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. - Understanding religious delusion

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Jor-el

The article from the OP makes a fundamental flaw in its assessment of why Chrsitians believe. To quote from the article:

These are not the reasons why I reject Santa/Qu'ran/Joseph Smith. Remember, there was a point in the past when I was not a Christian either. The original point of this article is that if non-Christians can see the clearly imaginary Jesus just as they see Santa etc as such, then Jesus must also be imaginary. But if this was the case, then I would have also seen it as imaginary and never turned to Jesus when I was 20 years old.

Of course, there are also Mormon and Muslim converts that turn to those Faiths as adults also. Which brings me to the reason I bring this up - the article is based on a false premise that "outsiders" are going to arrive at the conclusion that a story is imaginary. It was a well-written article, and followed a clear path of logic (within its defined paramaters), but ultimately narrow in its application. People turn to/turn away from various beliefs for all sorts of reasons, and it is not as simple as boiling it down to "believing/not believing in fairy tales". It is far more complex than that (the reasons I accepted Christ and rejected other Holy texts is not as simple as that, that's for certain).

As an aside, the later comment in the article about "proving" God is imaginary by praying to God and Ra to alter the course of probability is also based on a false premise - it assumes that the purpose of prayer is to get God to do things for us in a statistically better way than if we were not praying to him. This once again shows to me that the author is entirley ignorant of what it is that Christians actually believe on the subjects suggested. This is not the purpose of prayer, and conducting a coin-flipping experiment to prove/disprove it is irrelevant. As noted, it's a well written article, but limited.

~ Regards, PA

I Agree, I became a christian at 18. And I was an atheist before that. I literally went from 8 to 80 in the span of 24 hours.

Edited by Jor-el

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Jor-el

There is no record of Caesar Augustus' decree that "all the world should be enrolled" (Lk. 2:1). The Romans kept extremely detailed records of such events. Not only is Luke's census not in these records, it goes against all that we know of Roman economic history. Roman documents show that taxation was done by the various governors at the provincial level. As we shall see later, the property tax was collected on site by travelling assessors, thus making unnecessary Joseph's journey away from what little property he must have owned. Gleason Archer quotes a census expert who claims, without documentation, that "every five years the Romans enumerated citizens and their property to determine their liabilities. This practice was extended to include the entire Roman Empire in 5 B.C.E."1 This goes against the fourteen-year cycle which Archer himself uses to argue that Quirinius was pulled from his busy duties in Asia Minor to do a Syrian census in 7 B.C.E., fourteen years earlier than the one recorded in Josephus and Acts 5:37.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer The Anchor Bible: The Gospel According to Luke. Two Volumes. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor, 1981, 1985), p. 401

Actually this is quite incorrect, Josephus gives the actual lead to unravel this question of the census, I've discussed this a number of times before... But if you want you can read here.

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Dr. D

And so do I in many respects. But it does not detract from the essential elements that make it true to me. My beliefs lie somewhere between Judaism and christianity, in something others might call "Messianic Judaism", and no it is not the christianity as practiced by the majority of the established christian church, whether it be Protestant, Catholic or even Orthodox.

It is not how I started, but it is what I have become after extensive contact with this forum and others.

Then I congratulate you. What many do not understand is that spirituality is largely a mental process, demanded of us if we are to grow. It is not the written-in-stone dogma or unyielding belief system. It is living with the heart and mind open to all that brings us a more complete understanding.

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Jor-el

Then I congratulate you. What many do not understand is that spirituality is largely a mental process, demanded of us if we are to grow. It is not the written-in-stone dogma or unyielding belief system. It is living with the heart and mind open to all that brings us a more complete understanding.

I can accept that... As a matter of fairness, I would have to point out that it is those very dogmas that keep us apart from God in many respects. Sigh, yes I know many don't believe in God or the bible, but the truth is that it is not the bible itself that leads us into error concerning Jesus Christ or even God, it is the assumptions we make in regards to them. Like the birth of christ being on the 25th of December, when it is really sometime in September, or that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, when it was probably during the week... It is the traditional assumptions that catch us off guard.

Yes, sometimes there are some things in the bible that can't be proven at all, but that is where personal decision and faith comes in.

