Was Jesus A Story That Copied Pagan Myths?

Skeptics often claim that the story of Jesus in the Bible is a copy of ancient pagan myths. We are told that ancient pagan gods were born of a virgin, had 12 disciples, rose from the dead, etc. This is supposed to be true of Horus, Osiris, and others. Allegedly, the writers of the Bible copied these stories and created one more myth about Jesus. So do the gospel accounts in the Bible have strong parallels with ancient pagan myths?

In a word, no. If we discount the common things that are common to almost all beings (lived, died, had parents, etc.), then there is quite little that parallels these accounts. The accounts are very different, so different as to make one wonder why in the world would people who claim to be critical thinkers not take the time to research the issue a bit? It appears that they do not want to believe in Jesus, and hang onto any rumor that comes down the pipe.

Several places have documented the differences:

  • KingDavid8 site, which is documented well, is here. He compares the Biblical accounts of Jesus to every pagan god story he can find, and has had a standing offer of $1000 for anyone who can show documentation that the ancient god myths parallel the stories of Jesus (resurrection, etc.). So far, no one has turned up any primary references that prove their point.
  • Tektonics, which provides an excellent comparison complete with sources for the ancient myth stories, showing that they do not align with the Bible. Tektonics is here.
  • The Divine Evidence site, which provides a quite lengthy description of several of the major pagan deities and compares them with Jesus. The site is here.
  • Confident Christianity, which provides several articles documenting the lack of comparison between ancient myths and Jesus. The site is here. (look under ‘articles’)

Also see the following books:

  • Pre-Christian Gnosticism, A Survey of the Proposed Evidences by Edwin Yamauchi.
  • The Gospels And The Greeks, by Ronald Nash.

Added to this non-issue we often see the skeptical / atheist bluster, ad-hominem, and straw man arguments, which seem to get a lot of influence with people who do not want to believe in Christ in the first place.

What many of the people who claim this ancient myth connection fail to realize seems to be rather troublesome to their theory. If what they claim is true, that the ancient myths paralleled Jesus so closely and Christianity was one more copy in a line of many, then why would the ancient world latch on to Christianity so much? That Christianity grew exponentially is undeniable even by the most anti-religious historian. So if the writers of the New Testament copied the story so closely from already known religious themes, then Jesus would be just another also-ran religion that looked like the previous one, and there would be no reason at all for huge numbers of the Roman empire to put themselves to death in the Colosseum when all they had to do is deny Jesus. In this regard, the myth connection theory makes no sense.

Another common error in these type of theories is guilt by association, which is a fallacy. If an ancient pagan religion used an image of a woman with a baby, and Christianity uses an image of a woman with a baby, then obviously they must have borrowed from the earlier one. Well no, sorry, it does not work like that. Lining up common, everyday things like this really does not prove anything. It is no surprise that two people in history had a father, was born, was a man, had followers, and died a violent death. Massive numbers of people fit into this category.

The bottom line is this: there is not any good comparison between the stories of ancient pagan gods and the account of Jesus in the Bible. I am reminded of the quote from C. S. Lewis, a tenured professor of literature at Oxford and Cambridge:

“All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that’s my job. . . And I’m prepared to say on that basis if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legend or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic. I’ve read a great many novels and I know a fair amount about the legends that grew up among early people and I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff.”

The evidence shows that the Bible is trustworthy, and an accurate historical account of the life of Jesus.

About these ads

About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Skepticism. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Was Jesus A Story That Copied Pagan Myths?

  1. me says:

    Hey Humblesmith,

    I’m an atheist, I’m not here to lob ad hominems at you, and I completely agree with you that this is a non-issue. I’ve never claimed that the story of Jesus is a copy of pagan myths, but I do think that there is most likely an influence of the latter on the former. I think this only because it’s evident throughout human existence that stories influence each other. Based on that alone, it follows that the story of Jesus most likely did not appear out of a vacuum.

    Let’s say that your assertion is true. Let’s say that the Jesus story was completely original at the composing of the Gospels. My lack of a belief in Jesus as either man or god is not based on a lack of a desire, but rather a lack of evidence. I’ve never been exposed to a shred of objectively verifiable evidence that any of the claims of Jesus–from his very existence to the supernatural claims about him–are true.

    But let’s consider the assertion that the Jesus story was a “copy.” What you present as evidence to the contrary are sources who have an interest in the Jesus story being original. Why should anyone believe their or your “evidence”? The point of objectively verifiable evidence is that it’s objectively verifiable. You and your sources have an incentive for the Jesus story to be true and so have a conflict of interest.

    Now let’s say I go off and do my own research and come back with evidence contrary to your position. You won’t believe me or my evidence because you have no interest in objectively verifiable truth, but rather furthering your own agenda. That, and you would simply dismiss any of my evidence out of hand given my atheism.

    Thus, what’s the point of your post if, as an apologist, you only seek to confirm that which you already believe and you’ll simply deny anything that doesn’t confirm your belief?

    You answer your own question with respect to why Christianity would grow as it did. Had the Jesus story been completely foreign to converts, it may not have seemed attractive. This is clear in the Roman cult of Mithras which was contemporary to Jesus. You also ignore factors such as the Roman empire’s adoption of Christianity as the official state religion, a decision not likely made solely based on the story’s originality or lack thereof. Once a government backs a faith, as seen by all governments that have backed faiths, the faith spreads. In addition, it’s well-known that at least some facets of the Jesus story were altered or added to later–it evolved just as anything would to changing environmental conditions. This is clear with the doctrine that Mary ascended to Heaven, a notion not in the original story.

    As for your martyr hypothesis, people die for stupid reasons all the time. That’s neither evidence for a story’s originality nor for its extraordinary claims.

    I’m surprised at your reliance on the Elliot quote as, though he was a famous poet, his argument is based entirely on his own opinion. He’s essentially saying that the Gospels are not made up because he says they’re not. Okay, well, I don’t think the Grimm Tales are made up, but oops, no such thing as talking animals–except in the Bible.

    Your final point is perplexing as it has nothing to do with what you’d previously said. The evidence shows that the Bible is trustworthy as what? An original story? As they say in legal circles, if you can find one exception to the rule you’ve set up, then the rule is invalid. Therefore, if there are any stories or any sources out there that demonstrate even an indirect connection between myth/folklore and the Bible, then it can’t be assumed that the Bible is either original or fact.

    Given that the Bible is the only account of Jesus’ life, it can’t be considered accurate as it has no means of comparison. If I were to research the historicity of Napoleon, I could check historical materials of various sources from various places none with an invested interest in said historicity. Certainly, I could never be sure that every detail of Napoleon’s life were fact, but I could develop a relatively accurate idea of the man. Then again, no one’s made supernatural claims of him that would require extraordinary evidence.

