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Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Biblical evidence

Hattusa, the capital of the ancient Hittites:
One of Turkey’s lesser visited but historically significant attraction is the ruin of an ancient city known as Hattusa, located near modern Boğazkale within the great loop of the Kızılırmak River. The city once served as the capital of the Hittite Empire, a superpower of the Late Bronze Age whose kingdom stretched across the face of Anatolia and northern Syria, from the Aegean in the west to the Euphrates in the east.

The Hittite Empire is mentioned several times in the Bible as one of the most powerful empires of the ancient times. They were contemporary to the ancient Egyptians and every bit their equal. In the Battle of Kadesh, the Hittites fought the mighty Egyptian empire, nearly killing Pharaoh Ramses the Great, and forcing him to retreat back to Egypt. Years later, the Egyptians and the Hittites signed a peace treaty, believed to the oldest in the world, and Ramses himself married a Hittite princess to seal the deal.

The Hittites played a pivotal role in ancient history, far greater than they are given credit for in modern history books. The Hittites developed the lightest and fastest chariots in the world, and despite belonging to the Bronze Age, were already making and using iron tools.

Incredibly, as recently as the turn of the 20th century, the Hittites were considered merely a hearsay since no evidence of the empire’s existence was ever found. This changed with the discovery and excavation of Hattusa, along with the unearthing of tens of thousands of clay tablets documenting many of the Hittites' diplomatic activities, the most important of which is the peace settlement signed after the Battle of Kadesh between the Hittites and the Egyptians in the 13th century BC.
This account tends to downplay the significance of the discovery, particularly concerning the subject of the historical reliability of the Bible. The problem, as usual, is the near-complete ignorance of even recent history on the part of Christians and atheists alike. For generations, the Hittites were, like the Assyrians, frequently cited by doubters as evidence that the Biblical account of history was false, since there were no archeological indicators that they had ever existed. They might as well have been elves, or fairies.

Then the ruins were discovered and the Biblical account was proven to be true in that particular regard. But did this cause one single atheist to change his mind and conclude that the Bible was, in fact, reliable documentary evidence?

Of course not. And that's why I don't bother engaging in discourse anymore with any atheist who claims there is "no evidence" for Christianity. They simply are not honest and there is absolutely nothing that is capable of changing their mind. No matter what logic or evidence destroys their arguments, they will simply move the goalposts and continue to refuse to believe.

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120 Comments:

Anonymous Can't be bothered by your newfound biblical knowledge. July 04, 2017 5:12 AM  

Pass.

Done and done.

Blogger camperbot July 04, 2017 5:27 AM  

The book of Deuteronomy is in Hittite suzerain-vassal treaty form: preamble and introduction of the parties, prologue, general conditions, specific conditions, blessings and curses, witnesses.

Blogger John Cunningham July 04, 2017 5:34 AM  

VFM 424 here--You are indeed a brilliant scholar and student of history. And a maroon.

Blogger Jan Minář July 04, 2017 5:35 AM  

If I had a penny for every idiotic "argument" both for and against Christianity that I have heard or read, I would have a lot of pennies. I doubt that very many of their authors have been dishonest.

Religion is not epistemic.

Blogger VD July 04, 2017 5:42 AM  

I doubt that very many of their authors have been dishonest.

I don't. You know someone is intellectually dishonest when their justification is destroyed and yet they refuse to modify their position at all.

Blogger Good Will July 04, 2017 5:44 AM  

Of course, the same is said about the Book of Mormon (no archaeological evidence, etc.).

Will the mighty Christians concede that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God or that the Book of Mormon is true if a Nephite civilization, limited use of steel swords, or horses are discovered to have existed in Mesoamerica from 600 BC to 400 AD?

I doubt it.

Blogger Phillip George July 04, 2017 5:45 AM  

Erdogan is proposing the second t in the name be replaced with an e.

Vox, How do you fossilize a leaf or jelly fish?

The answer is a f....ing big flood, mud, volcanos, techtonic cataclysm. Fools will brush off this one as well..

1. What about UFOs
2. What about Gays
3. Ah but I'm a scientist who f....ing loves evolution.

Blogger VD July 04, 2017 5:48 AM  

Will the mighty Christians concede that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God or that the Book of Mormon is true if a Nephite civilization, limited use of steel swords, or horses are discovered to have existed in Mesoamerica from 600 BC to 400 AD?

No, because we already know he was a fraud.

Blogger Sillon Bono July 04, 2017 5:59 AM  

VD wrote:I doubt that very many of their authors have been dishonest.

I don't. You know someone is intellectually dishonest when their justification is destroyed and yet they refuse to modify their position at all.


When someone has invested substantial amount of his life on a lie, he will not accept the truth easily and if at all.

Blogger Jan Minář July 04, 2017 6:08 AM  

> someone is intellectually dishonest when their justification is destroyed and yet they refuse to modify their position at all

These kinds of arguments are feeble ex-post-factum rationalisations at the best of times. Who ever based their lack of faith on an absence of evidence for something written in the Bible? And people *do* modify their stance. It just takes time.

Off of the top of my head: C S Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton, Pascal, Socrates, or Descartes. Great and inspirational thoughts, but if one were to start with the first principles, one would never arrive at their theology. Or the Hitchens brothers -- both smart and eloquent people. Both argue so badly I found it embarrassing to read them. I would be interested if you could recommend Christian apology that can hold water as an argument?

Anonymous Looking Glass July 04, 2017 6:18 AM  

Huh, I've been wanting to use this as a joke for a while:

The Sea Peoples have to go back.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Peoples

(The Peace Treaty would seem to have lead to an eventual collapse of the entire region in the fairly near future of the treaty. But there's hard to get jokes and then there's "fairly obscure, ancient history" jokes.)

Anonymous ql July 04, 2017 6:20 AM  

In general my view is that there is a fantastic amount of accurate historical info in the Old Testament; the overall ethnography connected to the list of the descendants of Japheth, Shem, and Ham, for example, is quite impressive. The column of fire and ash that guided the Hebrews out of Egypt is attested by geological evidence; the House of Dwyd (not to mention the Abiru themselves) is attested in contemporaneous epigraphy; there's even an accurate description of a hecatomb in one of the Psalms, iirc. On the whole I expect archaeology to continue to vindicate passages currently viewed as fabulous or unintelligible.

However, I wouldn't necessarily pick the Hittites as an example of archaeological evidence for Biblical accuracy. Possible candidates for Biblical Heth are (a) the original Hatti kingdom, which the Indo-Europeans conquered; (b) the IE-speaking, iron-using Nesili, who continued to go by "Hatti" in their diplomatic correspondence, (c) one of the Hittite successor states, post-1200, (d) some other tribe endemic to Canaan, (e) some enclave of groups -a- or -b- established within Canaan, or (f) some ambiguous muddle of several of these.

Given the ambiguity about what Heth refers to, I wouldn't personally call attention to it as striking evidence for Biblical accuracy. If it is true that a lack of archaeological evidence for any civilization corresponding to the Hittites was once cited by atheists, that is yet another black eye for them, but who did you have in mind, Vox? The Hittites (Nesili) were one of the earliest discoveries of biblical archaeology; they found Hattusa before Troy!

Blogger VD July 04, 2017 6:24 AM  

I would be interested if you could recommend Christian apology that can hold water as an argument?

CS Lewis is my favorite. I think attempting to reason from first principles in theology is a category error.

Blogger VD July 04, 2017 6:28 AM  

Furthermore, it should be noted that I am not arguing that the existence of Hattusa means Jesus Christ died for your sins. I am simply pointing out that the discovery of the Hittites is but one of the MANY demolitions of atheist arguments by archeology, history, and science.

Anonymous Rocklea July 04, 2017 6:32 AM  

What will they dig up from our civilization in 3000 years, and what conclusions will be drawn? As for the Hittites, it doesn't surprise me, why lie in the books of the bible? When you read something like Nehemiah for example, it's very detailed and written as he saw it.

"but if one were to start with the first principles, one would never arrive at their theology"

How do you know what a first principle is? Not saying science doesn't serve us, but reality, whatever that means, has a say. Furthermore, first principles, Just how many are there?

