Page 5 of 169
#161
Quote by leeb rocks
Usually I think many atheists are too quick to play the prejudice card (outside of notable examples i.e. US Presidency) but this research showing that atheists are seen to be less trustworthy than believers is interesting.

Does the thread think atheists face real and everyday prejudice for their beliefs (as far as those beliefs are ever made known)?


If anything, it's becoming the opposite. In my experience anyway, the amount of shit I've been given because I say I can't do band practice at a certain time because I'm church.

I think people, religious or lack of, are just untrustworthy in general. Singling out certain beliefs for something incredibly specific that can be applied to everyone only forces the divide and prejudices that we should really be working to tear down and avoid.
Neo Evil11
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They also let white people into the KFC and the NBA now.
#162
Quote by crimsonblood12
The Roman Catholic Church does not teach this.


It's the non-denoms that push the living shit out of that.

One thing I think is particularly funny about atheists is that they will use the whole God sending you to hell thing as a justification for their atheism.

"What about a tribe in africa who...."

You didn't make the universe, you don't call the shots. Shut up ya baby!
#163
Quote by leeb rocks
Does the thread think atheists face real and everyday prejudice for their beliefs (as far as those beliefs are ever made known)?


I don't think that's ever really the case in the UK, in fact it's more the opposite. I've only ever known three people who were outwardly christian, and then only one who was really strong in their belief, and he used to get mocked for it.

Quote by lilboisX3
You didn't make the universe, you don't call the shots. Shut up ya baby!


But we all know that the universe was, in fact, created by a baby.



So you just told God to shut up, which must mean that you are a member of a tribe in Africa.
.
#164
Quote by Niiko
If anything, it's becoming the opposite. In my experience anyway, the amount of shit I've been given because I say I can't do band practice at a certain time because I'm church.

I think people, religious or lack of, are just untrustworthy in general. Singling out certain beliefs for something incredibly specific that can be applied to everyone only forces the divide and prejudices that we should really be working to tear down and avoid.

As far as trust, it varies from person to person. Most of the people I know are religious, and whether or not they are trustworthy has no correlation with their beliefs. I do see some prejudice against non-religious people, but I also see prejudice towards people of other religions/denominations of Christianity.
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#165
Quote by SlackerBabbath
There ya go.
http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/63255/jewish/The-Bible-with-Rashi.htm

Pretty much any holy text is available to read online.

Oh, and don't bother with the NIV, it has some woefully inaccurate translations in it, read 'Young's Literal' instead, also available online.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1&version=YLT

Infact that last link to Biblegateway.com is a valuable resource because it has pretty much any version of the Christian Bible that you can think of, so it's useful for comparing different translations

Thanks man

And I thought the NIV was a decent version, guess I was wrong. I figured anything is better than the King James version Since the New Year starts tomorrow and my source of internet is unreliable (because it isn't mine >_> I will probably start with my own Bible, and whenever I get more reliable internet (probably at school) I will read what I read on the Young's version.
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Snake?

Snake?

SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE?!


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#166
Quote by Nietsche
I don't think that's ever really the case in the UK, in fact it's more the opposite. I've only ever known three people who were outwardly christian, and then only one who was really strong in their belief, and he used to get mocked for it.
.


Yeah that's always been my experience as well which is why the research jumped out at me. Would be very interested to see this repeated in the UK or other more secular countries (although they'd probably lack the common decency to write the papers up in the Queen's English. Bastards).

Quick thought that I've been mulling over the past few days for the theologically/philosophically minded in here. Do the findings of Quantum mechanics (which radically undercut commonsense and everyday notions of causality, amongst other things) render any common sense appeal to the necessity of god, or any other factor, as a prime mover such as is often deployed in forms of the cosmological argument? I'm aware there are other issues but this'd surely be a nice easy rote retort to these arguments if it were the case?
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#168
Quote by WhiskeyFace
^ If anything I've found that people use quantum physics as an argument in favour of God. Causality isn't necessarily proof of a first mover, not even with common sense, you can always say "if nothing created God and he has always been around then why can't you say that about the univers?" (or multiverse, whatev)


Because the Big Bang?
#169
Quote by crimsonblood12
Because the Big Bang?

The big bang is just the name for the expansion that started 13.7 billion years ago and continues today, it doesn't say anything about how the universe came to exist in the first place, nor is it supposed to.
#171
Quote by SlackerBabbath
The problem there is that it's impossible to know which, if any, of the many different notions of deities that there have been is the correct one to worship and what form that worship should take.

The word 'God', although it is used as a name for a deity, is actualy a discriptive term that covers all deities. The Abrahamic 'God' does have a proper name, which is 'Yahweh', but before that (according to Exodus 6.2–3) he was apparently known as something else, 'El Shaddai'. But El Shaddai was a Canaanite polytheistic god with a mother goddess called 'Asherah' for a wife. Quite a different figure to the monotheistic deity that would later be developed from him. We also know it's the same deity because of ancient 8th century BC inscriptions that mention 'Yahweh' as having the same mother goddess wife.

So how exactly is one supposed to worship Yahweh? As a monotheistic god as modern Judaism, Christianity and Islam does or as the polytheistic god that he was originaly considered to be?