Edited by Jor-el

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MARAB0D

The article from the OP makes a fundamental flaw in its assessment of why Chrsitians believe. To quote from the article:

These are not the reasons why I reject Santa/Qu'ran/Joseph Smith. Remember, there was a point in the past when I was not a Christian either. The original point of this article is that if non-Christians can see the clearly imaginary Jesus just as they see Santa etc as such, then Jesus must also be imaginary. But if this was the case, then I would have also seen it as imaginary and never turned to Jesus when I was 20 years old.

Of course, there are also Mormon and Muslim converts that turn to those Faiths as adults also. Which brings me to the reason I bring this up - the article is based on a false premise that "outsiders" are going to arrive at the conclusion that a story is imaginary. It was a well-written article, and followed a clear path of logic (within its defined paramaters), but ultimately narrow in its application. People turn to/turn away from various beliefs for all sorts of reasons, and it is not as simple as boiling it down to "believing/not believing in fairy tales". It is far more complex than that (the reasons I accepted Christ and rejected other Holy texts is not as simple as that, that's for certain).

As an aside, the later comment in the article about "proving" God is imaginary by praying to God and Ra to alter the course of probability is also based on a false premise - it assumes that the purpose of prayer is to get God to do things for us in a statistically better way than if we were not praying to him. This once again shows to me that the author is entirley ignorant of what it is that Christians actually believe on the subjects suggested. This is not the purpose of prayer, and conducting a coin-flipping experiment to prove/disprove it is irrelevant. As noted, it's a well written article, but limited.

~ Regards, PA

The list you reject lacks homogeneity. Santa in it is a real human, to whom the legends attribute some miraculous abilities. Quran is just a book about God of Abraham and another form of serving it, based on the memoirs of another real person, widely considered a prophet. Smith is a later day conman, presenting himself as a prophet of the same God of Abraham. So Jesus among them is not exactly in his right place for him to be chosen as a preferred object of worship - he is neither a God of Abraham, nor a real person (or at least his existence is doubtful if compared to the existence of the other 3 people mentioned).

But even we allow him to be real personality, he still would be only a created entity, a creature - not the Creator. Thus he appears to be an intermediary between a follower and God, a form of an icon, an idol, used instead of an object of worship. Thus following Jesus requires a delusion of his personal divinity, and converts Monotheism into a form of Paganism.

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and converts Monotheism into a form of Paganism.

allow me to correct that: Polytheism, as we have suddenly three Gods called the father, the son and the holy spirit.

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MARAB0D

Josephus' only mentioning of Jesus has been generally agreed by responsible Biblical historians as a forgery. Even those who disagree find it hard to explain why none of the early church leaders, Clement, Tertullian, Justin, Arnobius, Irenaeus, mentioned this incredibly important writing that gave literary proof to the existence of Jesus. And Eusebius, himself a great Biblical forger, did not mention the writing of Josephus until about 340 A.D.

Actually, the forgery was quite clumsy. Josephus was a Jew and it would not have been likely for him to so flambouyantly praise Jesus as a messiah.

Tacitus becomes equally suspicious since he mentions "Christians," a term not used in the time of Nero . . . the time to which his writing alludes.

Tacitus was not writing in the times of Nero, but half a century later. He was a military tribune under Emperor Trajan and started writing only after his retirement. His writings have this feature of him using "later" language. The note of his Annuals about the execution of "christ" (in low case) under the times of Tiberius is considered a later forgery.

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Llucid

Forgive me, but I do not consider the Bible to the the sole authority of historic questions. The truth is that the tale of Nimrod's fear of Abraham's birth predates Genesis by some 500 years.

Well, I'll need you to provide your source for that. I've tried to do some digging and as near as I can figure it, this story originates much after the OT. We don't even know where it comes from because it was part of the Pseudepigraphal work of the OT.

Lanham, (Maryland: University Press of America, 1987), pp. 145-49, states:

So eager was W. M. Ramsey to prove Luke correct about the enrollment in Bethlehem that he, according to F. F. Bruce, "unwisely damaged his well-founded reputation as a very considerable scholar." In his Anchor Bible commentary Catholic scholar J. A. Fitzmyer lists other historical mistakes in Luke's writing and offers the most definitive argument against Ramsey's claims about the famous Christmas census”

Tenney Frank, , ed., An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1938),