Anonymous Faceless July 04, 2017 6:39 AM  

If we go back to Father's Day, and the positive blessing and the curse attached to the commandment to "honor thy father and mother", that commandment, once stretched out using the Biblical view that your grandfather, great-grandfather, all the way back, are your father, as well, means that we should also listen to that which comes to us as history. What are we told that our forefathers believed? Not only did modernism, rationalism, and hatred of God say that all these things in the Bible are just stories, but it had the 18th and 19th century man stand astride history with his eyes closed and his ears plugged, shouting aloud that he alone was smart.

These same people who claim to be rationalists - and who use that to justify rejecting all human history and what was believed down through generations - used to tell us that Troy was never a real place, either. Then, they found Troy.

You'd think that they would apply some science to their approach to the world and realize, time and again, their hypothesis that X or Y historical fact was false gets turned on its head. However, you can't shake that hubris of a 19th century German social scientist that Nietzsche had it all figured out. It's just a form of rebellion told about time and again - bad, rebellious children.

Blogger Henry Cybulski July 04, 2017 6:48 AM  

VD, I didn't realize your reach was so extensive and that you managed to poll every atheist in existence.

Blogger VD July 04, 2017 6:50 AM  

VD, I didn't realize your reach was so extensive and that you managed to poll every atheist in existence.

Doubt not your Dark Lord.

Anonymous Rocklea July 04, 2017 6:52 AM  

"VD, I didn't realize your reach was so extensive and that you managed to poll every atheist in existence."

He's the Supreme Dark Lord, and you can't trust the polls.

Blogger Phillip George July 04, 2017 6:52 AM  

If people were really capable of honestly considering a blade of grass, abiogenesis, the hard core laboratory breakdown of it, remains an irrefutable apologetic. Christian apologetics is first and foremost, life on earth. How and why are indivisible.
Make them look at abiogenesis till their eyes bleed.
The elephant in the room is no more conspicuous than
the grass in its stomach. As in the undigested grass in Mammoth Stomachs.

But laboratories are now in the eye of the beholder and results are relative to cultural preferences. And people pick their genders.

Blogger Zaklog the Great July 04, 2017 6:54 AM  

Hmmm, do Donall and Conall have anything to say about this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d4FHHf00pY

Anonymous Looking Glass July 04, 2017 6:57 AM  

@12 ql

If you read back into the late 1800s, you'll find atheists have been using the exact same anti-Christian arguments the entire time. Being Progressives, they've never been bothered by disproving their own arguments, let alone looking to the past to see someone made the exact same error. But, hey, they managed to utterly disprove Darwin while producing a slew of forgeries. Leaving one with the question: if it's true, why do you have to fake it?

#FakeNews right from the gramophone to your ear.

Blogger Jack Ward July 04, 2017 7:04 AM  

I have no doubt that the city of Troy existed. I doubt that the ruins claimed to be the great city are the place. They are just too small. I think these ruins were a Trojan outpost; probably one of many. The real capitol, Troy, is yet to be found. Yeah, a bit OT but germain that legends, the Iliad this case, can reflect real history.

Anonymous Airquote Sarctag July 04, 2017 7:12 AM  

"Then the ruins were discovered and the Biblical account was proven to be true in that particular regard. But did this cause one single atheist to change his mind and conclude that the Bible was, in fact, reliable documentary evidence?"

So what?

For a long time, Troy was considered mythical. Then Schliemann and others started digging around in the 1880s and found that it actually existed. Does this "prove Homer true?" Does it mean I should start believing in the reality of Zeus and all the other gods and demigods mentioned in The Illiad? (Etc.)

Anonymous dr kill July 04, 2017 7:15 AM  

To be absolutely correct, there is plenty of evidence for Christianity, what I am not finding is evidence of God. That is where faith is required.

Blogger Valtandor Nought July 04, 2017 7:32 AM  

Was there ever an atheist, agnostic, deist, sceptic, or anyone of that ilk for whom the supposed non-existence of the Hittites or the Assyrians was the sole reason, or even one of several weighty reasons, for refusing to accept the truth of the Scriptures?

I suspect not. I suspect, indeed, that it was nothing more than an excuse for a good taunt. "This Bible, which you declare to be infallible, was written by men so gullible or dishonest that they wrote about entire races and kingdoms that never even existed! And, of course, they wrote about miracles, and as we know miracles don't happen."

Assyria and the Hittite Kingdom are discovered? All of a sudden the tune is: "Well, I guess they did the research after all. But they wrote about miracles, and as we know miracles don't happen."

Blogger Miguel Pereira July 04, 2017 7:55 AM  

"I would be interested if you could recommend Christian apology that can hold water as an argument?"

Greg Bahnsen's.

Blogger Elder Son July 04, 2017 7:57 AM  

Does it mean I should start believing in the reality of Zeus and all the other gods and demigods mentioned in The Illiad?

Trace their roots.

The Bible calls them gods. God Himself calls them gods. But we've been taught that they're imaginary.

You can try: The Great Inception

Blogger Cail Corishev July 04, 2017 8:00 AM  

Who ever based their lack of faith on an absence of evidence for something written in the Bible?

Millions of people since the Enlightenment, when thinkers said, "Look, the historical evidence doesn't support a bunch of stories in the bible, therefore it was all made up, probably many centuries later." That's been the default position of unbelievers since then, and they've been unmoved by all the evidence that archaeology has unearthed to contradict it. No, they weren't banking on one single piece of evidence like the missing Hittites, but that's one of the missing pieces they were banking on.

Also, it's affected Christians as well as non-Christians. That thinking is the reason many Christians believe we should take the Old Testament (and sometimes the New) as moral teachings and prophecies, but not as a historical record (when it's both). It's a big reason Christians believe there's a conflict between religion and science.

No, we don't have to "poll atheists" to know this. Good grief, I had it in my textbooks all through school, and from teachers and preachers alike.

Anonymous JAG July 04, 2017 8:02 AM  

Good Will wrote:Of course, the same is said about the Book of Mormon (no archaeological evidence, etc.).

Will the mighty Christians concede that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God or that the Book of Mormon is true if a Nephite civilization, limited use of steel swords, or horses are discovered to have existed in Mesoamerica from 600 BC to 400 AD?

I doubt it.


Joseph Smith was just a nerd that made his own mishmash of Freemasonry and Christianity. It would be like a D&D player creating a religion out of his own campaign world.

It pissed off the Freemasons something fierce as Mormons were not allowed to become Freemasons for quite some time.

Blogger ZhukovG July 04, 2017 8:03 AM  

Vox, for someone who professes to hate midwits you sure know how to bait them, heehee.

The persistence of the Atheist Superstition, truly shows how little many people have advanced. They may have exchanged their bone rattles for lab coats, but they remain primitive nature worshipers.

Blogger Matthew Funk July 04, 2017 8:10 AM  

At the end of the day, it does not matter whether or not any individual god exists. If a believer operates on the premise that their god(s) exist, the consequences of their actions whether good or bad or big or small in the real world exist. Belief informs action, action creates consequence. If someone believes that a given deity demands that they act in a given way, the action and its consequences will follow. I view the world through an Odinic lens. At the end of the day, the existence or nonexistence of Odin is irrelevant to the fact that I try to emulate the example of Odin to the greatest degree possible. An extremely similar thing can be said of people who try to emulate Jesus. Even if the atheists are correct and none of these deities exist, it does not stop the fact that these ideas are going to have a very real and significant effect on the world in ways that are both good and bad and big and small. The hammer and the cross must defeat the crescent and the sickle.

Anonymous JAG July 04, 2017 8:12 AM  

I've been fascinated by ancient Anatolia. As is now known, it played a major role in the Levant.

But going back much further in time is the mind blowing find at Gobekli Tepe. Built in a time so ancient that we consider it cave man times. Friggin' Tumak was running around with sharp sticks and loin cloth (minus the dinosaurs), and yet we find a megalith complex. It's construction far more difficult to theorize than even the Pyramids of Egypt.

Someone decide to bury it which, thankfully, preserved it as the time scales we are talking about would have been easily long enough for wind erosion to smooth away most of the carvings.

To build the complex would have required knowledge of engineering, math, management of a workforce, and mass production of food as the workers would not be able to perform hunter gatherer duties while hauling, erecting, and carving the artwork.

