Silly Atheist, You Need to Read More Books to Understand the Philosophically Complex Beliefs of Christianity

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Evangelical Christian (here): Friend, I would encourage you to read some more about the fundamentals of what Christians believe before trying to “devastate” their view as it just shows a level of your ignorance on their belief. Not intending this as hateful, but your two comments demonstrate a lack of understanding I would encourage you to read and study a bit more content.

Gary: I grew up evangelical. Please explain where I have it wrong.

Evangelical Christian: You have a clear lack of basic understanding of the Trinity. Basic lack of understanding of resurrection, God, Salvation, Revelation, and “relationship”. Sorry I would suggest reading two of James Whites books, scripture alone and forgotten Trinity. That would be a fair start.

Gary: I love it when an evangelical Christian tells me that I need to read more books to understand “true” Christianity. The truth is: A skeptic will never be given credit for reading enough books until he submits to the superstitions of the evangelical and converts. Below is a list of books by scholars, Christian apologists, and by former Christians and other skeptics that I have read on the subject of Christianity and in particular, the Resurrection of Jesus. I believe it is important to be familiar with the positions of both Christians and skeptics on these issues:

 

  • “The Resurrection of the Son of God” by NT Wright
  • “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” by Richard Bauckham
  • “The Death of the Messiah, Volumes I and II” by Raymond Brown
  • “Making the Case for Christianity” by Maas, Francisco, et al.
  • ” The Resurrection Fact” by Bombaro, Francisco, et al.
  • “Miracles, Volumes I and II”, by Craig Keener
  • “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus” by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona
  • “Why are There Differences in the Gospels” by Michael Licona
  • “The Son Rises” by William Lane Craig
  • “The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus” by Raymond Brown
  • “The Resurrection of Jesus” by Gerd Luedemann
  • “Resurrection Reconsidered” by Gregory Riley
  • “John and Thomas—Gospels in Conflict?” by Christopher Skinner
  • “The Argument for the Holy Sepulchre” (journal article) by scholar Jerome Murphy-O’Connor
  • Israel in Egypt” by James Hoffmeier
  • “The Bible Unearthed” by Finkelstein and Silberman
  • The Resurrection of Jesus in the Light of Jewish Burial Practices” by Craig Evans, (newsletter article) The City, a publication of Houston Baptist University, May 4, 2016
  • “Has the Tomb of Jesus Been Discovered?” by Jodi Magness, SBL Forum
  • “Genre, Sub-genre and Questions of Audience: A Proposed Typology for Greco-Roman biography” (article) by Justin M. Smith, St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
  • “Cold-Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace
  • “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel
  • “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman
  • “Jesus, Interrupted” by Bart Ehrman
  • “How Jesus Became God” by Bart Ehrman
  • “Jesus Before the Gospels” by Bart Ehrman
  • “Did Jesus Exist?” by Bart Ehrman
  • “Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus” by Asher Norman (endorsed by Talmudic scholars for its accuracy in presenting a Jewish perspective of Jesus and the Christian New Testament)
  • “The Book of Miracles” by Kenneth L. Woodward
  • “Why I Believed, Reflections of a Former Missionary” by Kenneth W. Daniels
  • “Why Evolution is True” by biologist Jerry Coyne
  • “Masters of the Planet-the Search for our Human Origins” by Ian Tattersall
  • “A Manual for Creating Atheists” by philosopher Peter Boghossian
  • “Can We Trust the Gospels?” by Peter Williams
  • “The Outsider Test for Faith” by John W. Loftus
  • “God and the Folly of Faith:  The Incompatibility of Science and Religion by physicist Victor J. Stenger
  • “Lone Survivors:  How We Came to Be The Only Humans on Earth” by paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer
  • “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by evangelical apologists Josh and Sean McDowell
  • “The Case Against Miracles” edited by John Loftus
  •  “The Resurrection:  A Critical Inquiry” by Jewish author, Michael Alter
  • “The Blind Watchmaker” by biologist Richard Dawkins
  • “The Other Gospels:  Accounts of Jesus from Outside the New Testament” by Bart Ehrman and Zlatko Plese (currently reading)

 

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End of post.

 

68 thoughts on “Silly Atheist, You Need to Read More Books to Understand the Philosophically Complex Beliefs of Christianity

  1. “You have a clear lack of basic understanding of the Trinity. Basic lack of understanding of resurrection, God, Salvation, Revelation, and “relationship”.

    And how many books on these subjects are children of evangelicals required to read before they are expected to proclaim this stuff as true? Is their response to an altar call, or their promise to “commit their life to Jesus” postponed until they have the appropriate amount of scholarly understanding of the subject?

    All their insistence on copious study is directed at non-belief, when it ought to be required for belief, instead.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. None. No books would be required, unless it is evident that the basic tenants of the faith are misunderstood. In order to properly argue with your opponent you must accurately represent their view or you will only be attacking a strawman. The goal is to understand the opposing interlocter in order to argue to the points of contention.

      Appreciate the platform for the dialogue. I’ll spend more time in my response. In these comments.

      ~the “Evangelical Christian”

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          1. Jeremy said to Gary: “Would you commit to becoming familiar with the actual positions of ‘basic
            Christianity’ before attempting to refute it? At the very least you may work to convince someone if you
            can represent their views properly and argue properly.”

