Discussion in 'Four Corners' started by gUt, Jan 21, 2013.
List your top 3 exhibits pls.
The cumulative case for Christianity would include the following arguments from both the natural world and from the Bible. I'll start with the natural world first.
It's not turtles all the way down so to speak. There has to be an uncaused cause, an unmoved mover, an uncreated creator. Now 100 years ago the atheist would simply say the universe itself was uncaused but the 'big bang' theory which was originally rejected in part for it's theological repercussions has put that argument to rest (almost). Many have tried to get a universe from nothing but either their models fail or they redefine nothing. So if the universe began to exist then what created it must be outside of time and space and be powerful. We have therefore a timeless, spaceless, immaterial and powerful creator. For further investigation look into the Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument.
Both at a micro and macro level we see the evidence of design. In every other facet of life, if we see design we assume design. For example, we don't think Stonehenge was just a happy coincidence of nature. It looks designed and all explanations of it include intelligent design. In a similar way the physical constants of our universe such as the strong and weak nuclear force and the gravitational and electromagnetic forces are set in such a manner that a universe that could sustain life exists. Change any of the these forces by the smallest amounts and our universe would have imploded or expanded so much that electrons let alone stars and galaxies would not have formed. A Fortunate Universe is the go to book on this. Life on earth also shows evidence of design. Dawkins admits this himself but then with the wave of his magic wand declares it only seems designed but that unguided evolution did it all. But more and more scientists are sceptical of random mutation and natural selections ability to explain the array of life on earth and it's intricate design.
It seems everyone, whether they admit it or not, believes in objective moral values and duties. For example we all believe raping and killing a two year old is objectively wrong. But where did we get this objective moral value from. It can't be from us or society, that would be subjective. If there is an objective law there must be a law giver. God is the best (and only) explanation for a law giver.
Now at this point you could argue that even if these arguments are true that it does not argue specifically for the Christian God. True. So let me introduce a few more arguments.
4. Old Testament Prophecy
The Old Testament contains a number of prophecies about various things. If it can be shown that a prophecy is detailed and prior to an event and that there is good historical evidence for that event then you'll need to somehow explain how someone knew in detail something that would happen in the future.
i. Tyre's destruction - Ezekiel foretold that Nebuchadnezzar would come against Tyre and destroy some of it. He foretold that other nations would come against Tyre and that it would be thrown into the sea and end up a place where people cast their nets (ie. fish) which is exactly what Alexander the Great did to it.
ii. Daniel - Daniel foretold the coming kingdoms of Medo-Persia and Greece and the petty squabbles between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms with astonishing accuracy. Furthermore he foretold to the day when Jesus would enter into Jerusalem as King.
iii. Messiah - Daniel was not the only place in the OT where Jesus is foretold. Read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 52-53 and tell me who they are talking about. And these were written centuries before Jesus, not to mention the many other prophecies concerning the Messiah that came true in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Historians agree that Jesus died by crucifixion and was buried in a known tomb. Many agree that the tomb was later found to be empty. They agree that the disciples all experienced and proclaimed the risen Jesus and that this was the central message of their teaching. Paul and James who were both initially hostile to the message converted and preached this message. They all died or where persecuted for preaching this message. The best explanation for these widely agreed upon facts is that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.
Now much can be debated about each of these points as this thread proves so if you want to discuss any of them further I'll try to find time to engage.
4. Relies on a massive assumption that the events were foretold and not written after the events eg the book of Daniel was written in the second century, ezekial 3rd century BCE.
Btw according to the Babylonian Talmud Ezek 40-48 violates the Torah and there were calls from rabbis for the book to be withdrawn.
As for the messiah, well thats not even persuasive to the jews.
In the most general sense, Psalm 22 is about a person who is crying out to God to save him from the taunts and torments of his enemies, and (in the last ten verses) thanking God for rescuing him.
Jewish interpretations of Tehillim 22 identify the individual in the Psalm with a royal figure, usually King David or Queen Esther.There is no evidence of the Psalm being used in a Jewish messianic context.
