. Who is most unreliable in their narratives? Luke? Saul? Both?

        Sometimes the differences are major and really matter. When Saul writes about his (epileptic?) conversion in Galatians 1 he insists that after he had his “vision” of Jesus, he did not — he absolutely and positively did not (he swears to it!) — go to confer with the other apostles in Jerusalem, not for years! And what happens when Saul converts according to Acts 9? What is the first thing he does after he leaves Damascus? He makes a B-line to Jerusalem to confer with the other apostles. In Acts Saul does precisely what he himself swears he didn’t do.

        Even more revealing and striking than the contradictions in the itinerary and travels of Saul are the discrepancies in his preaching between his epistles and Acts. Here is just one example. In Acts 17 when Saul is preaching to pagans of Athenae, he tells them that they worship idols out of ignorance. They simply don’t know any better. Perhaps that’s because what most all Roman Gentiles do. LOL And because of ignorance, Yahweh overlooks their mistake; but then he gives them a chance to recognize the truth and worship Yahweh alone. HOLD ON!!! That stands in sharp contrast with the views that Saul himself lays out in his letter to the Romans.

        It is now important for readers to know that Saul’s epistles were written between c. 48 – c. 55 CE (Romans) and c. 61 CE(Philipians). Acts (by Luke?) wasn’t written until no earlier than c. 85 – 95 CE. That’s an approx. time difference of 30-years! Continuing…

        In Romans 1 Saul states his views of pagan idolatry and false worship, and they are completely contrary to what he allegedly said in Acts 17 according to Luke. In Romans, Paul tells us that pagans worship idols precisely because they did know that there was only one Yahweh who was to be worshiped, and they rejected that knowledge in full consciousness of what they were doing as normal everyday Roman citizens. And because of that Yahweh has cast his angry wrath down upon them. And once again, which is it!? Do they commit idolatry out of pure Roman ignorance so Yahweh overlooks their mistake because he was too busy with indigenous tribes in N. America and S. America? Or are Roman Gentiles fully aware of what they’re doing so Yahweh is not so busy and judges them? Assuming Saul himself knew pretty well his own views, 😉 you would have to say that Luke’s(?) Acts has misrepresented, distorted, tampered with the very core of Saul’s neo-theological message.

        Conclusion: Every time one compares what Acts has to say about Saul with what Saul has to say about himself in his own epistles, you find discrepancies, even glaring errors. Just as you find discrepancies internally, whenever Acts recounts the very same event more than once. Furthermore, and what I did not tackle here… are the major problems and differences between Acts and Saul’s Christology (the understandings of a new Greco-Roman Christ’s nature), escatology (or “End Times”), and the definition and meanings of apostleship. Saul had many clashes with the original apostles… and for good reason: Saul never met or walked with Jesus in person! Saul use to hunt down and persecute Nasoraeans!

        As emotionally valuable as Acts may be as an enthralling story about the first years and decades of the early-Nasoraean “The Way” movement, the reality is that the book of Acts plain and simple is NOT historically reliable if Saul’s own epistles are considered reliable.

        Therefore WeeFlee, yes indeed, we CAN DENY Acts as historically unreliable. And all things considered — some of which we’ve debated here — one can reasonably conclude that had Saul actually met Jesus in person, face-to-face while he was still alive… Saul most CERTAINLY would’ve have stated so unambigously! After all, he felt it very important to be of equal fame and status as the original Jerusalem-based apostles such as Peter and James the blood-brother of Jesus/Yeshua.

        Regards for you WeeFlee. 🙂

      17. Always disappointing when people quote mine without context. I said that you cannot deny Acts as a reliable source on the basis that Paul never met Jesus.

        I’m afraid that I don’t have time to answer all your other points – although they are fairly easy to answer. Let me take just a couple of examples.

        re the Ascension in Luke 24 and Acts 1 – Thanks for the advice to read it for myself (forgive me but your overwhelming arrogance again shines through – do you seriously think that I have never read or considered this – having studied and taught the Bible for over 35 years!). Your opinion of Luke is pretty low! You think this doctor was so stupid that he wrote two public accounts which are directly contradictory of one another. Except of course they are not directly contradictory of one another. You seem to be unaware of how Jews wrote history – not in the Western linear fashion. There is no problem with there being a gap of 40 days between Luke 24:49 and 50.

        You also seem to have this rather bizarre habit of calling Paul, Saul – despite the clear attestation that he had changed his name. I suppose I should have expected that you would think 2,000 years later that you would know better1 Your example of a supposed contradiction between Paul’s teaching in Romans and his sermon to the Athenians is laughable. Paul tells the Athenians that he is going to tell them about the unknown God they are ignorant of and yet in Romans 1 he accuses them of suppressing the truth. Working on the logical principle that A cannot be non A, you need to be able to show that Acts 17 is A, and Romans 1 is non A. This is clearly not the case. It is perfectly possible to be both ignorant and suppress the truth. IN fact Paul himself says so – in rejecting the innate knowledge that every human being has of God, they thinking becomes futile and their foolish hearts are darkened (Romans 1:21). They have exchanged the truth of God for a lie.

        Of course you can deny Acts as historically reliable – and you will. But your rejection has nothing to do with facts and everything to do with your prejudgements.

      18. Of course you can deny Acts as historically reliable – and you will. But your rejection has nothing to do with facts and everything to do with your prejudgements.

        It is not just me, it is the general, independent scholarly consensus of biblical-historical experts. Acts is unreliable, even by Saul’s epistles. It seems you just don’t want to face the exhaustive evidence for the unreliability of Acts. That is a symptom of a psychiatric disorder WeeFlee. Keep avoiding and distracting, but the evidence and critical textual analysis and comparisons by all the Independent experts stand on their results.

        Since this is your censored blog, you’ll have the final word, of course. 😉

        P.S. Are you going to continue holding back my other 2-4 comments?