            Have fun, Gary. Too bad you don’t know anything about “basic” Christianity. 🙂 I have heard this line of argumentation more times than I can count. I no longer play the game. But, I do enjoy watching you play it. 🙂

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            1. Thanks, Bruce. I do enjoy debating this topic. If it helps bring someone out of the darkness of superstitious belief, it is worth it. You did that favor for me, so I am willing to do that for others Thanks again for helping me to see the truth. I am forever grateful!

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Bruce if you read my response then you know I argued at least one point of basic Christianity that Gary misrepresented. Do you disagree that wikipedia would disagree with Gary’s representation of the Trinity?

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          2. Thank you again for agreeing to come to my blog to discuss your beliefs.

            You said in your linked pdf: Not to mention that you assume that no evidence can be provided because of confirmation biason the side of the evangelical. The funny thing is that the confirmation bias that you assume is on theother side is demonstrated in your statement. In essence you say, ‘no one that claims to have a relationship with the being in question can appropriately defend their view’. This assumes your position without presenting a single argument to the contrary.

            Gary: I know that Christians can provide evidence for their belief in the resurrection of Jesus. They have been doing so for almost 2,000 years. This evidence consists of alleged eyewitness testimony of seeing and interacting with a resurrected corpse, claims of changed behavior on the part of the disciples, the growth of Christianity, etc. It is evidence, but I view it as very weak evidence. Now, yes, that could be due to my own bias. But I offer this: If the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus were “good”, then this alleged historical event should appear in our public university history textbooks as an historical fact, just as they list other events from antiquity as facts. But, they don’t, do they! No public university history textbook on the planet (that I am aware of) lists the resurrection of Jesus as an historical fact or even as a probable historical fact. Christians will claim that historians avoid religious historical claims but this is nonsense. We know when Mohammad lived; when he attacked Medina, etc.. We know historical information about Joseph Smith. The fact is that historians do not list the resurrection of Jesus as an historical fact because the evidence is so POOR.

            That said, I do believe that many Christians can argue for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus without having a disqualifying bias. Roman Catholic scholar Raymond Brown is (was, he is deceased) one such Christian. I believe that NT Wright can argue the evidence for the resurrection without a disqualifying bias. So the fact that one is a Christian is not a disqualifier for objectively evaluating the evidence for this alleged event. However, if one is a Christian who believes that he perceives the presence of the resurrected Jesus within his body and/or believes that he perceives the resurrected Jesus communicating with him in a still, small voice, it is my opinion that this disqualifies this Christian from objectively evaluating the historical evidence. Since it is primarily evangelicals and Pentecostals who hold to the belief in a “personal relationship/communication with” the resurrected Jesus, it would be only these groups of Christians that are disqualified, in my opinion.

            If you believe that you have a voice whispering into your ear that says, “Hey, Jeremy. It’s Jesus. I am very much alive and well. I really was resurrected 2,000 years ago.” there is no way, in my opinion, that you can objectively look at the historical evidence for the alleged resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. @ Jeremy
            The most simple and accurate response to your link and all your comments thus far would be:
            As you – and every other Christian on the planet – are unable to produce any verifiable evidence to support a single foundational claim of your Christian belief/faith we can. therefore, dismiss each and every such unsupported claim with impunity.

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      1. So, the thirteen-year-old in confirmation class accepts a set of beliefs and a specific book as true based solely on “People that he trusts told him that it was true” and that’s enough to satisfy the apologists. But then that thirteen-year-old grows up, and realizes they need more than that. They spend years investigating as to whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant accepting the book and beliefs, beyond “someone I trust told me to believe it.”

        And after years of reading and study, when they come to the realization that there isn’t sufficient evidence, and that they no longer believe any of it, what is the apologist response? “You just don’t understand and you need more study”. Do you see how this comes across as condescending?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Ubi,

          Great point. What apologist does this satisfy? I would say he/she has professed believe, but let’s see what comes out in time. It is so sad that so many teachers in churches are unprepared to answer real questions. I would hope that the people around me (including 13 year olds) are shown the hard questions and encouraged to ask harder questions. Any true church should not be opposed to critical thinking.

          The apologist has not responded you need to read more. The apologist has responded you misrepresented my argument and if you want to disagree with me, ask me what I think about an issue so you can ‘properly refute’ my argument. Or in this case understand the basics of the believe enough to be able to address them properly.

          Jeremy

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          1. “Any true church should not be opposed to critical thinking.”

            This raises another problem. “True church”. There are lots of churches that are very much opposed to critical thinking. And every one of those claims to be the “true church”. If you ask any christian which version of christianity is the “true church” the answer is invariably “Mine!”. There is no consensus among christians about this, and if they can’t figure it out themselves, how are people outside of their religion supposed to determine what is and is not a “true church”?

            Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not clear from your post (at least to me) — did you provide this list of books to the Christian? And if so, what was his response? Or are you just listing them here for our information?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A different Christian responded with this response:

      …in your list of book you cite, Bart Ehrman, who is no friend of Christianity, does believe that Jesus existed.

      But be that as it may, I probably can sum up why you fell away from Christianity…”They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” 1 John 2:19.