    We skeptics don’t care whether the Jesus story was influenced by pagan myths. We don’t care whether Jesus even existed. What we care about is that there is no objectively verifiable evidence of the supernatural claims made about him, and therefore no reason to believe that Christianity is the one, true faith over any other or no faith at all.

    Best,

    Anton.

    • humblesmith says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. You mentioned quite a lot. I will attempt to give a brief response to your points.

      You say “it is evident throughout human existence that stories influence each other.” This is a broad statement that you are using to make a strong assertion in a specific case, which does not necessarily follow. Since there are countless ‘stories’ in history, to prove your assertion, you would have to show that this particular story was influenced, which you did not do.

      As for the objective evidence or lack thereof, this particular post did not claim to present any. There are other posts on my blog that present independently-verified historical facts, documented from outside of the Bible. Working from memory, I seem to recall making the case in a post or two that when trying to determine if a written account is trustworthy history, we follow a simple rule. If the areas which we can independently verify are found accurate, and we have no evidence to doubt the portions of the story that we cannot independently verify, then it is only reasonable to accept the entire account. At least, there is no valid reason to doubt portions of it that we cannot independently verify, other than my own personal likes and dislikes, which prove nothing.

      You seem rather confident about what I will or will not accept of other people’s reasoning…….you seem more confident about me than I am of myself, actually. But nevertheless, neither your opinion nor mine determine truth, which is what we are trying to build a case for. Further, your criticism, even if were true, would apply to all sides, not just the theist.

      If I understand the point correctly, you’re saying that we’re not sure of how people would react to a “new story,” and saying that the Roman mandate of Christianity as the state religion influenced its acceptance. Very possibly true. But the exponential grown I referred to happened during the time that Christianity was a capital offense, which was during a 250 year period prior to the time that Constantine made Christianity the state religion.

      As for “it’s well known that some aspects of the Jesus story were altered or added to later,” this I would deny. Certainly Mary, and other doctrines, were not dealt with until later, but these are not “the Jesus story” which is in the New Testament documents. They were not added to later.

      My point about the martyrs does not prove anything necessarily, in the sense of a logical syllogism. You are correct that people die for invalid reasons. But as a general rule they only die for things they truly believe are true. Most people do not die for something they believe to be a lie or believe to be myth. My point was only that if Christianity were only one of many also-ran religions, large numbers of martyrs would have merely jumped ship to one of the others and saved their skin. Perhaps this was not my strongest point.

      By “the Elliot quote” I presume you mean the one by C. S. Lewis. Since he was a well-known scholar of medieval literature at two of the most prestigious universities in the world, Cambridge and Oxford, then he qualifies as an expert witness. He was speaking about the area of his expertise, which is how to make determinations about literature.

      I fail to see your point about connection of myth. I had just presented a good pile of evidence showing there to be no connection between the New Testament and myth. Hypotheticals not based in fact are not relevant.

      Again, see the other posts about the historical evidence.

      Blessings

  2. Ryan says:

    Hi “me”

    I think that your post was well thought out. The importance of considering our values and beliefs objectively should be a striving point. To be honest, I don’t always strive for this. I believe every human being looks through his or her own window of experience. Meaning is attached as people record these glimpses through history. As time goes on these records are one way individuals and communities distinguish what moments are remembered and what is forgotten. However I also believe that the Bible is Gods Word, and therefore is entirely true. Some may label my attitude as naïve or ignorant. I admit this is may be understood as a contradiction. Drawing from my own limited window, I know that I have to be wary of my own assumptions. There are many different attitudes towards The Bible. I believe in Christ, but I also understand that I also have many other assumptions that colour my understanding of the world around me. In regards to what I hold to be true, I know that my understanding is limited. When I read the Old and New Testament there are verses I find challenging. There are some accounts that perplex me. However, there are times when I read these accounts and understand them to be profound. I think though that in the end all of us are trying to understand our existence based on the moments we glimpse through our little windows. Ultimately, belief in the Bible is about trust. Faith to me involves trust. My understanding is that all evidence presented by others also has a basis on trust. I consider history to be understood through the sources we trust to be reliable. Humanity’s fragility and limited capacity means that ultimately (like all of human endeavours) external historic and archaeological evidence both for and against the Bible only goes so far. Faith in God involves trust. In my own experience, all relationships need a degree of trust to exist. Thanks for sharing your considerations “me”.

    Hope your week goes well.

    • me says:

      Ryan,

      I think you’re mistaking me for Humblesmith.

      “However I also believe that the Bible is Gods Word, and therefore is entirely true. ”

      Why do you believe this? Do you then believe that the Earth is around 5-10,000 years old? That homosexuals should be killed? That you must never eat shellfish? That if someone works on the Sabbath, you must stone him to death?

      “I believe in Christ, but I also understand that I also have many other assumptions that colour my understanding of the world around me.”

      Why do you believe in Christ?

      “When I read the Old and New Testament there are verses I find challenging. There are some accounts that perplex me. However, there are times when I read these accounts and understand them to be profound.”

      What verses do you find challenging and why? What accounts perplex you? What profundity do you find it what accounts?

      “Ultimately, belief in the Bible is about trust. Faith to me involves trust.”

      Why do you trust the Bible? Faith also depends on denying evidence. Do you deny evidence?

      Best,

      Anton.

  3. me says:

    Humblesmith,

    Thanks for the response.

    “This is a broad statement that you are using to make a strong assertion in a specific case, which does not necessarily follow. Since there are countless ‘stories’ in history, to prove your assertion, you would have to show that this particular story was influenced, which you did not do.”

    You’re right. I didn’t prove that the Jesus story was influenced. My only point was that even though it may not be demonstrated that the Jesus story was a direct copy of other stories, it isn’t necessarily true that it is, therefore, original. As Campbell pointed out, the hero’s journey is a universal theme in all of human literature. I understand your previous point that just because all heroes are born, have parents, and die, doesn’t mean that Jesus’ story was a copy, but you seem to be making a special case–claiming that just because the Jesus story may not be a copy of earlier stories, it must, therefore, be original, which is a false dichotomy.

    I also submit to you that if I were to find evidence of direct influence of story X on the Jesus story, that you would deny it. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of such evidence as I’m not an expert. I may also not look for any, not because I’m afraid I won’t find it, which I may not, but because I’m lazy.

    “As for the objective evidence or lack thereof, this particular post did not claim to present any. There are other posts on my blog that present independently-verified historical facts, documented from outside of the Bible.”

    That sounds pretty cool. I’ll have to check some of that out.

