Monday, March 29, 2010

The Gibroney Hunter VS The Hutch & Crew: Facebook Battle

The Hutch: I voted for Obama and all I got was this historic victory on health care ::

Hutch's Boy: That's not all you got...You also got the lowest debt rating since the Civil War. Congratulations!!

The Gibroney Hunter: And don't forget a bigger better Patriot Act. You the man, Barry!

The Hutch: Bigger? I thought it was just resigned as the same bill?

In any case, I'll never get the exact president I want nor will you. Guys like **** would take up arms and revolt. Obama is, whether we like it or not, a centrist. Change is gradual. Bitching about it and writing off Obama as some sort of failed fascist solves nothing. All we can do is keep trying to elect more and more progressive politicians each year.

Hutch's Boy: WTF?? Did you just call Obama a centrist? You HAVE to be shitting me. Right now, the Federal government is controlling 48% of the US economy. We are more socialist than almost all of Europe.

Umm, so other than Stalin, who's a leftist to you?

The Gibroney Hunter: First he renewed it, and now recently expanded some of the (illegal and unconstitutional) wiretapping provisions. This isn't about finding your dream president, it's about the fact that Obama very obviously works for the same internationalist criminals that Bush worked for. Most people in this country are so preoccupied with their pathetic search... See More for a national daddy figure that they're not even aware that the constitution very clearly limits the authority of the president. Too bad Barry seems to be following Bush's lead, and executive ordering the fuck out of us until the republic's dead.
Other than the fact that the Huff. Post told you so, why do you find the comparisons between Obama and other totalitarian, fascist leaders so farfetched? Is it the incessant push toward consolidation of power in the hands of a centralized government? Or the maintaining of foreign wars for resources? Or maybe some people have been so effectively brain-neutered by the mainstream media to actually believe that historical precedent no longer applies to us, and that no political and economic predators will ever set their gaze upon us, the special people. I swear, McLiberalism is worse than Christianity sometimes.

Hutch's Boy: Louie, what exactly is your problem with Christianity? Is it the hospitals and charities that dot the world? Or perhaps it is the very notion of liberty which it promotes? Aren't you in favor of such liberties? Remember, without the Declaration, the Constitution is an empty document.

****, I couldn't resist.

The Hutch: By all means, Chris. The only thing I enjoy more than debating with you is watching other people debate with you.

Lout, I'm not sure why you seem to think that taking the most extreme point of view possible and lacking any and all empathy for other mindsets is the best possible path to progress. It's really not that black and white.

The Gibroney Hunter: The bloodsoaked fairytale that is Christianity has crushed human liberty and potential, along with every other state sponsored religion of the world. The amount of children and innocence destroyed by this perverted faith, whether it be the uneducated teenagers tricked into fighting the 'evildoers' in the desert, or the women who are guilt tripped into functioning as broodmares for the state, far outweighs any competition from us heathens. But here's the short answer to your question of what my problem with Christianity is: It isn't true. As in, it is false. The story of jesus predates Jesus by millenia. This means, quite obviously, that the story and character traits of jesus (born of a virgin, etc) were simply prescribed to him, if he even existed at all (which is unlikely since none of the prominent historians of the time mention him as an individual, only as a concept (I.e, "the Christ"). Oh yeah, then there's the whole "priests porking children almost constantly" thing.

Hutch's Boy: The only fairy tales referenced above Louie, are your own. It would be fairly easy to pick them apart piece by piece. Let's first deal with your assertion that Christianity is responsible for more bloodshed than the heathens. Really? Mao, 65million, atheist. Stalin, 45 million, atheist. Hitler: 26 million? (this is off the top of my head) pantheist... See More, which technically qualifies as a heathen. Are you sure you don't want to withdraw that ridiculous comment?

In fact, your comments all have about the same level of credibility. Which religions do you claim predate the tale of Christ? What textual criticisms are you applying to the source documents? Are you willing to apply the same standards to the 45,000 pieces of manuscript evidence related to the NT? I seriously doubt it, as you seem to have an aversion to legitimate scholarly works.

Take some time, do some homework, offer some legitimate facts, not this dribble. Then we can have an honest dialogue, not a rock throwing contest.

The Gibroney Hunter: I'm not taking the most extreme view possible, you've just been trained to believe that anyone who's not regurgitating mainstream media double-speak must be in some way extreme. In reality, your belief that this Obama character came out of nowhere to slay the neocon giants and get this country "back on track" is far more extreme than my sober, fact-based assertion that people and organizations in possession of vast power and resources will do what they must to preserve it, including staging false flag attacks and then propping up a fake liberal president as damage control to pacify an increasingly restless population. My views seem extreme only to the sheltered naifs dependent on the mainstream "go back to sleep" media.