In this case I was going with God as found in Christianity. However, the question as to how one is supposed to worship Yahweh is an interesting one. Also interesting is how El Shaddai came to be Yahweh over time. I'm guessing it may have involved the worshippers of El Shaddai slowly dominating over worshippers of other gods, possibly through violent means, or possibly just by sheer numbers, or even just influence.

It's interesting to consider that a person who believes in God and spends their lives doing good deeds will, to some degree, be doing those good deeds in an attempt to please their God and gain a reward in the afterlife, which we can consider as selfish reasoning, yet an atheist who spends their life doing good deeds does so without seeking any such personal reward (because he doesn't believe such a reward even exists) and so we can consider their actions as un-selfish.

So, if God exists, who would he reward, the selfish or the unselfish?

Well he would most likely reward the selfish, for they are his followers. So the real question would be would he reward the unselfish even though they don't follow him?

Quote by crimsonblood12
The Roman Catholic Church does not teach this.

That's good then. I will admit to never having had any kind of theological discussion with a Roman Catholic, so I'm not so well informed on their teachings. I wonder though, does the Roman Catholic Church allow for all non-believers (including those that have turned away from God) to enter heaven if they have lived virtuously, or just those who have never heard the word of God?
Ka pu te ruha ka hao te rangatahi.
#172
Does anyone know of a good website with Bible intrepretations?
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#173
^Slacker posted one a couple of pages ago
Quote by beadhangingOne
What happened to Snake?

Snake?

Snake?

SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE?!


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#174
Quote by Taydr
In this case I was going with God as found in Christianity. However, the question as to how one is supposed to worship Yahweh is an interesting one.

Well, considering that Yaweh worshippers consider that no one should add to their religion or change it in any way, I'm guessing that the best way to worship Yahweh is the same way they did it almost 3000 years ago, on a Saturday with a sacrifice of some sort.
Quote by Taydr

Also interesting is how El Shaddai came to be Yahweh over time. I'm guessing it may have involved the worshippers of El Shaddai slowly dominating over worshippers of other gods, possibly through violent means, or possibly just by sheer numbers, or even just influence.

That is a good question.

It more than likely involves the assimilation of various religious influences. The Bible tells us that the Hebrews escaped from Egypt, met Yahweh on a mountain-top in the wilderness, agreed to become his chosen people, and conquered Canaan with his help.
But the earliest record of the word 'Yahweh' appears to be associated with a place-name in the region of Edom, an area just south of Canaan that you would naturaly pass through on your way from Egypt to Canaan, so it's likely that 'Yahweh' was originaly a local Edomite god.
Then there's the obvious Canaanite 'El Shaddai' influence, and also a Mesopotamian influence (as can be seen in Genesis because the flood story and creation story appear to be based upon earlier Mesopotamian texts) but there also appears to be an Egyptian influence too, which may have been responsible for the eventual monotheistic view. The 10 Commandments bear more than just a passing similarity to parts of chapter 125 in the Egyptian 'Book of the Dead' and Psalm 104 has a remarkable similarity to the Egyptian 'Great Hymn to the Aten'. (written by the pharoah 'Akhenaten') Atenism was the very first known expression of monotheism.

The question is, how did all these different influences eventualy come together?

Well, although there's no record outside of the Bible of Hebrews leaving Egypt, nor any archeological evidence of a mass exodus of Hebrews from Egypt, the story of the Exodus may have been based upon real events.

We know that the Egyptian pharoah Akhenaten, who developed the first known monotheistic religion of Atenism which he forced upon his subjects causing all sorts of religious upheaval, had built a brand new capital city called Akhetaten which he dedicated to his god, the Aten, at the site of Amarna and moved the centre of government there. It makes sense that the majority of those who lived and worked there were considered as dedicated Atenists by the rest of Egypt. But after Akhenaten's death, Egyptian religion violently reverted back to polytheism, mainly under the influence of the politicaly powerful priests of the 'Cult of Amun', and the city of Akhetaten was eventualy abandoned.
We know that after all that, Atenism had become taboo in Egypt, causing even Akhenaten's own son and heir, Tutankhaten, to change his name to Tutankhamun to appease his subjects, so it makes sense that many of those that had lived in the city of Akhetaten would be treated as hated Atenists and possibly subject to all sorts of mistreatments. We certainly know that the later Egyptians considered this period, known as the 'Amarna' period, to be an unfortunate aberration in their history.

So when the city of Akhetaten was abandoned, where would these people go? Would they risk going back to the old capital city and trying to settle back into the old ways and hope that they would be left alone? Or would they leave Egypt hoping to make a new life elsewhere?

If they did leave Egypt, the timing for it being the event that the Biblical Exodus is based upon would seem to be about right. The abandonment of Akhetaten appears to have happened gradualy, so rather than an Exodus of multidudes of people all going at the same time, we may be looking at something that went on for much longer.
The Biblical story tells of Moses (who was at least raised as a member of Egyptian royalty so possibly he was an Atenist) leading his people out of Egypt and into Canaan, which historicaly was under Egyptian rule, and it is just after the Amarna period and a relatively short time after the abandonment of Akhetaten, that we see the historical beginnings of the collapse of Canaan.
Rameses II, who reigned from 1279 BC to 1213 BC, had to campaign vigorously in Canaan to maintain Egyptian power there (Canaan was basicaly a vassal state to Egypt) and during the reign of Rameses III, around 1150 BC, we see the final Egyptian withdrawal from southern Canaan.