      19. No – it is not the ‘general independent scholarly consensus. I know many biblical scholars who disagree with that. And there is no such thing as ‘independent’ in this – everyone comes with presupposition. You also demean yourself and your argument by claiming that those who differ from you are psychiatrically ill. You in fact have not provided any evidence…the examples you gave were answered and now you just abuse. You’re done…

      20. David,
        there does seem to be something wrong with your WordPress settings. You are replying to PT’s post dated January 28, 2019 at 8:30 pm; a search for “Taboo” using [Edit | Find on this page] does not find this particular comment and I, at least, did not receive a [new comment] notice.

        Agreeing with your disappointment, I suppose it’s no wonder that someone who assumes that you don’t know what you’re talking about seems to imagine that noone will notice if he misquotes you so maliciously.

        Yours,
        John/.

      21. If you are right, Mark,
        that

        Pauls text does not readily paint the picture of a man. Rather a god.

        then he made a terrible job of it. Paul’s portrayal of Jesus Christ is basically one of service, suffering and salvation.
        We can acknowledge that Richard Feynman said ‘It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is.‘ without believing it to be true.
        Similarly, we ought to acknowledge that the Bible presents Christ to us as a man, whether we believe it or not — [1 Timothy 3:16] —

        Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

        Yours,
        John/.

      22. John

        1 Timothy is not Paul.

        You would also be better placed if you didnt quote Feynmann in this context. It doesnt serve your needs. Of course we dont know what energy “is”. We know what it does though. We know how it behaves and we know that that is repeatable.

      23. @David

        Re: Paul meeting Jesus

        Paul saw a vision and heard a voice that claimed to be Jesus. In his defense before Agrippa, he merely reiterated this experience. Nowhere did he state to have met Jesus “in person”.

        One other point … this encounter was described in Acts, not by Paul himself. In Galatians, Paul mentions “receiving a revelation” from Jesus and writes Jesus “appeared to him,” but he doesn’t elaborate. Surely if he had met him in person, he would have said much more.

      24. Professor Taboo, that’s not what I asking, although your answer was well copy-pasted, I didn’t ask people where it came from, I asked what IS the Bible. I asked the same question of Arkenaten and he still hasn’t replied and others have replied to say they don’t care, so maybe you can help. If the Bible is not the Word of God and was not written by its assumed authors, what is it? And I ask for the following reasons, drawn at random, quoting from some of the well-known Bible stories:

        For instance, WHO wrote the account of Abraham taking his son up the mountain and not quite killing him as a sacrifice, and WHY did they make that up? What purpose did that story serve?

        Who wrote about feeble young Jacob – egged on by his mother – cheating his elder brother out of his birthright and inheritance? What’s the point of that story when myths and legends are supposed to teach us lessons or bring kudos to their subjects?

        Who wrote the squalid little tale about that w****r Onan and why? What purpose did that serve? Read it carefully before you try to answer that one.

        Who wrote about the Exodus from Egypt and why did they portray the population as constantly grumbling and complaining rather than adoring of their leaders? Also why concoct such a weird story about the people painting fresh blood around the doors?

        Who wrote about the Judges and why did they include stories about repeated failure and shame? Does the book of Judges really fit the pattern of myths and legends?

        Who wrote the books of Kings and why, when every one of them ultimately failed or went off the rails?

        Who wrote Isaiah, and why is it full of disdain for the nation of Israel? And why is so full of prophecies which came true long after it was written?

        Why was Jonah portrayed as such a coward and eventually puked up on a beach?

        Honestly, is this really the stuff of myth and legend? I challenge you to compare it with other myths and legends to see the difference.

      25. @ CumbriaDd,

        If you don’t mind me doing more copying/pasting, I’ll copy/paste your above question to me as follows:

        If the Bible is not the Word of God what is it?

        Since I did not directly state or hint in my answer to you that the Bible WAS the “Word of God” (as you put it), then by common deduction I answered your simple question: “What is it, if not ‘the Word of God?'” I answered it thoroughly because your question was a nice, open-ended question which I like and appreciate you asking in that manner. Thank you. You didn’t frame it in such a way where I had to answer your (constrained) A, B, or C answers. Hence, I did answer it directly. I’ll emphasize in bold exactly where:

        …makes the Hellenic canonical Bible/N.T. an obvious mish-mash by Greco-Roman editors/compilers quite unfamiliar with Palestinian Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism of which they TRY (poorly) to hijack into their own Imperial religion, or what became the Roman Catholic Church version/apotheosis of an Emperor/Savior.

        I’ll rephrase for more clarity:

        The Bible you are infrencing here with WeeFlee in this blog-post, i.e. the 4th-century CE Hellenic New Testament canon, does not reliably reflect known and well-known verified and plausibly supported authentic history of Second Temple Judaism/Messianism, the period between c. 408 BCE to 74 CE, nor the authentic history of Jewish Sectarianism in Syro-Palestine between 74 CE to 135 CE (the end of the Jewish-Roman Wars)… both of which very large portions of sociopolitical and religious movements/conflicts are critically missing in yours, WeeFlee’s, and any Christian’s Bible/N.T.

        You asked later in your 2nd reply:

        If the Bible is not the Word of God and was not written by its assumed authors, what is it?

        Again, kudos for asking open-ended questions. Thank you. For more clarification, I did not specifically state which books, which epistles, which gospels were authored by or attributed to… so your framing here “…not written by its assumed authors” is your phrasing, not mine. For example, seven of Saul’s epistles are generally agreed upon by most biblical scholars (Christian or not) to be authentic. The other 6 or 7 are not agreed upon as reliably authentic from Saul. Point being, the modern canonical Bible/N.T. you and WeeFlee are inferencing here is NOT a 100% reliable or authentic Testament about Yeshua the Nasoraean or the disciples/Apostles and the earliest church. That IS what I am saying, in a thorough lengthy manner. Hahahaha. 😉

        Regarding the rest of your 2nd reply, about the “quoting from some of the well-known Bible stories,” I will borrow from your first comment to me, “I can’t be bothered to read it, but would suggest you think about this (a question I’ve already put to Arkenaten on his blog…” And don’t take this wrong or in a sensitive manner, but I’m not interested anymore in the Bible’s beguiling stories. I learned them inside and out, forwards and backwards in under-grad, seminary, church ministries/leadership, and three long tours of missionary work abroad, and now continue to utilize Scripture for more expanded non-Christian reasons. Besides, the Bible/N.T. is not going anywhere or changing one bit. That would be radical heresy and defamation in light of Revelations 22:18-19.

