Christians, the NT Jesus is a fictional character…SO LOSE THE DOGMA

Folks, the NT Jesus is not real! The NT Jesus is an entertaining on-paper superhero character, akin to Superman & Spiderman! That’s why, in the gospel writings, Jesus

  • …levitates in the air then goes off into the cosmos (without a spacesuit!)
  • …walks on warm water and controls the weather (telling a storm to shut up and it does)
  • …magically turns water into award winning cabernet wine–a 130 gallons of it (just so the party could continue!)
  • …magically multiplies a few morsels of food to feed 15,000 hungry folks in the middle of nowhere (with leftovers from so much food magically appearing)
  • …magically heals rotted corpses, blind people, paralyzed people, diseased people, and crippled people (like” bam! you’re healed”, by the multitudes!)
  • …his face turns into a mini-sun and then 2 friends dead a 1,000 years earlier appear out of thin air and do a toast with Jesus before vanishing into thin air (puff, gone)
  •  …gets tortured to death then stabbed through the heart then thrown in the grave but a day and a half later he’s out and about eating fish with his friends while appearing out of thin air (boo!) and vanishing into thin air (puff, gone!)
  • …on his birth some angels visit field workers and the whole field magically lights up, then before you know it there’s a choir (a multitude) of angels singing “how great is our god” before they flutter off into the cosmos like fluttery fire flies

…and one could on and on and on but why? It’s clear/its but commonsense, the NT Jesus is a whimsical storybook character—akin to Spiderman or Superman!

That’s why Jesus is MIA! He’s only a fuzzy feeling in Christians hearts and ancient historians won’t touch his on paper miracles with a ten foot pole (just ask Dr. Bart Ehrman & Dr.Dale Martin of Yale University)–because the NT Jesus is a fictional character, from ancient times!

With that said: Christian, please keep your Jesus faith, seriously—JUST LOSE THE DOGMA!

…why do you think Joel Olsteen is so popular?

…why do you think Chris Tomlin is so popular?

…why do you think Christian pop music (3rd day, Matthew West, Hillsong, David Chowder band, News Boys, Mercy Me, etc.) are so dang popular?

Because they don’t preach one ounce of dogma (have you ever thought about that, Christian?)—no hell talk, no obey the bible talk, no Jesus is made at you, none of that stuff; it’s just love, love, and more love (just listen to K Love Christian radio/no dogma whatsoever, just love) and who can argue or debate against that? No one!

Sincerely yours Brett Strong…MrBrettStrong on YouTube! I’ve debated J Warner Wallace, Greg Koukl, & Matt slick on radio and my Redemption Radio debate is their number one show in their history in only 6 months! My blog is: jesusisahoax.blogspot.com. and my eBook is titled: “Jesus–the flying NT superhero–is a fictional character, from ancient times”

PS/FYI: Yes, it’s plausible that a mere man named Jesus of Nazareth lived 2,000 years ago, gathered a small following, some Jews got jealous of his growing popularity so they got some bloodthirsty Romans to nail Jesus to the cross; then afterwards they threw his corpse to into the heaps where wild dogs ate his rotten corpse and a time later the Jesus myth began—people taking Jesus’ mere man life & continuously adding legend on to it till he became a full fledged superhero in the anonymously written gospels, decades later. Very plausible!

One final note Christian: nothing wrong with believing fairytales, like the NT Jesus story; heck, kids believe wholeheartedly in Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy and its beautiful! So to be even handed, nothing wrong with believing whole heartedly in the NT Jesus, in fact its likewise beautiful, JUST LOSE THE DOGMA (note: its the dogma its what makes Christianity ugly not the storybook tales of Jesus in the gospels); remember Christians, be like Christian pop music, e.g. Christ Tomlin & Hillsong (zero dogma, 100% love & everyone loves it!)…

…would love to respond to anyone about this post; that Jesus is indeed a fictional character from ancient times…just leave a comment 🙂

…big thanks to Kurt for allowing me to post here! May you uplift the world in your Jesus’ name!

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24 Comments

  1. Chris Schorah - June 2, 2013, 3:09 pm

    If I might respond to your main points Brett.
    The Bible asserts that as Jesus, God, the almighty creator and sustainer of the whole of the Cosmos, comes to earth in human form. So, against your claim, it would be quite rational and reasonably to expect that some of His awesomeness, His otherness, would come with Him. So the presence of the miraculous around Jesus and His ministry, as described in the New Testament, should not surprise us. Indeed, if God is who He claims to be, such things are demanded. As the apostle Paul says “Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead” (Acts 26:8). So the unusual happening round Jesus’ ministry is entirely consistent with the narrative: it’s logical.

    This leads to your second claim that the narrative, the New Testament account, is (to a greater or lesser extent) fabricated: it’s a product of the imagination and distortions of the early Christians. However, this proposition (in all it’s various forms), once popular amongst liberal scholars in the middle of the last century, is now dated. The basics of the reductive techniques that were used to critique scripture have been shown to be unreliable and their conclusions are now increasingly discredited. In contrast, the more recent holistic historical-critical scholarship finds considerable support for the historicity of the Gospel accounts, at any rate with regard to the central issues at their heart (see the work of scholars such as NT Wright, PR Eddy, GA Boyd, GR Habermas, CL Blomberg, R Bauckham, N Perrin, D Wenham etc).
    This recent research also accounts for the following facts, which support the reliability of the New Testament. People dismissive of its truth have never been able to explain away these things.

