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Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

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Why the 'You cannot prove God does not exist' argument fails

Post by Bellatori on Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:56 am

First topic message reminder :

The problem with discussions between theists and atheists is that eventually it comes down to the argument of not being able to prove a negative false. As a statistician, in my working life, I have often come across this as a problem. It really ends up as a lack of understanding of the concept of an hypothesis and the nature of the contrary position, the null hypothesis.
 
Consider the following example
 
Hypothesis 1 - There are fairies at the bottom of my garden. (My hypothesis or H1 for short)
 
In stating this I automatically generate a contrary (null) hypothesis which would be
 
Hypothesis 0 - There are no fairies at the bottom of my garden. (The null hypothesis or H0 for short)
 
The null hypothesis is entirely a consequence of stating the first hypothesis. If H1 is not true then we would automatically assume that H0 was true.
 
At this point (courtesy of the Cottingley Fairies and Arthur Conan Doyle) I produce a set of photographs. On scientific scrutiny these are held to be jolly fine photographs and completely fake. At this point I retreat into my bedroom to sulk and it is held that H1 fails on the basis of no evidence and therefore we accept the null hypothesis viz. there are no fairies at the bottom of my garden. Postulating that at some time in the future someone may come up with evidence that confirms H1 in no way changes the argument. We are dealing with NOW and as of NOW there is no evidence and the hypothesis fails. We accept H0. Wish fulfillment does not give you a reason to accept H1 in spite of the lack of evidence.
 
So now lets look at the existence of God argument.
 
H1 - God exists (the theist position)
which then automatically generates a contrary position
H0 - God does not exist (the atheist position)
 
In passing it is worth noting that the atheist position is a default one. It does NOT require belief. It is simply what is left when the H1 proposition fails, however this is for another time.
 
Now atheists would claim that there is no evidence for the existence of God and therefore H1 fails. (In passing one might wonder why, if there is evidence for god, that the religion that has that evidence has not therefore swallowed up all the others who clearly would be lacking in this respect. Is simply a multiplicity of religions an argument for the non-existence of God I wonder?)
 
At this point many theists go for the 'You cannot prove god does not exist' argument. This is the hypotheses above the other way around.
 
H1 - God does not exist (the atheist position)
and
H0 - God exists (the theist position)
 
The atheists just shrug and the theists jump up and down with glee saying the null hypothesis has it, God exists. The problem is that when you consider what the null hypothesis is, you have to ask one crucial question. Is the null hypothesis compatible with a stated position of no evidence.
 
Consider
H1 - Unicorns exist
and hence
H0 - Unicorn do not exist
 
Is a non-existent unicorn compatible with no evidence for the existence of unicorns? Yes it is. Now ask yourself the question if the hypotheses are reversed. Is an existing unicorn compatible with no evidence? No it isn't. Where are the hoof prints and the unicorn poop!!
 
So here we reach the crux. Is a null hypothesis of H0 - God exists compatible with no evidence for God existing. Clearly, as with the unicorn, the answer is no.
 
Atheists do not have to prove God does not exist. It is a meaningless quest because, without evidence, there is no reason or logic in believing that god does exist.

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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by polyglide on Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:04 pm

Hi Stu,

It is a funny old world.

I have read during the past week several differing opinions regarding our world and life etc;

All from equally qualified scientists.

One said that there is no chance whatsoever of life existing in the whole universe, life on earth is just a fluke and could not be replicated.

Another that life could not, in all it's coplexities, have come about without intelligence being involved.

Then the evolutionist.

No doubt there are many others, inbetweenies.

I sometimes think that there is a missing link, not between animals and humans but between what we can understand and what is beyond our understanding.


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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by stuart torr on Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:58 pm

It is a funny old world is it not PG.

I think you may be closest in your last observation.

IE that there is a missing link so to speak, the one between what we can understand, and one which is beyond our understanding.
That is the one I doubt that we will find in our lifetime i'm afraid.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by polyglide on Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:22 pm

Hi, Stu,
I think you are correct in that assumption.

When you just consider the extent of the universe it gives me goose pimples.

There are so many complex matters that are involved that we actually know about but there are far more that we do not.

However, when you think of all the technology of today and think what those of two thousand years ago would think if they came back and were asked to explain, how? and why? they would be hard pressed to find an answer and yet we know that the explanation is simple when you know the answer and there will be a similar answer to everything.

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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by stuart torr on Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:17 pm

Hi PG.
Thank -you for your post, when I think of the technology of today, we do not know what is going on behind the scenes do we?
We have all these secret services of all the countries, they have all new technology being built that we know nothing about whatsoever do we? and these secrets will not come out until the limited time is up.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by polyglide on Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:29 pm

Hi Stu,
Being a little better in both health and temper I am able to visit the library a little more often and it does help to express one's views with others even if we have our different opinions.