        Finally CumbriaDd, out of courtesy and respect to strangers, this will be my final reply to you. I really only have the time here for wheels5894, Mark Gordon, WeeFlee (as blog-owner), and 1 or 2 replies to a few others. I simply have other more important obligations to take care of rather than spend excessive time and energy with too many others. I hope you understand and thanks in advance for it.

        Best regards to you.

      26. Hi, Prof,
        you ask a couple of questions:

        But any equitable, “worth their salt” historian/biblical-student (to borrow a phrase from WeeFlee Robertson) must ask two questions here, along with many, many others… 1) WHY was none of the Dead Sea Scrolls included in the modern Canon? And 2) WHY were the Dead Sea Scrolls hidden in the first place!?

        1. Some of the Scrolls are copies of canonical books — Isaiah for example — and I understand that the chief critical finding is that the Massoretic Text preserves the ancient text very well.
        2. The most likely reason that the scrolls were hidden in the first place is the one you assume in another post:

        The Wadi Qumran scrolls were HIDDEN by the last remaining Palestinian/Judaean Sectarian (ascetic) Jews the Romans hunted and repulsed/extinguished during and after the Jewish-Roman Wars.

        However, the practice of ‘hiding’ texts was not restricted to times of peril. In synagogues there was a room called a Geniza where documents were placed, not so much to preserve them as to get rid of them without actually destroying them.

        These two questions — especially the first — seem to demonstrate that you don’t have a competent grasp of the subject you have chosen to examine us on which I would have thought is very unproffesorial.

        Yours,
        John/.

      27. Hello again John K. Before I address your points, first allow me to repeat what I stated to CumbriaDd out of courtesy and respect to you and strangers here:

        I really only have the time here for wheels5894, Mark Gordon, WeeFlee (as blog-owner), and 1 or 2 replies to a few others. I simply have other more important obligations to take care of rather than spend excessive time and energy with too many others. I hope you understand and thanks in advance…

        Thank you John K. in advance as well. Time is limited for me as I’m sure it is for everyone else. And the reality is all of these enlightening revealing discussions will get buried, lost, “hidden” away 😉 and/or archived on this blog, perhaps never to be seen/read again. Hahaha. I think this should be kept in mind.

        You stated:

        1. Some of the Scrolls are copies of canonical books — Isaiah for example — and I understand that the chief critical finding is that the Massoretic Text preserves the ancient text very well.

        True. On the other hand, many are not inside the canonical Bible/N.T. particularly those found in Qumran Caves 1, 3, and 11 containing scrolls such as Community Rule, the War Scroll, Thanksgiving Hymns, Testament of Levi, some Apocryphons, Book of Giants, other rules, instructions, more mysteries, the New Jerusalem, the Copper Scroll, Book of Jubilees, The Great Psalms, Sefer ha-Milmah, and many others still unidentified. Therefore, there is much more to these hundreds of scrolls and what they say and mean about Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism inside the very oppressive Roman Empire than what most Christians and apologists know today. That’s a general assessment, not a punch/poke at anyone specific, other than perhaps WeeFlee. 😉

        Continuing you stated:

        However, the practice of ‘hiding’ texts was not restricted to times of peril. In synagogues there was a room called a Geniza where documents were placed, not so much to preserve them as to get rid of them without actually destroying them.

        There is very good evidence that the scrolls were buried/hidden inside the caves in 68 CE. What was happening in 68 CE in, around, and amongst all the wadis of Syro-Palestine? At least 3 major events:

        • Jewish Messianic zealots hated Roman rule, taxation, and oppression.

        • Roman Legions had and would quickly crush any and all Jewish insurrections.

        • Jerusalem was destroyed along with the Temple in 70 CE.

        Many/Most biblical scholars and historians believe Jewish scribes were attempting to preserve their sacred scrolls by hiding them in the caves of Qumran. Recent history had repeatedly shown them the Roman soldiers would destroy their treasures if they were found. This is not news to anyone or any irrational deduction for someone who understands the context and details of Rome and Sectarian Judaism/Messianism during that epoch.

        Regarding your last paragraph, that is merely your personal opinion; that’s fine. It doesn’t change or effect the content of these discussions/comments or in any way what can indeed be learned by an extensive, equitable study of Rome and Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism.

        By only using the tiny lens of the 4th-century CE Hellenic canonical N.T./Bible and/or the 3rd- thru 5th-century Apostolic/Patristic writings, a person/student WILL NOT get the entire historical picture and all the vital components and variables involved in the authentic history/story of Yeshua’s Nasoraeans, the Essenes, Ebionites, Herodians, Samaritans, Hasidians, Zealots/Sicarii, and of course the very well-known Pharisees and Sadducees. The latter two sects are commonly known today because they aligned more with and appeased Roman-Hellenic authorities… which of course were ultimately victorious in squashing and exterminating Jewish or Jewish-like groups such as the ascetic hardline Nasoraeans and Essenes of Qumran.

        Best regards to you John K.

      28. Nevertheless, Prof.,
        the fact remains that most of these scrolls will have been hidden to get rid of them without actually destroying them. Which leaves us with your more substantial question about inclusion in the canon. The Qumran Sect was not Christian so I assume you are asking why the Sectarian documents were not included in the Hebrew Bible. As it happens, no additions entered the Hebrew canon after the time of Ezra, so we can’t assume that the Qumran Sectarian Documents were treated differently from other, non-sectarian, documents that were not included either. (The inclusion of The Book of Jubilees in the Ethiopian canon is IMHO an exception that proves the rule.)