    “Working from memory, I seem to recall making the case in a post or two that when trying to determine if a written account is trustworthy history, we follow a simple rule. If the areas which we can independently verify are found accurate, and we have no evidence to doubt the portions of the story that we cannot independently verify, then it is only reasonable to accept the entire account.”

    Does that mean that you accept all of the Odyssey because there really was a Troy? You seem to be relying on the part-to-whole wherein if a part is true, it must follow that the whole is true. But this isn’t necessarily true. A more modern example would be George Washington chopping down the cherry tree. We can check multiple sources to verify that Washington existed, but it’s now common knowledge that the cherry tree chopping story is entirely fabrication. Going by your reasoning, however, we must assume the chopping portion to be true only because we know that Washington existed.

    Furthermore, it’s only reasonable to accept the entire account if the entire account is reasonable. The parts of the Jesus story that I have no objection to (a guy walking around preaching), I have no problem assuming are true provided some of their details can be verified. Other parts (Jesus walking on water) I’m not going to assume are also true because they not only can’t be verified, but such a thing can’t be demonstrated.

    “At least, there is no valid reason to doubt portions of it that we cannot independently verify, other than my own personal likes and dislikes, which prove nothing.”

    If we’re talking about reasonable parts, I agree with you. I’ve said for the last few years that I doubt the existence of Jesus because I’ve heard of no extra-Biblical evidence that he existed. (Please feel free to point me to some.) But, I don’t care if he did.

    “You seem rather confident about what I will or will not accept of other people’s reasoning…….you seem more confident about me than I am of myself, actually. But nevertheless, neither your opinion nor mine determine truth, which is what we are trying to build a case for. Further, your criticism, even if were true, would apply to all sides, not just the theist.”

    I agree. You’re an apologist. You claim that the Jesus story is original. I have no reason to believe you because you operate from a confirmation bias. I’m an atheist. I doubt your claim. The difference between us is that when confronted with objectively verifiable evidence of any claim, I have no choice but to believe the claim. If you’re proved wrong, you stand to lose your faith, your pride, and your face. If I’m proved wrong, I only stand to gain further knowledge.

    “If I understand the point correctly, you’re saying that we’re not sure of how people would react to a “new story,” and saying that the Roman mandate of Christianity as the state religion influenced its acceptance. Very possibly true. But the exponential grown I referred to happened during the time that Christianity was a capital offense, which was during a 250 year period prior to the time that Constantine made Christianity the state religion.”

    That’s a fair point. Christianity became popular under an oppressive regime. That neither proves the originality of the Jesus story nor its supernatural claims.

    “As for “it’s well known that some aspects of the Jesus story were altered or added to later,” this I would deny. Certainly Mary, and other doctrines, were not dealt with until later, but these are not “the Jesus story” which is in the New Testament documents. They were not added to later.”

    I may have to let this one go (for now) as I’m not an expert on the versions of the Jesus story. All I can say now is that I’ve heard (hearsay) that the story was altered and evolved like the retelling of any story. But since hearsay isn’t evidence, I don’t expect you to take it as such.

    “My point about the martyrs does not prove anything necessarily, in the sense of a logical syllogism. You are correct that people die for invalid reasons. But as a general rule they only die for things they truly believe are true. Most people do not die for something they believe to be a lie or believe to be myth. My point was only that if Christianity were only one of many also-ran religions, large numbers of martyrs would have merely jumped ship to one of the others and saved their skin. Perhaps this was not my strongest point.”

    Your assertion doesn’t necessarily follow. Moore refused to recant his Catholicism on pain of death. That doesn’t mean that his Catholicism was more valid than the state’s Anglicanism, any other faith, or no faith. I will say that people willing to die for any reason impresses me, but it’s by itself not evidence of the validity of the reason.

    “By “the Elliot quote” I presume you mean the one by C. S. Lewis. Since he was a well-known scholar of medieval literature at two of the most prestigious universities in the world, Cambridge and Oxford, then he qualifies as an expert witness. He was speaking about the area of his expertise, which is how to make determinations about literature.”

    Oops! I must’ve been thinking about T.S. for some reason. Regardless, you were still making an appeal to authority. I find your phrasing “expert witness” odd. He was an expert, certainly, but he wasn’t witnessing anything. Maybe you didn’t mean it in the legal sense. Anyway, Lewis’s assertion that the Gospels were not novels may be stylistically valid, but to claim that they were anything like objectively verifiable eyewitness testimony Lewis is no more qualified than I to make such an assertion.

    My brother is a Harvard PhD in Tibetan and Sanskrit. He’s also a Tibetan Buddhist. If he claims that Sanskrit is the building blocks of creation, his claim isn’t valid simply because he knows a lot about the language and practices Buddhism. If he claims that Sanskrit is an Indo-European language, that assertion is much more likely to be valid.

    “I fail to see your point about connection of myth.”

    All I was saying was that all I would need to disprove your claim is one example of myth or folklore even being indirectly connectable to the Jesus story.

    “I had just presented a good pile of evidence showing there to be no connection between the New Testament and myth.”

    I don’t mean to seem sarcastic, but what was it? The books and posts of fellow apologists?

    “Hypotheticals not based in fact are not relevant.”

    It’s true I offered no facts, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. But I understand your point.

    “Again, see the other posts about the historical evidence.”

    I’ll certainly do that as soon as I’m able. I’d be very fascinated.

    Best,

    Anton.

    • humblesmith says:

      “Does that mean that you accept all of the Odyssey because there really was a Troy? You seem to be relying on the part-to-whole wherein if a part is true, it must follow that the whole is true.”

      Take note of what I said earlier. I did not say that just because a part is true, the whole must be true. What I said was that if all the part we can verify is true, and we have no good evidence to doubt the part we cannot prove, then it is only reasonable to trust the rest. In the case of many ancient stories, we have evidence to show that the part we can independently verify is untrue, therefore we doubt the rest. For historians who are proven accurate in all areas we can verify, we trust the rest until it is proven false. The New Testament writers claim to be eyewitnesses, and in the case of Luke, he has proven himself to be a first-rate historian in every single area we can verify. Therefore it is only reasonable to trust him in the areas we cannot verify.

      As for whether or not any Christian apologist would change their minds based on evidence, you are entitled to your opinion. But we are dealing with facts and evidence, not opinion. I merely submit two things: 1) the same claim can be said of anyone, including atheists and agnostics, for they, too, have a vested interest in the conclusions they currently hold. Whichever side we are on, giving up that position has consequences to our lives and eternal destinies, of which we are all quite emotionally aware. And 2), there have been many theists who have given up their faith after reading atheists, and many atheists who have given up atheism after reading good Christian apologists.