One thing I have always thought about is human emotions, we have both lost a wife, in different ways, no doubt that we have both suffered feelings beyond that which we would have either wanted or expected.

I cannot, nor I feel could you, describe all the emotions involved.

I then come to the million dollar question, how on earth could evolution be involved in feelings?.

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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:48 pm

polyglide wrote:I then come to the million dollar question, how on earth could evolution be involved in feelings?

The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin.

There are of course more contemporary books.

On the Origins of Human Emotions: A Sociological Inquiry into the Evolution of Human Affect by Jonathan Turner

Why We Feel: The Science of Human Emotions (Helix Books) 17 Mar 2000
by Victor Johnston
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by stuart torr on Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:05 pm

The last one looks interesting Sheldon, even though I do not read that many books, have you actually read it yourself mate?
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by polyglide on Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:19 pm

Any explanation regarding feelings are only feelings of those giving the explanation with no proof etc;

Hi Stu. having had all my teeth out and several examinations for other health problems I have had little time to do anything else.

Trust you and yours are well.

regards.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by stuart torr on Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:35 pm

Ouch polyglide.
I do hope you are feeling a lot better, you sound like I will be soon, as during my epileptic fits my teeth grind together and become loose, hence I have lost many unfortunately, so the few left are becoming loose too now, so it will be the same treatment for me.
Hope your other health problems are treatable and are getting better, all is well at this end thank-you, just my daughters xmas card to get and that is xmas shopping all done, phew, Laughing Laughing
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:35 pm

polyglide wrote:I base my understanding of having actually kept and bred many types of animals.

If you take any animal you can breed towards many things, type, colour and in some instances behaviour etc;

This is done by selective breeding and using the dominant gene.

This is done not by nature but by man.

You can predict many things if you are aware of what is dominant and what is reccesive, however, the animal involved is not aware.

In natute the dominant will in 99% of cases come out on top.

For natural selection to work this would not be the case.

Any mutation or oddity that I have come across in breeding animals over 70 years, not one has survived and furthermore not one would have been capable of breeding even in the most unlikely of circumstances it would have come across a like mutation of the opposite sex.

Every animal I know adheres to the life it was designed for and is happy. seemingly, to do so and if left alone by man would continue to live the life it was intended for as long as it was intended.

Now this as far as I am concerned is a clear indication of why and how I have come to my conclsion.

This is of course roundly refuted by all the evidence. Furthermore this evidence that has been amassed to support evolution by natural selection has stood up to the most stringent scientific scrutiny for over 150 years. You're entitled to an opinion of course, but your opinion by comparison doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Of course you could always get it peer reviewed and published then collect your Nobel prize in Biology and prove science wrong.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by stuart torr on Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:15 pm

Well Sheldon as most people would agree with you, Polyglide has been a very friendly poster towards myself on this forum and EVEN THOUGH I disagree with her opinions at times myself, we do not usually fall out over them mate. How are you keeping yourself anyway? well I hope.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:18 pm

stuart torr wrote:Well Sheldon as most people would agree with you, Polyglide has been a very friendly poster towards myself on this forum and EVEN THOUGH I disagree with her opinions at times myself, we do not usually fall out over them mate.

Glad to hear it Stu, my post was not meant to cause any offence. Though I am always surprised in this day and age when people try to deny something as solidly evidenced as evolution.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by stuart torr on Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:34 pm

So am I Sheldon TO be honest, as it is the most obvious science influenced and evidenced subject you can find really is it not?
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:47 pm

stuart torr wrote:So am I Sheldon TO be honest, as it is the most obvious science influenced and evidenced subject you can find really is it not?

Well as we both know religious beliefs are simply not consistent, and the denial of evolution is such a glaring inconsistency it's astonishing they don't see it themselves. After all the same process validates scientific theories and laws that are too innumerable to list and they happily accept them all unquestioningly until one of them refutes their beliefs. Creationism has no scientific basis whatever, else they'd manage to get something validated by the same process that has seen so much evidence amassed to support evolution, but not once ever have creationists done this.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by stuart torr on Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:55 pm

Yet when on the forum will try and push it down your throat, and preach it non-stop as though god had said it, and it was in the bible first page?
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:52 pm

stuart torr wrote:Yet when on the forum will try and push it down your throat, and preach it non-stop as though god had said it, and it was in the bible first page?