        So I’ve done the research and find your questions to be red herrings (liberally dressed with lemon juice.)

        Yours,
        John/.

      29. @ John K,

        For a final courteous response and final clarification, I’ll address/correct two of your misunderstandings of what I stated and about Qumran and the DSS and also 3rd, the remaining parts of your reply.

        No. 1

        The Qumran Sect was not Christian…

        This portion of your sentence is anachronistic. Because the scrolls are a library of texts between 408 BCE and 318 CE, the majority of them cannot possibly be “Christian.” Even the term/label “Christian” — first used in derogatory ways by Romans, Hellenic Gentiles, etc, in similar derisive vains of “barbaric Jews” like Cicero spoke — did not originate or become widely used until well into the 2nd-century CE. Furthermore, Hebrews spoke about Yeshua’s/Jesus’ followers as Nasoraeans about the same time. And the wider context of “Nasoraeans” includes rural, ascetic sects of Judaism outside of Jerusalem and throughout Judaea and Samaria where Ebionites, Essenes of Qumran, and several other rural groups existed. Lastly, I never stated anywhere nor implied that the DSS were Christian, just to be clear.

        No. 2

        …so I assume you are asking why the Sectarian documents were not included in the Hebrew Bible.

        No, that is an incorrect extrapolation on your part AND the wrong Bible. I was saying WeeFlee’s Bible, which is inferred to be the Protestant, Hellenic, 4th-century CE canonical New Testament and Old Testament in circulation today. The Hebrew Bible or the Tinakh is different than WeeFlee’s Bible. The loose mixing of terms by 21st-century Christians sometimes/often leads to confusion, innocently or not, about WHICH texts/testaments are being discussed. As I assume you know, there are MANY different “Bibles” out there different than the one WeeFlee is inferencing here in this blog-post. The main point to my two above questions as to why large parts of the DSS were not included in WeeFlee’s Protestant, Hellenic, 4th-century CE canonical New Testament when obviously by other Apostolic/Patristic Fathers and authors of the many independent sources as well as non-Apostolic sources/texts… all KNEW in those centuries about these similar and contrasting sects/beliefs, yet did not include them in the final canon. Why and why not is the more critical question(s) for modern, curious readers.

        Therefore, the remainder of your response is null and void. You started on a false premise and perhaps misconstrued (wrongly twisted?) what I stated and did not state.

        No. 3

        I’ve done the research and find your questions to be red herrings (liberally dressed with lemon juice.)

        Hahaha… I can roll with the humor. I’m not a red herring fan, however, I do love salmon and trout… yes, with just the right amount of lemon juice, butter, and perhaps capers if appropriate with a select wine. 😉 But unfortunately, your erroneous premise makes this humor null and void as well.

        I do wish you the best John K. in your fuller reexamination of the DSS, their impact on authentic Judeo-Christian history, and other related, independent non-canonical texts and their impact, and hence, your (greatly?) revised truer conclusion.

        My final best wishes to you.

      30. @JOhn K

        Hi, John
        STILL waiting for your list of historians who consider there is veracity to historical claims for the miracle working god man of the gospels Jesus of Nazareth.

        Do we presume you were mistaken or were you simply trying to pull the wool over the eyes of believers?

      31. So what methods do you consider have proved the most effective in converting – or if you prefer – bringing to Christ those that are regarded as ”lost”?
        Regards

        Ark

      32. David: is this now a semantic debate over who gets to own words like “rational?” Belief in biblical infallibility and resurrections is entirely rational — of course — but fundy atheists are beset with “emotionalism?”

        The fact that your responses along these lines — veering wildly off-topic into shopworn cliches about atheists–merely demonstrates that you’ve failed to make the case for your original thesis.

      33. No – If you read his comment (on which I was commenting) – he was the one claiming to be rational and defeating the emotionalism of religion….if you want to use words like rational then you have to display some rationality….

      34. @ WeeFlee,

        I think if your go back and reread all of my comment-replies there is sufficient and ample rationale. When I use caps for certain words that denotes importance, significant action-verbs or precise titles with or containing critical context and/or definition. It does not denote emotionalism. Hope that clarifies.

        Thanks.

      35. “1 Timothy is not Paul.”

        It’s astounding how often atheists latch onto radical theories from recent centuries regarding skepticism over Biblical authorship, when there is ample evidence from those whom the apostles discipled, who became the leaders of the generation after those apostles, who firmly attest to apostolic authorship.

        In fact, in 1 Tim 3:16 Paul is quoting a hymn already used liturgically when he wrote to Timothy most probably in the early 60’s, which commentators believe was in use within a decade of the Crucifixion!

        So your extreme confidence that it wasn’t by Paul is extremely misplaced by far greater evidence that he did.

    2. “….the scholarship and exceptional academia of the many experts — particularly Jewish & non-Christian ones — to demonstrate more than adequately the holes, errors, inconsistencies, and problems of your 4th-century CE Hellenic canonical Bible.”

      Don’t you just love how the only reputable scholars are those fringe academics with a vested interest in the writings outside of the Canon being authentic, who are deemed “exceptional”, & those within being full of “holes, errors, inconsistencies, and problems”.

      Forget the fact that they’re hopelessly outnumbered, with zero REAL evidence. Just circle the wagons & shoot anything that moves!

      If it wasn’t serious, it would be laughable!!

  26. David:
    I am still interested in your response regarding which methods you have personally found to be the most effective for converting non – believers?
    I am sure there are a number of readers here who would also be interested, Christians or otherwise.

    1. Certainly – simply preach the word, rely on the Spirit….live a Christian life….reason…..love….challenge…proclaim the truth…..or do you want more specifics?

      1. Yes, specifics would help as none of what you list has ever made a difference to any normal, well-balanced well adjusted individua I am aware of.
        In fact, if you listen to former Christians they will invariably tell you that this stuff – especially ”rely on the (holy?) Spirit” is just so much twaddle.

        It’s telling you made absolutely no mention of evidence. Why is that?