Blogger Roger Hill July 04, 2017 8:20 AM  

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Blogger Metric July 04, 2017 8:26 AM  

If holy book X is lacking in many dimensions of credibility, striking one issue off the list is not going to change minds in substantial numbers. It does increase the overall credibility, but not enough.

What gave me the final push in the opposite direction was Bayes' theorem. If you are not updating your prior beliefs with your experience (e.g. with results of prayer compared with NT promises), but you are heavily advocating holy book X, then you cannot claim to be both rational and honest. It doesn't help that conclusion -- or even appearances -- if holy book X explicitly forbids you from such updating or offers up many generous eternal rewards for resisting such updating. And it's only realistic to force your beliefs in constant retreat to less-literal, increasingly-tortured interpretations of text for so long -- each retreat also supports a far more obvious conclusion.

Of course, your experience could be completely different from mine, but I see very few cases of that. I see many, many elaborate defenses of childhood-imposed belief structures. That also does not help, from where I am standing.

Blogger Roger Hill July 04, 2017 8:27 AM  

My atheist friend, Walter, asked me to offer 'evidence' for God's existence. I asked him what would qualify as evidence In his book. His first response was to say, "Hmm, I just don't know." But then he thought of something, "Okay, if God appeared right here and now, told me he existed and then disappeared."

You just can't make this stuff up.

If the choice is between a personal miracle for Walt (something completely out of my control) and "I don't know what would qualify", then there is nothing left but to be amused.

Anonymous Looking Glass July 04, 2017 8:37 AM  

@33 JAG

One of the annoying problems of Enlightenment thought is that it assumes all people before you were idiots, while you are progressing to some utopian future. That's really not the case. People in ancient time just lacked information and understanding, not that they were stone stupid.

I'm always blown away from 1860s tech and some of the insane things they could pull off with purely mechanical systems. Lack of modern entertainment really produced a lot of interesting results.

The other thing is that it's assumed we're all so different from the old world. No, we aren't. We have "eh, hold my beer!" now. In ancient times, what else were you going to do after the harvest was in? Do you think nagging wifes are a recent invention? :)

Blogger Roger Hill July 04, 2017 8:40 AM  

@35
If the believer adjust his understanding of a particular Holy book based on experience, what's the complaint? They are indeed updating their belief based on past experience, are they not?

That such updates may seem conflict with prior and more literal interpretations means nothing to your argument.

Blogger S1AL July 04, 2017 8:43 AM  

"If holy book X is lacking in many dimensions of credibility, striking one issue off the list is not going to change minds in substantial numbers. It does increase the overall credibility, but not enough."

There's not time in the day to review solely the archaeological finds that have come to light in the last 100 years that wholely support the Biblical narrative. At some point you have to accept that "just one more" had moved beyond the realm of incidence to a point where you have to seriously question why the Bible is so consistently predictive.

Blogger Metric July 04, 2017 8:56 AM  

It becomes a problem when the "interpretation of text" becomes far more important to the real picture than simply reading the text. We've seen this happen in other areas, too. Commerce clause, anyone?

Generally, a theory that has to be heavily tweaked to hide its main features is a sign that there are serious problems. Maybe they can be repaired with a lot of work, but in something like religion we'd tend to hope it's not necessary.

Anonymous Airquote Sarctag July 04, 2017 9:09 AM  

I don't get the controversy or all the ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Biblical archaeology from either side. The original writers lived there, that was their own backyard for the most part (discounting most of the stuff in Genesis, etc.) You would expect them to get the details right -- taking into account the centuries that have passed, or that passed between one writer and another, and the usual foibles and biases of writers and storytellers in general.

That they attributed many events to the direct will of their God is not unusual nor does it prove anything, any more than when any other writer anyplace else does the same thing (as in the Troy/Homer references above.)

Blogger Metric July 04, 2017 9:14 AM  

I tend to take archaeological evidence for granted. The Bible has a good track record in regards to broad accounts of civilization context -- even if there are large holes, they can always be chalked up to "not enough digs." But something tells me that relegating the Bible to "a good track record of historical context" is not your actual goal.

Blogger Vikki Wilson July 04, 2017 9:18 AM  

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Blogger S1AL July 04, 2017 9:19 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger S1AL July 04, 2017 9:20 AM  

Considering that the subject of the post is the Bible as documentary evidence... that is actually a key point, yes. Especially given the pseudo-intellectual farce of claiming that everything in the Bible was written hundreds of years after the fact. It's an important starting point.

Anonymous Rocklea July 04, 2017 9:22 AM  

Douglas Murray, in a recent interview on the Mark Steyn show, said words to the effect, "Even liberal secular atheist, in the west, are actually Christian liberal secular atheist, whether they like to admit it or not."

How we came to be, is not something you can reproduce in a lab, or reason from first princples.

Anonymous Didas Kalos July 04, 2017 9:29 AM  

If ANYONE with an HONEST HEART will seek after God, he WILL find him. As long as there is "if you would show me evidence, if God appeared to me, if you could give me a mental argument that would satisfy me, etc. These won't find God. God is the supreme Judge of the Universe, who came to Earth as the Man Christ Jesus, and who new is sitting on the throne, at the right hand of majesty on high. No man is the judge of whether God exists. Every man already knows. Every man. Sinners hold the truth in unrighteousness. So the action to take is believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour, believe he paid the price for your sins, and be born again.

Blogger Metric July 04, 2017 9:32 AM  

Agreed, it's a key starting point, and should be acknowledged as such. Basic archaeological consistency is a non-trivial thing to have -- Mormonism doesn't have it, for example, and they can be ruled out much more quickly because of that. But I really, really doubt you could ever become, say, a Muslim over the archaeological context. Unless the argument you are making is compelling enough that you could imagine that happening (if the state of evidence were reversed), you can't expect it to do much for anyone else, either.

Blogger Metric July 04, 2017 9:40 AM  

I find it somewhat easier to believe you are (rather obviously) mistaken, than to believe there has never, ever, on the planet been an honestly-seeking non-christian.

Blogger Vikki Wilson July 04, 2017 9:43 AM  

As a cultural Christian and agnostic, I would like to put it to you that it is not a case of recalcitrance: "they refuse to believe".

It is more a case of not being able to believe. Most of us are not CS Lewis.I'm not optimistic that the peoples of the post-Christian West can be argued into a metaphysical belief.

Cultural Christianity may or may not present the alt-lite cohort of Westerners with a gateway to belief.
Eastern Europe seems to be renewing Christendom as part of national culture.

Anonymous Kudos The Lexecutioner July 04, 2017 9:44 AM  

@37 Looking Glass:

"I'm always blown away from 1860s tech and some of the insane things they could pull off with purely mechanical systems."

A good example is the H.L. Hunley, the first operational submarine to sink a warship in combat, designed and built by the Confederacy after three years of the War of Secession had bled them white materially and economically. This was an astonishing achievement for the day, the more so considering the circumstances at the time.

Blogger S1AL July 04, 2017 9:45 AM  

The funny thing is, nobody ever questions the basic historicity of the Qu'ran. But you're correct, archaeological consistency is (when testable) necessary but insufficient.

But if you want to discuss the other evidence (rational, empirical, and experiential), that's an entirely different discussion. But in the historical level, the evidence is overwhelming that the authors of the books of the Bible wrote with incomparable accuracy and detail. That, by itself, is evidence for their veracity.

Anonymous Incurvatus July 04, 2017 9:50 AM  

@21 Zaklog the Great wrote Hmmm, do Donall and Conall have anything to say about this?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d4FHHf00pY


Well spotted, PAtrick.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 04, 2017 9:51 AM  

dr kill wrote:To be absolutely correct, there is plenty of evidence for Christianity, what I am not finding is evidence of God.
This is a lie.
Stop lying.

Blogger natschuster July 04, 2017 9:57 AM  

THe Universe is evidence for G-d.

Blogger Mark July 04, 2017 10:01 AM  

At the end of the day, it does not matter whether or not any individual god exists.

Au contraire! If Christ did not actually effect the death of death by dying on the Cross of Calvary and then rising from the tomb on the first day (in real space and time), then we ought to just keep partying cuz that's all we have. The Living God of the Bible acts in history. History is His story and each fact is a created fact which has on it a tiny sign which states, "Made by Him".