    1. Written within living memory of the events.
    2. Not changed on the essentials since it was written (even Bart Ehrman accepts this)
    3. Reliable oral transmission in the 30 years before it was written down.
    4. Nine authors writing from different places and times agree on the essentials.
    5. No conflicting contemporary documents telling an alternative story.
    6. Accepted by the early Church (circa AD 90-150)
    7. Passes 5 of the 6 standard tests of historical reliability for ancient documents.
    -Writers agree on the essentials but not details.
    -Derogatory remarks about some main characters.
    -Story arises from the culture but it develops in an unexpected way.
    -Follow up story commensurate with the plot.
    -Support from archaeology and other independent accounts.

    I can go into more detail if you’re interested.

  2. Brett Strong - June 2, 2013, 8:14 pm

    Hi Chris!

    Thanks for reading my post and thanks for taking time out to respond with thoughtfulness!

    You say: “The Bible asserts that as Jesus, God, the almighty creator and sustainer of the whole of the Cosmos, comes to earth in human form”

    Brett Strong responds: Chris you are 100% correct, the bible does assert…buuutttttttt (and here’s your downfall from making that statement) the Koran asserts (Allah and Muhammad flew into heaven on an overnight express) and the book of Mormon asserts (another version of Jesus and the golden tablets) and the Hindu scriptures assert (a million gods) and Sikhism scripture asserts (their god) and the Pope asserts (gods ever changing views through him) and Jehovah Witness Watch Tower writings assert (their own version of Christianity) and Oprah Winfry asserts (a god that sends everyone to heaven, no bible necessary), etc, etc, etc, to the infinite…everyone’s asserting…AND? What’s new under the sun?

    So throw your Jesus/god assertions in the never ending pile of millions of gods—all hot air with zero empirical facts to back it…just as I would expect from fictional creations as Jesus, the Christian god!

    But like I always say: nothing wrong with believing in fairytales (like Jesus or the Hindu gods, or whatever), just lose the dogma 🙂

    Anyways, since Jesus is a fictional character, you are 100% right to say that Jesus doing phantasmal things is logical—true, true, true; i.e. in the realm of fantasy!

    Indeed the illogical (like raising rotted corpses from the grave/people walking on water) is logical in fairytales or they wouldn’t be fairytales but rather reality!

    Again Chris, nothing wrong with believe in fairytales (Jesus flying in the air, angels fluttering back to cosmos, etc)—heck kids believe wholeheartedly in Santa clause—just lose the dogma Chris

    Point 2)
    Chris, when you say “the New Testament account, is (to a greater or lesser extent) fabricated…is now dated”—this is but mainstream scholarship my friend. Bart Ehrman (agnostic) , Dale Martin of Yale (Christian), Bishop Shleby Spong Christian), John Dominic Crosson (Christian) and on and on and on the top scholars in the world, today, as we speak, will flat out tell you that the gospels are in fact fabricated to a greater or lesser degree! And William Lane Craig would tell you the exact same thing; only bible thumping Christians believe the NT to be true through and through! Hello!

    That makes perfect sense!

    It’s no different than ‘bible thumping’ Islamic priests believing the Koran to be true and Hindu priest believe the Gita to be true and Mormon pastors believing the book of Mormon to be true, etc, etc, etc…and??????

    Again Chris, join the endless pile of “my religion is true because it says it’s true” 🙂

    Point 3)

    Chris you say “This recent research also accounts for the following facts, which support the RELIABILITY of the New Testament”

    Bart Ehrman, Dale Martin, and their peers all flat out state, today Chris, that the NT is not reliable (including the gospels)! Only bits and pieces are reliable, but the whole of the NT are flat out unreliable—and this is Bart Ehrman and all his peers!

    Chris: Bart Ehrman, Dale Martin, and their peers flat out state that at least 19 of the 27 books of the NT are FORGERIES (including the gospels)!

    That’s how reliable they will tell you the NT is—that at least 19 of the 27 books are FORGERIES! And that’s top scholarship my friend; Bart Ehrman would be proud of me 🙂

    Brett Strong…enjoys all religions but hates the dogmas!

    Again: thanks for replying Chris and keep believing in fairytale stories like the gospels of Jesus, seriously (I wouldn’t care if it was Superman or Spiderman or the incredible Hulk or Bat Man you deemed as real and your savior and one day they’re coming back from the cosmos to get you and your friends—seriously, I all for that too!), just lose the dogma

    Have a great day 🙂 and may your Jesus bless you all the days of your life!

    • Chris Schorah - June 6, 2013, 6:06 am

      Hi Brett
      If I’m reading you correctly it’s good to see that we agree that it’s quite logical for God to be able to do miracles. The issue is did He or is it, as you assert, all make believe. At the moment we’re considering just one strand of the evidence for it not being a fairy story – the historical support in the New Testament. There are of course many other areas of evidence for Christianity being true, one of which is the new subject you raise, that of other faiths, and I’ll comment on that in another post. I certainly never implied, as you infer, the Christianity is true because it says it is: there’s far too much evidence in it’s support to need to take that position.
      However, sticking for now with the subject of scripture, I have to say that just repeating what you’ve said before, albeit rather more forcefully, doesn’t make your case stronger.
      I never denied that you couldn’t find scholars who are doubtful about the reliability of the NT documents. I could list rather more than you do. However, if you weigh all evidence, rather than being selective, there is no doubt that the extreme sceptical position, which you advocate, especially on the essentials of the NT story, is now in serious decline in critical circles.
      It’s increasingly recognised that the methods that were used to scrutinise scripture in the 19/20th century lack reliable standards, reference material or controls, all of which are indispensable to effective scientific analysis. It has even been argued that the principles, assumptions and suppositions, which form the basis of their analytical techniques, are seriously flawed.
      These concerns are reflected in practice, for the findings are often inconsistent. Different scholars, using similar techniques, arrive at different and sometimes bizarre conclusions when analysing the same text. Such lack of precision is a major indication that the techniques and suppositions that are used by the critics don’t work effectively. Further, seemingly like you, they are unable to challenge any of the 7 points I made above which, independently, strongly point to the reliability of the NT documents.
      Even some of those who were once very dismissive of the veracity of the NT, such as B Mack, G Theisson, A Merz, G Vermes, A Flew, AN Wilson have recently been negative about the results of much of the dismissive critical approach of the 20th century which you, but fewer and fewer scholars, still cling to.
      I’m not saying that you can’t continue to hold to your position of complete disbelief in the story at the heart of the NT. However, increasingly it’s a faith position and not one that can be stated from a standpoint of extreme scepticism, as you do, and remain credible or anything like faithful to the overall evidence.
      Regards
      Chris