      2. Except I did make mention of evidence…but there is no evidence you would accept – except that which confirms your prejudice already….You asked what a Christian should do….I told you. The prejudice is seen in that you think your position is ‘normal, well-balanced and adjusted’. If your posts are your evidence of this normal, well balanced etc _ I am very thankful to be abnormally rational!

      3. Oh, and a question if I may?
        Previously my comments would still show up in the thread as ”awaiting moderation.”
        Now they just disappear into the ether.
        Have you adjusted the settings so’s a commenter cannot even see what they write now?
        And if so, why?

    2. Arkenaten:
      “I am still interested in your response….”

      Such pleas litter your posts, yet you have made a great number of unsupported assertions here of which I have asked for evidence, yet they go unanswered.

      I don’t see that as very honest, do you?

      1. @ Kim
        As far as I am aware, all of my assertions are supported, either with peer-reviewed scientific evidence, archaeological evidence and academic/scholarly consensus.
        However, as you seem to vehemently disagree with my statements, please list those assertions you feel I have misrepresented and we can discuss them?

      2. Arkenaten,

        You have made a number of sweeping unsupported assertions to which I have offered rebuttals & requests for supporting information, none of which you have responded to. And now you expect me to go back & find it all for you again? Are you seriously that lazy?? Go find them & respond to each if you’re able.

      3. @Kim
        If you have observed, elsewhere Arkenaten says: “I am never intentionally untruthful”.
        Please do not get upset but, the statement “I am never intentionally untruthful” is deliberately untruthful as it is part of an “artificial intelligence” experiment.
        Arkenaten actually is not a person. Arkenaten is a machine engaged in learning how to converse freely and “intelligently”. The theory of such a machine was first introduced in 1950 by A. M. Turing in his seminal paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence”.
        So for instance the machine Arkenaten does not know what is lazy. It now is going to try and discover what lazy is. That is a very big task for any machine.
        What is clear, and that is why I ask you not to be upset, is that you think you are “talking” to a person but you are not, you are “talking” to a machine.
        Basically, what the machine Arkenaten has to do is emulate a person.
        So far Arkenaten is operating quite well at pretending not to be a machine. Particularly since it has engaged in learning what “intelligence” is by grappling with one of the thorniest existential questions of all time: Is there a God?
        Kim, if you want to make the experiment go on, just now please turn the table around and ask Arkenaten to prove to you that it is not a machine. By so doing it will discover the difficulty of knowing whether or not there is a God.
        Please bear in mind that the ultimate in artificial intelligence is an intelligence that could fool God, not just you.
        Thank you for your understanding.
        Plainerrata

  27. Except I did make mention of evidence…but there is no evidence you would accept –

    Then please identify the evidence you mentioned.

    And yes I would accept evidence – falsifiable for example.

      1. Someone losing an entire eye, and a brand new eye spontaneously regenerating. Someone losing an entire limb, ditto.

      2. This is not an uncommon suggestion from sceptics. However, it means the person witnessing such an event would be given an unfair advantage because for it to be fair everybody in the world should be allowed to see similar phenomena, and we know that would be just daft.

        However, what we do have, are eyewitness accounts of such events, in the Bible. In there we’re presented with several accounts of people being raised from death back to life, including the Song of God, Jesus Himself. And that’s good enough for me.

      3. @ChrisS

        Provided he is Christian, a commentator commenting on the miracle stories will have you know that he vigorously denies the relevance of miracles as the clearest possible proof of God’s existence.

        Indeed, one commentator responding to you clearly sets out that God’s existence cannot be known from miracles but that it can be known from the Truth witnessed to by Moses and Jesus Christ as well as the fixed and immutable order of nature.

        I should like to add, however, that you are quite mistaken to think “Someone losing an entire eye, and a brand new eye spontaneously regenerating. Someone losing an entire limb, ditto” would convince you of God. It would instead confirm to you that Creation is imperfect and, if an imperfect Creation were not to unhinge your mind completely, it certainly would make you doubt everything that you already know about God, people and the world.

        If this was not the case, then Peter who worked miracles surely would have written one or more letters setting out how to work miracles for the sake of convincing non-believers, but it so happens Peter, the miracle worker, did not. Why do you think that is?

        It most probably is because Peter knows that Creation is perfect. After all, Peter is writing to people who are partakers of the divine nature; these are they that have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

        ChrisS, if you think about it, the self-contradicting evidence required of you puts you in an untenable position and were you to obtain it; it only would land you in a position that is more untenable and hopeless than the one you are presently in; as I take it that you do not want to become insane.

        If, however, you would like to be a partaker, instead of a mere contemplator, of the God’s divine nature, then just ask God. You cannot ask for more, and should your request be honoured, then doubtless some caring prayers will have been answered.

        Edouard

      4. I told you – falsifiable evidence.
        Furthermore, it seems reasonable to venture that if such a god exists he would know full well what evidence would convince any skeptic, thus, I would not presume to preempt your god and leave such evidence to his discretion.

      5. Thats a non-answer. Jesus rose from the dead….that’s falsifiable…but not by you! What evidence would you accept that would convince you of God?

  28. Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
    Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”

    But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
    I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

    I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
    I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.

    Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
    Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.
    From the Lord comes deliverance.
    May your blessing be on your people.

  29. @BumblingDaydreamer

    What we have are fables interpreted as “eyewitness accounts.” That may be good enough for you, but for it to be fair everybody in the world would have to be equally credulous, and we know that would be just daft.

    1. So, Chris,
      if they’re fables, it should be so much easier to find the simplifications and thus show that the resurrection stories are false. We have throughout Scripture but particularly in the Gospels, parables which are very similar to fables in genre, so, using them as a baseline, it should be easy to show the evidence of failure to convert all traces of the most cunningly devised fable that you can imagine into the convincing ‘eyewitness accounts’ that you are so anxious to discount.
      Funnily enough, there is a parable that fits your posture like a glove — [Luke 16:19-31] — it ends:-

      … And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’

      and it fits because when the Messiah gave sight to the man born blind many could not believe because of their preconceived notions of what the Messiah would be there to do.
      Yours,
      John/.