      Something probably happened in your life, perhaps prayers not being answered in the way YOU wanted them to be, or you coming to the conclusion that The God of The Bible is a moral monster, as if you or anybody for that matter has the moral high ground to complain about the morality of God, the idea of Hell, things of this nature. Besides all of that, it also comes down to one simple fact, one’s pride and ego. You most likely didn’t want to be accountable to anyone and wanted to do whatever you like and not fear any judgment from God. So you just defined Him out of existence. Ok then. Have at it. But remember, the death rate is still one per person, we all make it. AND, none of us know when death will come for us.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep, I left Christianity because of a secret desire to sin.

        The Holy Spirit seems to have given Christians the ability to read minds! I left a link for him to my blog post in 2014 (when I was still a believer) describing the beginning of my slide into unbelief (deconversion) due to my encounter with Bruce Gerenscer, an ex-Christian pastor turned atheist:

        https://lutherwasnotbornagaincom.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/fundamentalist-baptist-pastor-abandons-his-christian-faith/

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’ve often wondered … how do you fear judgment from God when you don’t believe “he” exists?

          What’s also interesting is the reasons Christians give for someone leaving the faith are more about them than it is the one who walks away.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Yes, I’m to blame. 😀😀 Just think,Gary, had you read one more book, you’d still be a Christian. In other words, Christian faith depends on the number of books read (much like my grandkids getting a free pizza if they read x number of library over the summer). Besides, I thought the Bible was sufficient for faith and practice. I was unaware that true faith requires reading Fundamentalist James White or some other apologist. How, then, did people come to faith before the printing press? Asking for a friend …. her name is reason. 😀😀

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Christian faith does not require any number of books read. However how can you claim a faith that you don’t ascribe to? If I said I am an atheist who believed in a god who created the universe would you say that I don’t properly understand atheism? Of course you would say, no the word by definition assumes no theos (no god). You can’t claim to discredit Christianity when the Christianity you attack is doesn’t exist.

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            1. Oh, it exists whether you want to admit it or not. You might be a different flavor of ice cream, but the basic ingredients are all the same. You can’t see that because you think your flavor is orthodox, different, right, truth, Biblical, etc. If only Gary and others like him would come to the one true ice cream! 🙂

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Bruce,

                That is fair let me correct my statement above. IFB is an example of people who may ascribe to that belief.i guess I am referring to historic orthodoxy.

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                1. Yes, and Gary wasn’t always IFB, and neither was I. Gary was a Lutheran when he deconverted, and I was a progressive Christian. You err in thinking our theological development was static. Doing this makes it easy to dismiss us out of hand; that we never understood “basic Christianity.”

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Bruce,

                    I have not dismissed you out of hand. I have made the statement that Gary clearly misrepresented basic christian teaching on the Trinity. Tons of ‘Christians’ do. The fact that people even teach Christianity to others without properly representing the core of the beliefs is sad, but when they do I correct them as well. There are many members in my own family, where I have said that isn’t what we believe. Consistency is important and although you can believe what you want in order to be a Christian there are certain non-negotiables which affect if you fall under the banner of Christendom or another Monotheistic religion. Respectfully I hear what you are saying, but I don’t get that you hear what I am saying.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I know this wasn’t the gist of your comment to Bruce, but you did mention the Trinity so I’m curious … do you know the actual genesis of this belief?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Here is a quote regarding the Trinity from one of the oldest Christian creeds, the Athanasian Creed:

                      Athanasian Creed (see Ecumenical Creeds, C): “… We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Spirit uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal. As there are not three Uncreated nor three Incomprehensibles, but one Uncreated and one Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say, There be three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another; but the whole three Persons are coeternal together and coequal, so that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped.”

                      Gary: What does this say? Answer: There is one god, consisting of three persons, each of whom individually is god, but there are not three gods, just one.

                      That is nonsense. That is word salad. It is incoherent theological mumbo-jumbo. It is the invention of clever Gentiles trying to shoehorn Jesus into Judaic monotheism. It is nothing but SPIN. Christianity is a polytheistic religion!

                      Liked by 2 people

      2. “as if you or anybody for that matter has the moral high ground to complain about the morality of God”

        One doesn’t need to have the high ground to complain about immoral behavour. If I allowed millions of people to suffer and die while it is completely within my power to both know exactly what can be done, and be able to do it, but did nothing, I would be considered a monster. If God does nothing it always has a reason, and people will conjecture some theodicy to continue justifying belief that God is perfect.

        “Besides all of that, it also comes down to one simple fact, one’s pride and ego. You most likely didn’t want to be accountable to anyone and wanted to do whatever you like and not fear any judgment from God.”

        If this was actually true I’d just be a fundamentalist Christian. I’d do whatever I wanted safe in the belief that I’ve been saved already.

        Liked by 5 people

  3. Gary,

    I want to assure you (as you most likely know already) that no amount of study, personal prayer, devotion via faith or acts, church attendance or commitment, and university/seminary degrees will EVER be sufficient for ANY one Christian Apologist among the 6 to 2,000 different denominations within Christianity.

    Therefore, what this ill-informed, inexperienced, narrow-minded “Evangelical YouTube Christian” postulates about your unknowing is utterly and completely irrelevant. It means NOTHING without an equitable, exhaustive survey of ALL Christian fundamentals from ALL denominations! Period. And you and I both know where, as a whole, all that convoluted non-sense leads every intelligent person all the time: straight into endless confusion, ambiguity, and insanity. 😄 Unless of course you ignore/deny those three conclusions. 😉

    You have a clear lack of basic understanding of the Trinity. Basic lack of understanding of resurrection, God, Salvation, Revelation, and “relationship”. Sorry I would suggest reading two of James Whites books, scripture alone and forgotten Trinity.