      • Brett Strong - June 6, 2013, 9:46 pm

        Hi Chris Schorah! Thanks for taking time out to read my post and respond!

        CHRIS SAYS: “we agree that it’s quite logical for God to be able to do miracles:

        BRETT STRONG REPLIES: Of course in any book of fairytales, be it the Christian bible (OT & NT) or the Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix or Peter Pan or whatever, the impossible is logical; in fact it’s a must have! Or it wouldn’t be fairytales! So your bible Chris Schorah is just what I would expect—fairytales with plenty of whimsical characters like Moses & Jesus of Nazareth & the invisible god in it!

        CHRIS SAYS “the historical support in the New Testament”

        BRETT STRONG REPLIES: please understand this Chris: there is no historical support for miracles! ZERO! For a historical Jesus, plausible—but miracles? NOPE! Just ask the great Bart Ehrman or Dale Martin of Yale University!

        CHRIS S SAYS: “there is no doubt that the extreme skeptical position, which you advocate, especially on the essentials of the NT story, is now in serious decline in critical circles”

        BRETT STRONG REPLIES: Chris S, I align myself pretty much with the great Bart Erhman and the other great Dale Martin of Yale University and countless others! Indeed both Bart and Dale, 2 of the world’s leading biblical scholars, would call you extreme. And as far as serious decline? Say what? Seriously? Bart Ehrman alone probably sells more books than probably than the top 100 Christian Apologist put together! You call our position in serious decline? Seriously? Our position is more popular than ever and growing leaps and bounds!

        Heck, between 75% to 95% of Christian youths leave the church during college because their faced with endless scholars like Bart Ehrman—so as you can see my position is more popular than ever and growing leaps and bounds

        BRETT STRONG CONTINUES: ALSO CHRIS: Anthony Flew (A Flew as you say) has been dead for a while! And he died a non-Christian which means HE DID NOT BELIEVE THE BIBLE in the manner you do! HE DID NOT BELIEVE IN THE FAIRYTALE MIRACLES OF THE BIBLE—HE DIED A DIEST NOT A THEIST OF ANY RELIGION!

        BRETT STRONG CONTINUES: ALSO CHRIS: just like Bart Ehrman and Dale Martin, we all state that its very plausible & reasonable to believe that a mere man named Jesus of Nazareth may have lived in Judea 2,000 years ago, gained a small following, rubbed some Jews the wrong way, and got himself tortured to death by some Roman guards then his body was fed to the dogs and a time later his disciples started a movement which is now known as Christianity—no problem with us!

        But what we all reject as fairytales are the countless miracles of Jesus—like walking on water, turning water into wine, being a dead corpse but yet rising from the dead a few days later, vanishing into thin air, appearing out of thin air, etc, etc, etc

        Why do you think 75% to 95% of Christian youths leave the church during college? Because they realize that they’ve been fed a bunch of fairytales—no different than the Santa Clause story! There may have been a mere man named Chris Kringle but the Santa story is pure fiction and the same goes with Jesus of Nazareth, there may have been a real man named Jesus of Nazareth but the Jesus story (about a dying and rising god) of the NT is pure fiction!

        Brett Strong…the next wave is here and I am he!

        FACT: Science and modern medicine 100% backs me—Brett Strong 🙂

        FACT: Science and modern medicine 100% rejects you—Christ Schorah 🙂

        …so you calling my position (the Jesus story as being fairytales) “extreme skepticism” is odd being that Science, modern medicine, the super-popular Bart Ehrman, his scholar buddy Dale Martin, John Dominic Crosson, to the infinite of PhD biblical Scholars (Christians and non-Christians); including up to 95% of the Christian youth (wow!)—all 100% back me, see it as I do or pretty darn close!

        Seems to me you (Chris Schorah) are the one with the extreme views—for science rebukes you, modern medicine rebukes you, the top scholars in the world (Christian and non-Christian) rebukes you, 95% of your own Christian youth rebukes you, in-your-face-proof rebukes you, etc, etc, etc you are rebuked Chris Schorah!

        Heck, even your own bible rebukes you Chris Schorah!

        You see: Chris Schorah, I have clearly shown this entire forum and blogosphere that you are the one with extreme and unreasonable beliefs….

        It’s been fun though! Have a great day and may your Jesus faith serve you well! Again, thanks for responding and thanks Kurt for letting me post here! Maybe we can do a debate?