Ah, you're referring to BAP on the other forum, he's either trolling or a lunatic I'm afraid. I have little time for people denying things as solidly evidenced as science can make them in favour of superstition and all the while trying to dishonestly claim it's the other way around.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by stuart torr on Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:10 pm

Yes Sheldon and another supposed agnostic, who does not know what he is, says he suffers a psychiatric disorder? some right Weirdo's at the moment, I have sent you a PM about what is, but aimed at me i'm afraid OK.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:40 pm

What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?

From an article by Dr Simon Gathercole:-

The first Christian writings to talk about Jesus are the epistles of St Paul, and scholars agree that the earliest of these letters were written within 25 years of Jesus’s death, while the accounts of Jesus in the New Testament gospels date from around 40 years after he died. These all appeared within the lifetimes of numerous eye-witnesses, and provide descriptions that comport with the culture and geography of first-century Palestine. It is also difficult to imagine why Christian writers would invent such a thoroughly Jewish saviour figure in a time and place – under the aegis of the Roman empire – where there was strong suspicion of Judaism.

The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote a history of Judaism around AD93 which has two references to Jesus. About 20 years after Josephus we have the Roman politicians Pliny and Tacitus. From Tacitus we learn that Jesus was executed while Pilate was the Roman prefect in charge of Judaea (AD26-36) and Tiberius was emperor (AD14-37) – which fits with the time frame of the gospels. Pliny contributes that where he was governor in northern Turkey, Christians worshipped Christ as a god. Neither of them liked Christians – Pliny writes of their “pig-headed obstinacy” and Tacitus calls their religion a destructive superstition.

In the earliest literature of the Jewish Rabbis, Jesus was denounced as the illegitimate child of Mary and a sorcerer. Among pagans, the satirist Lucian and philosopher Celsus dismissed Jesus as a scoundrel, but we know of no one in the ancient world who questioned whether Jesus lived. These abundant historical references leave us with little reasonable doubt that Jesus lived and died. The more interesting question – which goes beyond history and objective fact – is whether Jesus died and lived.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/14/what-is-the-historical-evidence-that-jesus-christ-lived-and-died
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:00 pm

Interesting article, I personally think his existence is not that important within the context of the supernatural claims, that's to say it is by comparison  a minor point I'd accept for the sake of argument, as there is no real evidence he was anything other than human beyond some posthumous claims from which not much can be demonstrated.

It is also difficult to imagine why Christian writers would invent such a thoroughly Jewish saviour figure in a time and place – under the aegis of the Roman empire – where there was strong suspicion of Judaism.

I'm not sure that's entirely true though, since Christianity was entirely based on Judaism, and the prophesy of a Jewish messiah, I'd say it was an essential element of early Christianity. Its meteoric rise as a religion adopted by Romans owed as much to its rejection by Judaism as the fact it fulfilled (allegedly) Jewish prophesy.  

In terms of arguing that Jesus existed as an historical figure, as I say I'd accept the claim if only because I don't see it as relevant to evidencing theistic claims about him. If evidence was found to suggest Hercules was an historical figure it would not validate any of the legends assigned to him. Humans exaggerate and embellish, and never more so than when they are making religious claims.

A more salient point is not whether some historical evidence exists, but surely why the entire world wasn't as one voice about a deity being made human and visiting its creation at long last, just a couple of thousand years ago, after sitting by mute for a couple of hundred thousand while humans suffered and died in complete ignorance of it.

These abundant historical references leave us with little reasonable doubt that Jesus lived and died. The more interesting question – which goes beyond history and objective fact – is whether Jesus died and lived.

Abundant? That made me smile, in historical terms the evidence is pretty thin, it hinges on only a couple of historians who wrote decades after his alleged death, but the second part is a premise I'd agree with, and as I said the small evidence we have to suggest he existed doesn't and probably can't demonstrate as evidence for anything supernatural. It's not as if Jesus was the first human , or last come to that, assigned supernatural powers in myths humans seem to enjoy creating.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Ivan on Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:44 pm

Dr Sheldon. I agree with all of your learned response to that article, which I posted primarily in the hope of provoking some discussion!

As a reliable historical document, the New Testament is found seriously wanting. Historians place most store by primary sources – items dating from the time under study – and although there may be some eye-witnesses from the time that Jesus is supposed to have existed, most of what has been written about him dates from at least 30 years after his reported death. And if you read the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), it soon becomes pretty obvious that they are all re-workings of the same ‘evidence’.  There is material which is unique to Luke, and material which is unique to Matthew, but nothing of substance which is unique to Mark. This suggests that Mark may be the oldest gospel and that Matthew and Luke used it as a source.