Blogger Metric July 04, 2017 10:18 AM  

I agree. Jordan Peterson has made a good point that Christianity, while full of plenty of nuggets of accumulated wisdom, was not designed to accommodate a technological society for whom scientific reasoning is extremely important. Not to say it's impossible for many smart people (including scientists) to suspend disbelief or to construct sufficiently elaborate interpretations to keep the text from being un-wrong -- Christianity is still #1 in the US by a large margin, after all. Regardless of how smart the ancients were, people (on average) simply know more about the system of the world, and also more about how to reliably get to the truth. Christianity simply cannot occupy its traditional place in society, short of starting over or direct intervention by God.

Blogger James July 04, 2017 10:22 AM  

Sillon Bono wrote:VD wrote:I doubt that very many of their authors have been dishonest.

I don't. You know someone is intellectually dishonest when their justification is destroyed and yet they refuse to modify their position at all.


When someone has invested substantial amount of his life on a lie, he will not accept the truth easily and if at all.


As Voltaire said, "it is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

Blogger DeploraBard July 04, 2017 10:22 AM  

"A fool says in his heart there is no God". Heart in early Hebrew culture was synonymous with the mind, not emotion. Suffer fools gladly. Commenters that reject the message of the cross do so with full knowledge of who and what Christ claimed to be. They declare "I can't/won't believe that" which is an exercise of the free will given to them. Or, they turn to a lesser created power and worship it or some other agnostic version. Or, they demand MOAR proof because all creation is not enough. Repentance is nearly impossible when comfortably numbed. Holiness and righteous living are inconvenient.

Anonymous Rocklea July 04, 2017 10:32 AM  

Jordan Peterson is a smart guy and I like his work. However, like many prominent Youtubers out there, he sees liberal secular societies as the answer. Liberal secular societies are suicidal death cults. The new golden bull.

Blogger Koanic July 04, 2017 10:33 AM  

> Who ever based their lack of faith on an absence of evidence for something written in the Bible?

I did. Then I read the evidence and believed.

Every now and then a rational human does slip through the genetic RNG. That's why we need more totalitarian progress. Why, with Faception, soon we'll be able to detect them at every checkpoint, and subject all potentially disruptive lovers of liberty to digital strip-searches and compulsory disavowal rituals!

Just plug the Founding Fathers' portraits into your thought criminal database and voila, problem solved.

Blogger Cail Corishev July 04, 2017 10:40 AM  

The original writers lived there, that was their own backyard for the most part (discounting most of the stuff in Genesis, etc.) You would expect them to get the details right

That's why the secularists attack the details: if the details are wrong, then the original writers must not have lived there or then. In which case, whoever wrote it, with whatever intentions, it wasn't the divinely inspired Word of God, because God doesn't lie.

No one is convinced to be a Christian because of the historical evidence, so no, discoveries like this don't prove Christianity is true. But if the historical evidence were false, that would shed doubt on the rest of the faith, because it's a package deal. That's what we've seen since the Englightenment: people either losing their faith outright, or compartmentalizing it to a smaller part of their life so it won't conflict with secular beliefs except perhaps on (some) moral issues.

Anonymous Hezekiah Garrett July 04, 2017 10:43 AM  

Change or to and and I will.

I'm not calling him a prophet simply because you find evidence of horses in that period. Steel would make me wonder.

You show me a Nephite civilization, with swords and horses, what choice would I have but to put down my coffee, rustle up some holy drawers and run right down to the local Bishop's Pantry.

Anonymous Hezekiah Garrett July 04, 2017 10:46 AM  

Summa Theologica by Tomas d'Aquino

Blogger Roger Hill July 04, 2017 10:47 AM  

"It becomes a problem when the "interpretation of text" becomes far more important to the real picture than simply reading the text."

Interpretation is always taking place, even when simply reading. It is impossible to get any picture from a text without some reasoning as to what is being communicated.

For example, I know countless individuals raised and taught within Christian circles that interpret certain Biblical passages as pointing to a literal rapture, a 7 year tribulation and singular future anti-Christ. After discussions and study, they abandoned the interpretation for another that made more sense.

Blogger Metric July 04, 2017 10:47 AM  

There is no precedent for what technology is about to do, so any traditional approach selling itself as "the answer" is going to come up radically short. What we mean by "human" or "human mind" will begin to become seriously blurred this century, probably in the first half of this century. I don't know what religion will look like as we progress through that time, but I do have a pretty good idea of what it can't possibly look like.

Blogger tz July 04, 2017 10:48 AM  

@6 there supposedly is a large vault with gold and brass plates with "reformed egyptian" that computers could verify translates to the book of Mormon. Modern tech should be able to finf it. As to the possibility of archeological evidence, I'm still waiting.

I think Atheists have problems with the Gospels and other parts where miracles happen. Jesus heals and walks on water as well as gives the sermon on the mount.

And the ressurection is central. There were hundreds of eye witnesses. There are more copies of the gospels from that time. Are they less reliable than Thucydidies and Plutarch? Most love Aristotle, but do we really trust that the writings were his (Shakespeare as committee comes to mind, and that is closer in time).

Anonymous RedJack July 04, 2017 11:00 AM  

David Rohl has some very excellent books about this. He is not a loon, but a highly educated man who, after making money in the music industry, went back to school to study archaeology.

Blogger tz July 04, 2017 11:01 AM  

@57 Christendom is what gave us science in the first place. The belief that the world is rational and measurable. Why did it arise in Europe (Molyneux and Prager, or Woods? discuss this). Not Asia. Atheism is giving is things like global warming and transgender 57 varieties.

Atheism has no reason to seek truth, much less morality. It merely seeks to rationalize favored fads.

How many Atheists still repeat the lies and errors of Dawkins, Harris, etc. instead of honestly admitting Christians created western civilization, due process, science, etc. like Molyneux does?

Atheists love the lies and fallacies so much because they Hate Christianity, not merely think it foolish or wrong, which is why they rarely debate, and then not honestly. They don't attack Islam which is a violent threat, or the eastern religions which have their "god delusions". Nor religious Jews! Just Christians and Christendom.

Blogger Metric July 04, 2017 11:16 AM  

Roger,

I think you know what I'm talking about, as I gave the example of the US Constitution. By now, it matters little how much it was obviously written to restrain the federal government. It has been "interpreted" to mean the opposite -- after all, the commerce clause is in there, so if you raise corn on your own property to feed to your own hogs, the feds can regulate it any way they see fit and you go to jail (or worse) if you resist. This is what I mean by the interpretation being more important that the text.

Similar with Biblical passages like "these signs shall follow them that believe." The context is very clear and would have a trivial interpretation, if only it weren't obviously false, whenever you look. Drinking poison still reliably kills "them that believe." A tortured interpretation that means roughly the opposite of what is written can be constructed, but why bother with religion at all if you're going to do that?

Anyway, I enjoy the civil discussion but need to get going. All the best.

Blogger Felix Bellator July 04, 2017 11:20 AM  

25. dr kill, "what I am not finding is evidence of God." Scientifically difficult, as God is omnipresent no control group exists, yet. You may not like what you find.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 04, 2017 11:26 AM  

"At the end of the day, it does not matter whether or not any individual god exists."
This is what is written by people who know that the god they are trying to make themselves believe in doesn't exist.
You know you are lying to yourself, and loudly proclaiming it doesn't matter.
Even you don't believe yourself.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener July 04, 2017 11:34 AM  

As a data point, I learned about the Hittites in a secular setting, and in the history I learned there was no doubt that they existed, warred with and almost destroyed the Egyptian empire, and were the likely inventors of iron smelting and iron working. So I'm a bit surprised to learn to that there are those who have denied that the Hittites even existed.

Blogger Cassandros the Elder July 04, 2017 11:47 AM  

Basic archaeological consistency is a non-trivial thing to have -- Mormonism doesn't have it, for example, and they can be ruled out much more quickly because of that.

