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« Why Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions Should Continue | Main | Abusing Freedom »

July 02, 2015

Comments

Some more thoughts for Ron. Ron says that we have no idea whether or not we have the original texts because between the time the original books were written of the NT (50 to 90 AD or so), somehow they got corrupted or the story was perverted.

That would mean the following: in a 30 to 40 year period while people of the purported events were still alive, 26 different books were written across different areas of Europe and Asia by different authors and spread around. Each of these books shares a common thread of a)creational monotheism, b) belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus c)share the same ethic and the same basic stories. According to Ron, in that short period of time, all of these books and stories were quickly corrupted/or were invented out of plain air and don't tell the true story. Despite the fact that individuals who walked and talked with Jesus were alive and participating in these communities and were in the leadership, who could refute these stories and tell the real one, for some reason they didn't. Instead, they thought it was a good idea to suffer and die for their strange belief at the hands of Jews and the Roman empire. But they really knew the secret that Jesus did not actually exist and that he wasn't really ever crucified or buried, or that Jesus never appeared.

Clearly, at least even Ron needs to admit that the stories and teaching that are told in the NT were in fact based on facts and witness experience. Heck, even the last half of Acts is told by Luke from his own travels. It can be established from the NT documents themselves with no doubt that A) Jesus existed, B) he was crucified and buried, and C) there was an appearance in some way shape or form. Of course I won't go further than that in this post, but to believe otherwise is to place yourself in the camp of illogical and silly thinking. We just have too many conspiracy theorists.

JBerr,

Ron says that we have no idea whether or not we have the original texts because between the time the original books were written of the NT (50 to 90 AD or so), somehow they got corrupted or the story was perverted.

Huh? The word 'between' wants 2 things - 2 times in this case.

What in the world makes you think that because you know the truth about something you can stop lies from being spread about that thing?

Don't put words in my mouth. I said very little and I said none of what you say I said.

Think about it this way:

What can you rule out when it comes to what people will find in the future in the way of NT manuscripts or other documents and artifacts that bear on their history?

What can you rule out when it comes to manuscripts that existed but leave no trace now?

I don't understand your questions.

The reason I know that lies can be stopped from spreading about something is that I have been in a church before. In fact, in NT scripture we see that John (an eyewitness to the events) did have to stop people from spreading lies. That's why he wrote the epistles of John. You can in fact control what information is spread and you can even do so in an oral culture. Who preserved the original documents? The early church. The early church kicked people out that had a different story. So now you have to say that the early eyewitnesses and their disciples had invented these stories a la Joseph Smith, or that they were crazy.

That people can control traditions has already been proven and is certainly possible. There is evidence in the NT itself that already by the time of penning these that there were authorities that people accepted in the early church as knowing the real story.

See Luke's prologue: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Another words, Luke consulted eyewitnesses and 'servants' (a word hard to translate, but probably means an official tradition keeper) to make a veridical claim. And your claim now (above in your post) then is that they must have been lying (or maybe not, you weren't clear). Maybe you are not sure. I guess Luke believed it was all true. Therefore, the options are not many. Either those eyewitnesses were lying on purpose, or they were crazy. That Luke's gospel was modified completely between the time it was written (probably 65 to 70) and quoted by early church fathers in the 90s, I guess is possible. But is it really all that likely? And on top of it, why on earth does it agree with the other documents written all across the world that Jesus was crucified, buried and raised? So some guys traipsed across the entire world, snapped up all these documents, and then changed them? All in a very short time period?

My question is, if they were lying, why in the heck would they have made up a story like that? It's a story full of embarrassing stuff, first of all. Second, beyond that, why would anyone in the first century claim that someone was the Messiah just because they came back from the dead? For Jews in the first century, that someone had resurrected did not make them the Messiah. If you wanted to claim that someone was the Messiah, you made them a warrior, or you made them fight the Romans, or you minted coins. You didn't claim they rose from the dead. In fact, that little story only managed to get a small percentage of Jews to become disciples of the first disciples of Jesus.

So, I guess we can put them in the realm of crazy? Which is it Ron? What's your explanation?

And your claim now (above in your post) then is that they must have been lying (or maybe not, you weren't clear).

NO that's not my claim.

Where did you get that?


'What in the world makes you think that because you know the truth about something you can stop lies from being spread about that thing?'

Where then did the NT documents come from? Why can't we trust their story, Ron? I've asked a lot of other questions. Have yet to see an answer from your for any of them.

Where then did the NT documents come from?

I'm quite sure I don't know.

That's why I don't just trust their story.

Well it's one reason I don't.

Then you cannot trust most historical documents. You shouldn't believe anything about history Ron. If that's the best you've got then we don't know if the Cesaer Augustus existed.

What's the other reasons?

The lack of a reply makes RonH's silence seem deafening. Years of throwing out objections to Christianity boiled down to this?

RonH, every person stands on a precipice where God is concerned. On one side is a bottomless, dark cavern and on the other side there is light and life; every single person must choose which direction he'll take. You've been more than armed with Truth here over the years, and God has graciously allowed you time to address your objections. None of us know which day will be our last, but I urge you to embrace Truth and make yourself right with God before your time runs out.