The Psalm is also interpreted as referring to the plight of the Jewish people and their distress and alienation in exile.  For instance, the phrase "But I am a worm" (Hebrew: ואנכי תולעת) refers to Israel, similarly to Isaiah 41 "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I help thee, saith the LORD, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
Is recited on the Fast of Esther.
Verse 4 is part of the opening paragraph of Uva Letzion.
Verse 26 is found in the repetition of the Amidah during Rosh Hashanah.
Verse 29 is a part of Az Yashir. It is recited following the passage from Exodus. On Rosh Hashanah, it is found in the repetition of the Amidah.
Tractate Megillah of the Babylonian Talmudcontains an extended collection of midrashexpanding on the Book of Esther. Commenting on Esther 5:1, Rabbi Levi is quoted saying that, as Esther passed through the hall of idols on the way to the throne room to plead with the king, she felt the Shekhinah(divine presence) leaving her, at which point she quoted Psalm 22:1 saying "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me."[19
Isaiah 52:13 through Isaiah 53:12, according Jews, describes the servant of the Lord as the Nation of Israel itself: "My Servant..." (Isaiah 52:14), "... his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being ... " (Isaiah 53:3). "The theme of Isaiah is jubilation, a song of celebration at the imminent end of the Babylonian Captivity". Judaism sees this passage, especially "God's Suffering Servant", being written over 2500 years ago, without a reference to the king Mashiach. Jewish teaching also does take note of the historical context in which God's Suffering Servant appears, particularly because it speaks in the past tense.
And those who date the likes of Daniel to the mid 2nd century BC do so because they don't think there is such a thing as true prophecy. So the argument really goes like this:
1. Prophecy can't happen
2. Daniel gives specific details about the history of the Medo-Persian and Greek empires and the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires
3. Therefore Daniel must have been written after these events
4. Since Daniel was written after these events Daniel is not prophetic.
And according to the Babylonian Talmud those possible violations were dealt with and Ezekiel remained part of the Jewish canon. Not even sure why chapters 40-48 are pertinent to this discussion anyway, They were written more than 12 years after the prophecy concerning Tyre.
Except for the very first Christians who were all Jews and even in this day there are thousands of Jesus believing Jews.
Well you're the one who thinks their assumptions/presumptions are correct. All of a sudden biblical scholarship doesnt count because it doesnt line up with your beliefs.
It also demonstrates a childish view of prophecy as the equivalence of fortune telling. What prophecy essentially is, is the interpretation of the past and present.
Lol....you really do have an infantile understanding of how the books of the bible were written.
"An author living in the 6th cent. could hardly have written the late Hebrew used in Dn, and its Aramaic is certainly later than the Aramaic of the Elephantine papyri, which date from the end of the 5th cent. The theological outlook of the author, with his interest in angelology, his apocalyptic rather than prophetic vision, and especially his belief in the resurrection of the dead, points unescapably to a period long after the Babylonian Exile. His historical perspective, often hazy for events in the time of the Babylonian and Persian kings but much clearer for the events during the Seleucid Dynasty, indicates the Hellenistic age. Finally, his detailed description of the profanation of the Temple of Jerusalem by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 and the following persecution (9:27; 11:30-35) contrasted with his merely general reference to the evil end that would surely come to such a wicked man (11:45), indicates a composition date shortly before the death of this king in 164, therefore probably in 165." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 448)
Ezekiel (like Isaiah and the Psalms) was added to over the centuries.
Fun fact: there is no mention of the Book of Daniel before the 2nd century BCE. Even Sirach writing in 180BCE doesnt know it. Neither did it make the original septuagint.
The first christians may have been jews but their mission to the jews was largely a failure.
Point 1. Current science cant explain the origins of the universe. But its specious reasoning to point to the absence of evidence to suggest that it proves your point about the existence of God.
Given the bible is the word of God we should really be looking at Genesis as authority on what the Christian beliefs are of the origin of the world. Now Genesis itself is contradictory in itself. Chapter 1 says plants and animals were created then man. Chapter 2 has it the other way round. Which one are you going for?