    I graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary (Clinton, MS) toward a Master’s degree where several acclaimed Christian theologians/faculty taught/teach and guest-teach, e.g. R.C. Sproul, John Frame, Roger Nicole, Ronald H. Nash, Steve Brown, Douglas F. Kelly, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., Michael J. Kruger, Bruce Waltke, and Willem A. VanGemeren to name a few… and I tell you right now with the utmost conviction…

    NO AMOUNT of Christian reading, study, internship, awards, or conferences can EVER catapult you into some Divine breakthrough Gnosis of a Trinity, Christ, Holy Spirit, or God the Father as this man claims. All he and his colleagues have done to themselves is fall prey to the Placebo-effect, peer-assimilation/pressure via theatrical-congregational performances reinforcing the placebos, resulting in what I mentioned in your previous blog-post: Psychology and Neurology 101. Simple.

    But many, many Christians willingly delude themselves with grandiose ideals of myth and fiction. That’s all there is to it my Friend. 😉

    No worries, you are all good Gary.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol… yes, it’s like we are all on the Monty Python’s set of the Life of Brian, isn’t it? 😉 But the inanimate, unbiased, authenticated data and evidence doesn’t lie. Besides, if they were 100% correct, then the entire population of humanity would be ONE Christian denomination. No others would exist.

        But that is FAR from the case/truth isn’t it? And it keeps getting worse with time, more fractured, more divided! 🙄

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      2. Furthermore, when this “Evangelical YouTube Christian” uses the words/phrase “fundamentals of…” and “basic understanding… of resurrection, God, Salvation, Revelation, and “relationship”” none of his narrow-minded jibber-jabber makes HIM the authority of global Christianity!

        Seriously, has he never thought any of this through to its logical, equitable end? 😆

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        1. Oh and Professor Taboo, do you think Gary’s representation of the trinity represents a basic fundamental understanding of the Trinity? I would say that the council of Nicea in 325AD represented it fairly basically. Is that fair?

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          1. Well, the fact that not all proclaimed Christians or their orthodox authorities—and there are many claiming equal or higher authority than others—agree 100% what the Trinity involves, or that there is any Triune God-head, I’d say that Gary’s is just as valid as yours or Oneness Pentecostals or the United Church of God. You see Jeremy, all of them claim authority from the same 4th-century CE canonical New Testament as you do.

            And as I hope you know, the Council at Nicaea in 325 CE certainly does NOT represent all of Christendom. Hence, to answer your last question, “Is that fair?” is a grossly closed, amputated, limiting question in light of the FULL historical context of Second Temple Judaism/Messianism, the sectarian “The Way” Movement led by Yeshua bar Yosef, and the following three centuries of the Greco-Roman (Hellenist) Church founded by Greek bishops, archbishops, etc. Your question is simply way too vague and grossly lacking comprehensive historical support OUTSIDE of your own personal beliefs/background or seminary education. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. So trinitianianism is not a basic Christian belief? Just because there are outlying sects does that mean that it is not a defining belief. You are arguing against an overwhelming amount of evidence can you provide me some scholars that would agree with you that trinitianism is none fundamental?

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              1. I believe you are trying to be too unfairly exclusive, authoritative with your own theology and mainstream Protestant theology. Taking a huge broad stroke with ONE color paint (fundamentalism) can never articulate fairly or accurately the full contextual history that took place just prior to Yeshua bar Yosef’s birth, i.e. Second Temple Judaism/Messianism. Then to Rome’s suffocating oppression of conquered peoples like the Palestinian-Judean Jews, those causes and effects of the First Jewish-Roman War and the destruction of the Temple (70 CE). And with its destruction the extermination of most all Sectarian Homeland Jews-Judaism after Masada’s fall (73-74 CE), Yeshua’s very people. Then finally the constant modifying, retro-fitting, editing, etc, that took place over FOUR CENTURIES by your Greco-Roman Fathers (not accomplished in Mishnaic Hebrew or Syro-Aramaic) on the compilation/forming of your Canonical New Testament, especially the late, late authoring of the Synoptic Gospels!

                What you are doing Jeremy, and what the Early and Late Greco-Roman Church Fathers did about Yeshua’s failed attempt at Sectarian reforms of Jerusalem is like brushing over (broad strokes) a large, multi-colored-green woodland wilderness with many endless, various heights, shapes, textures, and shades of green and greenish… and calling all of it simply TREES. That is gross oversimplification. Or to say it another way, that is how orthodoxy and fundamentalism—or greed of supreme authority—distorts and amputates the FULLEST picture or in this case, the fullest contextual history of the 1st-century thru 5th-century CE Levant during the severe oppression and rule of the Roman Empire and her Provincial governors.