Some impetus makes you come back to this blog over and over again; why? If it's a cry of your heart to know everything with no uncertainty, you will be disappointed. We cannot fully know and understand the mind of God! What we can do is take with faith what He has given us and choose the side of life and light.

He is sovereign, He is holy, He is God. How long He will contend with mankind is anyone's guess, but He has certainly been patient!

Carolyn,

The lack of a reply makes RonH's silence seem deafening. Years of throwing out objections to Christianity boiled down to this?

I went camping. (There was silence. And there were loons.)

But, even if I had not, your suggestion would be unjustified.

These threads often end abruptly - people just don't reply.

You should not read anything into such a 'silence'.

(Yes, I have made a complaint similar to yours. I was wrong to do so.)

_______________________________________________________

Since you've made a special request for me to answer JBerr, I will make an answer.

Stay tuned.

Good to know that you're still with us, RonH. Hope you had fun camping and plenty of time to think through pressing issues.

My suggestion was to consider the choice we have in this life--justified as a suggestion due to terminal fence-sitting. Regardless of what else you come up with as reasons you reject any aspect of Christianity, the Bible, God in general--you have already pretty much hit them all during your time here! Endless circular discussions and attempts to clarify don't seem to be profitable for either side. While I heartily agree that this is a forum for such debate, I wonder if the end goal is just debate for the sake of argument? You're certainly free to keep making stabs at it, but my concern is that you will run out of time before making the one crucial decision.

You've proven yourself to be a critical thinker and everyone applauds that here. But we think and debate and go over things to come to a conclusion about a subject, or at least aspects of a topic. Has anything you've exchanged ideas about at STR made a difference in your perception of things? Has anything caused you to change your mind? Is there any notable progress to mention?

Your soul matters, RonH.

JBerr,

I regret having followed you so far from the topic.

Watch Alan's video.

Predictably, he claims that the thousands of Biblical manuscripts plus textual criticism allow you to reconstruct a Biblical original.

I say no: they allow reconstructing a probable earlier version.

Earlier, I mean, than anything we have in a complete form.

That's great.

But, I claim, textual criticism can't tell you that this probable earlier version is the original.

Alan mentions that we might find originals.

I agree: We might!

So, then: How you know today that, if we do find originals in the future, they won't conflict with what textual criticism reconstructs today?

How do you know that?

How?

If you can't answer this question, then you should't say you have the originals.

And no, the situation with the Bible is not like the situation that we'll have when the ink has all faded from the originals of the U.S. Constitution.

You don't believe that do you?

Then you cannot trust most historical documents. You shouldn't believe anything about history Ron. If that's the best you've got then we don't know if the Caesar Augustus existed.

Why do you repeat this rubbish apologetics?

It doesn't stand up to the slightest thought.

Most historical documents aren't used to support claims like the claims the Bible (and other religious texts) are used to support.

What miracles is Augustus recorded to have performed?

What are the other reasons?

Here's a whole category of other reasons: I have good reason to doubt all miracle claims.

Most historical documents aren't used to support claims like the claims the Bible (and other religious texts) are used to support.
This has zero to do with reconstructing originals from copies Ron. And when JBerr said you cannot trust historical docs, what he obviously meant is that you cannot trust that they said, in original form, what our copies say.

If that's so, then you have no idea whether the original of the docs that say, for example, that there was a guy named Mark Anthony actually make that claim. So the fact that our copies make a mundane claim like "There was a guy named Mark Anthony" is no reason at all to believe that there was a guy named Mark Anthony. The originals might never have mentioned Mark Anthony or his existential status.

This kind of doubt is profoundly stupid. But plenty of people spout it off as if it were deep. If you doubt this, then you really do have a big problem with a whole host of historical claims.

You seem to express this kind of doubt in your comment of July 02, 2015 at 08:16 PM.

Now, if the copies say "There was a guy named Mark Anthony, and he captured the moon in a lasso", you might have a reason to doubt that claim. Your current point about doubting all miracle claims is salient here. But that doubt has nothing to do with whether the originals said that there was a guy named Mark Anthony who captured the moon in a lasso.

I admit that JBerr's choice of Augustus's existential status is unfortunate because we have monuments dedicated to him. Some historical claims can be established by artifacts rather than documents. A lot, however, are established by documentary evidence only.

If you claim that, for all you know, a very early copy could be radically different from the original, then you are throwing that evidence away.

JBerr:Then you cannot trust most historical documents. You shouldn't believe anything about history Ron. If that's the best you've got then we don't know if the Caesar Augustus existed.

RonH: Most historical documents aren't used to support claims like the claims the Bible (and other religious texts) are used to support.

WL: This has zero to do with reconstructing originals from copies Ron.

RonH: That's because it's a response to what JBerr said.

JBerr: Then you cannot trust most historical documents. You shouldn't believe anything about history Ron. If that's the best you've got then we don't know if the Caesar Augustus existed.

WL: And when JBerr said you cannot trust historical docs, what he obviously meant is that you cannot trust that they said, in original form, what our copies say.