Ran across this, which you may find interesting:

https://www.fairmormon.org/testimonies/scholars/john-e-clark

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 04, 2017 12:05 PM  

Noah B The Savage Gardener wrote:So I'm a bit surprised to learn to that there are those who have denied that the Hittites even existed.Before the discovery of the Royal Archives of the Hittite Empire in Hattusa, just before WWI, it was commonly denied that the Hittites had ever existed, largely because they were written about fairly extensively in the Bible. Neither the Roman nor the Greeks had written about them much if at all, and the Egyptians only mentioned them briefly and under varying names.

Anonymous DissidentRight July 04, 2017 12:17 PM  

Metric wrote:Christianity simply cannot occupy its traditional place in society, short of starting over or direct intervention by God.

The “starting over part” is beginning now. When academia collapses, neo-Darwinism (as an origins theory) is going to collapse with it. What do you think will happen then?

Anonymous Tipsy July 04, 2017 12:59 PM  

Before 1961 there were a number of people who doubted the existence of Pontius Pilate. The the Pilate Stone was discovered. Again and again, "myth" was shown to be true.

Blogger Sheila4g July 04, 2017 1:16 PM  

The Hittite Museum in Ankara is well worth a visit. Displayed above our mantel is a rubbing from there, a charioteer (with horse and hunting dog) killing a lion with a bow and arrow.

While I never based my previous lack of faith on a specific historical event, looking at Scripture as a legitimate historical document based on earliest extant copies, numbers, translations, etc. in comparison to other ancient texts universally recognized as such, helped me look at the Bible as more than merely a collection of moralistic stories. Changed my skeptical mindset to one more open than antagonistic.

Blogger InquiringMind July 04, 2017 1:25 PM  

Snidely wrote-
"Neither the Roman nor the Greeks had written about them much if at all, and the Egyptians only mentioned them briefly and under varying names."

Be careful about relying on older studies written by theologians and classicists when it comes to the ancient Near East. Some excellent biblical scholars have been active in recent years, but in earlier decades, training relevant to biblical history in those circles was pretty much limited to scripture, Josephus, and late classical sources. (Speaking from experience here.)

The existence of Hittites throughout the second-mill. BCE was actually confirmed long before the archaeological discoveries by many letters and royal annals from Mesopotamia. These have been known since the decipherment of Akkadian in the 1860s.

Phoenician child sacrifice is a better example of biblical confirmation through archaeology. The practice is mentioned in the OT and in Roman sources, but scholars as recently as the 1980s regarded those accounts with suspicion. Then tophets were discovered - special cemeteries for the burned remains of the infant children. Quite a few have been found in recent decades, but only in Phoenician settlements.

Archaeology has also shown, however, that while biblical accounts are seldom invented out of the whole cloth, events are sometimes misdated or related in the wrong sequence. This is to be expected because they were originally transmitted orally.

Anonymous andon July 04, 2017 1:43 PM  

i dont want to believe in a god anyway, at least not one that wants me to waste my time worshiping him. i hated going to church as a child and im not about to start going now.

Anonymous Stickwick July 04, 2017 1:44 PM  

Metric: I agree. Jordan Peterson has made a good point that Christianity, while full of plenty of nuggets of accumulated wisdom, was not designed to accommodate a technological society for whom scientific reasoning is extremely important.

There is nothing about human nature that has changed, or will likely ever change, that will render the revealed and accumulated wisdom of the Bible irrelevant.

And scientific reasoning is meaningless without faith in reason itself, and there is no basis for that faith without belief in the Creator God.

Blogger Harris July 04, 2017 1:57 PM  

I gave up long ago on trying to convince anyone of the validity of the Bible through argument. Jesus used demonstrations of power. Having someone get instantly healed of Stage 4 cancer is more impactful than any argument you can create.

That doesn't mean that I don't argue for the validity of the Bible. It just means I don't expect others to change their minds. The arguments are for those who remain open to the truth, not those who have already sold out to a lie.

Two years ago, God woke me up to pray at 3:00 in the morning. At the exact time I began praying, my daughter woke up is a house 1,000 miles away that was on fire. She barely had time to grab her dog, and wake up the other two in the house before escaping with their lives as the roof caved in. You cannot convince me that the God of the Bible doesn't exist. I know Him personally, and he cares for me and mine.

And I've got a hundred stories like this, and more.

Blogger Ostar July 04, 2017 2:33 PM  

Why waste time adoring a nd worshipping God when you can worship and adore yourself? /sarc

Blogger Roger Hill July 04, 2017 2:43 PM  

Metric,
I do understand the point you are making, just disagreed with the blanket application of it to 'religion'. Certainly there are tortured interpretations of ancient text. And the meaning of some passages can be more clear than others. But if one wishes to read the Bible as if it were some type of legal contract, then perhaps it is their interpretation which is askew. And the apparent failure of their false expectations resulting.

Anonymous EH July 04, 2017 2:45 PM  

The argument skips some relevant points: what books of the Bible mention the Hittites, what do they say, has that been verified and if so, how? It also neglects to deal with the more relevant question in determining the veracity of the Bible: are there parts of the Bible which contradict what is known, that is, which have been falsified? It also implicitly falsely equates the lack of any of the neighboring civilizations leaving any definite records that corroborate the Bible's claims of the existence of the kingdoms of David or Solomon (about a dozen characters total, all in dispute) with the case of the Hittites, whose existence was attested in all the nearby civilizations of the time (but those civilizations' records began to become known only in the 19th century - also the Hittites were gone by ~1150BC, followed by a half-millennium dark age, so no records from Greece or Rome would be expected). Gesturing vaguely at the supposed piles of archaeological evidence for the truthfulness of the Bible isn't persuasive. Archaeologists never seem to find "evidence" for the truth of the conquest of Canaan by the Hebrews or most of the Bible's stories up to around the Babylonian Captivity unless they are religious zealots with beliefs prior to and independent from evidence, and these cranks try to spin every cobweb-strand of ostensible evidence into a hawser. Naturally, they and their followers project their own mental difficulties and motivated reasoning onto those archaeologists who let the evidence guide them, calling them dishonest, atheists, ignorant, etc. etc. It's all projection, but the madness and furious self-delusion it implies when they claim to have proved the truth of the Bible based on the most trivial, irrelevant nonsense is frightening. If their delusions are challenged, they're capable of any violence or betrayal in the firm belief that God is with them and that their enemies are God's enemies. God exists, but so do fanatic popular delusions.

No one disputes that many places in the Old Testament, for instance the genealogies in Genesis, refer to ancient peoples, some of whom are known from other sources to have actually existed, but in no way does that prove the Bible's reliability on every point, nor on most points, nor indeed on any other point.

All authors of historical fiction use settings drawn from history as it is known to them, and what was known of Hittite and other history to the Phoenicians and their neighbors and descendants a few centuries BC when the texts that later became the Bible was being composed and edited was sufficient to explain the setting of parts of the Bible matching what we now know. The conception of the Bible as being at least in large part fiction set in what was a long-gone era even in its authors' time still explains the parts of the Bible which contradict what is known today better than the hypothesis that all such contradictions are merely apparent and that the Bible is entirely a truthful chronicle.

Anonymous Just another commenter July 04, 2017 2:46 PM  

I find it appalling that man Muslims actively try to destroy archeological sites that in any way contradict, or are even not mentioned, in the Koran. They seek, 1984-like, the rewrite history. Many westerners are likely disgusted by it. But when I then see westerners dismissing evidence that correlates well simply because 'well, the bible is fiction, therefore anything that agrees with it must also be wrong' is infuriating.

I'm agnostic, trending toward Christian, but I think it's fascinating to see things long thought (by non-Christians) to be hyperbolic or mythical to be corroborated in some way.

Anonymous Mr. Rational July 04, 2017 2:49 PM  

Then the ruins were discovered and the Biblical account was proven to be true in that particular regard. But did this cause one single atheist to change his mind and conclude that the Bible was, in fact, reliable documentary evidence?

Of course not.

The direct history, written or oral, of a tribe does not have any bearing on the truth of its myths.  Indians and Chinese have massive amounts of written history backed up by physical evidence.  Does this confirm their theologies as true?  Of course not.  (I see @24 beat me to it.)

I look forward to learning about the Hittites.  If burials can be tested for DNA we can find out what became of their descendants.

