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  • Dr. Brown Answers Your Questions Live from India

    December 6, 2013 | 29 Comments

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    Dr. Brown will take your calls and answer your emails live from India. This is a great day to call with your biblical, theological, and spiritual questions, or to differ with any of Dr. Brown’s own positions and views. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.

     

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    Comments

    29 Responses to “Dr. Brown Answers Your Questions Live from India”

    1. Greg Allen
      December 7th, 2013 @ 9:54 am

      That call about cremation made me a little sad. Clearly, cremation gave her the creeps but she didn’t feel the freedom to simply say so. Instead, she felt a need to rationalize her emotional reality with the bible.

      And, of course, she used one of the worst hermeneutical techniques — “It’s not in the bible, so it’s wrong.”

      This is so glaringly flawed, yet Christians constantly use it — often in cases just like this one: to enforce their arbitrary opinions on others.

      If we Christians did only what was explicitly listed in the bible, we couldn’t even function in the world. The bible isn’t even a full account of what they did back then, let alone now.

      There are thousands and thousands of common things not listed in the bible! Are they all “un-bliblical” and thus wrong? Of course not!

      Besides cremation, there is chemotherapy, cars, credit cards, colonoscopies, cats, coffee hours, cans, cloning, clocks, CRTs, crucifixes and cosmetic surgery — just to brainstorm “un-biblical” things that start with the letter C!

      Instead, it would be so much more honest and less manipulative to simply say to your family member: “Cremation makes me uncomfortable. It’s not what I grew up with.”

      This would be a much more helpful starting point for problem solving and peace in the family. As soon as you start demagoging your opinion with the bible, it leaves no room for respectful differences and mutual compromise.

    2. Bo
      December 7th, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

      Greg,

      You wrote:
      ‘And, of course, she used one of the worst hermeneutical techniques — “It’s not in the bible, so it’s wrong.”’

      You also wrote on a previous thread:
      “If homosexuality was the abomination that right wing Christians claim, I believe Jesus would have at least mentioned it.”

      So you insist that she is wrong for using the lack of Biblical coverage for her view that something is wrong and you insist on using the lack of “Jesus” making a statement on a topic to claim something is right, though the Bible is very clear that it is wrong?

      And of course Y’shua did make a claim against homosexual marriage when He quoted from Genesis. He said that YHWH made them male and female and that the two shall become one flesh. The only mentions of same sex “on flesh” occurrences are straightforwardly condemned as abomination and sin and deserving of the wrath of YHWH.

      But you insist that you have done the research and can demonstrate that the words used in the original languages do not mean what they have been translated to mean, but you refuse to look at any scholarship that I give links to. Intersting…very interesting indeed.

    3. Bo
      December 8th, 2013 @ 12:07 am

      Greg,

      If you really are a student of scripture and the Greek, you really should read this scholarly treatise:

      http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj3h.pdf

      And this short article:

      http://thebiblicalworld.blogspot.com/2012/08/did-jesus-heal-centurions-same-sex.html

    4. Jason Engwer
      December 8th, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

      Regarding the celebration of Christmas, some of you may be interested in reading a short e-book that J.P. Holding recently published on the subject. It’s titled Christmas Is Pagan And Other Myths. He addresses a lot of common objections to the holiday.

      Also, here’s an article I wrote about the history of the use of the December 25 date:

      http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-origins-of-december-25-date-for.html

      In that article, I cite some of Tom Schmidt’s material. His Chronicon blog is a valuable resource on the history of December 25 and Christmas. Unfortunately, he’s removed some of the best material he had there. My understanding is that he may be publishing that material in the future, which is why he removed it from his site. But it’s still accessible if you use a web archive site to find it. And a lot of his material is still available at his blog, even without using a web archive.

      Most likely, Christians were using the December 25 date for Jesus’ birth at least as early as the beginning of the third century. They didn’t borrow the date from paganism.

    5. Bo
      December 8th, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

      Jason,

      It almost time for the LOF annual xmas debate…so your post will get everyone prepared.

      It will be tough to prove that the Bible teaches that we are to remember or celebrate Messiah’s birth, that the Apostles and early church ever celebrated such a thing and that pagans didn’t use the current date before the third century. The third century is just not early enough for me.

      Does it not strike you as strange that believers try to justify something that is so out character with the teaching of the Bible and also is nothing like the practices of the saints that were closest to Messiah and the apostles?