The Gibroney Hunter: I can see that your emotion has you blinded on this issue, which is why I'll simply ignore your limp-wristed criticisms. Those numbers must be off the very tippy top of your head, as you seem to have conveniently omitted some of the biggest, like, for example, the American genocides, all committed in the name of your fictional religion (which if we were to tally up, probably would total close to a half billion people, immediately proving you wrong) or the crusades, or our wars for empire against communism, in which fighting the "godless" commies was a major theme. There are many more examples, but I'm afraid I'm not going to play personal encyclopedia to someone who resorts to the mindless chant "prove it!".. The last refuge if a man who knows he's wrong. My statements are so glaringly obvious as to not require footnotes of citation. If for some reason you're not educated enough to know of Mithra, who was born of a virgin, crucified and resurrected 3 says later, or the Egyptian god Isis, also born of a virgin named Myra and resurrected, or the numerous Hindu gods featuring the same played out story, then I'm afraid you require more assistance than I can provide in facebook comments.

Of course, as a fellow advocate of true science, I'm sure I don't need to remind you that the bible cannot stand independently as an historical text, because of the obvious likelihood of bias. It can reinforce other, well... Real historical texts from the time (of which there are many.. None of which mentioning Jesus) but I don't need to address one word of the NT, since, quite simply, it does not pass the scientific/historical litmus test.

The Hutch: Lou, the difference here, is that while I assert my views and try to defend them where I can or reassess them when I can't, you seem so completely and utterly convinced of what you believe that there's no room for other modes of thinking.

Such certainty in the face of so little actual knowledge (in the Socratic sense, not in the "you're stupid" sense) simply comes off as radical and you do your own positions little service.

Also, Chris, a lot of what Lou is referencing re: the Jesus mythos is in that book I mentioned, Joseph Campbell's Hero of a Thousand Faces. Definitely worth checking out.

The Gibroney Hunter: Actually, places where there are no room for other modes of thinking are, for example, the Huff. Post, who asked Jesse Ventura to write an article for them, then censored him when he discussed 9/11. Or pretty much anywhere else in the mainstream media. I am passionate in my views, but not rigid. I acknowledge that I have been wrong in the past and may be wrong again, like any really honest thinker would. But with that said, your criticism seems to be less about my beliefs per se, and more about the fact that I believe them so passionately.

The Hutch's Boy: Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight...JN 18:36

Louie, are you trying to bully me? won't work. Besides, it's entirely ineffective (experience speaking here) and it undermines your credibility. In other words, you are among friends, so relax.

Speaking of your facts...your arguments seem to be schizophrenic and somewhat contradictory. Let's deal with one issue at a time, okay? Your comparison to "US genocide" to the killings of Mao, Stalin and Hitler causes me to chuckle and shudder at the same time. Do you really believe what you said? I did some follow up, and the actual numbers are:

Mao: 50-78 million people murdered
Stalin: 23 million people murdered (including the purges)
Hitler: 12 million people murdered

I'd like to see specific numbers from the "American genocides" and not baseless emotional rants.

But there is another component of your claim that I find curious. Your answer carries with it the assertion that the US is a Christian nation? Wow, you and Pat Robertson have more in common than I thought. Even I don't believe that. It's true that our foundational documents rely heavily on the Bible, but it's actually a compromise between Christians of many denominations, Deists and a few Jewish people.

With regards to the Crusades, or other wars you have pointed to, please note my first sentence. It's Jesus' answer to Pilate when asked if he were a king. Do you see Jesus' reply? How can one possibly claim to fight in the name of Christianity, when Christ disavowed himself of any such action? In fact, he chose NOT to defend himself, when Pilate was desperate for an excuse to let him go.

That's actually an important distinction, when analyzing the Crusades. When the Christians killed in the name of Christ, they did so in direct contradiction to Jesus' life and words. The Muslims, however, were following the exact example of Mohammed himself. Worth noting, I think.

Would you care to address your other points? They also have some glaring difficulties. You should know, Louie, that I haven't stumbled into my set of beliefs. I am also happy to carry this discussion to a deep level, as it is always a learning and enriching experience. Please respond. I'm looking forward to it.