There is no record of Caesar Augustus' decree that "all the world should be enrolled" (Lk. 2:1). The Romans kept extremely detailed records of such events. Not only is Luke's census not in these records, it goes against all that we know of Roman economic history. Roman documents show that taxation was done by the various governors at the provincial level. As we shall see later, the property tax was collected on site by travelling assessors, thus making unnecessary Joseph's journey away from what little property he must have owned. Gleason Archer quotes a census expert who claims, without documentation, that "every five years the Romans enumerated citizens and their property to determine their liabilities. This practice was extended to include the entire Roman Empire in 5 B.C.E."1 This goes against the fourteen-year cycle which Archer himself uses to argue that Quirinius was pulled from his busy duties in Asia Minor to do a Syrian census in 7 B.C.E., fourteen years earlier than the one recorded in Josephus and Acts 5:37.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer The Anchor Bible: The Gospel According to Luke. Two Volumes. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor, 1981, 1985), p. 401

Many have joined Archer in the hypothesis that Quirinius had an unrecorded term as Syria's governor during the time of Jesus' birth. Some misuse the "Tivoli" inscription which they say proves that some Roman official served twice in Syria and Phoenicia. First, the name is missing, so this is no proof that Quirinius is involved. Second, the inscription has been mistranslated. It should read: "legate of Augustus for a second time" not a second legate in Syria as the harmonizers insist. Archer does not refer to the Tivoli inscription directly; but still argues that since Luke knew of the census of 6 C.E., he correctly called this one Quirinius' "first" (prote). But Fitzmyer shows conclusively that the grammar clearly indicates that this was the first census in Judea, not Quirinius' first enrollment.

Leonard Thierman, Josephus the Historian, Viking Press 1884, pg. 84

In Josephus' account of the census in 6 C.E., he explicitly states that those people taxed were assessed of their possessions, including lands and livestock. In other words, the census takers were also the tax assessors. In Egypt these tax assessors went from house to house in order to perform their duties. With this in mind, let us look at a crucial error in Luke's account. Luke has Joseph and Mary making a three-day journey away from their home in Nazareth to register in their alleged ancestral home Bethlehem. But an Egyptian papyrus recording a census in 104 C.E. explicitly states that "since registration by household is imminent, it is necessary to notify all who for any reason are absent from their districts to return to their own homes that they may carry out the ordinary business of registration...."6 Unlike Matthew, who does not mention a census nor Nazareth as Mary and Joseph's home, Luke describes Nazareth as "their own city" (Lk. 2:39). If the rules of this Egyptian census applied to Palestine, then Joseph and Mary should have stayed in Nazareth to be enrolled.

Your sources are considerably old, especially concerning the nature of our discussion which relies on historical evidence (that is developing all the time as discoveries are made). Here is a quote from a more recent article (2009) that shines modern light on the issue:

"Here we may gather up the evidence to present a composite picture: (1) Luke’s census is not a historical impossibility. Rather at all points, historical analogies can be drawn. (2) Quirinius was not the official governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth. The Syrian records and the current accepted chronology of Jesus’ life simply prevent this conclusion. However, Quirinius’s personal chronology is not fully known, particularly around the years of Jesus’ birth. Thus, it is not impossible that he held another office at the time which Luke appropriately describes with (h[gemoneuontoj thj Suriaj) hegmoneuontos tēs Surias, a description as we saw which could also appropriately describe the office from which he took his well-known census. In short, it is most likely under this otherwise unattested office that Quirinius officiated over what Luke describes. To say more would go beyond the present evidence; to say otherwise, would, as we saw, strain the syntax. As such, I. Howard Marshall is probably right when he suggests that Luke’s full vindication lies buried somewhere, waiting to be unearthed. Until then, Luke’s historiographical track record (well-documented in other places) and the implausibility of such a monumental miscalculation, especially considering his method of and purpose for writing (cf. Luke 1:1–4), should forestall the rather premature conclusions noted initially."

(source)

The bottom line is that this event is not a historical impossibility as you are suggesting, and your claims against the historical accuracy of the Bible are unfounded.

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Dr. D

Actually this is quite incorrect, Josephus gives the actual lead to unravel this question of the census, I've discussed this a number of times before... But if you want you can read here.

Forgive me if I find some of your conclusions faulty. Let us examine your assertion that “apographo” . . . . “So it seems that taxed is not the correct word for the phrase, but rather enrolled.

It is difficult to see how you reached this conclusion when the definition of apographo clearly states, “a. specifically to enter in public records the names of men, their property and income “ The listing of “property and income” would suggest a census for the purpose of taxation as several historians have agreed.