                Does ANY person or ANY group/denomination of Believers, Faithers have authority to say what is fundamental? No, of course not. So the next best move is to consider EQUITABLY all the extant, available sources, evidence, scholarship (independent included), all plausible and compelling inferences and implications… to formulate not only a vast woodland wilderness, but record of and account for every single known type of tree and plant that composes that wilderness. NOTHING gets (intentionally?) ignored. 🙂

                Nevertheless, if I/we ignore the fullest context of history we are discussing, here are a few of those original Non-trinitarian scholars/teachers:

                • Montanus (c. 130 – 175 CE)
                • Marcion of Sinope (c. 144 CE)
                • Valentinus (c. 140 – 155 CE)
                • Basilides of Alexandria (c. 118 – 138 CE)
                • Arius [the Heretic?] — (c. 280 – 300 CE)

                Modern Non-trinitarian scholars:

                • Robert L. Millet (BYU Professor of Ancient Scripture) – on the topic of Three Gods in One, Millet states:

                In an effort to satisfy the accusations of Jews who denounced the notion of three Gods (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) as polytheistic, and at the same time incorporate ancient but appealing Greek philosophical concepts of an all-powerful moving force in the universe, the Christian church began to redefine the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One classic work describes the intersection of Christian theology and Greek philosophy: “It is impossible for any one, whether he be a student of history or no, to fail to notice a difference of both form and content between the sermons on the Mount and the Nicene Creed. … The one belongs to a world of Syrian peasants, the other to a world of Greek philosophers. … The religion which our Lord preached … took the Jewish conception of a Father in heaven, and gave it a new meaning.” In short, “Greek Christianity of the fourth century was rooted in Hellenism. The Greek minds which had been ripening for Christianity had absorbed new ideas and new motives.” […]

                “These inharmonious elements are the result of the coupling of biblical ideas about God with notions of the divine nature drawn from Greek thought. The inevitable encounter between biblical and classical thought in the early church generated many significant insights and helped Christianity evangelize pagan thought and culture. Along with the good, however, came a certain theological virus that infected the Christian doctrine of God, making it ill and creating the sorts of problems mentioned above. The virus so permeates Christian theology that some have come to take the illness for granted, attributing it to divine mystery, while others remain unaware of the infection altogether.”

                • Irvin Baxter Jr. – Endtime Ministries
                • Gerald Sigal – Jewish author/scholar of Trinity Doctrine Error: A Jewish Analysis
                • Ibn Taymiyyah – Muslim scholar (c. 1293)
                • Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya – Muslim theologian (c. 1317)

                Just because a general consensus is made by mainstream adherents, does NOT make something true/factual Jeremy. That logic would also hold that since there are over 1.9 billion Muslims in the world, then Islam’s fundamentals are valid, true despite there being Sunni, Shia, and Khariji Islam—and those many subsets of those three.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. My friend there is so much there to reply to. Thanks for taking the time, but how many of the early church fathers have you read all the way through? Trintianian theology is a must with a basic reading of the new testament without abandoning the monotheism that exists in Judaism. In the above cited ‘early church fathers’ you include all theologians who were considered heretics by their contemporaries. By your logic no one can know what anyone teaches about anything as the minute someone takes the name and disagrees then there cannot be a consistent theme.

                  I’m not interested in addressing this topic further as it will only end up with you and I citing opposing views. Many church historians would readily disagree with you.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Hmmm, well Jeremy… at least you typed up an response. That deserves one point or two points at most. 😉 Hence, your quick exit…

                    I’m not interested in addressing this topic further as it will only end up with you and I citing opposing views. Many church historians would readily disagree with you.

                    …typical of all Evangy-Fundy Christian Apologists I have ever encountered. At the risk of stating the obvious, a fair and equitable examination of the true, authentic, full contextual history of 1st-century CE Palestine Jeremy, is indeed examining ALL “opposing views” as well as similar or corroborating views. Exactly what critical-thinking and analysis involves.

                    And furthermore, there are plenty of Antiquity, Jewish, biblical, and church historians/scholars who’d readily disagree with you, as I’ve shared here. The productive point in all of this is for YOU to go the distance with me, and visa-versa for the benefit of Gary’s readers! I am not surprised you are bugging out, but I am disappointed that you feel you cannot assist anyone here reading to see YOUR full side of the debate. Oh well. 🤷‍♂️

                    Best wishes Jeremy.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. I think Jeremy has been pretty generous in responding to several of my readers when he only intended to come here to debate me. However, I appreciate your good arguments, Prof!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Agreed Gary. Jeremy has indeed been a gentleman while here for his short visit; that is appreciated, yes. 🙂

                      He did reply two final times to my questions and POV’s/arguments, here (thank you) and further below (bottom?) or up above, starting with…

                      Professor Taboo, I assume that your understanding of P52 which has been dated to 125-175 CE at the latest and other early fragments such as P46 175 CE- 250 CE…

                      I am definitely going to reply to that response because it NEEDS several counter-points and correct reframing, i.e. Jeremy’s lens on the dating of Canonical New Testament papyri (tiny) fragments is far too narrow a lens and fails to capture or mention the fact that P52 and P46—both with only a few lines—are by no means COMPLETE Gospels as found within the oldest, Church-approved Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Both church-approved codices present more problems for Christendom’s scriptural reliabilities, or UNreliabilities, of the Synoptic Gospels. I’ll further elaborate on these problems in my upcoming response to Jeremy.

                      Thank you Gary and thanks Jeremy for the very brief discussions. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the Ad Hom. I’ll assume that you didn’t think I would read that. I would encourage you to read my response. Your assertions are interesting, but really nothing to work with.

      Like

      1. Thanks for coming over to visit Jeremy. That scores some points for diplomatic effort.

        My comments here are based upon Gary’s post and hence sufficient for here. Should Gary wish you to elaborate more (here) then I am happy to engage Jeremy.