PS...In case you two are interested, the arguments of that book are right out of the French and German Enlightenment movement of the late 18th/early 19th Centuries. Most of their claims held a lot of weight, until the British began archaeological study of Israel. They are actually far less palatable today, but I'd be happy to address them.

The Gibroney Hunter: No, I'm not attempting to bully you through facebook. That would be retarded. If you are being bullied though, it's by facts and reality, not by me.

Why you would chuckle over the mass murder of an estimated 113 million people is beyond me, as it is both unfunny and devastating to your argument, even without the mention of the countless other mass murders and wars committed in the name of god.

I'm not sure what your point is, in engaging in hair-splitting over whether or not our country is officially (whatever that means) Christian, as we all know that god and patriotism are always used as motivators to trick people into fighting in wars. So "officially" Christian or not, your god and bible are an indispensable part of the military industrial complex.

We all know that Jesus was a pacifist. And we all also know that nearly every single one of his followers through the ages have not been. So while your observations comparing muhammad and Jesus are correct, I'm afraid your point is moot, since the end result is the same: people tricked into killing other people because of a book. But while we're comparing the two religions, it's worth noting that the prophet Muhammad has the advantage over Jesus of actually having existed and being a legitimate historical figure. That is also worth noting.

You're not the first to try to dismiss the historical truth about the Jesus story as some fad of the enlightenment, as this period was when these hidden origins of Christianity began to be more widely known. But no amount of archaeological digging can change the widely recognized fact that Jesus is a hybrid of many dieties. I'm curious, what specific artifacts did the British produce that disprove the claim that the Jesus story predates Christianity by millenia?

Hutch's Boy: "And we all also know that nearly every single one of his followers through the ages have not been."

You know, I almost doubted this comment, until I saw the picture of Mother Theresa choking a small Nepali girl for using improper grammar when she begged for bread!

Again, Louie, no credibility. Seriously, you shouldn't throw bombs without knowledge. The church has been engaged in human rights causes since its inception. I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but the #1 casualty of the Roman Catholic Church are Christians. In the case of the RCC, it is primarily a secular humanist political movement, as much as it is about the Christian faith.

" the prophet Muhammad has the advantage over Jesus of actually having existed"

Not a serious scholarly argument, given the massive amount of manuscript evidence from the NT and archaeological evidence supporting the gospel accounts. I will defer to Sir William Ramsay's work on the book of Acts and Luke. There is SERIOUS scholarly work on the subject. Those who claim Jesus to be a mythical historical figure are also big on fake lunar walk claims, as I understand. Seriously, it's just an angry, ignorant position. It ignores all of the rules for textual criticism and the analysis of ancient history.

It's probably a waste of time, but here's a brief defense of the archeological claims. It's footnoted well, so you can find more in-depth work on the subject if you'd like.

What you cite are recycled arguments that have been TROUNCED years ago, but are being thrown out there again with the hopes that its followers would choose to embrace ignorance than actually check the facts. There is ample archaeological evidence to support the historic veracity of Luke's account. If you'd like, we can go more in depth on this subject.

As to your final point about the story of Jesus predating his birth by millenia? You and I will have little quarrel here, Louie. It's actually the PRIMARY reason I'm a Christian and not merely a convert to Judaism. Jesus' birth, life and resurrection were indeed specifically spelled out in advance of his life. In fact, I think a better argument against the Bible would be if no hybrids of the story could be found in other civilizations, given the Biblical claim of common origin.

The first time we see the prediction of the virgin birth, for example, is in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis Chapter 3:

GE 3:15 And I will put enmity

between you and the woman,

and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,

and you will strike his heel."

The use of the phrase in Hebrew is "seed of the woman" is significant, if you understand it in its context. Only in modern times did Jewish people recognize genealogical lineage through the woman. It was always a patriarchal society (a radical departure is attributable to Christianity, incidentally) an in this context is a direct reference to Eve being a sole progenitor. Worth noting. There are countless other examples from the book of Genesis, whereby the entire gospel message can be derived. But I'm sure you aren't all that well versed on the subject. I'd be happy to enlighten you, if you desire.

The Gibroney Hunter: At this point I'm just amused that you would even attempt to refute the very obvious fact that the vast majority of christians have not practiced pacifism, as Jesus (supposedly) did. The very fact that your rebuttal consists only of a reference to one mother Theresa, is confirmation of how silly your stubborn disagreement on this point is. And let's just skip over any lame response like "yeah but real christians are pacifists." We don't get to cherrypick like that. "real" Christians, just like Sarah Palin's "real" Americans, must view themselves as a whole, and not selectively. Otherwise the very distinction of "Christian" becomes meaningless.