      I am not for it being always winter and never xmas…just never xmas. There are so many celebrations that the Bible does command and that are pictures/shadows of Messiah and the body of Messiah that we have neglected. Why do we invent our own substitutes instead of obeying and keeping the dates/appointments that YHWH designed for us from the foundation of the world? We ask Him to come to our feasts, but refuse to come to His…sad, very sad.

      And I just do not know about the idea of singing to a dead decorated tree or having a graven image of the “baby Jesus” in our homes or beating people up on black Friday to be sure to get one of the most popular toys for an xmas present for my children or kissing whoever ends up under the mistletoe with me or…or…or.

      Treason is the reason for the season and the fruits of it are quite obvious. Do a search on the origins of “Christmas” and its customs and read the article that Jason gave a link to above and be ready for the annual xmas debate. I will be there YHWH willing.

      Shalom

    6. jon
      December 8th, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

      RE call from Noel- or Wayne?

      My prayer for you is that God may uplift you. You have been prayed for sincerely from India and across north America. May you find a renewal deep within your bones. May you find your rest and a spiritual desire to seek the closeness of our savior.

      I know that this board is many times used to debate and put across some of our best arguments to each other. May all who read this prayer pause and pray for each other, and especially for the honesty that Noel expressed that afflicts him with just doubt, and a tired relationship with God. So many other Christians experience the same thing, may we uplift each other and expend our energy on our knees praying for the spiritual healing that we need to transform each of us daily.
      May we bless you our God, and praise you. May we do this that we can strengthen the body that we are all a part of. Amen.

      Noel if you are out there, please update the program in how God has already answered some of your needs.

    7. Jason Engwer
      December 9th, 2013 @ 6:10 am

      Bo,

      The Bible doesn’t need to command us to do something in order for us to have freedom to do it (e.g., Romans 14). Does the Bible command you to use a computer, to drive a car, to work for the company you work for, etc.? Is every aspect of your church’s services – every detail, including what clothes people wear, what terminology you use in your prayers, what time services begin, the architecture of the church building, etc. – commanded by scripture?

      Why do you make so many irrelevant and inaccurate claims? For example, why do you claim that Christmas is “nothing like” what the earliest followers of Jesus did? A sermon on the incarnation is “nothing like” Matthew 1, John 1, or other Biblical passages on the subject? Singing hymns about Jesus’ entrance into the world is “nothing like” what we see in Luke 2, Philippians 2, etc.?

      And who said we should “sing to a dead decorated tree”? I’ve never sung to a tree during the Christmas season. That’s a pretty big straw man (or straw tree) you’re burning there.

      As for “graven images”, nobody is required to use nativity sets. They’re an optional part of the Christmas season. Besides, there’s nothing inherently wrong with using images, as long as they aren’t abused (2 Kings 18:4). For example, I doubt that anybody is abusing Michael Brown’s image at the top of this web page. And you obviously don’t avoid coming to this page, like you avoid celebrating Christmas, just because that image of Dr. Brown is here.

      And I assure you that I don’t “beat people up on black Friday”. That, too, isn’t a requirement for celebrating Christmas.

      If you’re going to avoid Christmas because some people abuse it, do you also avoid Christianity, the Bible, automobiles, knives, food, medicine, etc., since some people abuse those things?

    8. Jason Engwer
      December 9th, 2013 @ 6:28 am

      Regarding December 25, the issue isn’t whether pagans “used the current date before the third century”. It would be a fallacy to conclude that if source A did something before source B, then B must have been borrowing from A. And even if some sort of borrowing occurred, there would need to be an argument that the borrowing was improper in some relevant way.

      Much of what we use in society today – the clothing we wear, the food we eat, our language, etc. – predated our culture or has been used by some individual or group we disagree with in some manner. It doesn’t follow that we’re borrowing from that individual or group in any significant way or that we’re endorsing their beliefs.

    9. Ray
      December 9th, 2013 @ 6:57 am

      Though the enemy often wear upon us, as darkness seems to prevail in a fallen world, if we still have a Bible, we may open it anywhere and find something good, and when we do, we may still thank God for it, and be filled with life and hope.

      I opened my Bible this morning to Isaiah 60:1.

      There will always be darkness in a fallen world and by the grace of God there will still be light.
      By the Word of God we are encouraged to walk in that light.

      There will be many tests to our faith and troubles we must go through. I believe these things are necessary for our perfection. God is able to get us through whatever.

      We need to learn to encourage each other and often ourselves.