      1. “….and it fits because when the Messiah gave sight to the man born blind many could not believe because of their preconceived notions of what the Messiah would be there to do.”

        Not to mention the fact that, after hearing of the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus, the Sanhedrin plotted to kill him again! So what evidence will it take for a skeptic? Is it possible to be as blinkered to reality as Diogenes alleged about Pyrrho, that he mistrusted his senses to such an extent that he would have fallen off cliffs or been run over by carts and savaged by dogs had his friends not followed close by?

        These allegations are understood to be Diogenes’ fanciful inventions, but can the possibility of skepticism leading to such a mindset still be real? I think the evidence for such a reality is clearly visible on this thread.

    2. “What we have are fables interpreted as “eyewitness accounts.”

      As historians of that era generally agree that the Gospel accounts are trustworthy as history, even those like Bart Ehrman who are skeptical in regards Jesus’ divinity, your assertion falls flat.

      As you said, that may be good enough for you, but it just reveals your own anti-supernatural bias. After all, historians are allowed the privilege of neither allowing or disallowing the accounts of the miraculous in Scripture, as their focus is exclusively on history. But the problem for those who wish to deny the accounts of Jesus’ miracles, yet accede to the corporate opinion of historians (let alone those like you who hide their unbelief behind the irrational blinkers of descriptors such as “fables”) is that it’s impossible to sift the miraculous episodes from the history, as they’re “woven into the same cloth”.

      So to make such a claim for the historical accounts in the NT is, as you say, “daft”.

    3. How rude! Changing someone’s username – in a most disrespectful way – thinking you’re being clever and funny. This person is probably your elder – is there any place in your atheist world for respecting your elders – or is this the fruit of your brand of atheism?

  30. @KimB

    “…reveals your own anti-supernatural bias.”

    You make it sound like it’s supposed to be some kind of flaw. I might just as well accuse you of anti-naturalistic bias; and would be on firmer ground, as you’d find it exceedingly difficult to demonstrate any empirical evidence for the “supernatural”, other than unremarkable anecdotes, and your own naive faith in the Gospel’s veracity. The “supernatural” does not exist, to any verifiable degree.

    I’m far from persuaded by your attempt to blur the distinction between “historian” and “apologist” when it comes to biblical scholarship, and I’ve already remarked earlier to David on apologists’ semantic confusion over the word “rational.” Anyone who believes in biblical inerrancy, or a virgin birth, resurrections, and so on, has no claim to the term “rational.”

    The fact that unswerving devotion to these myths is generally in decline across most of the West tends to bear me out.

    1. Quite a pronouncement, Chris:

      Anyone who believes in biblical inerrancy, or a virgin birth, resurrections, and so on, has no claim to the term “rational.”

      Which would make our case very sad if you could substantiate it.
      This is the point where Atheists throw the argument away time after time and I don’t understand why you keep doing it. If you insist that we must mean by “Faith” what we keep saying we don’t mean by “Faith”, you cut yourselves off from dealing rationally with what we do mean. I would have thought that that was obvious but apparently not.
      Pity.
      Yours,
      John/.

      1. John, if you truly believe the Bible is inerrant, then by rights you should believe the earth is flat. It says so in your book, in Job and Samuel, for starters. Expressions like “pillars of the earth”; foundations of the earth”; “four corners of the earth”; and so on.

        No doubt you’ll maintain this is all purely figurative, and the authors never literally meant any of this. And I might agree. But the same argument can be justifiably applied to Genesis, or the “miracles” in the Gospels, which is how biblical non-literalists– such as some Catholics, for example — probably take them.

      2. There you go again, Chris,
        castrating your argument by telling us how we must think if we subscribe to the doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy. ‘by rights you should believe the earth is flat,’ says you, knowing that as rational, educated people we won’t believe the earth is flat. Dilemma! Except, it just isn’t. Of all the problems a doctrine of inerrancy might bring with it, flat-earthism isn’t one of them. Here’s the text that you reference in1 Samuel — [1 Sam 2:8] — ‘He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honour. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s and on them he has set the world.’ The rational mind looks at this verse, at the nature of society and at faith and concludes that the reader’s faith faces a big ask here. Do I believe that God is able to bring about true equality in spite of the truth in aphorisms like ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’? Moreover, am I able to trust that he can do that by raising up the poor and not by bringing down the mighty? Only someone who thinks that faith is axiomatically irrational would assume that faith ought by rights interpret 1 Sam. 2:8 to be saying that the earth is flat. As I say, I’ve no idea why atheists do that. Why would you attack what we are not saying, when the Bible is quite upfront about what we are saying?
        Here’s why I’m quite happy to admit to being a fool for Jesus: –

        [1 Corinthians 2:20-26] Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

        Whose fool are you?
        Yours,
        John/.

    2. ChrisS,

      “You make it sound like it’s supposed to be some kind of flaw.”

      Well, um, yes, as one dictionary defined it as “a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation”, then your estimation is correct. It IS a flaw.

      “I’m far from persuaded by your attempt to blur the distinction between “historian” and “apologist” when it comes to biblical scholarship….”

      I have done no such thing, as my comment exclusively mentioned historians, who almost universally acknowledge the Gospels & Acts as historically reliable documents.

      So since they are found to be trustworthy where they report things such as people & places, & the fact that people don’t question much of what Jesus taught about how to live one’s life by doing good to others, etc., how can you possibly draw a line through anything that is of a miraculous nature & suggest the writers were not being truthful or accurate? That can only come from a very selective bias.

      This is borne out by your ridiculous assertion that “Anyone who believes in biblical inerrancy, or a virgin birth, resurrections, and so on, has no claim to the term “rational.”” When some of the greatest minds in history have done so, who are you to say that they must be irrational?