I'm also not sure why you're unaware of the fact that the bible simply does not qualify as a historical text independently. As much fun as it would be to debate this, I'm afraid it's a simple indisputable fact within the fields of of history and archaeology. While Sir William Ramsay's work may be a valid scholarly examination of the bible, it in no way supports your claim that the bible is a valid scholarly work. You're aware that science must be unbiased, correct? You're also aware that the bible, whether you believe the stories or not, is extremely biased, as per the definition of a book of faith? I'd hate to assume otherwise, but your statements leave me little choice.

"There is ample archaeological evidence to support the historic veracity of Luke's account."

Which "lukes account"? Which politicized translation of the account should we go by? Are we beginning to see the problem here? Also, the very act of being ones disciple disqualifies one from taking a truly unbiased scholarly approach to their god. Think about it. If I believed George bush was my god.. Literally.. Then wouldn't I be the very last person you'd turn to for an unbiased account of George bush?

"Those who claim Jesus to be a mythical historical figure are also big on fake lunar walk claims, as I understand."

This is what's called the "guilt by association" technique. When someone cannot counter with facts or superior reasoning, they resort to associations with unrelated, and socially stigmatized beliefs, like Elvis being alive, and what have you. This is the equivalent to being a hack in the field of comedy. Also, I can only laugh when being called crazy by someone who believes in an invisible man in the sky, holding a list of 10 things he doesn't want you to do.

I can only express sympathy at your delusional assertion that the reason that other deities throughout history have had the same story and characteristics of the Sun-God, is because it was all a big cosmic build-up to the real god, who really was born of a virgin, nevermind the numerous other gods to whom this was attributed first. And yes, the crucifixion story predates Christianity, but this time it's the real deal. With all due respect, give me a break. These types of arguments remind me of the small child, having just been told there's no Santa, trying desperately to theorize about how such a fat man really could fit through the chimney. It reflects a state of arrested development, both emotional and intellectual.

Also, you seem to be confused about what it means to "trounce" a belief. You can search til the cows come home for positive confirmation of jesus' existence (which of course you won't find). But that misses the point. You must disprove the existence of the belief on deities like Mithra, Zoroaster, Horus, and various Hindu deities, all predating Jesus and having the same characteristics (which makes sense, since the entire story is based on astronomy/astrology, not an individual)

The Hutch: This argument like the goddam world series and super bowl all wrapped into one awesome facebook thread.

Hutch's Boy: Louie, I'm not sure you know who Sir William Ramsay is. He's actually responsible for most of what we know about Asia Minor and the Roman Empire. He's no lightweight, and I would think his opinion on matters of ancient history would carry a LOT more weight than any document you have referenced. From Wiki:

With regards to Ramsay, I ESPECIALLY love your comment: "You're aware that science must be unbiased, correct? You're also aware that the bible, whether you believe the stories or not, is extremely biased, as per the definition of a book of faith?"

Not only is Ramsay an internationally respected scientist (he was even knighted, dude!) but HE apparently set out with the exact same belief that you expressed above. When he initially went to Israel it was to DISPROVE Luke's writings (Acts and Luke). His conclusion? He believed Dr. Luke to be the greatest and most accurate historian in all of antiquity. Ramsay's conversion to Christianity occurred AFTER he set out to examine the evidence. Something I can say of myself, and frankly something which you have not endeavored to do.

But it sounds like your version of science requires me to disregard the evidence and go with the angry guy who "says it's so". LOL...I hope you appreciate my humor. It's not intended to be completely insulting (just a little insulting).

Seriously, though, you should take a closer look before you lash out. Your "facts" are not based on research. They are based on bogus assertions from angry people who pretend to have the facts.

For example, "Which politicized translation of the account should we go by?"

Are you referring to Textus Receptus, or Wescott and Horts? Do you even know how manuscript evidence is compiled and graded? Are you even mildly aware of the MOUNTAIN of manuscript evidence for the NT verses other works? There are literally TENS OF THOUSANDS of pieces of manuscript evidence (not versions, mind you, but manuscripts) used to compile modern NT texts. Where there are differences, they are actually just spelling or grammar. There have been NO significant conflicts reported by competent scholars. Read Josh McDowell's "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" for a thorough annotation. Incidentally, Josh's book is actually copies from his doctoral thesis. He was compiling evidence to DISPROVE the Bible through the types of "errors" you misreport. His work has impacted millions..

I think it's time you prove something. You make a lot of sweeping statements and say things like "everybody knows" but so far have offered zero evidence.