Josephus indeed wrote of riots among the people but it can be easily interpreted that the command for oaths of allegiance was a different process than the census. The riots were most likely in protest to the oaths and that the census was more atuned to purposes of taxation. The oath process appeared to be far less formal and it is a bit of a stretch of the imagination that people would be asked to return to the home of their fathers so that the authorities could see who they were. The society was not that much out of tune with local awareness of who owned what property and who was from what family. There was gossip in those days, too.

We might even argue that Bethlehem was not the family home of Joseph and Mary, depending on how one wants to translate “idios.” It has been generally translated as it was used in the census command, “each to his (idios) own city.” But we find in Matthew 13 that when Jesus returned to what many theologians conclude was Nazareth, he declared that “A prophet has no honor in his (idia) own country.” The use of the word was different and Jesus always said that his father’s country was Nazareth, not Bethlehem. In fact, he never mentioned Bethlehem but was always known as Jesus of Nazareth.

If we are to believe Eusebius (which is sometimes difficult), Josephus was present at the time of the census and wrote rather extensively of it. The content of his writings, however, brings a rather unusual suspicion upon the words of Luke. It can be legitimately argued that just as Matthew had copied Mark, so did Luke copy Mark to a far lesser degree, but also copied Josephus to a larger degree.

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"idios."

There is only one way to translate that: same, equal

if it is ιδιοσ σου then there is no question: "his own"

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Jor-el

Forgive me if I find some of your conclusions faulty. Let us examine your assertion that “apographo” . . . . “So it seems that taxed is not the correct word for the phrase, but rather enrolled.

It is difficult to see how you reached this conclusion when the definition of apographo clearly states, “a. specifically to enter in public records the names of men, their property and income “ The listing of “property and income” would suggest a census for the purpose of taxation as several historians have agreed.

Josephus indeed wrote of riots among the people but it can be easily interpreted that the command for oaths of allegiance was a different process than the census. The riots were most likely in protest to the oaths and that the census was more atuned to purposes of taxation. The oath process appeared to be far less formal and it is a bit of a stretch of the imagination that people would be asked to return to the home of their fathers so that the authorities could see who they were. The society was not that much out of tune with local awareness of who owned what property and who was from what family. There was gossip in those days, too.

We might even argue that Bethlehem was not the family home of Joseph and Mary, depending on how one wants to translate “idios.” It has been generally translated as it was used in the census command, “each to his (idios) own city.” But we find in Matthew 13 that when Jesus returned to what many theologians conclude was Nazareth, he declared that “A prophet has no honor in his (idia) own country.” The use of the word was different and Jesus always said that his father’s country was Nazareth, not Bethlehem. In fact, he never mentioned Bethlehem but was always known as Jesus of Nazareth.

If we are to believe Eusebius (which is sometimes difficult), Josephus was present at the time of the census and wrote rather extensively of it. The content of his writings, however, brings a rather unusual suspicion upon the words of Luke. It can be legitimately argued that just as Matthew had copied Mark, so did Luke copy Mark to a far lesser degree, but also copied Josephus to a larger degree.

Firstly before we get into this discussion which promises to be nothing but extensive ^_^ , could we stick to debating one theme at a time. In other words everybody please don't give lists of things you consider to be incorrect, let us approach the issues one at a time... Sorry D, that was for everyone.

So we let's start with the word "taxed" as used in Luke 2:1.

The word is ἀπογράφω (apographō)

Now, any lexicon will give us a concise meaning, I've taken the liberty of choosing two different sources. The 1st is Strong's Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon which gives us the following:

1) to write off, copy (from some pattern)

2) to enter in a register or records

a) spec. to enter in public records the names of men, their property and income

B) to enrol

The 2nd is Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: which gave me the following result:

For TAXED, TAXING see ENROLL, ENROLMENT

After searching for Enroll, Enrollment I got the following:

<A-1,Verb,583,apographo>

primarily signifies "to write out, to copy;" then, "to enroll, to inscribe," as in a register. It is used of a census, Luke 2:1 RV, "be enrolled," for AV, "be taxed;" in the Middle Voice, Luke 2:3,5, to enroll oneself, AV, "be taxed." Confirmation that this census (not taxation) was taken in the dominions of the Roman Empire is given by the historians Tacitus and Suetonius. Augustus himself drew up a sort of Roman Doomsday Book, a rationarium, afterwards epitomized into a breviarium, to include the allied kingdoms, appointing twenty commissioners to draw up the lists. In Heb. 12:23 the members of the Church of the firstborn are said to be "enrolled," RV.