        Thanks everyone for reading this post 🙂

        • Chris Schorah - June 12, 2013, 4:41 pm

          Brett, you clearly choose not to engage with a considerable and increasing amount of research that’s at least as good, in terms of scholarly credentials, as your oft-named heroes Martin, Erhman, and Crossan (with an ‘a’ not an ‘o’). I prefer the more rational and balanced approach of studying both sides of the argument and so I’ve read some of the most recent writings of both Erhman and Crossan. Erhman even admits that his book ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not challenge the essentials at the heart of the New Testament.

          Further, in spite of your extensive reading of ‘top’ scholars you seem unwilling or unable to counter any of the 7 points I listed above which support the historical reliability of the New Testament (NT). Nor have you attempted to refute my allegation about the inadequacy of the techniques used by many scholars who are sceptical of the reliability of the NT. Do you even know what principles of analysis they use, or is your faith in their findings that blind?

          More precision in quoting what I say would also help our dialogue. I never claimed that the one-time committed atheist, Anthony Flew became a Christian, although, as you say, he became a theist. Having studied both sides of the argument, he found your position of extreme scepticism untenable. By extreme scepticism, by the way, I don’t imply that your position is unusual, just that on a spectrum of views about the NT it’s at one end. Nor did I imply my view was popular, just that it had scholarship on its side. As for your measure of popularity – the sales of books you favour – well fiction is almost always more popular than good scholarship; popularity reflects fashion more than truth.

          You conclude with the statement “I have clearly shown this entire forum and blogosphere that you are the one with extreme and unreasonable beliefs….”
          Well I’m happy to leave it to this entire forum to draw their own conclusions as to how much or little you’ve ‘clearly shown’!

          Moving on to two new questions your comments raise.
          1. You seem to accept that Jesus probably lived, gained a small following and was killed. If that’s all there is to the story how on earth did the Church become so successful in the 200 years following his death. Remember, initially this was achieved, through doubting, frightened, unconnected and uneducated Jews following the death of their leader, using a counter-intuitive message of enemy-loving and sacrificial care and peace to all men. Until Constantine got involved circa 320AD, growth occurred without the support of political power, economic largesse or military might. Indeed, its claims were completely against the views of the ruling authorities and the pluralist culture of the time and, as a result, it suffered periods of intense persecution, when thousands died for their faith. No other religion with such limitations and disadvantages has succeeded so quickly and effectively and spread so ubiquitously.
          2. You claim that most of the NT is a fairy tail and that science and medicine backs you up 100%. Help me here. What scientific experiment or medical discovery shows 100%, that is complete proof, that the NT is mostly fiction?
          Regards
          Chris

          • Brett Strong - June 12, 2013, 9:29 pm

            Brett Strong kindly & easily dissects Chris Scholar…& the great Bart Ehrman rejects (more or less) 6 of your 7 list! Do some more studying my friend…I’ll list your 7 point list & then I’ll list Bart Ehrman’s (& mainstream scholarship) rejections…here we go

            1. Written within living memory of the events …and??? Bart Ehrman adamantly states that the gospels were written by people who NEVER MET JESUS! Ouch! …& worse yet Bart states that at least 19 of the 27 books are the NT are FORGERIES! Ouch!

            2. Not changed on the essentials since it was written (even Bart Ehrman accepts this) …sorry Chris but Bart Ehrman states that the Jesus story got changed repeatedly as it was told, one person to another, thus the Jesus story he says is not reliable! Sorry to deliver the bad news my friend…

            3. Reliable oral transmission in the 30 years before it was written down…hey Chris refer to point 2 response (Bart Ehrman says oral tradition is unreliable! Ouch!)
            .
            4. Nine authors writing from different places and times agree on the essentials…Chris, refer to point 1 response (Bart Ehrman states that 8 of those 9 authors were ‘deceivers [not who the claimed to be’—ouch!)

            5. No conflicting contemporary documents telling an alternative story…Chris have you read your own bible? Just read 2 John 1:7 “They do not believe that Jesus Christ came to earth in a real body”….2 Corinthians 11:4 “…they preach about a different Jesus” …and as you know Chris S, throughout the NT the vast majority said the Jesus story (about a dying and rising Messiah) was CRAZY!…In 1 Corinthians 4: 10 apostle Paul admits he looked like a fool for the Jesus story (Ouch!)

            6. Accepted by the early Church (circa AD 90-150) …and??? …people accept Space Aliens raping people as being true, and???

            7. Passes 5 of the 6 standard tests of historical reliability for ancient documents…Chris, have you really read Bart Ehrman, because with a debate with WLC, he directly said to WLC, that the NT as a whole is not reliable! …how can it be when 19 of the 27 books are forgeries—per Bart Ehrman! …I mean would you call the book of Revelation reliable? …a guy whom soma have said must have been on an acid trip—with heavenly monsters whipping out a third of the stars…

            Brett Strong…the next wave is here and I am he!

            FYI Chris S: you misspelled these words incorrectly…”sceptical” & “scepticism” twice in your cooment 🙂

            Another FYI Chris S…Anthony Flew died a Deist not a theist—per Gary Habermas! …so wrong again Chris S