Just 120 years later we see the United Kingdom of Israel being established, which was a union of all of the twelve Israelite tribes being established in what was Canaan.

As it happens, from just before, during and just after the Amarna period, we see reports of Canaanites clashing with people called the 'Habiru', (who are referred to as "outlaws, mercenaries, and slaves" in ancient texts) who were a group of nomadic tribes of people who lived in the area of Canaan and were apparently formed out of exiles from the neighbouring nations along the Fertile Cresent of the Middle East, which included Mesopotamia, and who were constantly raiding the towns and cities of Canaan.

The existence of the Habiru preceeds any possible exodus from Akhetaten, but if we consider those leaving Akhetaten to be gradualy joining the already existing tribes of Habiru, thus swelling their numbers, we can see how that may possibly have tipped the balance of power their way, allowing them to eventualy take over the area, and if they were Atenists, we can also see how the Habiru may have eventualy started to become monotheistic under their influence.
From the end of Amarna period in Egypt to the establishment of the United Kingdom of Israel in the area of Canaan, we have a period of around 300 years, which seems to be just enough time, several generations later, for a generation of people to have formed within the Habiru who had developed a culture and religion formed out of an amalgamation of all the cultures present within the Habiru from all the different members present within it of all the different nations along the Fertile Cresent.

Maybe the Habiru became the Hebrews. It's really just a hypothesis, but it kinda works.

Quote by Taydr

Well he would most likely reward the selfish, for they are his followers. So the real question would be would he reward the unselfish even though they don't follow him?


I think it's important to consider the question of faith versus good deeds, Christianity considers faith to be paramount while the earlier Judaism that Christianity developed from tends to consider good deeds as at least as important and possibly more important than faith. Remember, Judaism was a closed religion to anyone who wasn't a Jew, in other words, was a 'gentile'. But the Jews didn't consider that the gentiles were doomed to Hell (or the Jewish equivalent of Gehenna) because they weren't Jewish, they considered that anyone who lived a life of good deeds would more than likely be rewarded in the afterlife.
#175
Quote by Taydr
I have a small matter than I've been thinking on for a while, and I haven't yet found a very good answer, so I'll put it forward to the more enlightened fellows here. The basic starting point for this thought is that from what every Christian I've discussed theological matters with has told me, if one doesn't worship God, one will go to hell, regardless of how they have otherwise lived.


This is what the protestants believe and as pointed out above catholics do not. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it reduces faith in God to ticking the box that you're Christian on a census. If you would truly accept God (and in the case of Christianity you also accept Jesus Christ as your saviour) you would also accept and live by his teachings (ie. the Bible). Clearly if you say that you believe in God just to get into heaven and do whatever you want to do, you haven't really accepted Him as you have not made a place for Him in your life. That's at least what I think of it.

I myself have recently decided to become a Christian. I was baptised and raised as a Catholic, but I dropped all that when I was bout 16. Over the past few months I've been talking to people (protestants) at my uni about Christianity and it got me thinking and eventually they got me to change my mind. I won't go into details about what made me convert, but being a scientist (a physicist) one of my main objections was the incompatibility of God and a naturalistic worldview (essentially what Dawkins believes, but I would like to stress that I have always disliked that man).

However, if one spends some time thinking about this it is not hard to convince oneself that science is not incompatible with God and that naturalism is at best as big of an assumption as faith in God. In case you would like to convince yourself of this I recommend a book that I recently finished, John C. Lennox's . In this book, John Lennox makes a case for God (and specifies it down to Christianity at some points) and that it is not only compatible with science, but a more credible worldview than naturalism. It is much better written than Dawkin's "God Delusion" and is a very interesting and stimulating read.

He also claims that science essentially points towards intelligent creation of the universe and life (as two separate events) which I think is a bit of a stretch (though not necessarily wrong) with the arguments he presented in the book, but he does present a very convincing case. One of the most interesting points he makes in the book is how little we know about evolution (specifically macroevolution), how biologists abuse evolution with "evolution of the gaps" in the same way as creationists abuse faith with "God of the gaps" and that research indicates that there is much more to the development of life on earth than just natural selection. He also uses the concept of information to make a case for creation which I found very interesting, because as a physicist I am convinced that the concept of information is fundamental to our understanding of the universe (it is in fact a view that is becoming more and more popular amongst physicists).

I personally feel that whilst this book has not yet proved that science has proved God, it definitely will convince all, but the most hard-headed people that faith in God is an intellectually credible position and that dismissing religion as something for stupid and gullible people shows ignorance and hypocrisy.

And finally, why Christianity? Jesus Christ, God, came down to earth and was raised from the dead. The only real evidence that it didn't happen is the commonly held view that supernatural events cannot happen, but this is simply an a priori assumption just as much as many believe faith is. The discovery of Quantum Physics has shown that the world does not always behave according to our common sense so rejecting the resurrection just because it isn't common sense is in fact unscientific as you're letting your a priori beliefs take over. However, there are indications that Jesus did rise from the dead http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_and_origin_of_the_Resurrection_of_Jesus. The article does not prove either case, but it does show that the a priori assumption that supernatural events do not happen is still the only "solid" evidence against the resurrection. John Lennox briefly covers this topic in his book as well (and probably better than I have).