    10. Ray
      December 9th, 2013 @ 7:00 am

      I can see by some of these posts that truth and common sense are a part of the light that will prevail.

    11. Bo
      December 9th, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

      Jason,

      You wrote:
      “Does the Bible command you to use a computer, to drive a car, to work for the company you work for, etc.?…Why do you make so many irrelevant and inaccurate claims?…If you’re going to avoid Christmas because some people abuse it, do you also avoid Christianity, the Bible, automobiles, knives, food, medicine, etc., since some people abuse those things?”

      Now that is a straw man argument. There is a drastic difference between taking part in the use of computers and cars and knives (not to mention guns) and inventing a supposed “Holy day” to supposedly worship in a special way with graven images of YHWH in the flesh and decorated trees thrown in, at least for many if not most. Even without the bad things that now come part and parcel with xmas, it is questionable on historical and scriptural grounds.

      The tree is known by its fruit. I do not avoid xmas because people abuse things regarding it. I avoid it because it is a substitute “holy day” invented by man. Jeroboam invented feast days too, you know…and it was not a good thing. Even Aaron declared a feast to YHWH complete with graven images. No matter who invented it, even if it was a supposedly godly man, it is suspect. The Samaritans had methods and places to supposedly worship YHWH, but Messiah said that they did not know what they were doing. We do not need to go into the fact that the day was instituted as a required holyday (mass) by the Roman Catholic church and that it was rejected by many early protestant leaders.

      I did not make any irrelevant claims…irreverent to the modern Christian yes, irrelevant no.

      I am glad that you never sang to a tree during xmas season. Really…never, even as a child. “O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree…” I was made to do it in elementary school choir. What about singing to trees when it is not xmas season. Have you done that? :) I hope you do not worship images or get caught up in materialism too.

      I think that you did not understand me.

      The Biblical feasts, and celebration thereof do not seem to bring about lustful, hateful, idolatrous actions, at least for the most part. Holidays that are supposedly Christian such as xmas, valentines day, haloween and easter seem to bring out the worst in pagans and believers alike. The spirit of xmas is not the Holy Spirit. It is a man made holiday, not a scriptural Holy Day.

      There is nothing wrong with having a statue of a lion or a bull or even a snake on a pole, as long as you do not worship it. But there is specific instructions not to make an image of YHWH. YHWH in the flesh is no exception to the commandment…baby image or hanging on the cross image or being held by his mother image etc. Art needs to bow to the Creator of the universe and not vice versa.

      Romans 14 does not allow us to make days holy or invent ways to worship that are contrary to scripture. It allows us to fast on whatever days we like and eat on whatever days we like. Our esteeming a common day does not make it holy. Our unesteeming a Holy day does not make it common.

      But I am sure that we are off topic and it can probably wait for the LOF annual xmas debate.

      Shalom

    12. Van
      December 9th, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

      You’re celebrating the “birth” of someone who never existed.

    13. Bo
      December 9th, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

      Van,

      Not only was He born, He was born of a virgin and was resurrected from the dead and sits on the right hand of YHWH till His enemies are made His footstool. But no, as for me and my house, we won’t be celebrating His birth nor will we be exchanging gifts or participating in any other custom on Dec. 25th.

      It is not only foolish to ignore the historical record, but well beyond foolish to proudly defy your creator. Hopefully you will come to your senses one day, Van.

      Let YHWH arise and His enemies be scattered.

    14. Anthea
      December 9th, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

      Are you sure that Boudicca/Bodicea existed? There’s less historical material about her. However, she’s not asking us to follow her as Leader and Saviour. Jesus is such a compelling and winsome person, that He draws pwople to Himself. That’s why it’s so very important to deny that He exists. When I spend time with Him, He gets under my skin. Atheists need to stay well away from Jesus, or He’s gonna get ya!

      PS Van, ask yourself why you are on the comment section of a Christian blog. It cannot be that there is nothing on TV. Don’t you Americans have a thousand channels, or something?

    15. Jason Engwer
      December 9th, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

      Bo,

      Most of your response to me consists of unsupported repetitions of your previous unsupported claims. I’ll respond to two comments you made, which I anticipated.

