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March 29, 2013

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Hm. From the OP, you might think that this hearsay thing was central to Bugliosi's book.

So what did Bugliosi say about hearsay?

[T]he gospels would he inadmissible hearsay in a trial. Hearsay is a statement (or writing) made outside of court — that is, not from the witness stand at the present proceeding — that is offered into evidence to prove not merely that the statement was made but that it is true.
That's it - as far as I can tell by searching the book on Amazon.

Bugliosi calls this a 'technical objection, and immediately moves on to other issues - ppecifically, for example, the problem of establishing who wrote the gospels.

I think hearsay is less reliable than testimony from someone who can be cross-examined. I don't think that justifies a blanket ban from court or from history. It should be accepted with a discount appropriate to the situation.

The hearsay rule is based on concern that jurors won't do the appropriate discount. But the hearsay rule is itself an inappropriate discount and sets a poor example for jurors. This is one of the deficiencies that make the court system a poor model to follow if you are interested in being more rational.

Considering the gospels were written anonymously, and there's not a shred of evidence outside the bible that the supposed crucifixion even happened, why in the world should anyone take anything they say more seriously than, say, the Quran, or Scientology?

"No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it." Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

A few things which he states in the intro:

"I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life."

"I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy."

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."

Regarding true theology:

"As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a species of atheism; a sort of religious denial of God. It professes to believe in a man rather than in God. It is a compound made up chiefly of man-ism with but little deism, and is as near to atheism as twilight is to darkness. It introduces between man and his Maker an opaque body, which it calls a redeemer, as the moon introduces her opaque self between the earth and the sun, and it produces by this means a religious or an irreligious eclipse of light. It has put the whole orbit of reason into shade.

The effect of this obscurity has been that of turning everything upside down, and representing it in reverse; and among the revolutions it has thus magically produced, it has made a revolution in Theology.

That which is now called natural philosophy, embracing the whole circle of science, of which astronomy occupies the chief place, is the study of the works of God, and of the power and wisdom of God in his works, and is the true theology.

As to the theology that is now studied in its place, it is the study of human opinions and of human fancies concerning God. It is not the study of God himself in the works that he has made, but in the works or writings that man has made; and it is not among the least of the mischiefs that the Christian system has done to the world, that it has abandoned the original and beautiful system of theology, like a beautiful innocent, to distress and reproach, to make room for the hag of superstition."

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/thomas_paine/age_of_reason/part1.html

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