Good Will wrote:Of course, the same is said about the Book of Mormon (no archaeological evidence, etc.).
There's a difference between claims not known to be true (e.g. Biblical accounts of the Hittites until just recently) and claims known not to be true (e.g. Mormon declarations that native Americans are descended from the lost tribes of Israel).  Just one known-false claim is fatal.

Looking Glass wrote:People in ancient time just lacked information and understanding, not that they were stone stupid.
People also filter their experiences through their beliefs.  To pick a present-day example, most Black people and a huge number of SJWs believe that Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were murdered.  No amount of evidence that the two were killed in self-defense by their victims can sway the believers because they take the narrative as axiomatic.

If someone believes in dieties and miracles, they are going to filter and interpret their experiences in ways consistent with that.  What to them is open-and-shut proof of the supernatural is likely to leave others quite unconvinced.

@45  The OT and NT are probably different in that regard.

@46  I actually agree with you.  Even if we generate life in the laboratory, it doesn't prove that the first life on earth was even vaguely like it.  The evidence has been destroyed by time; the existence of catalytic and auto-catalytic RNAs strongly suggests that RNA was the original molecule of both heredity and catalysis and that the current domination of DNA and peptides evolved later.

The thing that evolution deniers can't get their heads around (because narrative filters) is that even a pathetically fragile, slowly-reproducing life form can take over an entire world if it's the only one in existence.  Of course, as errors in duplication create better versions and adapt them to new environments and lifestyles, it won't stay the only life form for very long.

tz wrote:Atheism is giving is things like ... transgender 57 varieties.
You mis-spelled "(((Marxist cult)))", and it is very much theistic as it has a teleology.

Atheism has no reason to seek truth, much less morality.
Hogwash.  Many truths have consequences which are useful.  Seeking out those truths is the whole purpose of applied science, and one of the most certain ways to fail is to lie to yourself about your results.

DissidentRight wrote:When academia collapses, neo-Darwinism (as an origins theory) is going to collapse with it. What do you think will happen then?
People who deny that pathogens and pests evolve at breakneck (to us) speed are going to die like flies in the consequent epidemics and famines.  Evolution was an observed fact long before Darwin came up with the first solid theory to explain it.

Blogger Elder Son July 04, 2017 2:51 PM  

Scientists: Yahweh is the original. Everyone else is just trying to figure how He did it, and how it all works.

Anonymous andon July 04, 2017 2:54 PM  

83. Blogger Ostar July 04, 2017 2:33 PM
Why waste time adoring a nd worshipping God when you can worship and adore yourself? /sarc


better yet dont worship anyone

Blogger tz July 04, 2017 2:59 PM  

@87 - you did not identify a REASON that ATHEISM should seek truth. QED.

While there may be a distinction between humanists, secularists, and atheists (and even statists, socialists, and communists), they have tended to aggregate in the same region of culture and politics.

Most Atheist libertarians (as opposed to alt-right) believe in drugs and debauchery.

There is the big problem of race realism and that white women aren't having and properly raising babies.

The Selfish gene and selfish meme - Islam will win, not because it is true but because Dawkins, Hitchens, Harriss, and the rest won't have any offspring to contest them in a century or two.

Christendom still holds it as a possibility.

Atheism is more than just intellectualy sterile.

Blogger S1AL July 04, 2017 3:04 PM  

"The conception of the Bible as being at least in large part fiction set in what was a long-gone era even in its authors' time still explains the parts of the Bible which contradict what is known today better than the hypothesis that all such contradictions are merely apparent and that the Bible is entirely a truthful chronicle."

Name one such contradiction.

Anonymous BrentG July 04, 2017 3:14 PM  

Lol my computer goes faster therefore there is no place for Christianity good and evil or values or virtue

Anonymous Mr. Rational July 04, 2017 3:14 PM  

Stickwick wrote:scientific reasoning is meaningless without faith in reason itself, and there is no basis for that faith without belief in the Creator God.
You deny proof by test?  "Because it works" doesn't depend on your belief.  I haven't noticed the Chinese failing in science because most aren't Christian, and the scientists most likely to be atheists are the top biologists.  A solid plurality of scientists polled believe in neither a God nor any other higher power.  Claiming that this is a barrier to doing science is laughably wrong; the process of doing science appears to select for people who don't believe, and can treat even their own ideas skeptically.

Unless, of course, you count "baraminology" as a science.

@86  I'm equally disgusted by the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas and Confederate monuments.

Blogger Elder Son July 04, 2017 3:21 PM  

People who deny that pathogens and pests evolve at breakneck (to us) speed are going to die like flies in the consequent epidemics and famines. Evolution was an observed fact long before Darwin came up with the first solid theory to explain it.

It wasn't always so, until iniquity and corruption.

Anonymous Mr. Rational July 04, 2017 3:24 PM  

@90  Atheism has no agency.  It does not think.  It is not even a thing, the word denotes a lack of a certain thing.

To make such a statement is to prove that you're not tall enough for this ride.  I gave you one solid reason why atheists can and do seek truth.  Getting rid of untruths made me into one in the first place.

There is the big problem of race realism and that white women aren't having and properly raising babies.
A big problem which only seems to affect societies which are run by Christian principles, oddly enough.  The Chinese, Indians and Muslims have no truck with "anti-racism".

Blogger S1AL July 04, 2017 3:32 PM  

The Chinese do have a demographic collapse coming their way. I'll give you one guess as to which root cause they share with European post-Christian societies.

Blogger Matamoros July 04, 2017 3:43 PM  

"With the release of Centuries of Darkness in 1991 by Peter James, a dirty little secret of historiography was let out of the bag: There is a period of several centuries of historical “darkness” at the end of the Late Bronze Age in the received historical chronology of the ancient world. James argued that this period of darkness was an artifact of improper chronological accounting of the texts. A chronological revolution was established that began to rewrite ancient world chronology with a three hundred year shift.

Much of ancient history is anchored in Egyptian chronology that is notoriously ambiguous and imprecise and creates problems for all kinds of historical anchoring of events. Donovan Courville in the 1970s, and more recently David Rohl, has explored the Egyptian problems to offer a “New Chronology” of the ancient world that roots Biblical history in new contexts significantly different from the conventional chronology.351 They too have shaken up the establishment by uncovering the significant chronological problems of the conventional view.

In more recent years, Gerald Aardsma, has offered the Biblical theory that the Exodus occurred in 2450 B.C., nearly one thousand years earlier than the conventional dates of 1445 B.C. or 1225 B.C.352 This would place Abraham in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C. instead of 2000 B.C. A radical reconsideration.

But the reason why this is all so important is because the standard interpretation of Biblical archaeology is increasingly that the events of the Bible did not happen because they do not line up with the artifactual evidence of archaeology. There is simply no current evidence of a crushing defeat of Egypt or the resultant wandering of the Jews in the desert around the critical late date of 1275 B.C. There is no current evidence of the cities of Ai or Jericho being inhabited, much less destroyed around the dates that critical Biblical scholars say they must have happened. Rohl and the New Chronology shows that there is however archaeological evidence of all of the above occurring hundreds of years earlier in the fifteenth century B.C. With a few centuries shift backwards, all the Biblical history falls into place with known external evidence."

From: "When Giants Were Upon The Earth" by Brian Godawa, Chap. 8, In Defense of Ancient Traditions

Anonymous Peter #0231 July 04, 2017 4:14 PM  

These mopes are everywhere in Biblical "Studies". They claim (for just one example) that Exodus is a post-Exile account despite both linguistic (Egyptian loan-words and place names) and the very description of the Ark has a clear link to the Late Bronze Age practices of other societies in the area, which is different to the practices of the Iron Age.

At the same time, they'll accept an Egyptian account as having real historical details within it, but when it's the Israelites? You better have pics, videos, and a bunch of external evidence for them to grudgingly decide that it might be true. And even then, they'll pick it apart. This despite the fact that the Biblical writers were some of the best documentarians around in those days.

Anonymous andon July 04, 2017 5:00 PM  

92. Anonymous BrentG July 04, 2017 3:14 PM
Lol my computer goes faster therefore there is no place for Christianity good and evil or values or virtue


who said that?

Anonymous Stickwick July 04, 2017 5:45 PM  

“Mr. Rational”: You deny proof by test?  "Because it works" doesn't depend on your belief.