Point 2. You could equally use the logic to suggest that life on Earth was created by intelligent aliens. Evolution and natural selection explains the rise and fall of different plant and animal species. If its all intelligent design, then why do species die?
Point 3. Why does morality exist in cultures with no link to the Christian God? More to the point why did God only reveal himself to a select few and not millions of people. Where did they get there morality from? Where do they end up when they die?
Its just utterly pompous for christianity to stake a claim on human morality. BTW different humans have different senses of morality so how is that explained?
I dont want to go into 4 and 5. All I'll say is if you're going to rely on a book as truth, there is going to be some interpretations of parts of it that will lend itself to claims of self fulfilling prophecies otherwise it will not be very persuasive to the religiously minded.
Any and all scholarship can be rejected if it is based on bad assumptions or old data or faulty reasoning. If this weren't the case then scholarship would never change.
This is a case in point. By the time this commentary was printed this section on Daniel was already outdated. Plenty of new Aramaic documents were discovered in the early and mid 20th century that shed much greater light on the various forms of Aramaic. According to K.A Kitchen about 90% of Daniel's Aramaic is 5th century or earlier easily allowing for a 6th century dating of Daniel. Furthermore, the few Persian words used in Daniel are all pre-Hellenistic words which would preclude a date for Daniel after Alexander the Great. The Hebrew in Daniel is Late Biblical Hebrew of the exilic time as you would expect and is slightly different to Qumran Hebrew that derived from Late Biblical Hebrew itself anyway.
The theological argument is mere supposition. It's not like angels and resurrection are not themes in Judaism. I mean you get these ideas in Genesis.
As for Daniel's history well this is where Jerome is once again dead wrong. It turns out that Daniel is actually quite accurate historically for the period of the Babylonian Exile even though the Book of Daniel is not purely of the historical genre (which Jerome seems to miss). For example Daniel mentions Belshazzar as the final ruler in Babylon before it's fall. This is something that as far as we can tell historians in the 2nd century BC did not know. They all thought Nabonidus was the last king (which he was in effect) but did not realise that Nabonidus had left Belshazzar in charge (co-regent) while he went off west. So Belshazzar was indeed ruling in Babylon when it fell. Daniel also says that Babylon fell literally overnight which history also attests to. And these are just passing comments in Daniel. Likewise Daniel gets right the fact that Medo-Persain rulers cannot change a law and we aren't surprised that Daniel was thrown into a lion's den since we know the Persians liked to keep lions. Daniel also gets it right that Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler who restored and remade Bablyon into a glorious city, something 2nd century historians didn't seem to know either.
Where's your evidence? How do you know the prophecy concerning Tyre was added after Alexander the Great destroyed it?
Fun fact 1: Arguments from silence are unconvincing.
Fun fact 2: Daniel was always in the Septuagint. I have no idea why you would think otherwise.
Fun fact 3: If Daniel was written in 165BC then it took the forger only a few decades or less to convince the scholars who were already in the process of translating the canon into Greek to add Daniel as well as the community at Qumran.
But science is limited to the physical universe. If science points to the fact that the physical universe began to exist then logic dictates that whatever caused the physical universe cannot be itself physical.
Not really though. The very building blocks of life seem to direct where evolution heads. Aliens can't do that. Nor can the explain the fine tuning of the universe.
Because God created moral beings.
God's special revelation of himself to a select few has nothing to do with the moral argument.
Sin explains different moral views. But what you haven't dealt with at all is if there is objective moral values and duties where do they come from. You either have to reject the existence of objective moral values and duties or explain their ontology.
You ask me to present a case for Christianity and then refuse to look at the evidence for the truth of the Bible. That aside I don't even know what you mean about self fulfilling prophecy.
1. I dont follow the logic. Its possible that the physical universe has always existed in some form. Nothing created it.
2. I dont know what this argument means exactly. If everything is intelligently designed then why do species die out?
3. Humans live in social communities and certain actions are logicallly counterproductive to a community lifestyle like indiscriminate murder and rape. Animnal communities have similar moral values.
Given the bible condones rape and slavertly, i would suggest that christian morality is not a great template.