        Best regards

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, you should read all the Christian books you can, study renowned Christian scholars and get a degree or two in theology so that you can understand a guy who said to become as a little child in order to follow him. Sure. Makes complete sense.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Quoting a verse I like it!

      Matthew 18: 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

      So you would say that Jesus was saying being intellectually a child? I thought the direct context was that the follower was to humble himself like a child. We could discuss what that means, but I would assert that is not intellectual suicide.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You may be correct that Jesus never specifically said, “You must have the intellectual simplicity of a child to enter heaven” but the following statement is also attributed to Jesus by the Gospel authors:

        “Blessed are they who believe without seeing.”

        This advice is not consistent with good critical thinking skills. To believe that such a preposterous violation of nature (a bodily resurrection) has occurred ONCE in all of human history demands better evidence than disputed eyewitness testimony of a few people claiming to have seen a walking, talking corpse. Would you believe such a claim if it were made today, Jeremy? I doubt it.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Absolutely a good point. We cannot outright disagree with eyewitness testimony either. There needs to be a balance. I would say as others have argued that there is reasonable evidence to support the belief in the resurrection. That being said often times what is missed is that there is a philosophical underpinning when you begin asking philosophical questions that needs to be addressed. Some people take an eyewitness testimony as sufficient, because their exisiting framework. The Jewish people in the first century were witness to a lot of miracles and we’re looking for a Messiah, while believing in a monotheistic system. That underpinning is what allowed them to extend their belief in the eyewitness testimony.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yet the overwhelming majority of Jews did NOT extend their belief in the eyewitness testimony. The overwhelming majority of Jews rejected the alleged eyewitness testimony. Why do Christians ignore this fact and give creedence to the very tiny minority of Jews (mostly impoverished, uneducated Galilean peasants) who did believe? Christians want to allege that the “hearts of the Jews were hardened” but they have no evidence of this. That is a theological assumption. If the eyewitness evidence for alleged sightings of the resurrected Jesus was as good as Christians believe, statistically more Jews should have believed. But they did not.

      Some scholars have estimated that the total number of Jews who converted to Christianity during the first three centuries after Jesus’ death was approximately 1,000. One thousand out of millions. That is pretty poor statistics.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. In my next reply that may help sort out my position on some of that. That being said I am curious your scholars that have estimated that low of an amount I’ve not see that before. Seems counter intuitive to even documents by ancient christian writers outside of what was defined as scriptures. Eusebius, Ignatious, Clement, Polycarp, and Justin Martyr.

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        1. I overstated the case. I should have said some scholars have estimated that only about 1,000 Jews converted to Christianity in the first century, not the first three. Here is a link:

          file:///C:/Users/gmats/Downloads/430-2521-1-PB%20(3).pdf

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    2. Please list numerous Independent sources to corroborate your claims here Jeremy. And by “independent” I mean sources that are NOT straight from the canonical New Testament, NOT Earliest Church Fathers, or the students of the Earliest Greco-Roman Church Fathers. If there are sources from Judeo-Christian authors first born and educated in/by Homeland Judaism/Messianism, e.g. the 1st-century CE schools of Bet Shammai or Bet Hillel, then those would suffice.

      Thanks Jeremy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Professor Taboo, what specific claims are you referring to?

        That being said I would ask before I start providing ‘independent sources’ or evidences for something in the first century, that you answer the question i asked in the next blog.

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        1. Professor Taboo, what specific claims are you referring to?

          These following claims YOU typed out yourself, remember?:

          • “…disagree with eyewitness testimony either.

          Eyewitness? No, the Gospel of Mark is considered by the vast majority of biblical scholars (Christian or otherwise) to have been composed no earlier than 70 CE. The remaining three Gospels were composed even much later! There is still no reliable, compelling evidence that the author(s) of Mark were “eyewitnesses” to anything other than 2nd-hand or 3rd-hand, etc, gossip… UNLESS there has been some new earth-shattering discovery you can share with us?

          • “…there is reasonable evidence to support the belief in the resurrection.

          No, that unreasonable evidence you claim is strictly from biased Christian sources, e.g. the canonical New Testament and the Earliest/Early Greco-Roman Church Fathers’ commentaries. Nothing independent except refuted, forged, and debunked very brief mentions of a man with a Greek name Jesus (Yeshua?) by Josephus, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius. None of which corroborate a “resurrection.”

          • “Some people take an eyewitness testimony as sufficient.

          No. Eyewitness is NOT established. See first bullet-point above.

          • “…because their existing framework.

          Huh? Makes no sense without appropriate, sufficient elaboration of “existing framework,” whatever that means.

          • “The Jewish people in the first century were witness to a lot of miracles…

          1st-century Homeland Jews were indeed exposed to many magicians, con-artists, hallucinatory speakers suffering mental-illnesses and physical illnesses like epilepsy or TLE (Temporal Lobe Epilepsy) as Saul of Tarsus did and TLE’s many variations—common ailments of the Ancient world. All of those so-called “miracles” were claimed divinely authoritative by Gentile Christians, Sectarian Jews, some Pagan Roman citizens, and even foreign travelers. Many “miracles” are recorded in non-canonical “testimonies,” BUT are not in your particular bible Jeremy.