      An appeal to authority is valid if the authority is valid. Appealing to Einstein about a point of astrophysics is valid, but appealing to Einstein about the best pastrami sandwich might not be valid. Your brother can speak authoritatively about his field, as can Lewis. The quote in the post was dealing with Lewis’ field of expertise, literary criticism.

      And by the way, if you have not read Lewis’ book on miracles, I would recommend it. He pretty well destroys the arguments against the existence of historical miracles.

      The “pile of evidence” to which I referred is independent of the source that quotes it. Truth is not determined by the motivation of the source. Just as we cannot discount the claims of atheists about religious matters simply because they might have a bias, neither can we discount the claims of theists merely because they might have one too. Truth claims must be accepted or rejected on their own merits, not because of the mouth that speaks them. To date, no one has refuted the several sources I quoted above.

      If you are truly interested in independent verification of the biblical accounts, I can suggest two sources. I have written blog posts about both of these books. Do a search about them here and you’ll find a few nuggets.
      “The Historical Jesus” by Gary Habermas. This is a more popular-level account of extra-biblical sources. Habermas counts about 45 ancient sources outside the bible that corroborates about 250 facts in the bible.
      “The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History” by Colin Hemer. This is a more scholarly work that goes into quite a bit of detail about historical facts in the New Testament. The bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

      If you are as open to evidence as you claim, I urge you to keep searching for evidence of Christianity. When I’ve read the best sources, I have found the claims to be quite solid and reasonable, much more logically sound than that of the popular atheists who are writing nowadays.

      Peace

  4. Ryan says:

    Anton,

    Please be patient and I will attempt to give you an explanation that will hopefully shed some light on what you asked. I’m a student with a few assignments on the go, so my response may take a few days.

    Cheers, Ryan

  5. me says:

    Tommy B,

    Sorry for the delay. I’ll get to your most recent reply as soon as I can.

    Best,

    Anton.

  6. me says:

    Hey Humble,

    Finally getting around to this.

    “What I said was that if all the part we can verify is true, and we have no good evidence to doubt the part we cannot prove, then it is only reasonable to trust the rest.”

    A claim must be proved with evidence, not be assumed to be true because of a lack of contrary evidence. You must know this. I have no evidence that leprechauns don’t exist, yet I don’t assume they do because there’s an Ireland and lots of stories of leprechauns and the fact that I’ve actually seen a four-leafed clover.

    The “reasonable” part is the issue I have. Let’s pretend that the reasonable claims made in the Gospels can be verified, like the places, what people wore, that sort of thing. All that that proves is that it’s likely that whoever wrote the Gospels had some working knowledge of the time and place he was claiming to write about. It says nothing of specific claims as to what Jesus said and most certainly doesn’t prove by association the supernatural claims. If that were a reasonable standard of evidence, we’d be obligated to trust alleged alien-abductees solely because we can verify the existence of Roswell, NM, the details of the time and place the abductees report, and we can’t disprove aliens. But clearly, this is not a sound standard of claims and evidence.

    “The New Testament writers claim to be eyewitnesses, and in the case of Luke, he has proven himself to be a first-rate historian in every single area we can verify. Therefore it is only reasonable to trust him in the areas we cannot verify.”

    You’re making very bold claims here. First, I’ve never heard a shred of evidence that the Gospel of Luke was actually written by Luke. Feel free to supply some. Second, not only was it not necessarily written by Luke, but there is evidence that it was written by one, though possibly more, anonymous authors. Third, I’m less sure of this, but there is also evidence that Mark was the first composed Gospel and the others were based on that one. I don’t have all the evidence in front of me, but if you’re curious, I’m sure you can find it. Fourth, you’ve asserted that “Luke has proven himself to be a first-rate historian.” How? What’s your evidence? Did the Gospel describe the style of a shirt someone wore that then corresponded with archaeological evidence later discovered? Fifth, even assuming that Luke is this genius historian you claim him to be, and even if all historical claims made in his Gospel can be objectively verified, that doesn’t mean that any supernatural claims made must therefore be trusted. And you know that.

    As to your claim of apologists and atheists, I completely agree. That’s why I’m skeptical of everything. At one point in my life, I believed the cherry-tree-chop story because, as you demonstrated earlier, the claims made of George Washington’s life were otherwise verifiable and trustworthy. It wasn’t until later I was introduced to evidence that the cherry tree story was fabrication. With no emotional connection to such a story, I had no choice but to trust the evidence, not the appeal of the story.

    Any claim of “eternal destiny” must be proven. I make no such claim. You do. Where’s the evidence?

    I have met many, many atheists who had been theists, and I’ve even met some theists who claimed to have been atheists. The difference I’ve seen is that the now-theists always relied on logical fallacy and emotional appeal to support their conversion. If you have whom you feel is a particularly good apologist, I’d be very interested to read his or her evidence.

    I’ll get to the rest soon.

    Best,

    Anton.

  7. me says:

    Humble,

    I understand your point on the direction of the conversation. The remaining bits that I’d not yet covered I’ll try to send privately, and if not able to do so, maybe I’ll just have to let them go for now.

    I apologize for questioning things that you claim to have already covered. I imagine it’s irritating to cover something over and over when you feel you’ve already thoroughly dealt with it. I’ll research the links you’ve provided in my own time.

    As to the origin of the thread, I researched this recently and it seems the sole intellectually sincere position one must take is that of agnosticism. It seems there simply isn’t enough evidence to support that the Jesus story definitely was or wasn’t based on previous pagan myths. With that, we’re back at square one wherein you think it wasn’t and I think it’s likely it was, but I ultimately don’t care.

    You win. :)

    • humblesmith says:

      I’m not looking to “win” for we are not in competition.
      The original claims about pagan myths, particularly of the common claims about Osiris, et al, are completely bogus. On another post, I included a bit of video from a secular scholar on the subject, and he supported the same claims as made on this one. What we can safely conclude is that beyond the normal similarities for any human (had parents, lived, died, etc.), there is no similarity between ancient pagan stories and the gospel accounts of Jesus…….they just do not parallel.

      • me says:

        I get that we’re not competition. I was admittedly being a bit silly.

        To claim something as “completely bogus” is to claim provability to a 100% degree, which you can’t do. You may claim a likelihood, but that’s all.

        I liken this subject to the notion of Star Trek being completely original, uninfluenced from other scifi sources. In my youth, I thought it was completely original. Then I was introduced to the (Greek) notion that all stories are copies of copies; that no ideas are truly original. At first, I didn’t believe this, but then saw correlations between all sorts of stories.

        I hadn’t seen Forbidden Planet until a couple of years ago, and, mostly, I see no direct parallels between it and Star Trek.

        But one.