TL;DR - if you think science has ruled God out read the book which I linked above
#176
Quote by LizarD0


And finally, why Christianity? Jesus Christ, God, came down to earth and was raised from the dead. The only real evidence that it didn't happen is the commonly held view that supernatural events cannot happen,


I respectfully disagree.

There's more to it than that. Jesus Christ was considered to be the Messiah because many say that he fulfilled Messianic prophecy, but there's quite a lot of Messianic prophecy that he didn't fulfill. There's little point in considering someone who didn't fulfill all of the Messianic prophecies as the Messiah because almost anyone could fulfill some of the prophecies.
Also, the Messiah was originaly prophecised as being a 'servant' of God, not as being God himself.

The Messianic prophecies fortell of the eventual arrival of a Messiah (or 'Christ' in Greek, literally meaning 'annointed one') who will be a "prophet" ("like Moses") of the Abrahamic God (Yahweh) who would "fear" and "obey" God, making it quite clear that the Messiah will not actualy be God or even a part of God himself. This same religion that came up with the concept of the Messiah also said that God is "one", not 'three in one' like a trinity but "ONE". It's something that they're quite adamant about.

According to the Torah (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:18-22), the criteria for a person to be considered a prophet are that he must follow the God of Israel (and no other god) he must not describe God differently than he is known to be from Scripture and he must not advocate change to God's word or state that God has changed his mind and wishes things that contradict his already-stated eternal word.

Christians consider Jesus to have brought about a 'New Covenant', effectively a "change to God's eternal word", which obviously means that Jesus couldn't have been a prophet, and if he wasn't a prophet, he obviously couldn't have been the prophecised Messiah.

Christians also worship Jesus as God, but as we have already ascertained Jesus couldn't possibly have been the Messiah and God at the same time because that would go against the very same prophecy that established the Messiah in the first place, it also goes against the very first of the 10 Commandments;
"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, you shall have no other gods before me."

Christians make images of Jesus on a cross and place them upon altars which they pray towards, and even have the sign of the fish to signify that they are Christians, both of which go against the next Commandment;
"You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."
...and also the next Commandment after that;
"You shall not bow down to them or worship them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God"

So, according to the religion that wrote the prophecies that the Christian religion is based upon, Christianity is committing some major sins by following the Christian religion.

So, back to the Judaism that Christianty is based upon. Where does the original concept of Yahweh (the Abrahamic 'God') come from?
Ever heard of a Mother Goddess called 'Asherah'? She was originaly known as the wife and consort of the head god of the polytheistic Canaanite pantheon known as 'El'. El was eventualy developed into Yahweh. We know this because in Exodus 6.2–3 we find;
"I revealed myself to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai, (Shaddai means 'almighty', denoting his place as the head of a pantheon) but was not known to them by my name, Yahweh."
We also have the discovery of an 8th century BC (which pretty much correlates with the beginning of Judaism) piece of pottery with the inscription "I have blessed you by Yahweh of Samaria and His Asherah" and also the discovery of similar inscriptions, also dated to the 8th century BC, found on walls at two sites, Khirbet el-Kom and Kuntillet Ajrud, both in Israel.
From this we can deduce that early Judaism was not wholly monotheistic, and for some time considered Yahweh as, like El, having a wife, the same one in fact. Which leads us to the conclusion that the notion of the monotheistic Yahweh (which would eventualy lead to Christianity) was infact developed from the notion of the polytheistic El.

So what does this tell us about Yahweh? Well it tells us that Yahweh is by all accounts a human invention, developed from an earlier religion that's no longer taken seriously by anyone. That doesn't mean that a supreme intelligence that we would define as 'God' doesn't exist, (the question of such a deity's existence is a completely unanswerable question) it simply means that the Abrahamic version of God is a human invention, which would also suggest that the scripture that was written about him in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament is based upon a human invention, ergo, it's mythology, not something that we should regard as the absolute truth.
#177
Quote by LizarD0
And finally, why Christianity? Jesus Christ, God, came down to earth and was raised from the dead. The only real evidence that it didn't happen is the commonly held view that supernatural events cannot happen, but this is simply an a priori assumption just as much as many believe faith is. The discovery of Quantum Physics has shown that the world does not always behave according to our common sense so rejecting the resurrection just because it isn't common sense is in fact unscientific as you're letting your a priori beliefs take over. However, there are indications that Jesus did rise from the dead http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_and_origin_of_the_Resurrection_of_Jesus. The article does not prove either case, but it does show that the a priori assumption that supernatural events do not happen is still the only "solid" evidence against the resurrection. John Lennox briefly covers this topic in his book as well (and probably better than I have).
I think you're looking at this the wrong way.

There are no contemporary sources for Jesus, let alone any which say he was raised from the dead. Even the gospels (the "Word of God") contradict each other horribly in their tellings of the story.

For example:

What did the Centurion call Jesus when he died? Matthew. Luke.
Where did Jesus first appear to the eleven disciples after the resurrection?
Matthew. Mark.
Who buried Jesus? Matthew John
How many disciples did Jesus appear to in his first post resurrection appearance? Matthew John 1 Corinthians
Were the disciples frightened or gladdened when they saw Jesus? Luke John
Did Mary Magdalene recognize Jesus when he first appeared to her? Matthew John

I could go on, but I think I've proved that the gospels aren't reliable.

Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Miracles
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#178
Quote by LizarD0

And finally, why Christianity? Jesus Christ, God, came down to earth and was raised from the dead. The only real evidence that it didn't happen is the commonly held view that supernatural events cannot happen, but this is simply an a priori assumption just as much as many believe faith is. The discovery of Quantum Physics has shown that the world does not always behave according to our common sense so rejecting the resurrection just because it isn't common sense is in fact unscientific as you're letting your a priori beliefs take over. However, there are indications that Jesus did rise from the dead http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_and_origin_of_the_Resurrection_of_Jesus. The article does not prove either case, but it does show that the a priori assumption that supernatural events do not happen is still the only "solid" evidence against the resurrection. John Lennox briefly covers this topic in his book as well (and probably better than I have).


It's not an assumption. There is no remotely passable evidence for the existence of the supernatural particularly the notion of resurrection. The reseruction should be denied on scientific grounds as 1). There is no reliable and non-biased source describing the event and 2). there is not a shred of evidence since then that such a thing could have happened.
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#179
Quote by FrenchyFungus
I think you're looking at this the wrong way.

There are no contemporary sources for Jesus, let alone any which say he was raised from the dead. Even the gospels (the "Word of God") contradict each other horribly in their tellings of the story.

For example:

What did the Centurion call Jesus when he died? Matthew. Luke.
Where did Jesus first appear to the eleven disciples after the resurrection?
Matthew. Mark.
Who buried Jesus? Matthew John
How many disciples did Jesus appear to in his first post resurrection appearance? Matthew John 1 Corinthians
Were the disciples frightened or gladdened when they saw Jesus? Luke John
Did Mary Magdalene recognize Jesus when he first appeared to her? Matthew John

I could go on, but I think I've proved that the gospels aren't reliable.


A good point indeed.
It's also worth mentioning that there are several possibilities as to how Jesus could have survived the crucifixion, making it only appear that he was resurrected from death.
#180
Quote by SlackerBabbath
A good point indeed.
It's also worth mentioning that there are several possibilities as to how Jesus could have survived the crucifixion, making it only appear that he was resurrected from death.


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#182
Quote by SlackerBabbath
A good point indeed.
It's also worth mentioning that there are several possibilities as to how Jesus could have survived the crucifixion, making it only appear that he was resurrected from death.

I'd like to see one of the famous illusionists try to pull of some of the stuff Jesus did, have you ever ran across anything like that? I think it'd be interesting to see how many of the miracles you could do with just illusion.
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#183
Quote by palm mute
I'd like to see one of the famous illusionists try to pull of some of the stuff Jesus did, have you ever ran across anything like that? I think it'd be interesting to see how many of the miracles you could do with just illusion.

Combine illusion with a few lies and exaggeration and few generations and what do you get? Religion!
#184
Quote by palm mute
I'd like to see one of the famous illusionists try to pull of some of the stuff Jesus did, have you ever ran across anything like that? I think it'd be interesting to see how many of the miracles you could do with just illusion.


Dude, how many times have you seen a woman placed in a long box with her head sticking out of one end and her feet sticking out of the other end then cut in half, seperated, then magicaly appear to be put back together and come back out of the box miraculously unharmed?
Imagine the reaction if someone did that 2000 years ago in Judea.

To answer your question, yeah, there are several stage magicians that have successfully recreated some of the stuff that Jesus is said to have done.

Barry Jones and Stuart MacLeod stand out though, they are a two-man magic act from Scotland, who perform as "Barry and Stuart" or "The 2magicians". They are known for their dark and gory performing style, and for taking as inspiration the accounts of Biblical miracles to form the basis for some of their illusions.
They did a show called 'The Magic of Jesus' which was aired on TV over the Christmas holiday period in December 2005. In this show Jones and MacLeod drew inspiration from the accounts of Jesus' miracles in the New Testament to present illusions which included walking on the surface of water, turning water into wine, causing a blind person to temporarily 'see', appearing to raise a deceased person, causing a virgin to apparently become 'pregnant' and feeding 5000 people.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-magic-of-jesus
#185
Yeah, if you're goign to worship Jesus because he performed miracles, you'd better be praying to this guy too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kne6YnjcruQ
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#187
Quote by FrenchyFungus
Yeah, if you're goign to worship Jesus because he performed miracles, you'd better be praying to this guy too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kne6YnjcruQ


Jesus wasn't the only person in the New Testament to perform miracles. Ever heard of Simon Magus, the Samaritan 'sorcerer' of Biblical fame?
The early Church Father Eusebius describe Simon Magus as, like Jesus, a follower of John the Baptist. According to Eusebius, Simon was apparently due to become the leader of John's group (who were Nasoraeans or Gnostics) but he mentions that because Simon happened to be in Egypt at the time of the death of John the Baptist, another Samaritan named Dositheus was elected as leader instead.
Clementine literature depicts Simon returning from Egypt, quarreling with Dositheus, and Simon’s authority eventualy being proven by 'miracles', thus Dositheus ceded his position as head of the sect and became Simon’s pupil.