That's not what science is telling us. Science has been for almost 100 years now pointing towards the universe having a beginning. Attempts to find away around this conclusion have so far proved fruitless.
If life and the universe itself is intelligently designed then there is intelligence outside of the universe.
But why does that make murder or rape immoral. It just makes it counterproductive to a certain community lifestyle. If some people desired a different lifestyle could they murder and rape and have it not be immoral?
Even our closest relatives, Chimps have no qualms about murdering and even cannibalising their own.
Oh, I thought you weren't into discussing the Bible. Given that the Bible does not condone rape and regulates but does not condone slavery and even outlaws the kind of slavery we saw in the Americas I will choose to not consider your suggestion.
Even with a big bang theory. Some matter mustve existed.
my point is that its not. Species die out which lends itself to not intelligent design.
individuals develop morality through living in communities
some chimps do, some humans do too.
It regulates rape and slavery. Which means it condones it.
That assumes that all there is is the natural world. You are excluding even the possibility of God.
But let's run with your assumption and see if it fits. So all a matter and energy sat in a super compressed and hot state for eternity past, completely stable and unchanging and then some 13 billion years ago, without any external cause, started expanding rapidly and formed our universe. Is that your suggestion?
The dying out of a species has nothing to do with whether it looks intelligently designed or not.
You also don't address the fine tuning issue.
So morality is subjective then?
It doesn't regulate rape, it outlaws it.
In the Ancient Near East bondservanthood was a way of staying alive when you fell on hard times. You would sell yourself to someone for a period of time and an agreed amount. In a time where there was no big central government with social security this helped keep people alive. God made sure it was fair.
Ergo I reject any biblical scholarship which doesnt fit in with my ideology.
Like that hasnt been used before.
Lol Kenneth Kitchen isnt a biblical scholar neither are his ideas recent.
He's your typical evangelical ideologue.
Daniel is accurate becauuse he's writing post-event. No different to describing past events such as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
But then Daniel doesnt even get his history correct.
John J Collins has written one of the most comprehensive commentaries on Daniel (1993) and dates it second century BCE.
Also we have plenty of other scholars who have pointed out Daniel's errors....
"J. Alberto Soggin writes: "The first difficulties in the historical classification of the book begin with the deportation of Daniel and his companions. We do not in fact know anything of a deportation which took place in the third year of Jehoiakim, i.e. in 607 BC. If we allow its basic historicity, the event might be connected with the conquest of Syria and Palestine by Nebuchadnezzar II a little later, after the battle of Carchemish in 605-4 and the victory over Egypt; it was on this occasion that Jehoiakim moved out of the sphere of Egyptian influence and into that of Babylon (cf. II Chron. 36.5). Complex problems of foreign policy followed, to which we alluded in our discussion of Jeremiah. Until recently the note in Chronicles was considered spurious, since there was no point of comparison, but discoveries during the 1950s of various unedited fragments of the Babylonian Chronicle have unexpectedly made sense of both this passage and II Kings 24.1ff. But even admitting the substantial historicity of the events narrated, there remains the problem of chronology, which is evidently some years out. Other elements are no less perplexing: in 5.11 Belshazzar is implicitly called the son of Nebuchadnezzar and in 7.1 he appears as king of Babylon. However, he was neither one nor the other, but the son of Nabonidus, one of Nebuchadnezzar's successors who came to the throne as the result of a plot. (The only other possibility is that 'son of . . .' is intended in a generic sense, as 'descendant of . . .', a usage which is attested in Akkadian.) On the other hand, the statement that Belshazzar was king may simply be imprecise wording: towards 553 he was resident in Babylon as a kind of lieutenant-general for the king during his numerous absences, and could therefore have been called king, at least by the people. Again, in 5.31, as we have seen, a certain Darius the Mede appears, who is considered to be king of Persia after the fall of Babylon. In 9.1 he appears as son of Xerxes, whereas in 6.29 Cyrus succeeds a Darius. If we are to be precise, the question arises what Daniel is doing at the court of the Medes before the Babylonian empire has fallen, always assuming that we take the term 'Mede' seriously. This question has never been answered. We must therefore accept that Media is in reality Persia. But the genealogy of the kings of Persia is well known: Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius I Hystaspes, Xerxes. If the Darius mentioned here was Darius I from the last quarter of the sixth century, how old would Daniel be? These are features which were already pointed out by the anti-Christian polemicist Celsus at the end of the second century AD." (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 408)