      To say that people are “singing to a dead decorated tree” when they sing “O Christmas Tree” is ridiculous. Do you apply the same sort of reasoning to Biblical passages like Psalm 103:22 and Psalm 114:6? Do you think the psalmist was speaking to mountains, in the same improper sense that you apply to “O Christmas Tree”, in Psalm 114:6? What do you make of the first stanza of “Angels From The Realms Of Glory”? Do you think the people who sing that hymn view themselves as traveling back in time and speaking to angels at the time of Jesus’ birth? Or do you think a rhetorical device is being used, much as people speak to inanimate objects in poetry, write messages on gravestones as if they’re speaking to the deceased individuals (even though they don’t think they’re actually communicating with the people who are dead), etc.? If we take your reasoning about “O Christmas Tree” and apply it to other contexts, we get absurd results.

      Concerning images of Jesus, you haven’t given us any reason to agree with your conclusion. You just assert it. Jesus came to earth in visible form. He left visible traces of his body as he interacted with the world (footprints on the ground, fingerprints on objects he touched, etc.). The people who saw Jesus during his life on earth would have inevitably formed images of his appearance in their minds and memories. Scripture, in both Testaments, gives us descriptions of what he looked like (e.g., Revelation 1:12-17). Since the descriptions are only partial, our minds inevitably fill in the blanks. That’s how the human mind, which God created, works. We can’t avoid making images of Jesus in that sense. I see no reason to not place images of Jesus in the same category as the image in 2 Kings 18:4, which I cited earlier. People can abuse images of Jesus, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with making images of him.

    16. Bo
      December 9th, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

      Jason,

      You wrote:
      “To say that people are “singing to a dead decorated tree” when they sing “O Christmas Tree” is ridiculous.”

      Hold on tight to your notions. I think the singers of the song are the ridiculous ones.

      Let me see…

      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree!
      Thy leaves are so unchanging
      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
      Thy leaves are so unchanging

      Not only green when summer’s here,
      But also winters cold and drear.
      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
      Thy leaves are so unchanging!

      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
      Much pleasure do you bring me!
      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
      Much pleasure do you bring me!

      For every year the Christmas tree,
      Brings to us all both joy and glee.
      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
      Much pleasure do you bring me!

      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
      You’ll never be unchanging!
      A symbol of good, will, and love
      You’ll never be unchanging

      Each shining light
      Each silver bell
      No one alive spreads cheer so well

      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
      You’ll ever be unchanging

      Sounds like singing to a tree to me. Maybe we should just come right and sing:

      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
      you are a pagan Idol
      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Chrismas tree
      you’re forbidden in the Bible

      We bow and worship you
      Just like the Druids used to do

      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
      you are so bold
      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
      all decked out with gold

      I go out and cut you down
      and parade you through the town

      Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
      etc., etc., etc.

      The psalms that you mentioned are doing something entirely different. They are portraying YHWH’s greatness and mighty works by symbolic language. There is difference between telling a story or exhorting ministers to bless YHWH rather than glorifying a tree. Singing to a tree is sentimentality at best…worship at worst.

      YHWH commanded for the brazen serpent to be constructed. He also commanded:

      De 4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
      16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female…

      The above pretty much says not to make any image that supposedly represents YHWH. Messiah is YHWH. The verbal images that are given us in scripture of Messiah are never given as instructions on what to construct. Artistic license is subservient to direct commands.

      We do not worship Y’shua’s physical body. We worship in spirit and in truth…or at least we are supposed to.

      We are not supposed to worship animals and such. We would be wrong to construct an image of an animal as a reminder of or a help in our worship of the said animal let alone to actually bow down to the image. We are supposed to worship YHWH and it is wrong to construct an image of Him since we worship Him. Our image would of necessity be a false image of Him. Worshiping in spirit and truth is obstructed by any incomplete representation of YHWH…whether in our minds or by virtue of a 3d image. Fill in the blanks of His appearance in your mind if you must, but do not make a false image of Him. The baby in a manger is not who Messiah is. It is a false image of Him. Revelation gives us a symbolic view of Him, but no one can do it justice. Isaiah gives a caricature of Him, but it would not be the kind of image that most would actually sculpt.

      And just like the serpent was commanded to be destroyed because Israel began to worship it, the images of Y’shua that are all around us are worshiped by many that call themselves His followers and so the images need to be destroyed. These are a stumbling block to multitudes of so called Christians. It gives the wrong impression of who Messiah is to the lost world. He is not a cute little loving baby.

      All that said, the direct command is enough for us to simply obey. Words are what the universe is made of. Words are what the scripture consists of. Words are what the gospel is communicated with. We do not see Paul or John or Peter with little babies in mangers or even images of the man of sorrows or the resurrected Messiah. We see Catholicism with these things, but not the apostles and prophets.