In the Bible, Jesus' parents took him to Egypt to escape Herod and he's pretty much unheard of again until he's an adult, so we can assume that Jesus possibly spent much of his childhood and adolecence there.
The oldest known instances of people performing staged magic is in Egypt, where the art of street magic has been a tradition for thousands of years. Stage magicians today cite Egypt as the birthplace of their craft. Infact, the 'oldest trick in the book' which is actualy the 'cup and balls' trick, is known to have originated in ancient Egypt well over 2000 years ago.

So, we have Simon and Jesus, both followers of John the Baptist, both had visited Egypt, (where they happened to have traditional street magicians which we today call 'Gali Gali' men who regularly, and still do, perform so called 'miracles'.) and both are said to have returned from Egypt with supernatural powers.

The apocryphal 'Acts of Peter' gives a legendary tale of Simon Magus' death.
Simon is performing 'magic' in the Forum, and in order to prove himself to be a god, he levitates up into the air above the Forum. The apostle Peter apparently prays to God to stop his flying, and he stops mid-air and falls, breaking his legs. The previously non-hostile crowd then stones him and he dies later while being tended by physicians.

This all kinda makes sense if Jesus was himself a street magician, because as a disciple of Jesus, Peter probably knew how many of Jesus' 'miracles' (and therefore Simon's too) were done.
It couldn't have been good for the Christians if another guy was doing the same or similar miracles as Jesus did, so if Peter could knobble Simon's act in such a way that it looked like divine intervention, causing Simon's audience to turn against him and even kill him, then Jesus, (who'd disappeared by now after apparently returning from the dead) would continue to be regarded as the Messiah.

Quote by palm mute
Thanks Slacker



Anytime bud.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Jan 2, 2012,
#188
Populus vult decipi. Decipiatur.

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If you cut down on these costs students won't learn so well, effecting the "quality"...
Last edited by FrenchyFungus at Jan 2, 2012,
#189
Regarding the point that Slacker raised: Jesus not fulfilling all messianic prophecies: interesting point, I do not know, but I will raise this point with a local church worker who I'm meeting to discuss the Bible with. In fact I will raise all your points with the guy as they are all interesting questions, which I currently am not capable of fully answering.

Yahweh originating from an older religion: I see God as using tactics to spread his word. People usually ask why wouldn't God just manifest himself and prove that he exists and settle the question once and for all. Consider the case if he did that today. Say he appears to a single person. That person then will go and spread the word about God. Would you believe him? Probably not, very few people would. Clearly not a good tactic. What if he showed himself to everybody in the world? More people would believe then, but some would still refuse to acknowledge it ascribing to some sort of hallucination, people would be afraid to admit to it, the fact could be suppressed by some political and religious leaders for various reasons (power, not exactly the god the taught about etc.) and even if everybody believed on that day then I can easily imagine future generations questioning the event and explaining it with some conspiracy theory (just look at the amount of conspiracy theories going around nowadays) which in terms of science would be more likely than a supernatural intervention. I pointed out to one of the Christian people I was talking to that research has shown that if an idea is spread to a certain point within a society (I think ~10%) it will then spread exponentially or something of that sort. I used this as a response to the argument of why would so many people believe in the Christian God if he wasn't real. She then pointed out to me that perhaps it was God's plan to make it spread to the 10% in the first place. Of course that still doesn't answer the question of why Christianity is so popular if it isn't right, but It killed my argument, because if God is real he could easily achieve that through whatever means he wants. This is not proof of God, but I find this a reasonable case for why God doesn't always act directly and returning to Slacker's point of Yahweh being a human invention, maybe historically that was the most optimal way to spread his word. I don't think this is a very good answer to convince somebody who doesn't believe in God, but that's the best I have, I may come back on this on Friday after I talk with the church worker.

I think you're looking at this the wrong way.

There are no contemporary sources for Jesus, let alone any which say he was raised from the dead. Even the gospels (the "Word of God") contradict each other horribly in their tellings of the story.

For example:

What did the Centurion call Jesus when he died? Matthew. Luke.
Where did Jesus first appear to the eleven disciples after the resurrection?
Matthew. Mark.
Who buried Jesus? Matthew John
How many disciples did Jesus appear to in his first post resurrection appearance? Matthew John 1 Corinthians
Were the disciples frightened or gladdened when they saw Jesus? Luke John
Did Mary Magdalene recognize Jesus when he first appeared to her? Matthew John

I could go on, but I think I've proved that the gospels aren't reliable.

Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Miracles


Regarding contradicting gospel accounts: I raised this question some time ago and whilst the answer I got will not satisfy everybody for various reasons (such as demand for a purely historical and factual account) it does show that this inconsistency does not diminish the historicity of the main events of the gospels. First and foremost we have to regard the gospels as their own genre, as you have shown they clearly cannot be 100% historical accounts. From the wikipedia article on the : "Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis notes that "we must conclude, then, that the genre of the Gospel is not that of pure "history"; but neither is it that of myth, fairy tale, or legend. In fact, "gospel" constitutes a genre all its own, a surprising novelty in the literature of the ancient world."". The differences may be due to the author's whim, memory or some other reason to enhance the story, but the key elements are common such as the resurrection itself. I specifically asked about the different accounts of how many people were first to see Jesus. The number differed (which is essentially an irrelevant element in terms of history), but they were always women (important, because if the apostles wanted to fabricate a believable story they would not chose a woman to be first as witness reports from women were considered unreliable in those times - they were not allowed as witnesses in court).