          • Chris Schorah - June 14, 2013, 4:58 pm

            Hi Brett
            I guess JP Holding has responded well, much more succinctly than I will – including the way we Brits spell sceptical and associated words. Still here goes.
            Although, as JP says, there’s little hope of you studying them, refutations of Ehrman’s views are legion, try: Bauckham R. 2006. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids. Eddy PR, Boyd GA. 2007. The Jesus Legend. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids. Green M. 2009. Lies Lies Lies. IVP: Nottingham. Habermas GR. 1997. The Historical Jesus. College Press Publisher: Joplin. Wenham D. 2010. Did St Paul get Jesus Right? Lion Hudson: Oxford. Williams PS. Understanding Jesus. 2011. Authentic Media: Milton Keynes. Wright NT. 2001-3. Christian Origins and the Question of God (3 Volumes). SPCK: London.
            In terms of your responses to my points on NT historicity, you mostly simply duck the issues rather than offering any challenge to them.
            1. Whether the NT authors met Jesus or not (and many scholars argue that some did) doesn’t challenge the fact that the writers were chronologically close to the events.
            2. Hypothetical changes occurring during the oral transmission (unlikely as oral traditions can retain historical reliability over a 100 years on the essentials: see Eddy ref and JP above) have no bearing whatsoever on how accurately the written accounts were reproduced (manuscript/textual criticism suggests very well indeed).
            3. See 2.
            4. So Ehrman believes that the nine separate NT authors, writing from different places at different times, were relying on source material that had been distorted by the oral traditions resulting in many fundamentally different incorrect stories. Yet, without collusion, hence their differences of detail and emphasis, these independent authors were able to write accounts that, by chance, agree on which of the many different untrue essentials were selected for inclusion. Hence the consistency we find at the heart of the accounts. Why Brett, that’s a miracle, except, of course, you don’t believe in miracles.
            5. Yes, as today, many didn’t believe the accounts. But not because they actually knew or had evidence of a different Jesus story, they just didn’t believe. Even many of the religious officials of Jesus’ time never doubted that Jesus could do miracles (unlike you) and they were there (unlike you): they just chose (like you) not to believe in Him. And so no first century writer ever wrote an account contradicting the heart of the of the NT.
            6. There was more or less consistent universal acceptance of the essentials of the NT canon by the leaders of nearly all Christian communities over the whole of the Roman Empire and beyond by about 150AD, a belief defended to the death by many. This is an order different from the huge variety of often conflicting alien stories and the people who hold them.
            7. Well clearly Ehrman disagrees with what nearly all historians, Christian and non-Christian, consider as signs of historical reliability in ancient manuscripts (Christian and non-Christian). This simply further convinces me of the weakness of his opinions (for opinions, rather than facts, is what they are).

            Tell you what, Brett, as you seem to be struggling with precise and balanced responses, I won’t press you for answers to the other two other questions I asked.
            Chris

        • Profile photo of Kurt Jaros

          Kurt Jaros - June 13, 2013, 1:00 am

          Brett, I think taking out the third person references would be helpful for other people to take your comments (and arguments) more seriously. Furthermore, it might also be helpful to not write something like, “kindly & easily dissects … .” Instead, let the reader make that conclusion.

          Cheers!

          • Profile photo of J. P. Holding

            J. P. Holding - June 13, 2013, 5:21 am

            Might also help if he spread his study beyond Bart Ehrman, whose arguments are paper tigers. I’ve done extensive study on oral tradition and authorship issues, with detailed arguments Brett will never read. Ehrman is simply put of touch with the relevant scholarship, and uses poor arguments to make his case.

            It might also help to learn that the British spell “skeptical” with a C rather than a K.:)

          • Brett Strong - June 13, 2013, 10:04 am

            Hi Kurt.. I’m surprised you would make that comment; because I learned it from William Lane Craig!!!! 🙂 …quoting tons of 3rd hand references to bolster ones case…so let me help you out my friend: are the 3rd hand quotes TRUE–is all that matters! …and I’ve been 100% correct in my quotes! …sooo if anyone doesn’t want to take truth seriously (regardless where it comes from) then the problem lies with them not me…again: everything I’ve said is true and correct…so back to the question Kurt (lets get back on topic): you nor JP nor Nick have given empirical evidence for the BIG 3 (Jesus, god, or hell) ….totally nothing! …and since you guys know you can’t present empirical evidence then just admit it!, … and stop all dogma (like hell talk) but definitely keep the faith in your particular deity 🙂 …

            Brett Strong…the next wave is here and I am he!

            again Kurt…just listen to debates and lectures by Gary Habermas & Mike Licona–tons of 3rd hand quotes 🙂

            ..final point to you Kurt, have you ever read many medical journals? ….tons of 3rd hand references 🙂 …I rest my case…have a great days guys and may your Jesus faith serve you well

            …and will you guys please go on record admitting the TRUTH, that you can’t prove the BIG 3! …so we can move on to other topics 🙂 …do it on your next reply…thanks guys!

        • Profile photo of Kurt Jaros

          Kurt Jaros - June 14, 2013, 3:06 am

          Brett, I wasn’t referring to people’s use of other sources. I was referring to your use of the third person singular, i.e. “Brett Strong…the next wave is here and I am he!”

          I don’t think it helps the level of civility of referring to yourself in the third person. It would seem strange if I wrote, “Kurt Jaros, helping dialogue become more civil since 2012.” I think people would be taken aback and perhaps perceive a type of arrogance on my end, even if arrogance wasn’t the intended meaning.

  3. Lucas - June 5, 2013, 5:45 pm

    I’d like to see quotes of William Lane Craig saying he thinks the new testament is largely fabricated!! if that’s true then most of his work and beliefs are founded on absolutely nothing!

  4. Brett Strong - June 6, 2013, 4:24 am

    Hi Lucas! Thanks for taking time out to read my post and respond!

    You’re obviously a bit confused (no problem my friend) so let me rephrase what I said about William Lane Craig: William Lane Craig would tell you the exact same thing: mainstream scholarship: Bart Ehrman (agnostic) , Dale Martin of Yale (Christian), Bishop Shleby Spong (Christian), John Dominic Crosson (Christian) and on and on and on the top scholars in the world, today, as we speak, will flat out tell you that the gospels are in fact fabricated to a greater or lesser degree! And only what many call ‘bible thumping Christians’ believe the NT to be true through and through!