      Shalom

      Shalom

    17. jon
      December 9th, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

      Van,

      You are using an aurgument that anyone with a shred of credibility does not use. You have completely discredited yourself. Anyone with any knowledge of history knows that Jesus actually existed. You may look to put your aurguement in a more shady spot, that will lend to at least an aurguement.

    18. Jason Engwer
      December 10th, 2013 @ 6:27 am

      Bo,

      You tell us that the song “O Christmas Tree” is “sentimentality at best…worship at worst”. There’s a major difference between sentimentality and false worship. And you’ve done nothing to demonstrate that the song involves improper worship. To make matters worse, your initial comments on this subject didn’t even mention worship. Rather, you condemned “singing to a dead decorated tree”. When I mentioned that there are similar practices in scripture, hymns, poetry, and commemorations of the dead, you ignored most of those parallels, made an exception for scripture that isn’t relevant to your original claim, and gratuitously imputed bad motives to the people who sing the song you’re criticizing.

      And I noticed you didn’t cite the stanza of the song that mentions God. You also ignore the intention of its references to “Christmas”, which are meant to promote Christianity, regardless of what you think of the holiday. I don’t think much of the song, and I don’t remember ever singing it myself, but your accusations against it and the people who sing it are absurd.

      Regarding images of Jesus, see the section of my blog here, under “Art and the Bible”. We’ve addressed Deuteronomy 4 and other relevant passages many times. Since Deuteronomy 4:15 begins with a premise that’s not applicable to the incarnation, your citation of the passage does more to undermine your argument than support it.

      And what I’ve said about the song “O Christmas Tree” is largely applicable to your comments on images. You refer to worshiping animals, bowing down to images, etc., even though approving of images of Jesus doesn’t inherently involve such practices.

      You’re also contradicting yourself. On the one hand, you tell us that “it is wrong to construct an image of Him…Worshiping in spirit and truth is obstructed by any incomplete representation of YHWH…whether in our minds or by virtue of a 3d image”. On the other hand, you tell us “Fill in the blanks of His appearance in your mind if you must”, and you go on to refer to how Isaiah and Revelation give us partial images of Jesus. Your comments are seemingly inconsistent and incoherent.

      You also tell us that Jesus isn’t a baby. Who denies that? It’s not as though people who use nativity sets are claiming that Jesus currently exists in the form the nativity set portrays. Your argument is about as reasonable as interpreting “Angels From The Realms Of Glory” in the absurd way I referred to earlier.

      You say that we should destroy images of Jesus, since they’re a stumbling block to many people. So are computers. Are you going to destroy your computer and stop posting here? Since images of men are a stumbling block to some people, are you going to stop coming to this site that features an image of Michael Brown?

    19. Van
      December 10th, 2013 @ 9:03 am

      “Anyone with any knowledge of history knows that Jesus actually existed.”

      History knows nothing of Jesus Christ. There is no way to verify his existence using sources independent of the Bible.

    20. Bo
      December 10th, 2013 @ 10:46 am

      Jason,

      Oh Jason, calm down and deal with the facts. I can see that you are very emotional in your responses. The facts are the facts.

      Graven images of YHWH, whether Father, Son or Spirit are condemned.

      The apostles didn’t teach us to make them. They never gave us even a description of His appearance.

      The descriptions in scripture of Messiah’s countenance are not license to make a graven image.

      People sing to a tree in the song.

      The uses of in the Bible that you mentioned are of a different class.

      I copied and pasted the words for Oh Christmas tree in its entirety from this site:

      http://www.metrolyrics.com/o-christmas-tree-lyrics-christmas-carols.html

      Is there some redeeming value in singing to a tree for verse after verse and then finally “mentioning God”?

      We are supposed to worship in spirit and in truth, not in imagination and with statues.

      When I told you to “Fill in the blanks of His appearance in your mind if you must,” it was a literary technique to get you to think. I think that it is wrong to conjure an image in ones mind of what YHWH looks like. It is always a false image. False images and truth are opposites.

      The image of Michael Brown is not a supposed image of Y’shua. It makes no claims to be.

      The acceptance of images of the Son were approved and made popular via idolatrous Roman Catholic religion. The early believers in Messiah never produced such things.

      Shalom

    21. Adam
      December 10th, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

      History knows nothing of Jesus Christ. There is no way to verify his existence using sources independent of the Bible.