You say the crucifiction story predates Christ? Why don't you provide "evidence".

Or, you make the claim that "nearly every single one" of Jesus' disciples have not been pacifists? Oh my...why don't you present me with a study which demonstrates the warlike nature of Christians verses the rest of society. Holy crap that's funny.

Do you know why I picked Mother Theresa? Unlike MOST Christians, she's known for her life accomplishments. Most Christians I know give of themselves and do not seek fame or recognition in return. Maybe my church is the exception, but we rarely set out to murder our fellow man in ours. Hmm...Are you sure the people who fight wars aren't doing it for greed and lust for power?

Anyway, I'd like to see your "evidence" for the pre-Jesus crucifiction stories (along with manuscript references, please), and/or an academic study linking faith to violence.

Good luck.

The Hutch: It is worth noting, Chris, that Mother Theresa is a lot of trumped up nonsense. Christopher Hitchens wrote an expose book on her and there's a lot of stuff in her life that the church doesn't talk about.

In other words, Saint Theresa is no saint.

The Gibroney Hunter: This isn't a popularity contest. Science isn't conducted by reputations, it's conducted with certain unbreakable rules. No matter how big your hard-on for Ramsay is, it will never cange the fact that.. Everybody sing it with me now... The bible is not a valid historical document. I'll ask again, since you didn't answer the first time: exactly what artifact or document was discovered that conclusively proved that Jesus did exist and is god?

You seem to think that a passing reference to an author and his conversion is adequate scientific evidence to support your claim, which could help explain why you're a Christian in the first place, as your desire to be right far outweighs your ability to follow basic scientiic principles.

You appear to be defending Christianity against a charge that wasn't made, namely that Christians are especially warlike, compared to followers of other religions. You took issue with my statement that Christianity, like all other state sponsored religions, is used to manipulate people into fighting wars. Unfortunately this doesn't set Christianity apart from other faiths, only gives it the predictable stink of organized religion.

You need an academic study to understand the reality of the crusades, or the inquisition, or witch trials?

Greed? Lust for power? Uhm, I think you're thinking of the people who start wars, not the people who fight in them. The 18 year old kid from Kentucky who signed up for college money and because his church told him it's the right thing to do, is not going to be rich or powerful, I assure you. Is it just me or are your statements becoming yet more ridiculous?

"Most Christians I know.."

"Maybe my church is the exception.."

Told ya. Told ya you would use the "yeah but REAL Christians are different" routine. I'm very sorry. But you Christians don't get to support war, sexism, bigotry, and rape of children worldwide and then get to be pacifists simply because you like the title.

I've never seen someone who's offered no evidence of their own, other than the quasi-evidence of religious manuscripts, so incessantly demand that the other side produce it. Usually Christians know enough not to tread into scientific waters, since science has this tendency to swiftly and easily dismantle myths, like the Christian myth, or the myth of the official story of 9/11. Also a simple google search for the word "Mithra" or "Horus" should provide you with much of the evidence you need, but here you go.,9171,893345,00.html

Lashing out? I can't think of more typically Christian behavior than to begin a debate on your faith, and when confronted with the facts to accuse the other side of "lashing out". Telling you the truth about your woefully misguided faith isn't lashing out. It's actually an act of compassion, as my hope is that Christians will be freed from their intellectual and spiritual enslavement.

Hutch's Boy: Louie, other than your obvious bias, on what basis do you dismiss Sir William Ramsay's lifetime work, and Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict? Which claims does "science" dispute? You are totally ignorant of both works, yet you dismiss them? And I am the one who is led around by emotions.

Go ahead, Mr. Science (lol...hope you don't mind), give me the specific portions of their work that you reject.

You can't Louie, because you're ignorant. It's that simple. I have read the skeptical arguments and can lay claim to their shortcomings. You just spew hatred about things you are ignorant of. Read them and get back to me.

the Gibroney Hunter: I haven't dismissed anyone's work, only reminded you of the illegitimacy of the bible in terms of its acceptability as a historic document, by strict scientific standards. It's you who's transparently attempted to deflect points and steer the debate into the laps of your two favorite authors, rather than focus on uncomfortable facts. No matter how historically accurate or thorough a passage of the bible is, it still must be corroborated by other, non-religious texts, physical evidence, etc.

What exactly are Ramsay's and McDowell's claims, other than that they're believers? Is it that they have incontrovertible scientific evidence of Jesus' existence and godliness? If so, I think you would have mentioned it by now, as I've asked this question at least twice already.