In terms of rationality itself? Yes, of course I deny it; and, yes, it does. You can’t prove by any test that you’re not a brain in a vat hallucinating everything you’re thinking and doing, including this conversation. You have to assume rationality before you can even begin to test anything. What do you suppose is the source of that rationality? Certainly not random nature.

As C.S. Lewis observed:

Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It's like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can't trust my own thinking, of course I can't trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.

Or to believe or disbelieve in anything, including the reliability of scientific reasoning.

Blogger Matthew Funk July 04, 2017 6:01 PM  

Snidely,

You are aware that it is possible to be an agnostic theist of any stripe, right? I do not have evidence that Odin exists, I never claimed such. The reason I choose to give the Aesir my reverence is that the values represented by those gods are timeless. Atheists will go on all day on how it is impossible to prove a negative and that the burden of proof lies on the theist. Strictly speaking, the existence or non-existence of any deity can not be absolutely conclusively proven or disproven. This is why they are called matters of faith. Regardless of whether the legends are true, they convey powerful truths via allegory. Moreover, even if the contents of the legends can't be proven, the existence of the legends is an absolute objective fact. Regardless of whether or not Odin exists, the idea of Odin has shaped the modern world in powerful ways. The various pre-Christian religions of Europe have shaped Christianity in many ways, shapes and forms at many points in history and Christianity has undeniably shaped the West. Any religious idea is as tangibly real as the effects it has on the world, regardless of whether the idea is objectively true or not. What is objectively true is that the effects of the concept exist. Any argumentation that they shouldn't is simply an is/ought debate. Christianity deserves credit for inspiring many great things in the West. A similar line of logic applies that Christianity owes appreciation to the values brought into it by the people who entered it and the religions that inspired those values. The Scandinavian/Germanic people of old had powerful strengths and powerful faults, much like the gods they worshipped. The gods I revere have powerful strengths and powerful faults. When I think upon the millions of individuals over thousands of years who incorporated the idea of Odin into their lives and their societies, I do not think so highly of myself that I am just going to write those people off as having just believed in a silly story. I have great pride in my European heritage and show great reverence to the things that shaped it. I can honestly say that I have no fucking idea whether or not Odin exists, but I stand vehemently behind the idea that taking inspiration from him drives me harder towards accomplishing my goals in a day to day sense and that my communities of choice know me as someone who is principled, capable and driven in defense of those and that which I value. If asked if I honestly believe in Odin, I can merely say that I have no way of confirming or refuting his existence but the legends of Odin have given me drive, discipline and focus. I know I have a much higher standard of conduct than the average atheist and, in the end, that is all that really matters to me.

Blogger S1AL July 04, 2017 6:25 PM  

I'll take your belief in Odin seriously just as soon as you get back to the associated human sacrifice.

Until then, you're just LARPing.

Blogger natschuster July 04, 2017 6:28 PM  

The Universe is evidence for God.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Communists murdered +100 Million trying to genocide the Bourgeois. suffering a Marxist to live is a Crime Against Humanity ) July 04, 2017 6:39 PM  

6. Good Will July 04, 2017 5:44 AM
Will the mighty Mormons concede that Joseph Smith was a true agent of Satan if they don't produce the gold plate manuscripts on which he received his revelation?

I doubt it.




TFTFY

Mormonism is younger than the United States Constitution. we've managed to keep track of OUR founding documents, and they were written on crappy paper.

you can't keep track of an entire manuscript printed on gold leaf? you do realize that gold doesn't deteriorate, right?

butterfingers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTwpOfr3NDQ

hunh. i didn't even know that the Mormons claimed that the original Apostle John was still wandering the earth, alive, never having died.

umm, you think maybe you could produce this living Apostle? i mean, he did produce miracles for God back in the day. and you say he's spent 2000 years witnessing for Christ.

how come we never hear about him?

one would think the original author of several books of the NT would be an invaluable translation resource.

it's funny, but i think some Lutherans might have gone full Kekistani.


24. Airquote Sarctag July 04, 2017 7:12 AM
Does it mean I should start believing in the reality of Zeus and all the other gods and demigods mentioned in The Illiad?



the Bible acknowledges the existence and reality of 'gods' other than Yahweh.

if you weren't expecting that response, you should probably ask what else you don't know about the Bible.


74. Cassandros the Elder July 04, 2017 11:47 AM
Ran across this, which you may find interesting:


what i find interesting is that he claims that he would CONCEAL evidence *for* Mormon claims ... because he is a Mormon ... and people would assume he faked it.

"I would never attempt to prove the book’s message by science, and I think such efforts are a foolish waste of time—not because there is no evidence, but because the evidence cannot make a difference in the ways imagined. I tell Mormon friends that if I found an artifact that would make a significant difference, such as the golden plates, I would bury it and keep my mouth shut. This is rhetorical exaggeration, of course, to drive home the point that, as a practicing Mormon, I would have no credibility on the matter."


a 'scientist' who believes that data, facts and evidence are useless and may even be counter-productive. how odd.

Blogger Matthew Funk July 04, 2017 6:44 PM  

S1AL, What you choose to take seriously is up to you. I only object to being called a liar.

Anonymous Mr. Rational July 04, 2017 9:27 PM  

S1AL wrote:The Chinese do have a demographic collapse coming their way. I'll give you one guess as to which root cause they share with European post-Christian societies.
European Christian societies all had a crazy charismatic dictator who encouraged a baby boom which would have overwhelmed the agricultural resources of the country and required a massive correction by his successors?  Somehow I missed that.

Stickwick wrote:In terms of rationality itself? Yes, of course I deny it; and, yes, it does. You can’t prove by any test that you’re not a brain in a vat hallucinating everything you’re thinking and doing, including this conversation. You have to assume rationality before you can even begin to test anything.
You should write The Theology of Alice Grove.

If I'm a brain in a vat hallucinating everything, then (a) someone is maintaining that vat (hmmm, sounds implicitly theistic) and (b) I'm a damn sight more creative than I have any right to believe myself to be.  (And perverse, too; I'd have to be a masochist to imagine Islam or Microsoft Windows.)

The existence of an actual reality doesn't have to be taken as axiomatic.  It's at least testable in principle.  The modern Muslim view that Allah creates every instant according to his will and can change anything he wishes runs up against things like the ability to predict eclipses years in advance.  This leads to things like the Taliban prohibiting weather forecasting as heretical.

What do you suppose is the source of that rationality? Certainly not random nature.
But nature isn't random.  At the most basic level, nature is simple and even the quantum behavior follows straightforward statistical distributions.  Everything grows out of some very simple properties of quantum chromodynamics, quantum electrodynamics, and relativity.  The emergent properties coming out of THOSE are surprises, but IIUC most of the behavior of supernovae was predicted from measurements of nuclear and sub-nuclear physics in particle accelerators.

It's when you have a massive solution space whose optimae are (a) local and (b) shaped by the occupancy or vacancy of other parts of the solution space that predictability goes to hell.  This is why biology looks so damn creative, yet you get convergent evolution like Darwin's finches re-creating what existed elsewhere.

My answer to Lewis;  People think a lot of things that aren't true.  We're not truth machines, we're survival machines.  "Good enough" has been the rule for all life on earth, because a bit better than the next one meant an edge as long as the cost was acceptable.  And in a happy accident you and some millions of other humans got a brain capable of actually thinking as part and parcel of improvement along a particular line of development which may be unique to us... and you're wasting it trying to attribute everything to your First Cause which fills an emotional hole you've got.

@101  If Aesir values are good for human survival, their practitioners will thrive.  Evolution in action.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy July 04, 2017 9:46 PM  

Metric wrote:Similar with Biblical passages like "these signs shall follow them that believe." The context is very clear and would have a trivial interpretation, if only it weren't obviously false, whenever you look. Drinking poison still reliably kills "them that believe." … Anyway, I enjoy the civil discussion but need to get going. All the best.
Yep, gotta run before someone does a quick search and points out that you're quoting the fake ending of the Gospel of Mark.

Mr. Rational wrote:"Because it works" doesn't depend on your belief.  I haven't noticed the Chinese failing in science because most aren't Christian, and the scientists most likely to be atheists are the top biologists.
The Chinese are failing in science because they falsify their data and results. That isn't necessarily caused by their lack of Christian belief, but it's correlated.