      Again, thinking presuppositionally, why should I accept those standards? What does this automatically presuppose? That they Bible is irrelevant to history. However, that begs the question. For the Christian, the Bible is true in everything it says, including when it makes claims of history. Hence, to use this argument is, just like on the other thread, evidence of presuppositions which Van doesn’t think he has.

      I always like to use the example of the Hittites. It is true that it is unlikely that people in the 1700′s denied the existence of the Hittites. However, what I would like to know is, using Van’s reasoning, how would anyone prove the existence of the Hittites in the year 1650? You couldn’t because there was no independent verification of the existence of the Hittites outside of the Bible. Hence, we should have therefore concluded that the Hittites never existed??????? That would seem to be the only logical conclusion of Van’s argument. Apparently, what happened at the time of the Hittites can change in relation to our knowledge. in 1650, the Hittites never existed in the Bronze Age. However, in the modern day, the Hittites did exist in the Bronze Age.

      This reasoning has proven to be an embarrassment over and over again for humanistic scholarship. I think of people who once said that David did not exist, and were forced to eat their words by the discovery of both the Tell Dan inscription and the Khirbet Qeiyafa inscription-to the point where even Israel Finklestein has had to revise his chronology to include the existence of David [although, to be fair, he said that they only ruled in a cow town].

      This is the perfect example of what I was saying on the other thread, and that is that Van’s mind is limited and finite, and yet, he has made it the standard of all things. Something as simple as an inscription or an artifact that he doesn’t know about can come out of nowhere, and demonstrate his bias in handling of historical sources.

      Now, I will say that atheist’s handling of the historical data is absurd beyond absurd. You trust Tacitus to give you the life of Julius Agricola, but you can’t trust him to give you accurate historical information about Jesus? That he is just passing along hearsay? They claim that, of one element of the Jesus statements in Josephus is an interpolation, then the parts that would fit with his ideology must likewise be interpolations? Good grief, there are so many logical problems with that, I don’t even know where to begin. This is why only the hard left fringe accepts the notion that Jesus never existed. A left so fringe that even Bart Ehrman, who is pretty biased himself, nevertheless disagrees with these guys.

      To put it bluntly, not only does atheism destroy science, as I think I demonstrated clearly on the other thread, it also destroys history as well. It is sad to see this statement of Paul coming to fruition in the atheists of our day:

      Romans 1:22-23 Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

    22. Bo
      December 10th, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

      Adam,

      Van’s ridiculous statements do no deserve such good responses. He really has made himself irrelevant on this site. He is just a blog troll, usually with nothing of importance to add to the discussions here. He worships himself. He has a god though he says one doesn’t exist. He believes what he wants to believe and ignores any fact to the contrary. If he really believed that there is no god, he would see others as equal to himself. He mocks and tries to intimidate instead of actually dealing with others arguments. He claims that he has won without having actually gone to battle. He really is only a trouble maker for his own selfish pleasure.

      Shalom

    23. Ray
      December 10th, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

      Could it be that we are not to judge things like Christmas trees?

      To one person it’s leaves it never seems to loose are an example to the Christian that he too should hold on to the things God has given him, or
      That it’s decorations are for remembering God’s greatest gift to the world, his only begotten Son,
      and it may be a tradition that will endure until he returns.

      I trust we all will be given opportunity to answer for the things we have done, even decorating trees, whether we did it in his name or not, for his glory or not.

      Things are not always as they first appear. I don’t know if the writer of “O Christmas Tree” was a Christian or not, if they were drawn to think upon the tree because of it’s connection to the birth of Christ or not.

      People are often much more than we give them credit for, though sometimes they are much less.

      That might be true for trees too.

      I don’t think I’ve had a light, bulb, or a bell on a Christmas tree give me as much grief as people sometimes do.

      Maybe it serves as a good example for us. Or, am I making too much of it?

    24. Sheila
      December 10th, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

      Van,

      To save time typing it all out you could watch these Youtube videos and hear the extra-biblical evidence for yourself:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CMJQl_yhU0

      It’s one thing to say you don’t believe He was who He said He was it’s another altogether to claim He wasn’t a historical person.

    25. jon
      December 10th, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

      Van, If Jesus did not exist then present day Jews would clearly state that. If he did not exist then he is not the messiah. Clearly this is not — NOT an aurguement ever used except by some silly guy who post rubbish.

      Where is the ignore button on here?

    26. Ray
      December 10th, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

      If Jesus does not exist, I couldn’t speak in tongues.