David Hume: read John Lennox's book, chapter 12. Hume assumes the uniformity of nature to disprove miracles, but elsewhere he argues that uniformity cannot be demonstrated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hume#Induction

It's not an assumption. There is no remotely passable evidence for the existence of the supernatural particularly the notion of resurrection. The reseruction should be denied on scientific grounds as 1). There is no reliable and non-biased source describing the event and 2). there is not a shred of evidence since then that such a thing could have happened.


You are appealing to your a priori assumption here. Even if there is no account of an event it does not mean it has not happened. When you die how many events in your life will have been recorded for posterity? Will you deny that anything that hasn't been recorded has not happened? You are appealing to your a priori assumption that supernatural events cannot happen, just like Albert Einstein when he said that "God does not play dice" and was convinced that our quantum theory is incomplete. We now know that he was wrong. Most of the history we know relies on biased accounts ("History is written by the victors" originates from somewhere after all) yet we will accept them as historical facts. The difference is that they do not contain the supernatural which in that case does not conflict with your assumption.
#190
Quote by FrenchyFungus




Interesting that the first two are also Peter performing miracles, yet more evidence that Peter was 'in on the act' as I suggested earlier.
#191
I just thought I'd also point out the problem with assuming the supernatural cannot happen on a modern example: superluminal neutrinos. Our current theories state that nothing can travel faster than light and we assume that whenever we do any science. Yet there seems to be some experimental evidence against this assumption. We have never ever observed any violation of this principle before (just like we have never observed supernatural events in labs) so currently the scientific world is looking for a mistake in the work and other scientists will be trying to confirm the result at other labs. Yet, if it is proved that neutrinos travel faster than light we will have to drop our assumption and figure out what was wrong. Unfortunately for the supernatural we cannot by definition test them in a lab which is why it is so hard for people to accept that they can happen and that it is only an assumption that they cannot happen, a reasonable one albeit just like the constancy of the speed of light not necessarily true.

Of course the neutrino experiment may have a mistake (I personally think that there is a problem with the statistical analysis of the results), but it does affect the point I'm trying to make. The supernatural cannot be ruled out on the fact that it has not been observed. In science we should search for natural explanations as hard as possible as it is the study of the natural, but we should remember that the only reason we eliminate the supernatural is that we assume it cannot happen.
#192
Quote by LizarD0
but they were always women
I can't be bothered reading all that just now, but I'll respond to this bit.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24:13-31&version=NIV
Populus vult decipi. Decipiatur.

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It's can be a contraction and genitive case.

Quote by Mistress_Ibanez
If you cut down on these costs students won't learn so well, effecting the "quality"...
#193
Quote by FrenchyFungus
I can't be bothered reading all that just now, but I'll respond to this bit.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24:13-31&version=NIV


OK, you proved me wrong, probably a bad example to use in this case and a shame I was not corrected by the guy I asked about this (I'm still in th process of reading the bible myself, out of the NT gospels I've only read John fully). Regardless, I still think it does not eliminate the point that the gospels whilst not 100% historical accounts, they are not entirely legend or myth.

EDIT: It was women who found the tomb empty and reported it to men first in Luke. I made the mistake in saying they met Jesus first, they were however the first witnesses of resurrection in seeing the empty tomb.
Last edited by LizarD0 at Jan 2, 2012,
#194
Quote by LizarD0
OK, you proved me wrong, probably a bad example to use in this case and a shame I was not corrected by the guy I asked about this (I'm still in th process of reading the bible myself, out of the NT gospels I've only read John fully). Regardless, I still think it does not eliminate the point that the gospels whilst not 100% historical accounts, they are not entirely legend or myth.

There's no doubt that they reflect the mood of the time (a little while after his death).
#195
Quote by LizarD0
Regarding the point that Slacker raised: Jesus not fulfilling all messianic prophecies: interesting point, I do not know, but I will raise this point with a local church worker who I'm meeting to discuss the Bible with. In fact I will raise all your points with the guy as they are all interesting questions, which I currently am not capable of fully answering.

No worries bud.
Quote by LizarD0

Yahweh originating from an older religion: I see God as using tactics to spread his word. People usually ask why wouldn't God just manifest himself and prove that he exists and settle the question once and for all. Consider the case if he did that today. Say he appears to a single person. That person then will go and spread the word about God. Would you believe him? Probably not, very few people would. Clearly not a good tactic. What if he showed himself to everybody in the world? More people would believe then, but some would still refuse to acknowledge it ascribing to some sort of hallucination, people would be afraid to admit to it, the fact could be suppressed by some political and religious leaders for various reasons (power, not exactly the god the taught about etc.) and even if everybody believed on that day then I can easily imagine future generations questioning the event and explaining it with some conspiracy theory (just look at the amount of conspiracy theories going around nowadays) which in terms of science would be more likely than a supernatural intervention. I pointed out to one of the Christian people I was talking to that research has shown that if an idea is spread to a certain point within a society (I think ~10%) it will then spread exponentially or something of that sort. I used this as a response to the argument of why would so many people believe in the Christian God if he wasn't real. She then pointed out to me that perhaps it was God's plan to make it spread to the 10% in the first place. Of course that still doesn't answer the question of why Christianity is so popular if it isn't right, but It killed my argument, because if God is real he could easily achieve that through whatever means he wants. This is not proof of God, but I find this a reasonable case for why God doesn't always act directly and returning to Slacker's point of Yahweh being a human invention, maybe historically that was the most optimal way to spread his word. I don't think this is a very good answer to convince somebody who doesn't believe in God, but that's the best I have, I may come back on this on Friday after I talk with the church worker.