My own theory is that because the Jews didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of defeating the Romans militarily, they created a superhuman hero out of part-fact, part-myth to give themselves a psychological boost and a weapon in the propaganda war against their conquerors. Probably what happened is that a body of oral tradition was carried round, learned by heart, and passed between Christian groups before any of it was written down by Mark and then regurgitated by Matthew and Luke. As Christianity was largely reinvented in the writings of Paul – who never met Jesus – the New Testament is at best a secondary source for his life and may be little better than hearsay.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:31 pm

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24

But is even that true? The evidence is that running an organised religion can be quite rewarding not only in a spiritual but also in a literal sense. Believers can be relieved of quite substantial sums. You have only to look at the decorations in some churches, the grandeur of Universities and the remains of Abbeys, Monasteries and other religious foundations to know that serious money was generated.

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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:06 am

But that's because organised religion is principally about power, not spirituality - and the expression of power is ostentatious wealth - how the wealth is generated is by peddling ideas about spirituality that encourage believers to part with their money - Jesus (?) helped with the 'eye of the needle' thing and the 'widow's mite' thing

You never find an organised religion that doesn't want a building, salaried staff, and a stake in government
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:24 pm

Shirina wrote:
Bellatori wrote:If you cannot say yes then you have to say no
Hmm, this sounds an awful lot like the false dilemma fallacy.

It also seems an unnecessary leap, as atheism only requires the absence of theism, not believing something is not a belief or a position, it is the absence or rejection of a belief. Of course atheists can believe anything they want, except the existence of a deity or deities of course.

Bellatori wrote:
Atheists do not have to prove God does not exist. It is a meaningless quest because, without evidence, there is no reason or logic in believing that god does exist.

That part of B's post is true though, and I always wonder that theists try to reduce the existence of their deity to no more than a 50/50 premise in what is a fairly desperate attempt to reverse the burden of proof.

Put simply, I would be very curious for someone who thinks atheism is a "belief that can't be proved", to explain what the evidence for the non-existence of something looks like? Don't limit the examples to deities if that helps, unicorns, mermaids, garden fairies etc, what evidence do theists who think this about atheism have that proves these don't exist?
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Jsmythe on Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:23 pm

My own theory is that because the Jews didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of defeating the Romans militarily, they created a superhuman hero out of part-fact, part-myth to give themselves a psychological boost and a weapon in the propaganda war against their conquerors.

Hi Ivan ,

I used to think in a similar way.  This is similar to the theory of the flavians who supposedly invented Christianity as seen by Joe Atwills "Caesar's Messiah" who proposes that it was the Romans who created Jesus to overcome the Jews. There are flaws with the idea for both Jews and Romans supposedly creating the original messiah for example;  Jews wouldn't of really thought this through as Jesus goes against the ways of the early Rabbis (pharisees) and also He bringing in the gentiles. The Romans creating a messiah goes against the Roman way of life in all of the social apsects and various gods.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by trevorw2539 on Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:20 pm

Jsmythe wrote:
My own theory is that because the Jews didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of defeating the Romans militarily, they created a superhuman hero out of part-fact, part-myth to give themselves a psychological boost and a weapon in the propaganda war against their conquerors.

Hi Ivan ,

I used to think in a similar way.  This is similar to the theory of the flavians who supposedly invented Christianity as seen by Joe Atwills "Caesar's Messiah" who proposes that it was the Romans who created Jesus to overcome the Jews. There are flaws with the idea for both Jews and Romans supposedly creating the original messiah for example;  Jews wouldn't of really thought this through as Jesus goes against the ways of the early Rabbis (pharisees) and also He bringing in the gentiles. The Romans creating a messiah goes against the Roman way of life in all of the social apsects and various gods.

I have no doubt in my own mind of the existence of one - Jesus. A Jewish preacher raised to divinity by the disciples.

From the very beginning - his birth was not a miraculous affair. None of Matthew's prophecies from the OT concern a man Jesus in any way. Taken in context the prophecies are all related to Judaism. Whoever wrote Matthews Gospel simply uses the Tanakh to make Jesus the Jewish preacher someone prophesied. Luke also strains the imagination of a 9 month heavily pregnant woman making - by Roman and Jewish Law - an unnecessary 90 mile, several days - journey. The trial and crucifixion stories make no sense for the time. The acts concerning Jesus - baptism, temptation etc. and many acts of Jesus are all in line with Judaism. He preached Judaism, used the Tanakh for many parables and teachings. All of which his own disciples would understand as they themselves were 'schooled' in the Tanakh scriptures.