        At some point in the film, the captain and crew assemble at some sort of pad that looks almost identical to what would later in Star Trek be called “transporters.” The device in Forbidden Planet didn’t necessarily have the same function, but the visual parallel was undeniable.

        Did Roddenberry “copy” the transporter idea? I can’t prove that. But to claim that Roddenberry’s notion was completely original is to blatantly deny patently obvious evidence.

        I can’t prove that Jesus was derived from Osiris. I’m not even completely convinced myself. But where I see parallels and potential influences, I call them. If god X is born of a virgin and later appearing god Y is also born of a virgin, well, Forbidden Planet/Star Trek.

        And to your last point, we’ll obviously have to agree to disagree. You make an absolute claim. I make a non-absolute opposite claim for which I admit I have not done thorough research, but which I may one day. Thus my previous point that the only sincerely intellectual position either of us can take on this subject is that of agnosticism.

  8. me says:

    Humble,

    Sorry, but I couldn’t find a direct way to write you and I still really want to address a couple other things in our original conversation. I won’t do it here and now, but if you can’t suggest a better place than in one of your comments sections, I’ll do it there and you can choose to read or delete or whatever you like.

    Best,

    Anton.

  9. Jan says:

    Congratulations to you both on a fascinating and really well presented debate. Me, you win. We must rely on reason, logic and verified historical evidence to move the debate on religion forward. Belief in the supernatural belongs to the past as do myth and legend. We must take the good messages from all religions but the shellfish/homesexuality/slavery issues/subjection of women prove that the bible no longer has a place in our culture. Only when we ditch religion for example will we prevent children from being mutilated and that we must stop at all costs and then we can start work on the all the conflicts around the world.

  10. me says:

    Hey Jan,

    Thanks, though I honestly don’t think I can say I “won.” Humble has obviously researched the topic far more than I have. And I concede that I can support my claim no better than I think he can support his. Though I maintain my position that even if all mundane details of the Bible can be objectively verified, that’s obviously not evidence that the supernatural claims are true. Humble and other apologists always seem to make a special case for the lack of evidence for the supernatural claims of their faith where they would never make such an exception in any other category.

    As to your point on religion, as with humans’ willingness to drive cars despite the thousands of deaths cars directly or indirectly cause, humans are clearly willing to give religion a pass no matter what evil it, its adherents, or its clergy commit. But as has been true, reason always prevails.

  11. me says:

    Humblesmith,

    I think this is my last bit on this long thread, but a couple of things were really crawling around in my head.

    “An appeal to authority is valid if the authority is valid. Appealing to Einstein about a point of astrophysics is valid, but appealing to Einstein about the best pastrami sandwich might not be valid. Your brother can speak authoritatively about his field, as can Lewis. The quote in the post was dealing with Lewis’ field of expertise, literary criticism.”

    Here’s my issue. Astrophysics can be tested. My brother’s reincarnation claims can’t. So my brother may know what Buddhism says about reincarnation, but that doesn’t make those claims true. Unless Lewis was an expert archaeologist, anthropologist, sociologist, paleontologist, forensics expert, and master of any number of other fields, his opinion on the Bible being any kind of historical account (and reliable in terms of supernatural claims) is that and that alone, his opinion. Now hold on…

    I get that Lewis was an expert on literary criticism. The thing about literary criticism is that it’s ultimately all a giant appeal to popularity. Whoever’s opinion gains the most support is that which is trusted. Granted, there are often reasons why a given opinion gains popularity, but usually, it’s just a matter of opinion. How do I know this?

    I was married to a PhD level literary critic. She loved Faulkner. Not exactly a household name. She hated Dickens, whom she regarded as a hack. Dickens, it can be argued, is a bit better known than Faulkner. My then-wife’s PhD level literary critic best friend loved Dickens. Who was right? Was Dickens a hack? Was Faulkner a genius? If we appeal solely to popularity, we must conclude that Dickens was the superior artist. If we appeal solely to authority–oh wait. We can’t. Authoritative opinions differ on the subject.

    So if the claim is that the Bible is an accurate historical account and the evidence is that Lewis said so, and his merit is the fact that he was a literary critic, so what? His opinion on the book, without objectively verifiable evidence, is always just his opinion.

    “And by the way, if you have not read Lewis’ book on miracles, I would recommend it. He pretty well destroys the arguments against the existence of historical miracles.”

    So how does Lewis prove the existence of historical miracles?

    “The Historical Jesus” by Gary Habermas. This is a more popular-level account of extra-biblical sources. Habermas counts about 45 ancient sources outside the bible that corroborates about 250 facts in the bible.”

    Corroborating facts does not equal proving supernatural claims. You know that.

    “If you are as open to evidence as you claim, I urge you to keep searching for evidence of Christianity. When I’ve read the best sources, I have found the claims to be quite solid and reasonable, much more logically sound than that of the popular atheists who are writing nowadays.”

    As I’ve said, I’m unconcerned about whether Jesus existed or not. I simply find the claim that he did unlikely. What I’m more concerned with is evidence of the supernatural claims, which no one has ever been able to provide.

    I’ve become more convinced that your initial point is likely. Though in my research on Osiris, it seems he was resurrected. So much for that originating with Jesus.

    You’re making vague claims and comparisons. It hasn’t been demonstrated that the claims you cite are solid or reasonable, and you haven’t demonstrated anything about these “popular atheists.”

    Finally moving on! :)

    • humblesmith says:

      Regarding Lewis’ claims as a literary critic, I’m not sure you read the quote I posted? I just do not connect your point to the claim he made. He was NOT claiming whether he liked any story, found it valuable, thought it was accurate history or not, etc. Your point is about assessing value to a work of literature, which is not what the Lewis quote was claiming. Please go back and read it before you make a claim. Lewis was merely commenting about the style of the literature. Regarding the style, there can indeed be objective comparison. For example, that poetry is different than prose is not opinion, it is an objective fact. Lewis was merely pointing out that the literary style of the Bible was not found in earlier works. This is an objective fact made by a qualified expert. It has nothing to do with whether they like the work or find it valuable.

      I’m afraid I’m not going to attempt a brief summary of Lewis book here. You’ll have to do the homework for yourself.

      By dismissing Habermas’ book with one brief wave of the hand, without having read it, and without having read the posts I’ve already made on how history works, leaves this bit useless to respond to. I’ve already refuted your point in other posts.