But if you consider that the spreading of a certain religion a certain way can be 'God's plan', then surely you should also consider that the spreading of other religions in other ways can also be God's plan?
And if that's the case, why reject all other religions in favour of just one religion?


Quote by LizarD0

Regarding contradicting gospel accounts: I raised this question some time ago and whilst the answer I got will not satisfy everybody for various reasons (such as demand for a purely historical and factual account) it does show that this inconsistency does not diminish the historicity of the main events of the gospels. First and foremost we have to regard the gospels as their own genre, as you have shown they clearly cannot be 100% historical accounts. From the wikipedia article on the : "Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis notes that "we must conclude, then, that the genre of the Gospel is not that of pure "history"; but neither is it that of myth, fairy tale, or legend.

Again, I respectfully disagree, 'legend' is generaly considered to be something that may be 'based' upon actual people or events. So if something contains history but isn't pure history, then we could consider it as legend.

In fact, "gospel" constitutes a genre all its own, a surprising novelty in the literature of the ancient world."". The differences may be due to the author's whim, memory or some other reason to enhance the story, but the key elements are common such as the resurrection itself. I specifically asked about the different accounts of how many people were first to see Jesus. The number differed (which is essentially an irrelevant element in terms of history), but they were always women (important, because if the apostles wanted to fabricate a believable story they would not chose a woman to be first as witness reports from women were considered unreliable in those times - they were not allowed as witnesses in court).
That's an interesting point, but we must remember that Jesus actualy stood for a version of female equality. He openly taught scripture to women, which was pretty taboo at the time, and he apparently treated Mary Magdaline as equal to the male desciples, in the Gospel of John, the risen Jesus gives Mary special teaching and commissions her as an "Apostle to the Apostles".

Quote by LizarD0

Most of the history we know relies on biased accounts ("History is written by the victors" originates from somewhere after all) yet we will accept them as historical facts. The difference is that they do not contain the supernatural which in that case does not conflict with your assumption.


Do you know why Christianity became so widespread? Simply because it was adopted by the Roman Empire as it's official religion under Constantine the Great.
Constantine himself probably adopted Christianity as a political move and although it wasn't initialy compulsory to be a Christian, it eventualy became so throughout most of Europe.
In that respect, it can be said that Christianity being so widespread is a result of 'history being written by the victors'.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Jan 3, 2012,
#196
Quote by captaincrunk
Uhh, nope? You didn't say that originally.


You are right, I did not say that in the beginning. It may have saved a lot of needless conversation had I made that point in the first place. What's done is done.
#197
Since you all are on the topic of Christianity, what are your thoughts regarding preterism?
#198
Quote by lilboisX3
You are right, I did not say that in the beginning. It may have saved a lot of needless conversation had I made that point in the first place. What's done is done.

You're my favorite poster of the day for that.
#199
Quote by lilboisX3
Since you all are on the topic of Christianity, what are your thoughts regarding preterism?


That the eschatological prophecies, such as the 'end times', were all fulfilled either during the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD or during the persecution of Christians under Nero?

Interestingly, through 'Gematriya', (a system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase) we can surmise that the Chrisitian 'Book of Revelation' is probably about the fall of the Roman Empire and the death of Emperor Nero in particular, who was apparently considered as the 'beast'.

According to 'Revelation' there are two 'beasts' involved with the end times, the 'First Beast' arises out of the sea, having seven heads and 10 horns. The 'Second (Lamb-like) Beast' arises out of the earth, having the appearance of a lamb while speaking like a dragon. This Beast exercises authority on behalf of the first beast.

'Rome' was quite probably the first beast because Rome was known in antiquity as the 'city of seven hills' and it is also likely that many Romans approached Judea from the Mediteranian sea.

But here's where it gets interesting.
In May 2005, scholars at Oxford University, using advanced imaging techniques, had been able to read previously illegible portions of the earliest known record of the Book of Revelation. The fragment gives the Number of the Beast as 616 rather than 666.

As it happens, the Greek version of Nero's name and title was 'Nerōn Kaisar', which, when transliterated into Hebrew, then adding the corresponding values together using Gematriya gives us '666'.

The Latin title for Nero is 'Nerō Caesar' which when transliterates into Hebrew has a Gematriya value of 616, which neatly explains that variation found in May 2005, and both Latin and Greek were widely used in Judea in the first century.

The Book of Revelation was apparently composed near the end of Domitian's reign, around the year 95 AD, after Nero's death, so if it is about events during Nero's reign, it was likely composed after the fact rather than being a prophecy of the future.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Jan 2, 2012,
#200
Quote by SlackerBabbath
That the eschatological prophecies, such as the 'end times', were all fulfilled either during the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD or during the persecution of Christians under Nero?
.


Have you ever considered writing your own book? Seriously, I think plenty of people would buy it.
Neo Evil11
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They let black people on Fox now?

They also let white people into the KFC and the NBA now.