The question many people ask is 'why did Jesus use the Tanakh scriptures and events as reality if he wasn't Jesus 'Christ'? The answer to that is simple. He was an honest Jewish preacher who believed his people had fallen from their faith. All his life he had been schooled in the scriptures and believed utterly in what he had been taught. Not to do so would have made him an outcast. Unlike today he had no knowledge that much of what he had been taught would fail the test of time. To him, Abraham, Moses, the Exodus were real events. He did not have the advantage of today's knowledge, education, archaeology, ancient history which would have told him that much of the Torah was made up of ancient myths, laws and rituals from earlier civilisations. That Abraham could not have bought land from the Hittites who appeared 400-500 years later. That Moses could not have known Ur as of the Chaldees, as the Chaldeans appeared 400 years later. Palestine of the day could just support the Canaanites who lived there. 2.5 - 3.5 million Hebrews who left Egypt - even after '40' years, a generation - would have starved to death a short time after the so-called invasion.

The Tanakh was written for the Jews, by the Jews and never intended for the 'gentiles' to read or follow.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by snowyflake on Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:13 pm

Why do you have no doubt about the existence of Jesus? You should have doubt. There is no evidence for his existence outside of words on a page. If you're giving credence to the existence of someone based solely on words on a page then Harry Potter, The Wicked Witch of the West, Scarlett O'Hara, Oliver Twist and Puck all have equal existence.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by trevorw2539 on Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:15 pm

snowyflake wrote:Why do you have no doubt about the existence of Jesus? You should have doubt. There is no evidence for his existence outside of words on a page. If you're giving credence to the existence of someone based solely on words on a page then Harry Potter, The Wicked Witch of the West, Scarlett O'Hara, Oliver Twist and Puck all have equal existence.

I am an ex Christian leader - now agnostic. I have spent decades studying the Bible, Biblical and ancient Mesopotamian history, culture, etc. There are references over several centuries to the Chrestus - varying terms - by people who had no reason to mention him or Christianity. The Jew go to the trouble of disparaging this Jesus as the son of a harlot and Roman soldier.

There are many people in history who are known only by their name in a history book and yet we accept them as real for the events that followed. Early history records the followers of this Jesus. Nero persecutes them, as do other Roman leaders. You don't persecute someone who follows a ficticious leader. Christians, some of whom must have known/known about Jesus in their youth fled Jerusalem before the fall in CE70.


Without going into more detail there's enough for me to believe in a Jewish preacher named Jesus, who was crucified for defying Jewish Religious leaders. To that extent he could be called Jesus 'Christ' - anointed one' - but not Messiah. Many Earlier prophets were 'anointed ones' in Jewish eyes.

No resurrection.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by snowyflake on Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:44 pm

trevorw2539 wrote:I am an ex Christian leader - now agnostic. I have spent decades studying the Bible, Biblical and ancient Mesopotamian history, culture, etc. There are references over several centuries to the Chrestus - varying terms - by people who had no reason to mention him or Christianity. The Jew go to the trouble of disparaging this Jesus as the son of a harlot and Roman soldier.
I've spent many years studying Harry Potter. There are references all over the place about Harry Potter by people who had no reason to mention him. The point is, a good story can gather legs and run. Doesn't mean the characters existed in reality.

There were many jewish preachers. The character jesus was probably an amalgamation of many of them and there was no single jesus of nazareth. Many jewish preachers and dissidents were crucified.


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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by trevorw2539 on Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:01 pm

snowyflake wrote:I've spent many years studying Harry Potter. There are references all over the place about Harry Potter by people who had no reason to mention him. The point is, a good story can gather legs and run. Doesn't mean the characters existed in reality.

There were many jewish preachers. The character jesus was probably an amalgamation of many of them and there was no single jesus of nazareth. Many jewish preachers and dissidents were crucified.



Will Harry Potter be known in a century from now?

Interestingly enough I visited Warner Bros. Studios last week to see Harry Potter World - having seen all the films and collected all the films on Dvd. Well worth the high entrance fee if one is a Harry Potter fan who loves fantasy films.  I digress.

But Jesus wasn't a Jewish dissident. He preached the Tanakh. The actual dissidents were most of the religious leaders (Pharisees) who had strayed from the Torah in their practise. And even they knew it.

Within Pharisaic circles before Jesus coming it was taught that there were 7 different types of Pharisee, from the 'look at my good works' Pharisee, through to the God loving Pharisee. What Jesus taught (Matthew 23) was that which hurt. And so he was crucified. Forget all the miracles, added for 'Christian' effect. He lived an 'evangelists' life and died for his declaration of the truth.

If it hadn't been for Paul, Christianity under the Jerusalem reign, would probably never have survived but remained a Jewish sect.