    There you go!

    Brett Strong…enjoying all religion but hating all dogma (like obey my ‘god’ or burn in hell forever)!

    Lucas I’d be happy to answer any other question of yours and anyone else’s who wishes to respond to my post 🙂

    Have a great day Lucas and may your Jesus faith serve you well today!

    • Stu the Bold - June 10, 2013, 11:03 am

      Hey Brett

      I think you might want to read NT Wright, Gary Habermas, and Craig Keener’s work on miracles and the deconstruction of Hume’s (circular) logic on the subject. I think you will find it all very interesting.

  5. Brett Strong - June 10, 2013, 4:35 pm

    Hi Stu…2 quick things: Craig Keeners book “Miracles” does not contain people walking on water and disappearing into a cloud near the ozone layer (my post is about those kind of miracles); and 2ndly, Gary Habermas would be the first to tell you that you can’t prove miracles as a ancient historian and Bart Ehrman would tell you the same ….miracles like walking on water is left 100% to the imaginative world not the real world…and 3rdly Humes argument has been dealt with a million ways but never exposed as an untruth…i.e. no one has proven him wrong yet that’s why his point remains as strong as ever, miracles (like walk on water) don’t occur in reality only in people’s minds

    Brett Strong

  6. John K - June 13, 2013, 4:09 pm

    One question Brett:Are you coming to TheologyWeb? It’s a Yes or No question.

  7. Grace - June 15, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Hello, again Brett. Thank you for putting some time into listing reasons why you do not believe Christianity to be true, and now I would also like to give reasons why I believe Christianity to be true. The two main reasons that I see you give in these discussions in the comments section are 1). The reliability of the Bible, and 2)miracles, so I will address those two points, too.

    1). Regarding the reliability of the Bible, first I just wanted to point out that Christianity is unique because it is historically verifiable. I know that you mentioned the Koran and other religions and myths, but Christianity is based on the _public_ life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth – witnessed by _multiple_ people_ -not a private dream, vision, or idea by one person (emphasis on ‘public’ and ‘multiple people’ as opposed to one person), so other religions do not even come close to being equally historically verifiable to the Bible.

    2). The Bible is the best attested ancient literature compared to other pieces of literature from the ancient world; it has been thoroughly examined by scholars, and the majority of historians believe that Jesus of Nazareth existed. You yourself quote Bart Ehrman; if you believe what Bart Ehrman says, well, he believes that an actual Jesus of Nazareth existed, too. How much support is there from scholars for the view that Jesus never existed? Well, I’d like to see scholarly sources by people who are experts in the field of history, who have even a single peer reviewed article on the subject that argues that Jesus never existed. You may find one or two – in the defunct Journal of Higher Criticism. Of course Robert Price founded the now defunct Journal of Higher Criticism so that he could actually get something that appeared scholarly published, so that doesn’t actually count. Richard Carrier is one who is credentialled although he never revealed who the scholarly peers who peer reviewed his book. If you were to use them, that would only be two who have had a scholarly article published and peer reviewed, but that is in comparison to the vast majority of historical scholars who studied the Bible and found that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed.

    3). I believe that Robert Price and Richard Carrier’s methodology is wrong and I will give you some examples from ancient history and list the resources afterwards. I agree that we in the 21st century value firsthand contemporary testimony from eyewitness, who are named, and the ancient authors also valued that, but that is only whenever they could. Many Greek, Roman, and Jewish historical accounts are predicated upon _secondhand_ reports at best, and they are not all contemporaneous, yet historians still take the documents as being historically reliable.

    Here are a few examples:

    “W. Walbank notes that Greek historians typically did _not_ identify their sources. 1. Thucydides (460-404 B.C.E.) is one example. His exact date of death is unknown. M. I. Finley says, ‘All that we know about Thucydides is found in the few scraps he tells us about himself… from late antiquity credited to someone named Marcellinus.’ 2. Betty Radice relays, ‘For much of the period he describes The Peloponnesian War is the only source that survives.’ 3. Thucydides frequently relied on _secondhand_ information and he never named his informants. Finley explains, ‘Unlike Herodotus, Thucydides _never_ names_ his informants, and on only two occasions does he say that he was a direct participant: he suffered from the plague and he was a general at Amphipolis.’ 4.

    “Polybius’s (circa 200-118 B.C.E.) exact birth date is uncertain. 5. Polybius preferred to be an eyewitness himself to the events he records or to obtain his information from people who were eyewitnesses (Histories IV.2.2). Polybius, however, writes about events _pre-dating_ his time in the first two books of his work titled The Rise of the Roman Empire. 6. These two books briefly recount the events of the First Punic War, the subsequent war between Carthage and its mercenary army in revolt, and the construction of a Carthaginian empire in Spain. They also report on what occurred in Greece, such as Achaea’s rise and the war between the Achaean League and Cleomenes of Sparta, which led to Macedonia’s acquisition of southern Greece. 7. He claims that he consulted documents, naming some, and oral sources, but, nevertheless, all of these events _predated_ Polybius. Moreover, historians no longer have access to Polybius’s purported sources.