RonH: Obviously what?!

If you claim that, for all you know, a very early copy could be radically different from the original, then you are throwing that evidence away.

Boy, I sound terrible throwing all that evidence away!

How you know that this very early copy isn't radically different from the original?

Or, putting it in less hyperbolic terms...

How you know that this very early version isn't significantly different from the original?

Again, the thing that textual criticism points to is not necessarily the original.

I point this out because I hear the claim constantly made that it is.

Watch the video, for example.

So, stop talking is if it is or answer this

So, then: How you know today that, if we do find originals in the future, they won't conflict with what textual criticism reconstructs today?
So there is my question again.

And, for the sake of discussion, let's make that 'conflict significantly'.

How do you know?

How?

How you know that this very early version isn't significantly different from the original?
How can copies be used to find the correct document from which they were copied? By cross-comparing, we can see where mistakes were made etc.

Do you think that didn't happen in the past?

Back in the time of the earliest copies we can re-construct, the people would have had other copies. They might even have had associates of the authors. You don't think the same process of cross-comparison and correction would be at work?

People were stupider then? Is that it?

I don't think they were, that's why I think the content of the original would likely have made it into our earliest copies. (And from there to us.)

And if you don't think that, then JBerr is right...you're punting on almost all of history.

On the WL:/RonH:/JBerr: conversation. Yes JBerr said that if you are right and we don't know what the originals said, then we can't trust any history we get from solely documentary evidence (and I grant that his choice of Augustus was bad because we have artifact evidence for at least some things on Augustus.)

How do you know that Mark Anthony ever existed? It's mostly from documents. Documents we don't have the originals of. Documents that, then, might not have said anything about Mark Anthony.

Miracles are not the issue. JBerr can speak for himself, but I don't think he was saying that if you don't believe in the NT miracle accounts because of general Humean skepticism about miracles (which, BTW, has its own problems) then you might as well give up on Mark Anthony.

He was, I think, saying that if you don't think that the content of original documents can be preserved through a copying process, then you might as well give up on Mark Anthony.

This, in case you had missed it, is a thread in which figures prominently the process by which the content of original documents gets transmitted through copies. So I assume that that's what JBerr is obviously talking about.

Again: How you know that this very early version isn't significantly different from the original?

I won't ask again even if it's non-answered again.

I certainly won't respond anymore to this 'punting' stuff.

Instead...

You seem to like what you call 'early copies' - older versions.

In general, when are versions or 'copies' most vulnerable to being effectively changed?

I'm talking about extinguishing what we have today and replacing it with something else.

Early? Or Late?

Also...

All this talk of 'originals'.

It conjures up an image of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each sitting down to write his story complete from scratch and then publishing...

The Original.

Justify this picture.

I'm not 'throwing evidence away' I'm trying to get y'all not to go past the evidence.


He was, I think, saying that if you don't think that the content of original documents can be preserved through a copying process, then you might as well give up on Mark Anthony.
And what shall we say of you if you don't think insist the content of original documents can't be corrupted by the copying process?
How you know that this very early version isn't significantly different from the original?
Asked and answered. In spite of the fact that you don't acknowledge that answer. I know because the same process of cross-comparison and correction was operative before the earliest copies we can reconstruct and after.
And what shall we say of you if you don't think insist the content of original documents can't be corrupted by the copying process?
How exactly would that go? There are way too many copies too close to the originals for simple sloppiness to lead to the corruption you'd need for your doubt to have any weight. You'd need a deliberate and coordinated effort to change the text from the original.

Is that what you think we have?

I know because the same process of cross-comparison and correction was operative before the earliest copies we can reconstruct and after.

How do you know that?

With this knowledge of yours of this process of yours in place, we can just skip all this textual criticism nonsense and use the newest manuscripts to find out what was in the originals.

Mark 16

How do you know that?
Because men haven't changed. They used to, and continue to, know how to compare things and correct discrepancies.
With this knowledge of yours of this process of yours in place, we can just skip all this textual criticism nonsense and use the newest manuscripts to find out what was in the originals.
What exactly do you think textual criticism is? I think that it's using the comparison of discrepancies to correct errors. You think that's new?

We don't skip textual criticism...we just recognize that people could also do it back at the time that the earliest copies we can reconstruct existed, and that the men back then could also use comparison of discrepancies to correct errors, enabling them to have good copies...copies that transmitted the original content faithfully.

You think Mark 16 is a problem?

It wasn't the copy process that caused that issue. Manuscript destruction was the likely culprit.

Everyone knows that if you trim the longer ending off of Mark, its worse than the end of No Country for Old Men. Something is missing. Something was destroyed/lost. At some point someone decided to add something back.

Is it your contention that that's what's going on throughout the whole NT? That it's all just what got added back. Seems pretty unlikely to me. Even the contention that, for all we know, that's what's going on throughout the rest of the NT seems unlikely to me.

To have something like that happen once...OK, in a large collection of writings like the Bible, you can see that happening. How many unlucky chances do you think actually occurred? Is that what you'll hang your hat on?

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