In what way have I spewed hatred? You christians are always so dramatic.

Hutch's Boy: I don't find the facts uncomfortable at all. Actually, I am trying to base my arguments entirely on facts. That's how I became a Christian, Louie. Let me start over.

You assert, without evidence, that the Bible is an invalid historic document. I mention Ramsay and McDowell, for two reasons:

Ramsay spent his prestigious career as a world renowned archaeologist (probably the most important of the late 19th/early 20th century) coming to the conclusion, ENTIRELY THROUGH HIS SCIENTIFIC WORK (emphasis not yelling), that the Bible IS a historically valid argument. To the extent that he names Dr. Luke the greatest historian in the ancient world.

You don't like what the Bible says, so you claim it's not historic. Who do I believe, Louie, who has NEVER done any scientific analysis, or Ramsay, who dedicated his entire life's work?

Now let's go on to McDowell. His book is a detailed compilation of manuscript evidence. The book establishes the credibility of the current text by virtue of tens of thousands of pieces of manuscript evidence. (By comparison, the nearest second place document are Homers works, which we have a total of 600 or so pieces of manuscript. Most ancient texts are less than 100 pieces or so. Compared to 45,000 you can see why any honest person would drop their claims about authenticity).

None of this proves that Jesus wasn't a madman. It simply places the light of scientific discovery on the FACT that the Bible is a period authentic document.

Your claims are baseless and cannot be supported with evidence. I could give you evidence until the cows come home, but you don't seem to be interested in facts. You just want to say the Bible is not a historic document, but you have no basis to do so, other than your contempt.

Now, lecture me about science again, sir.

Incidentally, that article is noteworthy. It points specifically to the fact that the notion of a suffering messiah predates Christ. Whether or not you know it, you have actually supported the identity of Jesus as Messiah. It's an inside argument, but thank you for supporting my position. The scrolls at Qumran are HUGE in establishing the validity of the Book of Isaiah, as well as some other texts. Major discovery.

I wanted to give you a specific example of archeaologic discovery. There are literally thousands, but here's one:

Pontius Pilate. Skeptics in the 19th century claimed for years he didn't exist. This criticism was compelling and held up in peoples mind for a long time. In fact, the more we uncovered in archaeologic digs, the more compelling the argument became.... See More

There was simply NO EVIDENCE for Pilate's existence.

Then something happened. There was an ampitheater which was unearthed, which had stone benches for seating. One of the benches was overturned and on the underside was a decree from Ceaser (I think it was Tiberius). Pilate had so angered him (in the Gospel accounts, it indicates that Ceaser was already angry with Pilate, which is why he caved to political pressure) that Ceaser gave a decree to wipe out every memory of Pilate from the Roman Empire.

Pilate was erased. In fact, for years the only record of Pilate was the Gospels. It looked like a myth, but science prevailed.

COUNTLESS examples like it.

The Hutch: "You don't like what the Bible says, so you claim it's not historic. Who do I believe, Louie, who has NEVER done any scientific analysis, or Ramsay, who dedicated his entire life's work?"

Don't believe either of them. Just do what I did and look at all the available evidence for the christian mythos vs. the natural world. The latter turns up mountains of evidence. The former has a book. One, single, solitary book with, as Lou has strenuously pointed out, is not corroborated by physical evidence or other non-religious or historical text.

Ramsay may have put together a pretty impressive document, I don't know. I haven't read it. But he is just one man. Science demands not the opinion of one man, but actual, quantifiable evidence. Lou keeps asking for some of the evidence that Ramsay found, but you haven't set anything compelling to that effect yet.

That said, I do think Lou more than occasionally demands far too much evidence. 9/11, for example, from my perspective has more than enough evidence to support the the bulk of the official story, as does the moon landing and a number of other conspiracy theories. The analogy of the butler murder works here: we have video of the butler getting a knife, the butler walking into the parlor room, and video of the butler walking out moments later wiping off a bloody knife and going about his business. Sure, we don't have video of the actual murder that took place in the parlor, and some people might scream their heads off that something else could have happened in that parlor, but from my perspective, there's more than enough evidence to indict the butler.

Anyhow, this debate, as fun as it is to read, is precisely why I call Obama a centrist. Fact of the matter is, America's a big place with a lot of ideas. You could be far more left than Obama is (and oh how I wish he was) and, according to various gallup polls on various issues, a good size portion of the populace _is_ more left. But the same could be said about being more right.

It leaves Obama dead center, leaning very slightly left on a few issues.