      I’m not for worshipping Christmas trees. Some songs I don’t want to sing. There’s even a song about God I don’t want to sing that I know of. Our worship is important to God. He knows when it’s right. We need his Spirit to lead us.

    27. Van
      December 10th, 2013 @ 11:09 pm

      This reasoning has proven to be an embarrassment over and over again for humanistic scholarship. I think of people who once said that David did not exist, and were forced to eat their words by the discovery of both the Tell Dan inscription and the Khirbet Qeiyafa inscription-to the point

      > The Tel Dan inscription? Are you kidding? No one knows for sure where that thing was found. Scholars concluded a long time ago that the early dating to the supposed time of David was overly optimistic. There is nothing that would link it to Judah or Jerusalem. It supposedly said King David on it but it turns out to be 6 letters on a rock and no one knows for sure what they mean. Possibly “House [of the] Beloved.” But somehow that proves that a boy killed a 9 foot tall giant with a rock and had a son with a 1000 wives. For me that’s a bit of a stretch.

      Now, I will say that atheist’s handling of the historical data is absurd beyond absurd. You trust Tacitus to give you the life of Julius Agricola, but you can’t trust him to give you accurate historical information about Jesus? That he is just passing along hearsay? They claim that, of one element of the Jesus statements in Josephus is an interpolation, then the parts that would fit with his ideology must likewise be interpolations?

      > Oh come on. Even Christian scholars admit the “golden paragraphs” in Josephus are rank forgeries. They are out of place and if Josephus thought Jesus was the Messiah, why didn’t he convert?

      To save time typing it all out you could watch these Youtube videos and hear the extra-biblical evidence for yourself:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CMJQl_yhU0
      It’s one thing to say you don’t believe He was who He said He was it’s another altogether to claim He wasn’t a historical person.

      > First of all Sheila, I’ve seen and heard the arguments for a historical Jesus before. They’re the worst arguments in the history of bad arguments. However I have yet to see any evidence. The Utube video breaks down early and often because of all of the speculation and special pleading, which was really pretty silly. Phrases like, “more likely,” “would have been,” highly unlikely,” are not evidence of anything but a desperate apologist who has no evidence. Christians really embarrass themselves by having to resort to spurious entries in the works of historians who were born decades after Jesus was supposedly crucified.

      The video says that only recently critics have made the claim that Jesus never existed. But I’ve looked into this and that is simply not true. There is a pretty long list of scholars that have said the Jesus never existed that goes back for centuries. Other people as well such as these two: “We might, say they, as well affect to deny the existence of such an individual as Alexander the Great, or of Napoleon Bonaparte, and so set at defiance the evidence of all facts but such as our senses have attested. It being quite forgotten that the existence of Alexander and Napoleon was not miraculous, and that there never was on earth one other real personage whose existence as a real personage was denied and disclaimed even as soon as ever it was asserted, as was the case with respect to the assumed personality of Christ.” – Robert Taylor

      “As for myself, I do not believe that such a person as Jesus Christ ever existed; but as the people are inclined to superstition, it is proper not to oppose them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

      Okay here’s the challenge for all you people who claim that there’s all this evidence that Jesus Christ actually existed. Tell me everything you can about the life of the life of Jesus using only sources independent of the Bible and which are no later than say 50 years after the time Jesus was supposedly crucified in 30 -33 CE. That should be no problem if what you say is true.

      “If Jesus does not exist, I couldn’t speak in
      tongues.”

      > There is no evidence of anyone being able to speak in a language they have not learned. None.

    28. Bo
      December 10th, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

      Van,

      Here is the link that the videos that Sheila linked to was taken from.

      http://thedevineevidence.com/jesus_history.html

      Please copy and paste quotes that from it and show how it is not good evidence. All your assertions about special pleadings and such does not stand up. Ancient history is not empirical science. What difference does it make if Napoleon didn’t believe that Y’shua existed? He was a man with a very large ego that worshiped himself. He was so blinded by his pride that he made one of the biggest military blunders in history. As far as Robert Taylor…he is just a sensationalist that was trying to make a name for himself. Real scholarship has not denied the existence of Y’shua of Nazareth. Only the fringe dose such a thing…and they would be better suited to write for the National Enquirer or Mad Magazine.

    29. Adam
      December 11th, 2013 @ 11:01 am

      Van,

      The Tel Dan inscription? Are you kidding? No one knows for sure where that thing was found. Scholars concluded a long time ago that the early dating to the supposed time of David was overly optimistic. There is nothing that would link it to Judah or Jerusalem. It supposedly said King David on it but it turns out to be 6 letters on a rock and no one knows for sure what they mean. Possibly “House [of the] Beloved.” But somehow that proves that a boy killed a 9 foot tall giant with a rock and had a son with a 1000 wives. For me that’s a bit of a stretch.