I know all the theories concerning the story of Jesus. My own belief is simply that this man existed as a preacher.  If some disciples had not tried to turn him into a deity he would not have been known 20 years after his death

Many 'dissidents' (against Rome) were crucified.  None were crucified at the time specifically for their religion. Rome had respect for the Jewish Faith. Look at the times they intervened on the Jews behalf - against their own governors. And only Rome - or its Governors - could order crucifixion. To cross the Jewish Faith meant trouble for Rome, and they knew it.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by boatlady on Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:51 pm

Trevor - always enjoy your posts. I rarely comment because you seem to make good sense
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by trevorw2539 on Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:32 pm

boatlady wrote:Trevor - always enjoy your posts. I rarely comment because you seem to make good sense

From my own point of view understanding the Bible is not really difficult. If you've studied Mesopotamian history, culture, religions etc. you have a fair view of what is possibly true and what almost certainly is not. There are parts of the Bible confirmed - in part - by archaeology. Other parts denied by archaeology. History ditto. Even knowing the productivity of certain lands does the same. We are led to believe several million Hebrews entered 'the promised land'. A land we know that had problems just feeding the mouths of the possible 1m inhabitants already there.

The Bible only becomes a difficult book to understand if you read as a religious book full of mysticisms. It isn't. It contains much good advice, some history and many moralistic parables. The Tanakh was written by Jews for Jews to read. The Gospels are based on the miraculous, prophetic birth of a baby using prophecies that are clearly nothing to do with the baby.

Gnostics twist themselves into knots, the Jews have the Kabbalah. All for a Tanakh written by scribes. And then they leave out an important period - the Maccabeans - from many Bibles..
It's a 'spiritual' book that is relevant to those who want to believe.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by snowyflake on Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:37 pm

Trevor, in 1000 years when the books of Harry Potter resurface, there will be a religion and a church. Elvis Presley has not died, either, to his many fans who are convinced he is hiding in a Burger King somewhere. This is delusion plain and simple.

Jesus was considered a troublemaker by the rabbis in the synagogue. One person's preacher is another person's dissident. There is no factual account of jesus's crucifixion since the Roman's were making crucifixion a common punishment.

Paul was a fanatic and probably suffered a stroke or epileptic fit or heat exhaustion and hallucinated. He was so frightened he thought he should convert and spread that fanaticism to the gentiles.

My own belief is that there is not enough evidence to support the existence of jesus, the man, the preacher, the convicted criminal crucified by the Romans. There is plenty of evidence that human beings love a good story and that popularity for a story, that is not true in any sense of the word, has been the biggest scandal and lie ever perpetrated on humanity. Cool
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by trevorw2539 on Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:49 pm

snowyflake wrote:Trevor, in 1000 years when the books of Harry Potter resurface, there will be a religion and a church. Elvis Presley has not died, either, to his many fans who are convinced he is hiding in a Burger King somewhere. This is delusion plain and simple.
I think you're being a bit optimistic. Harry Potter will be forgotten in 1000 years time as will  Elvis.

You are relating the simple story of a preacher, Jesus,  who was crucified for offending the religious heirarchy, to a man called Jesus Christ by the disciples who raised him to divinity.

Jesus - the Christ - may not have existed, whereas Jesus the preacher - in my opinion - did. Do away with the miraculous. Christianity is based on false prophecies anyway.

Josephus mentions Jesus twice - one questioned, the other accepted. Does anyone question Josephus mention of John the Baptist?

Crucifixion as a punishment was 500 years old by the time of Jesus. Practised by the Persians, Greeks, Carthaginians and later the Romans.

For me, putting together all the pieces I believe the man existed.  But not the Son of God.

We will have to agree - amicably - I hope..
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by snowyflake on Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:37 pm

I'm still not convinced that Jesus the preacher ever existed and I base that on the fact that the 'myth' of jesus matches many precursor beliefs that were very similar. I would encourage you to see Richard Carrier's youtube lecture on the Historicity of Jesus - Why there is room for doubt.

I believe the story of jesus existed. I don't believe that one man called jesus is the central character of the christian story ever existed.

I'm always amicable Smile
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by trevorw2539 on Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:35 pm

snowyflake wrote:I'm still not convinced that Jesus the preacher ever existed and I base that on the fact that the 'myth' of jesus matches many precursor beliefs that were very similar. I would encourage you to see Richard Carrier's youtube lecture on the Historicity of Jesus - Why there is room for doubt.

I believe the story of jesus existed. I don't believe that one man called jesus is the central character of the christian story ever existed.