<B-1,Noun,582,apagraphe>

primarily denotes "a written copy", or, as a law term, "a deposition;" then, "a register, census, enrollment," Luke 2:2; Acts 5:37, RV, for AV, "taxing."

As far as I can see, the exact idea of this word means to be enrolled or to be included in a register. Essentially the idea is one of a compilation of names for a specific purpose, and can be denoted as a census, but there is no connotation to taxation of revenue as something intrinsic to the word. Not that it can't be used that way, but that is not what the word means as a whole. It is one possible meaning among others. It is the reason for the blooper in the majority of translations from the greek.

As for the oath itself, did you happen to notice what Josephus states regarding it?

when all the people of the Jews gave assurance of their good-will to Caesar, and to the king's government, these very men did not swear, being above six thousand...

An Oath to Caesar? An assurance of Good will?

Here is another interesting item...

We have an insccription dated to 3 B.C. referring to the same event but in the allied state of Paphlagonia (north central Asia Minor). This simply demonstrates that Josephus was correct when he refers to Herod ordering the same thing in Israel.

In the third year from the twelfth consulship of the Emperor Caesar Augustus, son of a god, March 6, in the … at Gangra, the following oath was taken by the inhabitants of Paphlagonia and the Roman businessmen dwelling among them:

“I swear by Jupiter, Earth, Sun, by all the gods and goddesses, and by Augustus himself, that I will be loyal to Caesar Augustus and to his children and descendants all my life in word, in deed, and in thought, regarding as friends whomever they so regard, and considering as enemies whomever they so adjudge; that in defense of their interests I will spare neither body, soul, life, not children, but will in every way undergo every danger in defense of their interests; that whenever I perceive or hear anything being said or planned or done against them I will lodge information about this and will be an enemy to whoever says or plans or does any such thing; and that whomever they adjudge to be enemies I will by land and sea, with weapons and sword, pursue and punish. But if I do anything contrary to this oath, or not in conformity with what I swore, I myself call down upon myself, my body, my soul, my life, my children, and all my family and property, utter ruin and utter destruction unto all my issue and all my descendants, and may neither earth nor sea receive the bodies of my family or my descendants, or yield fruits to them.”

The same oath was sworn by all the people in the land at altars of Augustus in the temples of Augustus in the various districts. In this manner did the people of Phazimon, who inhabit the city now called Neapolis, all together swear the oath in the temple of Augustus at the altar of Augustus.

We have more...

The Armenian historian Moses of Khoren said that the native sources he had available showed that in the second year of Abgar, king of Armenia in 3 B.C., this oath of allegience brought Roman agents to Armenia, bringing the image of Augustus Caesar, which they set up in every temple. Abgar then a problem with Herod (who is supposed to be dead at this time). He also states categorically that this is the census referred to by Luke.

R.W. Thomson, Moses of Khoren's History of the Armenians, II.26.

Direct link to the book. Refer to pages 163 and 164

38428039.jpg

67058662.jpg

Here is another source for this oath of allegience...

“[Augustus] ordered that a census be taken of each province everywhere and that all men be enrolled. ... This is the earliest and most famous public acknowledgment which marked Caesar as the first of all men and the Romans as lords of the world, a published list of all men entered individually .... This first and greatest census was taken, since in this one name of Caesar all the peoples of the great nations took oath, and at the same time, through the participation in the census, were made apart of one society”

Orosius, A History, against the Pagans VII.2.

Are you getting the idea now?

The census as we call it was actually an enrollment for an oath of Allegience organized and promoted by the Roman Empire itself, which Herod also used for his own purposes. And it happened sometime between 3 B.C.E. and 2 B.C.E.... Yes when Herod was already supposedley dead, all because of this pernicious belief that he died during a lunar eclipse that happened in 4 B.C.E on the 13th of March.

Yet here we have a correlation of at least 3 independant sources, that have him alive and well at this time.

Edited by Jor-el

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dougeaton

Fantastic argument.

Its about time man grew up and stopped believing in SantaJesus.

Br Cornelius

Atheist can be such sheep.....gee I never heard that one before, very witty. I have athiest as well as believing friends, the believers seem to live happier more productive lives, well for the most part. Faith eludes me, but I don't have the delusion of thinking I am above them.....I don't need that crutch.