    “Cornelius Tacitus was born circa 56 C.E. Tacitus’s version of events from the first century C.E., which he discusses in his Annals, (114-120 C.E.) likewise must be deemed _second_ hand_ reporting. Even though Tacitus was born around 56 C.E., he purports to narrate events that occurred in the years 14-54 C.E. in books One through Six and books Eleven and Twelve (the intermediary books are missing).
    “Josephus was born in 37 C.E. but his date of death is unknown. 8. Books 1-17 out of the 20 books of Antiquities of the Jews pertain to events and people _predating_ Josephus’s birth. Excepting the introduction section in which Josephus briefly introduces his reasons for writing The Jewish War, Book 1 of The Jewish War focuses on events and individuals that _predated_ Josephus’s time as well. Moreover, Josephus does _not_ identify any of his sources in The Jewish War. 9. Vita, which is attributed to Josephus, says Josephus came from royalty (Vita 1). The Jewish War also claims Josephus resisted the Romans in Galilee and that the Roman general Vespasian sought to capture Josephus, because Josephus had generated so much trouble for the Roman forces in Galilee (The Jewish War 3.340-347). Vespasian eventually became friends with Josephus, allowing Josephus to live within Rome to write Josephus’s books. Vespasian eventually became Emperor of Rome in 69 C.E.

    “Despite these impressive claims, including Josephus’s imperial tie to Emperor Vespasian, no other first century C.E. writer ever mentions Josephus or even the Jewish Revolt or “war” against the Romans. It is not until the next century that Roman authors even hint that there was a considerable struggle against the Jews in the first century C.E. Also, although archaeologists have recovered remains in Galilee suggestive of some battles, they have uncovered nothing to render the conclusion there was an actual war against the Romans. Mordechai Aviam, distinct archaeologist for eastern Galilee in the ‘Akko office of the Israel Antiquities Authority, explains:
    ‘The problem of human remains from battle sites of the Revolt is well known. Besides Yodefat, three such sites have been excavated: Masada, Gamla, and Jerusalem. Only a very few human remains have been found at each. At Masada, a few skeletal remains were found in the northern palace and some complete skeletons were found in a cave below the cliff (Yadin1966; Zias, Segal, and Carmi 1994; Zias 1998). From Jerusalem, only the bones of a human arm were found (at the ‘Burnt House’; Avigad 1980: 123). From Gamla there is one human jawbone (see p. 151). The preliminary finds from Yodefat were somewhat more numerous, though not substantially so.’ 10.

    “Aviam concludes that ‘the number of the dead given by Josephus is without doubt highly exaggerated.’ 11. The archaeological evidence hardly corroborates the assertion that, ‘the war of the Jews against the Romans was the greatest of our time; greater too, perhaps, than any recorded struggle whether between cities or nations’ (The Jewish War Preface.1).

    “Despite this lack of external contemporary written attestation to Josephus’s existence and the First Jewish Revolt’s reality, Josephus’s writings remain the only first century sources of data about the vast majority Judaea’s history as a whole. E. Mary Smallwood sums up the situation historians are left to deal with succinctly: “Thus not only for the war of 66-70 but also for the history of the province of Judaea, and for the story of the reigns of Herod the Great, his sons and his grandson, Josephus stands virtually alone, and must be judged on his own merits.” 12.

    Sources:

    1. Polybius The Rise of the Roman Empire, trans. Ian Scott-Kilvert, selected with an introduction by F. W. Walbank (New York: Penguin Books, 1979), 33.

    2. Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. Rex Warner with an Introduction and Notes by M. I. Finley (Penguin Books, 1954, 1972), 9.

    3. Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War, trans. Rex Warner with an Introduction and Notes by M. I. Finley, very first page.

    4. Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War, 11.

    5. Polybius The Rise of the Roman Empire, trans. Ian Scott-Kilvert, selected with an introduction by F. W. Walbank (New York: Penguin Books, 1979), 12.

    6. Polybius The Rise of the Roman Empire, trans. Ian Scott-Kilvert, selected with an introduction by F. W. Walbank (New York: Penguin Books, 1979), 23, 32.

    7. Polybius The Rise of the Roman Empire, 11-12.

    8. Josephus The Jewish War, trans. G. A. Williamson, Revised with a new introduction, notes and appendixes, by E. Mary Smallwood (New York: Penguin Books, 1959, 1970, 1981), 9, 13.

    9. Josephus The Jewish War Books I-II, Loeb Classical Library, trans. H. St. J. Thackeray, ed. Jeffrey Henderson (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004), xix.

    10. Mordechai Aviam, “Yodefat/Jotapata: The Archaeology of the First Battle,” in The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, history, and ideology (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), 130.

    11. Mordechai Aviam, “Yodefat/Jotapata: The Archaeology of the First Battle,” 131.

    12. Josephus The Jewish War, trans. G. A. Williamson, revised with a new introduction, notes and appendixes, by E. Mary Smallwood, 19.

    So let us take a look at the methodological principles for ancient history: Yes, historians place prefer the earliest sources available, and they do not necessarily need to be contemporary sources. They may use informants who reference earlier sources, even if none are available for analysis.

    There is the criterion of independent attestation. Events are deemed more likely to have occurred if that same event is mentioned in several independent documents rather than only one person mentioning the event in one document. Also, historians use the “criterion of contextual credibility” to determine if the source is a credible witness; the witness must fit into the historical context of the scene the document describes, and they also apply the principle of embarrassment. If there is something that they wrote that could potentially be embarrassing for them in that age and time, this would count towards the reliability of the document, although all ancient documents do not include all these criteria. And this is why the majority of historical scholars deem that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical person. The gospels contain contemporary eyewitness accounts (one can dispute that they were contemporary and that we do not know who the sources are, but given the ancient historical methodology, the objection would not matter), the criterion for contextual credibility (if one were to believe the apostles or close people to the apostles wrote those documents, we have no reason to conclude that they were not credible), and the gospels meet the principle of embarrassment. So, we can see that my list starting in point 3 illustrates the ancient historical methodology, and all of those are deemed historically reliable; the gospels should be considered to be historically reliable, too.

