Why so close-minded and biased against Christian faith?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Arne Saknussemm, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    You're smearing together all kinds of different issues.

    Kmguru's ancient-astronaut theories. While I'm personally very interested in Indian religious history, I find his speculations unhelpful and frankly a rather bizarre.

    The fact that he's a moderator. Take that up with the board's management. I'm not particularly impressed by Sciforums' moderation myself.

    Why people disagree with you. Probably because they disagree with you.

    Your 'my sources which are better documented than any historical source anyone can name' complaint. Nobody's denying that the early Christian writings existed in antiquity. There's lots of evidence that they did. What people like myself question isn't the writings' existence, it's their theological contents.

    The 'my sources do not count because they are believers' complaint. The fact is that Christian evangelists ask us to believe some pretty outlandish things. The Jewish god really exists. Jesus was the incarnation of that god in human flesh. Jesus died and then rose from the grave. And all kinds of interpretive stuff about the supposed sotorological significance of his death and resurrection. Then the claim is made that the historical documentation for all of this is totally conclusive. What documentation is that? The early Christian documents, in which some the early Christians wrote about the things that they believed. The problem is that while ancient manuscripts documenting their beliefs are tremendously interesting in a history-of-religions sense, they don't explain why we should believe the same things.

    Your claim that most serious scholars regard the gospels 'as absolutely authentic' still leaves us with the question, absolutely authentic... what? The Quran is doubtless an authentic religious writing from late antiquity too, but few Christians will want to commit themselves to the literal truth and divine inspiration of all of its contents.
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  3. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

    No, brother, you got me all wrong. I really and truly did not want to provide Aqueous Id and his ilk with another launchpad for their showcasing how atheistically clever they are. I for one have heard quite enough of the outright dismissal of literally everything I hold sacred just so they can once again flash their credentials as hard-boiled skeptics. See that 'Bread of Life' thread a new member started. I am sure s/he just meant to share something special she experienced, but AI just sees it as an opportunity to trot out Mithra and Socrates again. Does any one else wonder why he is so obsessed with an ancient religion he presumably is no devotee of? Or what is the basis of this need of his to take every opportunity to inform us that Christianity is a fallacy? Whether it is or it isn't, why is he so hot and bothered to keep repeating himself on the topic? Does he really have nothing better to do?

    No, friend, I am no troll. I stopped responding to AI's interminable nitpicking and baiting weeks ago. Then when I saw him try to belittle the faith of the 'Bread of Life' original poster, I saw that I was neither the first nor the last (the alpha or the omega

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    ) in his bizarre need to keep going on in the same vein. I kept quiet on the whole Christianity thing until I saw kmguru's latest - which is so convoluted that I can barely make out what he is talking about. Apparently though, Leonardo Di Caprio is going to be in the next MIB film, which may be the last because the Sun is going to supernova. Or something...

    So thanks for your interest in my thread, but the truth is I think it's played itself out now, if only AI can leave me be.

    Stay tuned same Arne time, same Arne channell, I want to reply to Yazata in a moment.
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  5. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

    Well and good friend Yazata. Yours and Spidergoat's earlier admission that kmguru is 'not taken seriously' to put it mildly, is all I want. I am soothed now. Thank you. Thank you. I just needed to know, needed some explanation or admission about our eccentric brother kmguru, may my God and his bless his pointy little head. I will either ignore him, or silently laugh at his posts in the future, and try very very hard not to mess with him. Please note that I have already respected his latest thread by not hijacking it with the topic question of this thread. (I posted elsewhere rather than in his thread, I mean).

    Now, if it's not asking too much, should I ever bring up the historic authenticity of Christ or His teachings again, could I be shown why some random SciForum member's subjective opinion out-trumps centuries of the thought of many of the greatest philosophical minds, and why the historic documents they choose to accept as true are somehow more authentic than the historic documents I know have more back-up manuscripts than theirs do?

    Until then...

    I bid you a fond adieu (if wishing you 'to God' isn't considered a provocation)
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  7. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I was responding to notions you posted, to which I either objected--for the grounds I stated, or else as talking points which I wanted to add content to. There is nothing different about this than anybody else's post, other than the fact that I did at least provide some evidence to support some of the ideas I introduced.

    That may be part of the thread topic, but it is not the thread title, it was the topic of your post, which was written in defense of interpreting myth and legend as historical narrative.

    People steeped in math and science do not claim to be objective and scientific. It's a world view. It's quick to detect and correct error. That's all. Most of what I posted defeats the anti-science rhetoric.

    That is a false statement. The only people who are eyewitnesses to the story of Jesus are people described in the Bible itself. They are not historical people. None of them left autographs. There is no evidence that they ever existed.

    What makes it so, is that after a thorough search, no such evidence is found. It's the opposite of summary dismissal. On the contrary, is it you making summary conclusions that they are historical people without first do that same search and discovering for yourself that it is unsupportable.

    The same way you will come to know it once you try to prove it. It can't be done.

    People with knowledge of such matters tend to think it arrogant that other people ignorant of such matters would insist that the thing known not to exist exists.

    People who love truth tend to think the same way about people who shy away from it.

    My comment was designed to rescue you from a failed proposition. I can see that was futile.

    And yet it survives as story that fascinated people on its own merit - without any associated retribution for failing to honor it. And of course it imposes no world view.

    Comparing the epic poems of classical Rome and Greece to the Gospels was my response to your claim that the character of Jesus was remarkable. As I said, he expresses a wooden persona. In the Gospel of Thomas and Book of Revelations he is flat (lacking any persona).

    The words I use best fit the meaning I'm attempting to convey. In those statements I was correcting you. You were attacking the applicability of the science to the issues you raised. I stated that exegesis and anthropology/archaeology are fields of research that do apply. That's an incontrovertible fact.