Athiest sound more and more like herd animals the more I listen to them. Even as an agnostic I know the difference between belief in god, something trancedent to what you are referring to. Have you ever read anyone that thinks differently enough who might open up your mind just a little. I know you think you are some kind of savior to the mentally ill (at least your interpretation of who they are), but really, step back and take a look at yourself.

Edited by dougeaton

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Dr. D

Well, I'll need you to provide your source for that. I've tried to do some digging and as near as I can figure it, this story originates much after the OT. We don't even know where it comes from because it was part of the Pseudepigraphal work of the OT.

Not only is the most original tale of Nimrod found in the Jahwist texts that predate the Torah by more than 500 years but if you examine the catelogs of the Royal British Museum you will find pre-Sumerian tablets dating perhaps even father back and speaking of Nimrod. Many of the geographical mentionings found in the early writings are comparable to those of Gilgamesh which, of course, date back to about 2,000 B.C.

Your sources are considerably old, especially concerning the nature of our discussion which relies on historical evidence (that is developing all the time as discoveries are made). Here is a quote from a more recent article (2009) that shines modern light on the issue:

"Here we may gather up the evidence to present a composite picture: (1) Luke’s census is not a historical impossibility. Rather at all points, historical analogies can be drawn. (2) Quirinius was not the official governor of Syria at the time of Jesus’ birth. The Syrian records and the current accepted chronology of Jesus’ life simply prevent this conclusion. However, Quirinius’s personal chronology is not fully known, particularly around the years of Jesus’ birth. Thus, it is not impossible that he held another office at the time which Luke appropriately describes with (h[gemoneuontoj thj Suriaj) hegmoneuontos tēs Surias, a description as we saw which could also appropriately describe the office from which he took his well-known census. In short, it is most likely under this otherwise unattested office that Quirinius officiated over what Luke describes. To say more would go beyond the present evidence; to say otherwise, would, as we saw, strain the syntax. As such, I. Howard Marshall is probably right when he suggests that Luke’s full vindication lies buried somewhere, waiting to be unearthed. Until then, Luke’s historiographical track record (well-documented in other places) and the implausibility of such a monumental miscalculation, especially considering his method of and purpose for writing (cf. Luke 1:1–4), should forestall the rather premature conclusions noted initially."

(source)

The bottom line is that this event is not a historical impossibility as you are suggesting, and your claims against the historical accuracy of the Bible are unfounded.

First of all, I would want a more professional, less biased, opinion than is offered here. Even the mission statement of the so-called Biblearchaeology is "Demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible." Not seeking truth through the tools and skills of archaeology, mind you, but demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible. In itself, this would negate whatever opinions they put forth.

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MARAB0D
Not only is the most original tale of Nimrod found in the Jahwist texts that predate the Torah by more than 500 years but if you examine the catelogs of the Royal British Museum you will find pre-Sumerian tablets dating perhaps even father back and speaking of Nimrod. Many of the geographical mentionings found in the early writings are comparable to those of Gilgamesh which, of course, date back to about 2,000 B.C.

Sorry, Doc - its not my business of course, but it seems a lot of sources available pre-date Torah! Why would it not be? Torah means "the Law", in the sense of the Law given to the Israelites by God of Abraham. Out of Torah 4 books belong to the times of 1200 BC - 1300 BC, same as a good half of the 5th book, Genesis. Only the early chapters of Genesis talk about the really old world, and they all certainly pre-date Abraham who was living most likely around 1500 BC. Israelites are a new formation! Their historical age is similar to the historical age of Hellenic civilization, and is certainly much younger than Egyptian, Phoenician (including Minoan), Babylonian, Sumerian, Urartian etc old civilisations we know of - and the early Genesis inevitably contains some fragments from the writings of the older civilisations, which in many ways were affecting the culture of the Israelites.

Genesis, the same time, is a part of Torah - so if some other ancient text contains "more original" tale, this does not matter in the context of the religions, Torah represents, as it belongs to another "egregor". It is the same as the Indonesian newspapers would likely only mention about some local elections in Uruguay, and certainly the most "original" story would be found in Uruguay newspapers.