  8. Grace - June 15, 2013, 1:51 pm

    3). Even if the Bible turned out to be reliable, I see that you have a problem with the miracles in the Bible or miracles in general. I’m not sure I even see an argument against miracles except to say that they are something you would find in a comic book. Unless you are using an argument from incredulity, but that would be a fallacy. There was another poster on RCA who gave a good reason that wasn’t fallacious; from his experience he said he has never seen a miracle occur, which was his personal criteria, and he concluded that they miracles just do not occur. That is not fallacious reasoning, and you may want to use that instead.

    So I’ll tell you why I believe miracles can occur, and why I can believe the miracles in the Bible. We can know that God exists using natural theology and evidence in the arguments for the existence of God. We can also use historical and archaeological evidence which corroborate the Bible and show the Bible to be historically reliable. From those documents, we see that God has revealed some things about Himself, and when I take all that into account – that God has revealed that he is the creator of the universe, the moral law giver, the giver of life and meaning and purpose to life, I look at the world and see that God is the best explanation for all those things. If I believe in God, then I should expect to see miracles. What is a miracle? The dictionary definition is: “A highly improbable event.” Notice that it does not say that a miracle is an “impossible” event. Do I think there are miracles? Sure. Below I will give examples for the origin of our universe and the origin of life.

    There are no natural explanations for the origin of the universe and the origin of life.
    “[The Big Bang]…represents the instantaneous suspension of physical laws, the sudden, abrupt flash of lawlessness that allowed something to come out of nothing. It represents a _true_ miracle_—transcending physical principles….” (Paul Davies, The Edge of Infinity. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981, p161).

    “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner, because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact” -agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow.

    Regarding DNA replication and protein synthesis in the origin of life: “To produce this _miracle_ of molecular construction all the cell need do is to string together the amino acids (which make up the polypeptide chain) in the correct order. This is a complicated biochemical process, a molecular assembly line, using instructions in the form of a nucleic acid tape (the so-called messenger RNA). Here we need only ask, how many possible proteins are there? If a particular amino acid sequence was selected by chance, how _rare_ of an event would that be?” (Francis Crick, Life Itself, Its Origin and Nature,1981, pp 51-52). Note-these are two scientists who are not Christians. Paul Davies is a physicist, cosmologist and astrobiologist, and Francis Crick is a molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist who received a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA.

    MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder makes the same point:
    “…and then there is the uncontested reality that life started immediately on just-cooled earth and not after billions of years as had been once posited. Elso Barghoorn, while at Harvard University, discovered this fact that changed the entire emphasis in origin of life studies. Barghoorn discovered that the oldest rocks that can bear fossils already have fully formed fossils of one-celled life. And most amazingly, and yet by necessity, those first forms of life already had the ability to reproduce. _Reproduction_ is_ not _something_ that_ can_ gradually_ evolve. The first cell to survive had to have all the mechanisms for mitosis the first time around since all the attempts at life that came before (if there were other attempts) died without leaving any heritage simply because there was no succeeding generation prior to reproduction.”

    So, it really seemed to me that metaphysical naturalism could not explain the origin of the universe or the origin of life, and God creating the universe and life, as stated in the Bible is more plausible since they are problematic on metaphysical naturalism. This convinces me that miracles can happen, and this is how I can believe the historical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus- because of my presuppositional belief that miracles can occur since I have already concluded (based upon evidence that convinced me) that God exists. If God exists, then we should expect that God can do miracles, and the historical accounts now seem plausible to me. Thanks for taking the time to hear my side. And have a good father’s day.

    • Grace - June 15, 2013, 1:52 pm

      Whoops – the above comment is supposed to be point 4.

  9. Profile photo of brettstrong

    brettstrong - June 17, 2013, 5:01 pm

    To JP Holding…I see you agree with the Barna group study and so do I…Christianity is a shadow of its self, never to be the same ever again….so good luck with your dogmatic ministry because the youth aren’t buying it and neither am I…so preach to the dwindling choir my friend 🙂 …sounds like fun ….now lets do a audio dialogue? …ASAP! ..let me know…

    Brett Strong! …

    …and to Nick Peters, U R Awesome brother! …

    • John K - June 18, 2013, 7:45 am

      For the last time,they’ve told you that they will debate you on TheologyWeb.

      • John K - June 18, 2013, 8:28 am

        It looks like the new wave is too scared to do a text debate on TheologyWeb.

    • Profile photo of J. P. Holding

      J. P. Holding - June 18, 2013, 9:15 am

      Gee, Brett. I’m supposed to be upset or bothered that immature, ill-informed people are “not buying it”?

      Not to worry anyway. Like I told you, the Third World is eating it up….and despite the narrow focus you have on life, they’re the wave of the future in terms of population.

      Like the man said….do it in writing or don’t bother me with it. In fact, my next step is to publicly call you down for a series of seven “red flags” you posted on a blog (not an audio debate, by you, either) and challenge you to come defend them. If you don’t, it will just be further proof that you are too frightened, too inept, and too unable to defend your views against informed Christians.

      You have until Friday to show up at TheologyWeb. Then the postings will begin.

      The new wave….drip, drip, drip….

  10. John K - June 18, 2013, 7:47 am

    Also Brett,do you believe Jesus existed?

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