          Furthermore, there are extant secular manuscripts telling of similar and identical miracles too. Hence, it is no stretch of the intelligent, rational imagination to conclude that in Antiquity, Second Temple Judaism/Messianism, and in the 2nd thru 5th-century CE Levant that “miracles” and fantastical shows of mystery & magic were rampant during that time-period, whether any of them were legitimate magic shows or not, including the proclaimed (unproven) gospel Christian resurrection.

          • “…and we’re looking for a Messiah“

          I’m very pleased you stated this because there is AMPLE Jewish history and manuscripts dating back to the Tannaic/Mishnaic Period (10 – 220 CE) that more than adequately show equitably-minded scholars and inquisitors alike that the 2nd-century thru 5th-century Hellenistic Earliest/Early Church Fathers of the later Roman Catholic Church and orthodoxy… completely missed the boat on the meanings of Second Temple Messiahs/Messianism. Jeremy, for a good introduction into Judaism’s Tannaim and Amoraim, go to this link:

          https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tannaim-amp-amoraim/

          Of course there are MANY other links available to learn much about this part of (unknown) Jewish history, i.e. the authentic history and background Yeshua bar Yosef (Jesus) was born into, raised, and failed to reform in Palestine/Judea. There is equally more in Jewish libraries across America and over in Israel should you truly desire to accurately know the Rabbi-Reformer Yeshua bar Yosef that typical Christian Apologists refuse to acknowledge, much less study, fairly.

          • “…while believing in a monotheistic system.

          It would’ve been more fair/objective for Gary’s readers here if you had at least mentioned that earliest Judaism was NOT monotheistic, but instead polytheistic. That is a less SLANTED version of truer Judaism, Jeremy.

          • “That underpinning is what allowed them to extend their belief in the eyewitness testimony.

          No. Given what I’ve already mentioned above this claim no longer has merit… unless you care to elaborate a LOT MORE relative to what I’ve briefly stated here about your severely lacking knowledge of true Second Temple Judaism/Messianism and Sectarian Homeland Judaism, that Yeshua bar Yosef was raised in, taught, and was executed for.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Professor Taboo, I assume that your understanding of P52 which has been dated to 125-175 CE at the latest and other early fragments such as P46 175 CE- 250 CE and you would assert that those are within the first or second generations from the original?

            The dating of the these Papyrus is early. Far earlier to its source than any other document of antiquity. In terms of assigning dates to the Gospels why is it that the Author of Mark doesn’t reference the fall of the Jewish temple. Most critical (non-christian) scholars assume that it was written between 65-70AD (during temple) and most christian scholars try and date it in the 30’s and 40’s. It’s fair to say there may be some bias, but there is no direct evidence either way.

            Your dating of Paul’s epistles would be interesting as well. Most scholars including Bart Erhman would disagree with you.

            There are no unBias sources. No one is neutral. That is a myth.

            I would spend the time in disagreeing with you on that the Jewish people were not looking for a messiah, but I would instead leave you with what I think most scholars agree is the plan teaching from the Jewish writings of the Torah, Neviʾim, and the Ketuvim.

            I’m more interested in keeping in one line of reasoning. I really am thinking this should become a video chat which I host. It is hard to respond to so many lines of argument as it basically is just using a shotgun to my position. I can defend with sources and reasoning with each line of argument that I used, but the time it would take is more than I can reasonably spend on an internet form in this manner.

            In addition, I am by no means the smartest person out there and your time would be better spent bouncing endless questions off someone more well read than I. (who also maybe does this for a living) 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. For Jeremy & any others interested —

              I assume that your understanding of P52 which has been dated to 125-175 CE at the latest and other early fragments such as P46 175 CE- 250 CE and you would assert that those are within the first or second generations from the original? The dating of the these Papyrus is early. Far earlier to its source than any other document of antiquity.

              First, P52:
              Fragment Papyrus 52 is barely the size of a modern credit card and contains only John 18:31-33, the very LAST Gospel of four compiled/composed between 90 – 110 CE as the general consensus of final composition. But let’s consider a much LARGER lens Jeremy to more accurately/fairly view our window of ancient history surrounding the seeds and roots of 13 rural Sectarian Jews—“The Way” Movement led by Yeshua bar Yosef—and the average lifespan of a rebel Homeland Jew in 1st-century CE Palestine. Consider…

              • Jesus’ birth: 6-4 BCE

              • Jesus’ execution: 30-33 CE

              • Jesus’ age when executed: 34-39 yrs old

              • Avg lifespan of Jewish men in 1st-century Palestine: 35-45 yrs old, +/- 15 yrs.

              • Avg age of Jesus’ disciples during his ministry: 20-35 yrs old. John was the youngest because he dies of old age in Ephesus c.95-100 CE, the only disciple to do so out of the twelve.

              The problem with making the last very late Gospel your main argument for 1st-generation, firsthand witnesses is that John is the heaviest Greco-Roman ladened gospel of the four, i.e. not accurately portraying Yeshua’s Jewish reform-teachings. Hence, its wide distinction from the earlier three gospels, especially Mark’s Gospel, the more Jewish gospel. This means the Gospel of John is LESS reliable to Yeshua’s/Jesus’ true hard-line, Homeland, Sectarian Judaism and intention for his people’s return to more practice of an ascetic, holy Torah-loving life as opposed to a Hellenistic corrupted life rampant among Jerusalem’s Jews and the Diaspora or Overseas Jews, e.g. Asia Minor, Greece, and Roman Peninsula… where Saul/Paul was from and educated in Greco-Roman philosophies.