      Now, on the topic at hand, you must not have read the sources I linked to, for they listed primary source documents that refute the Osiris claim. I’ll do a small part of the work for you. The claims of these pagan stories are found everywhere, with almost none of them citing any sources. The rumors and urban legends just keep getting repeated over and over. The pages I linked had primary sources that refute the claims. Namely:
      “Osiris, in fact, was not a ‘dying’ god at all but a ‘dead’ god. He never returned among the living; he was not liberated from the world of the dead, as Tammuz was. On the contrary, Osiris altogether belonged to the world of the dead; it was from there that he bestowed his blessings upon Egypt. He was always depicted as a mummy, a dead king.” [Kingship and the gods: a study of ancient Near Eastern religion as the integration of society & nature. UChicago:1978 edition, p.289]

      And again, where is a primary source of an ancient document that claims otherwise? You have cited none, because you have none. You can look, but will find none, for they don’t exist. Oh, you can find plenty of folks who make claims of what Osiris said, but where are the citations of the ancient documents?

      Any more of this round and round without without citations, without reading the other posts where I”ve already answered, and I’m closing the thread. The point you made about Lewis shows you didn’t even read the quote or think about the significance of it.

  12. me says:

    Humblesmith,

    If your complaint is I’ve not read everything you’ve posted or linked to, you’re right. Sorry. If your complaint is that I didn’t read the Lewis quote correctly, you may be right. I’m happy to go back and re-check it. If your complaint is that I’ve not cited everything, well, you’ve not cited everything you’ve asserted either (especially about “popular atheists” you compared to).

    I’ll get back to this soon.

  13. me says:

    Humble,

    Sorry for the extreme delay. Looking forward to getting back to our conversations.

    Best,

    Anton.

  14. me says:

    Humble,

    Finally getting to you.

    “Regarding Lewis’ claims as a literary critic, I’m not sure you read the quote I posted? I just do not connect your point to the claim he made.”

    Fair enough. Let’s check, shall we? You say and quote:

    “The bottom line is this: there is not any good comparison between the stories of ancient pagan gods and the account of Jesus in the Bible. I am reminded of the quote from C. S. Lewis, a tenured professor of literature at Oxford and Cambridge:

    ‘All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that’s my job. . . And I’m prepared to say on that basis if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legend or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic. I’ve read a great many novels and I know a fair amount about the legends that grew up among early people and I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff.’

    “The evidence shows that the Bible is trustworthy, and an accurate historical account of the life of Jesus.”

    It seems that Lewis’ claim is, “if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legend or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic” and, more directly, “I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff [legend or novels].” If you disagree with my citation of Lewis’ claim, please point it out. Otherwise:

    On Lewis’ first point, he’s relying on his own authority to make an absolute claim of the question as to whether the Gospels are legend/novels. The problem with Lewis’ point is that his authority, while certainly impressive, amounts ultimately to opinion, not to fact. Furthermore, as can be observed with any literary criticism, whether a work is pure poetry, pure history, pure legend, or pure novel, is ultimately a question of opinion. Yes, some claims can be made with more certainty than others. Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is more novel than history, but it does contain history as well as fiction. Thus, Lewis’ denial even of the possibility of the Gospels as being at least partly legend/novels is fallacious. He can’t prove with 100% certainty that the Gospels are not at least partly legend or fiction.

    On Lewis’ more direct point, of knowing “perfectly well”, his is an undemonstrated premise. He’s essentially saying, “I don’t think that the Gospels are legend/novels, therefore they aren’t.” The problem is that this is his opinion and not fact. His expertise is ultimately irrelevant as expertise is not necessarily fact.

    If you still feel I’ve missed the point of Lewis’ quote, please point it out.

    “For example, that poetry is different than prose is not opinion, it is an objective fact.”

    I don’t mean to be condescending, but I wonder how much literature you’ve read as many works easily blur the line between poetry and prose. Not all poetry has to be in iambic pentameter with an ABAB rhyming scheme with Kennings and alliteration. Equally, all prose doesn’t have to be lacking in symbolism or whimsical turn of phrase.

    “Lewis was merely pointing out that the literary style of the Bible was not found in earlier works.”

    Are you referring to the quote you posted? In that quote, Lewis mentions nothing of a comparison to earlier works than the Gospels. Thus, I don’t know from where you’re deriving your conclusion.

    “It has nothing to do with whether they like the work or find it valuable.”

    Now I question whether you read what I’d written as I don’t think I ever made any claim as to Lewis’ opinion on the Gospels or his assessment of their value.

    “I’m afraid I’m not going to attempt a brief summary of Lewis book here. You’ll have to do the homework for yourself.”

    Fair enough. I’ll look it up when I find the time.

    “By dismissing Habermas’ book with one brief wave of the hand, without having read it, and without having read the posts I’ve already made on how history works, leaves this bit useless to respond to. I’ve already refuted your point in other posts.”

    I don’t have to read every letter of every Shakespeare play to know that he was a literary genius. Likewise, I don’t have to read every letter of Habermas’ book to know that corroboration of historical facts of the Bible doesn’t equal objectively verifiable evidence of the Bible’s supernatural claims. Just as you don’t have to have visited Roswell, NM to know that an alleged alien abductee’s story is made-up.

    To be fair, though, I’ll endeavor to read the posts to which you referred.

    “Now, on the topic at hand, you must not have read the sources I linked to, for they listed primary source documents that refute the Osiris claim… The pages I linked had primary sources that refute the claims.”

    I hadn’t read them yet, but I’m reading them now. I find your use of “primary source documents” interesting. A primary source document would be a stone tablet, for example, that can be dated to a time when Osiris was worshipped and contains a version of the Osiris story which can be compared to Jesus.

    On KingDavid8, there’s no “primary source document” listed one way or the other.

    Per Tektoniks, I skimmed it, but found no reference to “primary source documents.” Please feel free to point to where I might find them on the site.

    The Divine Evidence doesn’t seem to cover Osiris, so I’m ignoring it for now.

    ConfidentChristianity doesn’t cite any “primary source documents.”

    “Osiris, in fact, was not a ‘dying’ god at all but a ‘dead’ god. He never returned among the living; he was not liberated from the world of the dead, as Tammuz was. On the contrary, Osiris altogether belonged to the world of the dead; it was from there that he bestowed his blessings upon Egypt. He was always depicted as a mummy, a dead king.” [Kingship and the gods: a study of ancient Near Eastern religion as the integration of society & nature. UChicago:1978 edition, p.289]

    Good point. Here’s another:

    “Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge suggests possible connections or parallels in Osiris’ resurrection story with those found in Christianity:
    The Egyptians of every period in which they are known to us believed that Osiris is of divine origin, that he suffered death and mutilation at the hands of the powers of evil, that after a great struggle with these powers he rose again, that he became henceforth the king of the underworld and judge of the dead, and that because he had conquered death the righteous also might conquer death…In Osiris the Christian Egyptians found the prototype of Christ, and in the pictures and statues of Isis suckling her son Horus, they perceived the prototypes of the Virgin Mary and her child.[24]”

    I, too, can pick cherries. Seems that an Egyptologist, an expert in Egyptology, makes a very solid, supported claim. I remember you saying the same thing of a certain Oxford and Cambridge tenured professor. :)

    “And again, where is a primary source of an ancient document that claims otherwise? You have cited none, because you have none. You can look, but will find none, for they don’t exist. Oh, you can find plenty of folks who make claims of what Osiris said, but where are the citations of the ancient documents?”