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Dr. D

Tacitus was not writing in the times of Nero, but half a century later. He was a military tribune under Emperor Trajan and started writing only after his retirement. His writings have this feature of him using "later" language. The note of his Annuals about the execution of "christ" (in low case) under the times of Tiberius is considered a later forgery.

If you note, I did not claim that he was writing in the time of Nero but rather about Nero and I indicated that by saying, " . . . . the time to which his writing alludes."

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MARAB0D

If you note, I did not claim that he was writing in the time of Nero but rather about Nero and I indicated that by saying, " . . . . the time to which his writing alludes."

I noticed! It is just when he was writing, the word "Christian" was already widely popular. Nero was not really persecuting this specifically sect, he was rather trying to utilise their drive for martyrdom in order to entertain the public - the first Christians were actively trying to follow the steps of Jesus and wanted to be killed for their faith, targeting to make him a company in heavens. It was a suicidal cult of a sort, enough to look at the first two Roman Popes, Peter and Paul, who were setting personal examples of martyrdom. But Nero was not trying to weed them out, they were of no ideological or political threat to him; all he wanted was to control the crowd, and Circus entertainment was a mighty tool to keep the proletarians happy. He was an active participant in the races too, belonging to the fans party of "greens".

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Llucid

Not only is the most original tale of Nimrod found in the Jahwist texts that predate the Torah by more than 500 years but if you examine the catelogs of the Royal British Museum you will find pre-Sumerian tablets dating perhaps even father back and speaking of Nimrod. Many of the geographical mentionings found in the early writings are comparable to those of Gilgamesh which, of course, date back to about 2,000 B.C.

I am aware that Nimrod's history stretches far back, but I am requesting your sources for the story of Nimrod trying to kill Abraham as a child reaching back before the Bible.

First of all, I would want a more professional, less biased, opinion than is offered here. Even the mission statement of the so-called Biblearchaeology is "Demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible." Not seeking truth through the tools and skills of archaeology, mind you, but demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible. In itself, this would negate whatever opinions they put forth.

I would like to point out that biblearcheology.org did not produce the research. As stated on the page, they reprinted the article which was originally published in the Detroit Baptist Theological Journal. I'm not sure what you mean by "less biased". The area of Biblical studies is extremely important to Christian scholars, a primary focal point, and their research should not be dismissed out of hand because of their beliefs. Would it be biased of a scientist with Darwinian beliefs to publish work about evolutionary development? We should try and focus on the facts at hand and not resort to character assaults.

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Dr. D

I am aware that Nimrod's history stretches far back, but I am requesting your sources for the story of Nimrod trying to kill Abraham as a child reaching back before the Bible.

The source is quoted in Calmets Fragments and I will try to find it for you.

I would like to point out that biblearcheology.org did not produce the research. As stated on the page, they reprinted the article which was originally published in the Detroit Baptist Theological Journal. I'm not sure what you mean by "less biased". The area of Biblical studies is extremely important to Christian scholars, a primary focal point, and their research should not be dismissed out of hand because of their beliefs. Would it be biased of a scientist with Darwinian beliefs to publish work about evolutionary development? We should try and focus on the facts at hand and not resort to character assaults.

What I mean by less biased is that true professional archaeology does not come with a preconceived purpose of "Demonstrting the Historic Accuracy of the Bible." It is a science and respects findings regardless of what evidences they might produce, not with an agenda guiding their efforts. If you think that is a character assault, I think it is a reasonable understanding of what archaeology really is.

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Dr. D

I noticed! It is just when he was writing, the word "Christian" was already widely popular. Nero was not really persecuting this specifically sect, he was rather trying to utilise their drive for martyrdom in order to entertain the public - the first Christians were actively trying to follow the steps of Jesus and wanted to be killed for their faith, targeting to make him a company in heavens. It was a suicidal cult of a sort, enough to look at the first two Roman Popes, Peter and Paul, who were setting personal examples of martyrdom. But Nero was not trying to weed them out, they were of no ideological or political threat to him; all he wanted was to control the crowd, and Circus entertainment was a mighty tool to keep the proletarians happy. He was an active participant in the races too, belonging to the fans party of "greens".

Okay, let me present this in a better way. Tacitus wrote, ""But neither the aid of man, nor the liberality of the prince, nor the propitiations of the gods succeeded in destroying the belief that the fire had been purposely lit. In order to put an end to this rumor, therefore, Nero laid the blame on and visited with severe punishment those men, hateful for their crimes, whom the people called Christians. . . ."