      And as there is no shortage of skeptics at various times in history who have obviously taken as true the Gospel accounts of the Crucifixion of Jesus by then trying to come up with explanations to dismiss the Resurrection, none of which I’ve seen (& I think I’ve pretty well seen them all) that can be taken seriously (see, for example, http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html), to reduce them to the status of “myths” further proves that your bias is completely blinkered. You simply will not consider ANY possible contradiction to your own worldview.

      So what you’re really saying has no more rational weight than “the supernatural doesn’t exist because I don’t believe it’s rational”. So all you’re doing is arguing in a circle, & from ignorance.

      And while we’re on ignorance, this may well take the prize: “The fact that unswerving devotion to these myths is generally in decline across most of the West tends to bear me out.”

      Really?? I could equally say, “the fact that consumers in the West spend more & more of their income on gadgets means that greed is good” & thus display the same logical disconnect.

      1. @KimB
        Two quick questions:

        Do you think people who have lost the belief in a virgin birth and resurrections will go back to believing them?

        The polls, stats, census figures, etc, generally indicate declining attendance and beliefs among the mainstream churches, in Western Europe and the UK; Australia; even parts of the US. You think Christianity is going from strength to strength in these places?

        You can take issue with the data, if you choose, and point to the rise among Pentecostals and other “charismatic” churches, but I have the suspicion your response will be along the lines of those politicians who claim to take no notice when they’re down in the polls, but love to use polls when the results show them to be favorable.

      2. “Do you think people who have lost the belief in a virgin birth and resurrections will go back to believing them?”

        I haven’t a clue, & neither have you, as you’re speculating on what people may or may not do in the future. It depends on individual circumstances, & those can range across the widest possible number of individual reasons which go far beyond bald statistical data.

        “The polls, stats, census figures, etc, generally indicate declining attendance and beliefs among the mainstream churches, in Western Europe and the UK; Australia; even parts of the US. You think Christianity is going from strength to strength in these places?”

        I wouldn’t have a clue. Certainly in Western Europe I know that’s the case. I know in Australia the denomination of the church I attend is growing (Baptist), but independent, non-aligned & ethnically based churches are booming.

        “You can take issue with the data, if you choose, and point to the rise among Pentecostals and other “charismatic” churches, but I have the suspicion your response will be along the lines of those politicians who claim to take no notice when they’re down in the polls, but love to use polls when the results show them to be favorable.”

        But that’s exactly what you’re doing, isn’t it. You claim on one hand that “mainstream” churches in the West are dying, yet on the other you want to dismiss the massive increase in “the rise among Pentecostals and other “charismatic” churches”. What a hypocrite!!

        You also ignore completely the huge increases in the Christian population in Third World countries, significantly in countries where Christians are the target of extreme persecution & even martyrdom. How do you explain that away?

        But really, all of this is just a red herring to avoid the rest of what I wrote in my previous post regarding your flawed bias against the supernatural, how it blinded you to the unquestioned historical reliability of the Gospels & Acts, in particular the recognition by skeptics throughout history & their fanciful attempts to explain away the Resurrection while at the same time acknowledging the historicity of His death & burial, & your own irrational claim that “Anyone who believes in biblical inerrancy, or a virgin birth, resurrections, and so on, has no claim to the term “rational.””

        The fact that you conveniently avoid those “inconvenient truths” speaks volumes, & simply serves to confirm your previously noted blinkered prejudice.

    3. @ChrisS

      You write: “Anyone who believes in biblical inerrancy, or a virgin birth, resurrections, and so on, has no claim to the term “rational” [ChrisS].

      With all due respect ChrisS, that applies equally well to you when you say that seeing “Someone losing an entire eye, and a brand new eye spontaneously regenerating” would convince you of God. Why may I say so?

      Well simply because the relation, if any, between event A (someone losing an entire eye) and, event B (a new eye spontaneously regenerating), is insufficiently well known for you, or anyone else for that matter, to conclusively say of it that it is God.

      The nub of David’s question, however, is not whether the Bible is “rational”, but whether it is true. The distinction is relevant because rationality is quite ambiguous whereas Truth is not; for Truth is totally unambiguous.

      Edouard

      1. Edouard,

        Why you think anyone would seriously dispute an act of your god — or, at the least, fail to acknowledge divine intervention — were he to miraculously restore someone’s eye is beyond me. Lucky and convenient for you that you’ll never be put to the test. And neither will I, which just confirms my point about a paucity of genuine “miracles.” Strange, because they were practically a dime a dozen back in biblical times. Allegedly.

        Theists make all sorts of claims for the workings of their god based on far less — cancer remissions, for instance, or survivors of natural disasters.

        Since we can’t seem to settle on an accepted definition of “rational”, it seems foolhardy for you to bandy about words like “Truth”, as if that was some universally agreed upon thing.

        The truth is, Edouard, that it’s simply your “truth”, and you speak only for yourself, not for others. I’ve already alluded to demonstrable biblical fallacies in earlier posts — such as the the myth of descent from just two individuals found in Genesis — but your counterparts were too scientifically illiterate to understand where they were going wrong.

      2. ChrisS

        Your original thesis on what evidence would convince you of God relates to the Identity of God. The issue, therefore, is; who God is, not merely what does God do.

        To be perfectly clear: my logical statement in response to your original thesis is that any event (e.g. your postulated event A) followed by any other event (e.g. your postulated event B) is not a persuasive demonstration of either what God does or who God is.

        To liquidate the issue, history confirms miracles are NOT persuasive demonstrations of God. And the Bible confirms this too. Hence, not the virgin birth; not the resurrection or any other miracle that one may read about or witness is persuasive of who God is.

        Put another way; history; the Bible; philosophy and modern science make it patently clear that miracles do not constitute evidence of God. Is that clear?

        Can we now consider this point as settled? Or are you still persuaded that belief in miracles convinces of God? If you are, it can only be by auto-persuasion; for I certainly did not say or even suggest to you, or to anyone else on this blog for that matter, that I believe in miracles and/or that belief in miracles convinces of God and/or that the miracles in the Bible are convincing of the fact that the Bible is true.