James King West writes: "The same persecutions that provoked the Maccabean uprising also stimulated the development within Jewish circles of a new literary and theological form known as the apocalypse. The name itself (Greek apokalypsis) means 'revelation' or 'unveiling,' in reference to the revealed truths which such writings purport to convey. The book of Daniel, which comes from this period, is the only true apocalypse in the old Testament, though some portions of other books share close affinities with its style (Isa. 24-27; Ezek. 38-39; Zech. 1:7-6:8; Joel 2:1-11; 4:1-21). Between the second century B.C. and the end of the first century A.D., other books of this genre, both Jewish and Christian, became popular; the Revelation of John in the New Testament is one of its best-known representatives. The characteristic theology of the apocalypse is an eschatological dualism which depicts the present age of world history as about to give way to God's final age—a climactic intervention by God himself for judgment and deliverance. This message is couched in a literary form marked by visions, bizarre imagery, cryptic numbers, and angelic interpreters. Authorship is generally pseudonymous, the works being consigned to some authoritative figure of the distant past, such as Enoch, Moses, Daniel, or Ezra." (Introduction to the Old Testament, pp. 417-418)
Jay G. Williams writes: "When the author of Daniel himself attempted to predict the future specifically, he, on the whole, proved to be incorrect. Antiochus did not die as he said nor did his kingdom come to a sudden end. The world still awaits the full manifestation of God's righteous rule upon earth. Still, he was right about one thing. Antiochus did not destroy Israel. On the contrary, the Maccabees (the 'little help' mentioned in 11:34) even led the people to a few moments of glory before the Roman armies put an end to their semi-independent nation. Perhaps our author was wrong in attempting to predict so precisely what was to occur, for the course of history is never easily determined in advance, even by a visionary prophet. He knew, however, that what his people needed was not general platitudes but a specific hope to which to cling. This he provided even at the risk of being wrong. Furthermore, his central, motivating thesis is one which faithful men can hardly reject. Essentially the book of Daniel is an affirmation of the faith that the God of Israel has dominion over the world and that in the end he will save his people. Daniel teaches that the faithful man must live expectantly, with the hope that the Kingdom of God is indeed at hand." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 316)
Fun fact: Daniel was not included in the earliest hebrew canon. That's a fairly glaring argument from silence which of course you can't explain.
Fun fact 2: the earliest manuscripts are dated 125BCE.
Fun fact 3: Your excuses arent convincing to the readers.
It regulates rape AND slavery.
In fact you've defended the text which states that rape shall be a fine to the father just like you defend the text calling for the killing of gay people..
And yes, foreign slaves were bought and sold like black slaves in the americas. They remained slaves even after the death of their masters as did their children.
Morality does seem to be subjective
Eg it was once ok to kill gay people....
- Oh so animals look intelligently designed, that must mean they are. Doesn't matter if their designs aren't actually fit for purpose.
- I don't get the fine tuning argument.
- Sure, morality is subjective. Doesn't exclude that there is a commonality in different people's subjective morals.
- There are passages that outright condone rape - be it as God's punishment or as spoils of war.
Judges 21:10-24 NLT
[The Israelite leaders said] “Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn’t find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'” So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance."
Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB
Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city. (Zechariah 14:1-2 NAB)
They must be dividing the spoils they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man. (Judges 5:30 NAB)
Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives [plural] while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight." (2 Samuel 12:11-14 NAB)
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)
Its been ruled in a court of law that intelligent design isnt science.
"Teaching intelligent design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (and Article I, Section 3, of the Pennsylvania State Constitution) because intelligent design is not science and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Out of curiosity Snoop, what is the financial status of the leaders of your religious sect?
It's all god of the gaps.
And a very old book written by people who saw the world through a lens focused upon their belief in the skyman.
Separate names with a comma.