A solid plurality of scientists polled believe in neither a God nor any other higher power.
That's a plurality of the 1/4 of AAAS members who responded to a request to participate in an online survey. The same poll found that only 33% of their sample of scientists agree that the best way to ensure peace is through military strength, and 65% disagree. That's a solid majority pushing a demonstrable lie.

Claiming that this is a barrier to doing science is laughably wrong; the process of doing science appears to select for people who don't believe, and can treat even their own ideas skeptically.
The same poll found that a majority (37% + 14% = 51%) of AAAS members born after 1960, and a solid majority (42% + 24% = 66%) of AAAS members born after 1975, believed in some higher power. Your conclusion is not supported by the data you are relying on.

Anonymous Eduardo July 04, 2017 9:49 PM  

Projection...

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 04, 2017 10:46 PM  

If asked if I honestly believe in Odin, I can merely say that I have no way of confirming or refuting his existence but the legends of Odin have given me drive, discipline and focus. I know I have a much higher standard of conduct than the average atheist and, in the end, that is all that really matters to me.

Your answer is "No, but if I throw up enough bafflegab, I can pretend to believe, and and pretending to believe in something I know doesn't exist will make me a better person."
Only it doesn't.

Yes, the Norse Pagans left a huge imprint on the psychology, philosophy, science, law, culture, and even religion of Christian Europe. But the Norse, the people who actually believed in Odin, as a real person in a way you or any other modern cannot, abandoned that belief. They abandoned it not because Christianity was more profitable, nor because Christianity was easier, not because it was fashionable, not even because it was truer.
The Norse abandoned Paganism because Paganism was no longer believable. The only way to continue a belief in Paganism, in a world that has heard the Gospel, is through an act of will.
And that act will, as often as not, be motivated not by a search for truth, or being a better person, but rather though emotional dislike of Christians.
C.F. Mr "Rational"
Desiring to keep the traditions of your ancestors is a great and valid desire. But if you were desiring to keep to the traditions of your ancestors, you'd pay attention to your more immediate ancestors as well.

One of your 2 grandfathers whose names you know should get at least as much respect as one of 128 great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers from 500 years ago whose name you do not know.

Anonymous LurkingPuppy July 04, 2017 10:47 PM  

And of course I missed the fact that a majority (33% + 18% = 51%) of all AAAS members in that sample who answered the poll believe in some higher power.

Anonymous Clouseau July 04, 2017 11:07 PM  

With all due respect to Bronze Age warriors, any one of whom could have kicked my butt, I still find the phrase "superpower of the Late Bronze Age" funny.

Anonymous Hoss July 04, 2017 11:10 PM  

What's Periscope?

Anonymous EH July 05, 2017 1:08 AM  

@91 S1AL

We know that the geographical patterns of human genetic diversity are not compatible with humans being descended from Noah, or any single person less than 150,000 years ago.

This is not an offer to talk with you, which you constantly demonstrate would be a waste of time.

Blogger CymantheTrueMan July 05, 2017 2:45 AM  

William Lane Craig

Blogger papabear July 05, 2017 4:16 AM  

#60 Wasn't J Peterson raised Christian? Has he discussed his faith trajectory somewhere?

Blogger Matthew Funk July 05, 2017 5:14 AM  

Snidely,

You clearly overlooked the fact that I noted the importance of Christianity in Europe over the last 1000 years. I am not anti-Christian, in fact, I have been expressly pro-Christian/Asatru alliance in every post I have made as well as complimentary to the achievements of Christians. I did not discount 30-50 generations of ancestors, I consider European history over the last millenia to be tied in with the millenia that preceded it. The last 1000 years of European history were heavily influenced by the thousands that preceded it. Perhaps this explanation will clarify. Christ may or may not be the son of a God that may or may not exist, but it is undeniably true that Christians exist and Christians influence the world. Some do so in awesome ways, some in terrible ways and many influence it in the vast middle ground. The average Christian is a force for good in the world. Or at minimum it can be said to be good when compared to most alternatives. Whether or not God exists, Christians clearly do. Whether or not Odin exists, Asatruar clearly do. Even if atheists are wrong, atheists exist. You and I do not have the means to prove or disprove the existence of God, but we have a similar ability to analyze the effect that Christianity has on the world. Does Odin exist? Odinists/Asatruar clearly do. Shall we move on and get back to our respective lives away from the keyboard?

Blogger B.J. July 05, 2017 10:16 AM  

The temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, and later rebuilt by Cyrus the Great. He didn't just build a new temple, he went around a collected all the sacred artifacts he could find from the original temple and restored them. I believe the bible is pretty accurate in this regard(?) Why would Cyrus do this? Was he simple trying to curry favor with the jews? Conquerors weren't known for rebuilding temples to fallen gods. Maybe he just thought it was a god idea? Maybe God told him it was?

I'm willing to call this a miracle. It was certainly an improbable event that changed the course of human civilization. What would have happened without monotheism I wonder?

My point is that I rarely see Christians talking about these provably true and factual events. Instead I see declarations that a splinter of wood from a mountain is proof of the flood, or a salty rock formation in the Levant is proof of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc. Frankly, who cares? Genesis is a story about growing up; gaining knowledge means losing your innocence, which can never be regained. Trying to interpret it historically is missing the point.

Blogger S1AL July 05, 2017 10:37 AM  

"We know that the geographical patterns of human genetic diversity are not compatible with humans being descended from Noah, or any single person less than 150,000 years ago.

This is not an offer to talk with you, which you constantly demonstrate would be a waste of time."


Well it's a good thing that the Bible doesn't give a date for the Flood, and that the genealogies of the Bible are known to be abbreviated.

And if that's the best you have, talking to me is most certainly a waste of your time... and mine.

Anonymous Stickwick July 05, 2017 4:43 PM  

“Mr. Rational”: The existence of an actual reality doesn't have to be taken as axiomatic.  It's at least testable in principle.

Okay, prove to me right now that you didn't hallucinate every moment of your life up until now. Prove to me that you're not hallucinating this experience at this very moment.

The modern Muslim view that Allah creates every instant according to his will and can change anything he wishes runs up against things like the ability to predict eclipses years in advance.

Are you actually claiming that a religion that uses moon phases to determine its months, that promoted the study of astronomy for this purpose, doesn’t incorporate eclipses into its theology?

And, anyway, how do you know Allah doesn't will eclipses to be predictable?

But nature isn't random.

Dude, you don’t have to remind the scientist that nature appears to be predictable. Random isn't necessarily synonymous with unpredictable, as you implicitly acknowledge when you attribute your seeming rationality to a “happy accident.” When we’re talking metaphysics, God vs. nature, we’re talking purposeful vs. random, i.e. without direction or purpose. If there's no conscious creator, then there's just nature, and no direction or purpose to anything. That's Darwinism 101. If you assume there is no God, then you have no basis beyond blind faith for trusting your own rationality.

And in a happy accident you and some millions of other humans got a brain capable of actually thinking as part and parcel of improvement along a particular line of development which may be unique to us... …you're wasting it trying to attribute everything to your First Cause which fills an emotional hole you've got.

You’re assuming it’s an accident; and that is much more harmful to your argument than you realize.

The fact is, modern science emerged in Christian Europe in the 17th century and nowhere else, because of the assumptions and ideals about nature that “time wasters” had about God-created nature. No other society at any time or any place with any other set of ideals or assumptions developed modern science.

Meanwhile, what has atheism with its “happy accidents” given us besides genocide and shared bathrooms?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 05, 2017 10:45 PM  

Matthew Funk wrote:Whether or not God exists, Christians clearly do. Whether or not Odin exists, Asatruar clearly do. Even if atheists are wrong, atheists exist. You and I do not have the means to prove or disprove the existence of God, but we have a similar ability to analyze the effect that Christianity has on the world. Does Odin exist? Odinists/Asatruar clearly do. Shall we move on and get back to our respective lives away from the keyboard?
That is a string of the most determined dodging of the point that I have ever seen.
No-one questions whether they exist. What matters is what is true. You keep telling yourself it doesn't matter. You know you're lying, but you hope your fancy footwork will allow you to continue to dodge the question.
I tell you literally NOTHING else matters.

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