I'm always amicable Smile

If I had a pound for every book/video etc for the existence or non-existence of Jesus I would be sunning myself in Bermuda Very Happy Well, perhaps that's an exaggeration.
It simply boils down to one's own beliefs.

If you look at Paul's life, born probably between 5BCE and 5CE he was contemporary with Jesus (born 5BCE), he almost certainly at least knew of Jesus during Jesus ministry. He studied Judaism in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. He was converted between 31-36CE. He cannot have learnt about Jesus from writings as these were decades in the future. He must have had knowledge from other sources. Knowledge that he could verify. That knowledge led him to persecute followers of this new faith which was dividing his own peoples faith.
What happened to Paul on the Damascus road is questionable? Vision - no. Whatever - is unknown.

I'm never amicable silent Wink
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:17 pm

Will Harry Potter be known in a century from now?

Well that's a hypothetical question of course, and any answer would be hypothetical. However it's a moot point here, as the real test would be if you would think Harry Potter's existence gained validity if the answer were to be yes? Do think Hercules was real? I think claims tend to lose validity as time passes and the evidence amounts to little more than hearsay after the fact.

Of course Jesus could have been a real person, but this in no way demonstrates any evidence he was anything other than human. Bear in mind there are humans whose existence is beyond any reasonable doubt, who were considered to be a living deity, some still do. Japanese emperors for instance. Historical claims have to be balanced against reality. If someone claims a battle happened and can provide artefacts from the proposed site to evidence it then we can way up the probability of the claim accordingly. If someone claims dragons were involved we'r going to have to reject the claim until someone can evidence the existence of dragons.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:20 pm

For me, putting together all the pieces I believe the man existed.  But not the Son of God.

We will have to agree - amicably - I hope..

I'm inclined to agree...though I'd have to put the word might have in there before the words man existed.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:24 pm

snowyflake wrote:I'm still not convinced that Jesus the preacher ever existed and I base that on the fact that the 'myth' of jesus matches many precursor beliefs that were very similar. I would encourage you to see Richard Carrier's youtube lecture on the Historicity of Jesus - Why there is room for doubt.

I believe the story of jesus existed. I don't believe that one man called jesus is the central character of the christian story ever existed.

I'm always amicable Smile

Richard Carrier certainly thinks there is room for doubt, and is busy trying to convince everyone. He is a credible author and historian as well. Though he is in a minority on this one at the moment it will be very interesting to see what he has to say.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Jsmythe on Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:51 pm

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:
Will Harry Potter be known in a century from now?

Well that's a hypothetical question of course, and any answer would be hypothetical. However it's a moot point here, as the real test would be if you would think Harry Potter's existence gained validity if the answer were to be yes? Do think Hercules was real? I think claims tend to lose validity as time passes and the evidence amounts to little more than hearsay after the fact.

Of course Jesus could have been a real person, but this in no way demonstrates any evidence he was anything other than human. Bear in mind there are humans whose existence is beyond any reasonable doubt, who were considered to be a living deity, some still do. Japanese emperors for instance. Historical claims have to be balanced against reality. If someone claims a battle happened and can provide artefacts from the proposed site to evidence it then we can way up the probability of the claim accordingly. If someone claims dragons were involved we'r going to have to reject the claim until someone can evidence the existence of dragons.

Hi Doc,

Harry Potter would be solved by "forensic" science just as the biblical scriptures under this method would provide being more credible. This is not the same as using "empirical" science which is more or less the method of the present. (No doubt why theists previously have had difficulty to argue with for decades)

What makes you so sure of dragons weren't real? Dragons are in every culture around the ancient world. In short... the fairy tales that people / atheists love using as analogies to argue and compare with is the fairy tales of the "middle ages",embelishing on earlier ancient text which are influencial to the imagination as we see written later into stories such as Harry Potter.

The word "dinosaur" came about around 1842 by Sir Richard Owen, after the word dragon was used.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:01 pm

Jsmythe wrote:  Hi Doc,

Harry Potter would be solved by "forensic" science just as the biblical scriptures under this method would provide being more credible. This is not the same as using "empirical" science which is more or less the method of the present. (No doubt why theists previously have had difficulty to argue with for decades)

Slight shifting of the goal posts here I'm afraid. You claimed the written 'biblical' accounts of Jesus were evidence he existed. Snowy countered that the Harry Potter books would be evidence for his existence by that logic. You countered with the claim that Harry Potter would not be remembered in a comparable time period as the bible. A bit of a straw man polemic as it ignored the point IMHO, but I pointed out that if it were remembered would that make HP's existence more likely to be true? You then shifted the goal posts with your claim about types of evidence, so why claim the bible as evidence if you have other evidence? What is this evidence then?