But they were not called Christians at that time and the Romans saw no difference between the Jews and what would later be known as the Christians.

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Br Cornelius

Atheist can be such sheep.....gee I never heard that one before, very witty. I have athiest as well as believing friends, the believers seem to live happier more productive lives, well for the most part. Faith eludes me, but I don't have the delusion of thinking I am above them.....I don't need that crutch.

Athiest sound more and more like herd animals the more I listen to them. Even as an agnostic I know the difference between belief in god, something trancedent to what you are referring to. Have you ever read anyone that thinks differently enough who might open up your mind just a little. I know you think you are some kind of savior to the mentally ill (at least your interpretation of who they are), but really, step back and take a look at yourself.

Before you get on your high horse, you made the false assumption that I was an atheist.

The point I agree with is that people of faith are easily blinded to the obvious inconsistencies of their mythological beliefs. It is the shear banality and incredibility of what they claim to believe. I see a spiritual dimension to life as been essential, but religion is another matter and I see its outcome as mostly negative.

I recently read a book by a famous Anglican Bishop (unfortunately it was not my book and I cannot remember the title) who came to a very similar conclusion. He said he often felt he had far more in common with the atheists than he did with his flock. He went on to dissect the many linguistic traps which religion leaves open and draws people of faith into beliefs which are little more than 2000yr old superstitions. His conclusion was that the essence of the Gospels was the message of love and communion with Christ, and the desire to take the Gospels as literal history was completely to miss the point regarding the purpose of Christianity.

My beliefs are a bit more sophisticated than you assumed :tu:

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius

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Llucid

What I mean by less biased is that true professional archaeology does not come with a preconceived purpose of "Demonstrting the Historic Accuracy of the Bible." It is a science and respects findings regardless of what evidences they might produce, not with an agenda guiding their efforts. If you think that is a character assault, I think it is a reasonable understanding of what archaeology really is.

I agree with your stance here, but I was reflecting on how our conversation is not proceeding this way. I linked you a recent scholarly article (containing over 50 footnotes) published in the Detroit Baptist Theological Journal, and you completely brushed aside any of the content of the article, dismissing it on the apparent bias of those who reprinted the article. This very much has the appearance of a dismissive character assault. The facts presented in the article have been completely ignored.

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fugate

Science is objective.

new here.

science, as an entity, is objective. but the human view of it is not. objectivity is the way it is. scientists are searching for the way it is, but it's questionable how often they've gotten there. as far as we know, there could be an infinite amount of unknown unknowns.

Believing in a result before bearing evidence destroys the entire purpose of the scientific theory.

the scientific theory has its limits. some of them extreme.

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questionmark

the scientific theory has its limits. some of them extreme.

ehm...yes, but does that make fairy tales true?

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fugate

of course not.

edit: not all of them, anyway.

Edited by fugate

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Jor-el

I agree with your stance here, but I was reflecting on how our conversation is not proceeding this way. I linked you a recent scholarly article (containing over 50 footnotes) published in the Detroit Baptist Theological Journal, and you completely brushed aside any of the content of the article, dismissing it on the apparent bias of those who reprinted the article. This very much has the appearance of a dismissive character assault. The facts presented in the article have been completely ignored.

Technically, I agree with his stance as well, but unfortunately that is not the reality, merely the theory. Like any scientific field, there is an clique of influential scholars, that are the unquestioned experts in said field and then there are the wannabes who are trying very hard to get into that little influential clique. Then we have the lobbies that try to influence that inner circle of experts.

In most cases a find in scientific field, especially in the cases of archaeology and History, don't stand a chance if they contradict the majority view in any way.

Again I give two examples: The death of Herod in 4 B.C.E. instead of 1 B.C.E and the supposed census in Luke that according to the majority view is an indication of error in the bible since to them it either didn't happen or it was written by someone who wasn't familiar with Roman law in these matters.

As I have previously posted, and no-one has seen fit or been able to refute. There are quite clear historical indicators that have been ignored by experts for some mysterious reason that Herod died in 1 B.C.E. and not 4 B.C.E and that there was in fact an oath of allegience which was seen as a census, which was mentioned by a number of ancient sources, but was also passed by in favour of more imaginative theories...

So yes, science is objective in theory, but not in practice, there are simply too many variables that influence that famed objectivity.

Edited by Jor-el

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