    Right here: The Pyramid Texts are a collection of ancient Egyptian religious texts from the time of the Old Kingdom. The pyramid texts are the oldest known religious texts in the world.[1] Written in Old Egyptian, the pyramid texts were carved on the walls and sarcophagi of the pyramids at Saqqara during the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom. The oldest of the texts date to between 2400-2300 BC.[2] (which is, by the way, older than Jesus.)

    And here: The Palermo Stone is a large fragment of a stele known as the Royal Annals of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. It contains records of the kings of Egypt from the first dynasty through the fifth dynasty.

    Here too: The Shabaka Stone is a relic from the Nubian Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt.[1] It is a stone slab measuring 66 cm in height and 137 cm in width and was incised with the surviving hieroglyphs of a worm-ridden, decaying papyrus. This papyrus was found as pharaoh Shabaka was inspecting the temple of Ptah in Memphis, Egypt.

    So, lessee, that’s two stones and texts written on pyramids. Can’t get much more of a “primary source document” than carved into the living rock.

    “The point you made about Lewis shows you didn’t even read the quote or think about the significance of it.”

    I swear I did read it, but I doubt I can convince y0u that I did so thinking “about the significance of it.”

    To think this was just on Osiris, whom I was never even fully convinced inspired Jesus. Imagine had we covered Heracles or Zeus or Thor! If you want this to be the end of the thread, that’s totally cool with me.

    Best,

    Anton.

    • humblesmith says:

      Regarding C. S. Lewis and whether his statement is valid, if you want to dismiss it as irrelevant, that is your choice. But keep in mind this just not how scholarship is done, for your position, if held consistently, dismisses all scholarly opinions. This would presumably be your own also, which is self-refuting. But I will not pursue the point further, it is off-topic and not critical to this discussion.

      I have responded to the rest of your claims in a lengthy post I’ve uploaded today, titled as part two.

      I plan for this to be the end of my discussion on this point, for it has turned into a series of unfounded claims of which there is little benefit in refuting.

      • Anton A. Hill says:

        Humble,

        Do what you like with your site; it’s you’re site. But…

        All I’m calling irrelevant is Lewis’ claim that the Gospels are NOT legend/novels based solely on his opinion that they aren’t. It’s circular logic plain and simple. Call my criticism of Lewis’ point whatever you like, but that doesn’t make my criticism invalid.

        For your information, I quite well know exactly how scholarly opinions work since I was married to a PhD-level American literature scholar who admitted that “scholarly opinions” are ultimately that and nothing more. Opinions. The only reason one ends up as more respectable than another is which one becomes popular. Admittedly, there may be a merit-based reason why an opinion becomes popular, but that doesn’t change the fact that popularity alone doesn’t make a scholarly opinion valid.

        Yes, my opinion is just my opinion, but all I have to do to illustrate my point is point to expert scholars who disagree with each other. Oh wait, I already have. My former wife claimed Dickens to be a “hack.” Her best friend, a Dickens scholar, claimed him to be a “genius.” Opposing expert opinions. I rest my case.

        I take issue with your accusation of my “unfounded” claims. To quote you, “You have cited none, because you have none.”

        Ultimately, though, it is your site and you’ll obviously do what you will.

        Best,

        Anton.

  15. humblesmith says:

    I’ll have to do some homework on these. Besides the fact that I have a full time job, I don’t have the refrences at my fingertips. I’ve learned to check out sources before I respond. It will take me a bit.

    It would help if you could make a claim about what these sources are supposed to demonstrate? Presumably about Osiris?

    It would also help if you can provide a source reference for the Budge quote.

    • Anton A. Hill says:

      Hi Humble,

      I’m back.

      So, the Osiris original sources stuff…

      Quoting myself, “A primary source document would be a stone tablet, for example, that can be dated to a time when Osiris was worshipped and contains a version of the Osiris story which can be compared to Jesus.”

      So, regarding the “original source documents” I earlier cited, here are my premises:

      1. Osiris, per the Pyramid Texts, the Palermo Stone, and the Shabaka Stone, was a risen god.

      2. Osiris, per the above, was worshipped as such for thousands of years BC as documented and likely for thousands more pre-documentation.

      Conclusion: As Osiris was worshiped as a risen god for at least a few thousand years before the first appearance of any mention of Jesus, the story of Jesus as a risen god is not original.

      I •think• that’s what I was getting at. :)

  16. me says:

    Hey Humble,

    I’ll respond in short-order. Got a lot of other stuff to respond to.

    Best,

    Anton.

    • humblesmith says:

      I spent an evening researching this, and have already found the answer to most all of it. I had to order the Budge source that was quoted, and my response is merely waiting till I get it and can read the quote in context. I have enough other Budge sources to already be very confident of the response.

      Anton, my friend, I like you. So much so that I’m going to give you a chance for a do-over. What I’m finding is clear and overwhelming. Since it’ll take me several days to get the final source, you get the chance to re-think your position before I respond. You might want to take the opportunity.

  17. Anton A. Hill says:

    Humble,

    Thanks. I like you too. For someone who claimed that we were not in a competition, your tone reads awfully competitive. :) To suggest that I “might want to take the opportunity” to “re-think [my] position” seems to imply that you might prove me wrong in some form of a “Gotcha!” moment. But you’re either forgetting or ignoring one extremely important fact:

    I don’t care.

    If it turns out that the source I cited plus its surrounding context completely blows my whole Osiris–>Jesus idea out of the water, that’s fine. I’m not invested in Osiris–>Jesus. If it turns out that there’s irrefutable proof that Jesus was in no way influenced even partially by Osiris or by any other risen god, that’s totally cool by me. I think they’re both myths. I’m not bound by unverified divine claims of either. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong and I’ve learned something. If you’re wrong, well…

    Since it would take me a while to “re-think” my position, I’m not going to do so right now. I’ll answer your previous questions regarding claims made and how they relate to Osiris when I can. Until then:

    Bring it.

  18. Ryan says:

        Anton,
     
    I apoligise for how long this has taken me. But I wanted to keep my word. I’m sorry if this answer does not suffice, but I will try to give you an honest response to why I believe. I know this message board is quite old, and I don’t have unlimited time, so my response will be brief.

