I read posts here that call different things, "harmful to humanity."  Others call something, "good" or "bad" or "evil."

A very simple question, who gets to decide the definition of  "harmful to humanity" and what is there critieria? The same for "good," "bad," and "evil?" These are not material terms. If everything is material isn't there just "is" and not these moral declarations if one is being thoroughly atheist?

Help me understand your position so I am fair and honest about the views. Thanks.

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@Jack - That would be the one time that I WOULD go to church for a "sermon"!  And I'd like to volunteer to be one of your man-at-arms.  :)

First, let me apologize for not replying sooner to your kind offer. Second, here is my belated reply.

Excellent, you are now the head of security. Please bring your UZI when I get the chance to deliver my secular sermon.

1. Who said I am a complete inerrancy proponent in how you and others here most likely mean it? I don't spend my time in harmonization attempts and am open to reading in genre types. I do think the core message and apex of its revelation is true.

2. When I personally examine the post-crucifixion happenings in the early Christian movement (conversion of Jesus 1/2 brother James who was in radical denial of the Messiahship of Jesus right up to the crucifixion, the Gospel and Paul's presentation of eyewitnesses put forward who were able to be queried, etc. I don't have to suspend all rationality to say something happened which allowed this Messianic movement to continue when many crucified before failed to carry on after the figurehead's death. I am left with "visions" etc that Crossan and others propose, but then I have to think someone would have quickly called B.S. on that.

One thing I AM noticing in my interactions. There are peeps on this site I would definitely buy a pint of Guinness for and chat--I am friends with the theist and author Os Guinness whose ancestory were its creators, haha--and others here I'd make sure I managed to miss..haha.

@WS - I will only address number 2, and I think the answer is pretty simple. 

First, there was very little scientific scrutiny of religions back then.  You have noticed, or at least been informed of the fact, that this religion started in the most oppressed society of the world, right?  It could have started in the Americas, or in the Far East, or even in the West where culture was substantially more advanced, but it's a strange coincidence (not) that it started in an impoverished, illiterate community of nomads.

Second, all the books of the NT were written decades if not centuries after the fact, so your supposition that there were "eye witnesses" is fallacious.  It's no more truth than any other fictional book written in a past setting.

Third, if jesus is supposed to be the sole source of knowledge, where is his book?  Why would we need multiple people with contradictory accounts paraphrasing him?

Fourth, there is no complimentary accounts of jesus outside of the bible.  Especially of the "fantastic" (read: fantasy-based) events.  Thousands of dead people dig their way out of their graves and walk the streets and the only people who "witness" this event just happen to be the writers of the bible?  I mean, this guy was THE SON OF GOD and yet there are no records of him anyplace.  You have to consider that very suspicious.

Fifth, even the stories in the bible are contradictory.  So, how can any of them be believed?  In order to believe the bible over all other evidence, the bible *must* be inerrant beyond any scrutiny.  If even a single fact can be proved invalid from that source, that source is questionable.  Especially because a lot of the claims are unprovable. 

Sixth, you mention "Paul's presentation of eyewitnesses put forward who were able to be queried" - There are a couple of problems with this.  First, there are no eye witnesses that can be validated.  Grabbing some random person off the street and saying "did you see that?" and having them answer yes is not a valid test of truth or even proof that this happened.  Second, who wrote the book of Paul?  It sure wasn't Paul.  After all, how many people back then would have written about themselves in third person?  I don't write "And Keith tried to explain concepts to Wretched Saint that he just couldn't understand".  I write "*** I *** tried to explain...".  Who, except a total dick writes about themselves in the third person?  And we also know *for a fact* that John's book was written by several authors, as do we know that the books of Moses weren't written by Moses.

All the "evidence" that has ever been exposed about the validity of the jesus story is, at best, speculation and suppositions.  When you find one little piece of evidence that could be construed to support the bible stories, that really doesn't give those stories weight.  I've argued with xians who claim that there IS proof of jesus outside of the bible.  A couple of minor mentions in a jewish philosopher's writings isn't "proof".  It's actually more evidence to the contrary, since it is such a minor mention and not a "HOLY CRAP, IT'S THE SON OF GOD!  LET'S DROP EVERYTHING ELSE AND JUST WRITE ABOUT THIS" reaction.  I mean, if you were a writer and all of a sudden Thor showed up and started slinging real lightning bolt around and we had real, verifiable accounts with eye witnesses and cameras rolling and you actually saw this with your own eyes, would you just write "So, we're having a bake sale on Wednesday for our church.  Oh, ya, and by the way, Thor showed up today and wiped out 1/2 of our entire armed forces.  But anyway, there will be cupcakes at the bake sale, so don't miss it"?  Somehow I don't think so.

All of this pretty much makes your second statement completely moot.  You can research all you want, but you will never gather enough evidence to convince anyone who isn't a "believer" to believe.  And you will never get anyone who knows the bible is nothing but a bunch of fairy tales to convert without using a purely emotional argument.  Logic and reason will just get in the way.

Excellent post Keith! I can only add that in the years following the assassination of JFK, there were dozens of books written about the event, as well as about Kennedy's life, yet it was nearly fifty years after the cruci-fiction (pun intended) of Yeshua (if he ever existed), before anyone wrote a book about him and claimed it was authored by Mark, who, even if he were the author, has never been established as having been a witness to the events, much like Luke - the other three gospels were written even later, some even in the second century. One would have thought he would have made a bigger splash.

Which reminds me, I could sure go for one of those cupcakes about now --

The usual dates I see for the gospels are 65-70 for Mark, 80-90 for luke and matthew, and 90-105 for John.  A little earlier than you say, Archae, but not early enough to really negate the thrust of your argument.

Steve - from what I've read, Mark (the first written) had to have been composed AFTER 70, as that was the year in which the temple was destroyed, which is referenced in Mark, so 68 would still have been too early. Still, as you say, it's close.

My point was, who waits 35+ years to write about THE son of god?

Good source of info, Shabaka - thanks!

pax vobiscum,
archaeopteryx
www.in-His-own-image.com

thank you i like some of Bacon's ideas..

Wretched, you come to us as a sheep in wolf's clothing.  

I thought that was wolf in sheep's clothing...haha.

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