              Therefore, on what generation the P52 fragment originated/represents cannot be precisely determined as you framed it. It could EASILY be 2nd generation at the earliest, but equally 3rd generation. Why? Given the volatility of the region during all the unrest/dissent, leading up to the war, the official start of the First Jewish-Roman War (66 CE) to its final culmination at Masada (73 CE), AND considering the average lifespan of Homeland Jewish men—horribly disliked by Rome and her Legions—it is certainly plausible/likely that most 1st and 2nd generation “witnesses” to Yeshua’s reforms/teachings and his execution were already exterminated by the mighty, brutal Roman Guard (66 CE), then seven (7) Roman Legions of over 116,000 legionaries and auxiliaries (70-73 CE). Thus, making reliable testimony to a Rabbi-reformer more UNreliable by very young 2nd-generation or 3rd-generation gossip… NOT BY dead Homeland Jews, but by Hellenistic (Roman) Gentiles (citizens?) converting to a distorted, diluted form of Judeo-Christianity.

              Pushing for 1st-generation witnesses during 125-175 CE—a very Christian apologetic time-window, but NOT the general consensus by any means—shows political-religious bias, not scholarly objective analysis.

              Second P46:
              On the Fragment Papyrus 46, which contains portions or the entirety of nine (9) Epistles, six that Paul authored, but the other three authorships are reasonably disputed and not certain, makes your 1st-generation, firsthand(?) accounts of Yeshua/Jesus weaker, not stronger. Why? Saul/Paul never met Yeshua/Jesus in-person. Never! Paul’s knowledge of a Rabbi-reformer named Yeshua comes from AT BEST second and third-hand oral stories. Let me repeat that: from ORAL stories, not documented records/papyrus. Plus, as I’ve already presented to you Jeremy, Paul’s Epistles are NOT reliable, accurate narrations of Yeshua’s reform-teachings. Why? Because Paul did not know Yeshua/Jesus personally, intimately. This explains why today biblical scholars make the wide distinctions of Pauline/Herodian theology, or Greco-Roman Apotheosis/theology… versus Yeshua’s inferred, deciphered canonical Greco-Roman flavored Gospel teachings, Second Temple Sectarian Judaism/Messianism—via other little-known extant Jewish papyri like the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran—AND as I mentioned to you before:

              …[the] AMPLE Jewish history and manuscripts dating back to the Tannaic/Mishnaic Period (10 – 220 CE).

              Then I provided “a good introduction into Judaism’s Tannaim and Amoraim of that time-period going back to 10 CE, by going to this link:

              https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tannaim-amp-amoraim/

              And so again, given the above counter-points, fragment P46 makes the/your earliest generation argument weaker, not stronger.

              Now with all this said, you went on to say “The dating of the these Papyrus is early. Far earlier to its source than any other document of antiquity.” But these two sentences are not completely accurate nor are they strong cases for firsthand, secondhand testimonies of Yeshua/Jesus life, teachings, reforms, execution, and events surrounding him.

              Your first sentence is quite misleading. No, the dating for P52 and P46 is NOT unanimously decided by even a majority of biblical scholars. And your second sentence is unequivocally wrong. Contrary to your false presumption, there are indeed a significant sized inventory of extant documents, scrolls, papyri, etc, of not only Antiquity, but even just decades before Jesus’ birth, his entire lifetime, and up to a century AFTER his execution by the Romans. All of these existing records speak to events, groups, and people/leaders prior to, during, and after Jesus’ life. Very reasonable, plausible inferences have been made and can be made based on them. Following are just three prime examples…

              • Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran covering 408 BCE to 318 CE

              • the Jewish Tannaim and Amoraim covering 10 to 220 CE, making these manuscripts “far earlier to its subject and events than any other documents of Antiquity, INCLUDING the four Gospels or any of Paul’s epistles!” These stand in stark contrast to your erroneous claim in your 2nd sentence above.

              And finally a table I’ve shown here on Gary’s blog several times. It illustrates just how grossly biased the Greco-Roman Christian canonical manuscripts (gospels, epistles, acts) are toward the FULL contextual picture of Yeshua’s/Jesus’ brief reform-teachings—his Movement, and then execution—may be purely a Greco-Roman ruse and not even historical fact! See below comment and Table-illustration.

              Point being here is that when considering all the comprehensive evidence relative to and surrounding Jewish-Roman events and people between 4 BCE, 30 CE, 70-73 CE, and 330 CE… it is obvious that the very heavy hand of Hellenistic, Greco-Roman political-religious policy, Apotheosis, its governing protocols, and Provincial control of the conquered thru her Legions overshadows, nigh… without a doubt obliterates most all true Jewish history and heritage (a real historical Jesus/Yeshua) by 73 CE, never again to be rediscovered (albeit in pieces/phases) since 1947 and the Dead Sea Scrolls and a renewed interest in actual authentic Second Temple Judaism/Messianism. A very, VERY good turn of events for prosperity and posterity alike! 🙂 Remember, see below comment and Table-illustration provided.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. The table above shows all the known historians and writers during Jesus’ lifetime and up to 100-years after his execution that DID NOT write one single word about the extraordinary, miraculous Virgin birth and life of God’s one and only Son/Redeemer who defied death. Not one word.

                Btw, the very brief, forged/modified mentions of a “Jesus” by Josephus, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius are not considered by all mainstream historical scholars as authentic or valid.

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