This is, of course, taking for granted the whole left/right political spectrum which we all know is bullshit but I use here just for the sake of making a general point.

Hutch's Boy: John, do you want a list of the people who have dedicated their lives to this research? There are libraries full of them. Your sources, if you look around, are circular. The historic argument has been played, replayed and replayed again. Each time the textual and archaeological evidence has come up in support of the Bible's historic claims.

The Bible is not a history book. But, it does cite specific events in history. Where it cites those events, the evidence has supported those claims. You, like most atheists, point to a thread of defeated arguments (by defeated, I mean the actual facts point in the other direction, but are simply ignored) and act like the case has been closed.

For years, Isaiah was written after Christ died. Then the Dead Sea Scrolls show up, VERIFYING Isaiah 53, which predates Jesus. The evidence is so compelling that skeptics immediately invent from whole cloth another set of "explanations" because the conclusion isn't palatable.

Why haven't you read any supporting documents, John? The world is full of them. It's simple. You don't like the idea, so you dismiss it without a careful examination of the truth.

That is the only thing that separates our conclusions. Think about it.

The Gibroney Hunter: Here's Gordon Stein's devastating critique of McDowell's work.

"9/11, for example, from my perspective has more than enough evidence to support the the bulk of the official story..."

Like what? What evidence are you referring to?

Refer to the facebook message I sent you months ago (that was never responded to) for a reminder of some of the key discrepencied within the official story.

Be sure not to follow Chris's footsteps and pit your faith in the word of authority, like in the case of osama bin laden's "confession" video, which later unbiased translations (by the Germans) revealed that he merely mentioned the attacks, not confessed. Combined with the fact that the individual in the video is very clearly a body double (google it if you doubt). Combined with the fact of his verified statement on the day of 9/11, denying any responsibility and pointing the finger at criminals within our own government and private sector.

The Hutch: "The evidence is so compelling that skeptics immediately invent from whole cloth another set of "explanations" because the conclusion isn't palatable."

Chris, this is how science works. You have described it's fundamental philosophy. Form a hypothesis. Gather evidence. Does the evidence agree with the hypothesis? If so keep gathering evidence, looking for holes or cracks in the hypothesis. If not, form a new hypothesis. Repeat.

God is not a viable hypothesis because it cannot be tested with what we currently know about the universe. Science deals with the natural world. The observable and provable. Even if God were to come down to earth, perform some miracles, and walk around, Science would form hypotheses on how this is possible and fit what is happening in with our current data set on the natural world. Maybe we'd have to dismantle physics or something. Guaranteed, someone would want to get in there with an electron microscope.

Point is... the supernatural and science do not mix. They cannot mix. If you want to base your life on the bible and God, that's fine with me provided that you do not try to legislate your beliefs and you don't go trying to use science to prove your faith. Seeing as you do both, it makes my head a bit explodey.

Lou, I read the link you sent months ago, I just didn't respond because I didn't find it all that compelling and I knew I'd be unable to convince you of anything other than what you believe. I agree that it's more than possible or even likely that Osama was a bogeyman. But to insinuate that the US government was anything other than incompetent in the whole saga, I think, is too much.

Hutch's Boy: Louie, this isn't devastating at all. In fact, the author has a number of his facts incorrect in this article and is stating them as absolutes. One right off the bat is the idea that there was no death penalty in Jewish law for blasphemy. That's simply not true. Irregardless, he highlights an important issue.

Before you draw a conclusion, you should examine all of the evidence. John's post about science is compelling, except that he leaves off the imperative that all evidence be examined, not simply that which is convenient to your argument.

Louie, this article hits on Josephus as a historical reference for the existence of Jesus. Notice that I never mentioned Josephus? Nor did I mention Pliny the Younger. In both cases, I think there is too much open to question to utilize their references to Jesus (especially Josephus).

But the fact is, it's not necessary. McDowell does an excellent job highlighting the massive amount of manuscript evidence to verify that the modern version of the Bible is reliable to the original writings.

Ramsay's work demonstrates those writings are period authentic.

Can you really call your opinion honest, when you have only examined evidence that fits your conclusions?

The Gibroney Hunter: You became a Christian based on facts? I thought the whole thing is based on faith? I'm not sure I follow.

The evidence that the bible cannot simply be taken at face value, scientifically, lies in the very nature of the book; a book of faith. This does not mean that it should be ignored or excluded from historic or archaeological endeavors, only that it cannot be viewed as an independent historical text. The information within it simply must be corroborated. No further evidence is required to understand this point. A 6th grade level education in the scientific method, however, is.