What makes you so sure of dragons weren't real?

Did I make that claim? It doesn't sound like something I'd claim to be honest, firstly define what you mean by sure? For the record I know of no evidence at all that dragons ever existed, though they are mentioned in the bible of course. How sure are you they existed, and what evidence are you basing this on?

Dragons are in every culture around the ancient world.

Yes, humans love to create fictional creatures, I infer from this only that human testimony should never be taken literally without evidence commensurate to the claim. Especially when the claims derive from an epoch of scientific ignorance and superstition by contemporary standards.

In short... the fairy tales that people / atheists love using as analogies to argue and compare with is the fairy tales of the "middle ages",embelishing on earlier ancient text which are influencial to the imagination as we see written later into stories such as Harry Potter.


Why atheists? The necessity of proper evidence has nothing to do with atheism, which is just the absence of a single belief. Babies are atheists, do babies demand unreasonable evidence for claims in your experience?

ancient text which are influencial to the imagination

Ought we to be sceptical of such texts and their claims do you think?

The word "dinosaur" came about around 1842 by Sir Richard Owen, after the word dragon was used.

I sense you're implying something here, but I'm not sure what? Did you think I meant dinosaur when I said dragon? If so I can assure I did not. I realise we can't properly define dragons precisely because they fictional of course, but it was the fictional dragons I was referring to. We have evidence that dinosaurs once existed that is beyond any reasonable doubt, I know of no evidence that dragons are anything other than fictional. Any dragon fossils you are ware of?

Any thoughts on the Japanese claims their emperors are deities? Why are such claim less valid than antiquated biblical texts in your opinion?
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

Post by Jsmythe on Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:53 pm

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:

Slight shifting of the goal posts here I'm afraid. You claimed the written 'biblical' accounts of Jesus were evidence he existed. Snowy countered that the Harry Potter books would be evidence for his existence by that logic. You countered with the claim that Harry Potter would not be remembered in a comparable time period as the bible. A bit of a straw man polemic as it ignored the point IMHO, but I pointed out that if it were remembered would that make HP's existence more likely to be true? You then shifted the goal posts with your claim about types of evidence, so why claim the bible as evidence if you have other evidence? What is this evidence then?

If it seems I was shifting the goal posts, I was unconsciously merely trying to match the goal posts at your end .. generally speaking, not directly at you.   Well yes, both are books, both are descibed as stories with pages of literature. If we went about in the world believing by the concept explained in Snowy's example ... without analyzing and thorough study of investigation we would have Snow White and the seven dwarfs being taught in history class.  



Did I make that claim? It doesn't sound like something I'd claim to be honest, firstly define what you mean by sure? For the record I know of no evidence at all that dragons ever existed, though they are mentioned in the bible of course. How sure are you they existed, and what evidence are you basing this on?  


I didn't mean to sound this to be yours particularly an outright claim. I was replying to the mention of dragon (of the ancient world) is indicative of the language discription of certain creatures in all those ancient civilisations.


Yes, humans love to create fictional creatures, I infer from this only that human testimony should never be taken literally without evidence commensurate to the claim. Especially when the claims derive from an epoch of scientific ignorance and superstition by contemporary standards.
No disputing you here but continous investigation and study would put some claims to rest "once and for all" or prove otherwise.




Why atheists? The necessity of proper evidence has nothing to do with atheism, which is just the absence of a single belief. Babies are atheists, do babies demand unreasonable evidence for claims in your experience?

That is a point -you could call them agnostics by the same thought that they "don't know" (yet).


Ought we to be sceptical of such texts and their claims do you think?
Without study yes.


I sense you're implying something here, but I'm not sure what? Did you think I meant dinosaur when I said dragon? If so I can assure I did not. I realise we can't properly define dragons precisely because they fictional of course, but it was the fictional dragons I was referring to. We have evidence that dinosaurs once existed that is beyond any reasonable doubt, I know of no evidence that dragons are anything other than fictional. Any dragon fossils you are ware of?

Any thoughts on the Japanese claims their emperors are deities? Why are such claim less valid than antiquated biblical texts in your opinion?
I agree with you on fictional dragons tales in this respect. The biblical texts actually acknowledge deities (the fallen , nephilim and powerful men) which is strange when used as an argument many times. There is no contradiction. Hence the saying" God is the one true God" - opposed to the worship of false gods . Many names for these deities depending which group of people used - Baal ,Moloch, Meroduch/Marduke, Nebo, Tammuz, and dagon to name a few.
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Re: Evidence for the existence of God (Part 3)

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