        If, however, you can show me by what it was that I (Edouard) may have persuaded you that belief in miracles convinces of God and/or that the miracles in the Bible are convincing of the fact that the Bible is true, then possibly auto-persuasion is not what you are a victim off.

        Edouard

  31. In dipping in to David Robertson’s blog I am most certainly reminded from 2 Peter that –

    “….in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?”

    The comments section is frequently littered with mocking, scoffing, insults, ridicule, lies (whether knowingly or not) and twisting of words – and that is only the stuff that is posted – so the regular readers are spared the obscene, abusive and malicious.

    With reference to the verse above – I won’t attempt to unpack the phrase ‘last days’ as that could take a volume of books to cover – or a series of sermons. But the next phrase can be verified by believer and unbeliever alike. Who can deny the level of mocking and ridicule dished out against Christians in the West now? But that is largely aimed at those Christians who actually believe the bible!

    “…following their own evil desires”. Look all around you and judge for yourself whether that type of behaviour is associated with ‘mockers’. I will do whatever I like – there is no god – no God – I am answerable to nobody. Interestingly in Proverbs we are told
    “Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.! If only!

    To continue…..”Where is this coming he promised? That particular accusation is most certainly true too – and worse. Christians are mocked by those saying that Jesus never even came the first time – never mind returning a second! Here we have surely the most significant unfulfilled prophecy out of apparently 1,817 prophecies (ligonier). For my own sake – I would wish Jesus would return soon – but it is no light matter for the scoffers. I have no desire for people to face judgement and the wrath of God for sin – instead my heart is heavy for the lost. How much more so God –
    “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

    We have just recently celebrated Advent – and if that is a meaningful time for some then that’s fine by me – but I would love to see some expression in church life of the confident waiting for and joyful anticipation of the second coming.

    1. Martha,

      You say “I have no desire for people to face judgement …” But since they will, I’d like to go over what the judgement is in more detail as what it is, is often misconstrued by both believers and disbelievers alike.

      In the judgement, God comes near as a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

      So first rejoice, and be of good cheer; for because of injustices in every age, they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

      Very briefly, when standing in the presence of God, the dismay each may perceive from his own folly, never mind that of others, is quite something and so is the swiftness of His witnessing by the Truth in judgement utterly extraordinary; none, whether believer or disbeliever, is able to resist loving the beauty of the Truth which is at the judgement.

      In the presence of the Truth for the first time people are rising in love, instead of falling in love. So this already is quite a spectacular change from what we are accustomed to do down here. So then, at judgement every knee bows quite naturally, viz.:

      As it is written; Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

      I assure you Martha no one bows the knee because he is forced to. No! Everyone, scoffers included, bows the knee out of sheer adoration. Put another way, none is caught by the scruff of the neck and forced to bow the knee. The knee bowing is out of pure adoration which is the point at which rising in love can go no further so to speak.

      Needless to say the pain from being turned away at that instant because of not knowing Christ is untellable, unspeakable; it utterly chokes those that did not know Him.

      But to those found to be in Christ, the story is completely different; such a story it is that not the whole of heaven is able to contain it. To make God dizzy with love is so unexpected, and yet that is exactly what every Christian does.

      So never mind the sorrow, rather contemplate the joy; for as you see Martha, the principle of faith is that on this side of death it is perfectly possible not to believe God but on the other side of death it is perfectly impossible not to believe God and, therefore, God who always is faithful is not going to disappoint any person by showing them that what accrued in them is anything other than what they really wanted and sought (Ga. 6:7-8) or bargained for (Mt. 4:8-10).

      After all, those sent away get what they really want, and as for those in Christ they really get infinitely more than they ever hoped for: just wait and see.

      Edouard

  32. From an outsider’s perspective – someone who has no real personal interest one way or another, and is only interested in which claims are fact/can be supported by evidence – I would venture the major issue regarding how does one convince someone if the bible it true should be how much does hard external evidence support the biblical claims?

    The foundation tenets of Christianity, which (by necessity) encompasses the Old Testament, and includes such tales as Genesis (creation story of Adam and Eve) Noah’s Ark and the global flood, Captivity, Exodus and Conquest.

    These three iconic tales alone have each been demonstrated, through the Human Gene Project, paleontology/ geology and archaeology to be myth and have no scientific/archaeological veracity to their claims.

    Surely, this alone is enough for the average Pastor/believer to realize that no rational thinking individual is going to accept such stories other than on faith?

    1. Speaking of the Human genome project – its leader Francis Collins became a Christian…but then maybe you now automatically dismiss him as an rational thinking individual?

  33. Proverbs 26:4-5
    “Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.

    Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes.”

    RC Sproul says of this:

    “The book of Proverbs says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly” (26:4a). Then, in the very next verse, we read, “Answer a fool according to his folly” (26:5a). How can we follow these opposite instructions? How can both be statements of wisdom?”….If someone is speaking foolishness, it is generally not wise to try to talk to him. Such a discussion will go nowhere, and the one who tries to carry on the discussion with the fool is in danger of falling into the same foolishness……..”

    “……Although it was made an art form by the ancient Greek philosophers, the Hebrews understood and in biblical teaching sometimes used one of the most effective ways of arguing with another person. I am referring to the reductio ad absurdum, which reduces the other person’s argument to absurdity. By means of this technique, it is possible to show a person the necessary, logical conclusion that flows out of his argument, and so demonstrate that his premises lead ultimately to an absurd conclusion. So, when a person has a foolish premise and gives a foolish argument, it can at times be very effective to answer the fool according to his folly. You step over onto his territory and say, “Okay, I’ll take your position for argument’s sake, and I’m going to take it to its logical conclusion and show you the foolishness of it.”

    I’ve seen this scenario on this blog hundreds of times but the person presenting the flawed argument almost always switches premise then. I’m coming to the conclusion that it is a waste of time reasoning with those who are not really interested in a dialogue.
    Proverbs 18:2 ESV
    “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”

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