"Who do I believe, Louie.. or Ramsay"

Neither. You steer your beliefs toward the facts and the scientific method. Nowhere else. This incessant urge to identify with an authority figure or leader is one of the most dangerous aspects of the Christian psychosis.

Thank you for the brief biography of your favorite authors, I'm afraid, however, that it still proved nothing. When I speak of scientific evidence, I'm referring to more than simply a tally of who's analyzed the most ancient manuscripts. There's also physical archaeological evidence, which is prized over any ancient writing alone.

"Notice that I never mentioned Josephus? Nor did I mention Pliny the Younger."

But McDowell does. And since the crux of your "argument" seems to be the fact that this guy wrote a book (a book about another faith-based book, which is kindof the point), the criticisms are relevent. Also you are aware that Gordan Stein's criticism was written in 1982, and also isn't assessed specifically to you, correct? So you may not have mentioned josephus or Pliny the younger because you're already aware if how shabby the evidence is, but the fact is that most of your peers would and do mention them, as fraudulent and ridiculous they are as historical references.

Hutch's Boy: Louie, the archeological evidence points to the Bible being period authentic. Luke mentions very specific details about regional governments, structures, do many of the OT texts. The article you linked to points to a problem in one area of McDowell's work. Hardly damning.

Trust me, Louie, I have more than a cursory knowledge of the scientific method. I don't have an advanced degree, but my undergrad studies carry me beyond most.

But again, it is not I who refuses to examine the evidence. Can you illuminate me as to the archeaological evidence that refutes the Biblical historic account? I have given you the existence of Pontius Pilate. Now give me the refutation.

The Gibroney Hunter: Well you kind of guarantee not being able to convince me otherwise by not responding. Also I was referring to a brief summary of some key points I sent you, not a link, but whatever.

You can be as uncompelled as you want, but you know as well as I that, scientifically, saying "I'm not impressed" is a good start, but otherwise pretty meaningless. As a believer of the official story, you're relying on litle else than the word of your government, and the dismissal of an ever growing body of contradictory evidence as merely coincidences. It seems that the standard coincidence theorist's response to such damning facts like the insider trading that went on on wall street in anticipation of the attacks, or the presence of nano thermite, a military grade explosive, at ground zero, is: "I don't know how to explain that, nor do I care to."

This lazy and unscientific approach to the matter was easy to pull off for quite a few years, but with the list of architects and engineers supporting a new investigation already past 1,000 (closer to 1,500 by now) it's becoming more and more difficult for people in denial to hide behind the "lack of professional credibility" defense.

Insinuate? There's no I insinuation here, friend. Criminal elements within our own government are responsible for 9/11. The evidence is conclusive. I do admire how closely you follow the mainstream media's strategy of character attack, though, intentionally choosing words like "insinuate" to give the impression that there's something sneaky or backhanded about my views.

The remarkable thing is that while parrotting the wholly unsupported "incompetence" theory, many adherents to the official story will casually dismiss the extensive body of evidence indicating the opposite (like osama being visited by C.I.A agents in a Dubai hospital just weeks before the attacks, for example), apparently without realizing that the evidence disproving the official "19 hijackers" conspiracy theory is superior both quantitatively and qualitatively.

For example, are you aware that the supposed lead hijacker, Mohammed attah, was a known drug runner and C.I.A asset who had a stripper girlfriend and loved pork chops? Now I'm no detective, but that sure don't sound like the profile of a Muslim extremist prepared for a martyrdom mission. Sounds a bit more like a patsy and peon who probably wasn't aware of the true nature of his circumstances. Study of the methodology of clandestine intelligence organizations such as the C.I.A (who wield more power than official governments) is necessary in order for these type of false flag terror attacks to be properly understood.

The Gibroney Hunter: The many faces of Osama Bin Boogeyman.

The Gibroney Hunter: The issue isn't the historical content of the bible. Indeed, much of it is valid. The problem, like **** said, is that you seem to be asserting that science has somehow proven the validity of your faith, which is not only false but in a sense quite absurd, because why would an adherent to a faith-based system be so desperately searching for secular confirmation anyway?

There's just no way around it. You can believe whatever you want, but to bring science into a defense of your fate is and always has been self defeating for Christians. But this fact shouldn't dissuade the truly faithful, since they have.. Yknow.. Faith.

"Can you illuminate me as to the archeaological evidence that refutes the Biblical historic account?"

Yes. Dinosaurs.

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