     
    This is what I think you asked me (please clarify if I am wrong).
     
    To provide some context, I expressed in my first post that “I believe that the Bible is Gods Word, and therefore is entirely true”. I did not say that I followed old Testament Law: since my understanding is shaped by what I have read in the New Testament:
     
    Romans 3:19-20 (New Living Translation): Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

     
    You asked me:  “Why do you believe this? Do you then believe that the Earth is around 5-10,000 years old?”

    I don’t know how old the earth is.
     
     
    “That you must never eat shellfish?”
     
    I assume you are referring to:

    Leviticus 11:9-12 (New Living Translation) : 9 “Of all the marine animals, these are ones you may use for food. You may eat anything from the water if it has both fins and scales, whether taken from salt water or from streams. 10 But you must never eat animals from the sea or from rivers that do not have both fins and scales. They are detestable to you. This applies both to little creatures that live in shallow water and to all creatures that live in deep water. 11 They will always be detestable to you. You must never eat their meat or even touch their dead bodies. 12 Any marine animal that does not have both fins and scales is detestable to you.

    You asked:
     
    “That if someone works on the Sabbath, you must stone him to death?”

    and

    “That homosexuals should be killed?”
     
    I don’t believe this, I assume your referring to Leviticus. I have already covered my response in regards to certain verses in Old Testament Law. My understanding of the New Testament has an influence on my understanding of The Old Testament, and vice versa. To read verses in isolation can cause confusion.
     
    “Why do you believe in Christ?”
     
    To be honest, my belief in Christ is strengthened by what I have read in the Bible. I admit I am not always consistent with reading, but what I have read is a source to my belief, more so than what some pastors and priests have preached and conducted. Of course, I assume that other cultural aspects have shaped my beliefs about God (and these cultural beliefs are not necessarily correct). My belief in God is also because there is too much order in the world. This, I assume, could sound pretty flimsy as a response, I admit that.
     
    To write that “I believe because I believe”, or to state that “I believe because I read it in a book”

    I know might not be a brilliant answer, but it is an honest one. 
     
    I am aware you asked me other questions:

    “What verses do you find challenging and why? What accounts perplex you? What profundity do you find it what accounts?”
     
    “Why do you trust the Bible? Faith also depends on denying evidence. Do you deny evidence?”
     
    If there is a response from you, I am happy to keep a conversation going. I am interested to read what you think in regards to meaning and existence.
     
     
    Hope you are going well, Ryan

    • Anton A. Hill says:

      Hey Ryan,

      No problem with your delay as I obviously had a delay of my own! :)

      For context:

      “You asked me: ‘Why do you believe this? Do you then believe that the Earth is around 5-10,000 years old?'”

      “I don’t know how old the earth is.”

      I didn’t ask what you knew. I asked what you believed. Do you believe that the Earth is 5-10,000 years old? It’s a simple yes/no question.

      You said, “I don’t believe [people should be stoned for working on the Sabbath, homosexuals should be killed, or we shouldn't eat shellfish], I assume your referring to Leviticus. I have already covered my response in regards to certain verses in Old Testament Law. My understanding of the New Testament has an influence on my understanding of The Old Testament, and vice versa. To read verses in isolation can cause confusion.”

      I don’t understand. You said, “I believe that the Bible is Gods Word, and therefore is entirely true.” Then you said you don’t follow Old Testament law. Why not? The entire Bible is either “God’s Word” and “entirely true” or it isn’t. Also, the Leviticus that you cited states clearly that shellfish are “always” detestable. It says nothing of someone coming along and changing that. Furthermore, there are verses in which Jesus specifically states that he did NOT come to throw out the old laws. Thus, how do you reconcile what the Old Testament commands of you and what you choose to follow?

      You then said, “To be honest, my belief in Christ is strengthened by what I have read in the Bible.”

      Like what, specifically?

      You said, “Of course, I assume that other cultural aspects have shaped my beliefs about God (and these cultural beliefs are not necessarily correct). My belief in God is also because there is too much order in the world. This, I assume, could sound pretty flimsy as a response, I admit that.”

      Let me make sure I understand one of your premises/conclusions. You’re saying that because you’ve observed what you consider “order” in the world, a god must have organized the world into that “order.” How, though, does this justify a belief in the Abrahamic God as opposed to any other or a more deistic approach?

      You said, “To write that ‘I believe because I believe’, or to state that ‘I believe because I read it in a book’

      “I know might not be a brilliant answer, but it is an honest one.”

      I appreciate your honesty, but it doesn’t explain why you find a belief in the Abrahamic God more reasonable than any other god claim or no god claim at all. I kind of understand your issue with perceiving “order”, but again, that doesn’t necessitate the Abrahamic God.

      I think “meaning” and “existence” depend entirely on how we define them. So, define them first and I’ll happily respond.

      Also, feel free to drop by AtheistAsshole.WordPress.com where I get into some of this on the “About” page.

      Best,

      Anton.

  19. Anton A. Hill says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Thanks for all the great stuff with which to work! I’ll respond as soon as I can (I still owe Humble some previous response) or if you prefer to do this off his comments section, feel free to write me privately at antonahill at gmail dot com.

    Best,

    Anton.

  20. Pingback: Was Jesus A Copy of Pagan Myths? (Part 2) | Thomistic Bent

  21. Ryan says:

    Hey Anton, thanks for your response.

    I know it’s been awhile, sorry for not responding sooner.

    I did drop by “AtheistAsshole.WordPress.com”.

    I watched Chris’s de-conversion video and read some other posts on their experiences of de-conversion. I found what Chris shared interesting.

    I know it was quite awhile ago, but to respond to a part of your post:

    “I don’t understand. You said, “I believe that the Bible is Gods Word, and therefore is entirely true.” Then you said you don’t follow Old Testament law. Why not? The entire Bible is either “God’s Word” and “entirely true” or it isn’t. Also, the Leviticus that you cited states clearly that shellfish are “always” detestable. It says nothing of someone coming along and changing that. Furthermore, there are verses in which Jesus specifically states that he did NOT come to throw out the old laws. Thus, how do you reconcile what the Old Testament commands of you and what you choose to follow?”

    – I thought you’d highlight that it says that shellfish are always detestable :)

    Leviticus 11:11 reads: They will always be detestable to you. You must never eat their meat or even touch their dead bodies.

    The question is: who is this command addressed to?

    Please be patient and I will try to give more of an explanation in my next post.

    Hope your weeks going well.

  22. Pingback: Common Questions, with Answers | Thomistic Bent

  23. Pingback: Is it Just to Allow People to Go to Hell? (Part 6) | Thomistic Bent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s