    As I said, his character is primarily used in the Gospels to deliver adages about Christian doctrine. None of the text is devoted to developing his character. This in part was why I gave you the Gospel of Thomas: for comparison. There you see the complete absence of persona. The wooden persona who merely enumerates adages there is pushed back into the narrative even deeper with the preamble "Jesus said" inserted almost everywhere he speaks.

    I didn't say the Jesus character was perfectly flat in affect, I said wooden. And I said most of the time. And I went on to explain that it's done in the manner of a vehicle for delivering quips. The parallel type of device in Greek literature would be the presence of an oracle, who is usually used to deliver adages albeit with some sense of a foreboding.

    The cases where he gets animated are the stuff of fables. They tend to have a moral to them. We can find just as much humanity in the characters of Grimm's Fairy Tales, such as the old woman who whips her kids and sends them off to bed, or the little girl frightened by a spider, or the crafty fox who tricks the crow to drop the cheese by playing to his vanity. These are devices, nothing more. It is worth noting that some of the fables should be examined in their historical context. Since we know that Judaea was crushed by Rome with unimaginable atrocities on a large scale, the complete absence of any reports of atrocities in the Bible is remarkable. We can only speculate about why those reports are missing. But the fable of the man with a whip attacking the non-religious enterprise on the Temple grounds could be very cryptic way of retelling the Roman desecration of the Temple.

    A demigod. This follows the pattern of archetypes from that long list I provided you.

    Typically in any legend of this kind the god will be shown violating the laws of nature. How else would the faithful respect them? They're gods; they have to be able to work magic, or the whole premise flops.

    No that's not the point at all. What I did there was to illustrate how the story of Socrates begins. He's speaking in the first person. He's been to a festival and makes a few passing remarks about what he liked and didn't like. I contrasted that with typical statements from Jesus, just delivering quips. The difference is that Socrates is given a personality whereas Jesus has virtually none. I did this to give you some idea about how we do rhetorical analysis. The Gospels are entirely the stuff of legend, handed down over generations of oral tradition before some unknown writers first put them to text. The Story of Socrates is the work of the scholar Plato. It's deliberate and organized, almost in the manner of a novel. Clearly it's not legend. That was the purpose of my post, to illustrate that by way of the evidence.

    It's also a common theme in legends. Paul Bunyon walks around and does stuff. Johnny Appleseed does too. In the Gilgamesh Epic, the man formed out of clay (Enkidu) becomes the friend of the king (Gilgamesh) and they tramp around until Enkidu dies from illness. Gilgamesh is grief stricken but ends up being given immortality. It's all quite similar in construction. The fabled character has to hang around and do stuff in order to resemble a real person living in the real world. In actual historical narratives, the people named are rarely characters at all. Josephus describes perhaps hundreds of people by name, but in the manner of a Twitter feed, giving little snippets of what they are doing. Most of it is like gossip, and some of it is almost heraldic, like his description of the Roman assault on the walls of Jerusalem before they broke through and began going door to door butchering entire families.

    Not me. I'm simply responding to your post with comments, corrections, and arguments.

    Objectivity is the norm here. This is a science board, not an ICR site. We are discussing the truth of a matter, specifically, the fallacy of interpreting legend and myth as historical narrative.

    I am not basing my statements on my beliefs but rather on the evidence of history. The converse of what you said is true: there is a lot less to Jesus than can be inferred by treating legend as historical narrative

    I see you misunderstood what I wrote. I was not speaking of the affect of an actual person when I said "wooden" or "flat". I was referring to the storyteller's use of character in a literary sense. My point was bring forward some of the elements of a story which require us to classify it as legend. You would have no problem with me classifying some legend about Zeus throwing lightning bolts as legend, basing it in part on the flat affect of the god in the story. Here you're objecting only because you have adopted the position that the Jesus legend is historical narrative. It's not, but I understand your intransigence in considering the evidence that it is. That takes us back to the objectivity of scientific inquiry. The person seeking the truth has to remain objective, which means all such bias has to be removed. Otherwise the conclusion becomes contaminated with prejudice.

    And that brings is directly to the topic of bias, which is the thread title. As you see there is no strawman in my logic as you say.
  8. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    kmguru has been around since... well, time immortal really, as far as sciforums is concerned. And he's been a moderator at least since I've been a member here. As for his latest posts, I frankly haven't the foggiest idea... we are trying to discern that ourselves.
  9. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    While I tend to agree that Jesus was probably an historical figure (nothing definitive can be concluded about that), you would have to show something more extraordinary than a book of legends about him to prove that he was anything other than a charismatic religious leader. This isn't any special kind of "hard-boiled" skepticism, it's skepticism 101. You made a claim that we only pretend to be objective and scientific, and yet you violate the first rule of science, you have accepted a claim first and insist it be disproved, which is backwards. You have accepted a claim first and then used that bias to creatively dismiss valid objections as to the nature of it's supporting evidence, which are simply anecdotal reports.

    Accepted history doesn't rely merely on one document, but multiple sources, and even then we should be skeptical about it. There is no valid reason, for example, to think that Homer or Lao Tzu were real people.
  10. quinnsong Valued Senior Member


    You are a good and patient teacher Aqueous, especially when dealing with such an emotional subject as religious belief. I have to wonder though after years of indoctrination and then belief in a particular religion, how many will look at the facts presented to them objectively? Will they only read books or (really) listen to those that agree with their worldview or belief.
  11. quinnsong Valued Senior Member

    Why you see AI as nitpicking and baiting you is a reflection on how emotionally attached you are to your belief. AI has presented his opinion with many facts to back them up but you refuse to acknowledge it in any way. You are only calling AI out because deep down you are frustrated with his logic and reason.

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