      Nonsense on all counts. Let us take these claims one by one:

      No one knows for sure where that thing was found.

      It was found at Tel Dan on a controlled archaeological dig. Because it was a controlled archaeological dig done by professional archaeologists, all conspiracy theories that it really didn’t come from Tel Dan are rather absurd.

      Scholars concluded a long time ago that the early dating to the supposed time of David was overly optimistic.

      I don’t know of anyone who argues that the Tel Dan inscription comes from the time of David. Khirbet Qeiyafa certainly does [possibly even earlier!], but not Tel Dan. Of course, that is hardly the point. The point is that it speaks of someone named David who is related to specific kings in the area.

      There is nothing that would link it to Judah or Jerusalem. It supposedly said King David on it but it turns out to be 6 letters on a rock and no one knows for sure what they mean. Possibly “House [of the] Beloved.”

      That would have been arguable-until we found another part of the stellae. The problem is that the entire previous line in the broken portion [which makes a perfect join in the back] has names of kings which end in -yhw, the form of the Yahwistic Theophoric used only in Judah. This not only refutes the notion that there is nothing to connect this part of the inscription with Judah [there clearly is], but also the notion that the reading “house of the beloved” is acceptable, because names with “dwd” meaning “beloved” are largely Philistine [Ashdod, for example]. Given the Judahite context, and given the fact that this is a military inscription [thus it makes sense that we are talking about the defeat of kings], then notion that we are talking about David is inescapable-even by scholars at such liberal places as the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

      Yes, I have heard all of these arguments before. I even had to read articles, such as href=”http://www.nelc.ucla.edu/Faculty/Schniedewind_files/Schniedewind_Tel_Dan_Stela.pdf”that by William Schniedewind, which not only refutes this view in two paragraphs, but also goes on to add insult to injury, showing that the inscription fits like a glove in to the Jehu Hazael alliance. [BTW, as far as I know, Schniedewind is not a Jew or Christian].

      But somehow that proves that a boy killed a 9 foot tall giant with a rock and had a son with a 1000 wives. For me that’s a bit of a stretch.

      Of course, because you are a naturalist and a humanist. I never used the inscription to prove that the Bible is true-only that David existed, and scholars once used your argumentation to say that he didn’t exist. I think I have demonstrated that your naturalism and humanism is self-defeating and inconsistent with itself on the other thread. The point is that your argumentation of “we must say that anything found in the Bible that is not corroborated by extrabiblical sources is false” has been a historical embarrassment to humanistic scholarship over and over again.

      In fact, you skirted the main point of my post, and that is, if you used that standard in the year 1650, you would have to conclude that the Hittites didn’t exist. Are you seriously suggesting that, in 1650, it was untrue that the Hittites existed in the Bronze Age, but in our current day it is true that the Hittites existed in the Bronze Age?????? And if not, then you would you have been able to prove that the Hittites existed in 1650 without using the Bible, since there was no extra-Biblical corroboration of the notion that the Hittites existed?

      The point is to attack the notion that you need extrabiblical data in order to prove that something happened. That is already a denial of the Christian faith, because it denies that the Bible must be doubted when it speaks to issues of history. I really find it funny that someone like yourself demands these kinds of things, and then wants to make it appear that you are just “neutrally” examining the facts. That is laughable. You are every bit as biased as any Christian is-probably more so.

      Oh come on. Even Christian scholars admit the “golden paragraphs” in Josephus are rank forgeries. They are out of place and if Josephus thought Jesus was the Messiah, why didn’t he convert?

      Lol, actually, what they say is that there are *interpolations.* For example, the notion that Jesus was more than a man, that he was the Messiah, are certainly later additions. However, the notion that there was a man named Jesus who was a wise man who won over many Jews and Greeks would be perfectly consistent with Josephus’ thought as a Jew.

      Van, if there is one thing this thread has shown is that you do not just “lack a belief” in something. You have a very strong belief in naturalism, materialism, and humanism-to the point where you are even willing to twist the evidence to the point of complete absurdity-to the point where unbelievers like Schniedewind, Pardee, and Ehrman even say that you are out to lunch. That is why atheists will always be, in the words of Schniedewind, a “small but vocal minority.”

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